Jono Fleming shares a family tradition involving sugar, fruit and a dash of creativity.

In my book, there are a few staples for the Christmas table: grilled prawns, a big glazed ham, and a beautiful fruit covered pavlova to finish. Ever since I was a little kid, its been a Christmas tradition at my house to make this pavlova with my mum.

It’s fun to unleash your inner cake decorator and personalise the pav with your favourite fruit. This time I added some beautiful edible flowers to cut through the sweetness of the meringue and balance out the sour and tart flavours of the fruit and berries. Have fun with your version, be creative and start your own traditions. Remember, no one’s ever too young to help out with dessert!

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

6 egg whites
pinch of salt
1 ½ cups caster sugar
3 tsp cornflour
1 tsp white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
600ml thickened cream
3 passionfruits
1 punnet of raspberries
1 punnet of strawberries
1 punnet of blueberries
2-3 kiwi fruits (golden if available)
Seasonal edible flowers (available from green grocers or your local food market)

Preparation

Preheat your oven to 150°C and line two standard baking trays with non-stick baking paper.

In a large mixing bowl beat the egg whites and salt with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add the sugar, little by little, allowing the sugar to dissolve before adding more. Mix on high for three minutes after all the sugar has been added.

In a small bowl, combine the cornflour, vinegar and vanilla extract, mix well and then fold through the egg white mix until combined.

Using a spatula, spread the meringue over one of the baking trays, forming a large rectangle. Reduce the oven temperature to 110°C and bake the meringue for 40 minutes.

Once the meringue starts to colour slightly, remove from the oven and place the other baking tray (with baking paper) over the top and flip the meringue over. The meringue will crack slightly but this will be covered later. Allow the meringue to cool completely.

To decorate, whip the cream until it holds firm. Spread a thin layer of cream on the flipped meringue surface. Drizzle the passion fruit pulp and place raspberries on top. Now for the slightly tricky part: roll the pavlova tightly, trying not to crush the meringue.

From here it’s up to you how to present and decorate. I usually cover the pavlova in a layer of cream and then layer the fruit down the middle of the log.

Slice to serve and enjoy this fantastic, never fail, show stopper of a dessert! Merry Christmas…

 Serve your summer pavlova with Royal Doulton’s colourful tableware.

Posted in   Dish of the day1 comment

Alice Topp is a dancer in the corps de ballet at The Australian Ballet. After a busy end to 2014 with performances in La Bayadère and The Nutcracker, she is looking forward to putting her feet up!

My Christmas style is: Low maintenance!

It’s such a crazy time of year but Christmas for me is all about unwinding and enjoying the precious company of family and friends. I’m performing right up until Christmas in The Australian Ballet’s The Nutcracker, a production we opened in Melbourne in September, so I feel like I’ve been decking the halls and cracking the nuts for a few months now! After roughly 200 shows in 2014, our Christmas break is a great opportunity to put our feet up, return home after a jam-packed year of touring and cherish time spent with loved ones. If I was to define my Christmas style, I’d say it’s all about fun prints, florals, colour and movement.

Alice at the front of the ‘Kingdom of the shades’ scene in La Bayadère.

This year I’ll be buying: Mangoes, cider and brooches!

My go-to accessory of the moment would have to be novelty brooches and badges. They jushe up any ensemble, are a great talking point and make for wonderful gifts. My current favourites are the Bowie, Frida Kahlo and Wes Anderson themed numbers from the wonderful Andsmile. I’m also in love with a custom design range of earrings from Etsy shop Sleepy Mountain. This year my friends can expect to receive the Breaking Bad, Seinfeld and Steve Buscemi designs.

My failsafe Christmas styling tip is: Spend less time in shops and more time getting creative!

I always find handmade or recycled wrapping paper, makeshift cards and tags and the use of any art ‘n’ craft knick-knacks far more exciting when gift-giving! As kids, one of our Christmas activities with Mum was spray painting gum leaves from our garden in metallic gold and silver and using them as gift tags. One year my friend Gabriella gave me a 7 inch record with a super funny title as a Christmas card which I still have up on my mantelpiece. These are the things you remember and hold onto.

This Christmas I’ll be serving: I’d like to say my contribution at the family Christmas luncheon will be a smashing summer salad of fresh greens, mango, prawn and coriander with a chilli and lime dressing (my staple salad) but in reality, I’ll probably just make a dash to the supermarket and purchase my favourite fruitcake and custard!!

My Christmas playlist includes: The Black Keys, Father John Misty and an array of 80’s hits. I’ve recently been revisiting my collection of 80’s and 90’s cassette tapes.

All I want for Christmas is: Sleep, sunshine, cricket, friends and family time.

My biggest Christmas disaster was: Thankfully, it has yet to happen!!!

After Christmas I’m planning to: Hit the MCG for the Boxing Day cricket test, catch some sunshine and catch up on any overdue phone calls and letter-writing!

Follow The Australian Ballet via Facebook or on Instagram @ausballet

La Bayadère, a spectacular ballet following an epic story of love, betrayal and forbidden passion set against a backdrop inspired by 19th century visions of the exotic East, runs at the Sydney Opera House from 6 – 22 November. Tickets available via the Sydney Opera House or The Australian Ballet.

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One of Australia’s most popular cooks, Anna Gare was a judge on Junior MasterChef and co-presenter of The Great Australian Bake-Off. This fresh and easy salad comes from her book Eat In (Murdoch), thanks to eatlove.

Labneh is yoghurt that has been strained in a cloth (traditionally made of muslin), to remove the whey. This process gives it a soft cheese-like texture, while preserving the yoghurt’s distinctive tang. The earthiness of the beetroot and beans paired with the creamy tang of the labneh make a gorgeous combination.

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

300 g (101⁄2 oz) thick Greek-style yoghurt
1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) baby beetroots (beets)
400 g (14 oz) podded broad (fava) beans
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
1⁄2 a lemon
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
a few chives or mint leaves, sliced, to serve

Preparation

Strain the yoghurt overnight in a fine sieve or muslin (cheesecloth), placed over a bowl to catch the whey, in the fridge.

The next day, trim the leaves and stems off the beetroot, leaving 2.5 cm (1 inch) of the stem intact. Steam the beetroot in their skins for about 20 minutes, or until they can be easily pierced with a fork.

Remove the skins and stems under cold running water with your fingers (wear rubber gloves if you don’t want pink hands). If the beetroot are perfectly cooked, the skins should slide off easily.

Cook the broad beans in boiling water for 3–4 minutes (or 1 minute if using frozen beans), then drain and run under cold water to stop them cooking further. Pinch each bean between your fingers to remove the skin then put the beans in a small bowl, drizzle over some olive oil, squeeze over some of the lemon and season with salt and pepper.

Halve the beetroot and put in a bowl, drizzle over some olive oil and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

Spoon the beetroot and beans over your favourite platter then top with quenelles (pretty little spoonfuls) of labneh. Scatter over the chives or mint leaves (or both), drizzle with some more olive oil then serve.

See more at eatlove.com.au where you can follow your favourite chefs, share their recipes and order their books.

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A collaboration between Shannon Sheedy of The Dharma Door and fabric designer Julie Paterson of Cloth Fabric seems like it was always meant to be. Both passionate about the power of community, they share a love for natural fibres and fabrics, and focus on hand-made work inspired by nature. Karen McCartney caught up with both Julie and Shannon to find out more, and you can see the results of their project in today’s Fair Trade storage essentials sale event.

Julie, what drew the two of you together to create a collaborative range?

I met Shannon at a trade fair a couple of years ago. We had adjoining booths. I loved her paper products, her storage bags and her personality. All three things were natural fresh and lovely. She and her products and her ethics all seemed to go together well. Authentic, trustworthy, real. I am drawn to people like this – I enjoy developing a working relationship with people like Shannon and Mick.

I’ve always wanted to develop a fair trade product but didn’t want to do it on my own. I produce all my own textiles locally. For 20 years I’ve been working with small-scale manufacturers here in NSW so I have not developed contacts with producers overseas.  Over the years I’ve understood  the benefits of partnering with people who share your passion but have different skills and experience. True teamwork that has  good potential for longevity works best for everyone.  I believe if you focus on the things you love,  are good at them, and work with others who do the same, things fall into place. And they did. The ‘Dharmas’ have been great to work with. Their focus over the last 10 years has been to source and work with artisans who produce high quality products in small batches from impoverished communities in Bangladesh. Shannon travels at least twice a year to be amongst the makers and has seen the communities flourish; in particular she has been around long enough to see the younger girls staying at school finishing their education, marrying later, delaying having children, having more power in their lives. The Dharmas  have built up a trust and a great working relationship with their makers and it showed in the products. So for me, getting involved with Shannon from a design perspective is working at my best. Along with every one else working at their best, together we produce the results we want easily.

Traditionally your inspiration is the Australian bush and landscape – did you deviate from that inspiration for this range?

This first range is a ‘best of Cloth’ – a group of our best loved geometric designs, chosen because they work well on The  Dharma Door products. The designs describe the Australian landscape in the form of symbols and motifs that themselves were drawings taken from my sketchbooks. Each design has a story attached to it too. Boardwalk ( the striped one) is about the erosion of the coast line – specifically the sand dunes and how we should always be mindful to walk on the boardwalks when we are at the beach. Spotcheck ( the spotty one) is about how we build connections when building new communities. The design was developed from a drawing I did when travelling down the south coast of NSW and seeing a bulldozer ploughing shapes and patterns into a hillside that used to have dairy cows on it.  New homes were being made there instead. A bit of a shock initially but people need places to live and so this was pattern of progress. Wollemi ( the diamond shaped one) is a close up of the cone of a Wollemi pine, the most ancient living tree in the world ( which just so happens to live in my ‘ hood up in the Blue Mountains). So each design has its own story and each story is rooted into the Australian landscape in one way or another.

What colour palette have you chosen to work with and why.? 

The colours in this range are quite a bit brighter and cleaner than the colours I usually use. I’m probably best known for an earthy palette that feels like it’s been dug up from the ground – oxide, bone and sepia – but  this time I wanted to create a range of colours that were simple, fresh and clean.  The Dharma Door products are accent pieces used in the home for flashes of colour to brighten up a corner of a room as well as a practical storage solutions. So I went with a bright white,  turquoise and indigo – high key,  high contrast colours combined with the natural jute basecloth.  And I’m loving this new direction, having already embraced it in my new designs for upholstery and curtaining fabric that come out very soon.

Natural fibres and non-toxic inks have always been core to the Cloth brand but was there any stretch in working with a company that is 100% free trade ?

When Shannon and I were first discussing the possibilities of working together I found out that the artists she works with all have the same kind of set up as I do in my shed up in the mountains. We are all very low-tech and hands on, old school style. We all screen print by hand with natural fabrics and water based inks yet we all work with the same basic technology too –  a bit of Illustrator and Photoshop knowledge. Nothing too fancy, just the basics. So it was very straightforward working together as our processes all talked to each other.

How did the design process work ?

Shannon gave me a range of the baskets to work with and I began translating my designs onto them, thinking about scale and the combinations of the designs that would work best.

I like to work with more design options than I need so that once sampled up we can pull out the final selection from a bigger initial group. I initially sent about 6 or 7 designs over to the artisans in Bangladesh, timing the artwork arriving by email with the arrival of Shannon to their workshop. She visits them regularly so together they have developed a great working relationship. Their communication is very good. A couple of designs were sampled whilst Shannon was there and when she returned she sent the swatches to me. With a little bit of back and forth tweaking colour or sometimes scale this was how the full range was completed – a couple at a time over a period of maybe 4 or 5 months.   This  back and forth and longer lead time for the development was the main difference for me from my usual experience of working locally with very quick turnaround times – but it wasn’t too bad considering exactly where the work was coming from and how basic the facilities there.

I think Shannon went over twice during the sampling stage – she is a very hands on coordinator who takes a lot of trouble to make sure the products are as she wants them to be. I appreciate that effort she takes.

Did you visit the makers, or take their natural capabilities into consideration in the production of the range?

This time round I wasn’t able to travel over  to meet the makers and I relied entirely on Shannon’s guidance and experience.  The timing was tricky because whilst I was designing this range I’ve also been writing a book. And as any new author knows a book takes up every available spare moment.

This past year I’ve pretty well been chained to my desk and there was no possible way of travelling whilst I had an unedited manuscript staring at me day in day out. However I do plan to travel to Bangladesh for the next range.  Actually seeing where the work is being made always stimulates me into thinking outside the square. Talking directly to the artisans I know will bring unexpected opportunities and I’m looking forward to doing just that.

Will any of the items make their way to your Blue Mountains house?

Of course! In fact many of the sample pieces are already there in use every day. I’m a notoriously untidy person with many projects on the go at any one time. The projects I’ve currently got stored in the baskets range from clean washing needing to be put away to new fabric swatches for my next fabric range. And rather than hiding all these piles of messy bundles I can proudly display them all over the house. A perfect collaboration result. Thank you Dharma Door xx

Shannon, as well as being Fair Trade it has always been important to you that the items are aesthetically pleasing. Is this a hard balance to achieve?

In a word…yes! The Dharma Door’s aim is to bring the highest quality Fair Trade homewares and lifestyle products to a market that values contemporary design, while making a positive impact through trade. We are successfully bridging a large gap in the consumer market by observing trends and designing products that best utilise the artisans’ skills, available natural raw materials and through consistent quality training. The biggest challenges when operating a Fair Trade business within a mainstream wholesale/retail model occur with production timeframes and quality issues. We have worked continuously over the past decade to address these challenges by developing effective strategies that respect the artisans, their community, family priorities, cultural differences, the impact of climate and lack of infrastructure.

What does it mean to be a Fair Trade company?

The Dharma Door practices the Ten Standards of Fair Trade, which means we are committed to providing product development, skills training, market opportunities, fair payment, women’s empowerment and much more through our long-term trading partnerships with small-scale artisans in Bangladesh. We are also passionate about the positive flow-on effects for artisans such as their personal dignity, improved health and living conditions, education and a reduction in child marriage. We are proud to be actively promoting Fair Trade and sustainable ethics to a growing audience seeking style with substance.

You have always been aware that the consumer demand for your product is fundamental to keeping the artisans you work with employed. Does the collaboration with Cloth support this?

Absolutely! There is a direct correlation between consumer demand and our ability to contribute positive social and economic impacts within the artisans’ communities. Cloth designs are bold, contemporary and have a loyal following. They are also inspired by nature and the Australian landscape so they sit beautifully against natural fibres, which is what our artisans work with. After many years of working together, our artisan partners understand the link between producing our product designs to the highest quality and the amount that we order from them. Collaborating with Julie on her designs will enable broader consumer appeal and ultimately the artisans will benefit. Cloth has now become an integral part of this very special Fair Trade story.

It takes about an hour to complete the rope for each Hessian Sack.

What was the process for the partnership with Cloth?

Julie and I met at a trade show a couple of years ago and she loved our jute wrapping paper and Fair Trade production practices. I had admired her work for a long time, especially the earthiness of the natural textiles and colours that she chooses. Our conversations around collaboration evolved this year and we felt that her designs would work really well on some of our other products including our Hessian Sacks and Duo’s. Julie is authentic, open-minded and flexible, which has helped enormously during the development phase. Things always take longer in Bangladesh and she has been very patient considering the process has been quite different to her usual way of working. We met with Julie in Sydney and selected some designs and colours together. The sampling process with the artisans was lengthy as it was essential to interpret the designs well, not only for aesthetic reasons but also so can we be sure that we are honouring Julie’s designs.

Has it driven any change to the product?

Fundamentally the product design of Hessian Sacks and Duo’s has remained the same. We replaced the tassels with knots on the sacks, which was a great idea of Julie’s.

Did the artisans you work with respond well to the designs?

The artisans are always excited to work with new designs as it keeps their work interesting and stimulating. During the sampling process, which I did face-to-face with them in May, they told me that they liked the boldness of Julie’s designs. All of the screens are handmade and the inks are mixed by hand so there was a lot of detailed discussion over the colours and design sizes. This all helps to develop the artisans’ skills and eye for detail and quality.

Julie is no stranger to jute and hessian – did she respond well to the materials?

Julie has a preference for natural fibres as we do, so that has made our partnership easy. The materials we work with are a little coarser than Julie usually works with however her bold designs have worked well on our jute/cotton blend. Julie’s flexibility came into play here and she understood the limitations that our artisans currently face with regards to access to materials.

Do you think you will partner again? Has it driven any future plans?

We would love to continue to collaborate with Julie. We relate to one another on a very grounded and open level, so collaborating has been a truly enjoyable process. We have some ideas that would be new for both The Dharma Door and Cloth, which we’re quite excited about. Stay tuned!

 Shop for beautiful and useful Fair Trade storage solutions today.

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We are delighted and honoured to feature signed copies of our Editorial Director Karen McCartney’s brand new book, Superhouse, in a special sale event today. Here Karen introduces the book, an incredible volume of awe-inspiring ‘superhouses’ from around the globe. Leave a comment for your chance to win a signed copy – full details below.

Superhouse, as a concept, came about through a discussion with my publisher over lunch and we agreed there and then what a good title it was.

But of course being a Libran, and prone to indecision, it wasn’t long before the positives of the title began to drift into negative territory and I worried that it sounded superficial, flash and just too damn moneyed. So I wrote a definition of what ‘super’ meant to me in this context. This was my outline.

“A superhouse is one that delivers a 360-degree completeness of form, its exterior and interior have a seamless execution and above all else it is awe-inspiring. This quality can be elicited from the perfection of its natural setting, a remarkable use of materials, an exceptional level of craft, ground-breaking innovation or a use of space that lifts the spirit.  All the houses chosen will be beautiful and possess a quality that sets them distinctively apart from the everyday. A strong connection with nature would provide the choice of projects with a necessary thread of coherence.” So while each house had to deliver ‘beyond normal’ it also had to possess qualities that superseded those that money alone could buy.

While I had written two books on iconic Australian houses, it didn’t quite prepare me for the experience of going global. It is one thing to pick up the telephone to an architect in your own country and arrange a photo shoot – it is quite another to spend weeks trawling the Internet for houses you think hit the mark (it is surprising how many are good, and how few are great).

Of course the criteria is different to every person, but I knew that I had to source extraordinary places – where the sense of living differently was marked – whether it was an English castle, a house embedded in rock in the San Juan Islands in the USA or a tiny woodland cottage in Ballarat, Victoria.

“Did you visit to them all?’ people ask – wide-eyed at the prospect of all that global travel. While the answer is no I didn’t, I did get to many of them, and in some instances I sent a proxy. My husband David Harrison was travelling to the Milan Furniture Fair and interviewed the amazing designer Piero Lissoni on my behalf and then he arranged for David to see the Monza Loft.  I did get to the USA, Spain, the UK, Belgium, Switzerland, New Zealand and of course all the houses here in Australia.

The architects are an interesting bunch, often practising globally – there are examples of Chilean architects working in Spain and Parisians working in Morocco. They were all incredibly generous with their time and thoughtful with their responses to my endless questions. Richard Powers, the photographer, did travel to every house, capturing their awe-inspiring qualities in beautiful poetic light, showing their context in nature and detailing their interiors.

The next stage was to sit down with Penguin/Lantern, designer Evi Oetomo, and work through every chapter to ensure the flow of photographs told the story of the house and made sense in conjunction with the words.

After all the work – 26 months after the initial conversation – having followed the process closely every step of the way and knowing every caption and every drawing intimately, it still felt like a wonderful surprise to hold the physical book in my hands. The cover has a tremendous silky tactility and the image feels rich and three-dimensional. It is what happens when a great team of people work together.

Here I have chosen some images that for me sum up so much of what was extraordinary about the process of the creation of the book. Please leave a comment at the end – as we have two signed copies to give away.

This holiday house, by Chilean architect duo Pezo von Ellrichshausen, is set in the remarkable landscape of north-eastern Spain. It is something of a concrete monument where all the living is on the four verandas, with their tremendous 360 degree views, and a swimming pool centred in the middle of the house.

My friend Alex and I travelled to Spain, staying nearby in the medieval town of Cretas before setting off in our tiny car to visit Solo house. Of course we had directions, and of course we got in trouble – driving on an increasingly rough and narrowing track with brambles scratching the side of the car. We could see the house – we just couldn’t get there. It must have been rather a strange sight, from any of the verandas, to see this little car darting about in the dense vegetation – clearly lost. We did eventually get there, climb the 197 steps to the entrance and experience the full-on drama of the space.

This is one of my favourite houses in the book. Designed in 1967 by Pritzker Prize-winning Brazilian architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha, it is a most beautiful sun-lit house with its articulated windows, patterned Portuguese floor tiles and great furniture. The new owner, who owns a high-end homewares store in Sao Paulo, Mi Casa, has restored it and decorated it with his eclectic taste in furnishing to give this magnificent place genuine character and warmth.

This house was important to me because it is in Ireland, and in all my years growing up there I didn’t ever experience architecture with this kind of spare, modernist beauty. To me Ireland was about low thatched cottages, Georgian Dublin and red-brick Victorian Belfast. The Goulding Summerhouse, was designed by Ireland’s foremost architects, Scott Tallon Walker, who changed the architectural language of the country and pulled it into the twentieth century.

Paul Morgan’s Trunk House is a great example of one of those houses where the footprint is small but the ideas are expansive. We photographed the house on a winter’s day and it was very necessary to have the little wood burning stove going full pelt. There is a tremendous focus on the relationship to the surrounding trees, to the degree that they are integrated into the building, forming supports for the curved verandah.

 

I visited Barton Myers and his wife Vicki at their house in Santa Barbara in April of last year.  My daughter and I were staying in the Chateau Marmont, because I thought it might be the only time in our lives we could do it, (and yes I did spot Charlotte Rampling) and drove the hour and a half outside metro LA, travelling partially along the scenic Pacific Coast Highway to the beautiful setting of the house at Toro Canyon. Fire prevention measures dictate many of the design considerations, from the reflecting pools of water to the water-filled cacti that populate the garden. I interviewed Barton Myers after he had finished sweeping the concrete deck. He used to be in the navy, his wife Vicki explained, and old habits die hard.

Images from the book Superhouse by Karen McCartney and photography by Richard Powers, published by Lantern ($79.99).

Leave a comment below before 5pm (AEDT) Thursday 20 November 2014 to win one of two signed copies of Superhouse by Karen McCartney. You must be a member of Temple & Webster to enter, and you may only enter once. We’ll pick our favourite comments and contact the winners via Facebook or email by Friday 21 November 2014. If we are unable to contact the winner(s) within 30 days we’ll pick an alternative winner(s). Good luck!

Buy a signed copy of Superhouse today  and enjoy next day delivery.

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Stylists Adam Powell and Jono Fleming teamed up to create a gorgeous Christmas table for our Christmas is Served sale event. We pull out 5 style ideas to use at home, including Jono’s recipe for rainbow trout baked in paperbark.

1. Consider colour

The table setting works off a neutral base, with natural timber, beige linen and white hydrangea. Decide on one main colour element – here it’s green, which features in the plates, glasses and of course the foliage. Then use a related colour in smaller quantities – here that’s the pops of bright yellow.  The gleaming gold ribbon adds a festive feel, and since it’s the one shiny element in a sea of natural tones and textures, it doesn’t feel over the top.

2. Make a meal of it

Food stylist Jono created a printed menu to whet the appetites of guests and add a sense of occasion. If you’ve gone to a lot of effort cooking (or assembling!), why not make a big deal about it. Have fun with your dish names and descriptions – and if graphic design isn’t your thing, search for a template or try Canva.

3. Versatile vessels

Hunt around for vessels for flowers – and don’t just limit yourself to vases. Look for a variety of sizes, shapes and heights, and try for at least one consistent element – Adam used vintage trophies and a watering can in matte tarnished metal.

4. Hanging gardens

To create the spectacular hanging centrepiece, Adam hung a bough (often available at the florist if you can’t find anything locally) and tied foliage and flowers onto it with the same yellow string used at each table setting. He included chives, sage and rosemary for easy access by herb-hungry guests and topped up with flowers including stylists’ favourite Billy Buttons. Fairy lights are guaranteed to add magic when the sun goes down, when you’ll also want to add candles or votives to the table.

5. Fuss-free feast 

Sharing plates speak of abundance and generosity, both of which work well at Christmas time! Don’t be too fussy with your food – arrange it beautifully but naturally on large platters and let your guests help themselves. Jono Fleming’s twist on a traditional fish baked in paper involves a uniquely Australian element – it is cooked in, and served on, paperbark.

Paperbark trout

Ingredients (1 fish serves 3-4)

One large rainbow trout, scaled and gutted
Large strip of paperbark (enough to wrap the fish)
Handful of kaffir lime leaves
Bunch of tarragon
Bunch of dill
3 lemons
3 cloves of garlic
3 tablespoons of capers
Splash of white wine
Kitchen twine

Preparation

First, find your paperbark. Jono pulled some off a tree in his back yard; perhaps a walk to your local park will be fruitful! Prepare the paperbark by scrubbing off any dirt and soaking in water for an hour.

Preheat your BBQ, turning on the heat and keeping the lid on.

Slice the lemons and garlic. Score the top of the fish lightly with short lines. Lay the paperbark flat and place a layer of kaffir lime leaves on it, followed by a layer of lemon slices. The layers should be big enough for the fish to sit on.

Stuff the cavity of the fish with the tarragon, dill, sliced garlic and capers. Place the fish on top of the lemon and leaves and cover it with another layer of lemon slices and lime leaves, plus a splash of white wine.

Fold the paper bark over the fish on two sides, then fold the top and bottom to create a parcel. Tie together with the kitchen twine.

Place the fish on the flat plate of the BBQ, or if you’re feeling adventurous, on the grill part. Since you have soaked the paper bark it shouldn’t catch alight. Any smokiness from singes will add to the flavour. Cook with the lid down for 30 minutes. When cooked, your fish should have a nice pink, soft texture. Serve with a chilled glass of white wine and enjoy!

Alternatively, you can use baking paper instead of paperbark, and cook the fish parcel in the oven at 200°C for 30 minutes.

Shop the look in our Christmas is Served sale event!

Posted in   Christmas, Dish of the dayTags  1 comment

Karen McCartney writes about Alvar Aalto’s ‘Savoy’ vase (so well known that it has its own Wikipedia entry!) which is available with free shipping in today’s Iittala sale event.

There are few designs that genuinely deserve the title ‘iconic’ but Alvar Aalto’s collection of glassware for Iittala, in the form of the Savoy vase, is one such piece.

Aalto’s original drawing(left) illustrates the freeform line of the vase, combining a simple modernist line with an organic curve that recalls the Finnish landscape. The translation from drawing to realisation (right) is remarkably accurate.

Designed in 1936 by Finnish architect and designer Alvar Aalto, it was showcased at the 1937 Paris World Fair. With its organic freeform shape, it was said to recall the natural lines of the Finnish landscape. A staple of modern Scandinavian design, its sensuous shape is still formed in mouth-blown glass in Iittala’s factory.

The beauty of the sculptural shape is that it works with a single stalk to a generous bunch of flowers. The votives, with textured or smooth surfaces, double as exquisite serving bowls.

Collected by world famous institutions including the Museum of Modern Art in NYC, the Savoy vase has become one of the most famous pieces of glass in history. Originally designed with size and colour variations in mind, the vases look good in groups as well as singly.

This beautiful shot sums up all the quiet simplicity of the Scandinavian aesthetic. The Savoy vase, in the wonderful inky blue, with herb cuttings, twine and picture-perfect scissors, placed on marble emphasises its connection to nature as much as its clean modernist line.

Aalto was an architect who believed in the house as a ‘total work of art’ and so designed buildings, their interiors, the furniture, the lamps and the glassware. His vision was complete and the Savoy vase is an opportunity to bring some of that timeless design thinking into your home in the most appealing and useful of ways.

It is interesting just how the shape integrates with natural objects and other curvilinear ceramic pieces. By placing the opaque white Savoy vase on a black surface it adds drama, but equally white on white, or placed on pastels, works decoratively too.

Shop for timeless glassware from Finnish brand Iittala today.

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For the first time on T&W, and just in time for Christmas, we’re excited to feature exclusive hampers and gourmet gifts from Simon Johnson, one of Australia’s leading purveyors of fine food. Simon shares his relaxed approach to the celebrations here, plus one lucky T&W member will a spot at a cooking class for 2015 – full details are below.

My Christmas style is: Simple things in abundance. Family, friends, great wine and good food.

This year I will be buying: This year I’m giving instead. Remember: give what you would like to receive…

My failsafe Christmas styling tip is:  Remember to chill the champagne. People are always at ease once they have something in their hand, don’t over complicate it – do a few great dishes en masse. Think scale and a few of your failproof dishes.

Artichoke Dip & Prosciutto Grissini

This Christmas Ill be serving: Kurobuta Ham for sure. It’s made from rare bred Berkshire pigs and has a sweet, rich, delicate texture. We are talking the Wagyu of pork so it’s lovely and moist. I’ll serve it with a few great seasonal salads and following it with Nana’s traditional pudding with Joan Campbell’s brandy butter. Yummo…..

My Christmas playlist: Sam Smith, Ellie Goulding, and a good dose of Wagner.

All I want for Christmas is: Christmas for me is about relaxing with friends and family and it’s a time to reflect on the year just gone and plan for the year ahead. It’s feet up, long walks and time to recharge the body and soul after a busy year.

Summer Peach Champagne Jelly

My biggest Christmas disaster: No such thing in our house, simplicity is the key, don’t try too hard, relax and go with the flow…

After Christmas Im planning to: Walk down the hill to Whale Beach and after a long walk, have a nice dip in the ocean.

Shop now for Simon Johnson treats and gifts for Christmas.

Leave a comment here with your favourite Christmas dish before 5pm (AEDT) Wednesday 19 November 2014 for your chance to win a Simon Johnson voucher worth $120, which you can use to book a spot in a cooking class in Sydney in 2015, or to shop in the Simon Johnson online store.  You must be a member of Temple & Webster to enter, and you may only enter once. We’ll pick our favourite comment and contact the winner via Facebook or email by Friday 21 November 2014. If we are unable to contact the winner within 30 days we’ll pick an alternative winner. Good luck!

Posted in   ChristmasTags  5 comments

Brisbane-based Anna Spiro first developed a following with her Absolutely Beautiful Things blog, showcasing her layered and pretty style, with a focus on beautiful fabrics, a mix of colours and patterns, old and new, and always fresh flowers. Her Brisbane store Black & Spiro is now also her digital home, where it’s possible to see her projects and order the wallpaper she created for Porters Paints. In her first book, she explains how she developed her own style, and shares her ideas about how to create your own unique and interesting look. Read on for your chance to win a copy – full details below.

The interior of Black & Spiro, Anna’s Brisbane store

It has only been in the last few years that I have truly developed my own sense of style. At about the age of thirty, I started to establish some sense of the different things and looks I loved, and to understand how to bring them all together beautifully and in a balanced way within a space. I’ve had to evaluate my influences and try different things before I’ve had the confidence to run with what I really love.

I have always been very wary of heading full steam ahead with one particular theme, such as the Balinese look, the Hamptons look or the Hollywood Regency look – going wholeheartedly into any one of these means the scheme eventually dates. Instead, I have always tried to throw in a bit of every style so that the look will stand the test of time. To prevent it getting tired or needing a major and expensive overhaul after a few years, this style of decorating can evolve and be updated along the way.

“I’m definitely a fan of upholstered bedheads,” says Anna. “They’re soft and luxurious to lean against while reading in bed.”

A few years ago, I arrived at a place when I just thought, ‘This is what I love, this is what I want, and this is what I will do.’ I have always used lots of bright colours in an eclectic way, but believe my style has now matured into a more ‘collected’ style of brights as accents mixed with antiques, modern and vintage art, textiles and texture, which can be found in the likes of timber, glass and ceramics.

Anna’s Brisbane home

There are a few common elements in every room I create:

  • Antique furniture, such as a table, sideboard or chest of drawers, to ground the colourful fabrics I use.
  • A mix of fabrics in different patterns and colours.
  • A specific underlying colour that will pull everything together.
  • A surprise element, such as a vibrantly patterned lampshade or quirky vintage piece of furniture or even a collection of Staffordshire dogs displayed in a vignette on a table. It’s all about the unexpected.
  • A mix of expensive and inexpensive pieces. For example, a cushion collection looks wonderful when you throw a cheap ready-made cushion into the mix or include a vitage fabric. This makes it look less contrived and a little more effortless.
  • White painted walls as a backdrop for the entire mismatch. That way, there’s some cohesiveness to the room.
  • A collection of art which is added to over the years and which may comprise a mix of valuable pieces and paintings created by children.

Extract from the book Absolutely Beautiful Things by Anna Spiro & photography by Sharyn Cairns and Felix Forest (portrait by Jared Fowler), published by Lantern, RRP $49.99

Leave a comment below before 5pm (AEDT) Monday 17 November 2014 to win a copy of Absolutely Beautiful Things by Anna SpiroYou must be a member of Temple & Webster to enter, and you may only enter once. We’ll pick our favourite comment and contact the winner via Facebook or email by Friday 21 November 2014. If we are unable to contact the winner within 30 days we’ll pick an alternative winner. Good luck!

Posted in   Books, Giveaways, Interior DesignTags  44 comments

Karen McCartney writes about the undeniable appeal of Tom Dixon’s scented candle range, our newest Objects of Desire

OK, we know we are having a bit of a Tom Dixon crush here on T&W’s Objects of Desire but with Christmas around the corner, and the opportunity to bring you simply the best present in the world, we couldn’t resist this candle range.

Tom Dixon is one of Britain’s most successful and respected designers, who also manages to maintain a reputation as something of a maverick. As well as designing furniture and lighting pieces he launched into the accessories field in 2012, bringing all his design acumen, knowledge of materials and visual excitement to bear on his range ‘Eclectic by Tom Dixon’.

When he launched at Maison & Objet in Paris this was the mantra on the side of his stand outlining the reasons for creating the range. “As we scour the world for materials and manufacturing techniques to innovate our lighting and furniture, we thought it would be a shame not to find a space for some of the smaller ideas we had along the way. Things that are to play with or give or use every day, things that are designed and are undesigned, things that are…eclectic.” We just can’t have enough ‘things that are…” And one of those things is a beautifully designed scented candle.

Right from the sturdy designer boxes with their bold geometry, to the choice of three scents inspired by global travel, the design pedigree is evident. The fragrance descriptions are like no other as this is where the maverick kicks in. London, in a copper vessel, evokes red brick, London parks, crocuses and wait for it, the river Thames at Dagenham. Orientalist, in brass, is all about light rose petals, cinnamon and herbs while Royalty, in nickel, conjures up Earl Grey tea, scones and strawberry jam and a drive home in a ’52 Bentley with tattered leather seats (are you still with me?) In their hand spun containers with debossed lettering and fabulous milky white marble lids they all feel, look and smell wonderful.

Treat them with care, bring them out on special occasions and use when empty as chic lidded vessels. I do think this is a case of: buy one as a gift for someone else and one as a gift to yourself!

Order your Tom Dixon candles now and enjoy free shipping.

Posted in   Objects of DesireTags  4 comments