happy new year!

I was given this lovely simple shimekazari to put on the door, made of straw and rice, to ward off evil spirits and invite the good ones in. Let's hope it works!shimekazariToday we enjoyed a Japanese osechi meal, all handmade and tasty, in a variety of special dishes, many of them wedding gifts used for the first time. Sometimes making beautiful food can be as fascinating as illustration.osechiAnd here's a close-up of a little carrot blossom I made...carrotHope it will be a healthy and happy 2016 for you all!  

Waitrose Christmas

For this year's Waitrose Christmas magazine in the UK, I drew images that would be used as backdrops for the hampers special photoshoot.waitrose 1I created the illustrations, but as I couldn't be on location, a specialist did the physical chalk drawings onto boards on my behalf. I think they turned out pretty well! waitrose 2Pick up a copy in any Waitrose to see them all!

WOM dining guide

I worked on the new WOM dining guide in HK, and I really like the glossy brightness of the cover. I created an illustration about food and drink in HK, and managed to feature all my favourite buildings.Exif_JPEG_PICTUREAs this issue is about award-winning dining, I drew all sorts of badges and awards inside, for the different categories.Exif_JPEG_PICTUREThe awards were also given to the actual restaurants, and it was great to see this on display!Exif_JPEG_PICTURE

River Cottage light & easy

I illustrated Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's new cookbook, which is available now, and it's lovely! The recipes are totally amazing, especially when you realise that they're gluten & dairy free. My illustrations throughout the book are drawn in colour pencil, so I could make them feel 'light and easy'... I did some little drawings to add flavour to the page...and some larger ones across whole spreads.I did some drawings around the text...and some for the text to go around.I worked with the whole Bloomsbury team, as well as Hugh, but mostly with the wonderful Lawrence Morton, who art directed the book. There is now a River Cottage youtube channel, where they feature quite a few recipes from this book. Take a look, it's really fun!

River Cottage light & easy is available from River Cottage's amazon page. And of course all good bookstores. Enjoy!

pizza cake

We went to a friend's pizza party last week and made these amazing dessert pizza cakes! The bases are sponge cakes, with coloured buttercream for the tomato sauce, white chocolate ganache for the melted cheese, fruit leather pepperoni, hollowed-out liquorice allsort olives, dried pineapple, gummy pepper pieces, and grated white chocolate for the parmesan. We used real pizza boxes from Pizza my Heart et voila!Kind of messes with your mind when you bite into it, but super sweet and tasty!

Hugh's Three Good Things

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's new cookbook is here!Published by Bloomsbury in the UK, there are lovely illustrations by me, and gorgeous photographs by Simon Wheeler, all laid out by the wonderful art director Lawrence Morton.I've created illustrations of the ingredients in watercolour and pen & ink, and there are also some fun collages of Hugh interacting with illustrated elements, like this...I love that I can incorporate a slightly surreal element into the photos...and also play around with the recipe text a little.I've done some hand-written text in the cookbook for the first time too...The contents page is my favourite! Here's a corner...You can buy the book from the River Cottage amazon page or any good bookstore, and there is even a kindle/ipad version (but with less pictures, just so you know). You can also get more information on the River Cottage website, and there are some sample pages you can view in full here. Yum....

trip to the South

I've just come back from a road trip through the South of America. It was amazing. We started in cultured Savannah, Georgia, where I was super happy to see the Bird Girl sculpture, made famous by the book 'Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil' (one of my favourites).Then onwards to Charleston, South Carolina, where we toured a few preserved historical residences,and also the Magnolia Plantation with its gorgeous swamp garden. We stayed in some lovely bed and breakfast places. Then it was on to the Great Smoky Mountains, where we saw a baby bear! In Nashville we went to a Honky Tonk in a Western bar and saw the Don Kelly Band...and watched a show at the Grand Ole Opry, and also ate the best "meat and 3s" ever at Arnolds. Mostly, this was a music and food trip, to sample all the specialities of the South. Here's an example of local cuisine, although usually there's a few fried somethings thrown in too! And of course, pies aplenty...The local "chess pie" was extra sweet, but the winner was the "lemon ice-box pie" from Corky's in Memphis. Their ribs were also the overall winner!

Cotswolds afternoon tea

We just spent the day in the Cotswolds, and had the loveliest afternoon tea ever at Juri's Tearoom in the country town of Winchcombe. The crockery was a pretty blue... ...and the view from the conservatory was delightful. But it's the cakes you need to try; honestly, the cheese cake was the best I've ever had, anywhere. So light and fluffy. The sandwiches were beautiful too. Everything is perfect, as it's traditional English, but with a slight hint of the Japanese, as Juri is from there.I absolutely recommend this place if you're anywhere near...

Vienna cake weekend

I went to Vienna recently, and spent the weekend visiting as many cafes, and eating as many different cakes, as possible. Viennese cakes are irresistable...We went to Cafe Diglas, Hotel Sacher, Cafe Sperl, Cafe Landtmann, and some other slightly less famous places, which were just as tasty... My favourite was the Cafe Sperl, which had a beautiful quiet atmosphere, but the best cake was definately the Sacher Torte at the Hotel Sacher. The apricot jam was so smooth and light, like a dream. Tis a cake for grown-ups.

Japan trip

After the conference in Kyoto, I travelled for a week with some friends, and we went to Naoshima, an island in the Inland Sea that has been turned into a sort of 'art park'. It has several museums: my favourite was the 'Chichu Art Museum' with some amazing installations by James Turrell. You can get all the details of Naoshima here:

We stayed in a mongolian tent on the beach, and in the morning, we walked to Yayoi Kusama's pumpkin scuplture on the end of a jetty. It was beautiful. Serenely odd and perfect at the same time.

There were various scupltures and art pieces dotted around the island, so it made exploring really exciting!

We also spent a few days in Tokyo, visiting galleries and traditional shops to get printmaking supplies.

3331 in Tokyo is a new multi-use artspace in an old school, that has galleries, studios and workshops. I bought a print, and thought about having a show here one day.

I also ate tasty tasty tai yaki,

and had a restful day local style at Odaiba...