Monday, April 18, 2011


A garden rose, just because I love them. If I'm on a leisurely stroll, I can't help but smell any rose I happen to walk past. No stealing was done in aid of photographing such blooms, I promise. This is from my garden and its fragrance is so lovely. After all, who could resist something that smells delicious and is the most beautiful shade of lavender? Not me! 

Friday, April 15, 2011


As promised, a few baked goodies to make use of the delicious apples from our tree. I got a little carried away and before I knew it I made pie, tarts as well as some raspberry and white chocolate muffins earlier this morning. The kitchen smelt so good as I was sauteing the apples for the tarts, it reminded me of my mums apple slice that my siblings and I have been asking her to re-create. I fear it's a case of forgotten recipe. For the pie, I played around with Nigel Slater's recipe calling for apple and blackberries. Not being able to bring myself to use lard for the pastry, I settled for Tartine's sweet pastry dough and used a handful of raspberries that I had in the freezer from picking late last summer. It was fun decorating the pie case with leaves. The tart was a little more time consuming, sauteing the apples in batches in butter and sugar, and then covering them with a sliced almond, sugar and egg white mix. Happy weekend!     

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Busy times

With my brother's wedding last weekend and so much work to do, I haven't had time for baking these past few weeks. There was plenty of chasing around nephews and nieces, eating freshly shucked oysters and ripe green skinned figs on picnic blankets in between ceremony and reception. A perfect day. The apple tree in my backyard has been groaning under the weight of delicious apples. Light greenish yellow skin and not too sweet or tart, they are great for baking. I quickly made a batch of apple, walnut and maple syrup muffins this morning but I've been desperate to try something a little more challenging. I'm going to give Nigel Slater's apple pie recipe and go, and promise a follow up post by the end of the week. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

New work, old work

A fifteen metre warp all ready to be wound onto my loom. My week will be spent setting up and winding this on with the help of some friends.

After finally washing my carpet, I thought it would be a good time to photograph it. I lucky enough to take part in a two day carpet making workshop run by Mehmet Girgic at RMIT a few years ago. He brought over huge bags of naturally dyed tops that he expertly handled. I wonder what customs thought of this tall mustache sporting man with wool stashed into his luggage. I remember it being tough work. We set up on the floor, and spent most of that first day deciding on a design and then slowly filling it in. All work done on our knees. The second day was spent sprinkling, rolling and beating the carpets with warp soapy water, then a trip to the local laundromat to run them through a hot wash. I'd love to make a larger one, but considering the work that goes into smaller pieces, I'm not sure I will ever get there.

Felt is the oldest form of fabric, predating knitted and woven fabrics. So even before the Copts were weaving with flax, making beautiful garments, felt was used to create shelter in the form of a hut. Predating huts made of felt were those sewn together from animal skin. Felt in the right hands can be really beautiful and if those are Claudy Jongstra's, it is even more so. A trained fashion designer who now works on architectural, residential and art based work using wool she has harvested from her own flock of sheep and dyed using natural dyestuffs such as madder. Worth a look.