Monday, August 29, 2011

Dinner at Cote

Tasty tea with M&D at Cote in Guildford. Tomato tart, chicory salad, veal escalope & steak frite with a lovely 'quaffable' fleurie.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Anticurate 4

Another trip down to the MAC for Anticurate 4! This time curated by the lovely ladies of Young at Heart I made it into the exhibition again :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dark cell culture

This image is from this Jstor article

I am reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot at the moment. Its a really interesting book about the most widely used and first human cell line HeLas, and the history of the woman they came from and her family's struggles. Last night I read a section about 'the immortal chicken heart' that was grown by Nobel prize winner, and fairly loopy, Alexis Carrel. He believed that light would stop cell culture from working and so had his lab painted black and the staff wear black lab coats, the only light coming from a sky light, as you can see in the picture. This is fairly hilarious from a modern prospective until I remembered that I did something similar a few years ago. We were getting a glutathione drop in our cells and didn't know why and it was suggested that the flavins in the monamine oxidases were reacting to the fluorecent lighting in the cell culture suite. So I did a few experiments in the dark (3am) and under red light! Of course this wasn't the reason at all, and now also hilarious, but it made me laugh and remember last night while I was reading the book! (The reason for the drop was disolved oxygen in the end).

Latest ceramics - more pebbles, birdhouses and nodes

The kiln was on again last night and I photographed all of the molecular pebbles I have made so far! I also made some more bird houses - one turquoise and one blue & white.

And I have made the first two nodes for the earth network:
1. Birmingham earth + toothpaste lid

and 2. Leicester earth and a button

Friday, August 19, 2011

Orange Meringue Cupcakes

Yesterday I bought a bag or tangerines and they were so sour that I couldn't eat them. So remembering the lemon meringue cupcake I had when we were in Cornwall I thought I try and make some orange meringue cupcakes! Easy peasy - regular cake mix (2 eggs, 100g sugar, 100g butter, 165g flour plus 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and soda each) with a teaspoon of orange essence, 2 tablespoons very tart freshly squeeze tangerine juice and the grated zest of 3 tangerines and a tablespoon of plain yoghurt to loosen it up. I put that in cases and then in the oven (180°C) for 15min until cooked through. I whisked up 4 egg whites til quite stiff and then whisked in 100g sugar. Once that cakes were cooked I popped 1/2 teaspoon of orange curd on the top, then piped on the meringue. Then they went back in the oven for 7min to brown. Very yummy!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

STOP PRESS: The molecular pebbles just made it into Anticurate 3 at MAC! We'll have to pop down to see what the exhibition looks like tomorrow when the opening happens.

More Molecular Pebbles

Here are all the little molecules - now out of the kiln. I was quite impressed I didn't weld anything to the shelves!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Earth Network

I had an idea and I was wondering if anyone would like to help me realise it:

I'd like to make a network that represents the connections between people I know and those that they know and so on. That's nothing new really and is exactly what facebook and its like do.

But what I'd like to do is make the nodes that represent the people out of porcelain and glaze them with an earth/soil sample* from where the person is from, and to impress something into the node to represent that person (for instance a lid from a toothpaste tube, a pebble, a leaf etc etc).

*this would have to be earth or soil and not shop bought compost as that is mostly organic matter and will just burn away rather than impart any mineral conent and potentially colour to the glaze.

They could then be arranged in a number of ways - location, connection by friendship, time of arrival with me  - any of the LATCH principles would be great.

If you'd like to take part please wing me an email/contact me by facebook - I'll need from you a earth/soil sample about the size of quarter of a ping pong/table tennis ball (please make sure its not poo of any kind, that's not funny!!!) and the location it came from, something to impress into the clay, your name and if you want a node for yourself a return address (also if you want your impression material back).

Potting at home

The kiln arrived a little while ago and after a few false starts (and a new printed circuit board) I am up and running! I have put a couple of firings through now - for transfers, a bisque firing and a glaze firing to test out a whole bunch of colours I am trying out. So this week I went a little bit mad and made 20 molecular pebbles, including the 'macromolecular' version at the front right. Even Nick had a go. The shelves they're on here are a new addition to the garage too - good old Ikea!!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Pumkinseed Mole

This was a recipe I found on the Ramekins website way back in 2006 after I got back from Mexico but sadly its not there any more. But I have a print out!! So here we are the nicest mole I can make and its pretty easy.

For the chicken & stock
big pinch of salt
1 small onion chopped
2 chicken breasts

For the sauce
100g pumpkin seeds, freshly toasted (4-5min in the oven at 200C)
large can tomatillos (kindly provided by the laughinggeos in NOLA), drained and rinsed
2 green chillies
5 lettuce leaves
1 shallot, peeled and roughly diced
3 cloves garlic, peeled
3 large sprigs coriander
dash of ground cumin
big pinch of black pepper

Cover the chicken breast and onion in boiling water, add the salt and simmer for 12min until the chicken is cooked. Remove the chicken and slice it. Save the stock - straining out any onioy bits.

Put in a blender all the other ingredients with about 100ml of the saved stock. Blitz and then put into a pan. Bring the sauce to the boil and add the chicken, simmer for 15min and then serve with rice for a super yummy tea!
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