Spring Saturdays, Carpet Yarn and Chocolate Tagliatelle

Sunday, April 01, 2012

This is the second week in a row that I've insisted on taking my Saturday off work. I feel quite liberated! This is definitely something I could get used to.

The weather was a bit cooler than it has been, but it was still an excellent day for a walk. So we headed up to Bethnal Green (just a few stops away) and wandered up the High Street. Bethnal Green is a lovely bit of London that's really packed with character. It's full of oh-so-trendy hipsters with their enormous glasses, their pulled-up-high pink trousers and their vintage outer-wear. It's also full of people who melt into the East End: the pizza shop owners, the Turkish cafe touters, the everyday mom-of-four walking on her way to work. 

The council and residents put a lot of effort into the area, and you see loads of beautiful features along your walk, like a giant pot of daffodils just outside Broadway Market. Mm, Broadway Market! This is a trendy, expensive market that sells everything from vintage bicycles to salt beef bagels at the Jewish Deli (which are delicious, by the way). We venture out this way when we've got one thing on our minds: fresh pasta and basil pesto. Okay, so that's two, but you know what I mean.

We get our basil pesto as a treat every now and then from Borough Olives. True, they specialise in olives as the name suggests but their basil pesto is oh so delicious. Don't you love their watercolour logo? I like the stenciled look with the array of olive shades. Very nice.

The pesto is chunkier than the kind you get in the supermarkets and delis and is made from basil, cashew nuts, pecorino, garlic and rapeseed oil. I make my own from time to time using parmesan and pine nuts, but this one is really a no-fuss option that tastes as good as the home-made variety.

And then on to the pasta. This week we decided to try a new flavour from La Tua Pasta - chocolate tagliatelle. Best served with beef, we were told by the lovely Isabella, so we also obtained an organic, aged steak to sear and slice. Vegetarians - avert your eyes. 

The pasta has a distinctly chocolatey aroma with a warm and slightly sweeter hint than I would normally choose for my pasta dishes. When cooked, it goes a lovely caramel colour and doesn't taste at all chocolatey, although it retains that chocolate smell. We served it with our basil pesto and steak, it was delicious. I wish I could tell you that the pinkness of the meat is a product of photoshop, but alas! That's how the Mister likes to cook his meat (and he refuses to let anyone else in the house touch a steak) so that is how we eat it. I feel terribly guilty when I eat pink steak but it was really delicious. And I mean, really.

Back to Bethnal Green! On our way back from a successful Broadway Market trip we decided to take a walk up Roman Road for a bit of a weekend-knittery-treat (ha! I say 'we' but I really mean 'me' here) and visit Prick Your Finger. It's so lovely to see Spring in full swing here with lots of beautiful flower pots and plants on display outside homes and shops. 

Not to mention that the trees are all a-blossoming and the petals are falling about the floor as if they were pink and white snowflakes. In a few weeks they'll be less attractive, but we can enjoy them now.

Ah yes, that's where I was - Prick Your Finger. It's a lovely, eclectic little yarn shop on Roman Road offering up the nicest yarn-buying experience. Packed full of British Yarn in assorted shades and fibres, PYF is a great place to go for a bit of knitty inspiration and - of course - supplies. 

I've been knitting vegetables for my Etsy initiative. It's been a lovely experience with sore fingers, cramped crochet hands and missing needles - but it's good to be back in the creative seat after so many long hours in front of my computer. (Did I mention that I was making a big change in my work life?). And so, as you will all know, when you're working on a project that has to be just right you need the right supplies. And I needed a very particular shade of green. 

Very particular.

PYF came to my rescue with their carpet yarn. Recommended to me by Colleen and Elizabeth from the EEWI, carpet yarn is a heady, strong yarn that is designed for (can you guess it?) ... carpets! Made from Old Sheep (I would like to think) and dyed in an assortment of colours, it's a good yarn for crocheting into specific shapes that need to stay just right. Like, leaves.

The middle leaf, above, is made from olive green carpet yarn. I wanted this colour specifically for a branch of olives that I'm making, but it seemed just right for a touch of radish, too. That's a sneak peak of a vegetable-y project I'm working on. You'll see more soon!

So I picked up the very particular shade of green and weighed it (because that's how you do things over at PYF with carpet yarn) and it was a reasonable 70g. That meant that I could easily add another ball of yarn into the bag, couldn't I? 

That's how I ended up with a washed-out green to go with the olive green: ideal colour mixing for spring. Also, that little heart in the picture above is an added extra that my dear Mister Darcy (as he shall now be fondly known) bought for me in a teeny tiny little shop of treats on Duncan Road, off Broadway Market. 

A rather successful Saturday, methinks.

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