Sunday, 27 October 2013

Screwing Up Daylight Savings, and Drawing, Finally.

It was daylight savings in the UK yesterday, or this morning, whichever way you want to look at it. That magical time of year where you get to time travel. Sort of.  And it's autumn, which means that it's what's commonly referred to as "the good one". Yes, that's an extra hour in bed, or if you're me over the past few years it's an extra hour to utilise in some way, either by working, or as I believe I did last year, drinking. Can't really remember... 

But this time, following a week of not sleeping very well, I decided to do the traditional thing and sleep through it. Turns out that daylight savings - "the good one", anyway - is the worst night to have insomnia. It's also a bad night to briefly forget it's daylight savings, and in your sleeplessness-induced delirium, get really confused when your phone clock swings back an hour, and wonder if you actually are asleep and dreamed the whole thing. Because it's incredibly disappointing to realise you aren't asleep, and that you have to spend the same hour staring blankly at the ceiling all over again. Time travel has never been less exciting. 

In the end I got around two hours sleep, which means I felt like the underside of a foot this morning, but which I have been using as an excuse to eat as many Ginger Nuts as humanly possible. I've eaten about 6 while writing this so far, and am riding high on a wave of fiery adrenaline.

And strangely, since I'm so annoyed with myself for wasting all those hours, I've been unusually productive today. Which brings me to the drawing...

I studied illustration at university, but for various reasons I've not really drawn since then. Certainly nothing for the pure joy of it. I fell out of love with it, and forgot how cathartic and wonderful it can be simply putting pencil to paper, when nobody is going to critique your work for being too girly and tell you to do a lino print or something instead. Because it is girly, and I'm not ashamed of it, Brian and Howard.

[I've had to physically move the Ginger Nuts away now]

But recently I've been encouraged to draw again, and so I donned my (figurative) beret and stuck an A1 piece of paper on my wall and just drew.

Apologies for the poor quality -it was in a room where the only light is artificial and the only camera is an iPhone one!
I like drawing girls. Always have. I think it's the possibility for prettiness. During uni in my spare time I worked hard trying to get the male face down when drawing from mind, but I couldn't get it to work in my style. Maybe I didn't try hard enough. From life, fine, from mind, ridiculous. Anyway clearly this was a mind drawing, and the biggest I've ever done, and while it's full of errors and I now really don't like it, I enjoyed it so much. It was to the point where I was at work, itching to get home to work on it. But as I say, errors. And the eyes of a heavy drug user. So I decided to draw another, using a model to get my features and proportions technically correct. And being alone in the flat, I used... a mirror.

And I think it's quite clearly me, albeit a fancier version, which is both pleasing and a tad embarrassing. Even though I did make the nose smaller and the jaw line a bit less heavy than in real life! 

I really enjoyed working into the hair of the last pic, and so wanted to do something a bit more... impressive and fun this time, hence the 18th century style powdered wig. Then I figured I could stick a few bits in there, and since it looked like me it seemed silly not to make them personal. I've worked on it a fair bit since I took the above picture, but it's still nowhere near finished. Technically though, I can feel what I learned coming back to me. And I'm having so much fun with it now I know it's not going to be marked. To the point where I feel I can put it on here, because it's just for the joy.
Here are a few little bits I've worked on today. 

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Bye-Bye Bourbon Biscuits

Another cooking post. This isn't turning into an entirely cooking blog - there will be writing and drawing stuff on here too! But as yesterday I realised my ideal job would be running a bookshop/cafĂ©/art gallery, I guess it all makes sense!
I mentioned the other day that I was going to make Chocolate Pumpkin Gingerbread, and I did so, but there were some things that this recipe did not make clear. Firstly, it did not say that you would barely be able to taste the ginger. Gingerbread, my arse. But secondly, and arguably most importantly, it didn't say that  it was the nicest chocolate brownie I would ever eat, ever, and that it would make even bourbons (my old friend) pale into insignificance.
Doesn't look like much, does it? But wait...

Oh yes, the pumpkin makes it just so moist, and dense, and just perfectly chewy. The top even has that great crumbly crunchiness a really good brownie has to have.

In my bourbon biscuit tin; proof if proof were needed that they are my new true love.
And entirely vegan. It's fair to say I was, in a small way, slightly addicted to bourbons before. I could never pass a bourbon by, and if I saw a bourbon in need of eating, I would help it out. I was kind like that. Not now; they've lost their fascination and today I even reached beyond a large pile of them to get a banana. I could almost see my past self screaming and slow motion running towards me.
But it's nice. And so much better for me, and now I have a new dessert to add to my repertoire! I must put my recipe for cheese-less lime and ginger cheese cakes up here at some point. And some drawing and writing stuff. Back on it, y'all.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Soup, Soup, Glorious Soup.

Let's not go into the ins and outs of the past few months, but the long and short of it is that I have ended up with eight cans of pumpkin. I've made sort-of cereal bars with pumpkin before but let's be honest, there is so much more to pumpkin than sort-of cereal bars. I tried out a few recipes (and there are still a few more on the cards as I'm only 5 cans down... such as chocolate pumpkin gingerbread!) but the one which is my favourite and which is standing up to repeated makings is the soup... And as I'm such a giving person, here it is.
Pumpkin, Carrot & Ginger Soup
2 onions, roughly chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2-3 tsps crushed ginger
 In giant pan, sautĂ©.
3kg carrots, roughly chopped
If you don't want to commit brutal ear murder, you may wish to not make the same mistake I did, and instead avoid chopping all those carrots on a glass board. Stick 'em in and cover with approximately...
Yup, that's some fancy Kenco nuzzling some Night Nurse. I have a very small kitchen.
3 litres vegetable stock
Boil until tender.
15oz can of pumpkin
Add. Stir. Pull off the heat and bleeeeeeeeend. I do so love my immersion blender.

Sage, parsley, chives and pepper
(sh!t load. I may have over-peppered mine. If that's even possible.)

And stir. And eat as much as humanly possible. This serves about 12 if you run to normal sized portions, but I tend to run towards 6-8 portions myself. It freezes really well too.
After something of a lull, I'm getting back in to cooking. I started cutting out the dairy and it really rekindled my interest and I've been trying out a lot of new recipes. It's certainly a lot cheaper cooking big pots of stuff, and a hell of a lot healthier! Back on the writing too, and started drawing. Finally, stuff's getting back to normal:)