I've been enjoying a week off, the original plan was to go away but this years holidays have not matched up with my partners at all, the second plan was to read a lot, but I haven't quite done that either. What I have been doing is sleeping, catching up with people, and also catching up with myself a bit and it's been great (another couple of weeks would be even better).
I'm still knitting and have embarked on, what is for me, the ambitious project of making a cushion cover. I'm roughly half way through, it's based in some traditional Shetland patterns and the thinking behind it was to play with some of the colours I bought back in March and get a better sense of how they work together. Not always in the way I expect they will is the answer, the good thing about a cushion is that by the time it's being sat on less pleasing bits won't really matter and meanwhile I think my skills are improving a bit.
I also rescued a huge quantity of rhubarb from D's garden, or perhaps more accurately rescued the garden from the rhubarb which is (to put it mildly) thriving. So far I've made muffins, and a mystery recipe called spiced rhubarb. It calls for 3 pounds of rhubarb, a pint of vinegar, a pound of Demerara sugar, and a mix of cinnamon, ground cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice, along with a generous pinch of salt. The instructions were boil until thick then pot. I'm not sure how thick it meant but I stopped at a runny mango chutney consistency. We think it will be good with goats cheese, pork pies, and maybe in a lamb tagine - there is a definite sweet sour thing happening with it, and if it performs as hoped there will be updates.
Due almost entirely to imminent best before dates it also seemed like the perfect time to finally try and make a rye bread. I was overtaken by a fit of enthusiasm for this when I bought 'Scandinavian Baking' and managed to source most of the ingredients. Pure malt flour/powder proved to elusive so a really dark bread is still beyond me - I'm wondering if a mix of marmite and horlicks would add the right malty note.
When faced with an actual rye loaf I'm slightly less enthusiastic. It's an odd thing to make, the dough is a really unappealing grey and it's hard work to eat. Thin slices well buttered (and maybe with pickled herring and spiced rhubarb?) are good, but it has such a worthy appearance and seems likely to last such a long time... D is a fan though. I don't have a rye starter so used my wheat based one and added a bit of yoghurt to the mix (the rye starter recipe is flour and yoghurt). The bit I saved for the next loaf clearly lives so there will be more of this bread and maybe the habit will stick.