Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Guildhall Art Gallery Tower Exhibition Reopens

The exhibition entitled Tower Bridge. A Celebration of 120 Years, in Guildhall Art Gallery in the centre of the City of London, has reopened and will remain open until 5 January 2015.  Seventeen of my paintings are on view.
            I suppose it was because I have so many paintings in the show that I was asked to give a speech and open the exhibition on the 2nd of June 2014.
            This I managed to do ( http://youtu.be/cIe3kVdBptYand to considerable applause, though I rather embarrassingly stumbled at one point and forgot what I wanted to say.
            However, the opening was a great success, and the paintings of Tower Bridge throughout its life, depicted by artists through the decades, are shown beautifully in a lovely gallery. Moreover, helped by the skill of the curator, Julia Dudkiewicz, and the generosity of the City of London, everyone enjoyed themselves immensely.
            At the end of June there was another anniversary “opening”, this time in Tower Bridge itself, taking place within those two upper spans that hold the bridge’s towers together – or apart.
            This time the speech was made by Dan Cruikshank, the eminent historian, again accompanied with generous hospitality.
            The spans were of great interest to me as they were of roughly geodetic construction – the same method that was used during the war in the making of Wellington and Warwick bombers (in which the latter I flew). Only here, the Tower Bridge’s spans were made of hefty steel and rivets instead of light aluminium used for aircraft.
            The cross members that look so thin and elegant from the ground or river are, in fact, substantial and spacious. Both were in use for the party, one holding a live band and many guests for the rather long opening speech.
            Views up and down river from this eerie are excellent and, being now glazed, no longer disturb those who dislike heights. People standing beside the Tower of London below look minute.
            Being run by the City of London, in the heart of the City itself, entrance to Guildhall Art Gallery is free. And now signs in Guildhall Yard outside the gallery entrance guide those who wish to see the exhibition into an impressive interior. Opening times are Monday to Saturday 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday 12 noon to 4 pm.
            Do not miss the chance to look around the Tower Bridge exhibition’s adjoining room where there are some original photographs of the bridge under construction.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Chicken - dream chicken under a blanket

I had a dream one night about a chicken dish, and it went like this: In a greased baking pan I put 5 fresh bay leaves (why 5? It was a dream). On these leaves was placed a well-scored chicken (not too large). The bird was then coated with thick yoghurt into which lots of garlic had been pressed with salt and pepper. Now the white-coated fowl was covered with a thin blanket of suet crust pastry (using any fat with twice its weight of self-raising flour, a little turmeric for colour, salt, and then water to form a ball to roll out). Any surplus blanket was cut away, to which I added grated cheese to form a ball, flattening it out with my fists on to a baking surface and scoring it to make cheese straws (goldfingers). I took the straws out of a medium to hot oven (180 degrees) after half an hour to eat then or later, leaving the chicken to bake for another hour. I had surrounded the uncooked chicken in its blanket with potatoes that had been boiled for 10 minutes and oiled, salted and peppered. That was it. And delicious it all was when the recipe was put into practice and consumed soon after the dream.
            In a pressure cooker, for half an hour, I boiled the leftover blanket and chicken carcass with a chicken stock cube, water, the original 5 bay leaves, and two star aniseeds to make the liquor for a soup. Having strained out the solids from the contents of the pressure cooker and discarded them, I added some milk to form the consistency of the soup required.

CHICKEN - DREAM CHICKEN UNDER A BLANKET (with cheese straws and soup)   

You will need:
Fresh bay leaves
A smallish chicken
Thick yoghurt
Fat, flour and turmeric (as colour) for the blanket
Grated cheese for the goldfingers
Potatoes (optional)
Pepper and salt

For the soup:
Star aniseed
Chicken stock cube
Pepper and salt if necessary