Cocktails & Culture

What do a 79-year-old artist from Yorkshire and a Notting Hill restaurant have in common? Not a lot, you’re probably thinking. But Mr David Hockney and hot new West Coast-style restaurant Pomona’s actually share something very important. In amidst concrete grey London with its cloudy skies and distinct lack of sunshine, both share a true understanding of colour and the instantly uplifting power it can have. So yes – it makes perfect sense that Pomona’s have come up with a special collection of cocktails, inspired by – of course – David Hockney’s blockbuster exhibition, currently showing at the Tate Britain.

Created by Head Barman Kestutis Stirba (formerly of The Sanderson and The Electric), the collection comprises four cocktails based on iconic Hockney art works. Grand Canyon is inspired by his sweeping studies of the dramatic rock formations to be found in the Arizona National Park – and its deep, bold colours. The cocktail is an update on everyone’s favourite drink du jour – the Negroni – with a very Cali addition: freshly-pressed carrot juice. We loved the Bigger Green Valley – which pays tribute to the verdant landscapes shown in Hockney’s 2008 work of the same name. With cucumber, chartreuse, vodka and citrus accents served long over ice, it captures that fresh, leafy feel of the painting – a spring day on the cusp of summer.

Then there’s the Beach Umbrella – by far the sunniest of the menu. We’re in high summer here, midday on the beach, the sun is high in the sky and colours couldn’t be brighter. This is 100% California – with surf-style pineapple, pisco and arrak, finished with (what else?) sea salt. Finally, Rainy Promenade takes us back to Hockney’s native Yorkshire, inspired by Rainy Night on Bridlington Promenade, with its intense blues, purples and indigos. It’s dark and stormy, but this is a summer storm, and there’s electricity in the air. The cocktail – strong as you like – is our favourite new aperitif, with an unusual combination of port, tequila and orange, which shouldn’t work, but definitely does!

And if you’re having a cocktail or two, it would be rude not to have a little look at Pomona’s menu. However, to glance at the menu would be to decide to order it all – trust us. Simply divided into small plates, mains, salads and sides, it’s a sunny menu that will have you dreaming of moving to California. Cali’s diversity and fusion flavours up the ante on dishes such as steak tartare, served with kimchi to add a sweet-sour freshness to the plate. There’s seafood aplenty, with excellent soft shell crab and generous fish or prawn tacos to add to your must-order list. And yes, you can have Instagram’s fave avocado on toast – served zeitgeisty vegan-style on sweet potato ‘toast’ with coconut ‘labneh’.

Save some space for the mains though – there’s beautifully-cooked organic meat from the Ginger Pig on offer, best accompanied by Asian-style daikon slaw or home fries depending on whether you’re planning on considering the restaurant’s concise selection of desserts. Even if you’re not, you should – served with velvety creme anglaise, the ridiculously rich caramelized croissant and prune pie is a life-changing experience. Pair with a Salted Caramel White Russian, and then book your gym session tomorrow! Alternatively, can we suggest another walk around Mr Hockney’s unforgettable exhibition? Culture and cocktails – you can’t go wrong.

For more information and to book, see Pomona’s website or telephone +44 (0) 20 7229 1503. The David Hockney cocktails are available until May 29th.

Elevate Every Day

Mindfulness. It’s something we seem to talk a lot about these days. When you’re scrolling through Instagram feed and Facebook updates, mindfulness is probably the last thing you’re thinking about though. But – sharing aside – social networks do present us with a practical way to record our daily lives and save memories to look back over later.

How about if you could keep your happy moments and memories to treasure – without having to think about likes, comments or anyone else’s opinion? Meet Elevate: “a beautifully simple way to keep track of the small happy moments in life.” Free to download, the app allows you to take small digital notes – every day, or as often as you like – and save them to look back on later, along with corresponding images.

Elevate is private to you – no social sharing is involved here – meaning that it’s a lovely way to start being mindful about those simple, everyday moments that make you happy. A long walk in the park on a sunny afternoon? Coffee and a catch up with a close friend? Snuggling on the sofa with your kids? Reading your favourite poems on Sunday morning? Add them to Elevate. “No sharing. No likes. Focus on remembering the good times”. Open the app, add details of what you’re remembering, plus the date and time – then take a photograph or add a stock image if you prefer. Press save, et voila.

Feeling sad, depressed or just in need of a little inspiration? Open up Elevate and look through your happy moments and those times you want remember. Mindful scrolling and celebrating those small wins? #winning

For more information, see the Elevate website. Download for iOS devices here and for Android devices here.

RIH Drinks

We like to think we have a pretty healthy relationship with gin, and honestly if you’d told us that we’d fall head over heels for a anything else, we’d have assured you of our unshakable devotion. Well, that was until we met Freya. Don’t worry, you’re not going completely mad as you read this… We’re talking about Freya: an exquisite, unique natural spirit distilled from the purest birch sap. And yes, we mean birch trees.

freya-birch-spirit

It’s hard to describe the flavour of the 40% ABV spirit accurately, but crisp, clean and elegant are all words that come to mind. It’s genuinely unlike anything we’ve ever tried before. And once you’ve tried Freya, you won’t want to drink anything else –  vodka, gin and tequila all seem boring, banal, bland and rather flat in flavour. So what does one drink with Freya? It’s best to keep things simple: poured over ice and topped up with tonic is all you need to do – no complex mixology skills required. As you can see, we’ve added a little fresh mint, some lemon and a few slices of fruit, that’s all.

freya-natural-birch-spirit

So how did this miraculously delicious spirit come about? Freya’s founder Dave Wallwork explains: “I wanted to create a completely new spirit for the best bartenders to build cocktails with from this great base ingredient.” And the name? “Freya was the Norse goddess of Love, life and fertility. A strong character worshipped in the wild forests in Springtime. The perfect embodiment of our new wild spirit.”

freya

How is this magnificent creation made? “We source the birch sap from wild forests in Northern Europe. The trees are tapped each spring using sustainable and traditional methods.The sap is then frozen and brought to the UK where our craft distillery uses it to create Freya.” It’s true that there’s a unique natural freshness to Freya – like a crisp, cold walk on a winter’s day, it’s both invigorating and energising.

freya-birch-spirit-cocktails

Try Freya once, and you won’t walk to drink anything else. Wine, beer and even gin all seem like poor substitutes for such a beautifully light, fresh, clean-tasting spirit. Sipped over ice, served martini-style or paired with tonic, there’s nothing quite like Freya.

For more information and to find stockists of and bars serving Freya, see the brand’s website.

New Books 2017

There are plenty of reasons to be glad that it’s a new year – the last one wasn’t exactly uneventful – but an array of new books is certainly one of them, especially when there are so many juicy novels being published.

First up is Little Deaths by Emma Flint (Picador, 12th Jan), a retelling of a real life murder case from the 1960s. Over a sweltering New York summer, Ruth Malone’s two small children go missing and turn up brutally murdered; almost immediately, the police and the neighbors point the finger at her, a struggling single mother with a penchant for drink. Composed and remote despite this, Ruth is judged for not performing as the exemplary grieving mother, and soon police and press are digging through her life to paint it as sordid and scandalous. Cleverly written – we know from the outset she is in jail, what we don’t know is whether she is culpable – Flint examines the double standards applied to women in the public eye and at the same time carves out a thrilling, unpredictable mystery based on a real case.

Speaking of women accused of murder; Sarah Schmidt’s See What I Have Done goes back a century and picks up the pieces of the notorious Lizzie Borden case. The real-life Borden was put on trail for the axe-murders of her father and stepmother but never convicted despite a high-profile trial. Schmidt takes a look at the day leading up to the slayings and the one after, with a cast of (real life) characters including Lizzie’s shady uncle, her loyal sister, and the miserable Irish maid. Lizzie herself is variously portrayed as Machiavellian and vulnerable; can she even be held responsible for her actions? It’s claustrophobic, creepy fun; every character has a motive and everyone is so hateful you think they deserve what they get. It’s not out until May, and we can’t wait!

Moving away from murder, Katie Khan’s Hold Back the Stars (Doubleday, 26th Jan) is a sweetly written tearjerker about a couple of astronauts with 90 minutes to live. Instead of using that time to find a way to survive, it’s a chance for them to revisit the highs and lows of their relationship; which it turns out took place on a dystopian version of earth where young people aren’t supposed to form permanent connections. So far, so Logan’s Run, but Khan elevates it from stuntish sci-fi to create a charming ‘he said, she said’ romance that would make an excellent film. The ending felt a bit like a cop out, but nonetheless I enjoyed the ride.

Staying with the sci fi theme, The Possessions, by Sara Flannery Murphy (Scribe UK, 9th March) is the unusual novel with a clever premise that more than delivers. Edie is a ‘body’ at the Elysium Society; when she takes a pill she is possessed by the dead relative of whichever paying client is in the room at the time. For five years she does the job professionally, never getting emotionally attached, until she meets Patrick, who is seeking to reconnect with his dead wife Sylvia. But what kind of relationship can a ghost have? And what really went on in Patrick and Sylvia’s marriage?

With January 20th and Trump’s inauguration on the horizon, American fiction is perhaps far more desirable than reality. Nathan Hill’s debut, The Nix (Picador, 26th Jan) is a doorstop of a book in the vein of Donna Tartt or Garth Risk Hallberg – more than 600 pages of sweeping narrative, moving between the student protests of the 1960s, 1980s suburbia, and the safe spaces of the modern university campus. The main focus is the relationship between Samuel, a college professor and failed writer, and his mother, Faye, who disappeared when he was eight. Her arrest for an attack on a presidential candidate throws them back together and prompts him to look at her life before and after motherhood. There are occasional detours that come across as indulgent on Hill’s part – the entitled student who plagues Samuel’s life is a thinly drawn-caricature – but overall this is a masterpiece of a book that will keep you hooked until the end.

For non-fiction fans, Samantha Ellis offers the chance to brush up on your Bronte trivia with a new biography of Anne Bronte. Take Courage (Chatto & Windus, 12th Jan) paints the youngest and littlest known sister as the greatest, the most talented, and the most feminist of them all, exploring her short but remarkable life through her poetry, letters and novels. It’s a treasure trove of information about Haworth and the fantasy worlds the Bronte siblings spawned; Charlotte in particular comes off poorly for not appreciating Anne’s talent. If you enjoyed Ellis’s first book, How to be a Heroine, this won’t disappoint.

The Edit: Faux Fur

Fashion trends come and go, but we couldn’t be more delighted that this year, faux fur seems to have really come into its own. Not too long ago, it looked like we were heralding the return of real fur, but thankfully with faux fur coats, gilets and scarves looking ever more stylish for Autumn/Winter 2016, there’s even less excuse for mink, fox and all the other non-PETA-approved fabrics. From leopard to stripes and high street to high end, staying warm and stylish has never been easier. Here’s our edit of the best faux fur coats to buy right now…

mango faux fur coats

Mango Leopard faux-fur coat          Mango Faux Fur Jacket

Mango Leopard Faux-Fur Coat

faux-fur-coats-missguided

Missguided Blue Oversized Collar Faux Fur Coat          Missguided Collarless Short Faux Fur Coat

Missguided Navy Bubble Faux Fur Coat

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Mango Faux Fur Coat        Mango Faux Fur Coat

Mango Faux Fur Jacket

missguided-pink-faux-fur-coats

Missguided Pink Bubble Faux Fur Bomber Jacket          Missguided Pink Pressed Faux Fur Coat

Missguided Pink Longline Faux Fur Bomber Jacket

revolve-faux-fur-coats

X Revolve Bonita Faux Fur Jacket          Unreal Fur Dream Faux Fur Jacket

Milly Faux Fur Jacket

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Shrimps Fifi Leopard Print Faux Fur Coat          Shrimps Jean Striped Faux Fur Coat

Shrimps Claude Leopard Print Faux Fur Coat

reiss-faux-fur-coats

Reiss Alexia Faux Fur Coat           Reiss Meyer Faux Fur Gilet

Reiss Alexia Faux Fur Coat

whistles-faux-fur-coats

Whistles Faux Fur Cocoon Coat          Whistles Jacquard Faux Fur Coat

Whistles Duvall Faux Fur Jacket

luxury-faux-fur-coats

Karl Lagerfeld Faux Fur Coat         Elizabeth & James Balin leopard-print faux fur coat

Alice + Olivia Kinsley oversized striped faux fur coat

asos-faux-fur-coats

Lazy Oaf X Disney 101 Dalmatians Faux Fur Coat          ASOS Faux Fur Cropped Jacket

ASOS Faux Fur Coat in Leopard Print with Contrast Collar

zara-faux-fur-coats

Zara Short Faux Fur Jacket          Zara Faux Fur Bomber Jacket

Zara Animal Print Faux Fur Coat

faux-fur-coats-net-a-porter

J.Crew Madison Faux Fur Coat          Michael by Michael Kors Leopard-print faux fur wrap coat

J.Crew Madison Geo Striped Faux Fur Coat

SJP’s Must-Have Shoes

When you think of Sex and the City, New York streets, the girls’ epic dating antics and Carrie’s pondering voiceovers are probably what come to mind. And then there was that shoe collection. Yes, when we weren’t lusting over Smith Jarrod et al, it was Sarah Jessica Parker’s incredible footwear that lit up the screen. She might not have invested in property, or done any of those Serious, Important Things, but boy, did Carrie have an amazing collection of shoes. So the news that SJP has created a capsule range of shoes for Net-A-Porter is sweet, sweet music to our ears.

sjp-by-sarah-jessica-parker-westminster-metallic-leather-sandals

SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker Westminster Metallic Leather Sandals

Launched just in time for the festive season, the collection of party shoes includes heels and flats – all as opulent and eye-catching as you might have hoped! Think jewel-encrusted satin pumps, shimmering metallic leather sandals and bow-adorned heels plus elegant flats and pretty Mary Janes. These are classics, with a twist – SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker’s shoes are timeless pieces to wear this season and next too. Add these show-off shoes to any LBD and you’re good to go. And party dressing made easy is something we think Carrie would definitely approve of!

sjp-shoes

SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker Windsor Crystal-Embellished Satin Pumps

SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker Carrie Metallic Leather Pumps

sjp-shoes-by-sarah-jessica-parker

SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker Carrie Satin Point-Toe Flats

SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker Tartt Crystal-Embellished Satin Pumps

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SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker Lucille bow-embellished satin pumps

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SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker Windsor Crystal-Embellished Satin Pumps

SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker Fugue Glittered Leather Sandals

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SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker Carrie Satin Pumps

sjp-shoe-collection

For more information, and to shop the SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker collection, head to Net-A-Porter. Prices range from £245 to £400.

Festive Feasts Help the Homeless

Christmas? If you love the fizz-fuelled, gift-buying, sequin-clad occasion, it’s quite probably the most wonderful time of the year. But if you’re homeless or living in temporary accommodation, it’s likely to be one of the worst. Cold, dark, lonely; most of us can only imagine what it must be like to sleep rough on the streets, fairy lights twinkling cruelly over our heads and on the other side of shop windows.

fat-macys-supperclub

“We really want to challenge the stigma surrounding homelessness”, says Meg Doherty, Founder and CEO of Fat Macy’s: the supper club project that gives the homeless a helping hand. “The people we work with just need a chance” and by training homeless young Londoners to run supper club events so they can save money for a rental deposit, Fat Macy’s does just that. It allows people who have become homeless “to get on with rebuilding their lives, rather than getting stuck in a benefits trap”.

fat-macys-menu-2016

But as well as being a great social enterprise, at Fat Macy’s you’ll also eat one of the best meals you’re likely to get this December. A velvety roasted garlic and potato soup, hearty turkey pie with smashed cranberry sauce and boozy quince trifle make up a menu you’d never guess was cooked up by newly trained twenty-somethings, recently down on their luck.

fat-macys-christmas-menu

Fat Macy’s are hosting twelve evenings throughout December at Clerkenwell’s Printworks Kitchen (a short walk away from Farringdon Tube and a hop and a skip from Exmouth Market). With long sharing tables the sociable atmosphere is electric and it’s a great way to meet new people (what supper clubs are famous for), as well as helping those in need.

fat-macys-helping-the-homeless

Buy your tickets for Fat Macy’s here for £30, including three courses and a welcome cocktail (bargain).  It’s honestly the best night out you’ll have this Christmas and leave you feeling all fuzzy inside. #WIN

Workwear 101

Let’s face it, office-appropriate dressing can be something of a minefield. What is “appropriate” varies enormously from workplace to workplace. Strutting past the water cooler in a silk pyjama suit and statement heels might earn you sartorial points of a Monday morning in a creative office, but leave the cleaners sweeping up the entire third floor’s dropped jaws in the corporate world. Part of the joy of working in a creative industry is the workwear freedom that comes with it. So, this time around, our advice is aimed at the white-collar world, where getting it right is key, and getting it wrong can be a bit of a disaster.

workwear-fashion

First up, it really pays off to build your working wardrobe around some hardworking classic staples. Think of these foundations as an exercise in utter simplicity, Clare Underwood-level simplicity, because it is from here that all the good stuff can follow (prints, colour and personality), without undermining office acceptability. Having a handle on the staples lets you amp up the volume on days when you feel like it, and keep things sober and appropriate when the type of work day demands it.

claire-underwood-fashion

Time and time again, simple staples and accessories will finish your conservative looks neatly – and also appropriately anchor your more adventurous outfits. They offer up conservative, corporate touch points, and allow you to play with prints and textures. Arm yourself with fine block-colour merino or cashmere knits in charcoal or heather grey, navy, black and camel (every season, Cos line their rails with simple knits in a variety of necklines), and crisp white and light blue shirts. Choose a structured, subtle bag with clean lines in navy, berry, forest green, black or camel. If you’re feeling adventurous, a leather backpack with simple, clean lines can be a chic and practical option.

workwear-knits

Discover the game-changer that is owning a pair each of black, nude and navy courts. (This may sound a tad dull, but these shoes will be interchangeable with everything you own and bring your more adventurous outfits down to earth). For classic heels, the best of the bunch can be found at Gianvitto Rossi and Manolo Blahnik, with high streeters LK Bennett and Zara offering up some great options too.

workwear-shoes-courts

Make some space in your wardrobe for a selection of “no-brainer” dresses. When paired with heels (simple or fun) or chic super flats, the no-brainer dress can be reached for in the morning with no extra engagement of your pre-coffee brain, and relied upon 100% to make you look like you know exactly what you’re doing. Focus on the cut and shape first – if these are classic, nearly any colour or pattern will work.

workwear-dresses

For the best examples of these hero-dresses, look no further than J.Crew and Boden. Here, classic shapes (crucial) are combined with fun prints and interesting textures. They are also fully lined and made from fabrics that hold their shape. Pop over a tailored (see below) long line or box-cut boucle jacket and you’re good to go.

boucle-jackets-workwear

For a corporate wardrobe, there is just no getting away from the fact that tailoring is a must. It has transformative powers in both boardrooms and meeting rooms, particularly if your base outfit is more casual. It does so much of the hard work on the rest of your wardrobe’s behalf, pulling together your whole look.

blazer-workwear

For an ode to the power of tailoring, look no further than Olivia Palermo. When asked about the secret of her flawless style, she repeatedly highlights the importance of tailoring as a cornerstone of her personal style successes. The best fit on the high street comes courtesy of Reiss (an OP favourite, natch). What’s more, their already brilliantly well-cut pieces can also be altered to suit your body shape.

olivia-palermo-work-style

Massimo Dutti have the confidence to offer up colourful tailoring options, bringing much welcomed variety (and femininity) into the typically navy or black suiting arena. Their current collection also features a beautiful dark grey cinched-in wrap suit jacket that will add something fresh to your jacket collection.

massimo-dutti-blazers

Now, nothing injects more joy into workwear than a dash of something a bit more unexpected. Prints can absolutely work in the office when paired with your classic courts, simple knit or a crisp, collared shirt. H&M and Zara have cornered the market lately in affordable, printed cigarette trousers. Courts in a fun print or a punchy shade can add an unexpected touch to your classic dresses or tailoring. Love a collarless cropped jacket? Why not try it in metallic bouclé instead? Out of the ordinary, printed or colourful pieces may only last you a couple of seasons, but with your classics close at hand, this shouldn’t be a cause for concern.

bright-workwear7

Put simply, the best way to approach your working wardrobe is with one eye always on the classics. When you’ve mastered these, prints, trends, colours, shapes can be embraced and then moved on from when the time is right – allowing you to have fun with your workwear, show your personality, and keep your wardrobe ever-evolving, whilst always striking just the right tone.

cos-jumper-office

Cos Round Neck Wool Jumper          Cos Round Neck Wool Jumper

nude-pink-leather-bags-workwear

Whistles Regent Soft Leather Tote          Jigsaw Blake Leather Backpack

Mansur Gavriel Sun Leather Crossbody Bag

j-crew-workwear-dresses

J.Crew A-Line Dress          J.Crew Bracelet Sleeve Dress

J.Crew Monday Dress          J.Crew Cap Sleeve Dress

workwear-shoes-zara

Zara Mid-Heel Shoes          Zara Contrast Mid-Heel Shoes

boden-workwear-day-dresses

Boden Aurelia Ottoman Dress          Boden Sixties Jacquard Dress

Boden Marisa Dress

cos-knitwear

Cos Twisted Detail Jumper          Cos Long-Sleeve Cashmere Jumper

leather-handbags-work

Launer Judi Leather Tote          Saint Laurent Cabas Rive Gauche Leather Tote

3.1 Phillip Lim Ink Leather Pashli Tote

hm-cigarette-trousersH&M Spotted Cigarette Trousers          H&M Patterned Cigarette Trousers

H&M Cigarette Trousers

courts-shoes-office

LK Bennett Fauna Metallic Leather Courts          LK Bennett Fern Monochrome Printed Courts

massimo-dutti-workwear-blazers

Massimo Dutti Navy Blue Suit Jacket          Massimo Dutti Boiled Wool Blazer

Massimo Dutti Blazer With Tie

court-shoes-workwear

Manolo Blahnik Fawn Suede Pumps          Manolo Blahnik Black Suede Pumps

boucle-chanel-style-jackets-workwear

Massimo Dutti Short Ecru Jacket          Zara Tweed Jacket

Zara Metallic Fabric Blazer

reiss-womens-tailoringReiss Murphy Jacket          Reiss Hanako Jacket

Seasonal Showering

We know it’s essential to do the whole daily top to toe moisturising thing, but EVEN if you’ve got your central heating on full blast, it’s pretty nippy (ahem) at this time of year. So what to do? Sure, you want smooth, soft supple skin, but slathering on moisturiser post-shower is something only people with dubious sanity or a serious insensitivity to chilly temperatures would do over the colder months. Brrrrr! The solution? We love a bit of multi-tasking, so it’s all about finding a supercharged body wash which does the hard work for you.

shower

Pick something rich and nourishing, packed with skin-loving ingredients, and take a little extra time to really work it into your skin. Scented shower oils work well as they’re amazing for deep hydration, while indulgent shower creams will soften and leave skin feeling velvety smooth. Save the money on heating and spend it in the shower instead. Now there’s maths that makes sense!

best-shower-oils

Neom Real Luxury™ Bath & Shower Oil

Aromatherapy Associates Inner Strength Bath & Shower Oil

Diptyque Do Son Shower Oil

L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil

luxury-shower-oils

Espa Lemon, Ylang Ylang & Tonka Bean Body Wash

Le Labo Neroli 36 Shower Gel

Aesop A Rose by Any Other Name Body Cleanser

Jo Malone Peony Blush Suede Shower Oil

best-shower-creams

Elemis Sweet Orchid Shower Cream

Yves Saint Laurent Mon Paris Shower Oil

Rituals Sakura Shower Oil

Roger & Gallet Rose Gentle Shower Cream

indulgent-shower-creams

Laura Mercier Crème Body Wash Ambre Vanillé

Maison Francis Kurkdjian À La Rose Scented Shower Cream

Kiehl’s Fig Leaf and Sage Skin-Softening Body Cleanser

Aerin Tangier Vanille Body Wash

shower-moisturisers

Ameliorate Skin Smoothing Shower Cream

Clarins Eau Ressourçante Bath and Shower Milk

Nivea In-Shower Body Moisturiser

Derma Remedy Intense Dry Skin Therapy Body Wash

Nostalgic Delights

What Mr William Curley doesn’t know about chocolate, cakes and desserts probably isn’t worth knowing. The prodigious Scottish chef has been named Britain’s Best Chocolatier no less than four times. He’s also a member of the Relais Desserts: an elite association of the world’s best pastry chefs. Suffice to say, Curley knows his stuff. His latest book – Nostalgic Delights – is an ode to “classic confections and timeless treats,” and it’s a must-read for Bake Off fans and sweet-toothed foodies alike. From walnut whips and curley wurlies to fudge doughnuts, Hobnobs and even Jaffa Cakes, Nostalgic Delights offers a haute patisserie take on some of our favourite childhood flavours.

william-curley

Curley ensures that every single recipe is clearly explained and illustrated, making Nostalgic Delights an accessible pleasure for even novice pastry chefs, keen to create something to wow friends and family. And recipe-wise there’s everything from the must luxurious take on Bounties and Snickers to biscuits, ice cream, cakes, marshmallows, desserts…. We could go on, and on! There are also simple, easy-to-follow recipes for ‘basics’ such as salted caramel, choux pastry and praline paste – alongside explanations of how to temper chocolate and create showstopping chocolate decorations. This is a book to linger over – with nostalgia – before taking the plunge and trying one of the recipes out for yourself. So we’re delighted to get you started with this Nostalgic Delights recipe to tantalise your tastebuds – for the Ambassador’s favourite, no less: hazelnut rochers….

chocolate-rochers

This evokes memories of a tower of gold-wrapped chocolates, reserved only for special occasions. I can picture my mother presenting a plate of these on Christmas day, for them only to be devoured within minutes; it really was a luxurious treat. I have used Amedei Gianduja in the ganache for this recipe, which is made with the best Piedmont hazelnuts, giving the chocolates a lasting creaminess. This recipe makes 80 chocolates.

For the Praline Ganache:

 
320ml (11fl oz/1⅓ cups) whipping (pouring) cream
1 vanilla pod (bean), split and scraped
40g (1½ oz) invert sugar
300g (10½oz) Gianduja chocolate, finely chopped
160g (5½oz) dark (bittersweet) chocolate (70% cocoa solids), finely chopped
55g (1¾ oz/3½ tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened

rochers

For the Nutty Chocolate:

 
500g (1lb 2oz) tempered milk chocolate
250g (9oz) roasted nibbed almonds

rochers-recipe

To finish:

 
100g (3½oz/⅔ cup) whole roasted hazelnuts
200g (7oz) feuillantine wafer, crushed
Edible gold leaf

You will also need:

 
A piping (pastry) bag
12mm (½ inch) nozzle (tip)
A dipping fork

chocolate

Make the Praline Ganache…

 
Put the cream in a saucepan and scrape in the seeds from the split vanilla pod (bean). Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 30 minutes. Strain the infused cream into a clean saucepan, add the invert sugar and bring to the boil.

Put the chopped chocolate in a mixing bowl. Pour the boiled cream over the chocolate and mix until emulsified and a ganache consistency is formed. Add the softened butter and mix well until fully incorporated. Leave to set at room temperature for about 1–2 hours.

william-curley-chocolate-recipe

To assemble…

 
Put the Praline Ganache in a piping (pastry) bag fitted with a 12mm (½ inch) nozzle (tip). Pipe small bulbs of the ganache onto a silicone-lined tray.

Put a whole roasted hazelnut onto each bulb of ganache.

william-curley-chocolate

Pipe a larger bulb of ganache on top of each hazelnut and leave to set for 1 hour in a cool, dry area.

Make the Nutty Chocolate…

 
Temper the milk chocolate and add the nibbed almonds. If the chocolate thickens, warm it slightly.

To finish…

 
Roll each bulb into a sphere and coat in feuillantine wafer.

william-curley-rochers

Use a dipping fork to dip each prepared chocolate sphere into the Nutty Chocolate. Place each chocolate on a silicone-lined tray to set for 1–2 hours in a cool, dry area. Decorate with gold leaf to finish.

These chocolates will keep for 1 week stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry area.

william-curley-recipe

Recipe and images extracted from Nostalgic Delights by William Curley, photography by Kevin Summers, published by Jacqui Small.