Saturday, 31 July 2010

Happy Stats

The weeks just fly by, I can't believe I'm sitting here again at my desk writing my happy stats. Is it really Sunday morning..........

  • supply shopping with my sister
  • seeing my niece, who's now 7 months and grown so much since I last saw her
  • making lots of desserts
  • my jewelery now on display beside my bowls at mix-art
  • a picture of one of my bowls is used for the advert of ceramic market Lommel (B)

Sweet Saturday

With lovely plums ripe in our garden and lovely lush lavender what else to make than:

Lavender Roasted Plums with Lime Mascarpone

  •  2-3 plums per person depending on size
  • 1 stalk of lavender per person
  • brown sugar
  • amaretto
  • mascarpone 225 gr
  • 1 dessert spoon of icing sugar
  • fine zest of 1-2 limes 

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Halve the plums and thread them onto a lavender stalk. Cover the end with foil else they'll burn. Put on a baking tray and sprinkle with brown sugar and amaretto. 

Place in the oven for 15-20 min, depending on the size of the plum, you want them to hold shape.
Mix the mascarpone with the zest and the icing sugar and cool.
Serve the plums warm with a dot of mascarpone on each halved plum.


Saturday, 24 July 2010

Happy Stats

This week was another nice week, with lots of sunny weather. Time just flew again. Bought lots of nice things (or so I hope; they still have to arrive) on etsy and the internet, presents for friends and myself too :-)

But these things made me most happy this week:
  • Seeing the kittens discover the world
  • Firing a kiln and making more jewelry
  • Went to a circus/dance act by Feria Musica with friends, which was nice and bit strange too
  • The lost pigeon who landed in our garden was reunited with it's owner
  • Making Banoffi Pie for the first time
  • Trying out mattresses in the shops, was a weird sensation to lie on a slow foam mattress

Sweet Saturday

Banoffi Pie

The first time I tasted this dessert was in Ireland. I lived there for 3 years and Banoffi Pie is one of the things I will always associate with my time there. Whenever I go back and I see Banoffi Pie on the menu I get one.

This is the first time I made it myself at home. I found the original recipe here: Sometimes you find it spelled Banoffy or very often Banoffee (I guess the bananas and toffee (or coffee) in the recipe made people think it was spelled this way.

I have made my own variation, using other receipies I found as inspiration. Most of these other recipes have an easier base, using biscuits instead of a base you have to bake first. I decided to try 3 types of biscuits for the base. Shortbread, Digistives and very low countries, good old speculaas.

  • 100 gr of melted butter
  • 250 gr of crunched biscuits
  • 1 can of condensed milk
  • 2 table spoons of (brown) sugar
  • 1 table spoon of butter
  • pecan nuts
  • 3 bananas
  • 375ml cream
  • sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee (optional)
  • chocolate to grate (optional)

In a lot of recipes you boil the can of condensed milk for at least 3 hours, keeping it submerged all the time. Once cooled you open the can and caramel comes out. Check the can every so often that it is still submerged!

While this boils you can crunch the 250 gr biscuits till the size of bead crumbs and mix with 100gr of melted butter. Put on a base, press it well and leave to cool in the fridge for 1 hour. I wrapped the base in cling-film first.  In this case I had the base divided in 3 one section for each type of biscuit I used.

The boiling of the can did not work for me, I probable have been to careful and let it simmer rather than boil. So instead I put the condensed milk than I  a pot adding 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and 1 tablespoon of butter. Bring to the boil and stir, stir, stir until it thickens and smells of caramel Leave to cool and keep stirring. Than spread the mixture over the biscuit base. I put of circle of pecan-nuts around the perimeter of the base. I let this cool more while I whipped the cream (with sugar to taste and the instant coffee). 

Slice the bananas and divide over the base, top with the cream (has a nice soft caramel color from the added instant coffee) and grate some dark chocolate on top of it.


PS All bases are equally nice, the speculaas works well too :-)

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Loves Lavender

We have lavender in our garden, it smells just great. It's a large variety which is very fragrant, I love to sit on the bench which is surrounded by the lavender and just take in the lovely scent and listen to the buzzzzzing of the bumble bees. The lavender attracts so many insect to our garden, the moths surprise me, since I always think of them as creatures of the night. And the bumble bees make me smile, they are so happy.

From left to right I present you:
  • the Bombus terrestris or 'aardhommel' in Ducth
  • the  Bombus hypnorum or 'boomhommel'
  • the 2 above together
  • a moth or 'motje'
  • a cabbage white butterfly or 'koolwitje'

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Happy Stats

My happy stats for this week:
  • Plums are showing there first signs of color
  • Lovely dinner with hubby for his birthday
  • Munched raspberries, cherries and red currants fresh from the bush/tree
  • Finally finished painting the bedroom, after a delay due to too hot to paint
  • Finished putting the new floor in too :-)
  • Enjoyed the cooler, nice warm weather
  • Finally time to play a bit with clay too

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Sweet Saturday

Today in Sweet Saturday:

Lemon and Almond Biscuits
  • 155gr of melted butter
  • 225 gr sugar 
  • 1 egg
  • zest of 1 lemon or 1/2 a teaspoon
  • 6 teaspoons of ground almonds
  • 170gr of self raising flour
Mix the butter and the sugar, add the egg, the zest of lemon and the ground almonds. Finally mix, in 3 steps, the flour in. Leave to cool for half an hour. Preheat the oven to 150-170°C.

Once cooled divide the dough in walnut size heaps on a buttered baking tray. Leave at least 5cm of space in between each heap, else you end up with one big biscuit ;-)
Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.


Thursday, 15 July 2010

Give away: rose ring

If you win you choose the color you like your ring to be.
How can you win? Once I've got 150 fans on my facebook page
I'll randomly pick a number between 1 and 150, whomever in that position on my fan list gets the ring.
So become a fan and spread the word :-)

Don't forget I still have 20% off in my etsy shop till the end of July. I'll refund you within 24h after purchasing one of my items and I always include a nice extra surprise too. 

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Monday Mood

Still hot here, but with the prospect of some cool rain:

Like moodboards, you'll find more of them at Fleurfatale's blog.

Happy Stats

The things that made me happy this week:
  • Day in my atelier after lost of painting and flooring last week
  • Day out in Nieuwpoort with the familiy in law
  • Lovely dinner at a friends house
  • Great day with fellow ceramists doing a pitfire
  • Enjoyed the thunder storm, a welcome cool down and lots of water for the plants

Saturday, 10 July 2010


Last Wednesday we held a pitfire with a group a ceramist. We gather every Monday evening (except school-holidays) to clay together. Twice a year we do a firing together either a RAKU or a pitfire.

The weather was great, which is good cause we have to dry our pieces before going into the pit. We make the pieces beforehand, so they can be bisque fired, on the day itself we treat them with iron-sulfate or cobalt-sulfate which give orange or blue colors. I wanted to try and see if I could keep the head of the sheep more neutral, so I tried how covering them with slip would work on one bowl (first picture). I choose for iron-sulfate this year.

In the fourth picture you might recognize some pieces I made on the etsy craft party, the items in the brownish clay (paper clay) for the pitfire. I bisque fired them in a bowl I used previously for a cobalt-pitfire, you can still see the blue tones on the bowl.

Once all pieces were treated and were drying in the sun, we built the pit. A layer of 5cm of wood shaving goes on the bottom. We had 2 layers of stones all around when we started filling the pit with our pieces. Than we added coffee, horse manure, seaweed, salt (all dried throughly) for extra effect. Filled all the holes in between the pieces with small wood, on that go larger chunks. We added an extra row of stones, to make the fire higher. We finish with newspaper, lampoil and some small wood to get the fire going.

Once the firing was going we turned to our other baking: we all bring some food and have a wonderful lunch while the fire burns. We chatted a lot and we discussed last seasons achievals and our projects for next year. We will hold our very first exhibition in the garden of one of our group in September 2011 and we decided on the common factor.

Every so often we checked the fire once it had burned away for 1/2 to 2/3 we covered the pit with an iron lid (sits ready in the second picture) being careful to leave airing holes.

After approximate 5 hours all wood had burned and we could open the pit and let it cool. The heat had been well on, we had a nice breeze and lots of small dry wood so the blue did come out real well and the oranges of the iron-sulfate too. You can see if you look at the bowl with all my beads and little items in the previous and above picture that where the coffee pad has been it turned all black. Good to know for a next time. The other look all orange, but when cleaning shades and specks (made by seaweed and salt) will appear. I'm still cleaning the beads, one by one.....the excess iron which has not fired onto the pieces has to come off. This needs to be done, cause they need to be oiled to fix and deepen the color. If the pieces are not clean, the excess iron will just dissolve in the beeswax-oil and make it all orange again, loosing the nice shades. More on that in a separate blog.

Sweet Saturday

This will go real good with some vanilla or yogurt ice cream. It is a traditional red fruit crumble but the almonds in the crumbles make it different. Eating crumble always reminds of a day walking in Howth, Ireland, when we finished our walk in a pub eating a divine crumble.

Red Fruit Crumble

Ingredients for 4 persons:

  • 500-600gr of red fruit  
  • 50 gr sugar 
  • cinnamon to taste
  • 75 gr flour
  • 75 gr butter, cold and cubed
  • 75 gr ground almonds
  • 50 gr sugar (incl some vanilla sugar)
Mix the fruit with the sugar and some cinnamon (last is an option). Place it in one oven proof dish or individual dishes, about 23 full.
Mix the butter and the flour, add the sugar and ground almonds, mix with your (cold) hands until crumbled. Cover the fruit with the crumbles and place it all in an oven of 180°C for 30-40 minutes until crumbles are golden brown. Leave to cool for a little, but serve still warm with some ice cream.

Once I was out of almonds and added some chocolate buttons to the crumble instead, this worked well too ;-)


Monday, 5 July 2010

Pimp your card

Mitsy from Artmind makes lovely objects in clay and porcelain. From her 99 feelings objects she had cards printed. Recently she added these cards to goodie bags and she asked for the receivers to pimp one of these cards and return it to her. 
I choose the card with the picture of the object feeling 'cute' to pimp. I hope I made it even more cute :-) 

I added a porcelain flower and a porcelain beaded necklace with a heart shaped pendant in clay.

You can vote for your favorite pimped card here.

Monday Mood


See more MoodBoards at Fleurfatale's blog.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Happy Stats

I skipped the happy stats last weekend as we were busy clearing our 1st floor of the large items, bed cupboards and boxes full of books. We sleep temporarily downstairs in the living room where it is a bit cooler so not to bad in this weather. All together had a lovely week, even if I did not have a chance to create a lot of new ceramics and porcelain.

  • friend came over for drink, stayed for dinner and we had a wonderful evening in our garden talking
  • choose the colors for the 1st floor and really happy with them
  • made good progress revamping the 1st floor
  • enjoyed the long summer evenings

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Sweet Saturday

Since I'm such a sweet tooth I love making desserts. I thought it would be nice to share one with you every week on Saturday, so we can all enjoy a Sweet Saturday :-)
I'll start with my chocolate mouse for which I'm rather famous with the family in law. I looked at many different recipes, combined these and honed it it further over the years.

Ingredients for 4 persons:
  • 150 gr dark chocolate 
  • 50 gr milk chocolate
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 egg whites
  • 4 table spoons of icing sugar
  • 2 dl of cream
  • 1 sachet of vanilla sugar
  • chocolate buttons or chopped dark choclate
Melt the 200 gr of chocolate au bain marie or use microwave, but be careful not to burn it.
Whip the egg yolks with 2 table spoons of icing sugar, than mix with the melted chocolate.
Whip the egg whites with 2 table spoons of icing sugar until stiff (white peaks) than SPOON through the chocolate mix. To make this easier mix a little through it first than spoon the rest through so not to loose the air so carefully trapped in the egg whites. 
Whip the cream with the vanilla sugar and SPOON this through the mix. 
Finally add some chocolate buttons for a little crunch. 
Put in one big bowl or individual bowls as you prefer and refrigerate for minimum 3 hours before serving.