Saturday, June 19, 2010

A bouquet worthy of Fantin-Latour!!

WOW! I wish you could smell these paeonias!! A subtle, old-fashioned, elegant fragrance that wafts and whispers so beautifully! This is just one bouquet from a plant that is sporting about five times this many blooms. Thank you Paeonia!!
When I see a prolific and exuberant bouquet like this it always reminds me of the time at Poly. doing my Foundation Course in Art and Design when I had to copy a Fantin-Latour painting as an ETCHING!!! OMG it nearly killed me but I did it and thus my appreciation for said Master's bouquets was born....they are so luscious and drool worthy, he captures the soul of the flowers, their volume and really can almost smell his paintings.
Happy Glorious Saturday in Maine...the breeze is blowing great billows of rosa rugosa through the open windows and the birdsong fills the air!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Who is this little Rascal??

Goodness gracious...who is this Rascal Bear from Maine with his dapper little silk scarf and winning smile?? Why it's Monty and I made him in the last couple of days from leftover home decor fabric a good friend of mine in New York sent to me to use as was my wont.
I have pondered the proposed usage, some pieces are large enough to make clothes from, BEAUTIFUL clothes (and Yeh right...WHEN am I ever going to get around to that and Oh YEH...making clothes used to drive me demented and many's the time I wanted to fling the sewing machine out the window!!), other pieces are long enough to make lovely scarves and possibly handbags but what to do with the small pieces that don't seem quite big enough for anything practical??
PRACTICAL?...why must it be practical...I have wanted to make small Teddy Bears for many a long year now and then DING...this is the perfect material to make little Teds from and thus my new string to an already full bow is born. The pattern I used is actually for a bear that ends up being 3 inches tall......not a good idea for my first attempt so I scanned and enlarged and here's my first Ted, completely hand sewn, which is so much more fun than machine sewing in my book!!...he is filled with leftover scraps of the fabric I actually used for him (is that cannibalism?? he a Haggis...Ha ha!!) and also buckwheat husks which are available in bulk at the Belfast Coop at an extraordinarily reasonable price. He is finished with criss cross stitches over the seams in leftover wool from my adventures in handtufted rugs.
I am already planning my next Ted...from some large weave pink silk Chanel looking fabric...very fetching and I shall 'stuff' Milady not only with buckwheat husks but also some lavender flowers for a slight delightful fragrance!!
I'll be adding my Monty to my Etsy shop later today after I have designed and printed a little Certificate of Authentication with date of birth etc and also to my Facebook Store...yes I have a store on Facebook...isn't that amazing?
Feedback on Monty is requested and appreciated!!
And here's a stunning lavender iris for you!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Easy Peasy Strawberry and Almond Scrunch!! YUMM!!

Here is a very delightful and super easy summer recipe that resembles an English trifle but is less fussy and much quicker to put together...get the best flavoured strawberries you can...I use Driscolls Organic Strawberries from California and they're delicious!!
This recipe is adapted from "The Food for Thought Cookbook" by Guy Garrett and Kit Norman.
Food for Thought is a famous vegetarian restaurant in Covent Garden London
1lb strawberries...washed, sliced and sprinkled with this first to allow strawberries to macerate and give up some of their juices
3oz butter
4ozs/1 1/2 cups rolled oats
2ozs/ 1/2 cup wholewheat flour or I do mostly white flour and some ground flax seeds to make up the difference...for a more nutty flavour
3ozs/ 1/3 cup sugar...brown or white your choice.
1ozs/1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds crumbled up
Creamy Part:
1/2 teaspoon almond essence/extract
5 fl ozs plain yoghourt (preferably drained in a cheese cloth for a couple of hours to get rid of some of the whey and make the yog. a little thicker...or you could use Greek Yoghourt)
10 fl ozs whipped double/heavy soft peaks...still needs to be a little loose.
2 tablespoons clear honey....I use a nice strong flavoured one from Maine...Swann's Wildflower Honey....delish!!
Extra 1oz toasted almond slices for top of dessert/pudding.

1. To make Scrunch: Pre-heat oven to 375F
2. Place all ingredients into a mixing bowl and rub butter into the other ingredients until thoroughly distributed.
3. Press gently into a flan/pie ring with a removable bottom...mine was about 9" diameter.
4. Bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown, remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Here is the Scrunch when cooled....
5. Mix honey into yoghourt with almond essence/extract.
6. Gently blend/fold honey and yog with whipped cream.
Now assemble your Scrunch....break up Scrunch base into smallish pieces and cover bottom of chosen bowl with such, strew half of strawberries and their juices over, cover this with half of the creamy bit...then repeat again finishing with cream mixture but saving a few strawbs. for the top. Sprinkle finished piece de resistance with reserved strawberries and toasted almonds.

Ta dah...allow to sit for a short while before serving so the strawberry juices can meld with the cream, yog. and scrunch. YUMMM!!!
Happy Strawberry season!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Fried Oreos and a salmon pink poppy!!

Look how cute!!! Deep fried can one resist!
James and I were recently in Lewiston, Maine on a picture perfect day and we decided to stop at a place we hadn't been to before for a spot of lunch...Val's Drive-In. I am happy to report we were not disappointed...the food was great...I had an excellent veggie burger, the portions were the perfect size...not huge and overwhelming...and the piece de resistance was...ta dah!! Deep Fried Oreos.....they were delicious
Our little friend the Oreo set against the backdrop of the All American Val's Drive-In...who could ask for anything more!!
The waitresses at Val's bidding us a fond farewell....
and a portrait of Jennifer our happy, friendly, attentive server. Thanks Jennifer!!...we'll be back.
I know this is not related to the Fried Oreos but this flower came out in the last couple of days and I just had to share it with you because the colour is THE perfect pink and the flower itself is beyond beautiful...the inside is the most evanescent smoky grey purple...almost indescribable...
more buds are ready to bloom in the next few days!!! Lucky me!!