The From Scratch Revolution

There’s been a romantic revival recently of exactly the kinds of crafts my home economics teacher would have loved for me to have shown some enthusiasm for in the 90’s, only they weren’t cool back then.  We watched Big Brother, not the Great British Bake-off.

Pickling, canning, baking, home brewing; we seem to have a new and insatiable enthusiasm for relearning the ways of our ancestors, one cottage industry at a time.

Yesterday, I ducked into the lovely Daunt Books in Belsize Park to escape an unwelcome April shower and I found myself drawn to the cookbook section.  I’ve been toying with the idea of making an infographic cookbook, in the style of my graphic recipes, so was doing the sensible thing and checking out the competition.  I came across the beautifully illustrated and photographed Food DIY: How to Make Your Own Everything (moral dilemma: it is significantly cheaper on Amazon than in Daunt, which would I buy?).

It reminded me of the trip we went on a couple of years ago to a stunning corner of Devon to attend a smallholding course at Hidden Vally Pigs.  We milked a goat, we made cheese, we made butter, we collected eggs, we cured our own bacon, we chased chickens and we stuffed sausages.

Me holding a chicken / Hidden Valley Pigs, Devon

Me holding a chicken / Hidden Valley Pigs, Devon

We even bought the book about how to bring such practices back to London.  Of course, we haven’t actually done any of it, but it’s nice to know we could if we wanted to.

Although there has been some cynicism over the sheer hipsterness of the national renewed interest in home-making, there is also a deeper story here about the alienation of urbanites from the simple joys of making things, and a strong desire to reconnect to these basic skills.  There’s also a sustainability, health and environmental angle, explored by Mark Bittman in the Ted talk that convinced me to try to eat less than 250g of meat per week (I have never actually achieved this.  Must try harder).

Bread From Scratch is a project by Mirko Ihrig, an industrial designer, to highlight the reality that many people these days do not know where their food comes from.  Bread is a great example of this because for many – including myself – it is somewhat clouded in mystery, a delicate and elusive thing that I could never hope to be good at making.  And yet it is a staple of our diet and it used to be commonplace for people to bake their own bread long past the time they started turning to supermarkets for other prepared foods.

The project explores food production as a concept and resulted in the creation of a collection of objects used to make bread from scratch. It consists of a mill to grind flour, a jar to cultivate a sourdough, a bowl to mix the ingredients, a board to knead the dough, a paddle to transfer the loaves and an oven to finally bake the bread.

Although they are beautifully designed and crafted, you don’t need these refined objects to bake bread.  And that, I think, is the point of the project.  It deconstructs the bread-making process and reveals the simplicity of our basic foods.  You can even skip the grinding — I’d definitely count a loaf as home-baked even if I used pre-ground flour!

Bread From Scratch is a beautiful reminder that bread-making is a skill well within everybody’s reach.

Bread From Scratch via Protein.

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Guess the Country: Flags Made from National Dishes

Something a bit silly for Friday because, well, what else are Friday’s for?

Can you guess which flag is being represented by each of these gourmet masterpieces?  Each dish is made up of the national foods of the country in question.  Answers at the end….

Answers: UK (scone, jam, cream); South Korea; Australia (meat pie, sauce); Vietnam; Lebanon (lavash, fatoush); Greece (olives, feta); Japan; India; Brazil; Italy; Switzerland; Thailand (sweet chilli sauce, coconut, blue swimmer crab); Spain; Turkey; Indonesia; USA; China (dragon fruit, star fruit); and France.

The flags were designed for the Sydney International Food Festival by the advertising agency WHYBINTBWA.  Found thanks to TwistedSifter.

Best of: Arty Affordable Rugs from Society 6

Best of Affordable Rugs from Society6

You know when you get into one of those tab-opening frenzies and you just can’t quit clicking?  That’s what happened when I was browsing around, minding my own business, and I stumbled upon the brand new Rugs section of Society6.

Reassurance / Caleb Troy

Reassurance / Caleb Troy

I knew Society6 did art prints and iPhone cases but I must confess that I was oblivious to their boggling collection of mugs, throw cushions and, now, rugs.  The quality of artwork available on the site is staggering – god, there are so many talented people out there! – and the prices are always, always affordable.

French Bulldog / Anne Was Here

French Bulldog / Anne Was Here

They now offer many of these artworks in rug form – specifically three sizes (2′ x 3′, 3′ x 5′, 4′ x 6′) of woven polyester boasting an “exceptionally soft touch” and high durability.  They are also machine washable which makes them ideal for the kitchen, bathroom or other high traffic areas.  I could totally be persuaded to do the dishes if I could stand on one of these while I did them.

Cryyp / Spires

Cryyp / Spires

I’ve been looking for rugs for our kitchen because we opted for just about the cheapest laminate that we could find to cover up the awful, cold, depressing flagstones that the previous owner had shipped in from the South of France, no doubt at considerable expense.  He was aiming for a rustic Mediterranean feel.  In North London.  Suffice to say he was unsuccessful.

Green Fields / Marcelo Romero

Green Fields / Marcelo Romero

A rug or two might create the illusion of a nice floor and a bigger kitchen.  Or maybe that’s too many miracles to expect from a textile…

Let's All Go And Have Breakfast / Teo Zirinis

Let’s All Go And Have Breakfast / Teo Zirinis

I suspect they may not have the most luxurious feel, with the largest size coming in at just $79, but I think of it as a low-risk way to experiment with some pattern and colour, and also to get some serious rug acreage, without having to call your banker to shift some money around (if you have a banker, which I don’t).

Pink Turquoise Girly Aztec Andes Tribal Pattern / Railton Road

Pink Turquoise Girly Aztec Andes Tribal Pattern / Railton Road

There are thousands of designs available here.  You have been warned.  Or for a shortcut check out this Pinterest board for my top picks.

Triple Chevron (2) / Dani

Triple Chevron (2) / Dani

Gorgeous Cooking Conversions Infographic

I have Convert-Me’s cooking conversion calculator saved to my bookmarks bar and it is probably my most-clicked shortcut second only to google maps.  If you’re looking for a much more beautiful, visual conversion aid then check out this gorgeous infographic from Plainworks.  You can download the graphic in all it’s glory for FREE by clicking here.

 

Kitchen Volume Conversion Infographic / Plainworks

Kitchen Volume Conversion Infographic / Plainworks

K+C Outfitters: Kitchen Cabinet Handles

There have been so many stops and starts in our renovation project that I have long given up on getting excited about a particular move in date.  I have therefore had to show Herculean restraint in not going ahead and ordering all the stuff to furnish our new flat because, really, where would we put it all?  Currently our belongings are artfully arranged in my parent’s extension, forming what Dan despairingly refers to as “the Avalanche”.

The Avalanche

“The Avalanche” by Tracy Emin (maybe)

So when I have had a chance to actually indulge those decorating urges I’ve ended up ekeing out every bit of retail-research-joy that I can.

It is with this seriousness of purpose that I chose our kitchen cabinet handles.

We opted for an Ikea kitchen, in the old Faktum range, although it’s now called Method (pronounced “meh-tod”) and is ever so slightly, annoyingly, different.  We chose Applad Grey (now “Veddinge Grey”) and a solid oak countertop.  This is what the new range looks like:

Veddinge Grey Method Kitchen at the Ideal Home Show / Copper + Wood

Veddinge Grey Method Kitchen at the Ideal Home Show / Copper + Wood

Just like the blog from which this photo is borrowed, I too am obsessed with copper and wood.  Not just copper actually, also brass and bronze and steel and all varieties of metal and industrial fittings, sitting alongside the organic grain and warmth of wood.

I wanted to continue that theme with the handles for the kitchen cabinets.  I loved the idea of the modern, clean lines of the Ikea cabinets, in the lovely cool grey, but with an older-style of vintage handle.

We ended up going with Ikea for the handles as well, mostly because they were cheap but also because they’re pretty nice looking.  Here is a selection of the best cabinet handles I found during my indulgent search.  See this K+C Pinterest Board for more ideas.

Faglavik Handle / Ikea / £5 for pack of 2

Faglavik Handle / Ikea / £5 for pack of 2

This was the look I was going for:

I was inspired by this from Remodelista.  I asked the owner and apparently the pulls are salvaged and available through Haes.co.uk

I was inspired by this from Remodelista. I asked the owner and apparently the pulls are salvaged and available through Haes.co.uk

Superfront has awesome cabinet fronts, handles and legs to customise Ikea furniture.  Check out this post from the Mad About The House blog and see also Pretty Pegs for more custom legs.

Circus Handle / Superfront / EUR 21.45 each

Circus Handle / Superfront / EUR 21.45 each

 

Courtyard Accessories / £20 each / Different finishes available

Courtyard Accessories / £20 each / Different finishes available

 

Ripe Melon Pull / Anthropologie / £4 each

Ripe Melon Pull / Anthropologie / £4 each

You Had One Job!

The internet is undoubtedly full of a lifetime’s worth of crap, but every now and then, at the right moment and in the right mood, you stumble upon something that is pure, unmitigated genius.

You Had One Job

Hadonejob.com is such a site.  It features an endless stream of photos and captions, showcasing the world’s most amusing cock-ups.  Signs posted the wrong way round.  Public announcements with major typos.  Product labels stuck upside down.  Mistakes on such a large scale that the mind really does boggle that the responsible party was satisfied that they had fulfilled their duties.  Or maybe they didn’t think that; maybe they saw the sublime humour to be had in a job done so poorly that it brings into question the whole notion of human intelligence.  Who knows.

The site made me chuckle because I had just found out about the latest set-back in our kitchen installation.  Apparently, after “someone” got the kitchen measurements wrong (i.e. our builder), the resulting reshuffle of the cabinets has led to a completely unforeseen hash-up whereby the splash-back and extractor hood of the cooker will overlap the window by about an inch.  Never mind that I had asked the builder over and over to do a dry run with all the cabinets and appliances to see if they all fit and to avoid just this kind of mistake.  What do I know about fitting a kitchen?  Sigh, he only had one job….

 

Burger Porn

Shut your office door, shield your screen and hover your cursor over the minimise button.  This is the good stuff.

What more can I say that’s not already captured in the sublime picture below from the inspired pornburger.me.  The site features a new, drool-inducing burger every week from self-proclaimed “burger pervert and donut enthusiast” @MathewRamsey.  

Burger Porn

Mmmmm.  Enjoy.

Painting the walls: we are so hardcore

This morning we got up absurdly early to paint the outside walls of our kitchen.  I say absurdly early but I’m pretty sure that my friends with children get up much earlier than 6am.  Still, it was early for us.

We painted and we painted, with fancy rollers and masonry paint.  I even got a blister on my hand, that’s how hardcore it was.

Dan painting the wall

It was also incredibly satisfying.

Here is the before and after.

Before and After: painting the front of the kitche

You can see where it was too high for even Dan to reach.  You can’t see the big grey splotch on the paving stones from where I knocked over the tin of paint we used for the trim.

We did the sides as well.

Before and After: Painting the side of the kitchen

It’s pretty cool to have actually achieved something tangible, before 8.30am.

Too many ideas, not enough time

Yesterday I was indulging my inner designer.  I spent most of the day making the graphic recipe for Double Chocolate Banana Bread, but once I was done I wanted more.

There are the usual places I go to get my design fix.  The Mad About The House blog.  Design Sponge. Poppytalk. If I want more of a visual buffet, I go to Pinterest.  But yesterday I was in the mood for something more hands-on.  I wanted to see design in action.  So I wandered over to Dribbble, the “show and tell for designers” where members from all over the world showcase their work in progress and design projects.  Oh my…

After a few minutes of frenzied clicking I stumbled upon the profile of Ross Moody.  I had Kitchen+Craft on the brain so I obviously had to click on this:

goodlooking_drib_1x

Then one thing led to another and I found myself on the 55 Hi’s website beholding a visual representation of the inside of my brain.

Too Many Ideas, Not Enough Time

I might need to get this for my wall.  Or for all my walls.  Or printed on my pillow.  Or stuck on my computer.  Or tattooed on my arm.

I can’t help but think this is a message from the Universe, telling me to slow down, take time to enjoy things in life, stop planning ahead and be content with where I am and what I have done.  Universe, you are so classy.

 

Too Many Ideas, Not Enough Time

Or maybe it’s not a hidden message from the Universe and is actually just a very lovely print filled with some gorgeous vectors and a font that’s easy on the eye.  Either way, there’s more where that came from so go spend some time (who cares that there’s not enough!) over at 55 Hi’s.  It will be well spent.

For more K+C related art bits follow this Pinterest board.

 

Cooking with K+C: Double Chocolate Banana Bread

There are four bananas in this banana bread, so if you eat the whole thing in one sitting then you’re well on the way to your 5-a-day.  I opted to share this loaf with my husband, brother and sister.  I consider this to be part of my quiet rebellion against the nanny State.

Hop over to Smitten Kitchen to see the original recipe and for Deb’s far more polished photos and entertaining stories (I use her first name because I feel like I know her personally.  She and I have been through so much in my kitchen, although she is not aware of any of it).

To read about why I came up with the graphic recipe below, check out my post on Cooking with K+C: Graphic Recipes for Design-Conscious Cooks.

Enjoy!

Kitchen+Craft Double Chocolate Banana Bread Graphic Recipe