On a recent visit to the dentist I sat nervously in the waiting room flicking through their magazines. As one does. In one of the magazines I discovered some interesting recipes using things from your fridge, kitchen pantry & garden to make your own paints. Well, not paints exactly, but colourful concoctions that you could paint with. So I subtly and oh-so-quietly tore the page out of the magazine. As one does. Oh c'mon! You've never done this? Seriously? Ok, for those who haven't & think it is wrong, I apologise for my behaviour. I'm despicable. If it's any consolation to you, what I had to endure in the dentist chair immediately following my criminal actions should be punishment enough for my petty page theft. I'd like to share the recipes in case anyone is interested in trying them out. So toss out your acrylics & oils & get cooking!
Maybe don't throw away your paints. I can't actually vouch for these recipes because I've not yet tried them myself. I don't recall the name of the magazine where these recipes were printed, but the name of the person who contributed them is Andy MacGregor. Onya Andy.
To make Red: Roughly chop 2 beetroot removing the tap root & stalk. Simmer in a small pan with 1-2 cups of water for around 10 minutes & allow to cool, then remove the solid material. Beetroot yields a strong colour so there's no need to thicken. To make pink just add a few teaspoons of flour.
To make Orange: Remove the dry outer skin of several onions & break them up into a pan with about 1-3 cups of water. Simmer the onion skins for around 10 minutes. Strain the solution into a bowl & allow to cool. The colour on paper will be very strong so only add half a teaspoon of flour & an egg yolk to thicken. Follow the same process to make brown but use red onion instead.
To Make Yellow: Simmer a large handful of willow leaves in 1-3 cups of water for about 15 minutes. Once strained & cooled add half an egg yolk (approximately).
To make Green: Collect 2-3 nettle plants & remove any soil from the roots. Cut the root, stem & leaves into pieces using scissors & gloves. Simmer the nettle in 2-3 cups of water for around 30 minutes. Once cool add half an egg yolk & a few drops of vinegar to fix. On paper your solution will initially look brown but will slowly turn green.
To make Blue: Chop half a red cabbage into small pieces & simmer in 1-2 cups of water for no more than 5 minutes. Heating for longer than 5 minutes will produce purple. Allow to cool & add a few drops of vinegar to fix. Blueberries yield a wonderful violet blue. Simmer a handful of berries in 1 cup of water, strain, allow to cool & add a teaspoon of egg yolk to thicken
To make Purple: Simmer a handful of blackberries down for about 4 minutes. Squash the solid contents in the pan & once cooled, using your sieve, strain it into a bowl with a teaspoon of flour & egg yolk. Remember, the more flour the paler the colour.
To make White: Mix a tablespoon of plain flour with an egg white to your desired consistency.
To make Black: All you need to do is find some charcoal. You can make this yourself of course, but you can get willow charcoal from any good art store. Alternatively if you have a working fireplace you can use soot. Grind the charcoal to a fine powder with a pestle & mortar, then add egg yolk to the desired consistency.
Hope this is useful or at least of interest to someone. If so, happy experimenting!