Friday, 29 July 2011

Olive and Almond Pesto

Something you'll give away- Everyday Matters

These are olives from last year's crop, these were fished out of a big jar where they are kept in salty water.
We don't have many olive trees and don't press our own oil,  but we have just enough for bottling in October/November.
Usually there are a few smaller jars to be given to the family, sometimes mixed with garlic, chopped celery and carrots.

I also picked some almonds today so I sketched those too.

They were still in their husks, so I peeled those off and have left them to dry.  I'm planning on making some pesto sauce with both the almonds and the olives.  I'll give you the receipe as that is the theme of this sketch!

Olive and Almond Pesto
a handful of stoned and roughly chopped green olives
a bunch of fresh basil (approx 20 leaves)
about 10 chopped almonds
2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese
half a clove of garlic (more if you like it and won't be getting close to anyone for the next 24 hours)
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Put all the ingredients in a liquidiser and give them a little whizz round pouring in a little olive oil, don't liquidise so much that you can't see the bits of almond in the pesto!
Toss in a pan with your spaghetti.
If you want you can leave out the cheese and use the pesto on crostini as an antipasto.

Buon appetito!

Tuesday, 26 July 2011


'Perennial' for Illustration Friday.

Perennial  -  Lasting for an indefinately long time, enduring.
These are Doric columns up on a hillside archaeological site not far from where I live.  These columns are perennial, lasting for for thousands of years under wind, fire and rain.
There is not much left of the original town of  Soluntum built by the Phoenicans in about 700 BC, but a  few ruins remain from the Greeks and the Romans.  Mostly fragments of walls, foundations and a few mosaics.

You can still see the traces of two ancient roads and the grid pattern of the classical Greek style town.
When I'm walking along one of the roads on the site I can almost hear the busy town and feel the people who lived there, I can't think of anything more enduring than that!


Sunday, 24 July 2011

The Green Door

Hidden away in a corner, in a small village in the middle of Sicily, a tiny green door.  Obviously not used very much, otherwise you'd have to step over the plant pots everytime you went in or out. 
I'd love to have a back door like this, with perhaps a big old key to go with it.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

These Three Pears

Some little pears from my garden that I originally did in watercolour,  I painted them several times on different paper but couldn't get them right. (It's easy to blame your tools when it goes wrong!)
But in the end I went over the top with coloured pencil and liked it more.

Monday, 18 July 2011


Illustration Friday -'Gesture'

The Italians are famous for talking and moving their arms about at the same time.  Most of the gestures they use do have a meaning or express a feeling.  I have known people actually have a conversation using only gestures and facial expressions, they even use them when on the phone!
I've been behind cars when the driver is talking on his phone (not recommended and against the law) and what's worse.... he takes the other hand off the steering wheel to emphasise a point with a gesture!

This coloured pencil drawing is from several years ago but it fitted the theme well so I dug it out of my archives!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Lounging Lizard

It's very hot and sticky here, not my favourite sort of weather!  But there are some who appreciate the sun and here is one of them.
 The lizard was sitting in our outside sink and stayed quite still for a few minutes, just enough time for me to get my camera.  I've been trying for ages to get a good lizard close up as a reference but normally they move so fast.  This one did actually look a bit old, but then how do you tell the age of a lizard?

Monday, 11 July 2011


'Stay' for Illustration Friday.

They say every picture tells a story, but you can make up your own story for this one.  Is it a happy ending or not?

Friday, 8 July 2011

Tomato Special

Yes this is a special tomato, it's the first of my tomato crop of this year.  Of course a tomato can't go anywhere without it's best mate Basil!  So both were immortalised for posterity in my sketchbook then I ate the tomato with  an omelette made from fresh eggs from my friend Gabriella's hens.  A simple  but wonderful meal and all homegrown.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Natural Remedies

The word for Illustration Friday this week is 'remedy'.  Some of the best remedies are produced by nature so I went into my garden and grabbed a bunch of herbs then looked up their medicinal properties.  I was surprised at how many uses each herb had and  could only list a few in my sketchbook due to the size of the page, but it's something I'd like to research some more.  The smell was wonderful too!


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