2 June 2013

A painting moment: oil tiles

I've turned my hand to "ceramics".  Well, that would be art ceramic tiles in oils. 

Prepped and primed up 5 inch by 5 inch canvas panels and began painting ordinary objects and still lifes.  Nice and quickly so you get the essence without the detail.

I liked them so much I decided to make a series.  I've painted about 30 so far, and will continue on until something else takes favour.

I've double framed them all in crisp white fashion, ready and waiting for my art exhibits this weekend at both the Bath Guildhall with Beckford Fine Art and the bi-annual Cheltenham Open Studios event. 

I've also been invited to sell them at an art venue near Cahors in France.

So if you are in Cheltenham or nearby, I'm at Venue 7.  You'll be most welcome to take a tour of the studio.


11 March 2013

Dan Lepard & David Whitehouse's Celebration Wedding Cake: mascarpone & coconut sponge with buttercream & redcurrant/ raspberry sauce

What's the best cake I've tasted? 

Dan Lepard & David Whitehouse's Celebration Wedding Cake:
fluffy, indulgent, sweet, creamy, special, light, understated glory with a hint of coconut.

Red Nose Day is fast approaching over here, and people are generously supporting the quirky, funny and imaginative fund raising ideas that are put before them.

My studio painting partner Lella was keen to host a cake sale at her winebar The Retreat asking friends, family and fellow Suffolk Parade traders to contribute something baked.
And I knew which one I wanted to make.  It had to be special enough to sell well.

Obviously I wondered if I had the skills to recreate Dan's wedding cake, but thought "what the heck" & bought the 23 & 25cm cake tins and piping bag for the task.  I believed I had every kitchen gadget - well, seemingly not so.

To deliver the cake, Tony had to drive me just 200 meters, whilst I cradled it on my lap, and nestled the coulis between my feet in the foot well.  

It was worth the care to see my friend's face.  She exclaimed "Gill!" and placed the sweet piece in the centre of the table, saying it deserved a profile.

I returned a couple of hours later to see it hadn't been cut into and was looking most precious.
Lella had sold a quarter to a lady, and upon the buyer's return, was hoping she would be inclined to purchase the entire cake.  I thought that unlikely, so cut the quarter out of the cake and reserved it for her.
I also needed to photograph those inside layers.

15 minutes after cutting the cake, not much remained.  Lunchtime diners wanted it for their dessert & it flew away.
I sat with Viv for a moment, she's a potter and art school owner, who'd supported the event by eating 6 cakes.
But got little peace as a woman wanted my business card thinking I was a cake maker, and others sought me out to congratulate me on the cake I'd brought.

I confess to indulging in feelings of pride for the remainder of the day.  Is that really sinful of me?

David Everitt-Matthias at the Champignon Sauvage round the corner also contributed a Dutche treacle tart with coconut and molasses which I tried.  Delightful.

Dan's excellent cake recipe can be found here at his Guardian column.

And this is how I followed his steps over two days:  

boiled the desiccated coconut & milk
melted the oil and white chocolate
added the 4 eggs and 4 egg yolks into the ingredients mix
folded the 4 egg whites carefully

with a metal spoon
poured into a lined 25cm baking tin

baked till spaghetti skewer comes out clean
trimmed and sliced in half for the buttercream layer

boiled the mascarpone

added sugar, butter and icing sugar

made the raspberry and redcurrant sauce
which you purée and strain

piped the cake
cut the cake
3 pieces left
Notes: I used 2/3 of the sugar in the stated recipe (I always reduce the sugar in recipes)