Baby Blanket – Hearts – Moss Stitch

Decluttering old draft posts (this one was drafted in 2011… – posted now as this was a nice pattern..):


Moss stitch border with moss stitch hearts on a stocking stitch background

Since receiving news that three different friends were all expecting babies in November, I have been busy a-knitting.

This first recipe pattern was designed by my sister for me. It uses moss stitch (which I love) on the borders and in the centre of each square to create ‘raised’ hearts.

Instructions as follows:

Long circular 4mm needles (I did manage however, to knit this using a long set of normal needles)

There will be 4 columns and 5 rows of hearts in the blanket overall. This is big enough for a buggy blanket/throw, but too small to swaddle any baby except a newborn, perhaps.

Cast on 125 stitches
Rows 1 to 6:
Moss st row: K1, [P1, K1] to the end
Repeat this row 5 times more

Heart pattern rows 7 to 36
[Moss stitch 5 (k1,p1,k1,p1,k1), work across row 1 of the heart pattern square (25 rows)]: repeat this 3 times, moss stitch 5
Continue as set above over the remaining rows of the chart (30 rows in total)

Repeat rows 1 to 36 four times

Repeat rows 1 to 6.

Cast off.

Tidy ends by sewing into cast on & cast off edges.

See heart pattern attached:
On odd rows knit and read from right to left –> RIGHT SIDE
On even rows pearl and read from left to right  –> WRONG SIDE
Grey squares: Knit on the wrong side and Purl on the right side (opposite to the white squares around them)


Recipes: Dinner with friends

Decluttering old draft posts (this one was drafted in 2011… – posted now as this was a very nice meal indeed..):

Our New Year’s Resolution (ish) to have friends over for dinner more often is going well. Last night we were four in total, and had lots of lovely Indian food from from various Madhur cookbooks.

Menu as follows:

Parathas (with chilli and coriander)

Chicken in a fried onion sauce (“Everyday Chicken”

Sour chickpeas (second time in less than a fortnight that I’ve made these – Mr. E rates them at 9/10 and would happily eat for days on end…)

Aubergine slices

Cumin rice

Mango chutney

Followed by:

Raspberry and vanilla cheesecake (it was going to be white chocolate and raspberry cheesecake, but I managed to burn, rather than melt, the chocolate in the bain-marie… oh dear…)



Contentment: Lemon and herb marinade for chicken


1 pack of plain chicken breasts, chopped as you see fit

Olive oil

Lemon juice (I had lemons in, so used freshly squeezed, am sure it doesn’t matter)

2 tsps minced garlic (as we had a pot in, am sure that chopped would work as well)

Handful of dried parsley (in order to fully recreate the experience, yours would need to be c. 1 year past its best-by date or so)

Salt, pepper.



Combine, cover and leave in the fridge for 8-10 hours.

Remove, and cook the chicken e.g. roast in oven/put on the George Foreman.


Very nice – served with roasted veg.

Contentment: Slow cooker beef and carrot stew (with dumplings)

Today’s moment of contentment/joy: a delicious slow-cooked stew.

Still suffering with a particularly nasty winter bug, I decided to make a nice beef stew for tea in the slow cooker, to conserve energy (mine, and the house’s). It turned out very well indeed, so blogging for posterity.


1 kg stewing steak

1 tin chopped tomatoes

2 red onions, peeled and roughly sliced

8 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

Vegetable stock cube (I didn’t have any beef stock cubes in)

Worcestershire sauce

Balsamic vinegar

  1. Brown the stewing steak in a frying pan (we had leftover bacon fat from breakfast).
  2. Put the tomatoes, onions and carrots in the slow cooker.
  3. Add the browned steak.
  4. Add a vegetable stock cube (no additional water), a good glug (about 1 tbsp?) of Worcestershire sauce, and the same again of balsamic vinegar
  5. Season with salt and pepper, add a handful of dried parsley and another of dried thyme.
  6. Cook for 6 hours on HIGH.

I added some dumplings towards the end, and served with steamed Savoy cabbage. Very nice. Beef was very tender, and carrots tasted brilliant (I wonder whether this is the magic balsamic vinegar effect?).

A Year of Contentment and Joy: post #1

I read somewhere recently about the idea of choosing a word to define the year to come, rather than setting resolutions.

I rather like this idea, and have chosen two: contentment, and joy. Both seemed important to focus on, as it is so easy to be overwhelmed by seemingly negative events in life**

So – my intention is to post intermittently those things which have brought me joy (or moments where I have felt particularly content). This is similar to the ‘jar full of blessings’ idea (notes in a jar through the year to be reviewed at year end etc.)

So – today:

  • Spotting a peregrine falcon nibbling on something in the road before flying off
  • Narcissi prematurely flowering next to our front door
  • Setting up Google Cloud print! (I realise I am probably years behind the times…)
  • Watching chickens chase each other up and down the garden. They have free rein while the dog is at kennels.
  • Log fire a-burning…while I am battling the lurgy on the sofa.


* * feeling negative on one hand, whilst knowing Romans 8:28 on the other  (28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[a] for those who are called according to his purpose) 

Mr. E’s best Scotch pancake recipe

A leisurely weekend breakfast is a fine thing, and particularly when in the company of good friends and family. Younger members of the family are always keen for Mr E. to make ‘his pancakes’ – he tells me that the recipe below is the one that he uses most often, so blogged in case we lose the link elsewhere:

Scotch Pancakes – ingredients as follows

120g self-raising flour

small pinch salt

30g caster sugar

1 egg

1/4 pint milk

Chickens galore

When Bernard the chicken went broody for about the 4th time in her two years of existence, I decided that it might be fun to let her raise some chicks, instead of spending months staring at the inside of a nest box.
So – I bought 6 White Sussex and 6 Maran hatching eggs from Ebay, constructed a broody pen inside the chicken palace and repurposed a cat carrier as a nesting box and left her to it. 3 weeks later, 9 chicks hatched!
They are now just over six weeks old and look like miniature (or not) chickens. I think that we have 7 cockerels and 2 pullets, which will make for a happy augmentation of the egg-laying flock, and lots of chicken dinners come September/October.
I googled around a fair bit looking for advice on how to sex chickens as an amateur. I won’t reproduce/summarise that here, but would note that around 3 weeks I noticed that the tail feathers were more developed (bigger) on around 7 of the chicks – this lasted for about 2/3 days and then the difference disappeared. Currently, some chicks have very clear red combs (so I expect these to be male, as pullets’ combs won’t turn red until they come into lay) compared to one chick who has a very small pink comb – and I’m still sticking to 7:2 cocks:hens ratio (with one pullet each of White Sussex and Maran). I’m not 100% sure about 2 of the 7 (again, one of each breed), so we will have to see how they turn out.