Another Foodie Catch Up …

As part of my French teaching last week, I taught 55 10 year olds how to make pancakes. All of the instructions were in French and whilst the children worked, I prepared them a pancake each on my camping stove. The teaching of cookery/domestic science/food technology is not a high priority here in the UK, the consequence obviously being that we are sending young people off in to the big bad world, without the capability of feeding themselves, buy ingredients or stick to a budget. It was truly lovely to watch their faces as food was prepared in front of them, one child said ‘I’ve never had a home made pancake before, mine always come from Tescos.’ It would be great if the learning and enjoyment of cooking could be instilled in young children – it would literally set them up for life.

Rant over!
It was my youngest’s 11th birthday at the weekend, he had some friends stay for a sleepover and as they were all in the group of children for whom I had prepared pancakes, they wanted pancakes for their sleepover supper !! They also had home made pizza and of course, birthday cake. My son really enjoys listening to music so it was only right that his cake should incorporate this is some way. Here is the result:



As you can see, it was a double Victoria sponge cake, ‘adorned’ with a pair of icing headphones. He was very pleased with it.

In other foodie news, I made some sultana pinwheels for the book group that I attend:


A couple of weekends ago it was the amazing Abergavenny Food Festival. We have been going every year for the past 4 years and it has become a firm fixture in our calendar. Not only did I meet the inspirational Dee Hardwicke (more of this in a future post, once I’ve completed her pattern for wrist warmers) but we also tried a huge range of food. We’ve been avidly watching the BBC2 series ‘The Incredible Spice Men’ and we spotted Cyrus Todiwala. I now have a signed copy of their book to accompany the series and last week we tried the ‘Masala Meatballs’ All I can say is ‘WOW’, they were indeed incredible. There were so many spices going on in this dish, both in the meatballs themselves and in the sauce, the flavour combinations were simply stunning. These recipes seem to not be for the faint hearted but a dash of natural yogurt and some bread to accompany the meatballs worked perfectly:


That’s it for now, I hope to be posting some new artwork in the next few days, if it all goes to plan. I’m also going to ‘encourage’ my head teacher to include some more cooking on our curriculum!


A Gift for a New Little Person …

My first attempt at doing a ‘zen doodle’ with letters was a few posts ago when I ‘did’ LOVE. I’ve been wanting to attempt individual letters for a while and then, just over a week ago, a friend gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, William. He provided me with the perfect opportunity – I am relying on the fact that she has far too much to do at the moment with a toddler and a new baby and so she therefore won’t see this post in the next few days !!
I’ve based the W on a sunrise doodle that I’ve used many times over the past 2 years, most of them have included a paper balloon though, I don’t think this needs one but I may cut one out to see how it looks:


Keeping Things Simple …

I had a couple of trials at very simple pictures last week, using a very limited palette and no ‘flourishes’, swirls are anything else that could potentially detract or hide. I stuck to an old favourite, tulips and this is what I came up with:



I’m really pleased with these, although I did have to stop myself from adding a few details and I really do like the colour schemes. The pens that I am currently using are truly beautiful.

Tech Trouble …Family Food …

The arts and crafts market where I had a stall on saturday went really well. The start was very slow but once people came out after their lunch, the afternoon was busy and I sold lots of cards. It’s given me a renewed confidence in my artwork and I’m determined to make more of an effort to sell my wares. The tech trouble referred to in the title of this post is to do with the time lapse film that my oldest son made of my stall on saturday. I’ve not worked out yet how to add it to a post but I will find out as he did a great job.

We had nothing at all planned on sunday which meant that I could potter about in the kitchen, cooking to my heart’s content. We’d had a very busy week last week and hadn’t managed to eat together as a family very often. Therefore, our late sunday lunch was going to be a chance for us to catch up with each other.

First to be prepared was a soda bread. I’ve never made one before and found it hard to resist the urge to knead. I was amazed at how quick and simple this was to prepare and bake – it tasted good too:

Our main course was a simple pasta and tomato sauce with chicken thighs. The tomato sauce was home made and was simply incredible. I had never before appreciated the difference between the taste of a shop bought sauce and a home made one. I’m not saying that I’ll never buy tomato sauce from a shop again, however, I now know that I can make my own version with relatively little effort:

To finish we had a crumble, using apples from the garden and oranges. I had never thought of adding orange segments to the apple but I found this recipe in my ‘Trifle Bowl‘ book and decided to give it a go. The result was a real surprise, even my youngest who will happily eat the crumble topping but not the apple, polished the whole lot off with the words ‘you can make that again mum’:

Final Flourishes for Fishfest …

It’s that time of year again, time for Fishfest 2013. I’m really excited to have a stall at the Arts and Crafts Market again and today, I put the finishing touches to the layout of my stall:







I know Fishfest won’t be in the dark on saturday but I couldn’t resist taking the final picture. Hopefully we will all be really busy, it should be the best Fishfest yet !

LOVE – a – Doodle …

This may be my last new painting until preparations for Fishfest Arts and Crafts Market are complete. I’ve used a very well known method of displaying the word ‘love’ but have tried to give it my own spin:

Trying to get the letter ‘o’ to be as sharp as the other letters was really tricky and whilst I have sharpened it a little, I don’t think there is much more that I can do to it.

Using Maths in Art …

Borrowing my husband’s compass and reacquainting myself with the art of using a protractor has meant that I’ve been able to create a circular image. I tried really hard to limit the colour palette here but it was hard!

Over the next two weeks I’ll be preparing for this year’s Fishfest Arts and Crafts Market. I did really well last year – this year I’ve been able to source some more reasonably priced cards as well as some A5 prints of some of my paintings. I’ll be putting the cards together over the next few days and will post about them once I’ve got some to show off.