Friday, 30 January 2009

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Rye Bread In A Carton?

On a recent trip to that mecca of slot together furniture that is IKEA, the tartist and I browsing around the little in store Swedish food shop found this rye bread mix in a tetra pak carton. Yes, that's right bread in a carton. So, always keen to try something new in the cooking line, however improbable a delicious outcome may seem at the time, we brought one home with us. Last night while the tartist had four orange fruit teabreads in the oven I gave the bread a go.

It's so simple you simply pour the correct amount of tepid water in the top of the carton (everything is inside...rye flour, sunflower seeds, yeast etc.) then shake it like a bugger for a minute, and pour the mixed contents into a greased loaf tin. Leave it to proove for 45 minutes then pop it in the oven for an our. After fairly limited expectations the resulting loaf was really excellent. A most pleasant Swedish surprise.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

A Great British Weekend

Here we go again, flirting with the media. In fact I'd forgotten all about my chat with Stephen Emms who writes for the times at the artcafé just before Christmas last year. Then today the piece was published, I can't seem to get a link to it so I've cut and pasted it as I think it paints a pretty good impression of our salty little island.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Welcome to Britain

18% of people avoid their neighbours when out shopping
7% have joined a queue without knowing what it's for
99% would rather die than arrange a pre-paid funeral
46% buy things they don't like because they are cheap

A while ago I was given a copy of a wonderful picture book entitled 'Welcome to Britain' A Celebration of Real Life by Jan Williams and Chris Teasdale. They run The Caravan Gallery which is what it says, a gallery in a mustard coloured caravan. It has been touring Britain with their photographs since 2000. Like a lot of great art their work simply holds up a mirror in front of us, revealing a certain reality that is Britain today. In relating this to you it would be only right to give you nudge in the direction of photographer Martin Parr who's work I've also admired for some years.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

'Shadows in The Lane' ~ watercolour on Arches 300g/m2 rough paper...I simply love this paper, almost without exception I stretch it beforehand. In fact I'll do a post on stretching paper in the near future as I was quite surprised when so many visitors to my studio during Colchester Open Studios were unaware of how and why we stretch paper for watercolour.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Motown...Hitsville U.S.A.

Motown records is 50 today, that makes us (the artistandthetartist) about the same age. Perhaps more significant for me is the fact that so much of that wonderful music was a backdrop to our youth, a time of life when melodies and hooks can get a firm hold on the psyche. I have memories of being driven to school some mornings in my dad's Ford Cortina mk2 with radio one playing and every few records the glam rock and novelty records that were still in vogue would give way to something altogether different. Motownbrought to us the likes of Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross & The Supremes, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Martha Reeves & The Vandellas to name just a few of their acts. I still have real trouble keeping still when I hear the intro to this...
this 'soul' music was to my younger ears a totally new type of sound, bubbly bass lines and singing that weaved around the melody in contrast to a lot of the rather bland 'white' pop music of the time...I've been hooked for years, in fact I'm listening to the late Marvin Gaye as I blog this, happy birthday Motown.

More here

Thursday, 8 January 2009


Just as our weather begins to warm up a tad the tartist found these. Isn't it god who's most often in the detail and not the other fella?

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

We're Not Flattered

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, well I'm afraid I disagree. We spend an awful lot of time thinking of dishes for our menus, interesting and (in our opinion) funny things to say on our blackboards and menus etc., we also mess about a fair bit and in fairness a lot of what we come up with is just plain silly but...

When we started out we decided to call a cappuccino with an extra shot a 'depth-charge' because it's plopped into the cappuccino and is powerful. Now we see that places in Colchester are using the name as if it is a real coffee name straight from Italy. I suppose it's flattering but just so that someone else knows and for the record we invented the 'depth-charge', the 'lunchtime quickie' (name not concept!), the Mersea Rarebit formally known as a Cornish Rarebit when we lived in Cornwall, our Cappuccino Cake (a new addition), our Carrot Cake Icing, our Bread Pudding, oh, and by the way the 'Babyccino' was brought to us nearly five years ago from New Zealand by Lucy, a regular customer, long before Costa and all the other 'big boys' were doing em!

In addition to this all our menus are designed and printed by the artist and lots of other stuff besides. So sorry to have to blow our own trumpet, but every so often it's necessary you see...and now I'm wondering what we'll think up next?

Something I hope.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Brrrrrrr! 2009

We awoke this morning to a dusting of the powdery white stuff, no the artist and the tartist haven't taken up class 'A' drugs but the fact is since the start of 2009 the temperature outside has hardly risen above freezing point, then early this morning we received a bit of a snow flurry.

A 'Winter Wonderland'.

The Studio in the 7am gloom.

View from the Artcafé this morning.