Monday, 24 March 2014

been making: fondant icing roses

You know that epiphany moment when you suddenly look at something that you previously thought was impossible in a completely different way and instantly realise that it's probably one of the easiest things in the world?  Yep, well I had that today with fondant icing roses.  I saw someone's handmade cake and there it was, all plotted out in my head.  I'm quite pleased with my first effort. It's easily the most peasy thing to make ever.

1. Make a 3D tear drop shape out of some fondant icing
2. Roll out a  thin, flat circle about the same circumference as the tear drop
3. Wrap the circle around the top of  tear drop
4. Make another six or so thin, flat circles.  These will be the petals.
5. In turn wrap each petal around the base of the tear drop, overlapping the petals
6. Curl the tips of the petals outwards
7. Done and done, you should have a rose!

Saturday, 22 March 2014

been seeing: riverrun

Riverrun (The Shed, 19th March) is an extraordinary experience. It starts with Olwen Fouere silent and barefoot walking to the microphone and then begin the words; the voice of the river in James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake. It's so sudden it takes a couple of minutes to adapt to the language but then without noticing you find yourself immersed. Fouere gives a body to Joyce's language, her interpretation feels powerful, natural and above all authentic. It's a testament in itself that she is able to bring emotion and understanding to a text that is almost exclusively regarded as academic. It's an exhilarating 60 minutes that passes by in a flash.

Friday, 21 March 2014

baking: Odlums White Soda Bread

OK, so, I'm cheating massively here.  I was in the supermarket yesterday buying spaghetti which for some reason is right beside the Irish aisle and I saw a packet of Odlums soda bread mix.  A short background: there used to be an Odlums mill in the little town my family are from and my grandmother worked as a nurse to the Odlum family's children, so I have a slight interest in them. Added to my new interest in making soda bread, it's almost like I was fated to see this.  Or at least that's my justification for making a 'just add milk' soda bread.  All in all, it was yummy, but still not as yummy as my Nanny Patty's soda bread.

Thursday, 20 March 2014


Head over to my Flickr page for a print giveaway.  I'm giving away one print to three people, just comment with a link to the print you would like to win.  I'll pick names from a hat on the 1st April.  


Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Wedding Flowers

The other day as I walked through the train station, I caught through the corner of my eye, a bunch of red roses and gypsophila, similar to the bouquet my mum had at her wedding over 30 years ago. Obviously I snapped them up.  There's something beautifully old fashioned about such a simple bouquet.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Happy St Patrick's Day!

At the St Patrick's Day Parade in London yesterday I was probably the only person not wearing green, other than the beautiful Newbridge Claddagh ring my mum gave me.  So tonight I'm going all out and painting my nails like the flag - incredibly I already had all the colours, which was a happy surprise.

Nail polishes: white, yellow, green
Ring: Newbridge

Saturday, 15 March 2014

been seeing: Single White Slut

Tim Key is the master of deliciously unsettling comedy. Glib musings follow unexpectedly moving observations and an occasional audience rebuke.  Yet it is all, somehow, balanced in perfect harmony. Single White Slut (Arcola Tent, 10th March) was slightly different. Perhaps sitting in the round didn't quite suit the schtick or maybe it was the audience participation often stunting the show rather than adding to it; while trying to keep up with Key's nonchalance any audience offerings came off as rude rather than funny.  Whatever it was, the show felt more drawn out and less slick than previous years. The jokes are all still funny and the stories are still smart and cringingly brilliant but there was something about it that felt less exciting than previous shows. Still, there's nobody else out there that comes close.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

been baking: Brown Soda Bread

This is my first foray into the world of bread making.  I thought soda bread would be a good start; it's quick (no proving) and uses minimal ingredients.  Plus, I love it.  My Nanny Patty made the best soda bread and my version fell nowhere near hers; I'm not entirely sure why but at guess I'd say I should have used more salt.  I've also seen some recipes online that use porridge oats so perhaps I'll try that next time to give it a chewier, crumblier texture.  But for this one I used my mum's old Irish school book recipe.

The Bread
250g plain flour
250g wholemeal flour
300ml buttermilk
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt

Sieve the plain flour, wholemeal flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl and mix together. Create a well in the centre of the mix and add the buttermilk, mix with a wooden spoon until you have a soft dough.

Lightly flour a surface and kneed the dough until the bottom looks smooth, then roll the dough into a ball shape and flatten slightly.  Score a cross through the top and bake for 40 minutes or so until the bread is completely brown and sounds hollow when your tap the bottom.

I think it's best eaten warm with nothing but proper melted butter.  Nom.

Monday, 10 March 2014

been seeing: A Taste of Honey, Analog.Ue

I had a complete internet meltdown recently (literally, I think the wires melted or something) so I'm a bit late with my round-up.  Mercifully I've only seen a couple of things in the past two weeks so there's not much catching up to do.  First up is A Taste of Honey (Lytteton, 21st February) which is arguably now mostly known for being a huge reference point for Morrissey and, I confess, the reason I wanted to see it.  Time has eroded its shock value but what stops it from falling into an outdated period piece is the remaining, sometimes poignant, portrait of the relationship between mother and daughter.  They are a frenzy of contradictory emotions; bitter, flippant, self-deprecating, serious, dependent, disappointed and under it all, really just wanting more for and from each other.   

Analog.Ue (Lyttelton, 26th Febuary) is Daniel Kitson's return to the National Theatre.  There are clear shades of Beckett, in particular Krapp's Last Tape; 46 tapes spinning fragments of a yarn.  It's an ode to memory, loss and old recording machines.  But it's also about storytelling, about how we piece tales together from remnants of our past and how they live on in into the future, the bits that are kept and the bits that are scrapped.  It's great but to explain it any more than that would be spoiling it.  

Sunday, 9 March 2014

been playing: Taxidermy Late at the Horniman Museum

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Last week we went along to the Horniman's Taxidermy late where they has short films in the greenhouse, exhibition talks, a fantastic taxidermy photobooth and live demonstrations .  I finally got to see the walrus standing proudly on his new iceberg and spent most of the evening with a Mojito in one hand and stuffed animal in the other.

Horniman Museum

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Happy International Women's Day!

This day two years ago I was in Ljubljana wondering why so many people in the city were holding flowers; almost every girl had one.  Later we visited the flower market to ask someone and found out that it is traditional in Slovenia to give every girl a flower to celebrate International Women's Day.