Sunday, 29 November 2009

Russian Animation on YouTube

Above is a capture from Russian stop motion animation, "Old House",
based on a Hans Christian-Andersen Tale, directed by Irina Sobinova-Kassil.

This image is from the astonishing paint-on-glass film,
"СОН СМЕШНОГО ЧЕЛОВЕКА" by Alexander Petrov / Петров

(1992) based on the short story

"The Dream of a Ridiculous Man" By Dostoevsky

this film stirs memories of the intensity I felt when I first read

Dostoevsky in translation as a teenager:

Many more wonderful Russian animated
films here:

Early scene from the celebrated "Tale of Tales" (1979) by Yuri Norstein.
You can see the film in several parts on youtube here:

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

All I want for Christmas is...

 Hieronymus Bosch Tree Man Figurine (deluxe model, please).

Over the weekend I was toying with this idea to make a Bosch figurine, specifically the blue flautist.
But someone had got there long before me. Typical! :-)

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Art of Eternity

I've been catching up on the BBC iPlayer's arts documentaries.
I found the Coptic paintings and Mummy portraits in "Art of Eternity",
Andrew Graham-Dixon's exploration of the development of sacred art,
particularly compelling.

Vintage Pick: Art Deco Dress from Secret Backroom

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Velvety Chocolate cake

6 ounces self-raising flour
2 to 3 oz cocoa powder

4 oz butter/marge
4 oz sugar - a mix of dark sugar, runny honey or golden syrup, 
        and black strap molasses/black treacle, to taste

2 large free range eggs
(For a richer moister pudding-like cake, use three eggs. )

Vanilla extract 

Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C.

Beat fat and sugars together in a large bowl, 
till fluffed up a bit.

Sieve the flour and cocoa; shake bowl a little and stir together until well blended.

Break eggs into separate bowl.  Pour into mix and stir gently. 

Fold in the flour and cocoa gradually, increasing the speed gradually, so you get a good creamy mixture with an even texture. One of those heavier flexible rubber spatulas is great for this as well as a wooden spoon. Add in a little milk or Guinness if the mixture is too heavy and stiff; if too wet, sieve in a bit more flour and cocoa.

Turn out the mixture into a greased springform or loose bottomed round tin and using a metal fork or spoon first run under the cold tap, gently press down evenly, leaving a slight dip in the centre. shake the tin around a little and tap on the worktop to settle the mixture in.  If I don't do this I sometimes get huge air pocket craters in the cake!

Bake for about 40 minutes, with a baking tray or saucepan lid over the top,  to stop the top surface getting too crisp. I've found this to be a great way to keep the cake moist and cooking evenly. 
Resist any temptation to check the cake early.

If using three eggs, test the middle at 40 minutes with a fine skewer or cocktail stick, then bake for a while longer on a lower heat, with the top covered until the last few minutes.

This is especially nIce warm with a little creme fraiche.  OR CREAM.
Or cover with a mixture of dark chocolate melted in a glass bowl with about one dessertspoonful of butter.
I would include a photo, but I seem to have scoffed the lot already.