Monday, April 4, 2011

eat; cashew cheese spread

So I'm back in Melbourne, Australia for a few months and yes, I've been subjected to my mums Italian cooking all week, throwing my raw endeavors out the window. But not for long!  I mean seriously, I haven't eaten her cooking in over a year and am allowing myself the pleasure for a while. I do intend to post some of her amazingness as soon as I get a hold of my own great camera. Time to start saving!

While in The States, I purchased my second raw cookbook, The Raw 50 by Carol Alt and decided to start with the super easy cashew cheese recipe. This makes a great spread for sandwiches, or a yummy dip for a big bowl of raw vegies and is super easy to make! I watered it down and added a little olive oil using it as a 'sauce' for a raw zucchini pasta...yum! Divide the mixture in two and add sun dried tomatoes to the second half for something different. I also added liquid smoke to the sun dried tomato dip for a more intense flavour.

What you need;
2 cups raw cashews, soaked for four hours
1/2 cup of filtered water
1 yellow bell pepper
5 tbs lemon juice
small handful of fresh parsley
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
2 heaped Tbs Nutritional yeast
1 garlic clove
1 shallot
salt and pepper to taste

Sun Dried Tomato Chashew Cheese
1/3 cup sundried tomato

Drain the nuts and dry with a kitchen towel. Roughly chop bell pepper, parsley, garlic and shallot.

Throw everything into your food processor and whiz away until you get a creamy consistency. If you are wanting to try the sun dried tomato version, simply divide the mixture, leaving the half in the food processor and add the sun dried tomatoes. Whiz until combined.

The one on the left is the cashew cheese spread that I watered down for a saucy constancy and the one on the right is the sun dried tomato flavour. Both are yum!!!

Bon Appetito!

pink; initiator

Lin Tianmiao is a Chinese born artist who studied in the U.S.A during the early 1980's, where she soon become a successful textile designer. Her career as an artist did not begin until she moved back to China in 1994 with her artist husband where they opened up their hutong studio to show their works to the public. She was quickly placed into the group of female Chinese artists making nuxing yishu 'female art'.

Most of you know I have a connection to China, especially Beijing where I undertook an artist in residence program in 2008. I do have a love/hate relationship with Beijing and the Chinese art world as a result, but I wont go into that here. What I will say is that one thing I did not like was their obsession with fiberglass and even though Initiator is made of fiberglass and silk, it does have something else to offer that is more than just being a cheesy fiberglass sculpture.
Initiator references both Western and Eastern cultures of myths and traditional gender stereotypes. The woman and the frog are bound in decorative silk fabric, which is a common theme of Lin's practice. China’s female tradition of cloth production and embroidery are evident here as with references to her cultural heritage of foot binding for 'beauty' which actually disabled women from walking. Here the woman is bound but so is the frog, suggesting both sexes are bound by traditional roles. 

One cannot help but also notice Western fairytale references in this work. Rupunzel and The Frog Prince are just two that come to mind. Both stories have a male character that eventually saves the female character. A form of binding exists within these fairytales for little girls growing up in Western cultures (and may I suggest little boys too) as they are taught through these stories how they are to take on their role as 'women' within the society they are growing into. To always look pretty, to always be vulnerable and to always expect to be saved.
The paragraph below is taken directly from Lin Tianmiao's website:

"There are pink arcs on the background wall, which can be interpreted as commas---a non-stop process, or as swimming sperms. A girl, wrapped in white silk cloth with decorative patterns, stands with her hands half open, in a somewhat hesitative posture. Beside the girl there is a frog, also wrapped in white silk cloth with decorative patterns, and whose hands turn out to be coarsely veined male human hands, drawing the numerous white silk threads that drape from the girl’s body."

This work, with its comically large pink representation of 'swimming sperm' is beautifully constructed in the Eastern tradition of silk crafts and successfully represents the gender differences that exists between Eastern and Western traditions. Lin Tianmiao's work definitely draws inspiration from both cultures, creating a tactile, sensual and delicately beautiful installation experience for the viewer to ponder.

love; ten things i love this week

This week, I flew back to Melbourne to spend a few months with my family and friends, so things i love this week will be dedicated to my return to Melbourne, playing tourist in my hometown and catching up with friends.

1. Wearing my sequined Mickey ears and my I <3 L.A T-Shirt to the airport! LOVE!!

2. Having a last glass of pink champagne with my wonderful housemate Natalie at LAX. Bubbles and flying are a wonderful match made in heaven! LOVE!

3. I decided to order a vegan meal on the aeroplane on the way back from L.A and it was the best decision I've made! I've always ordered vegetarian meals and always just picked at the smelly things I uncovered. Choosing vegan, I had a really nice Indian curry for dinner and a fruit compote for breakfast. Try it if you hate aeroplane food! LOVE!

4. Having a very long Italian dinner with my family on the night I arrived back. Coming from an Italian background, you can only imagine how much of a feat it is! Eating is a three hour endeavor! I even made an artwork about it in 2007! Check it out here!
5. Waking up to the smell of espresso and the sound of Italian radio. I realised how much I missed hearing the Italian language on a regular basis! Might have to bring back mum's way of starting the day to L.A!

6. Having my first latte in Melbourne. Most of you may know that Melbourne is known for it's great coffee. It really is a town where bad coffee is hard to find. I met my friend Sam at this place that has opened up while I've been away called Ponyfish Island in Southbank. It is set under a walk way bridge on the Yarra River. Nice way to spend my second day in Melbourne!

7. Watching this catctus leaf float on by as we walked the river bank in Southbank. Sooooo random! It was a little L.A coming to say hi and reminding me it is simply an ocean away. LOVE!

8. Italian Hot Chocolate from Brunettis...A MUST! It will almost kill you but hey, what a lully way to die! LOVE!

9. Coming back to clothes I left behind. It feels like I've got a new wardrobe without having to shop! LOVE!

10. Seeing my 18 year old cat, Missy. Something kinda lully about old pets that are still around years later. She doesn't walk that well anymore and as a result, cannot climb at all, but she is still lively and young at heart. LOVE!