Saturday, 28 November 2015

Spanakopita - a delicious summer evening dish

A simple, but tasty dish to serve when you have guests over is spanakopita. There are many variations for you to present it, but the coil is the most conventional. Nadia Lim who promotes 'good food' and who  is a NZ Masterchef winner and My Food Bag owner had a column in a recent NZ Herald, which I attempted.

What you'll need is:
2 chopped onions
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
4  eggs - beaten
200 g feta - crumbed
1/3 cup pine cunts (lightly roasted)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon  ground black pepepr
350 g frozen spinach (I used silverbeet from my garden)
12 sheets file pastry
50g melted butter
1-2 teaspoons sesame seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 190 deg C.

Gently fry the onions, garlic and thyme and after 5 minutes add the sugar and balsamic. Fry for a further 5 minutes until caramelised.

Whisk eggs, salt pepper and feta and add roasted pine nuts. 

I lightly cooked the silverbeet and patted dry. If using frozen spinach you need to squeeze out the water using a clean tea towel. 

Chop spinach roughly and add to the egg mixture. 

The most fiddly bit is preparing the filo pastry.

On a clean, dry surface, lay a filo sheet, brush with melted butter and overlap the next sheet over the one edge and once again, brush with butter. Add a 3rd sheet alongside so you have a long, rectangular  buttered filo pastry sheet. Repeat twice, overlaying the first layer with 2 more buttered filo sheets.

Spread the egg and spinach mixture along the one long edge of the buttered sheet and gently roll up the sheet into a long sausage shape.

Carefully transfer the 'sausage' to a round buttered tin and create a spiral shape starting in the middle {which I didn't do ;)} and working around to the outside.

Brush the spiral with more butter or olive oil. Sprinkle sesame seeds if desired

Bake at 190 deg C for 20-25 minutes.

*Note In my recipe I used a width of  only two filo sheets, so the coil is a bit thicker.

Served with salads this is a lovely meal. A tip would be to not over-roast the pinenuts!

Enjoy - Claudia x

Friday, 13 November 2015

Gathered and found

There is therapy, I find, in wandering along the shore to the sound of pounding waves, embraced by the ocean's salty, misty air. Finding interesting bits of jetsam washed up and half buried in the sand is an additional pleasure. 

Tasha Wakefield, my latest featured creative, does this for a living. You will find Tasha strolling along the Sydney beaches or in fact, any beach in the world she may be visiting. You may think she's wondering aimlessly on a beach walk, but she is actually carefully scanning the shoreline for signs of shimmering seaglass to collect and repurpose for her jewellery pieces.

Tasha runs the jewellery business, Spindrift Collections, with the philosophy of creating pieces that are ethically sourced, sustainably produced and affordable.
Tasha  uses sea glass in her jewellery designs, creating beautiful muted colours which suit her silver work. She says : 'Beach glass, also known as sea glass or mermaids tears is old discarded glass from bottles and jars, which made their way into the ocean. Over many years the waves, water and salt then naturally smooth the glass down to a beautifully soft and polished finish. I collect and source my beach glass from seashores all around the world, meaning I always have an amazing variety to choose from when making new works. Whether a Spindrift design or a bespoke commission, I always find just the right piece for you.”

To see her stunning work, visit her newly revamped Spindrift website for a peek at her  elegantly designed and made pieces and to find all Spindrift Collections social media locations.

I am so excited to let you know that Tasha’s is offering this beautiful piece 'Oceans Necklace' as a prize. 

This piece represents our five oceans, with four pieces of sea smoothed beach glass and one solid sterling silver piece. To be in to win, please join us for a competition on Instagram.

{Photos by Tasha Wakefield}

To enter, on Instagram:
1. Follow @spindriftcollections & @adiandbert
2. Tag a friend & invite to join
3. Post a NEW pic featuring what you have gathered and found to #thegatheredandfoundseries
The competition is open worldwide and closes at the end of the month, 30 November. Tasha will judge the winning entry.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

A cut above - #thescissorsseries winners!

We have a winner for #thescissorsseries! 

Amy was very efficient, sending the results to me at the weekend, but I was away attending a conference, so sorry for the delay! 

It's been a pleasure watching my feed and seeing all those pairs of scissors taking centre stage in the most creative ways. Without further ado, here they are. Thanks to the lovely Amy for playing along and providing the prizes and all of you who joined in!

Here are Amy's winners with a few words about her choices.

Winner  @kim_swanson receives  print of 'The Primer' and a pair of vintage scissors.

Though this vignette was very simple, the placement of the package, the rosemary and the scissors told the sweetest story. The light in this photo is exquisite and with the elimination of all background shapes, colors and tones, you can appreciate the interplay of these three items and the details - the print on the paper packaging, the embossing on the scissors and even the veins in the leaves of the rosemary are all brought into focus...spectacular!

Runner up - @catrinekelty - receives a print of 'The Primer'.

I'm a firm believer in strength in numbers - especially when it comes to collections. Both of @catrinekelty's photos had a dark, ethereal look to them which played off nicely with the metal of the scissors.  I snickered when I saw the "bouquet" of scissors since I myself always look for interesting ways to photograph the most common of items.

Some honourable mentions



Both of these captured a vignette with beautiful arrangement and lighting. 

The depth of field on @annld60 picture is so striking and the complement of the brown bottle to the clear glass as well as picking up the amber tones of the flower bulbs offers great repetition.  The front bottle and the scissors are so clear, you feel like you can reach out and touch them.

Since I have a large collection of sewing paraphernalia, @beverlylcazzell_lavenderbleu  image just spoke to me...and it didn't hurt that it had a ball of string too! Again, with no distractions in the background, the interplay of the tin box, the ball of string, the wooden spools and the scissors is the main focus, all playing perfectly together.



Gotta give a shout-out to the guys in the group!  Not intimidated by the plethora of roses/peonies/greenery in the submissions, these two offered up a couple of striking images of their own.  Myself being a huge fan of neutrals/grunge/rust/junk, both of these guys usually tug at my heart whenever they post on IG - it was no different with this series.

It really was a difficult process to pick a winner, but the entire series was so enjoyable - I loved seeing all the images come across my feed constantly in the last week, from all around the world - it continues to reinforce for me why IG is by far my favorite creative hangout.  Thanks Claudia for a great week - I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did - you did a fantastic job hosting - thank you!  = Amy Duncan

Kim receives pair of vintage scissors and print of 'The Primer', below, by Amy Duncan and Catrine, as runner up, a copy of the print. Well done!

See you next time.
- Claudia x