Before & After: Tesco Value Baked Beans

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , on May 24, 2012 by Robin Gosnall

Before

After

Bloody Hell! Amy Winehouse and Pete Doherty “bloody painting” sells for £35,000

Posted in Culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 15, 2012 by Robin Gosnall

A painting smeared with the blood of Amy Winehouse and Pete Doherty has sold for £35,000. Their bloody collaboration, Ladylike, was purchased for less than half the amount it was hoped to reach at auction.

Ladylike was one of twenty bloody paintings on display in an exhibition of Doherty’s work at The Cob Gallery, Camden, London NW1. The sanguine sketch of Winehouse, described as a bloody self-portrait, was expected to sell for between £50,000 and £80,000. Auctioned by a private seller, it was listed alongside several other bloody paintings, as well as Doherty’s bloody guitars, clothes and diaries.

“Amy was on the phone to her dad when she did that,” Doherty told the Independent. “She said, ‘Dad, I’m with Pete and he’s making me draw with my blood!’ He didn’t like me much, her dad.”

Doherty takes great pride in his artworks’ “arterial splatter”, for which he cuts his bloody finger or fills a syringe with his own blood. “It plays the starring role in my work … sweat and tears are often waiting in the wings.”

An undisclosed percentage of the sale price for Ladylike will be donated to the bloody Amy Winehouse Foundation.

Photographing Salford

Posted in Life with tags , , , , on May 11, 2012 by Robin Gosnall

A photograph of St. Thomas’s Church, Pendleton, just across the road from my flat, published in the Salford Advertiser this week.

Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards 2012

Posted in BBC Radio 3, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 18, 2012 by Robin Gosnall

Presented in association with BBC Radio 3, this year’s RPS Music Awards shortlists, for outstanding achievement in 2011, are drawn from across the UK and feature several major international names.

John Gilhooly, Chairman of the Royal Philharmonic Society, commented:

“The RPS Music Awards allow the classical music world to tell everyone about what we do best. And there is much to celebrate, both in terms of talent and innovation from UK based organisations and artists, and from the international stars who continue to enrich our cultural life so greatly. In the current climate, when the role of culture is being questioned in the face of very real practical considerations, it’s all the more important that we don’t take our rich musical life for granted, but shout loudly about our achievements in the concert hall, and as you will see from these shortlists, well beyond.”

Winners will be announced at the RPS Music Awards ceremony at the Dorchester Hotel on Tuesday 8 May. A special dedicated RPS Music Awards programme will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on Sunday 13 May, 2 pm.

Who’s on the shortlist?

Claudio Abbado is nominated for the RPS Music Award for Conductor for his revelatory performances of Bruckner with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, alongside two conductors who have made significant contributions to two BBC orchestras: Gianandrea Noseda for his final season as Chief Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic and Donald Runnicles, for far reaching, adventurous programmes as Chief Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and at the BBC Proms and the Aldeburgh Festival.

Two pianists contend for the prestigious RPS Music Award for Instrumentalist: Late-night Liszt at the BBC Proms with Canadian pianist Marc-André Hamelin and Maurizio Pollini’s five-concert Royal Festival Hall piano recital series encompassing Bach, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Debussy, Boulez, Schumann, Liszt and Stockhausen. German violinist Christian Tetzlaff completes the instrumentalist shortlist, for outstanding 2011 performances with the CBSO, London Philharmonic and Philharmonia Orchestras.

There’s a distinguished list of contenders for the award for Large-Scale Composition, with Harrison Birtwistle, Graham Fitkin, Jonathan Harvey and previous RPS chamber-scale composition award winner Rebecca Saunders in contention for the prestigious award. The stylistically varied Chamber-Scale Composition award shortlist features Thomas Adès, Sally Beamish, Martin Butler and Gary Carpenter.

Angela Hartnett: Watercress and goat’s cheese tart

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 16, 2012 by Robin Gosnall

(Source: Grauniad)

Celebrate the fact that spring has sprung with some fresh watercress, which is just coming into season. If goat’s cheese is not your thing, a good cheddar or blue will work just as well. The most important thing to get right with a tart is the pastry – too often it’s soggy and the ruin of any good filling.

300g ready-rolled shortcrust pastry
2 bunches watercress minus the large stalks, torn roughly
125g goat’s cheese, rind removed
3 free-range eggs
200ml double cream
salt and pepper

You will need a tart ring of around 8in in diameter – use one with a loose bottom, or put it on a baking tray.

Roll the pastry out to overlap the edges of the tin. Blind bake the pastry – prick the base with a fork, add some baking beans (or dried pulses or rice) to preserve the shape. Bake for 15 minutes at 180ºC.

Remove the baking beans and cook the pastry for a further five minutes, until golden brown, then allow to cool.

Beat the eggs and cream together and season.

Steam the watercress to wilt it, dice the cheese roughly, then scatter both around the tart base and pour over enough of the egg mix to cover (we’re binding the filling, not aiming for an eggy tart).

Bake in the oven at 180ºC for 15-20 minutes until set. Allow to cool, trim the excess pastry and serve with a green salad.

• Angela Hartnett is chef patron at Murano restaurant and consults at the Whitechapel Gallery and Dining Room, London.

Angela Hartnett’s midweek suppers

1912 No. 1: Oskar Kokoschka writes to Alma Mahler

Posted in 1912, Culture with tags , , , , , , , , on April 16, 2012 by Robin Gosnall

In 1912, the artist Kokoschka embarked on a passionate three-year affair with Alma Mahler, widow of composer Gustav Mahler, and wrote her many letters. The recipient asked for her own letters back and destroyed them; we now see this tragic love affair only through the eyes of the disappointed artist who must have expected and demanded more than she was able to give.

Here’s how it started:

Vienna, 15.iv.1912

My dear friend,

Please believe this resolution, as I believed you.

I know I am lost if I continue in my present unclear way of life, I know it is the way to lose my gifts, which I ought to direct towards a goal outside myself, the goal sacred to you and to me.

If you can respect me, and are willing to be as pure as you were yesterday, when I recognized you as higher and better than all other women, who only made a savage of me, then make a real sacrifice for my sake and become my wife, in secret, for so long as I am poor. When I no longer have to conceal myself, I shall thank you for being my consolation. You shall keep your joyousness and purity for me as a source of strength, so that I do not fall into the savagery that threatens me. You shall preserve me until I can be the man who raises you up instead of dragging you down. Since yesterday, when you asked me to be that man, I have believed in you as I have never believed in anyone except myself.

If you will be the woman who gives me strength, and will thus help me out of my spiritual confusion, the beauty we honour, which is beyond our understanding, will bless us both with happiness. Write and tell me that I may come to you, and I will take it for your consent.

I remain in reverence, yours,

Oskar Kokoschka

Photographing Salford

Posted in Life with tags , , , on March 23, 2012 by Robin Gosnall

This is one of my photographs of Salford Quays at night, published recently in the Salford Advertiser.

Nigel Slater’s Classic Porridge

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 21, 2012 by Robin Gosnall

(Source: Observer)

I was brought up on sweet, milky porridge made with rolled oats, but that all changed when I was shown how to make it by champion porridge maker Ian Bishop from Carrbridge in Scotland. My method is now his.

The recipe

Pour three cups of water into a small saucepan and place over a moderate heat. Tip in one cup of medium oatmeal and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. As soon as the porridge starts to blip, add half a teaspoon of salt. Continue stirring until the porridge has been cooking for a total time of 5 minutes. Tip into warm bowls. Have a bowl of cold milk or cream ready. Lift a spoonful of hot porridge and dip it into the cold milk or cream and eat.

The trick

Only stir your porridge clockwise or you risk summoning the devil. A wooden spurtle will get right into the corners and prevent your porridge from sticking. Eat immediately it is ready. The porridge will thicken as it cools. Use medium oatmeal rather than rolled oats. Add salt to all porridge, even if you are going to sweeten it afterwards.

The twist

Each to his own, but porridge is correctly made with water rather than milk. The usual embellishments are red-berry jams, golden syrup or honey, but other ideas include a compote of stewed dried figs, maple syrup or a mixture of fresh berries, sugar and ground cinnamon. You could also leave it to set into cakes and fry it in butter. Oatmeal ice cream, made with toasted oatmeal and cream, while not quite porridge, is certainly worth a visit, too.

Stockhausen in Digbeth

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 13, 2012 by Robin Gosnall

(Source: Guardian)

Birmingham Opera Company has announced it is to stage one of the most challenging operas ever written, Karlheinz Stockhausen’s five-hour epic Mittwoch aus Licht (Wednesday from Light) , during the London 2012 festival.

Featuring real helicopters, two choirs, octophonic sound, numerous musicians, the Radio 1 DJ Nihal and requiring two separate performance halls, this will be the first time that all six parts of the opera have been staged together.

The “bewilderingly difficult” piece will be performed four times between 22 and 25 August, starting at 4pm each day at the Argyle Works, a former factory in Digbeth, Birmingham.

Damien Hirst’s Shark Download

Posted in Culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 11, 2012 by Robin Gosnall

As Tate Modern prepares for its Damien Hirst retrospective, for one week the Observer is offering the chance to download exhibition posters featuring the artist’s best-known works – including his notorious shark suspended in formaldehyde, The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (1991).

Damien Hirst: ‘I still believe art is more powerful than money’

Damien Hirst is at Tate Modern from 4 April until 9 September 2012

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