Sunday, July 2, 2017

Natural Inspirations

As a Fine Art student my daughter produced some amazing work. Her unusual talent always intrigued me and I wondered where she got it from. As a youngster I never pursued art myself and always dismissed  any leanings in that direction. However some times we discover things about ourselves later in life that we didn't ever dare to explore before.
Having lived in Seoul for 5 years I am always looking for a connection to South Korea. Some times you find the connection in the most unexpected places! On a cold rainy day in February 2016 I was driving along unknown roads in Rye New Hampshire desperately looking for a bathroom. I had just come here from Arizona and the cold weather hit me like a punch in the face!

 Abruptly pulling into a parking lot of a strip mall that had some stores and offices I ran into the first building I saw next door to a dry cleaner. I ran up some stairs and saw a lady standing at the top. Realizing I was in an art studio and even though I was dying to go to the bathroom I couldn't help but around me. I also realized that the person who was in the art studio was Korean and I asked if she was indeed Korean. 
Soo Rye Yoo Gallery.
She seemed surprised and amused. I eventually did go to use the bathroom and when I came out we started to chat. Her art studio was a large space and had the most beautiful paintings and  art work of all different mediums. There were paintings of birds, houses and coastal scenery, post cards, photographs and pottery as well as Korean paper called Hanji. 
Soo Rye Yoo at work in her studio.
The Gallery space was calm, serene and so inviting that I wanted to stay a little longer and ended up buying a few things from her collection but i had to go home because she did't have a credit card machine. I found out later that the artist's name was Soo Rye Yoo and she had been an artist in the local Seacoast New Hampshire area for 7 years. I found that she gave art lessons to a variety of students of varying talent and experience as well as doing her own art work which seemed to have coastal theme.

Soo Rye's career began in Seoul South Korea where she had painted Moon Villages. She drew inspiration from the hopes and dreams of the poor who resided in densely packed houses on a hillside in a coastal town by the ocean in her native land of South Korea. She also depicting birds in some of her art which she notes are our messengers. As well as from her native South Korea Soo Rye also draws inspiration from her travels throughout the USA and Canada, especially New Mexico.
Whilst visiting relatives living in New Hampshire in 2001 Soo Rye fell in love with the stunning natural beauty of the Seacoast area. She went to New Hampshire University and then whilst acquiring her residence visa she was encouraged by several prominent local people to open a Gallery of her work on Sagamore road in Rye.
She is admired by many prominent artists in the New England art scene and her work is currently being exhibited at the Millbrook Sculpture garden in Concord New Hampshire.

New Hampshire Coastal Scenery


 
Odiorne Point

 My art lessons with Soo Rye Yoo have lead me to discover some very interesting things about how the natural beauty of Sea Coast New Hampshire can be so inspiring!
Concentration and hard work
The stunning beauty of New Hampshire is hard to miss with beautiful mountain, lakes, rivers plus the seacoast with everything coastal living has to offer and thousands of visitors flock to this part of the country at all times of the year.



My second art piece 
My third piece of art work depicting tulip from my mother's garden.
Wallis Sands beach Rye New Hampshire at sunset.

Personally I have been so inspired by Soo Rye and the natural beauty New England that I am now a regular student and have managed to produce some works of art of my own taking inspiration from my teacher, my back ground and my travels. I realize that my daughter may have inherited her artistic talent from me and I am so grateful to Soo Rye Yoo for helping me find that new side of me!




Sunday, March 26, 2017

Chicken Stew with Herbed Dumplings.

Chicken Stew with Herbed Dumplings



On a cold winter's day when the wind is howling and the snow flakes are flying fast outside there is nothing better than being inside and sharing a hot heart meal with your friends and family.
This is a stew that I have been making for many years for my family and my daughter who is now a teacher asked me for it as she reminisced about her idyllic childhood!

This dish can be made with chicken, lamb or beef and you can include any vegetables that you fancy.
I like to use hearty winter vegetables like potatoes, carrots, swedes or turnips. 

Ingredients

For the stew

6 to 8 bite sized chicken pieces with the skin left on if desired
2 tablespoons of olive or vegetable oil
One large onion chopped fine
Salt to taste
pepper
2 teaspoons of turmeric (optional)
2 large cloves of garlic(optional)
2 large carrots peeled
4 large potatoes or 8 smaller new potatoes
1 swede or turnip peeled
1 cup of peas 
I cup of corn
1 sprig of Rosemary
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 cups of water
3 cups of chicken stock.
10 button mushrooms

Method

Put the oil in a large casserole pan and add the onions and garlic. Add the chopped carrots, sides and celery and stir together. Add the turmeric and then add the pieces of chicken. Stir on a medium to high heat till the chicken is seared on all sides and coated with the oil and turmeric. This should take about 10 minutes. Put the lid on the pan and heat down to low and cook for 15 minutes. Add the chicken stock, water, salt and pepper  and let the pan come to the boil. Add the rosemary. Turn the cooker down and let this simmer for 40 minutes or till the liquid has reduced a little and then put in all the vegetables. Keep an eye on it to make sure there is plenty of liquid and if there is not enough add another cup.
Let this cook till the potatoes are tender and the chicken is cooked through.  Fry the button mushrooms in a separate frying pan till caramelized and add to the stew. Let this simmer and then make the dumplings.





For the dumplings

1 cup of all purpose flour
1 large teaspoon of baking powder 
I teaspoon of salt 
1 large bunch of fresh parsley chopped fine 
1 large bunch of tarragon chopped fine.
4 ounces of butter cut into cubes
2 tablespoons of water

Method 

Put the flour in a bowl and add the baking powder and salt. Then chop the herbs and put aside. 
Start blending the cubes of butter in to the flour with your fingers and then add the herbs. A sticky dough should form .
Add the water and make in to rough  balls.
Add each ball to the simmering stew and turn the heat up to a boil. Turn the heat to medium but boiling and put the lid on. When the balls of dough become large and firm turn down to a simmer for about fifteen minutes.

The stew should be nice and thick now! With a ladle serve into large serving bowls  making sure each serving has a piece of chicken and a dumpling and enjoy!



Friday, March 10, 2017

Pumpkin Soup.

Pumpkin Soup
 Fall in New England brings an abundance of squash or pumpkins. The squash is from a member of the gourd family.  Almost every different part of the squash can be eaten including the skin, seeds and flesh. Great soup can be made with any of the following winter squash varieties or pumpkins and can be eaten at any time of the year as the squash keep for many months!


There are many different types of squash with names as familiar as Acorn Squash, Butternut squash, Hubbard squash, Spaghetti squash, Amber cup, Turban squash to name a few.
Many colors, shapes and varieties of winter squash.
cow squash











Ingredients
1 whole winter squash cut in to cubes
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large onion chopped fine
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1stick of celery cut into pieces
One carrot chopped.
2 large potatoes cut into small cubes.
4 cups of chicken stock or vegetable stock if you want to keep it vegetarian.
2 cups of water
salt and pepper to taste.
3 cloves of garlic crush and chopped fine.
Half a head of white cabbage chopped fine

Method
Choose any type of winter squash and cut it into chunks with a sharp knife. This one is a Cow squash. There is no need to take the skin or seeds out.
Then roast the chunks in an oven proof dish or pan on 240 degrees celsius. After it has roasted and is fork tender put the seeds aside and peel off the skin and cut into smaller chunks.

Once this is done, in a large separate pan, fry the onions and garlic in olive oil making sure they don't brown and add the other vegetables. Make sure they are all stirred and mixed together thoroughly.
Add the spices and the cubes of squash and keep frying.
Let this sweat for about 10 minutes with the pan lid on. Add the liquid including the chicken stock and water. Let this boil for about 30 minutes and then allow to cool for an hour.
When the liquid has cooled a little put this in the food processor and liquidize. Add the salt and pepper.

Put the liquidized soup back in the pan and warm through and then serve with croutons or  crusty bread. Enjoy any time of the year!



Thursday, August 4, 2016

Blue berry recipes.

Blue Berry Recipes

Blue berry Jam with apples and strawberries.



2 cups os peeled cored apples
2 cups of strawberries
6 cups of fresh blue berries
7 cups of sugar 
You can substitute the sugar with Stevia or a low calorie sugar.

A large braising pan
1 half a cup of water
I packet of pectin
1/4 cup of lemon juice
Sterilized canning jars


Method
Clean the fruit and put it in the pan with the water and the sugar and bring to the boil.
Add the lemon juice and continue to boil.
Boil for 15 minutes on medium low heat
Add the pectin
Boil for another 10 minutes and when the mixture jells on the back of a spoon it is ready to put into the sterilized caning jars.







Blue berry Crumble

For the fruit 
2 cups of fresh blue berries
3/4 cup of sugar

For the crumble

1 cup of flour
1/4 cup of oats
1/2 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
3/4 cup of butter
I large mixing bowl
Make the crumble mixture by rubbing the butter into the other dry ingredients but keep it a little crumbly and not fully integrated. 
Put the fruit into an oven proof dish 
Add the crumble mixture on top.
Bake at 360 degrees Fahrenheit till fruit is bubbly and crumble mixture is brown.
This should take about 30 minutes.


Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.


Blueberry smoothie

1 cup of blueberries
I cup of low fat yoghurt
1 tablespoon of almond or peanut butter
1 cup of ice cubes
I tablespoon of honey or other sweetener
1/2 cup of milk or nut milk
Blend in a blender  till smooth and creamy.
Pour into a long cold glass and enjoy!







Monday, August 1, 2016

Picking blueberries.


Blue berries.

Many berries with blueish coloring are eaten in different parts of the world. There are blueberries grown and loved widely in the USA but eaten all over the world, bilberries in the UK, blackberries and Jaam in India, Bangladesh and other parts of South Asia.

Blue berries seem to be all the rage at the moment and are considered a superfood. They contain antioxidants and phytonutrients which help fight the free radicals damaging our cells.
A blue berry bush 
Blueberries also help reduce the risk of heart disease, cataracts, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, glaucoma, anti aging and the list of benefits just goes on!
One of the most fun things to do on a mild summer day is pick blue berries for your self so google "berry picking" and find a local place that will let you do precisely that! My daughter and I went to a blue berry farm  in Sanford Maine on the East coast of the USA. It was so addictive we ended up picking 12 pounds!
So when we got home I had to decide what to do with them apart from eating them raw by the hand full!


You can make so many things with them. I love making blueberry smoothies, strawberry, blueberry and apple jam, blue berry crumble and blue berry salad to name a few.

Blueberry Jam



Blueberry crumble.


Blueberry crumble.



Monday, May 2, 2016

Kitcheri

My Mum's Kitcheri.

There are many mixed rice dishes eaten by people throughout world. The Korean Bibimbap, Spanish Paella, Jambalaya, Risotto, Spanish rice, Aroz con Pollo, Pillaou rice eaten by Turkish people and Chinese fried rice to name a few of the popular rice dishes around the world!
Kedgeree or Kitcheri is a rice dish that is popular in Indian cookery and in the United Kingdom. It's definitely a comfort food and my Mum has her version that she learned from her mother and her aunts.
 It's so delicious and easy. This recipe will serve at least 10 people.

Ingredients

2 large onions chopped fine
3 tablespoons Olive oil and  4 oz butter
Half kilo rice basmati 3 cups
One and a half cups mung dhal
8 cups water
 1 vegetable or chicken stock cube
5 Bay leaves
5 star aniseeds
2 tablespoons salt
10 cardamoms
2 tablespoons Ginger cut fine

Method

Wash and soak the rice and dhal for  for 30 minutes in medium sized pan.
Put in the oil and butter in the pan
Let the onions cook in the oil for 5 minutes till golden
Add the ginger
Add the spices
Put the water in the pan let it boil.
Add the stock cube and salt
Add the rice and lentils and bring to the boil for 10 minutes
Let it cook on a low heat  with the lid on till the water is all absorbed and the rice and lentils are fluffy.

Serve with  an omelette, fried aubergine, hardboiled eggs, tandoori chicken or fried chicken and a side salad.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Key Lime Pie

Living in a place where it's hot most of the year has made me love refreshing and colorful desserts, especially fresh fruity ones. One of my favorites is Key lime pie made with Key limes. It is so beautiful and great to serve with a back yard barbecue.

Key limes are different from the larger Persian limes in size, taste and flavor. They are smaller, a little paler and the skins are thinner than the bigger lime. The juice is a pale yellow in color and the taste is also different from the Persian lime. Key limes are also known as West Indian Limes or Mexican limes. Key limes are named after the Florida Keys which are a group of islands off the southern coast of Florida in the USA. Key lime pie is associated with being eaten in the Florida Keys but now these days it is served all over the world.
Everyone who makes it has their own version including Jaimie Oliver. Some people use egg yolks for a very rich version but I use the whole egg and it turns out beautifully!

Ingredients 

8oz of freshly squeezed key lime juice 
2 packs of graham crackers crushed
8oz butter (melted)
3 eggs
I can of sweetened condensed milk.
8oz Sour cream 
4tsp oz icing sugar

Method

 Start by squeezing the juice of 20 Key limes to make about a cup of key lime juice and put aside.
Then preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
Put the graham crackers in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin.
Empty the crumbs into a bowl and add the melted butter 
Keep crushing the crumbs until a little crumbly but not powdery,
Put the crumbs in  to an oven proof pie dish and stamp the crumbs into the dish and make the base of the pie.
Put the graham cracker pie base into the oven and cook for 10 minutes. 
Bring it out of the oven and set aside to cool.






Crushed graham crackers with butter for the crust.
Freshly squeezed Key lime juice 

In the mean time add your freshly squeezed Key lime juice to a mixing bowl. Add the sweetened condensed milk and the 3 beaten eggs.
Sweetened condensed milk.
Three large eggs.
Eggs, lime juice and condensed milk together. 
Whisk vigorously.
Whisk till the mixture is thick and goes from yellow to white and mixed very well.

Pour the mixture into the pie dish on top of the pie crust. 

Place into the oven and turn the oven down to 325 degrees.
Cook for 20 minutes, take it out and allow to cool.

Fresh out of the oven
Ready for the oven











When cooled add 4oz sour cream on top sweetened with 4 teaspoons of icing sugar. Smooth the sour cream over the pie.
Decorate with some lime zest or a piece of lime.
If you wish you can make a meringue and add this on top of the pie instead.

Finished pie with sour cream on top.
 Sweet and refreshingly tart plus tangy all at the same time.
 Enjoy it!