40 things: kimchi and knitting


One of the things I’m not that keen on is wasting time. I know it’s sometimes necessary to maintain mental health, but I’m also aware that at the same time as, say, watching episodes of Doctor Who I could be knitting, or whilst I’m listening to some music I can read, or cook (in fact, the only radio that I use is in the kitchen).

Anyway, I made some kimchi over the weekend; chopped, salted chinese leaf mixed with radishes (I didn’t want to buy a whole daikon, but it turns out matchsticking a bag of globe radishes is a time-consuming process so next time I’ll just buy the daikon) and the most incredible smelling paste: five cloves of garlic, a cubic inch of ginger all grated together with a tablespoon of ground, dried seaweed, some sugar and three tablespoons of korean red pepper powder, which is incredible stuff, totally different in flavour and texture to chilli powder or flakes which also comes with a scoville guide on the side.


At this point it seems pretty dangerous, if I’m honest. The theory is that salting the cabbage killed off most of the bacteria we don’t want, leaving some lactobacillus and other anerobes hanging about to start fermenting the veg and spicing. If I release the pressure on the jar it shouldn’t explode, so I need to remember to gently unscrew it every now & then. Apparently it’s ready to eat in five days (or less) but I’m interested to see what happens, so might decant some into a smaller jar and leave it for six months or so. It does need topping up with salt water, though. I’m aware that this bit is a bit light on detail; there might be a better, deeper explanation of fermentation at some point. The thing to note here is: this is not pickling. There’s no acid in here yet, but there will be after a few months as the bacteria in the mix all get to do their thing. And whilst nobody needs to read about aerobes and obligate anerobes and the differences between bacillus and yeasts on a Monday, microbiology is fascinating stuff and you should read about it at some point.

Sunday saw me making mittens.


Really quite pleased by this; a pair of mitts in a day. I used the Knit Camp pattern – yanno, because I’m doing knit camp – and watched the 2012 episodes of Matt Smith’s Who. Five eps later and there was a pair of mittens. Continental knitting is still a bit confusing – I can’t quite work out how the tensioning works around the fingers – but the actual making of a usable piece of clothing in four-ish hours was really pleasant. This week’s knitting is about hats, so I should have another hat by this time next week.

In other 40whilst40 news, I’ve signed up to Lindy Hop classes, starting in Feb, which as I think about it might have to be moved into the “scary stuff” category… Coming up will be “speaking in front of a paying audience” at Bettakultcha at the Brudenell on the 28th. That’ll be worth seeing, not least because I’ll only be on stage for five minutes and there are some brilliant speakers there. Come along, say hello.

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One Response to 40 things: kimchi and knitting

  1. Hello, I am absolutely with you on not wasting time. I got stopped by a woman in South Kensington this morning because she couldn’t believe that I was knitting while walking down the tunnel to work and asked if she could write about it (she’s an interpreter who likes to write about the eccentricities of London life, apparently).

    That daily commute is precious for me, being the only time of day when I am a) not at work; b) not in charge of a small child and c) not too tired to function!

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