Pasta, a not really a recipe, recipe

I do this a lot, take photos of food I make. I'm passionate about good food. Real food.

Meals should be tasty, nutritious, and  a pleasure for the senses. From the tantilizing smell, to the array of colours, and a variety of textures and tastes to delight the palate. It's really not too difficult. Is it?  

Start with the very best ingredients, organic or 'free-from' ingredients, a few herbs, a bit of heat applied at the right time and in the right way, and there you go. Good food, made simply, and rather quickly. 

So why is good food so hard to find these days? When eating out, that is. What should be a treat is more often than not, a disappointment that one has to pay for.

ravioli.kale.jpg

 

Take this vegetable pasta dish. It's vegetarian but can easily be made vegan by foregoing the bit of freshly grated romano cheese on top before serving. If you're making or buying ravioli, choose the appropriate filling for your dietary needs or concerns. Regular pasta is just as good here.

The hard part is sharing the recipes. I'm a bit of a true European that way. I cook by feel. Intuition. So my 'not really a recipe' goes like this:

Olive oil - organic, cold pressed- a generous glog, about 3 tbsp.

Garlic cloves, many (3-6), sliced or chopped

Onions, two or three - red, yellow, or a mix of both

One Hot banana pepper, seeded and sliced (add a few seeds if you want some heat!) 

One large sweet red, yellow or orange pepper seeded and chopped 

A generous handful or two of brown (Cremini) mushrooms, sliced

One larger or two smaller carrots sliced thinly

2 or 3 diced tomatoes (skin and all) 

Fresh chopped Kale or Rapini or peas (fresh or frozen) 

Tomato paste (optional) 

Cooked and drained romano or cannelini beans (tinned is fine) 

Oregano

Italian herb mixture

Sea Salt (I like Maldon)

Freshly ground black pepper

Chili flakes (optional) 

Fresh or Dried Pasta - ravioli, spaghetti, penne, whole wheat, greens, etc. 

Basil pesto 

How to:

Set a large pot of water on to boil. 

In a heavy skillet heat the olive oil, add the garlic, onions, peppers and cook over medium-high heat. Add the peppers, mushrooms & carrots. Continue to cook, stiring regularly. 

Add the herbs, salt & pepper, reduce heat to medium. 

When the water boils, add salt and the pasta - cook until al dente. 

While the pasta is cooking, finish the sauce: 

Add the tomatoes, green vegetables (kale, peas or rapini), a spoonful of tomato paste (if desired).  You can add a tiny bit of water or red wine to help steam the greens. Ajust the seasongings, adding more olive oil if you like. 

Drain the pasta. Add the sauce to the pasta and stir gently. Add a generous spoon of basil pesto if you like. 

Serve with freshly grated Romano or Parmesan cheese. Offer chili oil  or crushed chili peppers for those who like a bit more bite. 

One of my (apparently many) food rules is that pasta should be served with a glass of red wine.  This is completely optional. 

Play with the ingredients. I use a variety of vegetables depending on what is in season, and what is in my pantry and fridge at the time. Just don't leave out the onions & garlic! 

Enjoy! 

Coryna 

 

 

Labradorite Gloves, expanded

In my rebranding efforts, all of my patterns are getting various 'treatments'. All get a shiny new logo, and bigger fonts, others get additional details and tips, and some get new variations! 

Labradorite gloves in Zen Yarn Gardens's one of a kind dye. Size S, plain thumb version. 

The sleek and elegant Labradorite gloves originally came in 5 sizes, to fit ladies xs to xl size, but just one length, to the elbow. 

You can now choose from 4 lengths: from  1/4 length to 3/4 of the original length.  Shorter gloves can be more practical for suits or for wearing with long sleeved jumpers. They can also allow you to use those smaller skeins of precious yarns. 

If you've already purchased this pattern through Ravelry, you should have received an update with a link to the new version of the pattern. To purchase this pattern please click this link

If you purchased the hard copy from Ewe Knit in Toronto, please use the form on the Contact Page and I can set you up with an electronic copy.

Have a beautiful day, 

Coryna

Labradorite gloves in progress on dpns. Just a bit of sparkle to this sock yarn. 

Grouse Beret & Fingerless Mitts revisited

Grouse Dance Beret in Mineville Wool Project no. 1504. Shade is Magenta and this version is new and features a Rolled edge. 

Rebranding takes time. It seems simple enough, pop in a new logo and you're done, right? Not quite that simple. The whole thing needs a new look which means new fonts, new layout, expansion of sizes for some, tutorials or new options for others, and new samples to knit too!  

I made a gloriously bright new Grouse Dance set for myself in Mineville Wool Project's luscious single ply merino DK. This shade called 'Magenta' is so electric, perfect for the darker days to come. The single ply made it a bit tricky to work with, but the stitch definition is lovely, and it is very soft with a nice bit of loftiness. 

Grouse Dance Beret, back view. the braided cables alternate with half-brioche panels. 

The pattern on the beret pays homage to the spiral, a form that occurs abundantly in nature. Human crafted spirals are apersistent motif across time and cultures. For many, the spiral is a representation of the cyclical nature of life, death, and rebirth. 

One experiential interpretation of the sacred spiral is the Grouse Dance. As we rush about our busy lives, we are reminded that even in the midst of activity, it is at once possible, and necessary, to look within. By doing this, we may remain true to our individual path, and find the peace amidst the din.

You Can see the Cable and Half-Brioche panels here and the way the cables intersect and weave together at the crown. 

In this design, half brioche stitch panels alternate with braided cables which ultimately join in an intricate spiral dance at the crown. Choose the edge style you prefer for the beret, a wider woven cable band, classic ribbing or rolled edge. The matching fingerless gloves feature smaller braided cables, bordered by rick rack lace and smooth stitches along the palms.

Grouse Dance Fingerless gloves made in the now discontinued 'Tapestry' by Rowan. A soy and wool blend DK. Any good quality wool or wool blend DK that knits to gauge can be substituted. Look for a ratio of approximately 120m/50g. 

The beret comes in one size fits most, adjustments can be made up or down by adjusting the tension, i.e. using smaller needles for a smaller size or larger needles for a larger size. The gloves come in 3 sizes. Depending on the yarn choice, there can be a great deal of forgiveness in the sizing here. My original pair made in Shetland DK has been adopted by my husband. I wear the ladies small, and he wears a men's medium. 

Less complicated than it may look, this is a lovely set for yourself, or for someone special. Come, join the dance of life...and remember, always dance, and knit, with joy!

The pattern is available on Ravelry.

Grouse Dance Fingerless Gloves in fluffy Bunny Hare, 90% angora wool. Only 20g is needed to make a pair of these fingerless mitts.  

 

 

Kombucha, a brief lesson

A SCOBY 'hotel'. Feed this periodically to keep them fresh. I have one for Genmaicha and one for Black Tea, the two varieties that I brew. 

I've jumped on the Kombucha bandwagon!  This healthful tonic is popular now, heralded for its many benefits, how could I not try it? I am always searching for something to help with my rather petulant stomach. 

Making your own Kombucha is really pretty straightforward.  Here a guide to how how I make mine. 

Delicious Black Tea Kombucha

First, you need a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) and 250-300 ml of the starter liquid to adjust the PH levels. Ask a friend, many people are making their own Kombucha these days and with every batch you make, you get a new one so they are plentiful in a short period of time. I keep a SCOBY 'hotel' to host all the extras in case a friend needs one, or I want to experiment.  SCOBYs are also available to purchase online.

Once you have your SCOBY, you need to make sweetened tea. I make two kinds: Black Tea and Gemaicha Kombucha. Genmaicha is Japanese Green Tea with roasted rice, my favourite green tea.

Plain green tea is also good, just be sure that whatever type of tea you use, it should have caffeine in it, the SCOBY needs it. Herbal teas are not recommended.

The only other ingredients you need are organic sugar and water.

Equipment: One 3.5-4 litre glass or ceramic jar (not metal), a fine mesh strainer, some cheesecloth, funnel, paper towels or a piece of woven cotton fabric (quilting cotton weight), 3 or 4 one litre mason jars, a large cooking pot, and patience!

Make your tea: bring 4 litres of water to a boil. Take it off the heat and let it cool to the right temperature for your tea. For black tea I wait about one minute, for Green tea or Genmaicha, I wait about 5-10 minutes so the tea is not bitter.  Add 4 bags of black tea or 4 tablespoons of Genmaicha to the water.  Add 250 ml of organic sugar. Stir gently and let it cool until room temperature. This takes a long time!  I usually make my tea in the evening and leave it to cool overnight.

Starting your first fermentation:

Strain your tea into the large glass jar untilit is approximately 80% filled.

Pour in your starter liquid.

Carefully place your SCOBY into the jar. It may float, or sink, or go sideways. Now gently pour in more of your cool sweet tea so that the liquid level comes to the base of the jar's neck.  Your new SCOBY will form on the surface of the liquid, so if the jar is partially filled, you may end up with a large and thin baby SCOBY. That is ok, but I like to keep mine a bit smaller than that.

Now secure a piece of quilting cotton or a piece of paper towel to the jar.  Cheesecloth is too porous and insects can get into your Kombucha and ruin it. Fruit flies love Kombucha; seems they know what's healthy! Date your jar, as you can see I use painter's tape and a Sharpie marker. Set your jar in an out of the way corner where the temperature is relatively stable. I set mine on a sideboard. Cover your jar with a clean tea towel.

Various coverings on my jars of Kombucha on the sideboard.  Paper towel or a piece of quilting cotton will keep your product pest free. The covering does need to be porous. 

Now the patience part. Let your jar rest (don't jostle it about) for several days. If you want your Kombucha sweeter rather than sour, a shorter fermentation time is recommended. I find that leaving the first fermentation for 6-10 days is good. After a few days, a new SCOBY will form at the top of the jar. The 'mother' may be attached to it, or not.

Black Tea Kombucha, first fermentation. You can see the bubbles and the new SCOBY forming on the surface.

Prepare for the second fermentation

The night before: make your next pot of tea for your next batch so that it can cool overnight.

Wash and thoroughtly rinse 3  one litre mason jars, or other suitable, sealable glass containers.

With clean hands, lift your new baby SCOBY and the ‘mother’ out of the large fermentaion jar, place it in a clean bowl and set aside for a few minutes.

Strain off your kombucha into your prepared jars, reserving 250-300 ml of the liquid for the next batch.

Place lids on the jars and mark the dates – I usually add the start dates of the first and second fermentations. Set these aside to rest until the next day.

Make your next batch of Kombucha. Wash and rinse your large fermentation jar then follow the steps you did to make your first batch. You can use your original ‘mother’ SCOBY again and use the baby SCOBY to experiment with a different flavour of tea. Or use both in the new batch.  When you have too many SCOBYs you can compost them or creat a SCOBY ‘hotel’.

Flavouring your Kombucha

After your jars have sat on the counter for a day, you can add flavourings if you like. Gingerroot adds flavour and additional fizz, soft or tropical fruits add a lovely flavour and colour. I’ve used fresh pineapple, plums, strawberries, raspberries. Personally, I like the tea just as it is.

Place washed and gently crushed fruits or finely chopped gingerroot to your jars then pop them in the fridge to finish their fermentation.

You can drink your Kombucha right away if you like, but wait a couple of days if you’ve added fruit. The Kombucha will stay happily in your fridge for 2-3 weeks, if it lasts that long!

Caution: Sometimes new SCOBYs will form in the second fermentation; to avoid a rather unpleasant textural surprise I highly recommend straining your Kombucha before serving! A a fine mesh strainer or tea strainer works well.  

Enjoy your healthy and tasty Kombucha! 

Ingredient Summary: 1 scoby, 250-300 ml (1-1.25 cups) of starter kombucha liquid, 4 litres water, 4 bags of tea or 125 ml (4 tbsp) of loose tea, 250ml (1 cup) organic sugar

Genmaicha Kombucha fermenting. See the 'mother' SCOBY floating on an angle while the new 'baby' SCOBY  is forming at the surface. 

Welcome!

At St. Istvan's Basilica, Budapest, a couple of years ago. 

Hello, and welcome! After much consideration and some shuffling of technology, I decided that rather than trying to manage two or three separate sites, it would be best to have just one. The problems of having far too many interests!   

There are many advantages to this new 'location'. It may take a bit of time for everything to look just the way I want it to, but started is half-done, or so they say! 

So this, corynablasko.com, is the new home of my new knitting design label: Coryna Blasko Design Studio (formerly Heathcote Road). The patterns will be re-branded and many will be updated and revised.  My old site, heathcoteroad.co.uk, is no longer active, but it may be restarted in the future with a different mandate!  The change was prompted by the move to a new website provider with a platform that will allow me to showcase my work in a more pleasing format. I will slowly move some of the most popular posts to this site and will also be adding lots of new information and video tutorials! 

Wishing you a most beautiful day, 

Coryna

Beautiful roses at the Prince's Garden in Edinburgh, Scotland.