Culinaria – The Cuisine of the Sun is an exhibition of paintings by the artist John Olsen that recently opened here in Sydney at the Tim Olsen Gallery. The show is enjoyable for anyone who is interested in food or art as it contains a collection of paintings in Olsen’s signature squiggly style of all of his favourite recipes. In conjunction with the exhibition, Olsen penned a cookbook with Andy Harris. In this instance the art was directly inspired by a recipe – food to art and now back to food again. With my recipe I wanted to capture the colour of the sun, in reference to the exhibition title, as well as the colours and compositional shapes found in the painting.

Just under two weeks left to submit an entry to the recipe competition. Please help me celebrate the one year mark in style!! Show some love for Feasting on Art and enter if you haven’t done so already!

John Olsen, Seafood BBQ, 2010
oil on canvas, 182 x 200 cm, Tim Olsen Gallery

The exhibition spans the cuisine of France and Spain with dishes/paintings ranging from Duck a L’Orange to Paella Valencia, Squid Ink Risotto and the famous French soup The Bouillabaisse. According to Olsen he had an epiphany in the market off La Ramblas in Valencia,

“There, in this market were things that I had never seen, a surrealist scene of saffron-coloured chickens and ducks – heads n’ all suspended from the ceiling, hams, salamis – Catalan pimento sausages, Butifarra, Sobrasada, black and white studded garlic blood sausages – then vegetables of vivid green and red, sad purple-peppers, zucchinis, onions and eggplants. Oz gum trees and desert landscapes disappeared.” (1)

The warm Spanish tones carried over into his painting where the vibrant oranges and reds are punctuated by deep rich browns and vivid sea coloured blues. The surrealism witnessed by Olsen in the market appears in many of the canvases including Canard & l’Orange where the form of the duck is barely visible among the swirls and blobs of the same colour. Culinaria – The Cuisine of the Sun runs until March 21st at the Tim Olsen gallery in Woollahra, entry is free.

BBQ Tikka Prawns

{BBQ Tikka Prawns}

adapted from Fish Food: Great Ideas for Cooking your Catch

1 cup Greek yogurt
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground chilies
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
pinch of cumin
2 teaspoons tomato puree

500 grams prawns
1 onion
1 red capsicum
wood skewers

To make the marinade, mix the ingredients listed above in a shallow dish long enough to fit the skewers. Soak the skewers in water while chopping the onion and capsicum.

Thread the prawns, onion and capsicums onto the pre-soaked wooden skewers. (Soaking prevents them from burning while on the grill). Place the skewers in the marinade and turn so the prawns and vegetables are evenly coated. Leave to sit in the marinade for one hour in the refrigerator.

Preheat the grill or broiler. Remove the skewers from the marinade and cook them for about 5 minutes, turning once until the meat is opaque and firm. Serve warm with a wedge of lemon and an optional sprinkling of chopped coriander.