blog > tag > usa
April 12, 2012
If you are like me and drawn to anything that is handcrafted with a unique history, you'll probably love Amish barn stars as much as I do.
The symbols date back over 300 years, when religious refugees from the Rhine region of Germany migrated to south eastern Pennsylvania to seek religeous freedom. It is said that communities first painted stars onto farm buildings to ward off evil spirits or bring good luck – much like the familiar horseshoe hung above a doorway.
Over time the stars became handmade from reclaimed tin or wood and are now quite the coveted home accessory. Unfortunately, some of those on the market today are likely to be mass-produced and not handmade in traditional methods (no electricity!) but if you find an original one like these from Retrophenia, it is certainly worth snapping up.
November 1, 2011
How often do you eat something new? Not just a new recipe, but a completely new food that you’ve never had before? I absolutely love trying out new things and have tried a few in Slovakia and Hungary this year, but back home I don’t think I have tasted something new since around this time last year when I had Jerusalem artichokes for the first time. And what a revelation that was. I fell for their unusual rich and earthy taste but as quick as they arrived on the supermarket shelves they seemed to disappear and I’ve been longing for their return.
This year they came from Gav’s dad TJ’s vegetable patch in all their nobly shaped weirdness, particularly this odd little one which gave me quite a shock! Jerusalem artichokes appear to be a confusing little tuber – no relation to artichokes or Jerusalem but actually part of the sunflower family – that scares people off knowing what to do with them. Do you treat them like a potato or a parsnip, raddish or root ginger? Well of course, the choice is yours, but I think they deserve to be treated in their own special way that celebrates the gloriously distinctive rich taste.
So today I’m sharing not so much a recipe, but more of a preparation idea that you can play around with to create a unique vegetarian main or side. It is adapted from the Jerusalem artichoke and nettle gratin recipe from River Cottage Every Day, from which I have reduced the quantity of cream and omitted the nettle tops (or spinach).
Finely peeling and slicing the root, stirring into golden soft onions and cooking with stock and a touch of cream creates a deeply flavourful creamy mush (which I decided not to photograph as it isn't pretty, but please don't let that put you off) that can be turned into a soup, pie, savory crumble or gratin by simply switching the main players in your favourite recipes. I also think it would be a delicious side to roast meat in place of potatoes.
Creamy Jerusalem artichokes
Adapted from River Cottage Everyday
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- A knob of butter
- 2 onions, finely sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced
- 500g Jerusalem artichokes
- Few sprigs fresh thyme
- 100ml double cream
- 200ml vegetable stock or water
- Sea salt and ground black pepper
Heat the oil and butter in a pan, add the onions, garlic and thyme and cook gently until soft and golden, but not browned. Meanwhile, rinse and peel the artichokes, and slice to the thickness of a £1 coin. Add to the onion mix, season with salt and pepper, and pour over stock and cream. Simmer until the liquid has reduced by half and the artichokes are tender.
Now the creamy vegetable is ready to use as you like. You could cover with a crumble of oats, crushed nuts, breadcrumbs and grated cheese like the River Cottage recipe, or cover with pastry to turn into a pie. You could add a little more stock or water and blitz with a food processor into a soup, or layer with other root vege like fennel or parsnips and top with cheese to make a gratin. Go on, give this technique a try - I'm so sure you'll love it.
June 14, 2011
Today we have a real beauty to go googly-eyed over - the stunning home of Caitlin Van Horn, aka Coco of Roost. Coco was kind enough to let me feature her beautiful nest transformation that she and her husband managed to create in just, wait for it... two months! Wow, what an achievement hey?
The white backdrop and striking light are just perfect for showcashing Coco's carefully curated collection of vintage treasures, personal details, like the woodland painting by her mother above the mantle, and sprinkling of new finds like the embroidered lampshade from Anthropologie.
I adore the butterfly details, repurposed ideas (how awesome is that vintage ironing board as a hall table?) and overall muted colour palette. What a calming stylish place to be. Find out more about Coco's home and delicious recipes on her blog.
March 22, 2011
It makes me really sad to see property that has been neglected and left to rot. I always wonder who owns these kind of places and think about the wonderful potential they could hold inside. So I was immediately drawn to these photographs I found over the weekend by Kevin Bauman, who started a project 10 years ago to photograph abandoned houses in the dilapidated suburbs of Detroit. There's something eerie and depressing about them but also quite beautiful at the same time. Home is such an important place to us all and derelict property seems to demonstrate a careless disregard for the fortune of having four walls and a roof over our heads.