Thursday, 3 November 2011

This is Halloween

Happy Belated Halloween!

This year I made Black Velvet Ghost Cakes to take to a party over the weekend. It was safe to say we had fun with them... A lot were eaten but as the night progressed many ended up smooshed into faces, crushed in drinks and I still can't get the icing off my heels! Oh well, icing tastes great licked from faces, right? 

I used Nigella's Red Velvet Cake recipe and just subbed the red food colouring with black and blue.
For the ghoooosts I made marshmallow icing and piped the faces on with black icing:

2 egg whites
4 tablespoons of golden syrup
100g caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Put all ingredients expect the vanilla in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Whisk with an electric beater until the icing becomes thick and holds a peak. [This should take around 5 mins]
2. Take the bowl off the heat and add the vanilla. Keep whisking until the meringue mix cools.
3. Pipe onto cakes and add faces :D

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Feed My Memory - Grandma

What 70 something old women would be willing to use a 50 something year old wooden ladder to clean out the gutters from a two story house? Well my Grandma would...  She also owns the cleanest, fattest guinea pig in the world and mistakes quiche for pizza (but that's another story)... however she does - in my opinion - bake the best pies, tarts and cakes. Jam tart with "bobbly bits" of pastry, as we called it as kids, and the thinest lightest pastry made with lard hiding a tart apple filling were my favourites served with custard and whipped cream so thick you could stand a spoon up in it. Nothing will ever compete to my Grandmas apple pie!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

4th and Final Year

So, quite unbelievably I'm now in my fourth and final year of my Fine Art course and working hard towards the Degree Show and, dare i say it, my dissertation. After lots of umming and aaahing I decided to carry on with my 'Food Memories' idea but this year making it a lot more personal to me by concentrating on my own memories instead of other peoples. Almost doing 'food portraits' of sorts by creating portraits of all the important people/moments that are in or have been in my life with the food that strongly connects with my memory of them. 

As well as painting this year I tend to turn some of my images into screen or litho prints, adding text to slightly explain my work, the idea being that this would eventually be turned into an artist book. 
I also have some big plans for the Degree Show next year but more on that later!

First painting of the year - donuts... Still a long way to go but the first few coats are down!

Friday, 7 October 2011

Feed My Memory - Pie And Bovril

The story of the love between Boy, Grandad, pie and football
size - A1. Oil on board

Take Lots With Alcohol

In our first year of uni our flat attempted to make skittles vodka, it was kinda failed at tasting like skittles but it succeeded in getting us pretty drunk... But ever since then I have dreamed of creating different flavours of vodka. Last year for a friends 21st I made mint humbug flavoured vodka and, for my sister's, I made the rhubarb and custard sweets into a flavoured vodka too. They were surprisingly pretty good which was apparent when the mint humbug bottle was passed around various aunties taking swigs straight from the bottle!

It has now become a bit of a tradition and this year for Steven's 22nd I ended up making Chocolate lime flavoured vodka and chocolate lime flavoured macarons inspired by our trip to Paris and chocolate limes being our car sweet of choice.  

 Flavoured Vodka

All you need is:

Bottle of vodka
bag or two of your favourite hard sweets
coffee filters

  1. Crush up the sweets and add into the bottle of vodka (you may need to tip some of the vodka out and into your glass...)
  2. Shake and leave for a month or longer if you can wait!
  3. Filter into a sterilised bottle using the coffee filters ( may need a few attempts to get it nice and clear) 
  4. Enjoy!
Popular flavours - skittles, cola bottle, mint humbug, sherbet lemons, rhubarb and custards, jelly tots, fudge etc etc

Chocolate Lime Vodka
For my sisters birthday I made 'Black and Blue' Vodka. I adapted another Nigella recipe to make blueberry, blackberry and vanilla vodka.

Black and Blue Vodka

Makes enough to fill a 70cl plus 250ml

70cl bottle vodka
300g blackberries
200g blueberries
200g caster sugar
1 vanilla pod

1.5 litre wide necked container or jar
  1. Sterilize the wide necked container and pour in the vodka. Keep the original bottle to pour the vodka in later or use another bottle.
  2. Pour the sugar, fruit and vanilla pod in the jar and seal with the lid. Shake until the sugar dissolves.
  3. Place the jar in a cool, dark place and shake every day for a couple of weeks and once a month thereafter.
  4. After 6-8 weeks strain out the berries and vanilla pod. Then use coffee filters and a funnel to pour the vodka into a sterilised bottle.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Feed My Memory - Grandad

But Why Is The Rum Gone?!

I have a problem... I have to make people cake for their birthdays and for my sisters birthday this year I went a bit mental. I ended up making four different types dessert and a bottle of 'Black and Blue' flavoured vodka. Well with a combo of rum, vodka and cake you can't really go wrong can you!
I also presented her with a painting of party rings, something I remember being a staple at our parties as kids, for her new flat.

For the muffins I adapted a Nigella recipe for Chocolate Banana Muffins, taking out the cocoa powder and replacing with lime zest and adding in a lime rum syrup and buttercream. These muffins added in a bit of sunshine into a pretty miserable summer weatherwise.

Rum Banana Muffins with Rum Lime Buttercream
adapted from Nigellas Chocolate Banana Muffin recipe

  • 3 very ripe or overripe bananas
  • 125ml vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g soft light brown sugar
  • 230g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • zest of 2 limes
  • 1 x 12-bun muffin tin
  • 140g soft butter
  • 280g icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp rum
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • grated lime zest for decorating
Serves: Makes 12

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6 and line a muffin tin with papers.
  2. Mash the bananas then beat in the oil followed by the eggs, lime zest and sugar.
  3. Mix the flour and bicarb together and add this mixture, beating gently, to the banana mixture, then spoon it into the prepared papers.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 15–20 minutes.. Allow to cool slightly in their tin before removing to a wire rack.
  5. Make a lime rum syrup by combining the juice of a lime, 2 tablespoons of rum and 3tbps of sugar in a pan. Boil until slightly syrupy and spoon over the muffins
  6. For the icing beat all the ingredients together until light and fluffy. Spread or pipe onto the muffins and sprinkle with the lime zest.


Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Feed My Memory

After a year of not really knowing what to do in Art School and wondering if I should even be on the course at all, I finally found my way. I simplified things and decided to do what I love and just paint. And not give in the the pressure to come up with something crazy and new. I'm happy doing just a plain old painting but then came the decision of what to actually paint... After talking to a lot of people I thought to combine my two loves in life painting and, of course, food.

"In many cases the taste or smell of a sweet, a cake, or an entire meal is capable of painting a picture with richer, deeper brushstrokes than any snapshot in their photo album" 

this thought provoking statement comes from food writer Nigel Slater. Slater has been a great source of inspiration for me, in particular his stunning memoir, Toast: A Story of a Boy's Hunger. It is a beautiful piece of writing that describes his life through his memories of of food. It is true that the taste, smell and sight of certain food can trigger deep memories from your past. It is amazing how something so simple as food can transport you back to an event with such clarity. I also find it fascinating thats the same food can conjure up different memories to people. Our lives are full of emotion and food in particular can unlock deep memories and experiences from the past. 

I decided to find out peoples' personal memories connected with certain foods and turn them into black and white paintings. The black and white representing the idea of memories lost.

I got some amazing responses, some of which I turned into paintings. 

From:Gordon RobertsonMonday - November 15, 2010 2:45 PM
To:Emily Inns

food memories


Thick lumpy custard.

As a schoolboy in the 1960s, to avoid the horrors of school dinners, I cycled a few miles home for lunch.
My father also came home from work for lunch. We would often have soup, main course and dessert.
Dessert was invariably custard. Runny custard I did not have a problem with, but my father's preference
was for a consistency you could cut with a knife. I subsequently struggled to cycle back to school.

As a result, to this day, I loathe thick, lumpy custard . . .


ps on the other hand, my mother's mice and tatties were to die for!


My Final Display in 3rd Year

A bit of colour made it there too!

"It is true to say that memory triggers are as varied as the lives of those who seek to evoke them"
Nigel Slater

Many of the memories that I received from people were to do with negative experiences for example certain sweets were associated with going to the dentist, Heinz tomato soup came up a lot too and my own bad food experience of being forced to eat pilchards as my Grandma thought it was tuna has put me off tuna for life!

What're your food memories?


What's Somebody Like You Doing In A Place Like This?

Black and White paintings that were part of my 3rd final project
'Food Memories'
So, its my final year studying Fine Art at Duncan of Jordanstone so I thought I'd better start this blog finally after years of talking about it. I specialise in black and white oil paintings mainly depicting food... I have a slight obsession with cooking and baking so why not bring this into my work as an artist, eh!

We will see how long I keep this up for...