Monday, 22 July 2013

summer songs.....

The heat is on down here in south west France - we've waited a long time for the sun to arrive and now we're suddenly talking about water shortages!

Meanwhile, summer in the city of London sees Marion Foale at the Scoop International Trade Fashion Show at the Saatchi Gallery.  We are looking forward to Marion joining us for her first workshop here in October (we still have a couple of places) when it will be fun to hear all the latest fashion gossip direct from a fashion icon.

Probably a bit too warm to start thinking about winter, but if you're a knitting aficionado (or even an enthusiast) who likes to plan ahead, you will most likely have heard of Kate Davies whose wonderful Shetlandesque designs are featured in her latest pattern book, available to buy direct from her website.  

We love Kate's modern take on a traditional knitting technique, and her intricate designs produce instant heirlooms;  our plan is to attempt this pattern in a cotton yarn - perfect while the sun continues to shine, or over a T-shirt as the evenings get cooler.

If you'd rather be working with linen at this time of year, take a look at Kath Griffiths' website, Parna  where you will find amazing reconditioned and dyed textiles from Eastern Europe.

In 2007 Kath started to source and sell the beautiful textiles still to be found in rural Romania, Hungary and the surrounding regions.  Parna will also indigo-dye and hand-embroider to order as she has a team of skilled seamstresses who can run up cushions and pillows from antique  and vintage  linens.    We bought some indigo and white polka-dot fabric from her stall at one of the Selvedge Fairs and this summer we restored and then covered two vintage deck chairs with it.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

the little things in life.....

Fired-up by Julie Arkell and Janet Bolton, I  am currently obsessed with patching and darning almost anything old and beloved that I can lay my hands on. This is the time of year for antique markets and vide greniers (car boot sales) in this part of the world, so when I found some wonderful 50s children's fabric at our local brocante the other day, I decided to stop whatever I was doing and make my newest (and only) grandchild some pyjamas using the fabric together with a classic, vintage French child's vest that I've had for simply ages and that needed some repair.   

On a completely different subject, I know, I know, there are literally thousands of recipe blogs out there, but for something really special take a look at Sara Forte's when you have a moment.  Superb recipes, and photographs good enough to eat, Sara has a book of both just out ......  here's a taster and a quote from her newsletter:   What's not to like?

MEYER LEMON LOAF // Makes one 9'' loaf
Adapted from the Grapefruit Pound Cake in The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
The original recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour. I wanted to play around with some gluten free flours and came out with the amounts below. I realize it may be a high maintenance combination for some of you, and a GF All Purpose blend of your choice would be fine as well. If there is no need for you to make it gluten free, use the unbleached all purpose, but I wanted to give the option for those that prefer or need it this way. The original will pop up in the center, the GF version stays slightly flat on top. My oven is being moody and the temperature has been inconsistent, so mine fell. Tastes fabulous regardless of appearance.
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup whole milk yogurt, buttermilk or coconut milk
  • 2 heaping Tbsp. meyer lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp. meyer lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. lemon extract
  • 1/3 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1/2 cup natural cane sugar
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1/3 cup oat flour
  • 1 Tbsp. flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • lemon glaze
  • 1/3 cup meyer lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. natural cane sugar
Preheat the oven to 350'. Grease a 9'' loaf pan.
Whisk the eggs, olive oil, yogurt (or alternative), zest and juice of the lemon and lemon extract together well.
In another mixing bowl, combine both sugars, almond flour, rice flour, oat flour, flaxmeal, salt, baking soda and baking powder and mix together. Add half of the dry mix to the wet, stir to combine, add the rest or the dry and stir everything together. Pour the mixture into a prepared 9'' loaf pan.
Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. While the cake bakes, make the glaze. Combine the lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan over low heat and cook until the sugar dissolves. When the cake is finished, let it cool for 10 minutes before inverting (if you choose). Prick holes in the top and pour the glaze over the warm cake. Let the cake cool completely while it absorbs the syrup. I enjoy mine with pom seeds because I honestly can't get enough of them.

"Have patience with everything that remains unresolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer."
-Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to A Young Poet