"Visualize your dreams" .... I read those words a few years ago .... visualize, dreams ... words that did not make too much sense to me at that time. Our upbringing, the society we grow up in, the family environment puts such an imprint on the way we think, feel, assess reality.
I'm sure that years ago when the members of "Paint 5" painting group started to paint for the first time ... exhibiting at the Hop Gallery in Lewes was ... a dream ... something to be desired. Today I've had the joy of visiting the exhibition that started on June 22nd and it really made me feel good especially because I had the joy of meeting 2 of the artists ....Kate Penoyre and Sheila Marlborough. As an artist in a small community one comes across names of other artists, sees their work in various exhibitions but it might take years to meet them in person. This is why I really like exhibitions where the artists are required to steward .... the whole experience of visiting an exhibition changes, it's richer, more memorable and sometimes ... it translates into friendships.
I know that ... because it happened to me.
One last thing ... given our strange summer, where rain is the name of the game, one needs uplifting colours as much as possible ... this exhibition definitely gives you, the viewer, the gift of colours and atmosphere.
The exhibiting artists are ... Angela Perrin, Lesley Robertshaw, Kate Penoyre, Sheila Marlborough, Sue Barnes.
Anyway my darlings ... the exhibition ends on July 4th so there is still time ..... :) While in Lewes don't forget to visit Buttercup Cafe. It is a delightful, quirky place with divine cakes, delicious, creative lunches cooked almost in front of you. And ... the place is full of ... colour :)
Cooking ... is it always a pleasure for you? I have to confess ... it's not always for me. And I honestly don't like to feel as if cooking is a MUST DO, HAVE TO, SHOULD DO. Because I really love cooking .... when i'm in a creative, relaxed, joyful, playful mood.
I could feel that it was going to be such a day today from early morning :) when I watched (while having breakfast) "Rick Stein in India" a lovely TV program you could watch on line on BBC.
For me cooking Indian food is really an intuitive process ... very similar to the intuitive painting process i'm so in love with. Maybe because of the variety of spices one uses, the quantities that are so up to you, the colours and smells, the ingredients one can replace and adjust according to what you have in the fridge. Actually Indian food invites you to experiment and ... it invites you to send the perfectionist within for a walk, or a drive :)
What I cooked today and absolutely enjoyed - the process and the taste is:
Aubergine in a creamy cashew sauce and Punjabi yogurt and dumpling kadhi
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 1/2 tbsp sesame seeds
4tbsp desiccated coconut
6-7 lightly roasted tbsp of cashew nuts or peanuts
5 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion chopped
1 tsp grated ginger
3/4 tsp mustard seeds
3/4 tsp cumin seeds
3/4 tsp nigella seeds
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
450g aubergines (cut them in little cubes)
salt to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/3 tsp chilli powder
1 tbsp sugar
1 1/4 tsp tamarind paste
In a small pan roast the coriander seeds. Pour into a mortar and crush it. Add the sesame seeds and coconut to the pan and dry roast them. Add to the coriander seeds. Toast the nuts in the same way. Add the nuts in the coconut and the coriander and whizz in a spice grinder.
Heat half the oil in a saucepan. Add the onion and once it is soft and colouring on the edges add the ginger. Once the onions are a lovely brown spoon the whole lot in a blender and add 150 ml water. Blend until smooth.
Pour the remaining oil into the pan and add the remaining while spices. Once the fenugreek seeds have browned, add the aubergines, give them a good stir in the oil and pour in the onion paste with 350 ml water, the salt, turmeric, chilli powder and sugar. Bring to a boil, cover and cook gently for 30 minutes, or until the aubergine is soft. The sauce should be like double cream.
Add the tamarind and adjust the seasoning and sugar to taste and serve sprinkled with chopped coriander.
Punjabi yogurt and dumpling kadhi
I had such a great time cooking today really. The secret ingredient was ... love, passion ... and the food really tasted divine!
Just one more thing ... when I cook i just love to watch a movie on the background or listen to some music. Today, I watched ... "While you were sleeping" with Sandra Bullock.
Here is the second dish. Really divine. Next time I will cook some rice as well. It goes perfectly with it!
Ingredients for the dumplings
80g gram flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1.2 onion finely sliced
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
For the curry
35 g gram flour
200 g plain yogurt
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
3/4 tsp mustard seeds
3/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 onion finely sliced
7g fresh root ginger
2 small garlic cloves
8 curry leaves
1 dried chillies
1/3 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
1 tomato cut into 8 pieces
salt to taste
1-2 tbsp lemon juice
fresh coriander chopped
Mix together all the ingredients for the dumplings adding 3-4 tbsp water or enough to make a thick, clinging paste. Set aside ... the onions will soften as they stand. For the curry, stir the gram flour and yogurt until it is lump-free. Gradually add 700ml water to make a smooth paste.
Heat the 2 tbsp oil in a large non stick saucepan. Add the whole spices and one the light seeds have browned well, the onion, ginger, garlic, curry leaves and while dried chillies or chili powder. Saute genlty until the onions have softened. Add the yogurt mix and bring to a boil, stirring constantly to ensure it doesn't split. Add the powdered spices and tomato, stir well for 5 minutes, simmer for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile pour enough oil into a small medium saucepan and heat until it is a moderate temperature for deep frying. A drop of dumpling batter dropped in should sizzle immediately. Make small walnut sized balls out of the dumpling mixture and add each to the oil. Fry for 8 minutes, turning them in the oil. Drain on kitchen paper.
Once the curry is cooked, add the dumplings. The curry should have a consistency between single and double cream. Mine was more of a milky consistency and it was still lovely.
Add lemon, coriander and chillies.
Enjoy and remember .... if you are not in the mood for cooking ... don't ... make an omlete, grab a sandwich ... wait until the passion for cooking comes back to you.
"The key to transformation is to make friends with this moment. What form it takes doesn't matter. Say yes to it. Allow it. Be with it." Eckhart Tolle
The story of an intuitive painting workshop
If you watch TV, read newspapers, magazines, go to the cinema and to the malls you are definitely subjected to tons and tons of messages telling you to buy, try, things that are going to help you CHANGE the way you look, the way you are ... quickly ......... very quickly ....... they are going to make you BE PERFECT.
It is really the same with painting ... how many of you have been told that ... you are useless at painting, drawing, writing, sculpting ... and never had the courage to try anything creative because ... those words are still imprinted in your mind ...
If only those people (teachers, friends, parents, siblings) knew how much goodness they prevented you from tasting, experiencing, living .....
The best thing is that .... you can reconnect with your creative side right now ... with intuitive painting. Why? Because intuitive painting is not about the perfect line, perfect landscape, perfect portrait, perfect abstract whatever perfect might mean.
Intuitive painting helps you express your emotions freely, through art .. in this very moment.
This is actually what has happened yesterday during the Intuitive painting workshop I've facilitated in Kemptown in Brighton.
The location is absolutely perfect for such workshops ... quirky, earthy, surrounded by a wild garden.... an oasis of non-perfectionism :) I'm planning to use this space again in the future that's for sure!
I don' know about you but this week has been quite challenging health wise. Most of the time emotional turmoil is the trigger for all sorts of inbalances at the cellular level and bingo .... it manifests in health issues.
Sometimes moments like this remind one that body, mind and soul are interconnected and neglecting one in favour of another is not the recipe for a balanced and thriving life. Let's say I was reminded of that ... and changes need to happen.
One way of bringing more joy to my life is writing. Another one is walking .... another one .... painting ... intuitively! The other day I found a beautiful quote .... one that came to my mind while painting ealier today ....
" I have faith in the future I cannot see"
Actually it is the same with an intuitive painting .... one needs to have faith that the next step and the next one .. will be OK ... having faith in the process is essential! Enjoying the process is a must :)
Here is a step by step process of a painting I will call .... Summer Solstice and the friendly elf!
"When you do not use art as a means to an end, but as a way to inhabit and explore the present, you reclaim your sense of what is authentic in you." - from "Life, Paint and Passion" by Michelle Cassou
It is definitely why I'm sort of hooked on exploring intuitive painting again and again. What I also found is that through intuitive painting my imagination expands and the appreciation of life deepens. It doesn't matter if you are an experienced painter or just a beginner. Everybody can learn to discover parts of their soul that they've never known! It's a journey of self discovery my darlings ....it's adventure as well .... just like Jules Verne books.
Here is a project from beginning to end ... you will see that i had no idea what was going to happen on the page but just went with the flow ...
A bit earlier today, while experimenting with new mono printing techniques .... the combination of shapes and colours suddenly made me think about a very delicate movie called Fairy tale: A true story .... about fairies and gardens and children. If you haven't seen the movie do watch it. It's really lovely and uplifting.
Flowers, bushes, trees are lovely places for the fairies to play and bring their magic to and Brits are very passionate about their gardens, very passionate about creating a lovely ecosystem where soil, birds, plants, people co exist and thrive. And many - like me - BELIEVE that there are loving, caring fairies among the leaves and the rocks and the flowers.
On the rare and oh so appreciated sunny days there is nothing more relaxing then a good book, a cup of coffee, a garden chair and the joy of noticing the flowers which are in season.
It took me 6 years to appreciate the blessings of a garden, the pleasure of sitting outside even if one has an extra jumper on ones shoulder ... the pleasure of hearing the wind pushing through the branches of the birch tree, the rhododendrons, the bay trees, the one and only olive tree ...... the roses, the blackberries ... a small garden teaches one to slow down and appreciate the changes in seasons, changes in life.
Before diving into the story of the almond bread ... take a moment to think about what you are grafeful for today. Just ... take a break and think about the first 3 things that come to your mind. And find 3 more. So many times we go through the days with a dark cloud hanging on top of our heads ..... in a "mist" of things that we HAVE, MUST, SHOULD do ... and we miss the things that we WANT, WOULD LIKE TO, ARE HAPPY TO ... do and experience. Or better said ... we just stop even noticing the good things because of the ... cloud.
Lovely Elke chopping 2 handful of almonds
For me ... the almond bread that my friend Anna taught me and Elke how to make is one such moment that i am very grateful for. (Anna, Elke and myself ... are leading monthly events in Eastbourne, called Awareness Spa Miniretreats).
Anna .. ready to share her talent with us ... as always .. smiling, smiling!
So, we are talking about bread ... something my grandmothers surely were baking every day following old and well tested recipes ... in clay stoves ... in the middle of nowhere, in tiny, tiny villages so far away from where I am now. Today, I felt somehow connected to them ... in a loving exchange of cooking joy.
But it's time to share with you the ingredients:
500 g plain flower
a pinch of salt
70 g almond powder and 2 handful of almonds (to be chopped)
300 ml almond milk
2Tbsp baking powder
Pour the almond milk in the plain flower. Add chopped almonds, powder almonds, salt and baking powder
You are almost there really!
Mix it nicely! :)
Now it's time to add a bit of love and positive vibes. My grandmother used to say that love is the main ingredient when you cook ... and without it .. the food is not that tasty. So ...
Baking tray, baking paper ... create the shape of a bread out of the dough and make a cut in the middle!
Heat up the stove up to 220 degrees and ... there you are .. time to put the bread in the oven, pour yourself a glass of Cava, grab a holiday book (i'm reading now a novel by Barbara Nadel) and ....yes put your feet up for the next 30-35 minutes.
And ...... voila! Ready!
Ready to eat!
Given that the bread has no preservatives it needs to be consumed in 2 days or .. you can cut it in slides and put some in the freezer.
Hmm what else can I say other then it was lovely to share the bread and the plum jam with friends.....the taste was divine, plenty of giggles and lots of creative moments. (i'll share with you how this special jam from the Plum Village in France came to us via Anna in a different entry)