I become more and more of a fan of London based chef & cookbook author, Yotam Ottolenghi. We sell the heck out of his wildly successful books, with folks raving to me things they have tried from his recipes. The above potatoes inspired by Ottolenghi. Ordinary potatoes that become visually appealing and even tastier due to a few tweaks. I made them the other evening with filet mignon for New Year’s Eve dinner, the below a week ago for a simple week-night supper. These can be dressed up or casual, which I always love. I think they would be awesome as an appetizer too, served with green goddess dip. Here is what I did for an easy chicken breast meal during the week to spiff it up a bit.
Yukon gold potatoes are the way to go for this. Choose medium to smaller sized, trying to pick ones that are of a similar size. Oven to 400, my cooking sweet spot. Using a sharp knife for this, cut a little piece of the spud off the bottom, so the potato sits flat in the baking process. Next, slice up the potato being careful not to cut all the way to the bottom as you want the entire thing to stay intact. Do this with all the potatoes. Then lightly pour extra virgin olive oil over them all, that are sitting on a baking sheet ready for the oven. With your hands massage the oil over the entire potato so it is covered entirely with extra virgin olive oil, including the flat bottom so it does not stick and burn. Add pinches of salt & pepper over all. OK, here is where I added a bit of extra flavor, which you don’t have to do if you are cooking these without anything else. At the half hour point, I ladled over with a spoon some of the juices that had collected from the roasting chicken breasts that were right next to the potatoes. This reminds me so much of the potatoes placed under rotisserie chickens in Paris that cook in the drippings as the chickens rotate away. Those juices mixed with the EVOO are kind of magical stuff and it really helped to brown the potatoes and add a bit of extra flavor. When I cooked them solo, I added a teeny tiny bit of butter at the 30 minute mark. The butter melting down into the slits and adding more tastiness and helping them to brown. You can pass on this too, just ladle any extra oil that is on the pan at the half hour mark to give them a little extra brown. By minute 45, these little gems should be ready. Timing depends on the potato size, so check along the way by giving one a little squeeze to see if it is soft, which means it is done. They just look so cool and taste amazing.
P.S. I am experiencing some technical difficulties with my WordPress app on my phone when I am writing my blog post each morning. Typically I am able to go back and make edits after it posts. But when I have done it this week, it is posting to the next day. So I am not able to make edits without messing up the post. Please forgive any typos, which I generally catch after I read it after it is up on my site, but currently am not able to go back and change. Anywho, boring technical stuff. Have a glorious Monday/week and have fun making the potatoes if they make it into your repertoire.
There have been some lovely posts this last month that I would like to share. Some by folks I know, others by people who focus on design and all that good & fun stuff that is so fun to read about. Quite honored to be mentioned. Thank you all for including me, the shops and the book.
My friend Elizabeth Moyer wrote about going to the New York book party at Deborah Needleman’s home on Pretty Pink Tulips her stylish blog. There were many people I did not know at that swell event, so it was so lovely to look around and be surrounded by familiar faces of friends old & new. Another one of those faces would be Marcy Michaud. I met both Elizabeth and Marcy at the same blogging event in New York sponsored by Kravet a few years back. Marcy writes Stylesson where she highlights design blogs. At that same Blogfest event I also met Holly Hollingsworth Phillips, who writes the blog The English Room who wrote a lovely piece about me and Style & Simplicity. Having the 3 of them at the Deborah’s party just warmed my heart. Even though I don’t get to see them often since we all live in different parts of the country, we keep in contact regularly and I know I have made life-long friendships with them. Also at the party were my 2 friends I have known for almost 20 years, Michael & Douglas. They owned a stationery company, Motel Deluxe, that I represented when I had my showroom. They now own the uber stylish shops, Cursive, with locations at Grand Central and ABC Carpet & Home. A friend of Elizabeth’s, Leslie, who lives in Seattle attended the book launch party at the shop on May 6th. She writes the blog Around the Table and she posted a beautiful re-cap of the party and of the evening. Two gentleman I have not met who live in the UK also did posts this last month that were quite swell. A-Gent of Style, Fabrice Bana, its founder and editor, is a French gentleman who is an interior designer who has lived in London for the last 16 years. Tudor Davies writes Designer Insights for his company, featuring design-centric folk around the globe. Truly, so humbled to be part of all of the above. I have linked each of the posts so just click on each. Happy reading!
Just a reminder, I will be signing books this evening in Bremerton at The Weekender from 5 to 8. Art Walk is also happening so lots to see and do so hop on that ferry if you are in the area and make an evening of it. Hope to see you there. Happy Friday!
We received a big shipment of Kenneth Turner ‘Original’ candles recently, and it has been on my mental list to write about for a few weeks. We import them directly from the company in London, these gem of a candle. Of all my years of selling candles, both when I had my wholesale showroom to the shops, this candle has stood the test of time and always been a star–I have still never smelled another candle that is remotely like this scent. Perfect year round, but during the cold Winter months is when I think this really shines. The warm, spicy aroma filling the air, seeming to take the chill away. Packaged in his trademark blue box, it is the perfect gift to give. But you will want to try one for yourself too.
Just arrived, more handsome vintage hotel silver at Watson Kennedy. The above oversized shakers are from The Ritz in London and are so unbelievably good I was shaking in my boots a bit from excitement when I was unpacking them. These would whip up one serious batch of martinis. Resilvered and in beautiful condition, these shaker are just amazing objects to look at. Also in lovely condition are another round of Savoy bowls that we sold out of within a day of the last shipment. These are really ample sized bowls that are food safe so can hold whatever your hearts desire. Again, a sublime object to look at when not in use.
In keeping with the beauty of an object from the post yesterday, I snapped this photo after I freshly polished these soup spoons we found on a vintage buying trip to London years back. Simple objects can bring back such great memories and give such pleasure. Standing at the sink polishing each spoon, I remembered the day we found them, the feel of being in London and the excitement of vintage shopping for the entire day. For a moment I was transported. Polishing silver can certainly do that. We have used these spoons every time we have served soup since that trip. That is why I love purchasing things when traveling–they become such a lovely reminder.
Ahhhhh technology. I woke up this morning and my WordPress app on my iPhone was completely different and not loading. I am tapping this post out on my iPad, which I have never done before. Fingers crossed this gets to you….
It has been a few full days of display at the shops sprucing them up with new product that has come in these last few weeks. It is refreshen time, and also a time to get the shops ready for Valentine’s Day. We always get things out for heart day by the 15th of January so it puts a festive energy in the air. A local artisan brought me these incredible linen lavender filled sachets last week and wanted to know if I was interested in buying and selling them. I could not say yes fast enough–these are real gems. She found the gorgeous linen fabrics on a trip to London, and when she got back home made these sachets. They have such a cool vintage feel & vibe to them. Of course the addition of the number in red makes my heart sing. So good.
This book, Londoners, was a hit this season at the shops. Each time a copy was brought up to the wrap stand, I thought to myself how I needed to grab a copy and bring it out to the beach this week. I was lucky and nabbed one of the last copies–more are on the way though, and the stacks will be replenished. Long before I was a Francophile, I was an Anglophile. Partly because of my heritage, but partly because I have long had a love affair with London. From my early days watching every moment of Wimbledon when I was a kid, to the semester in college I spent as a foreign study student there, to the many vintage buying trips we have made–London is a city that holds a very special place in my heart. This book, composed of 80 some interviews as told to author Craig Taylor, gives the reader glimpses into many, many variations & takes on London. Taylor has crafted a book that is easy to read at various sittings, while the British sense of humor makes it tough to put down. Over the course of 5 years, he interviewed folks and composed the interviews in a way that makes you feel like you are sitting among the 2 when they are chatting. The reader gets perspectives from all walks of life–from the woman who is the ‘voice’ of the London Underground, to the airline pilot who flies into Heathrow & Gatwick, to the beekeeper, artist, squatter, teacher, chef and street cleaner–you will feel an intimacy with the city as you read on and on. A visual, through thoughtful words, ode to the great city that is London.
Kenneth Turner, flower superstar of London, began creating a line of superb candles over 20 years ago. A few years after the release, we started representing the company through my wholesale showroom at the time, The Watson Kennedy Collection. The candles were a hit then, and they continue to be to this day. His iconic trademark scent, Original, is unmistakable the minute it hits your nose. Filled with poplar, honeysuckle, lemon and orange oils, it is really the cloves & cinnamon that leave the lasting impression. Over the years he has added things like hand lotion, liquid hand soap and a diffuser, among other things. As well as many other scents. But it will always be the ‘Original’ candle that is the stand-out in the crowd. A true classic.
The new product that arrived this week at Watson Kennedy that made my heart go pitter-patter was the almond oil soap by D.R. Harris & Co. Ltd. The transcending scent of the almond oil in this soap, makes me feel like I am standing in an apothecary in London in 1790. Why 1790 you ask? That was the year they were founded, and in my sensory mind, I envision the shop being filled with this incredible scent wafting about. I love soaps that do more than get you clean. This bar tucked away in a linen closet or drawer will fill your things with this intoxicating scent. I threw a box in our L.L. Bean bag to come to the beach this week-end, and all of my shirts have been infused with the light almond oil scent. Plus, good packaging creates that same pitter-patter–the font, the shade of red, the border on the creamy box. All are so appealing. This is going to be our host/hostess gift for the Summer for sure. So good!