Friday, November 29, 2013

More puerperium love, with a twist

green puerperium3

I have made the puerperium cardigan many times. It is my go to newborn cardi. I can't help myself. I'm a sucker for a raglan sleeve and a quick knit. And any opportunity to have cute buttons is always a plus. 

But I like to play with things I'm familiar with. I usually use a recipe once or twice and follow it exactly as written. Then I can get a bit more creative with it. 

What I did in this instance was to change the sleeve on the cardigan to a short, ribbed sleeve. 

green puerperium2

Here's how I did it, should you wish to do the same. 

When you pick up the stitches underneath the armhole to do the arms, pick up 5 stitches to make it 36 stitches in the round.

Then knit in rib, k2,p2. Do so in the round until the cuff measures about 2-3 cm. Cast off in pattern.

TA-DA! Ribbed short sleeved cuff. I think it looks cute and means that I was able to knit this cardi with just one ball of the yarn. The lovely alpaca yarn from Drops. 


green puerperium1

Raveled here.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Swedish word/phrase of the week


Actual translation : gums
Literal translation : tooth meat

What can I say? Body parts and Swedish, always a delight. I'm fortunate to be able to say that my tooth meat is freshly scrubbed ready for a new day. Healthy and happy tooth meat.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Things the boy shared with me

So my Mum was born in Germany. I learned German at school and went on exchange to Germany when I was 15. The boy finds German to be an entertaining language and has a few utility phrases. These include such delights as "Can you show me where the moguls are?" and "I am a giant blue duck."

He came home tonight and told me to look up on youtube the following phrase:

Germans trying to say squirrel

I did. It amused me. Please enjoy.

There are many words in Swedish that I find nigh impossible to say. Most things ending in 'ion' for example drive me insane. 

And one more quick German language delight for you. Barbara and her wonderful rhubarb cake that is ever so popular. This one it is helpful to understand German for. Another thing the boy put me onto 

Friday, November 22, 2013

FODMAPs friendly waffles

waffles with jam

So here in the Swedens, they do have a gluten free waffle mix. But considering waffle recipes are about the easiest things in the world to make without a mix, I figured I'd just wing it by converting a standard waffle recipe found online.

I was not unhappy with the results. I present to you, FODMAPs friendly waffles that are also gluten free.


3.5 dl (1.5 cups) of gluten free flour
2 tsp baking powder
4dl (1.7 cups) lactose free milk
100g butter, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla seeds, optional 

Mix the flour and baking powder together. Add the milk and stir with a wooden spoon. 

Melt the butter in the microwave and pour into the batter. 

Mix it all together well, making sure to get rid of as many flour clumps as you can. I have found gluten free flour mixes to be quite lumpy when making batter.

Heat up your waffle iron and get cooking. 
Here's a couple of shots of them almost ready:

cooked wafflealmost cooked

These waffles were just as good as regular ones made with normal flour and really quick to make. We enjoyed them with raspberry and strawberry jam and a tiny bit of ice cream. I used lactose free ice cream for me, but the other two just had regular vanilla.

waffles sans jam

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Belated Swedish word/phrase of the week

A delayed word of the week due to illness. Over the last week I have been struck down with a succession of colds that have been exhausting. I apologise for missing my usual Monday. I do have a bunch of projects to share, but they will come later, when I've slept some more and divested myself of the virus that will seemingly not leave me alone. Please enjoy this word, I know it amused me when I first heard it/understood it. 


Actual translation : placenta
Literal translation : mother/parent cake/biscuit

Like all wonderful things in Swedish to do with the body, lots of very inviting mental images are formed when you literally translate them. 

I'm reminded with this one of a story to do with the boy and the birth classes we attended before the birth of TWO. We went along to the first one, it was all in Swedish. On our walk to the tram stop together afterwards, he asked me about a word, förlossning. He could gather from context that it was a process, but not exactly what it was. It means birth. I guess he was, strictly speaking, correct. But I still found it amusing to hear him say "I worked out it's a process. But what does it mean?". I'm pleased to say that since then I think both of us have gained in our Swedish vocabulary and would not make the same mistake. A million and one others, but not that same one. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Swedish word/phrase of the week


Actual translation: pillowcase
Literal translation : eagle good/tasty/yummy

I have no idea why Swedes equate pillows and pillowcases with eagles or the state of being tasty, but it would appear they do. This was one I hadn't thought of before overhearing a conversation in my favourite cafe. There were some fabulously hipster Swedes sitting with some equally hipster Americans sitting behind me while I drank my coffee. The Swedes were explaining it and I quickly jotted it down for the blog. Hilarious. 

image from here

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Knitted cloths, functional and playful

I love knitting. It's something that keeps my ever busy hands busy with something functional. If I didn't knit, I think I would spend a lot of time just tapping or fiddling with things like pens and I would annoy the crap out of everyone in my vicinity. 

So one thing that I find as a quick and easy gift for new babies and kids alike is the knitted facecloth. Knitted in cotton, they work well as face washers in the bath or as blankets for toys. 

When TWO was small, these small projects kept me busy, but weren't so involved that my overtired brain couldn't cope. 

Here I present to you the birthday gift for Imogen. Her name in cloths. I found the pattern for them here.


Monday, November 04, 2013

What's on my needles, or what was on them last week

I recently purchased a set of knit pro interchangeable circular needles. With needles ranging in size from 3.5mm to 8mm and different cord lengths, it's a really useful little kit and the needles are beautiful. I particularly like working with knit pro needles because they feel so good when you are knitting, smooth and warm.

I've been working on my favourite pattern for newborns for a friend expected her second child at the end of this year, a puerperium cardigan. I've shown previous versions I have made here and here

This time I dyed some wool with yellow and then blue to make a variegated yarn. It hasn't ended up quite how I wanted, so I overdyed it this weekend with blue, as I found the yellow flecks made it too busy. I will post a photo of the completed cardi soon. But here's the work in progress.
in progress puerperium

I took the photo of the cardi while waiting for my students to turn up for my balboa class last Thursday night. I'm teaching a beginners class with the delightful Gašper and will have to write a post about the joys involved sometime soon. I'm really enjoying teaching beginners again, and as a follow too. But more on that another day. I hope you enjoy the almost completed, hand dyed, green puerperium.

Swedish word/phrase of the week


Actual translation: squid
Literal translation : ink fish

What can I say? Literal translations are the bomb. Ink fish. Excellent. 

Friday, November 01, 2013

Seafood risotto - FODMAPs friendly

Before I discovered the joys of eating a low FODMAPs diet, we started making our own stock after having a roast chicken (and now I have a FODMAPs friendly version). It seemed to be an easy way to get the most out of our chicken. We quickly discovered that it also tasted fantastic.

We predominantly use stock in our house for risotto. So I have adapted our regular risotto recipe to one that is FODMAPs friendly. It is still super tasty and doesn't make my stomach hurt or blow up like a balloon.

Here's the general gist of it.


A good glug of garlic oil
4dl arborio rice
1 red capsicum, diced
1 tub of mini prawns
2-3 slices of smoked salmon or gravlax, diced
3/4 cup frozen peas* 
3/4 cup grated parmesan
3/4 cup white wine (optional, but add extra stock if you don't use it)
1 litre chicken stock
1 blob/knob of butter at the end
1 big handful of fresh mint or a good shake or two of dried mint
Juice of half a lemon  

*peas are a moderate FODMAPs containing food and while this portion size should be safe (even on elimination), just be careful with how many you add.


1. Put the stock on a low heat. It should look a bit like this:

warm stock

2. Add the garlic oil and rice to a big pot and bring to a medium/medium high heat ( I use 4 out of 6 on our electric stove) and stir with a wooden spoon. At this stage you want to toast the rice. Stir for a few minutes to both coat the rice in oil and to start the cooking process. I generally do this for a few minutes while I make sure I've got everything I need.

3. Add your wine if you are using it. You want the wine to cook off quickly, which is why the toasting before will do you a favour.
If not, add the first ladle full of stock and stir, stir, stir.

4. Continue adding stock, a little at a time,  and stirring. You want it to cook slowly at a simmer, not a boil. You may need to lower the heat a little as you cook. 

5. At this stage I usually start chopping my capsicum between stirs and grate the cheese, get the prawns rinsed and the salmon chopped. 

The rice should look like this when it's on its way to being ready. 

rice underway

6. When the rice is cooked, it is time to add the other ingredients. Put 2/3 of the parmesan in, the capsicum, the prawns, salmon, peas and mint. Adding them last makes sure you don't overcook the prawns and make them tough. The ones we use are precooked and just need reheating.

ingredients risotto

7. Give the whole thing a good stir to mix it through and heat up the peas to eating temperature. 

8. When the risotto looks ready to go, add the butter and lemon juice, and serve. The consistency I like is fluid but not soggy or gluggy.
Serving on a plate rather than a bowl ensures that your risotto doesn't continue to cook while you are eating it. 

risotto done 2

I like to serve with a bit of mint on the top with some parmesan sprinkled over and the boy loves a bit of cracked pepper. We also like to add a bit more lemon juice when we serve it. I love the acidity of the lemon juice with an unholy passion. TWO is also fond of lemon and delights in squeezing it onto our plates and then just sucking on the remnants of the lemon to get more juice out for herself. 

Risotto is one meal that we can guarantee TWO will eat. She loves it and will eat all the ingredients, even if they aren't ones she is familiar with, or would otherwise reject in other contexts.

The only problem I have encountered with this risotto is that it is so moreish that I am quite often forced to go and eat more later in the evening. Which, in all honesty, is hardly a problem. I always make more than we usually eat in one sitting because it makes excellent leftovers or late night snack.

Pro tip from the boy: if you are planning on storing leftovers, add a bit of stock to your container so that when you reheat, there's enough moisture in it so that it doesn't dry out in the microwave.