Archive for December, 2009

Blood oranges with warm honey and rosemary

Posted in Food with tags , , , , on December 15, 2009 by Robin Gosnall

Half Hour Meals

This is one of my favourite dishes with which to end a meal: perfectly ripe blood oranges drizzled with a little honey and a scattering of dried chillies and rosemary.

6 blood oranges
130ml fragrant honey, such as acacia
3 tbsp water
3-4 rosemary stems, plus extra sprigs to finish
1 small dried chilli, deseeded and very finely sliced (optional)

With a sharp knife, slice off both ends of the oranges and stand upright on a board.

Running the knife from top to bottom, cut away the peel and pith, following the fruit’s contour. Now slice the oranges across into pin wheels – I usually get five slices from each orange. Set aside and warm the honey.

Put the honey and water into a small saucepan. Lay the rosemary on a chopping board and, using a rolling pin, gently pound the stalk and leaves to bruise them and release the flavour.

Add the rosemary to the pan and place over a very low heat. Allow the honey to warm through very gently for a few minutes, stirring from time to time; don’t let the mixture boil. Take off the heat and set aside to infuse for 10 minutes, then take out the rosemary.

To serve, arrange the orange pinwheels on individual plates. Sprinkle with the dried chilli if using, and spoon over the infused honey. Scatter over a few fresh rosemary sprigs and serve.


Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , on December 15, 2009 by Robin Gosnall

I’ve recently transferred some of my old LPs onto CD (not all of them yet, because it is so very time consuming).

I have realised that the sound is quite different. Better in fact, in many ways. Although I believe that 24-bit digital recording is pretty unbeatable – I’m surprised at how good these old LPs were. Or was it that there were better producers and sound engineers in the 1970s – when these were recorded?

You can hear every part clearly and in balance. The sound is quite beautiful.

I’m referring particularly to my recordings of the Alban Berg Quartet playing Mozart. Such perfect vibrato, not overdone, perfect tempi, perfect balance, wonderful musicianship and nothing less than perfect technically.

Have we lost this? The art of playing, and great musicianship, captured by outstanding producers and sound engineers?

Am I right that a lot of what we hear now from recent years is totally contrived?

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£10,000,000 Hockney

Posted in Culture with tags , , , , , , , on December 9, 2009 by Robin Gosnall

Copenhagen, Denmark: An art work which is part of the project SevenMeters, using red blinking LED-light, to symbolise that the world is moving towards a climate catastrophe – 24km of red blinking lights will appear during the climate summit

I read recently that David Hockney’s large painting “Bigger Trees near Water” has been valued at ten million quid. As it’s been given to the Tate by the artist, the Tate’s estimate of £10m won’t be tested on the market. It’s rather like the police’s “street value” of drugs they seize – there’s no way of knowing how accurate it is.

Now, I know very little about money but when I think of all the deserving people, and causes, who are desperately short of money I can’t help feeling there’s something wrong here.

I admire a lot of modern (and “modernist”) painting: Mark Rothko is among my favourites. I think “Bigger Trees near Water” is rather a nice picture, but is it really worth ten million as a work of art? One reason anyone would pay ten million for it is because they expect its value to double or treble when the artist dies, I suppose.

One thing about a tangible artefact like an original painting is that the thing itself can be owned. Of course someone could buy the manuscript of “The Minotaur” (if it were for sale) but you couldn’t own the opera in the same way as you can own a painting.

I know some visual artists are dissatisfied with this situation and some have tried to create works of art that cannot be owned, for example Martin Creed and his illuminated empty room.

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Camille O’Sullivan

Posted in Music with tags , , , , on December 4, 2009 by Robin Gosnall

Last Saturday, Camille O’Sullivan stood on stage at London’s Royal Albert Hall in front of 5,000 people. She wore a black strapless dress, fishnet stockings, and red sequinned shoes. She sang five songs, shook her dark hair loose over her shoulders, and told the audience she was so nervous about performing here that she hadn’t eaten for six months. Then a woman’s voice came from the stalls; not unfriendly, but curious. “Who are you?” she shouted.

Read more …

Tracey Emin: “I’m not a good person”

Posted in Culture with tags , , , , on December 2, 2009 by Robin Gosnall


Tracey Emin’s latest work deals with the threat of climate change, but she admits she is a “bad advert” for action on the issue. Unveiling her embroidered images of flowers, insects and birds for a Royal Academy exhibition on responses to climate change, Emin, 46, said: “I think man makes a major contribution to climate change. We have to slow down. One day a week turn down the energy … saying that, it is really hard to do that when you are living in the 21st century, it’s a fast lifestyle.”

She admitted: “I’m not a good person. I’m a bad advert. I take too many planes … I keep my heating on all day and night because I get really cold and I’m scared of the dark so I sleep with the light on. I do try to make other compromises in other areas of my life. I don’t have lots of clothes for example. I’m not contributing to the clothes mountain.”

The exhibition also features a shattered diamond made from a polar bear’s leg bone, a giant cage-like globe and glass representations of jellyfish, all inspired by climate change.

GSK Contemporary Earth: Art of a Changing World runs at the Royal Academy from tomorrow until 31 January 2010

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