Sunday, October 30, 2011


Making new drawings for a small solo show that opens Friday 4th November, 2011. Details here.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

singin' hinnies

The other morning I ruined what would have been a gorgeous loaf of Jim Leahy's no-knead bread. I had it set up for 19 hours, then didn't bake it long enough. I made the mistake of thinking it didn't need full time (30 min covered and 15 uncovered) since I used 1/2 buckwheat flour and added a little oat bran, and because I find my oven is on the very hot side. I baked it 35 minutes and it looked done, but it was most certainly not done.

I could have left it on the board to dry and made bread pudding with it the next morning, but I was crestfallen after 19 hours of anticipation and wanted it to just go away. C. kindly said he'd run down to get something from Bill Baker, the Baker in Dunham (yes, his given name is Bill Baker, and he's the town baker). I said I could make Singin' Hinnies in 5 minutes. He said, "let's race!" When he got home with brown bags full of croissants and raisin bread, we were sitting down to a plate of hot little Singin' Hinnies with butter, sharp cheddar, and jam -and to that we added Bill's delicious croissants.

(Sorry, I forgot to take pictures of the finished hinnies, split, buttered, jammed. Next time.)

This recipe is a favorite oldie from the Sundays at Moosewood cookbook.

Singin' Hinnies
1 1/4 cups unbleached flour (part spelt or kamut works well)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 Tablespoons cold butter
1/3 cup currants (optional)
1/3 - 1/2 cup milk
Butter for frying

Set a cast-iron pan on medium-low heat on the stove.
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in the currants if using. Add just enough milk to make a firm dough that's like a pie crust.
Roll out on a floured board to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut into rounds about 1 1/2-inches in diameter.
Place a pat of butter in the hot frying pan and swirl to coat the bottom. Set the cakes in the butter and fry 4-5 minutes on each side, until nicely browned. Serve hot.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sophie Taeuber-Arp

Sophie Henriette Gertrud Taeuber made magnificent stage sets, costumes, puppets, gouache paintings, oil paintings, weavings, and embroideries on cotton.

- was one of very few Swiss participants in Zurich Dada activities

- was educated at the School of Applied Arts of Saint Gall, the textile workshop of the experimental studio (directed by Wilhelm von Debschitz), and the School of Applied Arts in Hamburg. Studied with
Swiss modern dancer and choreographer Rudolf von Laban and performed with Mary Wigman at the Cabaret Voltaire dressed in costumes designed by fellow members of the Dada circle

- met Hans Arp in the fall of 1915 and later married him. Hans and Sophie worked extensively with abstract geometric forms and produced multiple collaborative collages, paintings, and textiles

- was professor of textile design and techniques at the School of Applied Arts in Zurich

- designed the stage sets and marionettes for a 1918 production of Carlo Gozzi's play Il re cervo (König Hirsch/King Stag), adapted by Werner Wolff and René Morax. This was the first performance of its kind to integrate Dada and psychoanalysis

- settled in Strasbourg

- received a commission to decorate The Aubette entertainment complex in the center of Strasbourg (and worked on the project with
her husband and Theo van Doesburg)

- lived in Paris with Arp from 1928 - 1940.

- and Arp were forced to leave Paris for Southern France when World War II broke

- died of accidental gas poisoning in 1943 while she and Arp were in Zurich attempting to obtain passage to the United States.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

11. Historically, a story about people inside impressive buildings ignoring or even taunting people standing outside shouting at them turns out to be a story with an unhappy ending.

13 observations made by Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler) while watching Occupy Wall Street from a Discreet Distance.

(thank-you, P.)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Nonna, Ti Spiego La Crisi Economica

Nonna, You Explain The Economic Crisis.
From Infomare Per Resistere.


The great Peter Berley is giving fall and winter cooking workshops at his home in NY state.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

Get out the cortlands. This is delicious on black magic cake (below) and on applesauce spice cake.

Brown Sugar Icing

This will cover a bundt, double layer, or 9x13-inch cake.

1 cup brown sugar
4 Tablespoons milk
6 Tablespoons butter
1 cup powdered (icing) sugar

Place the brown sugar, milk, and butter in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Once they've melted, bring them to a boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool 5 minutes. Add icing sugar and beat to combine well.

Thanks, Mum.



This weekend we had some birthday festivities for a special little girl who turned 6 (and shares her birthday with this guy). I made a black magic cake with strawberry buttercream icing. The cake recipe is a super simple, quick one that I'd call a never-fail chocolate cake. I quite like the shape of a bundt pan and it bakes perfectly this way but a 9x13 rectangular or two 8-inch circular pans work well too. A favorite icing for this is my Grandma Hanson's brown sugar icing (which I'll post soon) but T. requested "chocolate cake with strawberry icing" so I improvised.

Black Magic Cake

6 ounces high quality dark chocolate
1 cup freshly brewed espresso
2 scant cups organic sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup good quality cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 organic eggs
1 cup buttermilk or sour milk (1 tsp white vinegar plus milk to equal 1 cup)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour the pan or pans

Set the chocolate in a bowl and pour the hot coffee over it, stirring to melt the chocolate. Add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes (the batter will be thin).

Stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the wet ingredients, beating at medium speed for a few minutes.

Pour batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake 30-35 minutes for round pans and 40-60 minutes for a 9x13-inch or bundt pan, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. If using the bundt pan, invert it to cool. If using other pans, cool the cake for 10 minutes; remove it from the pans to wire racks and cool completely.

Strawberry Buttercream Icing

1 cup soft butter
3 cups powdered (icing) sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
3 Tablespoons strawberry preserves (Bonne Maman or St. Dalfour work well)
6 fresh strawberries, diced or julienned
1 cup whipping cream
zest of 1/2 lemon

Beat the butter on medium speed until fluffy. Add the vanilla, preserves, and icing sugar and beat to thoroughly combine. Stir in the fresh strawberries. Whip the cream separately until it forms stiff peaks. Gently fold the whipped cream into the sugar/butter mixture, being careful not to over mix as the dairy will break before you know it. Gently and quickly add the lemon zest and immediately spread the icing over the cake. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

the sweetest

Arbi Lynn.
This is older, and I'm not sure how I missed posting it earlier but here it is in all its glory. What a little lovebug.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

a great loss

Civil Rights leader Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth passed away yesterday at the age of 89. Martin Luther King called him
"one of the nation's most courageous freedom fighters ... a wiry, energetic and indomitable man."

"When others did not have the courage to stand up, speak up and speak out, Fred Shuttlesworth put all he had on the line to end segregation in Birmingham and the state of Alabama. He was beaten with chains, his church was bombed, and he lived under constant threat of physical violence."
- John Lewis

Listen here.

1. in Montgomery, Alabama, 2007
Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, and Rev. Ralph Abernathy at a news conference in Birmingham, Alabama, May 8, 1963

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

a thing

a lovely gravy boat. (another object from Gay's collection).

Monday, October 3, 2011

Polly Jean performed on the Andrew Marr show last week.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

a women's college

The idea of establishing a denominational college for young women in the Anglican Deanery of Bedford was first submitted to the Montreal's Synod in 1873. Following a contest between local municipalities, the overwhelmingly Anglo-Protestant rural village of Dunham won the honors, and six years later the Dunham Ladies' College opened. The total cost of construction was 11,000$. Annual cost for a boarder was 150$. In 1913 a gymnasium and infirmary were added and the college was renamed St. Helen's School.

This was a time when religion held a primary role in the construction of women's social identities: education being a means borrowed by the local and diocesan Anglican elite (lay and ecclesiastical) to promote the new spiritual mandate of the Church and a conservative vision of social organization. This elite male population intended the college to be an oasis of peace and of purity, the ideal place for young ladies to become gentlewomen. They planned the education of young ladies so as to ensure their becoming conveyances of the values necessary for the implementation of a spiritual Anglican society.

Under the supervision of Ms. Wade from 1911 - 1947, St. Helen's had an exceptional reputation. During the second world war many young English girls were sent to the school to ensure their safety. One of these women was Ms. Grace Elliot, mother of former Prime Minister of Canada Pierre Elliot Trudeau.

The school is now occupied by Youth With A Mission. When I walked by the other day I noticed a lot of mops laid out on the porch to dry.