Monday, August 25, 2014

Crochet, cats and courgettes (with a bit of knitting thrown in for good measure)

First we have the basis of the crocheted side panels for my next chair-back drape.

I've used the triangle motifs from the 2013 crochet club and jiggled them around to suit. The one at the top of the photo has been blocked and you can see the difference blocking makes when you look at the bottom one which is all wavy and out of shape. They are actually the same size but the camera angle makes the bottom one look bigger.

Now I've got to devise something to make them the same size as the centre motif and I'm thinking of using flower squares and some zig-zag strips. I'm still playing around with ideas on that though.

I was quite excited the other day when the post arrived with a large packet all the way from Japan.

It contained this beautiful magazine, Keitodama, for whom I did an interview a few months ago.

The interview was about how I've used my crafting to draw attention to the need for more funding into dementia research and I was delighted that they'd included a photo of my mum as well as she's the reason I do all this. Unlike UK magazines, it is read from the back to front which was interesting.

Kitty bits

Now for some kitty cats. First we have our beautiful lady, Tilly, enjoying a morning nap in the sun - I love the way she's roughed up all the cushions around her before settling down. 

She's a real sweetheart but is still not confident enough to go outside, which leads onto this little fellow who's been pottering around in the garden for a few weeks. I was outside doing some tidying in the front borders when I heard a rustling and out popped Simba, from down the lane. He's twice the size of our little lady and has massive claws!

When I stopped for a cuppa he followed me into the gazebo for some fuss.

Then he tried to get more attention by rolling around and looking cute.

I miss having a feline friend helping me in the garden and I can't wait for Tilly to find her inner lion and come outside with me.

As for the courgettes, we have sooooooo many. I only ever grow one plant because we can barely keep up with their abundant crops and there's only so many we can eat before we get bored of them. 

We both prefer the yellow variety so I always choose that and it grows quite happily on the compost heap. See that great big one underneath? That was pencil thin and only 6cm long on Wednesday last week.

By the time I picked it yesterday it was 30cm long! I fancied making some courgette fritters so I thought I'd share my recipe here.

Spicy Courgette Fritters


1 large or 2-3 smaller courgettes
1 green or red chilli (leave out of you don't like the heat!)
1 medium sized onion
Coriander or parsley leaves to taste (fresh leaves are always better than dried). I use about 2 tablespoons
Salt and black pepper to taste
About 150g Gram flour (I've tried making them with self-raising and plain flour but prefer gram flour as I think it suits the spices I use better than the other flours)
Spices: I use a mix of spices such as ground coriander, cumin, turmeric, amchur and fenugreek but you could use a couple of teaspoons of Garam Masala or even just one spice of your choice instead
2 eggs and a few tablespoons of milk to make the batter
Oil for frying


Grate the courgette onto a tea towel using the coarse side of the grater. There's no need to peel the courgette.

A tea towel? Yes, because you need to wring out the excess moisture from the courgettes and this is by far the easiest way of doing it - I've tried blotting with paper towels and weighting it down in a colander but this is by far the quickest. 

Now wrap the tea towel around the grated courgette and form a sausage shape so it looks like a Christmas cracker and squeeze it over the sink. You'll be amazed at the amount of liquid that comes out! The tea towel will retain lots of courgette bits so you need to shake it around outside afterwards to get rid of them. Put the grated courgette into a bowl.

Chop the onion really fine, or grate it if you prefer, and add it to the courgette together with the chopped chilli, coriander (or parsley) salt and pepper then sprinkle on your chosen spices and give it a good mix around - I use 2 forks.

Make the batter by beating the eggs and milk together then add the gram flour until you have a firmish batter. It looks a bit like custard! 

Then add the courgette mixture and give it another good stir so everything has a good coating of batter.

To cook, you just shallow fry them in hot oil in batches. Put 2 heaped tablespoonsful of the mixture into the hot pan and squash flat with a spatula. I can get 4 decent sized fritters into my pan. I don't eat much fried food and so I use as little oil as possible as you can see. 

Cook until the bottom is nicely browned then flip it over and do the other side.

You can serve them warm or cold and I like to serve them with mango chutney and a few salad leaves. When hot the batter is really light and crispy. When cold they are great finger food for picnics.

Knitting snippet

Mike needs a new cardigan and after much searching has settled on this pattern I've ripped from a magazine.

I showed him lots of yarns and he was quite restrained in his choice, eschewing the expensive yarns I showed him and settling for this dark green shade of Stylecraft Life chunky.

I've just done a gauge swatch using 6mm needles as specified but its way too big, 2cms each way, even though my tension isn't loose. I'll try another swatch using 5mm needles as I felt that it was too floppy a fabric anyway on the larger needles.


Robyn of Oz said...

Susie, I love your kitty visitor from down the lane. He's a cheeky boy and knows he's onto a good thing!
I haven't grown courgettes for years. I had a huge vegie patch when we had our hobby farm many years ago, so I put in several plants. I'd see them with the flower and say to myself, "I'll pick them tomorrow", and go out tomorrow to find that if I hollow it out, I can make a house or boat out of it! I had to hide it in food to get the family to eat them! My favourite was a version of egg and bacon pie, without a crust. Grated courgette is so easy to hide! It's no challenge.

Susie Hewer said...

Hi Robyn, lol at you hiding grated courgette in things to get rid of it! :-)