burro e salvia

everytime a shop closes in camden and a new one opens, i always wish it could be some lovely deli, or something useful and beautiful like burro e salvia in shoreditch.  sadly, our local cafe has become another estate agent!  i will have to keep wishing.

pip and i took our girls to shoreditch for the day, lunch at viet hoa, a bit of vintage shopping, blitz is a new find for the girls, and v reasonable. my favourite is hunky dory, where i spotted a beautiful 1930’s dress.  you must pop by aesop, not only do they sell lovely face products, but  they are having an exhibition of ceramic pots by studio potapota – i have a soft spot for ceramics and these pots sit beautifully with the design of the shop.  i can see a pottery class looming………..

shoreditch is a perfect area for both you and teenage girls to enjoy together – there is plenty for both age groups to see and its safe enough to let the girls wander in and out of the shops by themselves and then meet up later.  we finished with delicious cake at franze and evans – maude had courgette cake which was just delicious!

returning to pasta, yuki makes a tasty broccoli and anchovy pasta  – a quick and nutritious dish, perfect for when you have come home late from work and dont want to spend hours cooking.

chop some garlic finely, and put the pasta in boiling water to cook, penne  or fusili  are good for this recipe. after 8 mins, add the chopped broccoli to the pasta, which leaves both al dente when you drain after another 3 mins. heat some olive oil and add the garlic, a bit of chilli pepper (how much depends on your taste) and a tin of anchovies – you will find that the anchovies start to become a paste – once heated add to the drained pasta – delicious and it takes less than 15 mins to do the whole lot!  thank you yuki – you’re a star!

incidentally, broccoli is having its moment in nutrition history – i keep reading about its wonder properties, how it can prevent arthritis if you eat it daily, apparently its full of calcium and is a wonder vegetable.

whenever i go to a market now, i always think about the wonderful colourful souk in marrakesh.

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stockings

dont you love these seamed stockings? the look is really 1940’s which is one of my favourite eras.  you can find seamed stockings almost everywhere, but they have to be ultra fine to look glamorous.  try myla,  agent provocateur,   what katie did, or good old marks and spencers.   shot these for my style me vintage book. 

i know that  there has been all this controversy about models and smoking – our model was actually having a break when i snapped this photo, but i do think its important not to glamourise smoking and drinking – however its increasingly difficult to control anything these days – our kids watch such rubbish from big brother to sex and the city.  we have to believe that what they learn from home and family life  is important and hope that they gain some common sense.

paul smith anglepoise

popped into the lovely Paul Smith shop on albemarble street to see the new anglepoise lamps that he has collaborated with to produce a more colourful interpretation of the classic – lovely muted dark pink and sage green give it a retro feel.  i love this shop, with its domino clad walls, beautiful rugs and vintage furniture pieces, it really is a showcase of Paul’s amazing eye for design and beautiful objects, alongside his accessories and classic clothes.   dont you think dominoes make a beautiful idea for a kitchen or bathroom wall?  the other 2 interior shots are actually abroad, but the colours and style remind me of Paul’s style.

 

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sunset at el palmar

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a poem each day

my husband bought me this lovely book , the Penguin’s Poems for Love, selected by Laura Barber – its enlightening to open a page each day and read a short poem.

Ironing

You’ve just shaved and you smell of cream

I’m watching you press the metal point

Between buttons, over a collar, into-a-seam.

When you’ve left, I open the wardrobe quietly

I want to climb in and hang there with your shirts

With my creases, waiting for you to iron them out.

Olivia McCannon

Annie B

you may remember that when robert and i got married, we didn’t tell anyone and then had a long honeymoon in cartagena and sent back postcards – even our parents didn’t know, so when it came to 10 years we decided to celebrate with the party that we didn’t have;  and then 20 years has come round and so we repeated the whole thing again in our house in vejer.  thank goodness for  annie  who arranged an amazing party in my house last week – everything from a man with a whole jamon pata negra and traditional sherry from a barrel, to amazing canapés and flamenco guitarists.   everybody commented on how her food was the best that they have tasted in spain!  annie  made the whole evening an effortless success – i didn’t even have to clean up afterwards, which was a bonus – so thank you again annie for a brilliant party.  if you can’t have a party, you can still go and learn about food and cooking with annie – i highly recommend it!

here is a picture of my ceil chapman dress that i bought in william’s vintage recently – i know that some of you wanted to see it – you can’t really see the beautiful handwork of the bodice, but it is boned and ruched across the bodice with layers of silk chiffon – i was lucky that it fitted so perfectly.   excuse the red espadrilles, but you really can’t wear heels in our town or house, too many cobbles and steps.

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vejer and restaurants

well our little village is becoming a great place for food – who would have guessed this.  when we bought our house over 14 years ago, there was only a couple of restaurants, plus a few local bars who did tapas;  now there are a variety of high quality restaurants, not only in the village but in the countryside close by.  there are even cookery classes on the local cuisine – how amazing!  this is the view from our balcony.

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Vejer has been listed in the sunday times top 100 ,  as one of spain’s tastiest town and recently as one of the prettiest towns in Spain. it lists restaurant el patria and el castilleria (our favourite eating place, though mainly excelling in steak and lamb) as places to go as well as participating at Annie B’s , where Annie will take you out to the  local food market and then teach you how to cook local specialities in her beautiful andalucian home;    she will also take you to Barbate to the local fish market – which is still kept to its original working state with an amazing variety of fish to buy, including the famous locally caught tuna.  Barbate is not a pretty town, but a working fishing town – it has one of the best restaurants in the area, el Campero – serving a variety of tuna specialities including sashimi.

our first port of call when we first arrive is always the reliable seafood at la fontanilla in conil – perfectly situated on the beach with awnings to shield from the sun and wind, the food is not just delicious, but it means the kids can wander safely onto the beach whilst you sit and eat. kids being kids, they just get bored sitting in restaurants…… next door, there is another similar restaurant, francisco la fontanilla – equally as good, so if you cant get a table in one, you will be able to get one at the other. remember though that sunday lunchtime is always the busiest time, even out of season. not only the locals come to the beach for lunch, but also visitors from seville and jerez. paella is a classic sunday lunch dish and is delicious at these restaurants – i would tend to say that fish is best by the sea, rather than inland in a village.

Restaurant Sajorami is a lovely restaurant to have lunch or an evening meal and watch the sun set. Its enviable position on the edge of a hill right next to Zahora beach guarantees beautiful sunsets. Zahora beach is the next beach to the Cape Trafalgar.

its probably one of the nicest places to sit at sunset. the garden of la chanca restaurant on el palmar offers great views of the sunset with the natural sand dunes between the garden and the beach – we just celebrated our 20th anniversary with friends there in the garden and it really was perfect.

this was given to me by one of my clients who stayed one spring, and although the weather wasnt perfectly sunny, she enjoyed a gourmet trail around vejer.  here are her comments, which i think sum up the restaurants in the area.
We loved:
La Patria for the quality of the food and the friendliness of the owners and staff;
El Tresoro for the sublime beef and spectacular view;
La Castilleria for the beautiful food and ambience;
Los Quatro Gatos because it was different;
and El Jardin de Califa because the garden was so lovely and the service was good.

One of the newer restaurants in town, marengo has more modern style tapas but for a change it is good quality food, and of course Garimba has a few tapas dishes that are tasty, though like a lot of the restaurants in the area, they tend to do too many swirls on the side with the sauces.

Up in the new town, by the molinos, old windmills, there is a pizza pasta restaurant, called il Macinino, c/Jose Maria Peman 666.380 946. If you go up there as the sun is setting, there is also a bar close by housed in one of the converted windmills and you can watch the sun set and then eat dinner at the restaurant. The restaurant itself also has great views over the plains of Vejer countryside stretching to the sea, but depending on the time of year, you may want to watch the sunset before eating. Restaurants in spain tend to not open before 8.30pm.

i personally love Vejer out of season, you may not get the super hot weather, but you still get the charm and ambiance of a moorish town which offers a great variety of food and beaches.


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