Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

Newish lemons: Lemons on a purple scarf

March 11, 2014 Leave a comment

212crop This is a detail from a painting which I started as a demo. at an exhibition, I did finish it at some point but everything was overshadowed by what happened in the 36 hours following the exhibition.

Lovely aunt came to the exhibition with her visiting carer, they had a look round and some coffee and cake and off they went, quite jolly really. By the next day my aunt was keeling over sideways in a chair so I called the paramedics who bundled her protesting into an ambulance, I was with her until 02.30am in A&E she was probably six hours on a trolley but we were at least in a cubicle. She had pneumonia but scans revealed more serious problems that were not going to get better. Its never going to end well when they look concerned and say was your aunt a heavy smoker? No she wasn’t but… that conversation stemmed from an initial misinterpretation of a scan and what was wrong was not related directly to cigarettes, rather old age. She recovered well enough to get back out of hospital and her triumphant grin when she got over here for Sunday roast was worth a fortune. She enjoyed Christmas, especially the halibut I bought for Christmas Eve. What do you do when you are standing in the fishmongers just before closing on Christmas Eve and there is very little left? I panicked and bought a magnificent slab of halibut and then some sea bass in case there was not enough…it cost as much as the goose for Christmas day! There was too much but it was utterly delicious and mother and lovely aunt both enjoyed it. I made a sauce with cream, lemon and capers from the pan juices.

She had lots of visitors during the winter and her live in carers worked very hard, so did I in fairness as I provided almost all the breaks for the carers. Lovely aunt had always given money to various charities but the only organisation that helped in this period in a practical way was the hospice to which she had never donated. Social services? give me strength…it can take two solid days to phone them, if you speak to someone they may promise to phone you back….they don’t get back reliably…they tell you that you have made a mistake and that there is a social worker attached to the Memory Clinic who will deal with you…there isn’t….it takes two solid days to get someone on the phone to tell them what they should know and they then promise to get back to you and of course they don’t.

Many charities ask for donations showing happy clients being supported at home by the charity…but don’t make it obvious how one accesses that help or only offer a service in other districts, advice lines are helpful but not the answer to everything. There is a great deal wrong with our system of care for the elderly….there is not really a coherent system for starters…visiting the hospital every day made it abundantly clear that there were terrible things happening to many elderly people.

My aunt died of cancer last month and there was a lovely funeral beneath the Downs on one of the first dry days we have had this winter of storms. The snowdrops were just opening then but now they are almost over and life must keep moving forward. I am belatedly pruning the cooking apple tree and splitting logs- it’s therapeutic.

This is the whole picture: 212


Dried cep- a painting a day

November 24, 2011 Leave a comment


size 4″ x 6″ 12cm x 15cm approx.

These are the little slices of dried cep which make the most fantastic soups, sauces and scrambled egg possible. They are such good quality, being home made , that a slice can be crumbled into scrambled egg just before serving or even just eaten as it is. They have none of the stringy dirty look of the commercial dried cep you see in the supermarket and elsewhere. I like their shape too – an angular folded version of the slices which went into the dessicator.

We have collected about eight kilos of cep in the last ten days, most has been dried as the crop can never be guaranteed and I would hate to run out.


Cep with child – a painting a day

November 23, 2011 2 comments

SOLD to another mushroom hunter!

size 5in x 5 in, 12cm x 12cm approx

I went with no1 son, who is very fond of mushrooms for breakfast, to see if anything had come up…There was, as the day before, nothing… but on the way out of the woods I nearly trod on this little beauty. The little side one is often pictured in German and Polish illustrations, not to be outdone I painted it.

No2 son has cooked his goose over a stuffed chicken thigh recipe for food DT (that is what they call lessons in cookery at school in the UK now). Having made all the effort to buy his raw ingredients I then spent the evening reminding him to get it all prepared for the morning.” Don’t leave it to eleven o’clock!”, I said, not thinking that he would leave it until 8.15 the following morning…I was out of sorts for everything , late, furious and forgetful. Boning out chicken thighs in the morning hustle when I could have BOUGHT ready boned had I not been told to get them bone in is so far from my idea of fun there will be consequences for this.

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


Carnation picotee – a painting a day

February 25, 2011 3 comments


Day One hundred and sixty four  –  NFS   size 6 in x 7 in, 15cm x 17cm

I am seriously out of order here, where is the point of a content free blog? My one fan has noticed the absence of content. I have apologised.

 I have spent the last month and more trying to sift through all the complicated bits and pieces that are necessary to make life as an octogenarian passable, no it’s not me ,I am not secretly eighty, but the lovely aunt is. Without effective glasses, using an unmaintained hearing aid and with unpredictable holes in her memory my aunt has struggled. This is made worse by stress and stress she has had by the bucket load, that and quite a lot of isolation in a nice bungalow with snotty next door neighbours on the edge of a smart cathedral city. Give me a grotty location with some sparky neighbours every time; culture is great but feeling comfortable is a lot more important.

However lovely aunt enjoys a bit of classical music, used to go to the Proms in the fifties and sixties before it was ever televised, we have started to find the culture that is available in deepest Sussex. Surprisingly there is quite a lot. We have been to a recital in a church with the most wonderful cello playing.

DIY Dad sank to new depths last night, as I did a dreadful sloppy painting, he took the combination microwave apart on the kitchen table. He found the faulty component and triumphantly waved the circuit board at me. He thinks he may be able to mend it….by the way the general advice is don’t do this at home children and certainly not on the kitchen table because there are parts of the circuit on a microwave that store 4000 volts of power…I think that would kill you, or him. You would not believe the complications of circuit and component inside a microwave…but then it can cook a chicken and brown it in twenty minutes which is more than I can do with any normal oven.

No2 son has a number of projects on the go, one involves the new curvaceous beauty in his life whose pneumatic curves disport themselves across his bedroom floor, I look in last thing at night and have found them entwined sleeping happily…sorry I did say it’s an inflatable canoe didn’t I?  He is planning trips to explore several local waterways once his sprain is healed. He badly damaged an arm in the school gym…the teacher still wants a note to tell him about the injury that happened under his nose and resulted in No2 being sent home for a trip to casualty ( I had my story ready as it was the second arm injury I had taken there in a month). The other project involves building a laser “gun” from laser pens…….this seems creative but dangerous beyond my childhood experience. I mean I knew someone whose older brothers made gunpowder and blasted holes in the bottom of their garden, but I never did it myself.

Lovely aunts friend C. invited us to Battersea for paella, I only ever had indifferent paella I discover, hers was fantastic I ate till I could eat no more and then we got stuck into the coffee and brandy. This little carnation is for her as I think carnations are one of her favourite flowers.

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

A leaf from the Newton Wonder – a painting a day

December 5, 2010 1 comment

 SOLD   size 6 in x 6 in, 15cm x 15cm

The snow which arrived on Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday in large quantities has now almost all washed away. My neighbours who moved out while their building work was being done are back finally, they must be so relieved, and it is good to see the lights on at night knowing its inhabited again.

Last week’s combination of gammon on Friday and chicken on Sunday made a wealth of other meals. There was a spicy stir fry with Thai noodles , lots of sandwiches and finally chopped chicken and ham in mayonnaise to go in jacket potatoes. Then there was soup using the stock from the carcase and the gammon rind one cold lunchtime when no-one could get to school or work. The fat which came off was mixed with millet for the birds.

On Friday the school was appealing for volunteers to go and scrape snow off the paths and drives in order to get the place open for Monday….it is a close call- which is most unpleasant: two hours hard labour in the cold or another day with damp fractious boys all over the house?

There was no need to go and scrape snow off the school drive the rain has seen to it. Even the four foot icicle fell down today. I saved a section to show to some South African visitors who are due on Tuesday ( I have  saved it in the freezer).

After my vocal complaints last weekend about lack of help in the kitchen especially on a Sunday I was surprised to find that the promised weekend free of cooking really did happen and we still got a roast!!! We also got more kit made croissants than any of us could face No2 just kept taking trays out of the oven.

I have now run out of all but my last carton of Goats milk( UHT not brill. in tea)…the desperate housewives of the weald had stripped the supermarket of bread, milk, goatsmilk , UHT milk and goats UHT, fruit juice (so essential)  crumpets, teacakes, croissants, brioche and butter as soon as they could get the car back on the road ( I did not check to see if they were out of tins of borlotti beans too I expect they were; we are one of the Home Counties). When we couldn’t drive and the shopping was done by toboggan there was more food to buy. I have had to buy what is a marketing dream…oats milk you could pick it up by mistake glancing at the packet in  hurry. I don’t know if it will be any good, if it is horrid rest assured I will tell you.

The snow melted to show a soggy lawn with lots of soggy leaves, I therefore spent far too long raking them up, I have a small long barrow of apple and oak leaves, some of the apple leaves have lovely coloured stems so I did a quick sketch in watercolour (it was that or continue raking). The leaf is from the Newton Wonder tree which has big round serrated leaves, you are looking at the underside to see the best of the colour.

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

Hot Cross Bun and book – a painting a day

April 3, 2010 1 comment

 6″x5.8″ 15cm x 14.5cm watercolour on heavyweight rag paper

Oh the aromatic joy of a freshly baked bun, the thought of sitting with a book, the bun and a tea in a quiet room with no teenagers….I asked would they like to help make the buns yesterday,” I just need to finish this battle” from one and with the other “uh…hot cross buns …Awesome!….” In fairness his eyes almost left the screen for a second. Once it came to eating them- then I had their attention.

I got to this bun late last night and captured the last of a nearly extinct race in charcoal and watercolour, like mayflies they lasted only a day. They were so good I might set to and make another 30 for Easter Sunday.

Enjoyed the drawing in charcoal it felt more dynamic than the watercolours, a change.

Oh yes and did get the course work back for Easter holidays but in the mean-time I had complained and actually got to hear from the head who claims the good news is the work is fine …so how come its fine when they were writing to us saying it wasn’t and he’s had only two chances to add a little to it since then. I am convinced that teachers tell parents that the work is marvellous just to see the parents go away with a smile …emphasis on the go away of course. Actually it’s a C grade No1 son  says which means the school will have less interest in improvement than if it were a borderline D, however personally he needs a better grade as he wants to do the subject for A level.


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

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Two heads of garlic – a painting a day

March 29, 2010 1 comment

 4.5″x6″ 11cm x 15cm watercolour on heavyweight rag paper

I’ll try garlic, I like garlic both to eat and paint. It has a magic shape quite prim and organised and then you break it open to cook with it and the tight skin unravels in a chaotic flaky mess and the colours emerge on the side of each clove.

When I did a pottery class I wanted to make a vase in the shape of a head of garlic, it would have been white porcelain had I ever got to grips with the porcelain clay which can slump and fold up in the kiln.

That’s an example of an idea which was perfect until I tried to actually realise it in 3d.

The garlic is only so so, I will come back to it again or rather a different piece as no.1 son wants to make curry and chips and banana fritters in his final cooking practical. “Not very balanced “we said, his eyes began to bulge “So? We can do what we want today and I like the idea”.

Incidentally a few days back he was taken off curriculum in order to work on his geography course work, he rang up after an hour saying his teacher still had his work and was on sick leave, could I find the drafts and e-mail them to the school, I did , At 2.45 the subject head rang me (finally) to say that they had been unable to open the email due to them working on an older Windows package than the one we use, I offered to get the IT sorted out but as they said there was no point as the school day was nearly over……


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

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