Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Today I have been baking, bread, pizza dough, cheese straws and crumble mixture a satisfyingly quiet thing to do listening to music on the radio and of course thinking. For instance I love to make eccles cakes from puff pastry, not particularly to eat them, but the buttery spoonful of dried fruit in the centre of the small cut out circle, will after being squished together, then be rolled out to a thinnish biscuit with butter oozing out and raisins appearing on the surface like dead flies!

Coffee break was listening to that marvellous A History of the World in 100 Objects, told by Neil Macgregor, head of the British Museum, the small quarter of an hour stories over the past few weeks have been intriguing, the music just striking the right note of mystery and wistfulness.

In the studio the rythmic sound of the brush hitting the back of the latest Japanese scroll, a pregnant lady, her gown falling away from a rounded bosom and tum, reminding me of Demi Moore's famous naked pregnant photo in Vanity Fair which caused such controversy. Actually this Japanese drawing reminds me more of a cottage loaf, the two lines of bosom and tum are very simple.. Below is another female, maybe a geisha girl, most paintings have to be stretched for weeks on the drying board, the creases are reinforced from the back by very fine strips of paper, nothing can be done at speed and everything requires great patience....

Dorthy Hartley says of Eccles cakes that they were originally made with blackcurrants and mint, but the oldest cakes in this tradition are of course Banbury cakes, which had "chopped peel and fruit, sugar and spice, the whole cake very hot, brittle and fresh" and carried around in specially made chip baskets, or woven reed baskets.

Ref; Dorothy Hartley's Food in England...

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