Cooking

Making grape juice

Oh autumn is already here! The weather is a bit cooler, the leaves are starting to turn brown and some of the typical autumn fruits got mature. Last week was the time of grapes!

My parents-in law have a beautiful vine tree spanning over a small type of pergola. In winter it is nothing impressive, but in spring it comes in life, becoming totally green with leaves. And at this period there are nice dark grapes hanging down!

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Isn’t it beautiful?

Last weekend we were visiting our parents, so they asked for our help to make grape juice. They had bought a nice looking manual fruit press for this purpose and last Sunday was booked for the family activity. Even the weather was good!

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The nice looking manual fruit press assembled

We started with collecting the grapes, throwing the parts that didn’t look good and taking the edible grapes away from the stem. We didn’t want to put them with the green parts in the press. In the meanwhile, the press was screwed on a piece of wood in order to increase its stability and was assembled.

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The fruit ready to go in the press

Once the press was full, the juice production started! Admittedly, it needed quite some pressure to extract the juice from the grapes!

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A family activity!

With every batch we were pressing, we optimised the process. So we concluded that it was easier to fully extract the juice if the press was half full and not filled to the top. In addition, we noticed that if the net was as in the pictures, the grapes were escaping from the top, so we folded the net-bag and then added the wooden parts on the top.

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The juice is being collected

We did try the juice ever since the first extract. It tastes nice and it smells amazingly! Just fresh juice without any additives or sugar! Nature in its best!

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The result of our work!

So this week we are drinking a lot of grape juice!

Crochet

Crocheted baskets

As you might know from previous posts, we moved to a new apartment in the beginning of July. The past couple of months have been full of arranging the new house. How much time settling takes! One of the problems that came up was that I was in need of boxes and baskets to organise the small things. In most cases I used plastic or carton boxes, but there were some cases, that too much customising was needed, such as the bathroom mirror. Why do they make them so shallow and long!

Since I am quite comfortable with crocheting, I decided to solve a couple of tricky situations through my hobby.

When I started crocheting, I tried making a basket, so as to exercise. For my first basket, I followed the Chunky crocheted basket pattern, which is a free one. The pattern suggests to use a super bulky yarn, so I chose Katia Ushuaia -100 g / ca. 85 m, that fits the suggestion. It is a dégradé dyed yarn in several combinations of colours that consists of 53% Polyester and 47% Polyacrylic. The link above refers to colour 623, but I really used colour 603, a combination of green, turquoise, purple and pink. The size of the hook needed is 8.00 mm.

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My first basket

It was a quite easy project and a good exercise for my level of crochet, thanks to the size of the hook and the yarn. It turned out quite nice, no? I used it and I am still using it to store yarns and things. Nevertheless, it has some drawbacks, with the most important being that it is not sturdy. It is not a problem since I use it for yarns, as it adjusts to the shape of the contents, but for our toiletries I wanted something more robust.

I did a bit of searching in the internet for basket patterns and I came up with an interesting one: Crochet Rope Basket. The idea behind it is to crochet around a rope or string, so as to add stiffness and stability. It was exactly what I was looking for! The pattern is quite easy and nothing very special. The important about it is the foundation chain, which needs to be equal to the difference of the depth and the length you want your basket to be plus 2 chains, as the pattern says. In my case, I wanted a basket 15 cm long and 10.5 cm deep, so my foundation chain was 4.5 cm plus 2 chains long.

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My nicest basket!

For this box I used my favorite Stylecraft Special DK – Matador (1010), a bit of Stylecraft Special DK – Black (1002) and a small piece of Stylecraft Special DK – Turquoise (1068). The pattern I made myself, so as to give it a bit of a character! The yarns are crocheted around a common everyday rope we had at home. I used a 5.00 mm hook, but the size you need depends on the thickness of the rope you are using. It should be big enough so as to be able to create easily the stitches around the rope, but still be tight enough. My yarn was thick enough so as to make the rope I used almost invisible. I like the result quite a lot!

I even made another basket! For the third one I used scraps of the Katia Ushuaia yarn I used for the very first basket I made. This is a nice advantage of these projects: they are all done with scraps of yarns used for other projects. This yarn was also big enough, so as to cover the rope. You can’t really see it right? But you can notice how much nicer it stands compared to the first basket I made in 2016!

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And my third basket!
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The rope or better string that hides inside the second and third basket