Tag Archives: cooking

Barbie Poop And Twin Peaks

13 Aug

Unicorn 1

 

So, my young niece sent me a link to YouTube a few months ago and asked if I could make her a rainbow unicorn cake like the one on YouTube for her 18th birthday. It looked easy enough. So her birthday’s here and I’ve been cooking for a couple of days to get her cake ready and all went well until it came to putting on the icing and making it look like a unicorn. Then it sort of went pear-shaped. The pound and a half of buttercream icing on the outside looked too bland so I threw handfuls of different coloured shimmer sugar crystals at it so the unicorn became a sparkly piebald, which I don’t think unicorns are supposed to be.

Then the icing kit I’d bought to decorate the top of the cake with lovely pink and white stripey rosettes didn’t quite work out for me and it ended up covered with little piles of what looked like Barbie poop. You know, like the ‘poop’ emoji but pink and white instead of brown. poop emoji

So I  smoothed it down with a knife but then I had to find some real flowers to decorate the head around the horn that I’d bought specially. Luckily, a friend had brought me flowers when she visited a couple of days ago and I used a few of those. Finally I had to cut some attractive eyelashes from black paper but mine went all sort of sinister and I ended up with a mutant unicorn cake that Husb reckons looks “like something from Twin Peaks“. I think that’s meant to be a compliment?

Luckily, when it was cut open it looked a lot better and tasted nice too.

Unicorn 2

 

 

A lot of my artwork is available on my Artfinder gallery.  If you’d like to have a look, please click on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

Quickies In The Sun

5 Aug

3 quickies in the sun

A dry and sunny day in August is as rare as hen’s teeth in these here parts so despite smothering with a cold and sore throat, Husb and I put on our jackets and drove down to Southgate on the Gower Peninsula for a couple of hours. I sat in the sunshine on the clifftop and did some quick and tiny watercolour studies, en plein air, using Winsor & Newton half pans onto a rough Saunders Waterford watercolour paper (300 gsm) from St. Cuthbert’s Mill which comes as a glued block. I haven’t used glued paper before and it’s brilliant, no need to stretch the paper before use. I tried to ignore the detail of what I saw before me and concentrate on getting down the colours while Husb picked blackberries. He’s in the kitchen now, getting this year’s Bramble Jelly started. mmmmmmmm 😀

 

But Is It Art?

10 Apr

But is it art? No, it’s  rhubarb crumble.

rhubarb crumble

I just made it. I picked the rhubarb yesterday in the garden. Husb says it’s a thing of beauty. Then he ate it. With lashings of custard. Then he had seconds. Didn’t last long.

 

 

I have put my series of drawings en plein air of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to see more, please click on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page. This one is the legendary grave of Saint Elfys (Elvis) in Pembrokeshire, not for from the Presceli Mountains. Elfys? Presceli? Elvis Presley? Coincidence? hhhmmmm

St Elvis

One Of Those Days

2 Apr

sheep

Husb and I drove down to Pembrokeshire today to pick up some relatives from the Irish ferry. We went down an hour earlier planning on finding some ancient monuments and do some drawing. Unfortunately the weather had a different idea and threw torrential rain and gales at us. We found a dolmen called Devil’s Quoit near a village called Angle but it was way across an incredibly muddy field that was full of cows in calving season, when they can be violent. It was the worst conditions I have tried to draw in and it just wasn’t possible so we went for a drive around the village and saw these sheep sheltering at the foot of this strange round tower.

pudding

When we got back we settled in for some mindless TV and I made a golden syrup steamed sponge pudding for tea, with lashings of custard. No drawing done though.

Welsh Cakes And Cockle Hats

1 Mar

27 tinkers cakes

Today is Saint David’s Day, Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Sant, in Wales and small girls are dressed in a traditional Welsh costume with a daffodil corsage, small boys are put into Welsh rugby shirts with a leek corsage and copious Welsh Cakes are eaten. For aeons these have been baked on a griddle or bakestone, maen in Welsh. Pice ar y maen translates as cakes on the stone and this method of cooking is shared by all the Celtic nations. There is another version, substituting grated apple for dried fruit and cinammon for mixed spice and these are called Tinker’s Cakes (Teisennau Tincar). I made some a while back and drew them.

little me

Here’s three-year old me, in my Welsh costume, traditional Welsh flannel which was very itchy as I remember. There are two types of hat – the more common stovepipe hat that I’m wearing and the smaller black straw bonnet that we called the Cockle hat, after the cockle women who used to sell seafood from large baskets on street corners, like in this famous portrait by Evan Walters.

Walters, Evan; The Cockle Woman; Carmarthenshire Museums Service Collection; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/the-cockle-woman-177587

Walters, Evan; The Cockle Woman; Carmarthenshire Museums Service Collection

I can just remember one of the cockle women selling on the corner outside the Lower Lamb pub on Swansea’s High Street on a Saturday morning. My dad would pop over to buy some cockles and laverbread (a Welsh seaweed delicacy) and cook us a Welsh breakfast with bacon and eggs, the cockles fried till they popped in the hot bacon fat and the laverbread turned into the cockly bacony grease to warm through.

That Goldilocks Moment

20 Jan
Pip 1

Taking a rubbing from a woodcut with graphite block. Gives a metallic sheen.

I’ve been experimenting today. I was given some large pieces of robust tissue paper by a fellow artist and invited to do something with them and then give them back to her for her installation. I decided to cover them with rubbings made from a very large woodcut I have been working on. It isn’t finished yet so I don’t have any prints but the rubbings picked up the developed parts nicely.

Pip compare

I tried out a few different drawing materials to start with. First, carbon, compressed charcoal and Bideford Black (looked good but too smudgy). Secondly, Chinese charcoal (too hard, ripped the paper). And finally, Graphite block (perfect, didn’t rip, didn’t smudge, nice metallic sheen). Bit like Goldilocks and the porage.

There are differing opinions on how to spell porage, which is the spelling I always use but many use porridge and, rarely, parritch. I love the stuff, made nice and thin (Husb contemptuously calls it gruel – he likes it thick enough to stand your spoon in) and I put a knob of butter in mine, I’m not fond of sugar. When I was in Pakistan I had porage made from cracked wheat rather than oats, nice but very different.

The Cook In

31 Jan

cats

Such a busy day, I only had time for a few quick kitty scribbles this evening as Sparta Puss dozed at my feet. After shopping this morning at the excellent Uplands Market, Husb and I did a massive cook-in, making split pea and ham soup, tomato and vegetable soup, spelt and seeded bread, Seville orange and brandy marmalade and Cawl (a traditional Welsh lamb and vegetable stew). We made huge quantities to stock up the freezer and the preserves shelf in the pantry. And now I’m off to bed. Goodnight 😀

Whinberries On The Beacons

6 Jul

20140706_174327(1)

We spent a couple of hours foraging for whinberries on the Brecon Beacons earlier today. Whinberries are a type of blueberry or bilberry and the picking season is very short. I haven’t been out picking them for years and I can’t remember how I cooked them before.

20140706_174405(1)

Traditionally, they’re baked in a pie. I’ll sleep on it and make something nice for tea tomorrow. I stopped picking for a few minutes to scribble Husb in my tiny spotty sketchbook with a Faber Castell Pitt drawing pen size S.

Drawing In The Dark……

26 Oct

26 dark……. and some cupcakes! I’m a bit out of practice with my sketchbook work, I’ve not really felt like doing any drawing while I had that awful stomach bug earlier in the week and yesterday I spent catching up on getting ready for exhibitions and admin and stuff like that. Today Husb and I spent with friends and family, visiting and celebrating a little friend’s 10th birthday, which meant a visit to The Vojon, our favourite curry house! And also a cupcake-making session this afternoon, turning out these pink cakes with lilac icing, her favourite colours.  So I settled down to do a quick bit of scribbling about 20 minutes ago, in the dark because everyone’s watching the X Factor. But drawing in darkness is good discipline. There’s just enough light from the flickering screen to make out some of the things in the room – Sparta the cat, my feet, the fireplace, some furniture, but barely any light to see the sketchbook. And that’s a good thing. It forces you to feel your hand and arm and the pen as an extension. You have to concentrate on the movement of the line, rather than the sight of the line on the paper. Does that make sense?

 

26 cakes

More Kitteh Scribbles And Food Porn

30 Jun

30 kitteh

Got almost to the end of the day without doing ANY art. So I grabbed the piece of kitty scribbling I started the other night and carried on with it. Sparta was mooching around on MY chair so I did a few scribbles of her and then just played with my old-fashioned dip pen and Indian ink, enjoying the scratchiness of the flexible nib across the heavily textured Bockingford paper. It’s so unpredicatable, unlike the Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens I normally use which are smooth and consistent.

30 shortbread

And here’s the food porn – freshly baked elderflower shortbread made with our home-made elderflower cordial. I used 4 ounces of plain flour, 2 ounces of white Spelt flour, 4 ounces of softened butter, 2 ounces of castor sugar and three teaspoons of elderflower cordial, all squished together and rolled into 16 little balls and squidged onto a baking tray and baked at Gas mark 3 for about 12 minutes.

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