30 October 2010

Sweet Saturday - Scones

Something nice for breakfast or afternoon tea: scones. I started by following the recipe as described in the AVOCA cookbook, but than made an error when I was too enthusiastic pouring in the cream. The dough was too moist and instead of more flour I thought it might be nice to add ground almonds.

Scones à la Annemiek (makes about 6-10 scones)

  • 225 gr of self raising flour
  • pinch of baking powder
  • 25 gr of sugar
  • 55 gr of salted butter, cubed(or if unsalted add a pinch of salt)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 100 ml cream
  • 40 gr of ground almonds
Mix the flour, baking powder and sugar into a bowl. Add the butter and rub it in until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the beaten egg, the cream and the ground almonds, mix until it has a soft doughy texture.
Gather the dough into a ball and roll it out on a floured surface to a thickness of 2,5 cm. stamp round shapes from it and place these on a baking tray (greased or covered with baking parchment). Brush the tops with some egg mixed with water (I just used the bit of egg which was left in the cup I had beaten it in) and bake for 15-20 minutes in a preheated oven of 180°C.


27 October 2010

My Creative Space

Busy, busy, busy as everyone these days I guess. 
My MOO minicards arrived which I had made for my ear studs, it says on the front surgical steel & porcelain, on the back my website and my logo. Much neater I think than using my business cards for this purpose.

Also busy making new bowls in porcelain, with flying pigs amongst others: 

And I was commissioned to make an award. 
I will share pictures of this project once it is finished.

23 October 2010

Sweet Saturday

Nearly no Sweet Saturday, as I missed some ingredients for the recipe I wanted to make, than thought of something else, but same problem. I really need to go grocery shopping with desserts and cookies in mind again :-)
But I still had all the ingredients for ShortBread, well more or less, I adjusted the amounts to suit the amount of flour I had left, but still have 3 baking trays of cookies, so plenty. I also used salted butter, well some as I did not have enough unsalted butter and added some vanilla scented/flavoured sugar too.

  • 400 gr of plain flour
  • 200 gr of corn flour
  • 200 gr of icing sugar
  • 400 gr of butter (I used 225 unsalted and 175 salted)
  • 1 sachet of vanilla sugar
Mix or sift the flours and the sugar into a bowl. Rub in the butter until you have a soft ball. Roll this  out to a thickness of about 1cm on a lightly floured worktop, preferable a cool stone top. Cut out in whatever shape you want; since all my cookie cutter have ended up in my atelier they are not really suitable for food any more, so I used a small cup ;-)

Place them on a baking tray lined with baking parchment and leave to cool for at least 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C for a fan oven, as I have one and the cookies have gone to soft and than cooked too quick to look like shortbread). Bake them for about 1 hour, leave in a rack to cool. So here they are a bit flatter than usual for shortbread and not so long in the oven either, but they taste fine :-)

18 October 2010

Ai Weiwei: Sunflower seeds

Last week I somewhere picked up something about an exhibition of/with millions of sunflower seeds in porcelain by
Ai WeiWei, which got my attention straight away. I found this great video on you-tube about the project.

I not only learned about the project and it's background, how sunflowers are part of China, but also saw a bit of how porcelain is found and made. It does not start live as mud or clay, but more something rock-like. And something I would never do is open the oven while red-hot because the temperature shock can make the fired pieces crack. I guess the seeds being so small and made of solid porcelain they can withstand this temperature change.

Anyway if you got 15 minutes to spare it's well worth viewing.

17 October 2010

Happy Stats

Still tired from a long, but great, night out with friends as I write these happy stats:

  • great trip to Ireland, good to see my friends there and catch up
  • starting a collaboration with my friend Shauna and writing guest post for Artminds blog together
  • job hunting and getting a more clear idea on what I want to do beside my crafting
  • short visit to Middelburg, were I spend all my time in this award winning bookshop 
  • buying an baking tin inspired by a 'Zeeuwse Knop', so fun to see how this element from my Dutch heritage is picked up by different people, dusted off and transformed into something new
  • great night out with friends enjoying good food in Bruges
  • Visiting my parents and bringing back a fresh supply of apples and pears, the car smelled gorgeous driving home 

15 October 2010

Sweet Saturday - Banana Bread

Banana Bread

  • 225 gr self-raising flour (or if plain flour add baking powder)
  • salt
  • teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 110 gr sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 75 ml sunflower oil
  • 2 sachets of vanilla sugar (or some vanilla essence)
  • 65 gr of chopped pecan nuts
  • 3 large bananas
Mix flour, salt and cinnamon, add the sugar. Mix in (gently! don't bead) the egg, sunflower oil and vanilla sugar. Smash the banana with a fork and chop the pecan nuts. Fold in them into the mixture. Butter a tin loaf and fill up with the mixture. 

Bake in a preheated oven of 180°C for 50-60 min. If it springs back when you prod it with your finger it's ready.  Once you take it from the oven be patient and leave it another 10 minutes in the tin before taking it out, than let it cool further on a wire rack.


Friday Finds

Not every Friday but some Fridays I will share some remarkable finds with you. 
Today that is TASART, tas is Ducth for bag, so art bags.

I met Yvette Wiers, the woman behind TASART on a fair in Hasselt. She had a booth beside mine and we could talk very little as it was so busy, but her bags facinated me. 

She makes them from old leather motorbike jackets and coats and combines them with 
the strangest of other items: parts from bicycles, telephones, skates, old keys, ......

It's a great way to recycle, I might just dig out my old leather bikers pants to get a custom bag from her ;-)
(yep, in another era I used to be a biker and owned one too, cruising around Ireland :-)

You find all info on the bags, Yvette and her work on www.tasart.nl

14 October 2010

Le Veauthibault 2010 - making paperclay

When I was in France  last month I also made my own paperclay. As it is a bit messy I preferred to make it in France and not in my own tiny atelier. I had some pieces which were not suitable for firing after drying and kept those to make paperclay. Of course you can buy ready made paperclay, but this way you can reuse failed pieces (so long as they have not been fired)  and create something new with them. I do like working with paper clay and paper porcelain as it stronger due to the fibers.

The recipe is easy:
1 empty box for 6 eggs
750 grams of dry clay
0,5 liter of warm to hot water

Tear the box to small pieces and put in a bowl, add the hot water and mix well. 

Grind to dry clay to as fine a powder as possible. 

I just batched it with a rolling pin until it look like this:

Add the powder clay to the paper slush and mix well.
If you want you can add a stain at this point. In this case the clay is antracite clay so not much use to add a colorstain to it, but works well for porcelain and white clays.

Put all unto a slab of plaster (you can make this yourself or buy ready made from some DIY stores), which will suck out the moist. Leave it to dry and turn if need be.
I left mine to dry overnight and there was no need to turn, there will be if you leave it out in the sun.
Once it's dried to a consistency you are happy to work with kneed it and store it air tight.

13 October 2010

Inspirational Ireland

Last week I spend a few days in Ireland. 
I lived there over 10 years ago, just bought a ticket and went. Lucky for me the Celtic tiger had just started roaring it was not hard to find a place to stay and a job; designing kitchens for the rich and famous of Ireland.
I go back at least once a year to catch up with friends and stay in touch.

I spend some time on the coast, enjoying the sun and the view. Later in the week I went with a friend and her kids to the Botanical Gardens. All museums have free access and so do these gardens. I never went there when I lived in Ireland, so it was a good reason to go. The weather was just gorgeous and there was a temporary exhibition of sculptures in all shapes and sizes.

Happy Bronze Friends

Twig Goat
Looking for the fairies under the fairy seat mushroom.

Mixed Media Dove

Iron Deer

Cute Squirl

Amazing Plant Sculpture

Paparazzi, they were al taking pictures using there mobiles....

Organic Sculpture in Felt

4 October 2010

Marché Bricolé

Hi there, did you have a great weekend too? I hope so. I enjoyed a great day at the fair Marché Bricolé in Bruges, Belgium. It was real busy and the weather was just lovely, I had a spot with the sun on my back, hhmmmm. And just across from me a nice coffee and tea stall, lucky for me they had GingerLove too.

Beside me Greet from Fleurfatale had a stall, we could hardly chat as it was so busy all day. We'll just have to catch up later. I have joined her and Mitsy from Artmind to write a regular "With love from Belgium" post on the Dutch Handmade blog. You can read my first post there tomorrow.

My new ear studs went flying out the door, as did my rings and necklaces, especially the roses. Also got a visit from clients who had bought before and came to tell how many compliments they had received already. 
It is so nice to make people happy and receive compliments.

The sun did not only bring out a lot of people but I saw lots of ladybugs too. A little girl pointed one out to her dad, it was sitting in the street in from of my stall. Her dad picked it up and set it down in a safer place, so cute :-)
One ladybug came to visit me and found my cat and mouse brooch real interesting :-) 

2 October 2010

Sweet Saturday: cinnamon rolls

This Sweet Saturday a recipe for cinnamon rolls.

  • 450 gr of white flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 50 gr of sugar
  • 50 gr of soft butter
  • 200 ml milk
  • 22 gr of dried yeast
  • 1 egg
  • 100 gr soft butter
  • 100 gr brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon (or a bit more if you really love cinnamon :-)
  • 1 egg
Sieve the flour and mix with the salt and sugar, than rub in the butter. Heat the milk until warm, blood temperature and mix with the yeast, add the egg. Combine the 2 mixtures, using the dough hook or by hand, until springy and smooth. Cover and leave to rise for about 30 min in a warm, draft free place. 

Mix the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and egg to make the filling.

Knead the risen dough lightly and roll out a quarter to form the base of a cake-tin (diameter about 23cm). Roll the reminder into a large rectangle. Spread the filling over the rectangle and roll up. Leave a strip on one side filling free. Roll the rectangle up towards the free strip, egg wash strip if need be to make it stick, but usually a bit of water works too.

Slice the roll into 8 slices, set these on the base, well divided. Bake for about 30 minutes at 180°C.