27 September 2011

Is it by John Constable?


We see nothing truly until we understand it. John Constable

Saturday morning and unable to wait any longer I head to the Pavilion bright and early so I can study the regency costumes on display without interruption. And just as I am heading downwards along St James’ Street staring back at me from a shop window is a pencil sketch of a ship on Brighton beach looking every bit the antique, and with a price tag of forty quid.


Mind Charity Shop window, St James's Steet

So I walk on and go to the exhibition, first in, I marvel at the petite size of the costumes positioned in the rooms where two hundred years ago real people would have worn similar. With one eye trying to imagine the costumes walking and talking I still keep thinking about the picture in the window and wonder whether I should go and have a look at it again in case it is still there.

Back on St James’ Street and I am holding the picture up to try and scrutinize whether it is a copy or the original, I can’t tell and I’m standing in a charity shop so I can’t ask if I can take off the back to check. But forty quid is forty quid.

I dither, what if it's for real I think and then I buy it.

Walking home I’m not sure if I’ve been done up like a kipper or whether it’s ok to spend forty quid on a frame and print.

At home I loosen the fastenings and ease out the picture, it’s a copy, oh what! Oh well. Now that my dreams of untold wealth have been dashed I carefully clean the glass and place the picture back in the frame.

The writing along the bottom of the sketch looks as if it might read, ‘Brighton 14 Oct 1825’, whether it’s a copy or not I still want to know who sketched it.
Brighton 14 Oct 1825





Some googling later I find a picture that looks similar by Constable, is my print by Constable I wonder?

courtesy of http://www.john-constable.org/


Some more googling reveals it likely that Constable was in town 14 Oct 1825 sketching an old church, so maybe it is a Constable.



Whether it is or not, the view from my windows is of the same coast the artist of this sketch looked at and the seaside square I live in was laid out around the same time too, so it seems fitting for this picture to end up hanging above my mantelpiece one hundred and eighty five years later.



19 September 2011

The Best Ever Brownies with a twist


Owing a huge debt to Nigella Lawson, Domestic Goddess and Culinary Sage in my eyes, this recipe is taken from her How to be a Domestic Goddess book and incorporates a welcome addition.

The first brownies I ever tasted were made using this recipe and it was as a direct result of eating too many of these that a friend of mine stayed up into the wee hours buzzing and brain-storming entrepreneurial visions.

Moreish and delicious they are a hit every time. So much so that I took a few batches to sell when mother and I went on a carbooting expedition yesterday.

Carboot Marshie Brownies


The brownies were a success and so here I now offer you the recipe so you too may garner fulsome praise.

Makes 20 slices,

Use a shallow tin, about an inch and a half deep

Pre-heat oven to 180c/ gas mark 4


Ingredients -

188g dark chocolate

188g soft unsalted butter

3 large eggs

1/2 tablespoon of vanilla extract

250g caster sugar

112g plain flour

½ teaspoon salt

A handful of marshmallows











Melt the butter and chocolate together, don’t try using milk chocolate, with one batch I used Cadbury’s milk chocolate and it looked like a layer of water separated and rose to the top of the mixture when I melted the butter and chocolate. The flavour is richer with dark chocolate as well.

Melted chocolate and butter

Let this mixture cool for a bit.

In a large bowl beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla together. When buying the vanilla extract, make sure it says extract and not flavouring, because they are not the same, the latter being a sorry sub.













Beat in the chocolate mixture and then add the flour and salt.







 


 




Pour half the mixture into the tin, lined with greaseproof paper.


Drop in pieces of marshmallow and cover with the rest of the mixture.

Marshmallow chocolate mixture

Bake for 25 minutes when the top should have gone a slightly lighter colour. Take out and leave to cool (the mixture will continue to cook as it cools).










Marshie Brownies
 

12 September 2011

National Cup Cake Week - Let us eat cake



Strawberries and cream cupcake
 
In celebration of National Cup Cake Week I thought it only right I recommend the best place to buy cup cakes when in Brighton.  Situated in the Lanes the Angel Food Bakery has been providing an array of colourfully topped creations for a few years, including strawberries and cream (my favourite), red velvet (red cocoa sponge with a cream topping) and chocolate orange to name a few.  Using quality ingredients like unsalted English butter, Belgian chocolate, fresh fruit and free range eggs, their beautiful to look at and scrumptious to eat cup cakes have gained a faithful following.  Mostly priced at £1.75 mark they are best eaten directly.

Angel Food Bakery

In fact so successful has this enterprise proved to be that two weeks ago they have added another premises to their name, just around the corner and designed to offer courses in, guess what?  Cup cake baking, hurrah! 

Head to their website for more info on chocolate making, cupcake baking, buttercream toppings and old school puddings.


Angel Food Kitchen
 







Angel Food Bakery
20 Meeting House Lane
Brighton, BN1 1HB
Tel: 01273 208 404

11 September 2011

Going Out for some wall art - take another look

What with the revving of engines, smell of black leather and burly looking men lugging helmets under their arms, the annual motorbike meet up, aka the Brighton Burn Up noisily over-ran the Kemptown seafront.  Feeling out of place I headed north, floralled up to the max in a floaty skirt, flowery top and pink dripping off me as I walked....made no odds of course the testosterone count was way too high to be breached.
Even the wall art I came across in the north laine area seemed to shout out male partisanship, so in tribute to all things uncompromisingly masculine here's a bit of wall art to be found on the aptly named Regent Street.


Brighton ,wall art Regent Street

Brighton, wall art Regent Street

Brighton, wall art Regent Street