My big writing project is almost over and I am very happy to be able to spend a bit more time on this space. I have an exciting series of posts lined up in conjunction with the writing project because there are so many fantastic artists here in Australia. I want to devote a bit of time and space on this blog highlighting a few of my favourites besides Heysen, Hawkins, Olsen and Drew who have already made an appearance on this blog. I am also working on a series with my very talented friend Cassie so keep your eye on this space for lots of new things. In anticipation for an upcoming degustation trip to the Blue Mountains with some friends I have been testing out a few soup recipes. This is one of my favorites and is perfect for the cold weather we have been having.

Paul Cézanne, Still Life with Onions and a Bottle, 1895-1900
oil on canvas, 66 x 81 cm, The Louvre, Paris

The balanced composition of Cézanne’s Still Life with Onions and a Bottle alternates between the broad flat planes of the wall and the tightly grouped objects on the table. The linear forms of the table and bottle are juxtaposed by the round onions and scalloped edges. The paint is applied in heavy streaks with the brush and marks a point in the evolution of Cézanne’s work where his palette becomes darker and the surface less smooth. As with Still Life with  Plate of Cherries, the perspective is skewered. The front of the table runs parallel to the bottom of the canvas while the side does not line up with the scalloped edge. It appears the entire table is tilting forward, presenting the abundance to the viewer.

{French Onion Soup}

adapted from a little taste of…France

50 g butter
3 large onions, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/3 c flour
3 c beef stock
1/4 c white wine
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs of thyme
baguette, sliced
3/4 c grated Gruyère
Dijon mustard

In a heavy pot, melt the butter over medium high heat and begin to cook the onions. Lower the heat to medium-low and stir occasionally for 25 minutes until the onions begin to caramelize and turn golden brown.

Add the garlic and flour and continue to stir for 2 minutes. Begin to blend the stock, 1 cup at a time and add the white wine. Stir continuously and bring to a boil. Add the bay leaf and thyme and season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for an additional 25 minutes. Remove the bay leaf.

Slice the baguette and spread a thin layer of mustard on each. Preheat the broiler in the oven and cover the soup with an even layer of baguette slices. Top with the Gruyère cheese. Slide under the broiler and cook until the cheese has melted and begins to bubble.

Ladle into a bowl and serve with one or two of the baguette slices. Delicious with a salade niçoise