Monday, 21 March 2011

Useful advice: Don't feed the bad wolf

If you thought there were no wolves at your table, think again. 

Found via Pinterest.
Image source

An elderly Cherokee Native American was teaching his grandchildren about life…

He said to them, “A fight is going on inside me, it is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One wolf is evil—he is fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, competition, superiority, and ego.

The other is good—he is joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.

This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too.”

They thought about it for a minute, and then one child asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win, Grandfather?”

The Elder simply replied, 
“The one you feed.”

What lies behind the doors of Beijing?

'Never judge a book by it's cover' has to be the rule for living in China.
Image: Ingrid in Beijing

These beautiful bone china tea cups were found in a recent foray to a warehouse in the backstreets of Beijing.

Would you guess that behind these ply wood walls we would find 5 rooms full of bone china - some beautiful and some best left there!

One of the joys of living in Beijing is that someone is always discovering a new emporium in this vast city and another joy is how we love to share these finds with friends. 

Thanks Wendy for taking me along and I am sure we will be back again soon.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Lo-fi ... the new retro photo app

Check out lo-fi a new way to give your photos a retro photography look.
Starting with a photo I took of some old printers blocks, so many different looks from randomly choosing the processing.
It really is straightforward to use and with a seven day free trial, it's nice to try it before buying it.

Sorry I am having to blog via flickr as every VPN I try is blocked right now- so in case the link doesn't work go to and have some fun.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Duck egg blue bowls

Duck egg blue bowls, originally uploaded by rufusandco.
Don't you love the colour?
This beautiful bowl is the work of David Edmonds in his Sydney studio.
His inspiration comes from a love of food, and his colours are designed to compliment and enhance the pleasure of food - soft and delicious. The ceramic surface really has a magical silkiness to touch, I fell in love with it the moment I had it in my hand.
When not being used for salad or fruit, I love the way it serves as a sculpture on my table.
Stockist for the bowl: DuckEggBlue in Darling St, Balmain, Sydney.

Sorry for any blog double posting from me. China in its wisdom has now blocked not only blogs but also the VPN I was using to be able to post. I am trying to find ways round it.

It's a reminder to me to never take things for granted. What worked yesterday won't necessarily work today.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Mmmm ..... mamma's almond biscuits

Thinking back to the luscious lattes I enjoyed in Sydney last week.
Bertoni's on Darling in Balmain was my absolute favourite.
Not least because I fell in love with their almond biscotti.

Imagine my delight when Trudie and David, the fab friends we were staying with, presented us with "I only eat at Bertoni.", This book is a visual feast of all that the Bertoni family serve to the lucky residents of Balmain.
So today, I'm in Beijing imagining I am back in Sydney, baking Amaretti di Mamma ... Mamma's almond biscuits.
Mmmm, I wish you could smell the sweet almond fragrance wafting out from the kitchen where they sit cooling. Well instead why not have a go yourself? They are so easy to make and just perfect for coffee, tea, dessert and any other excuse to nibble on another one.

Recipe from "I only eat Bertoni", available from Amazon in April.

Amaretti di mamma
100g (1 lb) caster sugar (fine granulated sugar)
500g (1lb) ground almonds
1Tbsp vanilla sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/2 teaspoon almond essence
4 egg whites (mine were small)
100g (3 oz icing sugar for rolling
Oven preheat 160C, 325F, gas mark 3

1. Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper.
2. In a large bowl, mix caster sugar, ground almonds, vanilla sugar together with your hands.
3. Add vanilla extract and almond essence ( do not use artificial flavouring). Then add egg whites, one by one, making sure mixture is not too wet. (It should come off your fingers and not be sticky).
4. Sprinkle a generous amount of icing sugar on to a clean work surface. Take a handful of the almond mixture and roll into a sausage (about 2-3cm in diameter) and then roll the sausage in icing sugar. Cut the sausage into 2cm long pieces.
5. Turn the sections on end and then press gently down to form a rounded shape. Place onto the lined baking sheet, about 2cm apart. I baked them for around 10 minutes, longer than the recipe says. Just keep and eye on them and when they start to crack on the surface and have pale golden tinges, take them out and cool on a wire rack.
Enjoy with a lovely cup of coffee, a nice cup of tea or a refreshing glass of Vin Santo. Why not.. it's almost the weekend.

Check out Bertoni on their soon to be revamped website.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Baking on Bourke Street

Just time for a quick postcard, from one of Sydney's great bakeries. 

Isn't it great when you get to go inside a book for real?

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Padding round Paddington

Paddie, as Paddington market is known locally, is filled with a mixture of individual traders and craftspeople. 
Been taking a stroll round the weekend open air market here in Paddington, Sydney - lots to tempt us!

I loved these small vessels with a brush of black paint on the side. They are the work of artisan Amorelita designs. Whether I use mine for the vinaigrette when serving a salad, or for the parmesan with some pasta, I can just chalk up what's inside.. 
Such a simple design and functional ... can’t get enough of it.
Image: Ingrid in Sydney

Another stall that had us hooked was Rokoco with her great designs on tea towels, aprons and runners.
Image: Ingrid in Sydney
In fact tea towels are becoming a bit of a Sydney obsession for me - but more of that another time!
‘Cupcakes’ is a perfect design for a cupcake queen I know in Norwich! Can you spot the ‘salt rubbed mackerel’ in indigo that I couldn't resist?

Image: Ingrid in Sydney

These belong in the category ‘Tea towels too good to dry up with’ .

 I’m thinking of turning my mackerel into something for my table ...
 a runner is my first thought, 
but who knows after a few more days in Sydney!

If you have done anything creative with tea towels, do drop me a comment. 
I'd love to hear from you.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Sidetracked by Sydney

Image: Ingrid in Sydney 

Sorry for a prolonged absence of blogs - 
           not sure what my excuse was last week 
                                but being in Sydney is it for this week.

Sydney is an inspiring place in so many ways - from the sun on the water, the cafes and the coffees to the designers, art and architecture. 

Image: Ingrid in Sydney 

With little internet access, my blogging will be short short and sweet  
(maybe that’s the way you’d prefer it).

Ken Done’s artwork is iconic for Sydney ... this says it all.
Off now to explore Surry Hills and try a taste of The Bourke Street Bakery today. Hope to be back soon with more tasters from Down Under.

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