Saturday, 26 March 2011

Sweet Saturday - Macarons

Today another easy recipe for some gorgeous biscuits. I like the chewiness of these biscuits. Here the recipe is with ground almonds, but I think you can use cocos or another ground nut just as well.


250 gr ground almonds
240 gr icing sugar
35 gr flour
4 egg whites
1 sachet vanilla sugar 

Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Add the ground almonds, icing sugar, vanilla sugar and flour to a bowl and mix. make a little hollow in the mix for the egg whites, mix all slowly.
Cover a baking tray with baking parchment, make little (approx 3cm) balls of the mix and divide over the paper. bake for about 15-20 minutes until the macarons are golden brown.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Two Trees Party

Tupperware is famous for it's parties and it's a tested concept, so why not adopt it to sell your hand-made work. If the person whom organises the party likes your work, big change her/his friends will like it too. Having someone else talk about your work with you is the best word-of-mouth promotion you can get, and here it's happens right on the spot. They don't have to remember about it and look up a shop or website later, they can see the goods their friend is raving about here and now.

So I set about organising my first home party last week, together with my yoga teacher, Martine van Bulck. The party took place in the room where she normally gives her yoga classes. But it turned out to be a great location to display jewellery and ceramics too. 

We slightly adopted the home-party idea in this case as anyone was welcome, not just by invitation. So a bit of an open house at the same time. I invited al my contacts, she invited hers and we put a note by the street to welcome in passers-by. It was a success and we are already thinking of organising another party in the autumn.

Do you want to organise a Two Trees home party, please contact me. The party can be open as the one described above or by your invitation only.  As the organising host you will receive a certificate to say that 2 trees for the orang-outangs in Sumatra have been planted in your name, besides other benefits. Look forward to hearing from you.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Boxes from Nepal

Last week I received my new fair-trade and hand-made jewellery gift boxes from Nepal. I already had similar boxes for a while for my story bowls:

It took me a while to come up with the right sizes for my jewellery boxes, preferable would fit letterbox mail, to keep shipping cost low and be versatile in use at the same time.
All the boxes, both my story bowl boxes as my jewellery boxes are made by 2 small Nepalese companies. I know the money they earn from making my boxing goes straight to their, and their employees, families to make their lives better. One company makes the felt for the lining, this companies employs on 10 women en 4 men. Very often the women are the sole provider in a Nepalese family. The other company employs 7 women and 2 men; they make the paper and the boxes. A company called STRAID  in the Netherlands liaisons between me and the companies in Nepal. They got a nice website and webshop with all sorts of handmade good from around the world.

And here they are, in the typical Two Trees lime green colour:

I had them made in 3 sizes: 
2 for necklaces, earrings, bracelets and such which are also fine for letterbox mail 
and one taller for rings, cuff-links, ...

The interior is lined with black felt, 
the lid has black paper on the inside and my logo and name printed in silver.

The boxes close with a typical Eastern closure a tiny stick slots though a loop of paper.

 I'm real proud to have these lovely boxes the compliment my jewellery.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Sweet Saturday - Baked Lime Cheesecake with Ricotta, Pineapple and Passion-fruit

Another recipe for a cheesecake, this time I used ricotta instead of cream cheese.

Baked Lime Cheesecake with Ricotta, Pineapple and Passion-fruit
  • 250 gr biscuits, digestive, ginger or "speculaas"
  • 75 gr butter, melted
  • 500 gr ricotta 
  • 250 ml cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 175 gr of sugar including 2 sachets vanilla sugar
  • zest of 3 limes
  • 250 ml cream
  • (vanilla) sugar to taste for the whipped cream
  • 1/2 pineapple
  • 4-6 passionfruits
Crunch up the biscuits (I used "speculaas" and a pinch of ground ginger) till they are very fine, add the melted butter and put into a baking tray. Push down well and leave to cool in the fridge.
Preheat the (fan) oven to 150°C.
Mix the ricotta, cream, eggs, sugar and zest well for a few minutes so some air gets in. Poor on top of the biscuit base and bake for 45-55 minutes in the oven, until it starts to go a little brown. Leave to cool with the door closed, than move to fridge and cool it overnight. If it has some cracks, don't worry as you will cover these with the topping.

Transfer the cheese cake to a nice plate for serving. Whip the cream with sugar to taste and spread over the cheesecake. Slice the pineapple real fine (like carpaccio) and divide over the cream, as a last touch add the  passion fruit seeds.

Bon appetit!

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Who Moved My Cheese

My very first corporate order.

Recently I became part of a group of  coaches who needed someone to run their virtual back office. As they are all self employed, including me, they don't have an office-space for Conlibrio; so I work from home, which is great.

For one of their current projects they use the book "Who Moved my Cheese" on dealing with change in your work and life. It's a great little book, I read it years ago and if you have some change going on in your life, it's a great read.

Anyway as you can guess from the tittle it involves cheese, and who else would be worried about their cheese being moved than mice. So the characters in the story are mice.When the coaches saw this bowl, which coincidently sold just recently to someone in the USA, they got an idea to give a little something to each participant of these workshops And here they are 26 little mouse each with a piece of cheese:

A local carpenter made the blocks of wood for me, I oiled them with a white oil to give them a nice finish.

Each one is different, I just can't make the same things twice.

If you want to see more I uploaded all their pictures to my flickr were you can see some of the making of as well. Here the final one for this blog post:

Today the were give to the participants and I just got a call that they were well liked, I'm so happy they all find new loving homes :-)

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Porcelain Music

Who would have thought of using porcelian bowls to make music. Of course I knew that a bowl had a very nice ring when tapped, something  which I love about porcelain. But Roos Van de Velde takes it to a higher level. She plays on the bowls she makes. I visited her yesterday (with a group of fellow ceramists) and she gave a little performance, the quality is not great (you can hear us oh-ing and ah-ing in the background ;-), but I'd like to share it wih you anyway. The music on her website is also composed, made and sung by her.

An impression of the visit, her house and her work I will post later on the Dutch Handmade website.