Ottawa Greenbelt & Chocolate Coconut Macaroons

I took this photo a few years ago while walking our dog along the bike path that runs through the Ottawa greenbelt:

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I’ve since painted it about twelve times using oils, and I decided to draw it one more time as a holiday present for my father. This latest version was made using pastels and coloured pencils:

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I don’t think this is the last time I will paint this scene, I make it a little differently each time and I enjoy making differing skies. The painting that is permanently at the top of my blog is also the same scene.

This weeks’s dessert is chocolate coconut macaroons. I used the same recipe posted here, except I added two ounces of unsweetened baking chocolate. The recipe in Martha Stewart’s Cookies uses semisweet chocolate, but I prefer things less sweet. Simply cut the chocolate into coarse pieces and add it to the batter…

I made the chocolate pieces too fine, it would have been better in larger chunks. I also had to add an extra egg white because the batter wasn’t sticking together well enough with the extra ingredient. But they were still quite tasty.

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Sketches for a Future Oil Painting & Anne Kurabiyesi

A few months ago I had a sudden inspiration for a painting; a house on a dirt road in the middle of the night. I’m not sure where the image came from, I was somewhere between asleep and awake and it just popped into my head. I made a preliminary sketch some time ago using Paper by FiftyThree:

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This first sketch ran away from me and I ended up making it a daytime scene. But the next two were a little bit closer to my original idea:

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I made one more and finally managed to get the angles and colours as they were in my semi-wakeful dream:

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The house still isn’t right, but that’s something I’ll work on when I get a chance to sit down with some oil paints and make the actual painting…

This week’s dessert is another one from my grandmother’s reperatoire. They’re called Anne Kurabiyesi, which in Turkish means mother’s cookies or mother’s biscuits. They are a plain and simple cookie that go perfectly with some tea.

The measurements for the recipe were a little vague:

3 eggs
3 Turkish coffee cups sugar
3 Turkish coffee cups butter (softened)
Baking soda
A little less than 5 cups flour

(Three Turkish coffee cups turned out to be approximately 3/4 cup and for the baking soda I just guessed 1/2 a tsp because I remember when my grandmother made the biscuits they didn’t rise very much.)

Separate one of the egg yolks and set aside. Mix all other ingredients until a soft dough forms. Let it “rest” for half an hour, then make small balls by rolling them between your palms. Place them on baking sheets (I lined them with parchment paper just to make my life easier) and cover the tops with a little egg yolk. Bake at 350 F for approximately half an hour.

My measurements turned out to be correct, the biscuits had the right taste, but I made them a little too big and cooked them a little too long. However, with some tea I still enjoyed them thoroughly.

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Trees & Peanut Butter Balls

This week I sketched a few trees. Here is one I made with pencils:

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Here are two I made using Paper by FiftyThree:

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And here is one I made using coloured pencils:

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For dessert this week we have peanut butter chocolate balls. The recipe is from a friend.

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup icing sugar
1 tbsp butter
2 squares semisweet baking chocolate

Simply mix the peanut butter, sugar and butter. Roll into one inch balls and place them on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Place them in the freezer for about twenty minutes, then dip them in melted chocolate and freeze again. So easy and soooo delicious. But I think they would be just as good with unsweetened baking chocolate.

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I apologize for the short post this week; we’re all battling colds again and we are all very tired…

Sketches for Watercolour Paintings & Apple Tart

My brother-in-law recently posted a photo on Facebook, and as soon as I saw it I had the urge to paint it. Here is his photo of the Rhone River:

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And here is a quick sketch I made on some watercolour paper.

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I don’t have a lot of experience or skill with watercolour, so I’m not too sure when I will actually muster up the courage to paint it. But when I do, I also plan on making a painting of this picture that I took driving home from work one day:

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Here is my sketch:

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For the record, I never use my phone when driving. The day I took this photo there was quite a bit of traffic and I was at a full stop, that’s why the car in front of me is so far ahead; when traffic started moving I was still busy taking photos, much to the annoyance of the drivers behind me. But this sunset was too gorgeous not to photograph!

Dessert this week is apple tart. My grandmother used to make this all the time when I was young.

3 eggs
2 cups chopped apple
1 cup sugar
1.5 cups plus 2 tbsp flour
1 tsp baking powder (I used 1/2 tsp baking soda)
Pinch of salt

Mix the eggs with the sugar, then add the remaining ingredients. Pour the batter into a buttered 9 inch glass baking dish, sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 350 F for about 30 minutes.

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It didn’t turn out as well as my grandmother’s. I don’t remember her ever looking at a recipe, so perhaps she  used slightly different amounts of various ingredients. I think next time I’ll try a little less flour, a bit more apple, and maybe less baking soda. I also added a little too much salt I think, but I still enjoyed having the tart with my tea…

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