Monday, April 30, 2012

Jason de Caires Taylor

Jason de Caires Taylor

Jason de Caires Taylor was born in 1974 and divided the earlier part of his life in Europe, Asia and the Caribbean. Much of his childhood was spent on the coral reefs of Malaysia where he developed a profound love of the sea and a fascination with the natural world. This would later lead him to spend several years working as a scuba diving instructor in various parts of the globe, developing a strong interest in conservation, underwater naturalism and photography.
In 1998, Taylor received a BA Honours in Sculpture and Ceramics from Camberwell College of Arts, but his scuba diving qualification would prove equally important to his art career”in May 2006 he created the world”s first underwater sculpture park in Grenada, West Indies, furnished with underwater sculptures of his design. These sculptures create a unique, absorbing and expansive visual seascape, highlighting natural ecological processes while offering the viewer privileged temporal encounters

Artist A Day

Artist A Day is a site dedicated to bringing exposure to artists by featuring one artist each day. The site facilitates a healthy dialog between artists and people who love art using comments, ratings and social networks. The stated mission of Artist A Day is to raise awareness of fine art globally, through establishing personal connections between professional Artists and people who love Art. The site has been around for five years and now has an archive of nearly 1900 artists which can be searched by genre, location or name.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Chicken Pot Pie

This recipe is delicious! But make sure you add the mustard and lemon, it is essential! I don't care if you don't like mustard, personally I cant stand it, put without it this recipe just wont cut it!
There is a bit of work in this one, and I usually make it over two days. Basically cooking the vegetables and the sauce and then making the actual pie the next day. This one was made in a day as it was Sunday!
This recipe serves two hungry or four not so hungry people. I would recommend adding an extra carrot and a leek and doubling the sauce.

What you will need;

250g (9oz) puff pastry
(you can make your own, if you are brave, but I would by the ready made stuff, Jus-Roll is really good!)
2-3 small carrots
1-2 leeks
250ml (9fl oz) chicken stock
20g (3/4 oz) butter
20g (3/4 oz) flour
leaves from 2 sprigs tarragon
(I have yet to use tarragon, as I cant get a hold of it, and It hasn't started to grow in the garden yet)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
A good squeeze of lemon
250g (9oz) cooked chicken, cut into chunks
1 small egg lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C/400 degrees F/ gas mark 6

For the Filling:

1. Cut the carrots into chunks on the diagonal.
Remove the coarser leaves from the leeks and trim off the base and the dark green bit at the top, Cut into rings about 2cm thick Wash thoroughly in running water and drain.

2. Put both vegetables in a saucepan and add the stock.

3. Bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer until tender.

4. Drain off the stock into a measuring jug. (you should have about 25-50ml left, add enough milk to bring up to 250ml (9fl oz).
More than likely you will have a lot more stock than you need. I recommend doubling the sauce so save whats left so you can make extra.

5. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and add the flour.
I used a bit more flour than recommended. If you have made white sauce before than you will have more of an idea its all down to instinct. Don't let it burn but cook its enough that its stuck together and golden.

6. Stir around over a medium heat then take off the heat and start to stir in the milk mixture, adding a little at a time and stirring constantly to create a smooth sauce.

7. Put the pan back on the heat and bring to the boil, stirring all the time.

8. Turn down to a simmer and add the tarragon, mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

9. Add the chicken and the cooked vegetables and carefully combine.

10. Check for seasoning, you may want to add a little bit more mustard.

11. Heat everything through then leave it to cool a little.

The pastry;

In this recipe they assume you are making your own pastry, but like I said before I would recommend buying the jus-roll pastry. It makes life alot easier! Also I made one large pie, they made several small ones. Anyway I will include what they said for the pastry then I will do my own.

Pastry recipe;

1. Prepare the pastry lids first so they can chill.

2. Roll out the pastry thinly on a lightly floured surface and cut out rounds 2.5cm (1in) larger than the dishes you are going to use.

3. Flour these lightly and put them on a baking sheet.

4. Roll out the trimmings to make strips about 1cm (1/2in) wide to fit round the top of each dish.

5. Make leaves out of the rest of the trimmings.

6. Put all these on a baking sheet and place in the coldest bit of the fridge (or briefly in the freezer).

My Jus-Roll Pastry;

Basically you want to follow the same measurements as above.

1. Roll out you pastry on a lightly floured surface.

2. Cut out the shape of you lit, make sure its larger than your dish. You can always trim it down.

3. Roll out thin strips of pastry and attach them to the lip of the dish by brushing water on the back of them.

4. Brush the surface of the strips with water and place your rolled our pastry on top. Trimming it down to size while leaving enough around the edge to allow shrinkage.
5. Decorate it as you like with the extra pastry. If I were you, any extra pastry left over, roll them in to balls or squares and bake them with the pie.Yum! Pastry biscuits/balls!

6. Bake in the oven at 200c/400f/gas mark 6 for 20 minutes until piping hot, puffed up and golden. Serve immediately! Really good with sweet chili sauce. But then everything tastes great with sweet chili!

The finished product! Yum!!!
This is one of my favorite recipes so far, I would highly recommend it!

Sandrine Boulet

Some really neat street art from Sandrine Boulet...

She likes to create a sensitive work that is fun, positive and totally disinhibited,
She imagines spontaneous images than can make people feel good, putting a smile on their face : this is what really motivates and amuses her.




I have to say I became some what frustrated when I stumbled upon this artists web-site, but wasn't really surprised. The day before I had a similar idea to the picture displayed above entitled 'Eve.' And was quit excited about it until I saw that image. It goes to show artists are a dime a dozen. There are so many of us that originality is dying and its a race to get your work into the public eye first as there are ten other people with the same idea. Picasso, Van Gogh, Mark Rothko, Tracey Emin, est. they had the best of it....

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Betsy Walton

Betsy Walton

Artists Bio....

As a painter, I work with galleries and collectors, and on personal projects. Many of my paintings and drawings explore the tension and balance between the mysterious nature of our existence and the objects and environments we find in everyday life. We can experience the sublime in the same room where we fold the laundry, and perhaps at the same time.

My style is informed by a range of influences including Byzantine icon paintings, American folk art, geometric abstraction, and the work of many contemporary illustrators and painters.

I work with a spontaneous approach and few expectations of specific results. I rarely sketch preliminary drawings before diving into a painting, in the belief that the image formed through the painting process itself will be rich, revealing, and vital.

'Dark Peak'
Acrylic gauche on panel

Acrylic Gauche on Panel

Acrylic gouache on panel

Andre Petterson

This artist caught my eye..
Mixed Media on wood Panel
Andre Petterson

Petterson attempts to capture the essence of a split-second in time. His current photography-based work explores various themes of lighting to create elements of mystery. Rembrandt and the Dutch masters’ use of light have strongly influenced Petterson; important elements are highlighted and the mind must fill in the rest. Fabric and movement are also subjects of fascination for the artist. He believes that the integration of movement and fabric are similar to brushstrokes. The chance and artistic freedom involved in motions of dance and similar movements are also reflected in his mixed media work.

Recently, Petterson’s focus has been on painting, photo- based works, steel sculpture, and photography. Music has always been a very important facet of the artist’s life, whether it be playing, composing, or simply appreciating music. He has explored performance art, film and kinetic work involving his own music compositions, set design and choreography.

Petterson has exhibited in both private and public galleries in Canada and the United States. He is the recipient of The National Film Board of Canada Award, and has work featured in numerous private and public collections including Canada Council Art Bank, Canadian Airlines, Vancouver General Hospital, and Laxton & Company.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Travis Louie

Travis Louie's paintings come from the tiny little drawings and many writings in his journals. He’s created his own imaginary world that is grounded in Victorian and Edwardian times. It is inhabited by human oddities, mythical beings, and otherworldly characters who appear to have had their formal portraits taken to mark their existence and place in society. The underlining thread that connects all these characters is the unusual circumstances that shape who they were and how they lived. Some of their origins are a complete mystery while others are hinted at. A man is cursed by a goat, a strange furry being is discovered sleeping in a hedge, an engine driver can’t seem to stop vibrating in his sleep, a man overcomes his phobia of spiders, etc, . . .Using inventive techniques of painting with acrylic washes and simple textures on smooth boards, he’s created portraits from an alternate universe that seemingly may or may not have existed.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Open Pie with Roasted Peppers and Aubergines (Coca de Recapte)

Another Recipe that's requires a bit of time. The dough needs to rise for two hours and the veg needs to cook for at least 45 minutes.
I started just after 3pm and didn't get the final product in the oven until after 7pm. I wasn't cooking the whole time, but the preparation took a bit of time also. After I had finished making the dough, I put the vegetables in the oven, unless you prepare this the day before, I wouldn't recommend waiting til the dough has risen to continue with the next steps, but I suppose it depends on how much time you have on your hands!
I'm not sure how successful this recipe turned out, for me it tasted very good, but looked nothing like the original recipe picture. I did however do a bit of research, and found that mine looks like everybody Else's on the world wide web, besides the fact that mine failed to rise around the edges, and brown. This may be because the bread recipe I used was gluten free, or perhaps I failed to mix it properly, since most of the mixing and kneading was done by the good old Kenwood mixer, rather than by hand.....
You could really taste the oil, in the bread, without it being to overwhelming. But once you got stuck in it was most enjoyable!

This recipe serves 8 as a starter.

What you need for the pastry dough:

400g strong white bread flour
2 tbsp olive oil, plus a little extra
2tsp dried active yeast (or 7g 'easy bake' yeast)
1/4 tsp sugar
tsp salt

Pasty Dough Recipe;

1. Put the flour in a large bowl, sprinkle over a teaspoon of salt and add the oil.

2. Put the dried yeast in a glass with the sugar, add about 100ml warm water and stir well.

3.When it begins to froth, pour it into the flour, pour it into the flour, then gradually pour in a further 100ml or so of warm water, stirring it in first with a fork, then with your hand.
         'When I did this it did not froth, it just bubbled rather unhappily in the center. Maybe my water wasn't hot enough? After a while of waiting, I just made do with my sad bubbles and added it to the mixture..' 'I didn't uses my hand, I cheated and used the Kenwood..'
4. Add just enough water to have a soft ball of dough that sticks together.

5. Knead for ten minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic, adding water by the tablespoon if too dry and a little flour if to sticky.
          'I found I had to add A LOT of flour, I couldn't touch the dough without it sticking to my fingers.'

6. Pour about half a tablespoon of oil into the bowl and turn the dough over in the oil to coat it well so that a dry crust does not form when it rises.

7. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave the dough to rise in a warm place for one to two hours until doubled in volume.

For the topping;

2 aubergines (about 500g)
I used 3 aubergines, as 3 came in the packet and I didn't want to waste it..
3 red peppers
Or yellow, or green....
5 tbsp olive oil
2 large onions, peeled and chopped
5 tbsp olive oil
2 tomatoes (about 200g), peeled and chopped
1 tsp sugar

Topping Recipe;

1. Put the aubergines and peppers on a sheet of foil on a baking tray.


2. Prick the aubergines in a few places with a pointed knife and put the tray in an oven preheated to 180C/gas mark 4, for 45 minutes or longer.

3. Take the peppers out when they are soft and blistered, put them in one or two plastic bags and seal.
        'I wasn't sure why they asked you to put it into a plastic bag at first, but I think its because it causes the skin to loosen making them easier to peel.'

4. Leave for about 10 minutes, then peel them, remove the seeds and cut them into small squares of about 1.5cm.

The peppers were very easy to peel. It was a lot like cutting liver...

5. Take the aubergines out of the oven when they feel soft.

6. Peel the aubergines, put them in a colander and press slightly to let the juices drain away.
  'Give them a really good squeeze as the juices are very bitter.'

7. Then cut them into small sized pieces.

8. Mix the aubergines and the peppers together, dress with salt and and two tablespoon's of the oil.

For the sauce;

1. Fry the onions in the remaining three tablespoons of oil in a frying-pan over a low heat, until soft, cover to begin with and stirring often.

2. Add the tomatoes, sugar and some salt and cook over a medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated.
   'My onion's and tomatoes weren't very 'saucy,' they were still quit solid. At this point I was rushing a bit so I just left them as they were..

When all of the above is done and the dough has risen....

1. Punch the risen dough down, knead for a couple of minutes, and divide into two balls.

2. Roll them out thinly on a floured surface into oblongs or ovals of 28x38cm.

3. Brush two large baking sheet with oil.

4. Lift up each sheet of dough by wrapping it on the rolling pin and unwrapping it on the baking sheet.

5. Spread the onion and tomato sauce evenly over the dough, then dot with the peppers and aubergines.
My chunky sauce..
Not really dotted, more swamped with peppers and aubergines..

6. Bake both cocas in the preheated oven at 180C/gas mark 4 for about 30 minutes or until the crust around the edges is crisp and brown.

This is the final product, I cut them up into easier slices. As you can see they haven't really browned, but still good!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Baked Eggs

This is a very easy recipe, It will serve as many people as you like, but it is great for one.

What you will need;
1 egg
tomatoes, ham, mushrooms, est.
salt and pepper
A ramkin or small dish

You will need small dishes, or ramkins. When I made this recipe I put to many ingredients in, so there was little room for the egg, so I had to shift the contents around so the egg white had somewhere to go. Some of the yokes ended up breaking but it still tastes the same..

Recipe Picture

This method is a bit like coddling, (that's if you have ever coddled an egg, I haven't so I wouldn't know to compare..) but you don't use any water.

Tomato, ham and a bit of cheese with Basil
Butter a ramekin, and scatter in some chopped ham, chorizo, chopped tomato, mushrooms or whatever else you fancy. I used some ham, a bit of cheese and chopped tomatoes, I also added bit of Basil for taste but you can season it however you like.
If you're using raw chopped bacon, cook it first.

 Crack in an egg, season and sprinkle over a tiny grating of cheese.

The egg is placed on top of your ingredients, as you can see I didn't leave a lot of room for the egg. I added some salt and pepper, and a bit of cheese.

Ramkins on the baking tray before the egg was added..
Place the ramekin on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 12-15 minutes at 180°C/ Gas Mark 4 or until cooked to your liking.
Baked eggs
I know it doesn't look very attractive compared to the original recipe photo above, but as you now I added way to much filling, so some of the eggs did leak, also my baking tray is uneven, which didn't help the leakage. I don't like runny eggs, so these were left in a lot longer than 15 minutes. Also I did use tomatoes and the juice from the tomatoes makes the egg seem uncooked, just to warn you!
Either way it is rather yummy.
Its not how it looks its how it tastes that's important!