16 November 2009

pear and almond cake

by Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall
If you caught his River Cottage show on Channel 4, the chances are you've got your heart set on cooking up several of his recipes.
This excellent programme has everything I enjoy in a cookery programme.

I don't even like cakes as such, but my eyes were like saucers when he made his pear and almond cake & the recipe is on the internet, so I can blog about it too.

Several tweaks when I do so, coupled with lean baking details - so much so - after 35 mins of cooking at my chosen oven temp @170, it's still pretty raw,
so I decide to bake it for an additional hour as I would a fruit cake (protected on top with greaseproof paper) - and pop out to B & Q to look at doors for our bike shed.

& I come back to a delicious aroma of baked rich pear cake.

So the cooking timings here are 1hr35 @ 170.

Oh, and obviously the sugar goes in at the butter stage to be creamed - they missed that bit out.

My tweaks:
  • no SR flour, so I use plain white, with baking soda
  • the sugar is way too high, so I use 1 thick teasp of honey on the pears after they cook, & 130g muscovado sugar in the cake
it's perfect sweetness too!
  • I never have cinnamon, so I use 1 cardamom pod seeds
Otherwise, I follow the recipe as is, till the baking stage, here it is pre-cooking:

Have a go, you'll love it.

13 November 2009

My Art Exhibition 20 - 29 November

if you are in Cheltenham
please wander in to 12a Landsdown Walk (next to the tyre man)

hours: 10 to 4, on 20th - 29th November

It's a working studio I share with Lella so I might even be painting up an idea

3 November 2009

leftovers and my painting

I've never been very good with leftovers. Indeed we rarely want the same meal twice in a row

but I'm on a mission to keep warm and healthy at the studio, so yesterday's chunky broth, has been given the thai coriander, red sauce & coconut treatment for lunchtime today.

I'll never get the lid on that flask

and my mission today is to decide on a frame for a painting I've taken quite a while over, despite it's simplicity.

It's entitled "death of the comic illustrator" and the narrative is thus ..................

We have the memory of 2 of my sisters in the hospital room looking out of the window, they comfort each other tenderly, and my mother has passed away after years of illness
& I watch unobserved & isolated.

My mother was an illustrator for DC Thompson in Dundee, producers of the Dandy and the Beano and the like.
So I present my feelings in an old fashioned comic snapshot style.

it's taken a while to get it "just so" for me, although the physical painting was rather quick, just an hour.
I wanted it to be like the old unambitious, fudged print on comics, with so few colours, reflecting the memories that are old and recent, that are almost monochrome.

Some things seem so dim & grey on reflection.