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Archive for May, 2010

We eat a lot of Garlic – a painting a day

May 23, 2010 Leave a comment

SOLD.   size 4 in x 5in 10cm x 12.5cm 

There was no blog yesterday for which I apologise to the person who reads it every day. 

Yesterday, I made an afternoon meze which we ate with the neighbours in the garden. I really got into it and made two things that I had never done before. 

There were two bottles of Sauvignon Blanc which disappeared somewhere in the process. The weather was just perfect sauvignon blanc weather warm but still fresh and lime green. The lime green comes from the oak trees whose leaves are almost but not quite fully formed. 

I made a beetroot with garlic and olive oil dressing, a talatouri or tzattziki, clefthedes, halloumi griddled, a village salad, olives with coriander and kalamata olives. 

Celeriac and carrot with salt and lemon. Toasted pumpkin seeds that I have not made with unshelled seeds from a pumpkin before( they went off like popcorn),and something really different kolopitta the pumpkin pasties that I used to buy from the snack shop across the road from the office where I worked in Nicosia. 

For these you need a firm sweet and quite dry orange pumpkin or squash….in the Eastern Mediterranean they use a variety that looks like a giant extended butternut, it keeps all winter. 

The recipe is a fusion between what I remember and a book recipe which is for ridiculous quantities. 

Halve or quarter the recipe: 

1kg diced pumpkin flesh (dice about 1cm) 

1cup of Chilean flame raisins or something similar, you are looking for dark aromatic raisins as big as possible, lexia raisins would be too sweet.. 

4tablespoons coarse bulgur wheat 

3tablespoons sugar 

1teaspoon cinnamon 

1teaspoon dried mint 

1teaspoon dried oregano 

2 tablespoons vegetable oil. 

Prepare this mixture 24 hours in advance, mix and allow to stand covered. 

Make a shortcrust pastry or buy it ready made. 

The book recipe calls for a pastry made with 6cups of hard flour (i.e. bread flour), 6 tablespoons of corn oil, half a teaspoon of salt and one and a half cups of cold water. 

You then make Cornish pasty shapes with the mixture and the pastry and bake for 20-25 minutes in a hot oven. 

I was really pleased with the result but regret having made them too small I think they work better done Cornish pasty size as a substantial snack or vegetarian lunch, vegan even. 

The other whizz thing I cooked two nights back was a chicken risotto with some ham and celery but at the last minute I added a big handful of chive buds. They are great to harvest as I used my fingers as a comb and pulled them out of the clump that way….cooked they looked a bit like stewed tadpoles but had a wonderful delicate flavour, as no doubt would stewed tadpoles. 

Oh yes and huge celebration, I finally have an apricot Bearded Iris. More than five years ago I was invited by a guide to pick up the left over scraps of a national Iris collection that had to be rescued from the rampant rabbits in Withdean Park Brighton, I took away two carrier bags full and have been trying to coax them into life first in a garden that was too shady and now here in the heavy clay…its been uphill. 

Alison 

#57 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog

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Black Coombe – a painting a day

May 21, 2010 Leave a comment

http://www.etsy.com/shop/lemonaday.   size 7 inx4.5in17 cmx12cm, pen and watercolour 

And now for something completely different: this is a picture of Black Coombe in the Southern Lake district the bit the tourist board decided  to rechristen the Lake District Peninsulas. My sister lives in the area lucky thing and this is the view from Sandside which is one of the hamlets that form Kirkby in Furness. It’s a village on the Viking model apparently…hamlets separated by farmland in small fields.

I did this from an old sketch of mine, slightly bigger than a postcard. Black Coombe is not all that high Just under 2000 feet or 600m, but it stands or rather broods alone and can be seen from miles away. The furthest I have seen it from is the top of Blackpool Tower on a day when you could see the Isle of Man.

Just got called away and accused of hoarding illicit substances, he is tidying up in that, I will only do this once (per decade,) sort of way.

 “Whats this?”

“Its spadja”

 “Whats that?”,

”its a herb”,

 “Is it dope?”

 “No! Its spadja”,

 “Talk English”,

 “Its wild mountain sage for winter colds”

” Where did you get it ?”

 “On a mountain in Greece…or Turkey”

 “Shall I throw it away?”

 “NO”

“Well it looks like there’s acorns in there too”

“Just put it back in the cupboard could you?”

I think the acorns mean it came from Turkey, I don’t use it often but it is really good with honey for a bad cold, I just haven’t had many bad colds lately so the spadja is lasting a long time. Its name isn’t the proper Greek for it either it’s what they call it in the Cypriot dialect.

Alison

 #56 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog

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The first rose bud begins to open – a painting a day

May 20, 2010 Leave a comment

http://www.etsy.com/shop/lemonaday.  size 6″x6″, 15cm x15cm, watercolour on heavyweight rag paper

There is something sweet and wild about this rose bud. It is as if it has unruly but beautiful hair. We bought these rosebushes very cheaply about two or three pounds each from a hedging supplier. Although they do not repeat flower in the late summer they are great value as you get thorns to repel school children who want to sit on the wall and smoke, you get scented flowers, rose hips in scarlet and a beautiful yellow autumn colour on the leaves.

I am very short of time again today.

 Alison

 #55 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog

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The darling buds of May – a painting a day

May 19, 2010 Leave a comment

http://www.etsy.com/shop/lemonaday. size 4.5″x6″, 12cm x15cm, watercolour on heavyweight rag paper

It’s a quote of a quote, the title of the book by H.E. Bates quotes Shakespeare :

 Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May | And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.

Must have been a spring like this one where you fear for the delicate buds of all the good things to come.

The hawthorn is also called May or Mayblossom or Mayflower. It is supposed to be bad luck to bring a branch inside but I am going to call this a sprig or a slip and see if it doesn’t bring me good luck instead.

Incidentally my spell check is querying Shakespeare’s use of English!!

There’s a bit much detail in this I may need to come back to it. I have altered two previous blog painting because I just can’t stop myself from doing it.

Alison

#54 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog

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The first rose bud – a painting a day

May 18, 2010 Leave a comment

 

http://www.etsy.com/shop/lemonaday.   size 6 inx6in15 cmx15cm watercolour on heavyweight rag paper

This was a mixed up day it felt warmer which was good, it looked like sun then it looked like rain and then it kind of did neither.

I am still chasing appointments which is very annoying.

I picked the best looking bunch of asparagus so far which was good and only two days after the last lot.

Looking round the garden it is about to hit the early summer stage and pass out of the late spring stage. The first flags or rather Bearded Iris have opened, I won’t paint them as they have a bright white splash on a strong purple base the contrast is a bit absolute for my painting style I think. The first hardy geraniums are opening , Geranium sanguinum or the Bloody Cranesbill one flower, , Geranium clarkei several flowers and the mad , Geranium pyrenium alba is about to burst out like a firework there are enough flowers open to say the fuse is well alight. It’s not really mad but it likes it here so much it grows twice the size it grew in the old garden and I have to treat it like a weed as it self sows everywhere

I got up the ladder to look at the roof garden. There are plenty of plants ready to give it a go and invade up there, mostly they are testament to how much the birds like scuffling around up there…currants, strawberries, hypericums, cotoneaster and rowans all have seeds which make bird food. I discovered an extra Lewisia over the one I thought had survived and found a small bit of Pulsatilla another one I thought had died. There is a very pretty alpine hardy Geranium up there deep magenta as pretty as can be , I will try and remember to read the label and photograph it. There are several Penstemon smallii which is not really an alpine and a hairy Salvia which should come out as it’s too big for the space.

The bed is two years old I think , we got the plants from Ingwersens nursery just before it closed and got fantastic help with choosing alpines to survive on a roof. They only charged£ 2.50 per plant  and threw in some gone over alpine bulbs to boot. Most of their recommendations worked we have lost one pulsatilla one libertia and a couple of Lewisias but I think that’s because I put them in too upright. Well thats what Roy says and he’s a retired professional.

The beginning of early summer…a rugosa rose bud, Roserie de l’hay from the rose hedge.

Alison

#53 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog

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Columbine deep blue – a painting a day

May 17, 2010 Leave a comment

http://www.etsy.com/shop/lemonaday.   size 7.5 inx 4in 19cmx11cm

Today I recovered from the weekend; I also went round the edges of the flower beds in the front garden and excavated the mess a rat had made of my compost bin area. The wretched creature had found it difficult to get into the plastic composter so it had burrowed under the concrete pavers that it was sat on sending them squiffy and opening up cracks through which it had presumably got compost to eat. I will have to put a harder mixture under the slabs or I could coil up the remains of the boundary barbed wire to make it harder to dig out. I heard of one farmer getting desperate and making concrete full of shards of broken glass to stop rats trying to chew their way in to his feed store. There must be rats and rats because I usually do not have much trouble with the compost, ie a plastic composter bin does the job but when people start to talk about rats in places where there is a lot of food stored it’s unbelievable , they will try and chew through cans of food I am told.

While I was going round the edge of the flower bed I cut this columbine or aquilegia by mistake. They are very pretty but once you have one it’s too easy to have too many : unlike the forget-me-nots they are not easy to remove as they have a thick tap root.

If the time or energy only reaches a short way the most productive thing to do is to make all the edges look distinct and neat. Then once the grass is cut and the plants in the bed fill it well  the eye is at least 90% satisfied. Next time I should do a before and after photo and time it.

Alison

#52 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog

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Cup – a painting a day

May 16, 2010 Leave a comment

6inx7in 15cmx17cm watercolour on heavy weight rag paper

Today we had a really good breakfast with fresh croissant made from ready to roll dough. We had some with chocolate in some plain and some with chocolate and pear. I have never made croissant from scratch and while I am convinced that with the right instructions it could be achieved I feel life at the moment is too short.

Later we put the roof back on the fruit cage; it came down in the sticky snow that fell in January. I suppose we were lucky the fruit bushes were saved  from snapping off by the mesh collecting the snow. There is a fabulous set on the red and blackcurrants and more gooseberries than we have had so far.

Then after a hasty lunch, I went off to Brighton and got round five Artists Open Houses, there were some houses where what was on offer was good but too familiar, at others, the garden was almost the main attraction. From the back window of one I looked into a neighbours garden where a terrace was covered in white chippings but they turned gradually to pink the closer they got to the flowering cherry over the wall. The fallen petals were the same size as the stones so the effect was seamless.

I think there were pictures of hares in about four of the five houses and they seemed particularly repetitive, making me wonder if there are so few hares around that everyone is using the same reference photo’s from the internet. After all what percentage of the population have seen hares boxing in the spring? I imagine very few,yet it is an often repeated image.

My friend enjoyed the sculptures from Zimbabwe in Westdene, AfricArt.The garden was full of people chipping away at stone blocks, sanding almost finished work and waxing finished work. There was an opalstone statue inside of two women holding fish that was just exquisite.

I came back and did a quick sketch of last night’s coffee cup.

Alison

#51 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog

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