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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Fig & pear jam

Figs are plentiful in the shops at the moment so I dug out a delicious recipe which I made for the first time last year.  White fig and pear jam is my favourite at the moment on a thick slice of Sonoma sourdough with unsalted butter - Yum!

white fig, pear and anise jam
Steve Manfredi recipe

1tsp aniseed (whole seeds)
1.1kg sugar
1kg white figs
500g green pears such as Williams or Bartlett
Juice of 1 lemon, strained

Place aniseed and 1 tbsp sugar in mortar and pound to a powder.  Wrap in square of muslin and tie securely in a bundle.  Wash figs gently and pat dry with clean towel.  Cut into quarters and place in a large ceramic or stainless steel bowl.  Peel and core pears and cut into 2cm dice.  Add to figs along with remaining sugar, lemon juice and bundle of aniseed.  Mix well, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.  Pour into heavy saucepan and bring to boil.  Turn down to simmer for 2 minutes then return to ceramic bowl.  Cover and refrigerate for 6-8 hours.  Pour contents back into heavy saucepan and bring to boil.  Skim off any scum on surface and continue boiling 10-12 minutes until thick.  Remove anice bundle, fill sterilised jars while jam is hot and seal.

Makes about 2.5 litres.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Some 50s retro

The 50s and 60s retro style has been very popular for some time now, and original pieces of furniture from that era are fetching good prices, and copies of the style are readily available.  Here are some examples:

Shell ChairEames® Wire Chair – DKR.0Swan™ SofaPetrie Apartment Sofa

An English company has reintroduced a range of fabrics and wallpapers which was first released in the 1950s.

This is a detail of the fabric on the chair above

An upholstery fabric, also as wallpaper below




I can see this fresh and cheerful fabric in a kitchen blind

This print was inspired by Poole Pottery

The colours on this fabric are embroidered on a linen base cloth

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Holland & Sherry fabrics

Yesterday, a group of decorators was treated to a showing of the beautiful fabrics from Holland & Sherry, fabrics like the ûber luxurious Scottish cashmere which was displayed as a throw with a stunning applique border.  The throw was so soft and warm but the picture below doesn't do it justice - you have to feel it!

A unique Holland & Sherry service is their embroidered border collection which is designed to highlight and complement bedspreads, curtains, or blinds.

This design is called Java

For more information go to their website or contact me:  

Happy St Patrick's Day

For St Patrick's day I thought it was appropriate to have a green theme, so here are two beautiful crewel fabrics with the design embroidered with green threads. One has cotton thread embroidery and the other is in wool.

I particularly like the wool crewel and can imagine using it as a bedspread or cushions on a bed and maybe a chair, then building a colour scheme around the soft, cool greens and grays.

Cotton crewel embroidery on linen base cloth

Wool crewel embroidery on linen base cloth

Crewel work is a traditional and beautiful freestyle form of ancient embroidery using wool (usually) to create a slightly raised feature on a linen twill background. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Still on the lighting theme....

This quirky but gorgeous Italian chandelier with bunches of coloured grapes and other fruits reminds me of another one I saw at a friend's holiday house in Chile.  That chandelier had probably traveled with the family from South Africa via Australia to Chile and probably also originated in Italy.

This forged iron chandelier with 6 lights is available for purchase, but the one in Chile is not!

This is my friend's chandelier...

Table & standard lamps

A stylish new range of table and standard lamps has been released and would suit a variety of interiors.  The shades can be custom made to suit any decor.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Date & whisky cake

Another of my passions is food and cooking so I'm sharing here a cake recipe which has become a family favourite:

Date & whisky cake

(Jeremy & Jane Strode in the SMH 8/4/08)
Serve this rich, moist cake with coffee as an afternoon treat or as a simple dessert with a good dollop of double cream

300g fresh dates, pitted and roughly chopped (dried dates work too)
½ cup water
30ml whisky
125g butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ cup milk
200g self-raising flour, sifted
Pinch salt
2 tbsp Demerara sugar

Preheat oven to 180C.  Grease and line the bottom of a 23cm springform tin with baking paper.  Cook dates in the water until soft and liquid is absorbed.  Stir through whisky.

Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs one at a time.  Add dates and combine.  Add bicarb soda to milk and stir through batter to combine. Fold through flour and salt and pour into tin.  Sprinkle with Demerara sugar and bake for 60 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.  Remove from tin and cool on a wire rack.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Galbraith & Paul textiles

I come across some beautiful fabics in my work and that's part of the reason that  I love doing this job.  It's a real pleasure to walk into someone's home and work with them to create a fresh look; it's creative, fun and pleasurable.

On a recent decorating assignment I used a Galbraith & Paul fabric for a Roman blind and some cushions.  These fabric patterns are hand block printed in the USA and the designs are really beautiful in an elegant and understated style.

Follow this link to see more of their designs: