Creative Cooking

When it comes to cooking – some of us have it and some of us don’t.  And I think that one of the more talented races in this area are the Italians.  They just have a wonderful attitude to food.  Unlike many of us in countries like the US of A and Australia where I currently reside, they do not make food their enemy.

On Saturday I was invited out for dinner at a friend’s house .  She had organized a wonderful evening of Wine Women and Food.  Well what fun we had. Mim, our Italian chefess if there is such a word, runs ‘a Cooking For Beginners’ course – which takes place in your own home.   Her recipes were simple and so tasty.  Mim has spent her life time cooking and I plan to do a post on her soon so do come back to find out more about her.

I am a vegetarian, and she even managed to come up with some wonderful tasty treats for me too!

For an entree she treated us to Zucchini Cakes on a bed of rocket with shaved Parmesan and so easy to make!

Unfortunately by the time I’d thought to do a blog post about it – well I’d eaten them!

However the brain must have still been partly engaged because here is a photo of the main course….

Eggplant Bake

Eggplant Delicious

How beautifully presented is that? The colour, the textures – not to mention the tastes – Wonderful!

I have taken the liberty of changing the name of her dish from Eggplant Bake to Eggplant Delicious – because it truly was.and the rice you see there – what a wonderful combination of flavours;curry,lemon rind, macadamia nuts to name a few.

If you live on the Central Coast and want to have a wonderful evening with your girlfriends – give MIM a call – Ph. 43852837

I am so often amazed at how creative Kiwi’s( slang for New Zealander’s) are, in so many different ways.  I’d like to share some of the wonderful Kiwi creativity I came across while I was a way.

The first is to be found at a little place called Colville.  This is the last place your can buy petrol, groceries a or a cup of coffee, at the top of the Coromandel peninsula. This part of the Coromandel Peninsula is a 4 hour drive from Auckland.

You really couldn’t call it a town.  All that’s there is a general store, a café, which incidentally makes the best coffee on the Peninsula, a post office, half a dozen houses, a fire station AND…..

A really creative public loo…………….

Public toilet at Colville, covered in mosaics

A loo in the sticks - not even a sheep in sight!

Wahine is maori for Women

Wahine is Maori for Women


Public toilet in the country side - very decorative

Colville Loo Take Two - a detail of the mosaic

And a little closer now…………..

Mosaic detail

Mosaic detail

Authenticity

Authenticity – What is it? How do we know when we are being authentic?

It’s a thorny question really and is there a right answer?  To illustrate my point I’d like to share a short story. The scene – Paris September 2005.

We have an iconic landmark. Very pretty it is too – looks great from a distance.

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

Probably the further away the better I was thinking at this point in time.   Not so my friend however, who’s pushing me to go first.   This is the me who gets dizzy looking over a first floor balcony.  Enter from stage left – a great dilemma – what’s more authentic for me to do at this point?  Should I step out side my box and onto the elevator ?  Its looking P-R-E-T-T-Y scary from down here.  Every fibre of my being is screaming at me to stay on the ground…… Perhaps I should just give into this and regret  and excuse my missed chance for ever after.

Or do I close my eyes, grit my teeth and pray to all gods great and small that all will be well if I do this thing?

Now you might argue that I was being inauthentic because I was succumbing to peer pressure, which I certainly did.  Or you might say I was being truly authentic in my endeavour to become a better human being by overcoming my fear.  If we don’t push our boundaries we limit the extent of our human experience, and might never know just what we are capable of.

The same arguments can be extended to the arena of art and creativity.  We are constantly being challenged to extend beyond the boundaries of what we know.  Are you brave enough to get into the lift of your personal Eiffel Tower – what ever it might be?

Picture Credit: Joe Bonita

So where does your inspiraton come from for your creativity?  Does it fall out of the sky? Rush out and trip you up as you walk along or sneak its way into your dreams?  It is different for all of us.  Something that really charges up my creative batteries is travel.  There are always so many new things to look at and experience.  However, not just any old where will do.  I find that returning to my native country is balm for my soul and I always find something new to pique my interest.

I’m off to NZ on New Year’s Eve  – a wonderfully creative way for me to begin the coming year….. I’m very excited. Of course it’s more than just the trees and hills, there is an intrinsic connection to the spirit of the place that draws me.   I find I have similar connections to Italy and England as well.

Flotsam at Waitete Bay

Flotsam at Waitete Bay

I love the textures and subtle colours in this photo.

Thatched Cottage at Avesbury

Thatched Cottage at Avesbury

Here is a piece of quintessential England.

Venetian  Canal

Venetian Canal

Lastly – a tranquil backwater in one of my favourite places.

Creative Re-creation

Are there different kinds of creativity.  Well I believe there are – well for me anyway.  Being mainly a visual artist – an oil painting artist and creator of digital photo art, I sometimes feel that I need a break from this form of creating.  I want to do something to relax a bit.  Painting can get a bit too intense, deep and meaningful and all that stuff.  So this week just for fun I thought I would begin a new project.  This started out actually as a present for someone and has morphed into something else.

I have decided that for the moment I am really enjoying making jewellery.  I’m playing with the most delicious colours, textures and shapes, using: silver, semi precious stones, crystals, beautiful shells, pearls and anything else that catches my eye.

Jewellery Making Components: glass beads, paua shell, murano glass and silver Bali beads

Jewels for Jewellery

This is creative recreation for me, I find it soothing, just losing myself in the selection of beautiful objects and building the designs piece by piece.  There is no pressure to complete, deadlines to drive me or hidden agendas to deal with.  Bliss!

This has become an exploration of the creative process on another level.  To create something unique and beautiful is my purpose and to know that it is expanding into existence for one special person in the world – this is an exciting, fascinating process.   Every necklace I am making is a unique piece that is on its way to finding its owner.  Eventually they will end up on my Facebook page for sale, but the whole process is not about that.  I have often fallen into the trap of trying to paint with only money in mind – it never, ever produces good work.  Hence I am avoiding doing that here.

I’d like to introduce a different approach to creating today.

How would it be if you began your next creative project from new place?

Here are a few questions you might like to explore to assist you in starting from that place.

  • Whether you create through painting, dance, sculpture, acting, accounting, cleaning or whatever  it is for you – what might happen if you began from really connecting to your emotions i.e. how you are feeling?
  • Can you begin from a place of joy and happiness or are you beginning from a place of frustration, anger and lack?
  • Think about how those opposing emotions might influence the impact of your work, both the process and the out come of what you are doing.
  • Are you in touch with the feelings inherent within your work and what the work is conveying to others?
  • Is it important to you that you connect to your audience or is your work more a personal expression /statement?

I believe that many of my more successful works have emerged from  times when I was really connected to myself or creating in aligned  connection to source energy. At times, as creatives, many of our strong work arise out of what may have been difficult periods of our lives or intensely happy ones.  Again it comes back to the intensity of the emotion.  Regardless of what we are representing, it seems that the things we create with strong emotion resonate and connect more clearly with others.

I would be interested to hear if anyone else has experienced this in their work.

Empty Vessel Beautiful Place ©2002 Kadira Jennings

Empty Vessel Beautiful Place ©2002 Kadira Jennings

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