Monday, September 22, 2014

Mara Madelintosh Shawl and Orange Muffins Recipe

Some things need to be seen in person to be appreciated and so it with me and the Mara Shawl. When this shawl first came out several years ago I saw the pictures and thought it was a nice shawl but not anything I was too excited about knitting.  But this summer when I saw it in person at the Ball and Skein, a yarn shop in Sebastopol, California, I fell in love and had to make one myself.


I'm old school in the sense that I like to add a one or two key wardrobe pieces each season to update my look and yet classic enough to be enjoyed in years to come.  This fall I chose the Mara Shawl and Frye riding boots (I'm wearing the boots in the picture above).  I actually just realized that had Simcha posed in the picture above as well we would have looked likeLittle Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf. No matter, I'm still thrilled with the outfit.


I knit this shawl larger than the original design consistent with the sample I saw in the yarn shop.  I think the additional length makes it a more practical and wearable garment and transforms the look of the shawl into a cape changing the design in a way that I really like.  While I have knit a lot of the smaller lightweight shawls that are fun to make and wear I think you also need a few of these larger shawls for warmth on cold blustery days too.


Particulars: Mara by Amy Hendrix (free pattern); US 7 needles; 4 skeins Madelinetosh Tosh DK (multi-strand), colorway Steam Age; I finished with 40 gm left, i.e. I used 60% of my 4th skein); finished blocked dimensions: 58" x 27" (4" ruffle total).  I used 31" circular needles and was hard pressed to get all the stitches on after starting the ruffle (which doubles the stitch count).  N.B.  The pattern only calls for 3 skeins so if you want a larger shawl you need to purchase one extra skein.

N.B. If you need more convincing that this shawl is for you, just head over to Renee Knit's Too and look at her gorgeous Mara shawl!


Orange Muffins Recipe


Keeping with a Little Red Riding Hood theme what better way to welcome visitors this fall than with a basket of delicious homemade muffins!  These muffins are wonderful, reliable, and delicious.  I found the recipe many years ago in an old Harrod's cooking book that my mother had laying about.

They really are exceptionally nice homemade muffins and they remind me of the time I visited my sister when she was in college living in San Diego, California.  San Diego is a great restaurant town and in the area where she lived there were a lot of fun restaurants that catered to the students.  I remember we went out to breakfast at a place where along with your breakfast they served a basket of delicious warm muffins and it seemed such an over the top treat.  I thought it was the height of indulgence to begin the day with a wonderful breakfast complete with coffee and muffins with the rest of the day and our lives lazily awaiting us.  We left there to spend the day at Sea World.  It's a particularly happy memory.

Orange Muffin Ingredients:

1 cup butter - room temperature
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup golden (light colored raisins)
grated rind of 2 oranges
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups sifted all purpose flour

Orange Topping Ingredients:
Juice of 2 oranges
1 cup light brown sugar
* I typically use only half this amount (i.e. 1 orange and 1/2 cup brown sugar) it's a matter of personal preference.

Steps:
1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees;
2.  Prepare muffin tins - this batter makes enough for 12 cupcake sized muffins
3.  Cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs 1 at a time beating well after each addition.
4.  Dissolve the soda in the buttermilk.
5.  Alternately add the flour and buttermilk mixture in at least 3 portions mixing well after each addition.  Begin and end with the flour. Mix well but don't beat the batter while incorporating the flour and buttermilk.
6.  Stir in the orange rind and the raisins.
7.  Fill muffin tins 2/3 full and bake 25 minutes or until cooked through.
8.  While muffins are baking combine the orange topping ingredients.  Stir until sugar dissolves.
9.  Remove muffins from the oven and immediately poke holes in the muffin tops and pour orange topping over slowing to allow maximum absorption.   Turn muffins out onto a wire rack. Serve warm.

Enjoy with a friend!


Until next time be well and love well.  And whomsoever should arrive thorough the woods at your doorstep this holiday season be sure to offer them warm homemade muffins.  They'll be happy you did.