January 23, 2011

Plats du Jour

I picked up this beautiful cookbook in a second hand bookshop last weekend.

Front and back covers 

I'm shameless. I bought it simply because I love the cover. Both front and back. Plus it was $4. And it's full of basic classic French and Italian dishes, with a very few Eastern and Northern European recipes, too. 

Thankfully, no photos frighten the reader with bilious coloured late-50s carrot flowers and piped mousses, yet it's clearly written for a British public who were just getting an inkling about Continental food (published 1957). 

But that's not what I bought it for. I bought it to read and enjoy the period piece it is. And for the illustrations, because they're just plain gorgeous.  

David Gentleman is the illustrator. I knew it was a bit of a classic cover, but I hadn't realised what a famous illustrator Gentleman is. His long and varied career has covered illustration, poster, book and stamp design. Apparently, he's one of the UK's most prolific stamp designers ever. I couldn't find a lot of his other work online (book illustration is mainly under-represented as art), but there's this nice collection of Gentleman's works in the Tate.

Gentleman draws hairy-armed men on bicycles with swags of onions, but he also depicts the cuts of beef and how to cut a schnitzel (across the garin of the meat, in case you are wondering - which Marcella tells us means the meat won't curl in the heat, of course). He draws hunters standing around with a dog, and the kitchen range, and a variety of lovely things I'll scan and share when time permits.

Clarity of line and good humour. But not too cute. I love it. (The wine was nice, too.)

January 7, 2011

Looking to the open sky

I'm working on a little crafty project for work at the moment. I know, yes, I do savour this moment.

We're printing an alphabet of bunting flags for kitchen gardens. Everyone's sent in their artwork or great ideas for words and images. If this works, we'll do a cooking themed one, too.

This is one of my flags for the row of bunting. The triangles will be cut out and the plain coloured ones (which will be complete) go in-between. I'll show you some more if and when I finally finish it!

We're printing via Spoonflower, of course, and this is the project for which I chose the palette, below.

Can't wait to see it fluttering in the breeze!


January 4, 2011

Colourful vegetables; vegetable colours

I'm having a little fun this morning, playing with colours.
Well, more like - playing in colours, as I'm just browsing the palettes made by other people.

From left to right, this reminds me of kale, cabbage, cauliflower, pumpkin (roasted) and, mm, very dark carrots.

Tomatoes and peas and - oh my! That's exactly the colour of the green caterpillars I've been picking off my broccoli plants. (Ate the plants to twigs, damn them.)

And watermelon on a hot day. Dusty grass. Cicadas. Tree bark.

I'm looking for something that reminds me of what a lovely vegetable garden looks and feels like. It's for a project on Spoonflower, some bunting flags for a garden. Or reminiscent of a farmer's market; a big basket of vegetable goodies.

This one's what happens when the blueberries roll to the bottom of your calico bag and mooosh...

Yes, something like this, only with lots of blueberries:

(My goodness, the nectarines are amazing at the moment. Can't stop eating them...)

And this one? Not vegetables, just lovely retro bright happy sunny colours. Blue skies, painted aeroplanes, that sort of thing.

Have a look for yourself: the site is ColourLovers, and they have millions of palettes to distract you, trends and patterns and all sorts of colour fun.

I'm trying out the discipline of choosing a palette and making a project with the palette in front of me.

January 3, 2011


Well it's been a while, hasn't it?

Life took over, what with the move and a new job, exciting gardens to be established and a lot of recipes to test and trial and cook in my new kitchen, which of course needed painting...

Good things have been happening, not least the fresh garden produce and all the cooking that's been going on.

Happy new year!