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Wonderfully Random

Received some amazing pictures last week from one of our artists, Jill Newman. The images are of the largest  ‘urban forest’ in the country, inside the Heygate Estate, Elephant and Castle.

It needs protecting from Southwark Council and property developers Lend-Leese who plan to demolish the old estate and build “luxury flats.” (Jill Newman)

Click here to see the rest of the images. I particularly like the black and white ones as it gives it a more magical quality, like a well-kept secret.

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A bee covered in pollen grains on a Dahlia flo...

Bee pollinating a flower

The sun is out, birds are chirping, a light wind breezes by… *aaachhooo! *rubs eyes…damn hay fever!

Spring is slowly but surely upon us but so is the start of the hay fever season! Those who suffer from it (like me) will know how frustrating and annoying it is and those who suffer from it badly (like me) will already have started feeling the effects of it!

There are many ways people choose to combat this annoying condition, be it tablets (one a day), nose spray (if it’s already blocked, how does that work??), vaseline (yes, around the nostril area) or sunglasses (keeps away the pollen from irritating your eyes). However, I find that while tablets work very well, they aren’t necessarily good for the body in the long run. What your body needs is a way to naturally build up immunity to this seasonal problem. This is where my natural hay fever remedy comes in handy!

Just so you know, I found this recipe online years ago and can’t remember who gave it but do remember it was a female on some obscure forum somewhere. I’ve tried this and it really does help.

Hay Fever Remedy

Ingredients:

  • Bee Pollen – what better way to get your body used to the pollen than by ingesting it?
  • Echinacea tincture – plant extract used to increase the activity of your immune system by simulating white blood cells which attack illnesses and infection
  • Lemon juice – good source of vitamin C, natural antioxidant
  • Natural honey – because the bees make it so it’s another way to immunize yourself
  • Water – so you can swallow the remedy!

The bee pollen and Echinacea tincture can be purchased at any natural health outlets.

How to:

(Follow instructions on the bottle for the amount of bee pollen and Echinacea tincture you put in)

  1. Mix 2 bee pollen tablets (crushed or whole), 15 drops of Echinacea tincture, some lemon juice, some honey and some water into a cup. Ideally it should be 1/4 of the cup so can be drank in one go.
  2. Do this everyday and usually best to start early in the season to really build up your immunity.

Hope you have found this useful and do let us know your thoughts and comments on this!

Last month, in a rare booking, we were asked by Groundwork to provide lunch for a visit from people from the Big Lottery fund. The Big Lottery fund visited a number of lottery funded projects in and around Burgess Park (our Heart Garden program being one of them) and also discussed and surveyed the park and its future renovation plans.

With emphasis on natural and homegrown food, Art in the Park delved into our creative minds and garden to come up with a simple and satisfying menu for the lunch. As well as fresh, grown winter greens (miners lettuce, watercress, etc), salad, sandwiches, variety of cheeses and spreads and sliced fruits, we also made lavender cupcakes!  These light and fragant cupcakes went down a treat.

At Art in the Park, we use our own homegrown lavender as we know it is pesticide free. These cakes remind us of summer in the depths of mid-winter. Recipe is courtesy of Nigella Lawson.

Lavender Cupcakes Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 125 grams of butter, softened
  • 125 grams of  sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 125 grams  of self-raising flour
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 T of the lavender milk
  1. Half an hour before baking: put about 4 tablespoons of  milk in a small saucepan with 6-8 sprigs of fresh lavender, or 1-2 teaspoons of the dried buds. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, cover and let steep for 20 minutes. Strain into a cup and let sit for another 10 min.
  2. To make the cakes: combine all ingredients except for the milk in a food processor. Pulse while adding the milk to make a very soft batter. Spoon the batter into 12 cupcake cases in a muffin tin. Bake for 15-20 min or until golden on top. Remove to cool on a wire rack.
  3. When the cupcakes are cool, make the icing: mix icing sugar with a little of the lavender milk and ice the cakes. Finish with a lavender sprig .

The lunch was a big success with Peter Wanless, CEO of Big Lottery tweeting:

“@artintheparktwt – thank you for a delicious lunch and warm welcome. Keep up the great work!”

Here at Art in the Park we regularly have lunch thrown together from what is brought in on the day as well as whatever’s growing in our garden. You may have seen this from our previous posts such as ‘Ready, Steady, Cook!‘, ‘Winter Planting‘ and ‘Happy Harvesting.’

One of our most regularly (and the easiest) recipes we put together are soups. Today we had AitP artist Jill Newman‘s Cold-buster soup. It’s great for those days when you want to fight off colds or just want to strengthen your body’s natural defenses. Since we loved it so much, here is the recipe!

Ingredients:Onion, Ginger and Lemon Soup

  • 2 lbs red onions or shallots
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger, grated or dried ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of sherry or wine
  • juice of 1/2 lemon or whole lemon (if you want that extra sourness and kick)
  • 1 bay leaf (fresh if possible) and (optional) borage leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds and cumin seeds mixed and crushed
  • 1 star aniseed
  • teaspoon of butter or olive oil
  • stock/ bouillon
  • 1 tbsp of freshly chopped parsley and mint

Method:

  1. Chop onions and garlic finely and “sweat” in a saucepan over a very low heat in the butter/ oil (this must be minimum heat for maximum time (30 minutes) in order to extract a sweet, caramelized flavour).
  2. Add the crushed spices for the last 5 minutes and the star aniseed.
  3. After 30 minutes, turn up the heat to medium and add the sherry/ wine. Allow the alcohol to evaporate then add  pints of water.
  4. Add vegetarian stock/ bouillon and bay leaf then simmer on a low heat with lid on for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and hob and add in the lemon juice and finely chopped parsley.
  6. Serve into bowls with pinch of black pepper and mint.

Serving suggestions: Great with croutons thrown in and alongside cheese on toast.

(Note: For those who haven’t got much time, a lighter and quicker version of this recipe involves only the essential ingredients which are lemon, ginger, black pepper, mint/ parsley, onion or garlic or both and stock/ bouillon.)

We’ve recently found another ceramicist to use our kiln room for well…making all things ceramic. In response to a current project, our new ceramicist Mario has put together a series of small sessions for Art in the Park staff and artists to make some sample ceramics for it.

Using leftover clay from previous projects (nothing goes to waste here!), the first session involved molding the clay into the desired shapes. Before firing them up in the kiln, they have to be left out to slowly dry. To do this, we have alternated between covering them up in cling film and leaving them out in the open. More updates when it comes!

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Hayward Gallery, London. Photograph taken by M...

Image via Wikipedia

Art in the Park recently attended the MOVE exhibition at the Hayward Gallery in Southbank Centre. The pieces in the gallery are intended to involve visitors in ways not normally expected.

…invites you to become a participant – or even a dancer – in installations and sculptures by internationally renowned visual artists and choreographers…explores the historical and current relationship between visual arts and dance…Performances are woven into an exhibition of sculptural works, set pieces and installations, which can be activated by the public and by a group of resident performers in the gallery.

excerpt from introduction of MOVE Gallery

A favourite piece of ours included Isaac Julien‘s Ten Thousand Waves (2010) which was a cinematic nine screen installation of three separate stories. One of the these riveting stories told of the tragedy that occurred in north east England in 200 when a team of Chinese cockle-pickers were drowned in Morecambe Bay. It truly does pull you, physically because of the multi-screens and mentally because of its composition. A definite must-see!

Another favourite of ours was the Christian Jankowski’s Rooftop Routine (2007), a hula hoop workout encouraging and teaching participants to try this hip-moving skill.

Others include Mike Kelley‘s playful Adaptation, Tania Bruguera‘s disturbing Untitled (Kassel) (2002), Lygia Clark‘s sensory The House in the Body (1968), William Forsythe’s gruelling The Fact of Matter (2009) and Bruce Nauman‘s unsettling Green Light Corridor (1970s).

Here are some pictures of some of our staff participating in the exhibition.

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