Monday, July 21, 2014

Inspiring Artists | Rebecca Louise Law & Gerda Steiner and Jörg Lenzlinger

 Various works by Rebecca Louise Law

Gerda Steiner and Jörg Lenzlinger's The Falling Garden 2003

Ever since taking a unit in History of Art last semester, my mind has been opened to a whole range of inspiring contemporary artists. I've always been interested in art, and dabble in a bit of watercolour painting every now and then, but I was so oblivious of the amazing work that's out there. Although I wont be continuing with the unit, as it was just an elective, I will forever value the things I gained from partaking in the course, as I now actively seek out artists who never cease to inspire me, captivate my imagination and brighten my life.

Recently I have been particularly obsessed with the magical works by installation artist and florist Rebecca Louise Law and contemporary Swiss artists Gerda Steiner and Jörg Lenzlinger. I'm sure you'll agree, they are breathtakingly beautiful visually. I can just imagine how amazing a sensory experience it would be too, especially with Laws' works, walking into a room that wafts a pleasant and delicate mix of aromas. These truly are fantastical displays.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Back to Basics Baking | Porridge

I never used to be a fan of porridge. For some reason that remains unknown, my stomach had for a long time decided to develop an aversion to specific foods in the morning, namely including anything with dairy or eggs. As a result, deciding what to have for breakfast was a constant battle. I tried to like porridge, I wanted to love it, but it just didn't agree with me for years, so I eventually decided to give up and move on. However, it has only been this past year that I have, miraculously, started to develop an appetite in the morning. While eggs still leave me feeling a little bit queasy, I was delighted to discover that meals containing milk, and specifically porridge, no longer had that effect on me. I have long been a believer that breakfast is the most important part of the day and I was never one to skip breakfast, despite the fact that it made me feel off at times. It's so wonderful now being able to actually enjoy breakfast, and I am now more inspired to cook up different creations every morning; heck, it's the first thing I think of that prompts me to get out of bed!

Now, the reason I was so determined to like porridge way back when it disagreed with me, and the reason why I have been eating it non-stop now, is because it is such a filling breakfast with a generous amount of nutrients to boot. The oats provide a slow release of energy, meaning you will stay fuller for longer. There are also so many additional toppings you can add, meaning you'll never get bored. 

I know that, traditionally, the Scottish recipe insists on nothing more than a mixture made with oats, water and salt for the perfect porridge, but I prefer the more un-traditional recipe with the addition of milk into the mix. I love my porridge to be a tiny bit chewy, fluffy but above all, creamy and relatively wet. Below is my fairly easy recipe for what I deem to be a perfect bowl of porridge that will kick start your day.

Perfect Porridge
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 water
1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp honey (+ extra to serve)
pinch of salt

1. Place the oats, water and milk into a pan. I like to let the mix soak for about 10 minutes before cooking. 
2. Put the pan onto stove on high and occasionally stir mixture as it reaches a boil. 
3. Once the porridge begins to boil, add honey and salt and stir thoroughly. Reduce the heat and let the porridge bubble away for about ten minutes. Stir occasionally so the porridge doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan
4. Once the porridge has reached a desired consistency (for me, still wet but noticeably gloopy) pour into a bowl.
5. Serve with anything your heart desires! My personal favourite toppings, as shown in the picture, are warmed mixed berries, honey and crushed pistachios.