Friday, October 26, 2012

Wet Pastel & Comfort Food

My "When Artists Cook" post this week prompted a lot of queries about my world famous Creamy Pumpkin Soup.  Well, maybe not world famous, but certainly highly sought after...well, maybe not highly, but very least in my house...well, my Mum likes it, and that's saying something!!

Anyway, I was playing around in my Stillman & Birn "Epsilon" Series sketchbook in preparation for my new online class "Wet Pastel Workshop" which will be running in the new year.  I found myself exploring color blending directly onto the page with my Neocolor II's and this butternut squash segment was a great subject.  It prompted me to share both this food journal page and the recipe that so many of you asked for.

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

Any type of pumpkin can be used in this recipe.  I use whatever I have on hand.  I estimate the quantities of the ingredients, mainly because I use whatever I have in the cupboard.  If you want a large pot, then use more of everything, if you want a small pot, use less!!  

1 large butternut squash or pumpkin of your Choice
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 large potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion chopped
4 tablespoons butter
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup heavy cream (can substitute for half/half or skim milk if desired)
Nutmeg for garnish.

Remove skin and seeds from the pumpkin and chop into small pieces. 
Melt butter in a large saucepan or soup pot and add the onion, 
cook until soft and clear (don't burn).
Add the pumpkin, carrots and potatoes to the pot, then add the chicken stock. 
Bring to boil, then reduce the head, cover and simmer for about 30-45 mins, 
or until veges are tender. 
Remove from heat and blend until smooth.  
If you are using a food processor or blender, you may need to do this in several batches.  
Stir in cream.  
Sprinkle each bowl with a pinch of nutmeg just prior to serving.  

This soup is best served with hot crusty bread.

So, the Epsilon Series sketchbook I have been using for this has a lovey heavy weight paper that is well suited to pen and ink. However, I've found that it takes light washes beautifully and has become the perfect sketchbook for water soluble mediums such as watercolor pencil, crayon, marker, and even soft pastel (although you may have to fix your pastel or it will smudge onto the facing page).

The pages are strong and crisp, and even with a heavy wash of color I had no bleed through, just the slighted buckling which presses out once the book is closed.  To be honest, I love it when the page develops a little texture from movement under the medium, it gives the sketchbook some meat, and has that lovely look of being well-used and well-loved.

These Stillman & Birn books are quickly becoming my favorite sketchbooks of choice.

Thanks for checking in xx