My awesome, energetic, fun friends Oksana and Rostik are getting married next year and they commissioned me to make their wedding invitation! I had lots of fun doing it, i worked on each element one at a time, some hand drawn, some illustrated with my wacom tablet - it took a lot of care and time but i felt like i needed to because projects like these that are close to heart are very important to me : ) (cheese but true). Wishing you a beautiful life-long journey ahead you two!
Another series of illustrations i just finished for the Japanese travel agency! The article is about the cute little village called Le Castellet that is situated in the south of France, close to Marseilles. The village has incredible artisanal jams and is surrounded by fig trees.
JAPANESE ARTICLE ON PARIS
Here is round two of my monthly illustrations done for the Japanese travelling agency that publishes articles on Paris and its food culture. This month the article talking about the famous Rue des Martyrs and its many vendors. After work, I always hop down to the corner market thats shown in the top illustration to buy my fresh veggies and fruits for dinner MMM, oh man do i love salads. This week we’re trying a new regime of eating different salads for dinner and adding chicken, goats cheese, ham, or eggs to them for protein. Effin awesome, especially when its so fricking hot that you dont feel like eating much at all.
JAPAN - PARIS
I started to draw for a Japanese travel agency that will feature my food illustrations each month with their new articles about Paris, with focus on patisserie! Here im sharing with you the first image of the series.
well its quiet hard to point it down to just a few from the top of my head, but a woman’s last name always ends with “ova”. You can find a list here, as you can see, a lot of them are actually hungarian in origin: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_are_the_most_popular_Slovak_last_names
SLOVAK APPLE CAKE
I remember this cake back from my childhood - its THE apple cake, all the grandmothers (and their grandmothers before them and their grandmothers before…you get the idea, its effin traditional) make their own version, playing around with the apple layer ingredients. You can add raisins (let them “grow” in water or if you’re feeling crazy and want to pull off a jack sparrow in rum overnight so they become softer and juicy), cherries + apple mix, or just more cinnamon or lemon juice. Its so delicious. The dough literally falls apart in your mouth, promise.
So here is the recipe my friends:
- 400g superfine flour (farine fluide in french, hladka muka in slovak)
- 250g butter
- 1/2 pack baking powder
- 150g powdered sugar
- 2 eggs
- ( 2 big spoons of milk if the dough is too crumbly)
- 1kg apples ( 4 - 5 apples)
- juice from half a lemon
- 1 bag vanilla sugar
1. Preheat oven to 200 C. Peel and grate the apples. Mix in lemon juice and vanilla sugar. Leave the apples in a bowl with holes so they can drip off juice while you prepare the dough.
2. sift the flour into the bowl, add butter at room temperature cut in small pieces, baking powder and powdered sugar. Mix it together. Add in 2 eggs, mix, and if the dough is too hard add 2 spoons of milk (personally I never had to add the milk, the dough turned out perfect consistency).
3. cut the dough into two equal parts. now here is a very helpful trick: take your baking paper and fold it to create “marks” of the shape of your baking form (Use a pretty big baking form for this cake, around 40 x 26 cm). Roll out first part of your dough directly on the baking paper, in a shape that you marked, and transfer it into your baking form.
4. Squeeze out excess juice from the grated apples and arrange them on the top of the first layer of dough (see image 3). Finally, sprinkle them with cinnamon.
5. Roll out the second part of the dough, and transfer it on top of the apple layer. Poke holes into it with a fork and bake on 200 C until golden.
6. Leave to cool off and sprinkle the entire cake with powdered sugar. Traditionally, this cake is cut and served in approx. 4.5cm x 4.5 cm squares. Feel free to dust it with extra powdered sugar when served for a pretty effect.
Invite your friends over but don’t wait till the next day. This cake wont last till the next day.
PARIS IN THE SPRING
A photo taken on my way to meet my boyfriend Pierre for lunch. It still takes me by surprise to find unexpected views and cute streets at every corner.
One of the main components of Herbs de Provence (THE mixture of spices used in traditional southern French cooking), thyme is sold everywhere on the Paris markets in bunches of sprigs with the ground roots still intact. In our cuisine we use its springs all the time, both fresh and dried (as it becomes after +-5 days), in stews, grilled vegetables, sauces, and meat dishes. Native to the Mediterranean region, thyme retains its flavour on drying better than many other herbs. It compliments very well with: beef, carrots, chicken, figs, goat cheese, lamb, lentils, onions, potatoes and tomatoes.
Did you know?
- The ancient Greeks used it in their baths and burnt it as incense in their temples, believing it was a source of courage.
- In the European Middle Ages, the herb was placed beneath pillows to aid sleep and ward off nightmares. As well, women would also often give knights gifts that included thyme leaves, as it was believed to bring courage to the bearer.
Damn history! you fascinating.
TRADITIONAL FRENCH TARTE AU POMMES
You can play with so many different versions of this pie. Weather you change the type of apples (a mix of different kinds is the best) or decide to add cinnamon, vanilla, lemon zest + juice…until you get a version that suits your taste the best. Here the steps for the recipe:
1. Make a traditional shortcrust pastry by mixing the following ingredients:
- 200g flour
- 100g butter
- 2-3 tbsp very cold water
- pinch of salt
- 40g icing sugar
- zest of lemon optional
Once done, sprinkle it with flour, wrap in a cling film and chill while preparing the apple compote.
2. Compote ingredients:
- 2-3 apples
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 stp of sugar (the amount will depend of how sweet the apples are to begin with. Start off with a small amount of sugar, you can always add more at the end)
- a plash of water
Cut the apples in cubes and combine all the ingredients in your saucepan. Boil gently on a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the texture of a compote is achieved. This will take around 30 min and you will need to keep replenishing the water in small amounts.
3. Preheat oven to 200 C. While the compote cools at a room temperature, cut additional 2-3 apples into moon shaped slices. These will be used for the top of the pie.
4. Prepare your baking form by buttering it and dusting with flour so the pie won’t stick to it once done. Take out the shortcrust dough and roll it out to the size of the baking form. Place it in the form and prick it with fork (see image 5).
5. Spread the apple compote on top and dust it with cinnamon (see image 6+7). Finally, arrange the apple slices on top as seen in image 8 or as to your liking : ). Sprinkle the apples with crystal sugar if you’re making this recipe with apples that are more sour / acidic.
6. Bake in the preheated oven on 200 C for 30 min.
7. Cool at a room temperature and dust with powdered sugar before serving.
MAY DAY IN FRANCE
This tradition goes way back. On May 1st 1561, King Charles IX of France receive lily of the valley as a lucky charm. Every year onwards, he decided to give this flower to the ladies of the court. To this day, this symbol of springtime is presented to your loved one on May 1st.
This morning I went to the market with my boyfriend and literally every stand was selling bunches of lily of the valley. As you can see, I received one as well : )
JARDINS DE CLAUDE MONET
Profiting from the warm weather, I made a trip with my friend to the famous painter’s house and gardens. It was cool to see the garden he has painted over and over again and to see where all those lotus paintings originate from. My favorite room of his house was the kitchen - just look at all those colours and patterns, ah. Its funny you can actually even buy overpriced replicas of the tiles in the gift shop.
The top visual is scans of flowers i picked up + my illustrations. Hopefully one day i will be able to afford such a flashy kitchen with my paintings as well. On a side note, I think im going to start collecting tiles now…