Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Ghost in Antwerp

This old pair of sunglasses were on their way to the trash when I swiped them for an art project. They reminded me of simple wire rimmed frames from the early 20th century (they're not really that old, so I didn't care if I messed them up!) I thought it would be neat if you could pick up a pair of old glasses and watch a recording of what had been seen through them. I considered inventing such a system, but worried it could get rather creepy so instead I decided to paint a semi-hypothetical 1900s scene to see through these not-quite-1900s glasses.

The right lens shows Antwerp Central Station, which is one of the most stunning train stations I've visited. It was finished in 1905 and the architecture features a dome on top. A clock framed by beautiful arched windows (which you can see in this photo from my Etsy shop) dominates the interior.

In the left lens is Hungarian operetta singer Sari Petrass as she would have looked if she had been on her way to an evening performance in the city before WWI. In reality, she didn't arrive in Antwerp until 1930, when the car she was riding in attempted to board a ferry and instead crashed into the river, where she drowned.

The painting is made with egg tempera, and each lens measures only 4.5cm (1.75") across.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Easter Paasstol

Last weekend was Easter, and this year my Dutchman and I tried to partake of more Dutch traditions than just enjoying the "Second Easter" Monday off (Second Easter being an additional holiday intended to give people the chance to visit other family who you didn't see on Easter Sunday). He decided to try his hand at Paasstol. This turned out to be a spiced raisin bread filled with almond paste. I helped him make the paste from scratch with fresh almonds and lemon rind. The raisins are sometimes soaked in rum, but not having any on hand we went with KahlĂșa instead (ok, not so traditional, but our own special twist). The result was, as the Dutch say, lekker! The bread is sweet with the raisins mixed in and has a light undertone of cinnamon. This is topped with a flaky crust and filled with a divine combination of buttery almond and lemon. It goes wonderfully with a hot cup of coffee.

Here's the loaf we made.
Are you salivating yet? If you're into baking check out this recipe on Stefan's Gourmet Blog. We didn't use this exact recipe, but it is pretty similar and looks just as tasty.