This is one of my favourite secondhand book finds this year - Volume 52 of the Penrose Graphic Art Annual from 1958. I bought it from the same market as the King Penguins I posted about a few months ago, & it's in nearly perfect condition! I can't quite remember how much I paid for it, but it was something like $28 - a super-duper bargain. I would love to collect more of these, particularly the late 1930s through to 1960, but they can be a little pricey. One of the best things about this book is that it's stamped on the front endpapers with "Hardwicke Knight Collection". Upon doing a little Googling, I found out that Frederick Hardwicke-Knight was a New Zealand author, photographer & collector who died in 2008 leaving behind a lifetime's treasure trove of amazing stuff. I feel honoured to own one of his books! You can see the man himself & some of his incredible collection here. How interesting!
Hooray! It's been such a long, chilly winter, it's so nice to start off springtime with a (relatively) warm, sunny day. I've been a little absent on the blog front lately, as I've been getting over a rather long bout of flu and am now catching up with everything, but I'd like to thank everyone for their comments, emails and good wishes regarding my last post about my Etsy shop. I haven't had a chance yet to respond to my blog comments, but I will!
When the seasons change, I always feel the need to do something new - do you? It might be a new handbag or sketchbook, or spring-cleaning the house. This time around, I've decided to implement a more structured schedule to my work day, making sure I get enough sleep, always have good food in the fridge so I don't live on tea and toast, and I'm trying to get into the habit of nice early mornings, with a daily walk on the beach before work (no excuses now the weather's improving). My aim is to be more focused and productive and to stop procrastinating. I have so many plans and ideas, and I'm just not using my time as effectively as I could. My springtime resolution is to get to the end of each day knowing I've done my best to pack it as full of productive activity as possible!
Anyway, happy first day of spring to my fellow southern hemisphere dwellers, and to all you people up the top, I hope you're looking forward to autumn, because that's a lovely season too! For my fellow procrastinators, I've included a little video after the jump to help you fritter away an extra 4:17 of your life. By the way, did you know I have a Facebook page? I'd like it if you liked me (if you like).Read More
If you're a regular reader of my blog, you've probably gotten used to me saying "My shop is almost ready!" My relaunched blog has just had it's 1st anniversary & is now one year & two weeks old. I'd hoped last year, that my shop opening wouldn't be far behind it. Alas, things don't always go to plan, but it will be so nice, & such a relief to open soon, in plenty of time for the holiday season (yay!). Here's a screenshot of my shop so you can see my progress. I wouldn't have such a beautiful shop (& blog!) if it wasn't for Julian, who took my designs & illustrations & turned them into a working website - thank you so much Julian! My shop just needs a couple of tweaks, & I'm also finishing up on a couple of new products before launching. During September-October, I'll be adding lots more stock, including textiles, more jewellery, new gocco prints & some original artworks. I'm so excited! I also planned to reopen my Etsy shop at the same time, but sadly, that won't be happening. By protecting my intellectual property & showing my packaging in my product photos, I am apparently breaching Etsy's policies - they classify it as fee avoidance. I'm very disappointed.Read More
Before we get to the yummy food, I'd just like to mention that I have finally put up my About Page. I should have done it a long time ago, but I really struggle with writing about myself. My Google Analytics tell me that little Magic Jelly Story book on my sidebar gets clicked a lot, so it was pretty remiss of me to leave that page empty for so long! Now, on to dessert... Whenever I buy a new vegan cookbook I go straight to the index to check out the cheesecake recipes. I am always so disappointed if the recipe starts with "2 tubs Tofutti cream cheese" - I just really prefer making things from scratch. It's so much more satisfying, usually tastes better, & you know exactly what the ingredients are.Read More
Do you use Google's Search by Image? I must be living in a cave, because it's been around for a year & I only just heard about it a couple of weeks ago. I've been using TinEye, which is good, but doesn't find anywhere near the results Google does, & I do prefer Google's user interface too.
In the brief time since discovering this nifty tool & testing it thoroughly, I have found an astounding amount of people using my artwork & blog content without permission. What I find really frustrating & outrageous, is when you contact people who've swiped your work, & instead of owning up, apologising & removing it (as many do), some of them are aggressive & argumentative, or try to make you feel bad for being so "mean" about not wanting to share your work. I like to share, but on my terms, & call me unreasonable, but I prefer to be given a choice rather than have people take my property without permission.Read More
I thought I'd better blog about something other than recipes for a change - it's been food, food, food lately! Must be the nippy winter weather & bracing seaside walks making me peckish! Here's my latest King Penguin acquisition, Woodland Birds. It's in beautiful condition, & is the first one I've bought that still has its dust jacket. Published in 1955, it was one of the last King Penguins to be released, & is written by Phyllis Barclay-Smith & illustrated by Peter Shepheard, who also designed the gorgeous cover. The colour plates are so beautiful, don't you think?
I've been experimenting with creating a vegan whipped cream recipe. My aim was to make non-dairy cream without a strong soy, almond or coconut flavour, that tastes mild & creamy so that it enhances rather than competes with the dishes it accompanies. Also, I wanted to make sure that once it's whipped, it's stable & doesn't deflate (I haven't used gums or stabilisers), & also has the right weight & mouthfeel. Most importantly, I wanted it to have the freshness of dairy cream - light, sweet, fluffy, melting & clean on the palate - not greasy like the non-dairy whips that contain hydrogenated oils. Although this cream is wonderfully rich & very close to dairy cream in taste & texture, it is not at all heavy or cloying.
My whipped cream recipe is based on that versatile little nut, the cashew, but unlike most cashew cream recipes, this one is not raw. By cooking the cashew mixture, it thickens & emulsifies, becoming sweeter & milder in flavour. A real bonus for people like me, who don't happen to own a high-power blender, is that for this recipe you only need a regular stick blender & food processor to achieve beautifully smooth cream (& a hand mixer for whipping). This recipe is also soy & gluten free (depending on the brand of margarine you use).Read More
Okay, it's not very traditional, but since I was leaving out the eggs & tuna anyway, I thought I'd play around with the classic Nicoise Salad & make it more of a hearty, substantial winter salad. I don't eat as many salads in cold weather as I do in summer, which is silly, because I love salad. Sorry this isn't a proper recipe with quantities, but I was winging it. I'm sure it would be easy to reproduce, & it's well worth it, because it is delicious. Don't expect to be hungry for at least a week afterwards - this is one big salad, most definitely a meal in itself.
There are quite a few different components, but none of them are difficult or terribly time-consuming. The good thing is, you can make extra couscous, dressing, macadamia crust, etc. & have it again the next day!Read More
Judging by the recipes I've posted, you'd think I spend all my time making vegan egg & dairy alternatives. I do make other things, but I figure that these recipes are more of a novelty & people might appreciate it if I share my experiments. I might post some more "normal" recipes in future, but for now, I give you the Vegan Poached "Egg". In the photos, I've served mine on a toasted crumpet with wilted baby spinach, some little crispy pan-fried bits of homemade smoky maple seitan , & ground black pepper.
Transitioning over from vegetarianism to veganism, one of the things I've missed most is eggs for breakfast - breakfast is my favourite meal of the day! But I used to have occasional phases where I was totally off eggs & found them icky, so vegan eggs are much better in lots of ways. Rather more time & effort is needed than simply cracking an egg, but it's worth it, & the good thing about this recipe is it makes four "eggs" & you can reheat any leftovers in the microwave.Read More
I've posted before about the June long weekend secondhand book sale. I go every year (they had one in March this year too). As usual, I went with Mark & Stevie, & left feeling like a pirate who'd just plundered the most amazing treasure trove ever! Stevie found this big stack of King Penguin books from the 1940s (all of them $5 or $7.50 each & in pretty good condition) & in a very civilised fashion with no hair-pulling whatsoever, we went through them, picking out favourites, divvying them up so we each got to buy a few. I can't recall all of theirs, but there was one about freshwater fish, another mushroom one, wild flowers, reptiles, one about ballet, children's art, Scottish costumes - lots! Here are mine, with a couple of plates from each. The covers, as you can see, are gorgeous, & the illustrations are as fresh & rich as the day they were printed. What an amazing range of subject matter the King Penguins explore, I think I might have to collect some more - I love them so much! Popular English Art, written by Noel Carrington, illustrated by Clarke Hutton. 1945.
Thank heavens for sunny days, I can finally take some product photos! I'm really working hard towards a June/July shop opening. Stay tuned...