Samphire Arts

Archive for April 2011

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I normally use recycled fabric but in this case, I was preparing for a Christmas fair that I had decided on last-minute and had to order the bags in all ready-made. Saving me time to stitch my own from the reclaimed textiles which we had acquired sometime between painting the house and changing the soft furnishings.

As it was my first time to ‘paint’ a fabric, I started with sketching a scene made of birds on some  plant or something, anything to give me an idea of what I could do with the medium. I realised I needed some inspiration rather than to draw every single bag at a whim especially with such little time. So I rifled through to my sketches which gave me the idea of using them as simple sketches and either leaving them as a sketch or painting in bits of it and maybe time permitting, add the extra touches like the stitching around the brogues, buttons and ribbons…

The night before the opening, I managed to sketch and paint all the bags but didn’t get a chance to do more (lack of time and tiredness from lack of sleep making me highly irritable). I wasn’t convinced they looked nice. But in the morning, when we set up our tiny stall, I must say I was chuffed! I actually secretly hoped no one would buy the brogues and the bike as they were my favourite ones (and the first of the batch). Unfortunately, the ones I had done in colour sold before I got a chance to take a picture… So here’s trying to replicate what was done on a tired short night! (The bike bag was sold painted in green, white and silver but the brogues were left as sketches in Black.)

p.s: If you’d like to order one drop me a line or fill in the comment form! I make each order individually and to your tastes…

Thank you for looking!

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e-mail: fatimajamadar@gmail.com
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Please order in advance allowing time for hand-printing, handmade paper and postage. For more queries or customisation, please get in touch. Please note, hand printed/painted items, products vary as they are not mass-produced on a machine making each item unique in its own rights.
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Hand cut and printed on handmade paper with flowers

cupcake by fatima jamadar | notonthehighstreet.com.

I L O V E CAKES!!

Nothing too fancy, a nice plain cake and I am yours!

My love for plain cakes started many years ago growing up in Nairobi. In those days, every snack was made at home (despite the fact that you could buy your cakes from a bakery, sweets from confectioners etc) but I think times were hard and feeding a family of five on shop bought cakes can be a bit much (aside from the fact that if friends/relatives found out you bought your cakes, then you were obviously not a good mother, wife or a culinary expert! I suspect pantries across the city were actually filled these shop goodies but they all pretended to save face… teheee.. ;-p )

My dad was ‘involved’ in the savoury stuff like Chevra, pava (puffed rice), chana, even home cut and fried crisps (which I still remember tasted better than the shop stuff despite hours of peeling and slicing by HAND!), boiled ground nuts or edamame, cashews, pistachios and peanuts, something he still does to this very day.

He patiently searches for ‘fat peanuts/cashews’ and will lovingly salt them (actually, the salt has to be measured, put in the right bowl with water by mum and handed back to him to mix and remind her she hasn’t put enough salt. I reckon this is why it tastes better. They lovingly bicker, assign each other tasks and play out their roles respectively). He generously coats and cooks the peanuts and if we are lucky, pack them individually and send them to us or they go in this massive glass Heinz bottle to pour into his palm as he watches cricket… and texts me in mocking monosyllables to tell me how badly we (my team) are doing.

My mother on the other hand-made a variety of sweet snacks and often all the hard work and prep that goes into dad’s savoury snacks or signature dishes are done by Ma. She often marries the Coastal Kenyan dishes with the Indian ones. She’s always been keen to try new recipes experimenting on us her new-found love of something yet everything was made from scratch (even the curdled milk and home-made yogurt).

She lined up the “weekend” (my treat cupboard) with nankatai, koko za tende, shrikand, mandazi, chilaay, mkate sinia, vitumbua, egg pudding, savoury dhoklas, kulfi, sev (vermicelli) etc etc… (the list goes on!) But what I loved most were her cakes. To be precise, cake. Her famous five egg cake made in a wide aluminum tin which was definitely not a baking tray of any sort and was sometimes baked over a jiko (a skill in it’s own right!) Which over the years translated into a modern cooker-oven with half the hassle (and taste sometimes…)

As kids, our favourite bit was when she mixed the eggs, butter and milk. Sometimes, one of us was tasked to butter the tin and he/she had in turn to report back to the rest of the siblings when Ma was about to mix the flour in so that we should hurry if we want to get some ‘mix’! We would hang around the kitchen trying to dip our fingers and get a lick before she caught us and chased us out with a mwiko (wooden cooking spoon) close on our heels!  Eventually, she’d get 3 small stainless steel bowls (about 3-5 cm wide), filling them up just enough and calling us to come and collect ‘it’. We would walk up all grinning and try to see which one was filled more before taking it and running (in case she changed her mind ;p).

Returning back to our games, we would sit and dip one finger and lick and discuss how the batter was that day… occasionally reporting to mum (if she asked) and it continued… until it was all gone. (no returning for seconds). Seeing that I always ate slow and liked to extend my pleasure of licking the ‘mix’ my brother (and sister sometimes) tried to have mine while I left it unattended.

Finally, while the cake baked, I would pull the small kitchen stool and sit in front of the yellow glowing oven (at the time I thought it was the cake glowing which only confirmed my belief that cakes truly were magical) and ask when it will be ready. Despite having a 45 min timer to tell me precisely when, and an elder sister left in charge of making sure it didn’t burn while she washed up mum’s baking utensils, I asked and asked and asked… Eventually, burying my head between my knees and softly singing and asking until my sister either threatened to tell mum and therefore get me excavated from my comfy spot in front of the oven (which was her talented and preferred method of extricating herself from looking after me and getting some peace) or on mum hearing me pestering (in any case, the timer never really worked on that oven anyway! So really, I was doing them a service!)

FINALLY, the cake was out and left to cool, I would run back and forth and take strips off the top of it before it cooled. Taking small bits from least obvious parts because:

a.      The top bit was only going to stay crunchy for a little while and it’s the best bit EVER!!!

b.     Eating a warm cake is the best feeling ever, FACT! It’s like being cuddled in your tummy, a glow… a warm fuzzy feeling or weightlessness… (and before you ask, no, I don’t get stomach-ache and if I did, I was and still am too intoxicated to notice it.)

Over the next few days, we would have cake with ice cream, homemade custard or dipped in sugary afternoon tea… and sometimes as little treats, ma packed it in my break-time tin. Which to be honest, I didn’t really need seeing I was in nursery and would be home after lunch. I still can’t resist her simple 5 egg and food coloring cake.  Unfortunately, over the years, as we grew so did our environment and soon cupcakes were the craze, so much so that my father was baking them! By saying he baked them, I means he knew how much to spoon in to a cup while ma made the batter etc. But, I always found cupcakes like strawberries, a bit overrated here. Until I met a match for my Ma’s five eggs cake.

I found Bea’s of Bloomsbury! My affair with cakes simply BLOOMED! (Into a fully fledged addiction!) To find a simple cake done so beautifully and to top it up, even the icing is fantastic and bold (I don’t see many people using passion fruit) and complimentary to the base was a true revelation…

I finally fell in love with cupcakes! The cupcake that did it was Bea’s Red Velvet with Passion fruit icing. Neither the cake not its icing is sickly sweet. Everything is well proportioned: cupcake size and flavours… another bonus is that they do fab coffees (from Monmouth I think).

And the real icing on this cupcake (for me) is that you can sit close to the kitchen and enjoy the fabulous aromas wafting up behind you and transporting you back to your mum’s old kitchen stool and in front of her oven while you try not to scoff down the fluffy goodness in front of you…

A warm thanks to all those who make such simply beautiful cakes…

My Ma, Bea’s of Bloomsbury and of course an even bigger and ‘fluffier’ thanks to my loved ones who I always pester and blackmail for baked goodies! (You know how you are…)


Used as a birthday invite/greetings card/postcard or framed

Available from:

cupcake by fatima jamadar | notonthehighstreet.com.

or get in touch directly!

Thank you for looking! x

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