Sunday, December 28, 2014

10 Tastes of 2014

It's the time of year when lists are made. Last week there were Christmas gift lists, and soon it will be New Year's resolutions. We were fortunate enough to have a few trips away during 2014, during which we tried to cram in some food experiences we knew we couldn't get at home. So here, in no particular order, are 10 amazing things I've eaten this year:

1. Cronuts from Dominique Ansel Bakery. The cronut is a croissant-doughnut hybrid, which was launched on May 10, 2013. Each month has a different flavour. Ours was Morello Cherry with Toasted Almond Cream.  Since coming back to Australia, I've tried cronuts here, but they haven't come up to the standard of the original.

2. Ramen Burger from Smorgasburg in Brooklyn. Described as 'A fresh USDA Prime ground beef chuck patty sandwiched between two craftily formed buns made from freshly cut ramen noodles. Accompanied by a special shoyu glaze, concocted by Keizo Shimamoto himself, and choice market fresh vegetables.' The taste and texture of the succulent beef patty and noodle 'bun' was a truly memorable experience.

3. Rice Pudding from Mishkin's Deli, London. It had rhubarb in the base and was the ultimate comfort food. The presentation in the white enamel dish set it off.

4. The brisket bun with horseradish, pickled red onion, cucumber from Momofuko Noodle Bar, New York. 

5. A bit of everything from the menu at Ottolenghi in Upper St, Islington, London.

6. Something cooked by Rick Stein at a cooking demonstration at his restaurant at Bannister's, Mollymook. I think it was sashimi but who cares? It was Rick Stein!

7. Brunch at the Top of the Standard which is on the 18th floor of the Standard Hotel in the Meatpacking District, New York. The food is great, as were these Eggs Benedict with scallops, but the view is even better.

8. The lobster roll at The Breslin restaurant at the Ace Hotel, New York.

9. Thanksgiving here at the boat shed. The candied yams were particularly amazing.

10. While technically still 2013, our New Year's Eve dinner at Kaspar's Seafood Bar and Grill at The Savoy in London was a high point. The menu began with this seafood feast.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Not Too Shabby and Extremely Chic

No matter how many other lovely design concepts and images I'm exposed to, I still love Shabby Chic. There's something about the way Rachel Ashwell takes things to a certain level of distressed, mismatched, crumpled, rumpled dishevelment, and just when you think it's about to go beyond what's aesthetically acceptable, she pulls it back to somewhere beautiful. Take her Texas ranch, The Prairie, for example. There's a lot of rusty corrugated iron, uneven stone flooring, log cabin walls, wagon wheels and deer antlers, not to mention purple velvet upholstery and way more florals than there should be this side of the Laura Ashley eighties. But after staying there for three nights, I can attest to some kind of alchemy at work there which gives it an ethereal beauty so that you never want to leave.

Take the aforementioned violet velvet three-piece setting. Here it is:

Once it's placed against a plain slip-covered chair, lamp and wall in various shades of white, it fills up the white space. In turn, the white is lifted and beautifully complemented by it.

Here is some rusty old iron at the entrance to the Ranger's Lounge:

The iron has developed its own patina with wonderful rich colours of oxblood and silver, and it offsets the ornateness of the white wrought iron chairs.

Again, here is the balance between distressed and opulent, with the gold and turquoise chair pared back by the peeling paint on the plain and simple cupboards:

In the Ladies' room, floral wallpaper is juxtaposed with corrugated iron on the walls, and it all makes complete sense:

While I'll probably never return there, I know that I can close my eyes anytime and remember the deep pleasure of lolling in one of these generous squishy sofas surrounded by sheer luxury and loveliness:

We stayed in Liliput Lodge, which has three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a kitchen, dining and living rooms. Here are the bedroom and bathroom on the ground floor:

And a couple of the upstairs rooms:

The Prairie is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been and I would thoroughly recommend a stay there. At once faded and opulent, gritty and glamorous, it weaves a spell which makes it difficult to leave. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Quite a Transformation

I can't believe that it's been two years since I last blogged anything. So much has happened since then. Such as … I bought a house. Here are some pics of it in its original state, and after we finished working on it:

The Exterior:

The Bedroom:

The Living Room:

The Kitchen:

The Rear View:

There's also a detached bedroom which used to look like this:

But this is how it looks now:

Monday, December 8, 2014

My Boatshed in Homes+ Magazine

I was very lucky to be asked to have my boat shed and home in the December issue of Homes+ Magazine. I think the photographs taken by Chris Warnes are really lovely.

(images by James Henry)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...