Monthly Archives

February 2017

Interiors, My Home

When eBay turns up trumps.

eBay has over the years been somewhat of a cruel mistress.

There has been as many finds as there has been stinkingly huge disappointments. I always find myself stumbling across homes in magazines in which the owners casually throw in sentences like ‘We found the set of nine bookcases on eBay. We paid £50 for the lot’ or better yet the ‘We came across the red leather Chesterfield sofa outside a neighbour’s house, they were getting rid of it and giving it away!’.

Now, I don’t know about you, but this does not happen to me. The only furniture I ever see left in the street is a Lack coffee table in bright green. With a leg missing. And the only furniture I ever find and fall head over heels for on eBay, happens to be located about 12 hours drive away with a £300 courier collection charge on it. Not ideal.

This week, that luck changed. The furniture Gods, or perhaps the Gods of online auction sites, looked down at me and finally threw me a bone. A solid oak, Terrence Conran shaped bone.

I’d like to think of myself as somewhat of an M&S advocate. It was love at first site when Terrence Conran’s capsule collection first launched for them. Reasonably priced homeware, accessories and furniture that looked like it should be worth far more. Over the years I think I have pretty much single handedly kept this collection going with my purchases.

I can’t lie, I’ve done very well with swiping up some bargains from the collection come sale time, but there has also been the things I’ve seen and knew I needed in my life. A few years back I fell in love with a solid oak sideboard. Its design was, for a sideboard, rather unusual in that it was drawers rather than cupboards. Asymmetrically placed large drawers with blue handles that resembled a valve. At the rather hefty price tag of £799 however, it was never going to be mine. Even at the sale price of £499, it still wasn’t going to be mine.

And so to eBay. Last week, one appeared.

Now, this has happened before. I have seen it in the e-mail, I have danced with joy! I have then realised it was located in Portsmouth and sobbed myself back to reality. This week however it appeared a mere fifteen minutes drive away. The excitement was mounting. It was close. It was in immaculate condition. It was priced at £99. Yes. £99. A whole £700 less than the seller had originally paid for it. Now, whilst I feel for the guy for loosing that much money on a piece of furniture, I feel for myself more. I bid. I won. It was collection. I danced around my dining room. Hello £99 Conran sideboard of my dreams.

The original draw handles – whilst being actually quite cool – were never going to be for me. For starters they were blue. I could put up with them if they couldn’t be removed just about, but I knew I could make it all even better if only I could find something brass.

Bethan Gray produces a range of furniture for John Lewis that comes with large brushed brass handles. The kind of drawer handles that dreams are made of (see here for visual evidence of said dreamy handles), exactly the kind of handles I wanted for the sideboard. After a rather exhaustive search that led me straight back to John Lewis, I found these little beauties. A little smaller than Bethan’s, but wonderful all the same.

  

Now the handles are all changed over and the unit is in place, I genuinely could not be happier. I suppose it’s testament to the power of eBay perseverance. I had never bought another sideboard as ultimately my mind was always on this exact one, clearly it was fate. Or something along those lines. It is most definitely a piece of furniture I will have with me for life, at the bargain price of £99.

I do however now expect to never find anything else decent on eBay ever again, as penance for this week’s good luck.

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Ate, Cook, Food, Recipe

Zatar Roasted Carrot & Garlic Hummus.

There was a time when a tub of hummus and a stack of toasted pita breads constituted an evening meal for me. I’m rather glad to say those days are gone and I have moved on to a much more balanced diet, however, that being said… I could absolutely still do exactly that. I love hummus. In almost all of its guises, I love it. Most days it serves as a prelude to my desk lunch, with a pile of carrots serving as the vehicle for it’s salty, lemony tang.

In my quest of the perfect hummus recipe – something I have absolutely yet to find I might add – I’ve explored the world of alternative versions, with varying success. There’s thus far been everything from puy lentil editions to creamy butterbean variants. This roasted carrot version is one I shall certainly be returning to although I might add, it’s absolutely never going to replace the chickpea variety.

Roasting the carrots with the zatar spiked oil really brings out their sweet nature whilst adding a spark of flavour to the proceedings. I find also roasted the garlic in the same way produces a much more mellow tasting hummus, adding it in raw can leave a rather acrid taste in my experience, so I tend to always roast the garlic first. Serve it with some toasted pita chips (gluten free pitas will do just as well, don’t worry) and some fresh crudités like celery or chicory.

 

Ingredients

  • 8 carrots, cleaned and sliced in half
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, with more to serve
  • 2 garlic cloves, pealed
  • 1 tsp zatar
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp of lemon juice, or to taste
  • 2 tbsp of tahini

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

Start by scrubbing the carrots thoroughly, you don’t need to peel them, just make sure they’re well and truly clean before slicing them in half.  

Add the carrots to a mixing bowl along with the two pealed cloves of garlic and drizzle over 2 tablespoons of your olive oil.

Next sprinkle over a pinch of salt and your teaspoon of zatar and 1/2 teaspoon of cumin, give it all a good toss to make sure every piece of carrot is nicely coated and then arrange on your baking tray in a pleasantly hazard manor.

Remove the two cloves of garlic and keep to one side for now, they aren’t going to need as long to roast as the carrots. If any of the oil mix remains in the bowl, just pour this onto the carrots. 

Pop into the oven and leave to roast for around 15 minutes, at this point check on them and add the garlic to your baking tray. Pop back in the over for a further 10-15 minutes until everything looks caramelized and delectable before removing from the oven. Leave to one side to cool.

Once the carrots and garlic have cooled add them to your food processor with your lemon juice, tahini and remaining olive oil. Give it all a whizz until nice and blended, you might at this point need to add in some more olive oil if you feel the hummus is too thick. Give it a taste and season accordingly. If it’s a little sweet for you simply try adding a few further drops of lemon juice.

To serve, spoon into a bowl, drizzle with olive oil before adding a final sprinkling of zatar.

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Design, My Home, Shop

Pastel hues & lazy days.

There was an incredibly pleasing correlation between a belated birthday present and the Cereal magazine perched on my coffee table. It warranted an image I felt. Taking this image, along with a rather half-hearted attempt at some exercise, punctuated a rather lazy Sunday. For too long my coffee table has been straining under the weight of a pile of unread magazines. I should probably point out that in my flat this isn’t really an unusual occurrence. Whether it’s the dining table, a dining chair, or even the floor itself, piles of magazines are never far away.  I set aside today – the day before I return to work after a full week off – as the day to tackle the most recent pile.

Copious amounts of peppermint tea and a slice of banana loaf later, the pile is no more. Now the magazines find themselves filed away in their appropriate places. My mind? Well, that’s a wealth of all things Kinfolk. Exactly as I like it to be.

A Sunday well and truly well spent if you ask me. I’m aware you didn’t, but you’re on my blog, so it’s essentially the same thing I feel.

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Design, Saw, Travel

Richard Serra at the Gagosian.

I am a little funny when it comes to art. Or perhaps that should be when it comes to ‘art’. In the larger sense. If you’ve read my previous post about my own inability to select artworks and imagery for my walls you will know, I struggle with my own tastes. What do I like? What do I appreciate? Mostly it’s all just a mystery to me.

The name Richard Serra has been appearing quite a lot recently. His work seems to have served as the inspiration for everything from fashion editorials to full blown runway collections and I will admit, it wasn’t a name I was all that familiar with. Whilst in London last week I took a detour from my heavily planned day to visit the Gagosian Gallery to see a series of three installations by him. And I am very glad I did.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to have some profound moment where I explain an artistic revolution I’ve found myself in the midst of. It was however, an experience I recommend fully. The piece above (NJ-2 if we’re going to be precise) is rather colossal. Colossal and beautiful. I feel ultimately images won’t really explain its effect and command of the huge space. The metal undulates and twists, bends and folds, with you winding your way through it all. Almost as if it was a piece of ribbon stood on its edge, twisting around.

If you find yourself in London – perhaps whilst waiting for a train from nearby King’s Cross – head to the Gagosian on Britannia Street. The exhibit’s run has just been extended until March 10th, it’s absolutely free and photography isn’t just allowed, it’s encouraged. My kind of place.

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