30 January 2011

The Chair Project part 1

On Monday evenings I meet up with a group of fellow ceramist to play with clay. We are all experienced ceramist, but like to meet and be challenged so we still have a teacher, who comes in every 3 weeks or so. Usually we pick a few group projects but are otherwise free to do what we want. We make some excursions every year to any ceramic related event that has our fancy. I like it a lot and it draws one out of ones comfort zone, it's nice to see what other do and how different they work.

This season we are working towards a group exhibition in September of this year. Last summer we picked the theme and since September last year we have been working on it. We chose to buy the same chair and do something with it. This is the chair:
Some make a ceramic cushion for it, another turned it into a chessboard, someone will cover it with little ceramic beetles or ceramic figures of men, some are turning in into an abstract work of art. And me?
I'm turning it into a little world, a scene, a Tim Burton inspired landscape. The last only happened when I was already working on it. I quickly had the idea of a rabbit sitting on the edge, but why was it there, a rabbit alone was too easy. Than I imagined the slats to be rows in a garden with vegetables, carrots in this case. And than it just kept on growing. I got all these elements so far:

The dark clay still has to be fired and some bits of paper are stuck in the clay they will be gone after firing. 

Here ends part 1 of the Chair Project, see what other elements where added and how they will be assembled in the upcoming blogs about this project. The final blog will reveal all 10 or so chairs.

22 January 2011

Sweet Saturday - Bread Pudding

Do you have bread left over or do you have chickens to feed it too? I keep ours and take it my parents for the chickens. But now I had so much I thought I might use some of it to make a fairly traditional Belgium dish: bread pudding. I made my own variation, the basic version is with bread, milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon and raisins. This is my version:

  • 350 gr of stale bread
  • 3 eggs
  •  0,5 litre milk
  • cherries (bottle of 370ml from the supermarket, drained)
  • 120 gr of dark brown sugar
  • 2 slices of gingerbread
  • some vanilla essence or sugar
  • cinnamon, teaspoon
  • chocolate buttons, handful
Preheat the fan oven to 160°C and tear the bread in smaller bits. Butter a baking tin or glass bowl.
Bring the milk to boil and add the bread. Take from the heat and add sugar, eggs, cinnamon, vanilla and stir. Add the diced gingerbread, cherries and stir, add the chocolate buttons at the very last, quick stir and poor into the bowl or tin. bake for 50 minutes.


17 January 2011

Monday Mood

The Third Monday of January is supposed to be the most depressing in the year, 
if you want to know why, read it here
I actually woke up feeling there was a little black cloud looming over my head. 
To quickly erase this feeling I decided to give a "BLEUMONDAY" discount of 25% in my etsy shop today.  
Also made myself a cheery blue Monday Moodboard.

Scarf by Manon Knits
Painting by Jaime Best
Owl print by Box 64 Studios
Bag by Arva available in the Europe for Charity Shop

14 January 2011

Shipping on the border of Belgium and the Netherlands

Everyone want to keep their shipping costs as low as possible and to help myself I have made an overview of the shipping options for someone like me, living in Belgium but the Dutch border is close. Belgium post Bpost gives more divisions in weight, Dutch post TNT in regions, so I kept it as compact as possible allowing for these differences. A general trend is usually easily spotted. Why are my shipping rates not as per these tables? Well I round off the amounts and allow a little for handling too.

Sheet for post that fits through the letterbox, approx max 30mm tick
Sheet for post that does not fit in the letterbox
  • If you want to add (perhaps for those living near Belgium, Netherlands and Germany) to this list, just let me know and I'll send you the original files.
  • If I made a mistake in typing or other I'm not responsible!
  • I've indicated track and trace for some shipping options, but you might want to look into that further.
  • I've not looked at insurance, registered and so on, usually these are extra again.
  • Kiala B and DHLforyou NL prices as for service point to servicepoint
  • I've not included http://www.postzegelsmetkorting.nl/ rates but these are -20% from TNT from what they claim.

Happy shipping!

1 January 2011

Sweet Saturday - Baked Mango cheesecake

First of all very best wishes to all of you for 2011, 
enjoy every minute of it in good health, good company and good humour.

Here a recipe for baked mango cheesecake. I love the baked ones much better than the none baked ones. I made it the day before, so it could cool overnight and it was just the perfect dessert to top off 2010, not too heavy, even nice and fresh with raspberry sauce, mango sorbet and fresh mango on the side.
This recipe is the right amount for a 24 cm/9 inch baking tin.

  • 75 gr butter melted
  • 200 gr of digestive biscuits in crumbs
  • 500 gr mascarpone 
  • 500 gr soft cream cheese
  • 150 gr sugar
  • a tin of mango slices
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 mango
  • raspberry sauce
  • mango sorbet
Mix the melted butter and the biscuit crumbs and press firmly into the baking tin. Leave this than to coll for minimum on hour in the fridge.
Drain the mango slices and mix these, you should have about 200ml of mango purée. 
Preheat the oven to 150°C or 130°C if you have a fan oven.
Mix the cream cheese, mascarpone, sugar and mango purée. Beat the eggs and add these too. Pour all on top of the biscuit base and bake for 1,5 hour. 
Leave to cool with the door closed for another hour or the cake will crack. When cool enough put it in the fridge and leave it overnight to cool.

Dress the plates or the cake whatever you prefer with fresh mango and raspberry sauce, some mango sorbet on the side and enjoy!