Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Quilts at the Lake House Arts Centre

These gorgeous quilts can be seen at the Lake House Arts Centre, 37 Fred Thomas Drive, Takapuna. They were made by members of the Auckland Quilt Guild for the Dorothy Collard Challenge

Today, May 7, I'll be at an artist talk with Trish Downie from 11am-12pm where she will explain the long process of making a quilt from start to finish, and also who Dorothy Collard was and how this challenge came about. Anyone is welcome and it should be most interesting, especially for those who love quilting.

Two Sisters Quilting

By Annie White

Inspired by Picassos' painting 'Two Girls Reading'
'I adapted the image to reflect the bond between my sisters and myself. The space between sisters disappears due to their passion for quilting,'

Scene Between

By Rose May Scott

'When I took the photo I was inspired by the lights on the tree trunks and glimpses of the lake beyond. I have since painted in oils and now on fabric.'

Retirement: How did I find the Time to Work?

By Val Williams

'Having retired three months ago I've found time to sit and dream. At a recent retreat I was inspired to paint fabric and actually finish my challenge piece.

Where Love Grows

By Glenys Quinn

The Shape of a Balinese statue inspired The Space Between-Where love Grows. The colours were taken from the mahogany wood and the Banana tree flowers

A Rose Between

By Annie White

'The whimsy of this fun and rather evocative dress is captured and achieved by the strategic placement of a single rose, allowing a hint of sexuality to fill the space between.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Feijoa and Apple Sauce

As a rule I don't cook in the microwave, not because I am worried that this kind of cooking can be harmful but because most food just tastes better when cooked by other means. Occasionally I make an exception as for this feijoa and apple sauce which is so easy, tasty and versatile.

To make it I simply put the flesh of about fifteen well ripened large feijoas and three peeled and sliced Braeburn apples into a lidded pyrex dish . There is no need to add any extra water as the feijoas are sufficiently juicy.

Microwave  on high for about 10 minutes. By this stage the apples will be tender.Then  stir in 1 tablespoon of butter and two of brown sugar. Adjust the sweetness to taste.

So simple but the addition of the butter and brown sugar gives a  it a mellow caramel flavour.

Good served warm with vanilla ice cream or Greek Yoghurt but it can also be a base for a crumble or apple and feijoa sponge pudding.

Making A Good Cuppa

My Mother means much more than some photographs in the family album to me. We might no longer be able to sit to sit down in person and chat over a cup of tea but she’s still very much part of my life. She has shaped it in more ways than I might have imagined.

My Mother was a churchgoing person with strong family values who valued simplicity and service to others. Like most women of her generation she was a housewife, and after marriage never went back to a paid job again. Even if she had wanted to, with a husband and eight children to look after  she could not have found the time. Her busy day was interspersed with the small ritual of a cup of tea in the afternoon.

When she was in her nineties, and no longer able to travel her three little great granddaughters flew to Wellington so she could finally meet them. The little one was just three but she can still fondly remember the special tea party my Mother put on for them. To her my Mum will always be that kind old tea lady!

My Mother, like her Mother before her, served black tea in china cups with sugar and milk or a slice of lemon served alongside. She always drank hers plain. Tea bags had not yet been invented when she started her life in tea. So for most of her life she brewed loose leaf tea in a teapot.

I am part of the tea bag generation. Over the years I have boiled the kettle countless times, dropped bags of tea into pottery mugs and made comforting brews for friends and family.

I have long been a  Dilmah tea drinker. It’s a single origin tea so a cut above ordinary  gumboot tea . Ceylon is my preference although I’ve also had small and happy flirtations with some of their other special flavours like Moroccan Mint, Earl Grey, and English Breakfast.

My son is a conservationist and has a healthy approach to life so likes his tea Green. He often tells me to stop rushing around, slow down and to enjoy the moment. Recently  he reconverted me to the art of making a “proper “ cup of tea  in a pot.

There’s an art to brewing Dilmah Loose Leaf Green tea. After it comes to the boil it’s important to let the water cool down to hot (80 degrees C) before pouring it over the leaves in the pot. Otherwise it will bring out the bitter qualities in the unoxidised leaves. Then it must be left to brew for two minutes.

Tea made properly this way has a grassy herbal  fragrance with a note of citrus and much more of a tea flavour than that brewed from a bag. You can easily taste the difference.

I am into the habit now of taking time out every day to make tea in a teapot .As I sip a cup of tea slowly outside in the autumn sun I listen to the birdsong and think of family and how tea links our generations.

Chocolate Muesli

It's Fair trade fortnight, the best excuse for a generous sprinkle of Fair Trade Chocolate on my home made apricot, almond and sunflower seed muesli , lightly sweetened with maple syrup . As well as  adding a boost of energy and deliciousness  chocolate puts me in a "good" mood as I know that its giving a fair return to its producers.