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Just Good Friday

justgood

1. These surreal, 80s-inspired ‘motivational’ posters are brilliant, and you can buy them for your office walls here.
2. This Nessie ladle, having a whale of a time cruising round in your soup, is amazing. By Ototo.
3. Love The Smiths, love Peanuts, so this mashup gives me happy feels.
4. I don’t really follow fashion except to look for sewing ideas, but Valentino are killing it lately both in mens and womenswear. Gimme all the constellation-print stuff please.
5. This collection of Alexander Girard-designed fabrics is a riot of cheery colour.
6. I’ve been researching art as we want to upgrade some of our walls from a mishmash of street art and odd ephemera to something a bit more grown-up. This Whistler is just a bit out of budget but ever so beautiful. I’m using Artsy and saving ideas over here.

Recipe: Winter tomato and bread salad

Winter panzanella

For me, one thing that’s up there amongst the suckiest things about winter is the lack of tomatoes that actually taste of anything. The only way I’ve found to coax some flavour out of them is to smother them in salt and olive oil and roast them long and slow in the oven. Then they’ll reluctantly relinquish some sweet concentrated flavour, along with delicious umami-rich cooking juices to boot.

Winter panzanella

Panzanella is one of my favourite summer dishes, so I’ve adapted the basic idea to make it a warming winter dish that can get away with flavour-lacking tomatoes. In fact, I reckon it’s even better than summer panzanella – we’ve had it for dinner three times this year already. It’s incredibly easy to put together and rather healthy too.

Winter panzanella
Winter panzanella

I also made use of my new spiralizer (a Christmas gift) to add some greenery in the form of courgettes instead of the summer cucumber. I LOVE the spiralizer, by the way. Far from being a faddy gadget, I’ve already used it loads already since it’s so easy and produces perfect little veggie ribbons that can be cooked in exciting new ways. Any favourite spiralizer recipes to share?

Winter panzanella

The spiralizer cones in handy to slice onions nice and thin too. Don’t be scared of the raw onion – the acid and salt help to soften it and take away the harshness.

Winter panzanella

Winter tomato and bread salad

Serving Size: 2

Ingredients

  • 3 Large vine tomatoes
  • 1/2 Red onion
  • 1 Courgette
  • Day old (or older) chunk of white baguette or sourdough bread
  • 1 Garlic clove
  • 1 tbs Red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbs Olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp Sumac

Method

  1. Cut the tomatoes into six wedges each. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Pop the tomatoes in a baking dish, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and leave to roast for 30-45 minutes. They're done when they're starting to burst, brown and release juices.
  2. Meanwhile thinly slice the red onion. Place into a small bowl and toss with the red wine vinegar, olive oil, oregano, sumac, smoked paprika and salt. Leave in the fridge to marinate while the tomatoes cook.
  3. Spiralize or ribbon the courgette (a vegetable peeler also does the trick). You can either leave this raw for more crunch or lightly fry in a little olive oil.
  4. Break up the bread into bite-size chunks and put onto a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and place the whole garlic clove on top. When the tomatoes have about ten minutes left to go, add the bread and garlic to the oven to crisp up.
  5. When the tomatoes are done, remove from the oven and lightly press with the back of a spatula to squish them a bit. Remove the garlic clove from the bread, thinly slice (just use half if you're a bit garlic-averse) and add to the tomatoes, along with the onion mix and courgettes. At the last minute before serving throw in the bread and toss well to coat with the juices.
http://www.whatkatiedoes.net/2015/01/recipe-winter-tomato-and-bread-salad.html

2014 in pictures

Ibarra Salinas train

Time for my yearly wrap-up of photos, as I do every year (previous years here). This year has basically been brilliant for one main reason: TRAVEL. I’ve been extremely fortunate to visit Israel, Panama, Ecuador, Mexico and Paris – four new countries and four continents in a year is not bad going at all. Otherwise, 2014 has been an improvement on 2013 generally. Yoni has had the all-clear from the vet, there have been far fewer family/life dramas and work has been steady and fulfilling for the most part. 2015 is promising to kick off well too, with some fun work lined up, trips to Berlin and Barbados in the calendar, and my 30th birthday – and that’s just in January! Anyway, here’s the year that was…

Foxlow

January: I turned 29, celebrating with tasty food and drinks at Foxlow.

Dead sea

February: We went to Israel and hung out in the Dead Sea.

Panama: Guna Yala

March: Welcome to paradise – a dream trip to Panama.

Nat's flat

April: hung out at my sister’s new flat.

Cruz Loma

May: Head in the clouds in Ecuador.

Minerva meetup

June: When I wasn’t travelling this year, I was sewing. June saw a lovely trip up north with a bunch of sewists who’ve now become firm friends.

Tea at The Capital

July: taking afternoon tea in Knightsbridge with my mum.

Oxford

August: Making the most of the UK summer and some welcome time on home soil, hopped to both Rye and Oxford.

Holly dress

September: The summer hadn’t given up yet, so plenty of trips to London Fields and its wildflower meadow.

Hierve al Agua

October: You might have noticed I went to Mexico?! I can’t believe it was two months ago already.

Paris

November: Not quite travelled out yet, a quick hop to Paris.

Tobacco cat

December: Hunkering down in a handmade coat, getting ready for winter.

We’re off to spend New Year with my family tomorrow, I hope you all have a good one too!

Just Good Friday

good

OK, it’s not Friday, but just squeezing in a little post of prettiness before checking out for Christmas. Have a good one, everyone!

1. Artemis’s words on winter, nature, and being a good person without religion really resonated with me.
2. It’s a bit late for Christmas gifts, but keep this in the bag for another time. Yawn sent me a set of their luxury pyjamas and they’re absolutely lush for these cold nights. Plus they come in cat print! Get ‘em here.
3. Merchant and Mills x Uniqlo is making my heart flutter! Only in Asia but I hear it might be coming to the UK early next year…
4. Zoe has been spreading a little London love with her #positivitypigeons project – how lovely?
5. Loving this triangley round rug, a maybe for my new sewing room…

48 hours in Paris

Paris

We took a quick little hop over to Paris at the weekend, my main 30th birthday present to Josh. Unfortunately it coincided with us both being cripplingly ill with bad colds, so we kind of took it easy and spent most of the time near to our Airbnb in the Marais district. Luckily with St Pancras only half an hour from our door and our apartment the same distance the other side, the Eurostar trip itself was super easy so the travelling wasn’t too much of a backbreaker.

Paris

That was no bad thing really as the Marais is a totally charming area, stuffed with beautiful boutiques, cool restaurants and cosy cafes. I haven’t really scratched the surface of Paris before, but I’d definitely stay in this area again. It’s a little out of the way of the tourist sites like Monmartre and the Eiffel Tower/big museums, but we weren’t really interested in those so it worked out great for the quieter pace of our weekend.

Paris
Paris
Paris

On our first stroll we found a fabulous flea market, the Brocante Du Troisieme, which had totally taken over a long, wide street lined with bistrots and fromageries. Prices were more more reasonable than many fleas I’ve been to lately and there were lots of tempting goodies.

Paris
Paris

As usual, we found a favourite local coffee shop and went twice. Loustic made a perfect long black and had nice cookies and bagels for breakfast too.

Paris

Paris
Paris

We had a fabulous decadent, energy-giving brunch at Twinkie’s – for around 20 euros you get a hot drink, juice, bread and spreads, and a choice of American, French or English breakfasts. All set in a cosy, kitschy little cafe space.

Paris
Paris

Paris
Paris

Paris

Just round the corner from Twinkies, the Passage de Grand Cerf is a beautiful shopping arcade lined with little boutiques of vintage and crafty treasures.

Paris
Paris
Paris
Paris
Paris
Paris
Paris

Also nearby there is the Musée des arts et métiers, which should be subtitled Museum of Awesome Old Machinery. From the practical to the quirky, there’s hundreds of fantastical machines to admire. There’s an original Foucault’s Pendulum quietly ticking away in the attached chapel and a mini-scale Statue of Liberty as well.

Paris
Paris

I managed to squeeze in a bit of fabric shopping – you can read more about that over here.

Paris
Paris

We had some good food – none of it French, ha ha. I was mighty impressed by how much veggie and organic food has popped up since my last visit. We had good pizza at La Briciola, fun and fast udon in Japantown (just above the Louvre), a vegan burger at Hank’s, and a lovely healthful salad bowl at Cafe Pinson. One thing I noticed is it all seemed rather expensive compared to London, hovering at the 50 euro mark for a simple pizza, gelato and drinks for two for example. Hey, at least the wine’s cheap though.

Paris
Paris
Ghibli fim cell, Musee Art Ludique

On Sunday morning we walked down the river to Le Musée Art Ludique, which currently has a huge and comprehensive exhibition of original Studio Ghibli artboard drawings. It was utterly absorbing to see the time and effort (1200 storyboards per feature film) put into creating these animated films. At the end you could get a photo taken against a green screen which placed you into a cell – fun! It’s on until March and I definitely recommend it if you’re a Ghibli or illustration fan.

Paris
Paris

This was at close as we got to tourist stuff; a hike to the top of Monmartre and a peek at the tower from a distance. It was nice to get re-aquainted with you, Paris – I won’t leave it so long for another visit, I’m sure.