Archive for the ‘food’ Category
August 30, 2012 in food, homemade
This natural, fresh lemonade was the drink of our holiday in Croatia this summer and is easy to make. I made a bottle every morning with help from my children who loved squeezing lemons and measuring and mixing, and it was enjoyed by us all. Lemonade is an ever-popular summer drink but I give mine a little twist, the addition of fresh mint, which gives it an extra refreshing taste. I always keep interesting bottles and jars when we’re there, to use as storage jars or as vases, making little displays of fresh herbs and sprigs picked from our garden. This bottle is a well known shape in Croatia and contained Amarena cherry syrup from Maraska, a famous old drinks company from the city of Zadar opposite our island.
To make 1l: Squeeze the juice of a lemon into a glass, add 2 – 3 tablespoons of sugar, a sprig of fresh mint and a dash of cold water. Mx it together, mashing the mint slightly with a spoon to release the flavour. Add some more water and mix to dissolve the sugar. Pour into a 1 litre glass bottle and top up with cold water then place in the fridge to cool.
Serve over ice, straining the mint if necessary, and enjoy.
June 30, 2012 in food, interior styling
A few Saturdays ago I had the pleasure of top interior design blog Remodelista, the sourcebook for contemporary living, as guests at my home for afternoon tea and a photo shoot. London Editor Christine asked if I could create a tablescape for them to feature, and with casual family summer lunches in mind I decided to create a look that was simple, colourful, informal and relaxed and based around growing vegetables and having raw ingredients on your kitchen table to make your own sandwiches as you sit. These are some of the photos from the afternoon, taken by talented photographer Rahel Weiss.
As it was a Saturday my children were at home and involved too and one of their favourites is egg and cress sandwiches. I chose a selection of eggs from my local Waitrose – quails’ eggs, lovely soft blue eggs and white eggs – which I grouped in pastel bowls. I hard boiled them all, so they could be peeled and sliced to make DIY egg sandwiches. The children grew watercress from seed the week before in pretty pastel egg cups. I sliced the farmhouse batch bread, buttered it and let the children peel the eggs and crumble and slice them onto the bread. They snipped and added the cress and sprinkled a few grains of sea salt on top and them devoured the crusty sandwiches with crumbs all around.
To decorate the table I painted terracotta pots from my local garden centre with emulsion paint in shades of grey, and used them as bowls to display radishes with their foliage still attached. I did the same went with organic carrots as they look so lush with the long stem and leaves still attached, adding to the display. I only have herbs growing in my little London garden at the moment so I bought growing lettuce still in soil in my local Sainsbury’s and replanted them in the painted terracotta pots, washing the leaves first and leaving scissors on the table nearby to snip the required amount off. The idea was you could harvest your own salad right there at the table. A painted wooden fruit box from my local market was used as a tray to contain some of the pots. It is one of the projects from my book The Homemade Home for Children.
Fizzy drinks were bought in old fashioned looking glass bottles, which I bought from Marks and Spencers. Striped straws add fun but in grey and white matched my kitchen decor. Fruit such as strawberries, blueberries and blackberries, and mint leaves too, were added to ice cubes creating a sweet little detail to our drinks.
I made the centrepiece simply with water-filled glass milk bottles (yes, we have a milkman!) with garden flowers and vegetables pushed down into the water, their foliage acting as greenery.
A Victoria sponge cake with whipped double cream spread over and strawberries generously piled on top is an easy pudding that looks and tastes delicious. The three little letter pebbles spell the word EAT and are from another project in my book.
A big thank you to Remodelista for popping by, (you can see the original post here), to Rahel Weiss for the great photos (see her folio here), to my friend Chrissie Holden for helping out and her culinary skills and to my children for gobbling it all up.
This informal lunchtime meal had a sprinkle of creativity, a dollop of fun and plenty of crumbs and was enjoyed by all.
April 11, 2012 in food, vintage finds
I wanted to share a little post to celebrate Easter and Spring time. With a few days off from work and the school run I managed to take lots of new photos. I took these pictures on Easter Sunday when the dinner was in the oven and the children were playing quietly in the other room, I hope you like them. As a child I always decorated plain, hard-boiled eggs with my mum and brother at home on the day before Easter and since then have always associated eggs with Easter (and no, not just the chocolate variety!). These patterned eggs reminded me of those times.
As I prepared dinner I watched two tiny robins in my garden. They were busily flitting back and forth to feed their chicks in a nest in my hedge. This got me thinking in a different way and reminded me I had these beautiful quail eggs in my fridge. I had come across them in my local Waitrose and couldn’t resist buying them with their unique, natural patterns. They were so small I wondered if a thimble could be used as an egg cup. As an avid collector, I have several vintage thimble varieties and one fitted perfectly. And so my little photo story began. I grabbed my camera, a few props and spent half an hour trying different arrangements and taking photos.
I cooked one as a soft boiled egg, rested it in an up-turned, flat-bottomed thimble and sprinkled some salt on top. It just needs some mini toast soldiers to dunk in and a tiny spoon! The silver spoon in the photos was my British grandmother’s and is a treasured possession and favourite prop. The vintage thimbles I picked up over the years from my Croatian grandmother and flea markets. They almost look like mini salt shakers to go with the mini eggs.
The white bowl is by Brickett Davda whose gorgeous ceramics I love. Another collection I have slowly been feathering my nest with.
After taking the photos I cleared away and got back to feeding my own two little chicks.
I hope you had a lovely Easter. x
PS A couple of thank yous…
Thank you to Rona Wheeldon who interviewed me recently for Flowerona, a blog for all things floral. Read the interview here.
And thank you also to Ursula of children’s interior design blog Room To Bloom who posted the first review of my new book yesterday. Read the review here.
November 25, 2011 in diy craft projects, food, homemade
I first worked with Uli Schade on a story for Elle Decoration magazine and we just clicked straight away and went on to shoot some of my favourite photo stories. We got together again recently to shoot this little homemade edible gifts story. Food is a little bit of a departure for me but combining it with decoration as gifts and ideas for your table was fun, especially with Christmas not too far away.
When my graphic designer husband saw the photos he thought it was perfect to try something different to make the most of their high quality. He had been wanting to try out issuu.com for a while and suggested we try them as a little digital magazine booklet rather than a normal blog post. So we gave it a go, jotted down the recipes and some words and let him design it.
If you’re on iPhone/iPad and can’t see it click here
It’s a bit of fun but hopefully it will inspire you to try making some edible gifts for your friends and family this Christmas.
Who knows, if you like it we may do it again. What do you think? We would love to hear. And if you like it please share the link!
June 12, 2011 in flowers, food
I seem to be obsessed with miniature plants and flowers at the moment and I photographed these little wild strawberries that I’ve been growing in my garden. Like my Forget-me-nots, these mini strawberry plants also came from my parents’ garden a few years ago. They grow happily everywhere, little off shoots creeping onto other bits of soil, the runners creating new plants where ever they touch.
My children love the little plants and tiny flowers and watch them closely from when they begin to flower in April and change from charming little flowers to these sweet little strawberries by May and June. They watch and learn about plants, without realising, and then harvest the tiny crop, eating them straight from the plant. When the children were really small they used to run out into the garden every morning and see if any had ripened overnight and nibble them up before the snails got to them. They are still intrigued by the mininess, the novelty of such a small version to the larger ones everybody knows.
This little vintage vase was given to me by my mother and is an absolute favourite of mine, I love the way it mimicks a little strawberry, it has a certain charm but also a graphic quality. The wonky plate it’s sitting on is one that I made by rolling out a handful of white, air-drying Das clay on a chopping board and then cutting the shape out with a sharp knife. I left it to dry and then sanded down the edges with an emery board to a smooth finish. The typed card in the background was bought at a most wonderful book shop in Notting Hill, Lutyens & Rubinstein.
The wild has been tamed in my tiny London garden with tiny strawberries loved by tiny children.