Pablo and His Poetry...

I am still working on my jewellery post and it's going to be a long one. In fact, I might have to publish it in installments because I don't want my blog to have a heart attack. Maybe, I will even do a slide-show, we'll see.  Anyway, since the artist interview is still not completed, I thought I would bring you some more poems from Pablo Neruda.


If you find on some road
a little boy
stealing apples
and a deaf old man
with an accordion,
remember that I am
the little boy, the apples , and the aged man.

A Citizen

Each week I become restless.
I look for aluminum clouds,
tormented screws,
bars of silent nickel,
unneeded doorknockers.
Hardware stores
know about my enthusiasm...

To My Obligations

I just work and work,
I must replace
Our faulty memory,
I must fill darkness with white bread,
I must create hope anew (...)

The Turtle

the turtle came to a halt,
remained here
and is not aware of it.
She was so old
she hardened,
she forgot about the sea and its waves
and became rigid
like a flatiron
and then fell asleep,
a boulder
among other boulders.

                                                      need      two wings
                                                   you        a violin
                                                 sky         and so many things...

The Guilty One

I declare myself guilty for not having
made, with these hands that they gave me,
a broom.
Why didn't I make a broom?
Why did they give me hands?
What good did they do me
if I only saw the murmur of the grain;
if I only had ears for the wind
and I didn't recognize the thread
of a broom,
still green in the earth

All poems are courtesy of Earth Tones: The Poetry of Pablo Neruda by Manuel Duran and Margery Safir and from NERUDA: An Intimiate Biography by Volodia Teitelboim.


Feathers + Pillows

My love affair with Aussie design and art continues.  I spotted these feather textiles from Elkhorn Design on Etsy several months ago and I knew it was only a matter of time before they ended up on this blog.  I love everything about them especially the orange flavour.  It just makes me want to visit Australia even more; there's so much creative talent down there.  Unfortunately, it's so far on the periphery that we hardly ever hear about it.  I certainly plan to add more artists and designers in the future so stay tuned.

They make table runners too, check this one out in a beautiful mustard.

But I have to have the orange one.

For a neutral pallete there's a nice white and gray combo.

And here is another lovely pillow.


Kimchi Tomato Soup

This is my version of kimchi soup and let me just say it completely exceeded all of my expectations.  Of course, there are others, and I suppose more authentic ones who use tofu and pork in their recipe.  I considered those too but in the end I decided I wanted to create something new.  Next time, who knows, I just might add the tofu instead.

I don't know about you but I love Korean cuisine.  It's ranks right up there with my other two favourites, Japanese and Ethiopian.  Although, I should tell you that I generally love anything Asian and sometimes I wonder whether I am living on the right continent.  Don't even get me started on feng shui, or I could go on forever.

Anyway, I decided to turn this recipe into a tomato blend because I was initially craving a tomato soup with a bit of sauerkraut.  In the end, one visit to my local Korean food store changed all of that.  I grabbed one tub of kimchi and never looked back.  I had those cans of San Marzano tomatoes still left so I thought I would put them to good use.  It turned into a rather delicious blend.  I have to say I was rather pleased with myself especially after reading that kimchi was thought to protect one from infection during the SARS outbreak.  Of course SARS might be over, but being a hypochondriac (one just never knows) I ended up eating two extra bowls for added protection.  Unfortunately, the day after I got a nasty cold.  So much for that.  While this soup failed as a vaccine my little flu give me an extra reason to stay home and comfort myself with another bowl.  Maybe, it's the quantity of kimchi consumed that is supposed to create this immunity booster.  Who knows?  If you try this at home, pleaset let me know what you think.  I would love to hear your responses.

To begin you will need to sautee the following:

1 medium size onion (preferably Vidalia, finely chopped)
5 garlic cloves (put them through a press)
2 slices of ginger the size of your thumb (also finely chopped)
1 cup of chicken stock

You will sautee the onions first with the chicken stock and then add the garlic and then the ginger.  You can add some salt and pepper to this, as well as some lemon juice, although you can add this later too.  Once this is done, add it to a large pot and then add the following:

1 can of San Marzano tomatoes (you can get a good deal on these at Costco if you have one near you)
1 small tub of kimch (about 2 cups, I think, there was no label, sorry)
4 bay leaves
1 large carton of chicken stock (same carton you took the intial cup from for the sauteeing of onions)
1 teaspoon of paprika
2 teaspoons of chili paste (I used sambal oelek, you can use one teaspoon if you like)
fleur de sel (use until you achieve the taste you like)
Cambodian black pepper (now that I have this, my life is so much easier, you can use regular pepper too)
1 pinch of chili flakes
juice of 1/2 of a lemon

Let this cook or simmer at a low to medium heat for a bit.  And then use a hand blender to puree the entire contents.  I did this because I'm quite lazy and I didn't feel like chewing on large pieces of cabbage.  Plus, I think this gave the soup some added flavour and a texture that I particularly liked.

Optional:  I added a can of lentils to this after I blended it.  You can add meat to this recipe too as well as tofu, although if you're going to add tofu I would leave out the lentils.  I think one or the other works, but not at the same time.  I added parsley and turmeric for garnish.

If you would like to see another recipe, there is a good one from food.com.


The Dynamic Duo at Smythe Have Done It Again

I know, I know, everyone is blogging about New York Fashion Week, but I'm not there yet.  Quite frankly, I'm still defrosting and all I want to think about is Spring.  That's why I was rather pleased when I stopped by the Smythe website and found out that their Spring 2011 collection is every bit as summery as I had hoped. 

I find that it's always the cut of these fitted Smythe jackets that wins me over every time.  They flatter just about any body type because they really cinch your waist.  I also love the detailing on the elbows and buttons; it's adds just the right amount of contrast to this perfect shade of yellow.  And what can I say about this white jacket except that it's gorgeous.  In fact, it's so crisp that all you really need is a light scarf or some nice jewellery.

This light-weight dress reminds me of a nice cappuccino.  I just want to put it on and slip away quietly to the beach or to the park for a nice picnic or with a good book.  It looks so incredibly soft and comfortable.  

I'll leave you with a final piece from their signature look, of course, another great jacket, this one in a nice camel colour.  Now, if only someone could ship a box of these with my name on it, that would be grand.


Animal Paintings by Artist Karlee Rawkins

You don't have to be an animal lover to appreciate Karlee Rawkins' paintings but if you are one, you will undoubtedly come to adore her work.  This Aussie artist renders her subject matter in a playful and almost child-like manner.  And it would be easy to imagine these works in children's books as they appear quite literally derivative of the medium.

Little Pink Bird, 2009

However, Ms. Rawkins uses striking colour balance and juxtaposition to cleverly achieve a detached and contemplative tone.  As a result, these animals acquire a symbolic grace that elevates them outside of mere illustrations.  Excised from their natural environment they develop a quiet yet sophisticated abstraction.

Pelting, 2009

In turn, Ms. Rawkins forces us to confront the relationship between animal and the environment and our place in between.  Do we confront this animal imagery as it is or as one that is disappearing and being hunted?  More importantly, we're left to wonder if these animals will one day occupy our memories in the same way that children's books so often evoke the nostalgia of our distant childhoods. 

Born in 1977, Karlee Rawkins studied Visual Art at Southern Cross University in Lismore, New South Wales, Australia where she graduated with an Honours degree in 1999.  Following her studies she lived in several countries including, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, France as well as India and Nepal.  Currently, her art work is on display at the Iain Dawson Gallery in Paddington, New South Wales.  Although, she will have a solo exhibition at the Flinders Lane Gallery in Melbourne beginning March 15th of this year.

Chicken Thief, 2010
Ms. Rawkins also sells her work through Shubert Contemporary Art Galleries in Main Beach, Queensland.  However, with one click you'll notice very quickly that most of her artwork is already sold out.  This is hardly surprising.  I just hope her new solo show in Melbourne will have similar types of works available for sale.

Pot of Fox
If you would like more information about this artist there are two essays available directly from her website, www.karleerawkins.com.  As well, there is a short interview from fellow blogger Natalie Walton on Daily Imprint, a fantastic blog with a variety of great interviews of creative types around the world.  All images used here are courtesy of the Karlee Rawkins website, Schubert Contemporary Art Galleries and Iain Dawson Gallery as well as Flinders Lane Gallery.

A Few Pearls, 2010
On a final note, I decided to use a quotation from the artist (it can be found on the Flinders Lane Gallery website) because I think it captures so perfectly the essence of her work and especially this last one:  'I use animal imagery in my work as a metaphor for human emotions and experiences. The animals are distorted and flattened, often combining with pattern to create intentionally ambiguous compositions. I aim to emphasize the vulnerability and awkwardness of my subject and challenge a viewers recognition and sense of association."  Well done, Ms. Rawkins.

White Elephant


Cambodian Delight: Black Ripe and White Pepper

I know I have mentioned Cambodian pepper on my blog in the past and now I have another reason to.  Today, I received a package of black and white pepper from my friend Harumi who works at the Embassy of Japan in Cambodia.  She was kind enough to send me two packages that I can't wait to use.  I think they'll be perfect for roast chicken, and probably everything else too.  If you haven't tried it yet, let me assure you that it really is delicious.

I know of only one other place that sells this pepper and it's a spice shop in Paris called Epices-Roellinger.  It's definitely worth taking a look at their website.  They have an incredible assortment of peppers, salts, spices, as well as olive oil and much, much more.  The peppers (and they have many) cost about 5.50 Euros for a 40g jar.  If you want more information about the shop in Phnom Penh I have scanned the brochure for you.

In case you have trouble reading the details, here is the contact info for the store.  I know the owner is Japanese so if you speak the language you will be delighted to know that you can read his blog. 

Kurata Pepper
Phnom Penh, Cambodia

There was some interesting info on the back of this brochure so I scanned it too.  I wish I could visit one of these farms, it looks so cool.  It must be those farmer genes of mine.

In case you are interested in the prices, I did inquire about them.  Here they are as follows.

1. Black pepper
     50g: 4USD
   100g: 7USD
   250g: 15USD
   500g: 27USD
     1kg: 45USD

2. Dry ripe pepper (limited: not available all the time)
     30g: 6USD
   100g: 18USD
   250g: 40USD
   500g: 75USD
     1kg: 124USD

3. White pepper
     30g: 4USD
   100g: 13USD
   250g: 27USD
   500g: 45USD
     1kg: 75USD

If I had my way, I would probably buy these by the kilogram, because they're worth every penny.  I hope you try them out for yourself.


Everyone Is Going Green and So Is My Hummus...

Let me introduce you to my Arugula-Spinach Hummus with Jalapeno Pepper or rather what's left of it.  What you see in the picture above are two tablespoons that I tried really hard to photograph (as best as I could with my little point and shoot camera), with some help from turmeric and paprika on top.  Note to self: do not eat the food you are planning to photograph or you will have nothing left.

The combination of hummus and leafy greens is obviously a healthy one and it makes a lot of sense during winter months when eating salads on a day to day basis can feel rather "cold". I also like the extra zip that comes from the jalapeno pepper here although I'm sure you could use any other variety.  This recipe is one that you can play around with as much as you like.  I, for one, was never planning on adding spinach to the mix but I somehow bought a container that contained both spinach and arugula so I figured why not.  The spinach probably makes it even healthier.  I like adding turmeric on top because it's a great opportunity to incorporate an incredibly healthy spice into your diet.  I hope you enjoy it.

Arugula-Spinach Hummus with Jalapeno Pepper

1 can of chick peas
2 large handfuls of spinach/arugula mix
4 tablespoons of tahini
1 lemon (use entire juice, but be careful not to get the seeds in) (you can use 1/2 a lime as well)
4 garlic cloves
1 jalapeno pepper (chopped with seeds removed)
4  tablespoons of olive oil
1/4 cup of water or more until you get a consistency you like
1 small handful of parsley (I like it mixed in rather than just sitting on top)

1 teaspoon of salt
1 pinch of pepper to taste
1 pinch of paprika (or sumac) for garnish
1 pinch of turmeric for garnish

I placed all of these ingredients together and mixed them with a hand blender until smooth. Garnish with paprika, turmeric or sumac and a little olive oil and parsley.


I Know I Dreamt of a Jacket Like This Before...

Photo:  Vanessa Jackman
I just never knew it existed.  It might be from 2009 (or older?) but I don't care.  I love the detailing, the little white dots, the gold buttons and the leather mixed in with what looks like either wool or cashmere, or a mixture of both.  I've only once seen anything close to this beautiful jacket and it was a white coat with small purple polka-dots everywhere.  I eavesdropped on its owner for a very long time before I decided that I just couldn't bring myself to ask her about it.  Such a shame.

This wonderful image comes courtesy of Vanessa Jackman whose blog shows off some really amazing fashion and photography.  I found this specific pic while indulging in her archives.  I really urge you to check it out, she is like the female version of The Sartorialist and she has some great street fashion from England that I particularly like.  And to give proper credit, I would have never found it if it weren't for another pic linking to her site from It's Mary Ruffle (who has a great eye too).  According to Vanessa's blog the jacket is from Marc Jacobs.


New Magazines You Have To Read

We have some more creative talent to look forward to.  I just took a peek at High Gloss Magazine after seeing it on the lovely Elements of Style Blog and I simply love it.  There is such incredible variety and talent on display here that I can't wait to see future editions.  Have a look for yourself; I think you will be as impressed as I was.

Another great design magazine comes to us thanks to an introduction from Design*Sponge which interviewed the magazine's art director, Bri Emery, today.  It's called Rue Magazine and it's a complete feast for the eyes.  I'm adding both of these great mags to my Favourite Sites links you can easily find them again once new editions are issued.  Enjoy!