Thursday, September 24, 2009

Caviar Kaspia

A landmark at the Place de La Madeleine, since 1927, dining at Caviar Kaspia has been synonymous with luxurious pleasure and refinement.

Today this Parisian landmark has become the meeting point for writers, artists, food connoisseurs, fashion designers, influential style icons and Hollywood movie stars such as Valentino, Anna Wintour, Gwyneth Paltrow, Katie Holmes, Mick Jagger, Keanu Reeves and David & Victoria Beckham, who appreciate edible luxury of the finest quality.

It is a place of luxury and refinement with its
woodwork and old pictures, porcelains and art objects. The menu is an invitation to taste authentic flavors from the sea and from the land. In addition to caviar as the specialty of the house, a rare assortment of smoked fish, wild salmon, and duck Foie Gras are served. Vodka, the drink of choice at Kaspia, allies itself perfectly with caviar and over 100 different varieties are available.

The caviar jar pictured is actually a Limoges Porcelain Box from Eximious of London.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Artists - Merry Scotland

As a child, Merry Scotland developed what has become a lifelong interest in animals, particularly horses and dogs, as a subject of art as friends and companions. Early on, Merry began painting, drawing and sculpting these animals which had long been so important in her life. Her earliest works were executed in pen and ink. She quickly progressed to acrylics, starting with head studies and moving on to full figure portraits with landscape backgrounds. Soon interested in several other facets of the visual arts, she began to treat her subject matter in sculpture, starting with clay and leading to limited editions in bronze.

Merry's chief influences as a young artist were Roger Troy Peterson, Bob Abbott, Guy Coheleach and a number of other noted wildlife and animal artists. She has always been primarily interested in the realistic rendering of her subject matter. A career in breeding, training and rearing race horses, jumpers and American Saddlebred show horses enabled Merry to develop a more thorough and discerning understanding of these animals. She has also owned dogs of many breeds, including Labrador retrievers, Dachshunds, Irish Setters, terriers and mixed breeds throughout her life. It is this close association with animals that has enabled Merry to portray them so successfully in her art. Merry's work is included in private collections throughout the world, including those of Oleg Cassini, Alfred Vanderbilt and Burt Reynolds. She has designed jewelry for Gucci.

This box has a charming painting of a West Highland White Terrier dog, inside is a painting of a leash & collar as well as a personalization as this particular box was a custom order.
Merry's porcelain boxes are Limoges porcelain blanks purchased from France on which she paints in the USA out of her studio: Scotland's Yard.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

God Bless America

Commemorative Limoges Boxes are designed to honor a specific historic event. Events such as the French Revolution, the sinking of the Titanic, the Millennium and as depicted here, 9/11, produce an unique opportunity to reflect upon and preserve a piece of history. This piece honors the brave and heroic firefighters of New York. An American flag, glorious in its red, white and blue waves proudly from inside this magnificent piece.
Excerpt from:
Angels Over America ™
by Carolyn K. Long
"And show us how to honor all the souls we lost that day
From the Towers and our Fortress and the Farmers Field,
we pray, So the anguish that unites us as one people to the core
Rises as an anthem we'll hold sacred ever more."

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cherry Clafoutis

If you mix plenty of unpitted black cherries into what may best be described as a slightly thickened crêpe batter, you will have the makings of a traditional clafoutis (a type of batter cake from the farm country of southern France). The recipe is old but not ancient, probably dating from around the 1860s. The unusual name (sometimes spelled clafouti) comes from clafir, a dialect word meaning "to fill".

According to Larousse Gastronomique, when the Académie Française defined clafoutis as a "sort of fruit flan", inhabitants of Limoges protested, forcing the institution to change the definition to the more acceptable "cake with black cherries". Black cherries are the meatiest, juiciest, and sweetest of all cherries and they're left unpitted because the pits are thought to enhance the flavor of the batter with a perfume faintly reminiscent of almonds. Whole cherries are also less likely to bleed into the batter.
A perfect clafoutis has a deep golden brown crust on both the bottom and the top. And the only way to achieve this is to bake
it in a sufficiently hot oven. At too low a temperature, the flour
separates from the rest of the batter, settling at the bottom of the
pan and leaving a pale custard behind.
Though black cherries are the classic addition, clafoutis is made
today with all kinds of fruit.

Julia Child's Cherry Clafouti Recipe
1½ hours 10 min prep
SERVES 6 -8 , 4 for breakfast
1 1/4 cups milk
2/3 cup sugar, divided
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour
3 cups cherries, pitted
powdered sugar, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Using a blender, combine the milk, 1/3 cup sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt and flour, and blend.
Lightly butter an 8-cup baking dish, and pour a 1/4-inch layer of the blended mixture over the bottom. Set remaining batter aside.
Place dish into the oven for about 7-10 minutes, until a film of batter sets in the pan but the mixture is not baked through. Remove from oven (but don’t turn the oven off, yet).
Distribute the pitted cherries over the set batter in the pan, then sprinkle with the remaining sugar. Pour the remaining batter over the cherries and sugar.
Bake in the preheated oven for 45 to 60 minutes, until the clafouti is puffed and brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve warm.