Worldwide Friends: full steam ahead

I’m getting there, and a little faster than I expected/feared.

Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 6.40.39 pmI have the bottom strip hexies complete and assembled. It’s amazing how a bit of slightly panicky focus can result in a massively increased output! Give me a couple of weeks and I’ll have the front finished.

All this industry has been greatly assisted by care packages of more fabrics – I had enough in yardage terms, but the range was getting very limited and I was very reluctant to spoil the effect from lack of choice. Thanks to the contributions from Nanette and Cath (which I’ve written about in earlier posts), that’s not going to be a problem.

Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 6.41.20 pm

Spot the moon. Time for some gold paint, I think!

I’ve also decided that the crescent moon on the rabbit fabric has to be gold too. It’s a bit, well, discreet at the moment, and after my success with the lettering, it seems an obvious progression.

Before I assemble all the front sections into one giant piece, I’ll tackle that job, otherwise it’ll be a huge, cumbersome thing to manage. The haiku will make a bit more sense if the moon is shining!

rabbit dances on
the moon’s straight and shining path
along lake’s bright ripples

On a completely different subject, I’ve had some rather trying news. It appears that I’m now lactose intolerant as well as coeliac. I’m used to managing my diet, so it’s nothing new. The real disaster, of course, is that the very few mainstream brands of chocolate which were gluten free are also now out of reach… 😦  There’s only one left: Whittaker’s. Their Dark Ghana 72% and Dark Almond 62% have the ‘may contain traces…’ disclaimer, but I reckon lactose levels would be minute and I refuse to take that into consideration. I mean, seriously, how am I supposed to get through life without chocolate?

I wonder if it’s possible to make your own Nutella…. any ideas?

36 thoughts on “Worldwide Friends: full steam ahead

  1. EllaDee says:

    Gold moon= good idea 🙂 I had been wondering too about homemade nutella but for different reasons… I googled and there are a few recipes some lactose free, and refined sugar free which is what I was after, but have yet to attempt. Ardys (of The Fellowship) blogger from Alice Springs also has no wheat no lactose dietary needs and posts about it from time to time.

    • katechiconi says:

      The moon is done, and looks good!
      I think if I had to give up sugar as well as gluten and lactose, I’d just give up… I shall google home made DF/GF Nutella and see what the blogosphere turns up. I do get so tired of having to read every.single.label and pay attention to what’s in everything before I put it in my mouth…

  2. Congrats on the progress.
    Chocolate: my lovely cardiologist told me, as I was leaving hospital after my pacemaker was fitted, that I should avoid salt and saturated fat and – wait for it – chocolate. This chocoholic was horrified, but I believed him, for a while. Then I did some research and found that dark chocolate was in fact highly beneficial in my case, so I emailed him to take a running jump (or politer words to that effect). In the 20-odd years since my first heart attack we have become good friends, and always have a lot of laughter when I go fr a checkup.

    • katechiconi says:

      I’ve always thought that chocolate in moderation was OK, it’s the lack of moderation that is the problem! I shall have to learn to love the very high cacao dark chocolate, which I’ve always found rather too intense. It’s all that’s left to me now, so it’s that or no chocolate, which is unthinkable. Luckily no one is telling me to avoid saturated fat, so I can still enjoy butter, hard cheeses, Brie, Camembert (the last two in moderation), and actually, milk, so long as I use the lactose free stuff. It’s the cumulative effect of milk products added to almost everything which causes the trouble. More labels to read, hey ho…

  3. Carole says:

    I have to severely limit my chocolate intake, and just have the odd bar of good quality dark. When I’m behaving, that is. My problem is sugar as I’ve found that if I don’t keep my blood sugar stable, the migraines get much worse and I feel generally ill. As sugar is a top ingredient in more or less anything processed, this means cooking everything from scratch. I limit gluten and dairy too, but don’t avoid them completely, and feel better than I have done in many years.
    I think that all the rubbish in processed food is mostly to blame for all the food intolerances that we get these days.

    • katechiconi says:

      Sadly, I have to blame my parents for my condition, since the lactose intolerance is all tied up with coeliac disease, which isn’t an intolerance at all, it’s an autoimmune disease. I too cook mostly from scratch, simply so that I can control what goes into my food, but things we think of as simple ingredients, such as tomato purée or soy sauce, actually contain hidden baddies. I think if I had problems with sugar too, I’d simply give up eating….

  4. Nanette says:

    Interesting conversations here about sweets and chocolate. I went to a Fermenting Festival today…it was great, btw… and all the speakers had the same thing to say….we now have this desire/craving for chocolate and sweet things because there’s no, or very little, sour (fermented) in our diets. I eat a lot of fermented foods I either buy at the markets, some from a couple of the speakers today….things like tempe, fermented vegetables, kimchi, miso and sour dough bread….but some I make myself (I learnt how to make miso today, oh happy 🙂 ) But I have little interest in chocolate or sweet things, I’ll have some if it’s offered and it’s polite to, but usually not. Makes me wonder if there’s something in the theory about needing sour to balance our guts, and keep our digestion healthy?

    Your quilt is looking great and sorry about you lactose intolerance diagnoses 😦

    • katechiconi says:

      It’s a very interesting theory you have there. I find fermented foods just taste ‘gone off’ to my palate, with the exception of miso and kefir, which I quite like but which I’ll have to investigate now. I also dislike vinegary and pickled foods, which upset my stomach quite badly. My personal theory is that people have different taste perceptions like different colour perceptions, and for some sour/savoury is much nicer than sweet. The diagnosis was a bit of a blow, but as soon as I realised I could still eat butter and cheese, I was happy again! It’s just the tremendous faff of reading yet more labels…

      • Nanette says:

        I agree about the taste perceptions, but I do think we’re so used to processed, sugary food…..eating lots of it before we knew it wasn’t good for us….that our ‘taste’ rejects it. I felt the same way about fermented food, thought it all just tasted off, and especially fermented veggies, but now that I make my own and have discovered I can adapt and adjust to my own preferences, rather than rely on the home made from others’, I really enjoy it. There were two people yesterday giving samples of their fermented veggies, one I liked a lot, could’ve eaten it by the spoonful, she’s a bit ad hoc….throw lots of veggies in and spices and let it do it’s thing and lets her ferment longer and it gives such a different taste, whereas the other was just cabbage with no spices, and very sour…..she hadn’t left it to ferment very long. It really showed me it’s the technique as much as anything and the huge taste difference you can get. I’m not keen on vinegary pickled food either, which is why I like fermented, because it’s neither of them.

        I promise though, no fermented veggies when you come for morning tea 🙂

      • katechiconi says:

        I suppose I should give it another try, but it just makes me shudder… Speaking of morning tea, it looks as if we’re back to 16th again, we’re bringing the departure date forward a day to make it all work. I’ll confirm nearer the time, though. K xx

  5. tialys says:

    Gold moon – good! No chocolate – bad!
    I don’t know how you all manage with your intolerances. I find it hard enough to go food shopping and decide what to cook every week without taking any banned substances into consideration. Also, trying to read those teensy tiny ingredients labels on everything is a nightmare.
    Do you get Lindt chocolate over there? They do a 99% one. I’ve not tasted it but I generally like all their products. If you can’t get it, let me know and I’ll send you one over if chocolate allowed through Australian customs – I know they are very fussy.

    • katechiconi says:

      I cope by mainly making everything from raw ingredients, from scratch! Oh, I’m not particularly virtuous about it, and if I see something I fancy I’ll read the label, but keeping it simple does make life easier. We do get a very good range of Lindt chocolate here, and I have to tell you, I went to the confectionery aisle and I read the ingredients on of chocolate in the rather large supermarket. Every one except the two I mentioned contained milk in some form, even the very dark Lindt 99%, which I don’t much like anyway, I find it too strong and a little ‘dry’ on my palate. Thank you so very much for thinking of me, but with the weather we’re having right now, it would in any case have arrived as a squidgy, leaking, sticky package..!

  6. You can do no dairy and no gluten! I do, although I am not celiac, my gut just works better if I limit my intake. I have a dairy free nutella , will check if it is also glutenfree. Will let you know!

  7. rutigt says:

    Go girl go 🙂 There must be a chocolate without lactose or gluten somewhere in the world! I must check the ingrediens every time I buy something that I haven´t used already. I´m allergic to malt and nowadays they seam to put it in everything 😦 So we all have our cross to wear.
    Your quily is great!!!!!

  8. Lactose and gluten intolerant? Bugger! Dealing with one food sensitivity is hard enough, but TWO!?

    • katechiconi says:

      Good job I’ve got plenty of label-reading experience, and know these things have a nasty habit of hiding under another name. On the upside, butter’s still fine, as is hard cheese. Chocolate’s the real disaster…

  9. Here I am, sitting on the sofa, having just opened my last box of chocs from Christmas. I felt guilty about the chocolate consumption before but now feel sad that you can no longer enjoy it. I do hope you can find a suitable chocolate to enjoy very soon. By the way, the hexies are awesome!!

  10. Kirsten says:

    There is a recipe for homemade Nutella on my blog . . . also, get yourself some raw cacao powder. It has a much more intense chocolate flavour. And try cooking chocolate – the dark stuff often has no dairy.

    Ps – I apologise in advance for tomorrows post, but I am working on some dairy free stuff for you (and me)!!

    • katechiconi says:

      I’ve had a look at the dark cooking chocolate already, and the only kind that contains no dairy unfortunately contains gluten… 😦
      I shall go and check out the Nutella recipe, and you are forgiven in advance for whatever dairy loaded recipe is coming out tomorrow!

      • Kirsten says:

        There is a brand over here – Plamil – that is dairy free
        Don’t know if you can get them via the old inter webs??

      • katechiconi says:

        I’ve discovered (thanks to Nanette, a fellow blogger) a really delicious handmade, organic chocolate called Pana Chocolate. It’s basically just cacao solids, coconut nectar and oil, carob, flavouring ingredients and a tiny pinch of Himalayan salt crystals. Fabulous stuff; it’s rich, intense, powerful and the flavours selected work brilliantly well. I bought the Fig & Wild Orange and the Sour Cherry & Vanilla versions. You simply can’t stuff your face with it, it’s far too strong. You get a massive chocolate hit, a complex and very pleasant mouthfeel (fudgy, but smooth) and the natural flavourings are excellent. You do have to keep it in the fridge or the coconut oil will start to melt a little. It’s beautifully but rather too copiously wrapped in a lot of foil lined paper wrapper and then a cardboard box (recycled, vegetable inks) which is misleadingly at least a centimetre larger than the bar! At over $7.00 for 6 squares, it’s definitely a luxury item, but as I said before, it’s not something you can eat much of at a time…

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