Friday, October 18, 2013
Check out this article on a portrait of Isabella dÉste (probably) by Leonardo da Vinci:
Thursday, October 17, 2013
I needed a new tourney dress, and wanted one that I could wear without a corset. (My health problems mean that often I can't wear very restrictive garments like a corset, and sometimes one just needs to be able to do more than a corset allows.) I decided that a short-waisted Italian style like those popular around 1500 would be ideal.
'The meeting of the betrothed couple' by Carpaccio c. 1495
'Portrait of a Venetian Lady' in the style of Albrecht Durer
Detail of "The Legend of St Ursula' by Carpaccio, 1495-1500
Drawing of a Venetian Lady by Albrecht Durer 1495
I had some purple drill that would be ideal for the project. I adapted one of my existing Italian patterns, reducing the length and making it front-lacing for ease of dressing. I usually wear a pair of boned bodies under my gowns, but for this one I decided to bone the gown bodice itself.
I used a cotton canvas interlining and a new type of plastic heavy duty boning that I have not tried before. I machined casings in the interlining fabric and used fourteen plastic bones. The top edge was machine stitched, but I did the rest by hand.
I added a black feature panel at the front of the gown and edged it with black bias tape and hand dyed brown ric rac braid. I did a running stitch along the bias in a matching brown embroidery floss, and added detached button hole stitch ovals between the peaks of the ric rac braid. (I opted not to use the additional purple braid shown in the picture above.)
The skirt was pleated on and secured with a line of machine stitching for extra strength (as I have a habit of stepping on my skirts when carrying tourney furniture to the car.) I tacked the bodice together before hanging the gown up for the hem to drop. After it had hung for a few weeks, I secured the bottom edge of the bodice with hand stitching.
The next step was to add eyelets for lacing and lucet some cord to lace with. I added some hooks and eyes and a modesty placket. I finished the embroidery on the skirt trim and whip stitched the front edge closed.
The skirt has a much smaller hem than usual. I will probably add a hem guard in the future for extra durability. I am also working on a set of tie-on sleeves.
The gown is very comfortable and easy to move in. I will post photos when it is totally finished.
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
This recipe for a Bean Omelette or Friger la Fava comes from Libro de arte coquinaria as reproduced in The Original Mediterranean Cuisine. I wanted to try this recipe because I had never eaten broad beans before and wasn't sure if I would like them. (Turns out that I do!)
The recipe in the book is:
1 cup of fresh or frozen broad beans
half an onion finely chopped
1 tb olive oil
1-2 slices of pancetta, cut into strips
1 tb chopped parsley
4-6 sage leaves, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper
The original recipe also adds chopped figs. I couldn't get fresh figs or get any pancetta, so I substituted prosciutto and omitted the figs altogether. If I did this recipe again I would use a greater amount of prosciutto or possibly bacon (just because it has a strong flavour and is easy to obtain.)
1.5 cups of broad beans (frozen and thawed)
100 g prosciutto
6 fresh sage leaves
one quarter teaspoon of paprika
one quarter teaspoon of nutmeg
1-2 tb dried parsley
pepper and salt to taste
small amount of olive oil
I cooked the broad beans on salted water. I diced the onion and cooked it until it was soft in a little bit of olive oil. Then I added the diced prosciutto. I added the diced apple. I finely sliced the sage and added it to the pan. I removed one third of the bean 'skins' and chopped the beans, adding them to the pan right at the end (as they were already cooked.
In a separate dish, I beat the 12 eggs and added sweet smoked paprika, nutmeg, pepper and salt and the dried parsley. I added the apple, onion and prosciutto mix from the other pan and mixed it all together. I decided to cook this dish as a frittata for ease of serving, so lightly sprayed a frittata dish with olive oil spray and added the eggy mix. I cooked the dish for about 20 minutes at 170 degrees C. When the top was golden and the centre was firm, I took it out and cooled it on a cooling rack.
I prefer my egg dishes quite firm, but this could be cooked less to make it a little more gooey. The amounts of ingredients I used made a small and large frittata.
This dish would be really delicious with garlic and cheese added.