Archive for June, 2009


It was my mother’s birthday the other day, and we had a small friend over for a play, so leaving the house was not easy.

She was coming for dinner and there must be a birthday cake – don’t you think?

Personally any excuse for a cake is fine by me, but, I didn’t have any butter.

After scouring a few too many cookbooks, I found a recipe for a magnificent cake that uses oil instead of butter – so with a few tweaks and alterations, here is:

Cupboard Cake


You will need:

  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 3 eggs (separated)
  • 1 + 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (any oil will do)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • Grated zest of 1 or 2 lemons

With sparkling clean beaters beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks.

In a separate bowl beat together 3 egg yolks, vanilla essence, sugar, oil and grated lemon zest.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt (I have to be honest and say I just threw it all in the sieve and went from there).

Gradually add the flour mix and the water, one after the other.  Bit of flour, bit of water, stir with a wooden spoon, bit of flour, bit of water, stir until all is mixed in.

Add the egg whites – one spoonful first to loosen the mix, then fold in the rest.

Bake in an oiled 30cm cake tin for 1 hour at 160 degrees.  Cake is cooked when a skewer comes out clean.

I iced this cake with some cream cheese frosting that I had in the freezer, which I probably made with cream cheese, icing sugar and a bit of butter – beaten until well combined, but I couldn’t tell you actual quantities of any of that.  It would be just as good with a plain sugar icing made with lemon juice and lemon zest sprinkled over the top.


Such a good cake.  Light and moist and just a touch lemony.


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branching out


Sometimes a bit of clarity takes all the fun out of it.


Sometimes appreciating the pace while distancing oneself can be a beautiful thing.


and provide flashes of insight that can be a pleasant diversion in themselves.


I love trees and the transient and monumental life that they lead – without any need for recognition or search for meaning of any kind.

They come, they breathe, they take they give.  They leave.  Another comes.  And they probably are not even aware of us rushing past.

Which is why I paint them.  It’s a great lesson in life I think, the stillness and yielding of trees….

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gathering shadows


I’ve been watching the ground again.  And walls.

Watching shadows cast and animated.  Edges, corners, tendrils.

Gathering images and thoughts in preparation.  Discussing possibilities and laughing a lot, and slacking off when I should have been working.  Tending to a sick child and enjoying the quiet and planning.

For another solo.

Which will open in the last week of August this year (date yet to be confirmed) and will be predominantly shadow works.  I am very excited to be given the opportunity to explore these works further.  I’m nervous about a whole show of this kind, and reminding myself that I always overdo it in quantity of works on show.

I’m thinking less works, more evenly spaced.  And feeling quite excited about seeing them hung together in a bright, white gallery.

I’m also excited about a group show at 775 to follow in October, and the opportunity to present smaller works – probably mostly landscapes in that fabulous warm space.

So watch this space, I’ll be busy. 🙂

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Wake up.

Cuddle children, check emails, open Twitter.

The story unfolds that Michael Jackson has taken an overdose of sleeping pills and may be dead.

Await update, search internet for more info.

Update and links subsequently confirm that he has indeed been pronounced dead.

And that Jeff Goldblum fell to his death in the early hours of this morning while filming in New Zealand.  *(since proven to be false rumor)

And that Farrah Fawcett has lost her battle with cancer and passed away overnight.

Three celebrity deaths that could not have been more different.  Once natural, one intentional and one accidental.  What a threesome. 😦

Celebrity death affects us in a very personal way, for very self-absorbed but natural and human reasons.  We are still here.  Nobody we really knew has gone and yet we are affected by loss, the reminder of the transience of life and the reality that we are still here but may  not be here forever.

For  me – it feels like a shuffling up the ladder.  Everybody move one step forward.

When Michael Hutchence died I was grief-stricken.  When Princess Diana died, I was in shock, when it is someone older who has lived a life fully it is slightly more palatable but still surprising.  Surprising to be reminded that in a second life can change for any of us.

Today is a day for enjoying the sunshine on your face, telling people you love them and having that piece of chocolate cake…

* edited to add – the Jeff Goldblum thing is apparently a hoax.  Nice to know he is a live and well.  The internet can be a dangerous thing can’t it…..

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I realised the other day that most of the recipes I have been posting have had tomato in them.  I love tomato, but that’s not all we eat….

On Saturday night we had Moroccan roasted vegetables, orange cous cous and caramelised roast pumpkin.  Mmmm

Moroccan Roasted Vegetables

  • 1 eggplant – peeled and diced
  • 2 zucchini – diced
  • 2 red onions – cut into wedges
  • 2 carrots – sliced
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 8 garlic cloves – whole in their skins
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil (or more if it is cooking a bit dry)
  • A sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons of Moroccan Spice

Toss all ingredients into a large baking dish and cook in a low/moderate oven (160 degrees at our house) for about 2 hours, stirring every so often to mix it all up and ensure the eggplant in particular is getting done on all sides.  You may need to add more oil as you go if it is looking too dry – it’s a bit hard to judge how much oil the eggplant will need.  It soaks it up and gives a lot  back towards the end.

The final dish should be soft and flavourful.  If the eggplant is cooked it is all cooked.  Nothing worse than undercooked eggplant….

Orange cous cous

  • 2 cups of cous cous
  • 2 cups of boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon stock powder (chicken or vegetable)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup of currants
  • 1 orange (freshly squeezed)

Put the currants in a saucepan and cover with the boiling water.  Simmer for 2 mins then add the stock powder and salt.  Turn off the heat and add the cous cous.  Stir thoroughly then put the lid on tightly and leave it for 5  minutes.

Then add the juice of the orange and toss lightly with a fork.  Leave for another minute to absorb the juice.  If it is looking too dry you may want to add another splash of boiling water but don’t overdo it.

Toss the pine nuts in and put in a serving bowl.


Caramelised roast pumpkin

  • 1/2 butternut pumpkin sliced about 1cm thick – leave skin on
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • pinch or two of salt
  • splash of olive oil

Splash some oil onto a baking tray and lay your pumpkin pieces one side down, turn so that both sides get a coating of oil.

Sprinkle the salt and sugar over one side and put into a low/moderate oven for about 1/2 hour, turn over and cook for about another hour.

Sometimes they cook faster than others – depending on the heat of the oven, crowding of the tray and the thickness of the pumpkin.

Good hot or cold and even in a sandwich.

This was a very good dinner.  Small girl-child was not keen on the roasted vegies but was positively greedy with the pumpkin.  Son scoffed everything and asked for seconds. This combo will certainly be on regular rotation.  Delish!

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the occupation of self


The queen of all she surveys.  oil on linen, 51cm x 51cm, 2009.

I have to be honest and say that sometimes it feels like I am not quite the one who is in charge with my paintings.

It’s coming from my head.  It is coming from my hands, but it often feels like it is coming through me more and more often, which is – I suspect as it should be.  Reaching a level of ease with the production where you can just get out of the way and let it happen.

This should be a blissful state, but life being what it is, and busy and scattered being my normal state of being with 2 smallish children, I am unable, often enough for my liking to stand in front of an open canvas and just get on with it.

Painting time is furtive, selfishly guarded, blissful, anxious and necessary, and there is a tiny bit of me that says every so often.  Did you do that?  And I worry, every so often, that the muse who is inhabiting presently will go on her merry way and stop painting through me,  leaving me high and dry.

Which is just the point isn’t it.  We are all constantly evolving.  So any subsequent self that presents is the next logical step in the process of being who we are meant to be.

A tiny bit of me is excited about having them both at school next year to explore with more freedom, but mostly I am excited about what will emerge once I can properly indulge my passion for the paint without having to go without sleep.

I’m feeling the urge to produce lots of work.  Yeehar! 🙂

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Have a look at this!

I have seen these works grow, marvelled at the detail and amount of work that has gone into them and the imagination that it has taken, so it was a thrill to finally see them delivered to Pivotal Gallery and to be at the opening last Wednesday night.


Go Daniel. 🙂

Go see!

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