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An Illustrated Food Diary: Kitchen -> Table -> Sketchbook

A breathtaking meal has the same effect as beautiful artwork. The flavours and memories of food are something I want to record in my journals, through both image and text. Most memorable are the local cuisine in my travel journals. Through the image, I can remember the indulgence of a four cheese Croque Monsieur, in Domfront. which was light and instead of heavy and greasy. The second image here is Dorset snails, bedded in garlic butter, eaten on the cost of Purbeck in the first summer sun. This Tapas was a joy for it's surprising quality and the treat of eating out.

There are those meals where the food has been and gone, and drawing from photographs won't do them justice. Then, I line vibrant vegetables and spices on the counter for my food diary. In small spot illustrations, they're dotted through my recipe book to compliment the recipes I cook again and again. This is a great way to start illustrating your recipes, in visual journal format, for a special gift or to make your heirloom recipes pop. Try choosing some good specimens – vibrant chillies, sprigs of herbs, colourful veggies and follow this step by step tutorial (originally for autumn leaves, but the technique is the same!) to build up a watercolour image.

I do draw meals from life, but I look back at this drawing, for example, I don't remember the sweetness of honey on toast, but how very cold it was by the time I got to eat it! It's always best to buy two cakes at all times; one to paint, and one to eat first, to solve this kind of issue.

You can watch me painting one of my favourite recipies, here to see how I build up the layers of this Almond Crescent buiscuit.

(insert toast, jar of honey)

Our new Friday ritual is Spelt and rosemary pizza, with what ever toppings we have to hand. If feeling adventurous, we might make a bechamel white sauce, add ham, mushrooms, and rocket to top. If not, I buy a tin of good pizza sauce, and mozzarella. I started making pizza because even the cheapest supermarket fair is touching £5 per portion, and often disappointing. This is particularly so as I am wheat sensitive. Most free-from products are also dairy free: I already can't eat gluten so I definitely want the cheese! The pizza never lasts long enough to paint, but a sprig of fresh rosemary, aromatic and tactile, looks wonderful between the pages.

Recording these domestic routines and memories is a lovely part of my sketchbook. If the visual journal element appeals, then painted recipes might be one for you! As always, I hope that reading this blog post inspires you try your hand at sketch-booking. I'd love to see any work that you've created, please tag me with @valerianstudio!

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