Sunday, 29 May 2016

Hancock Park by Studio William Hefner

I don't remember when I first saw it, but I have loved this image of this kitchen / dining area for the longest time. Architecturally and aesthetically it's stunning, but I also really appreciate the composition of this image - to me it's perfectly framed and totally captures the look and feel of the space.

Black frame windows always do it for me because of the way they make the outdoors look like framed pictures and from a styling point of view, opening a door is a great way to convey a level of movement or activity in a super low key way.

I love the seating beside the floor to (almost) ceiling windows - simple but expertly crafted and perfect for this super chic kitchen diner. I think upholstered bench seating designed in this way is perfect for kitchen spaces - it feels more cosy than separate chairs - same reason I love restaurants with booths.



I also love the different textures in the space - lots of natural materials thanks to the dark hardwood flooring and the corner of island unit, but also the marble counter top. While I would personally never have marble in a kitchen - I love this look and it works so well in this space. The overall look and feel of the space is clean, elegant and welcoming. Exactly my cup of tea.

Anyway - back in the room - bottom line is I've seen it on Pinterest so many times and tried to find the source on several occasions but never managed to track it down. So I stopped looking a while ago and yesterday it dropped straight into my lap.

The source is Studio William Hefner and if you're into design you're going to want to visit this website pronto.

For me this is classic American interior design at it's absolute finest. This project is called Hancock Park and is the home of William Hefner and Kazuko Hoshino. Together they design some of the most most spectacularly brilliant homes in and around Los Angeles (he's the principal at Studio William Hefner and she heads the firm's interior design department).



For this 3,800-square-foot house that would become their home, the couple deliberately decided to disregard the resale value and instead embrace everything they loved.

"We didn't want the house to feel too large. The whole idea was not to fill up the lot with house, but to create a living space that takes advantage of the outdoors." To that end, Hefner oriented the rear of the house to the outdoors; French doors open onto a landscaped garden and pool area, with a small poolhouse serving as guest quarters.



I love the low-key relaxed vibe of this sitting room, it's absolutely everything I love about design.

Love maps, love navy, love stripes and love that little reading light. A perfect nook for an afternoon with a pot of tea and a really good book.

To see more of this amazing project, go to Studio William Hefner.

Image credit: Studio William Hefner 


Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Artisan Toast Recipes

If you follow me on instagram you may have seen that one of my favourite things to eat is pretty anything on toast - especially anything on a bagel or toasted sourdough. So I was pretty excited to hear that Dualit have brought out a new toaster designed for artisan breads which has a much longer slot than a normal toaster and is also 36mm wide for things like English muffins. Of course it's also got the unique Dualit peek and pop feature too. So it's ticking all my boxes so far, and then I found out it's also designed especially for toasting bagels because it toasts one side while warming the other. Perfect for my unrelenting obsession with those chewy little bread beauties.

Anyway I was even more excited when Dualit sent over one of their lovely new toasters so I could try out some recipes... take a look below to see the results. I made these for my family which went down a treat but see what you think and if you have a go at any of them let me know how you got on in the comments at the bottom.

WILD MUSHROOM CROSTINI


INGREDIENTS

5 slices of rustic garlic baguette (love this one from Waitrose)
1 glug of rape seed oil / olive oil
1/2 white onion
1 garlic clove
3 large handfuls of wild mushrooms (I love shiitake, chestnut and oyster), cleaned and sliced
4 tbsp parmesan
1 handful of chopped parsley, finely chopped
Maldon seat salt and fresh black pepper
Micro basil to garnish (or use pea shoots as an alternative)

METHOD

1. Slice the bread and start toasting the slices. 
2. Finely chop the onion and garlic and gently fry in a large non-stick frying pan with a glug of oil.
3. After 5 minutes or so add the mushrooms and turn up the heat slightly.
4. Give the mushrooms a good stir and let them catch slightly so that the edges brown.
5. Add the parmesan and take the pan off the heat.
6. Add the parsley and season with salt and pepper. 
7. To serve, cut the slices in half and spoon on the mushroom mixture. You can drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil if you want to and sprinkle some micro basil on top of each crostini. 

(If you happen to have some white wine open, it's nice to add a glug once the mushrooms have been added to the pan but it's not essential.)

BEETROOT & GOAT'S CHEESE TOASTS


INGREDIENTS

5 slices of wheat 'n' rye sourdough
200g cooked beets
1 small tub of spreadable goat's cheese
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 garlic clove
Maldon seat salt and fresh black pepper
Micro basil to garnish (or use pea shoots as an alternative)

METHOD

1. Toast the cumin seeds in a small pan over a moderate heat until brown and fragrant. Then crush them in a pestle and mortar along with the garlic clove. 
2. In a small food mixer, add the beets and cumin and garlic and blend quickly - you want to keep a rough-ish texture so one blitz should do it.
3. Season the beet mixture with salt and pepper.
4. Toast the bread slices and then spread with goat's cheese, top with a little of the beet mix and garnish with micro basil or fresh coriander.  

GRAVADLAX BAGELS 


INGREDIENTS

2 white bagels
4 slices gravadlax (either use this brilliant recipe or choose this ready made option)
1 small tub of full fat Philadelphia cream cheese
1/4 red onion, finely sliced
Small handful of dill finely chopped
Maldon seat salt and fresh black pepper
Micro basil to garnish (or use pea shoots as an alternative)

METHOD

1. Toast the bagels  - I used the fantastic bagel setting on the artisan toaster which toasts the inside of the bagel and warms the outside. Total genius. 
2. Spread with Philadelphia and layer the gravadlax on top.
3. Add the sliced red onion, season with salt and pepper and garnish with dill and micro basil.

AVOCADO AND RADISH ON ROSEMARY SOURDOUGH


INGREDIENTS

4 slices of rosemary bread (love this potato and rosemary option)
1 avocado
1 garlic clove
1 lime
4 large radishes, finely sliced
Large handful of coriander, finely chopped
Maldon seat salt and fresh black pepper

METHOD

1. In a bowl mash the avocado with the juice of the lime, salt, pepper and a small sprinkle of coriander. 
2. Toast the sliced bread and while it's toasting peel the garlic and cut in half.
3. Rub the warm slices of the bread with the garlic.
4.  Top each slice with avocado and add the radish slices.
5. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle some extra virgin olive oil on top if you like.

ASIAN CRAB CROSTINI


INGREDIENTS

5 slices of sourdough bread, sliced
200g white crab meat
2 tbsp of sesame seeds, toasted in a pan
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 lime
1/4 red pepper, finely chopped
1/2 red chilli, finely chopped
Large handful of coriander
Maldon seat salt and fresh black pepper

METHOD

1. In a bowl mix the crab meat with all the ingredients listed above. Season to taste.
2. Toast the sliced bread and top with the crab mixture. 
3. Garnish with fresh coriander. 

I was so impressed with this Dualit toaster - it really toasts every slice so evenly and I loved the warming rack which is so handy when you're doing multiple slices as I was for these recipes. But overall the best feature is the simplest - the fact you can fit a slice of sourdough in lengthways totally made my day as my pet peeve is having to constantly watch the old toaster and then turn around the slices when they started to brown.  

To see more from Dualit click here and if you try any of these recipes out, let me know how you get on in the comments below.