What's in Fashion for September
London is thriving with festivals during September, with London Fashion Week, 15th - 19th September, being one of the most prominent.
With a focus on fashion, or in other words 'a popular or latest style', it got us thinking about kitchen and interiors design trends and how Figura chooses to favour design and function over latest fashions.
At Figura we pride ourselves in having no pre designed ranges or defined styles. We focus instead on client requirements and lifestyle, the character of the property and above all else the ultimate in British master craftsmanship.
So fashion may be of interest when it comes to choosing your wardrobe, but when you are looking for inspiring furniture for your home, longevity and thoughtful, beautiful design are what matter most.
Explore a range of creative installations and events celebrating contemporary design during the London Design Festival 2017. The Festival celebrates and promotes London as the design capital of the world.
This annual festival has been showcasing the work of designers, architects, artists and retailers since 2003. During the festival, hundreds of large-scale installations, exhibitions and events pop up in many unique spaces across London, from world-famous museums to small local studios.
The V&A is once again the hub of the London Design Festival, hosting a wide range of activities, from talks and workshops, to installations and exhibitions.
Ahead of the game with a well appointed larder
Having a well-stocked larder is like money in the bank. With basic supplies on hand, you'll be equally prepared to put together a family meal or a last-minute dinner for friends. The trick is figuring out what is essential and what you can live without.
Individual households can only determine the essentials based on the predilections of their occupants. And like the diversity of peoples larders, Figura will design you a beautiful piece of cabinetry that accommodates every necessity and whim.
The idea is to make sure you have enough proteins and sturdy vegetables to pull together several satisfying meals, plus some flavorful condiments and seasonings to keep things interesting (even on a school night).
Whatever you decide to put in your shopping basket, you can rely on Figura to ensure every item will be catered for with space allocated. And if you are in a rush to get to your guests, simply close the doors, stand back and admire it's beauty.
Melissa Waddingham is a truffle hunter and wild mushroom picker based in West Sussex. In the spring and autumn months she runs mushroom forays, truffle hunts, talks and courses, and throughout the year provides truffle hound training days for your truffle hound to be.
Everything this season is fruiting early and bountiful! A fantastic year for Ceps, Chanterelles and Agarics, this year is promising to be a good and long one; may the warmth and rain continue in suitable style!
Dates of up and coming events for September and October are available on Truffle and Mushroom Hunter website. Group numbers are small with a maximum of ten people, so booking well in advance is advised. One to one and smaller group forays/courses are also available.
Truffle hunting is an uncommon practice in England and the rare opportunity to have a go with a trained dog and its owner is an experience not to be missed for a great day out!
Taurus Wine Recommends
Back from holidays and focusing on truffle hunting and seasonal produce, we asked Rupert Pritchett from Taurus Wines for his recommendation to go James Martin's chicken and forest-foraged truffles and also with our Damson Cheese recipe.
Although the truffles in this dish were foraged here in England, there’s another terroir and country famous for its winter and summer truffles – Tuscany in Italy. So what could be better to match with the earthy, rich and intense flavour of the lardons, wild mushrooms and truffle than a Chianti Classico. This one from Brolio is youthful, so won’t overpower the chicken, while the complex structure will complement the wonderful woodland mix of mushrooms and truffle.
Whether it’s part of a fully laden cheeseboard or served as sugar-dusted petit fours, this damson cheese would go perfectly with our damson vodka – as they’re both filled with the delicious sweetness of the fruit. This smooth vodka is warming, and full of plummy ripeness – the perfect after dinner tipple if port isn’t your thing. Try a sip of it with a cracker loaded with Stilton and this damson cheese – heaven!
Enjoy free access to more than 800 churches, museums, public buildings, private houses, schools and offices, and join tours, guided walks and activities throughout the weekend. Explore iconic buildings that are not usually open to the public, learn something new about more familiar spaces, and step into the private homes of the rich and famous.
In Season: Damsons
Damsons are a small fruit with vibrant dark blue skin and a strong, sour flavour, damsons are similar to plums and a member of the rose family. They have a large stone and are often juicy, but tend not be eaten raw due to the tartness of the flesh.
This traditional Damson "cheese" is a very thick, sliceable preserve that is immensely good served with actual cheese. It keeps for ages. Here's a simple recipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall to try.
Around 750g granulated sugar
Put the damsons in a large preserving pan, add a couple of tablespoons of water and bring slowly to a simmer, stirring as the fruit begins to release its juices. Leave to simmer until completely soft. Tip the contents of the pan into a sieve and rub it through to remove the stones and skin, leaving you with a smooth damson purée.
Measure the purée by volume. For every 500ml, add 350g sugar, and combine in a large, heavy-based pan. Bring to a simmer over a low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then cook gently, stirring regularly so it doesn't catch, until reduced to a thick purée. It's ready when you drag the spoon across the bottom of the pan and the base stays clearly visible for a second or two. This can take up to an hour of gentle, popping simmering and stirring.
Pour the "cheese" into very lightly oiled shallow plastic containers and leave to cool and set. It will keep almost indefinitely in the fridge. Serve in slices with bread and cheese, or, if you fancy, cut into cubes, dust lightly with granulated sugar and serve as a petit four.
In Season: Apples
The British Apple season starts at the beginning of August, but for many people the end of September is when things really get going, particularly the early October arrival of our beloved Cox's Orange Pippins.
Apples should be firm with taught unbroken skins. Many varieties have naturally freckled or dull matt surfaces - don't shy away from those without the high-sheen finish supermarkets have led us to expect. The odd blemish on apples grown with low/no pesticides is nothing to be afraid of. The fragrance of an apple is a good indicator of freshness and quality.
All 'eating' apples can be used in cooking but the opposite is not the case. Bramley is the definitive English cooking apple and it bakes to a wonderful fluffy texture. For cooked dishes requiring a firmer texture (such as apple tarts), Cox or Granny Smith are a reliable choice.
Other main UK varieties include:
Egremont Russet (sweet, crisp and nutty - fantastic with a cheese board or when cooked with warm spice flavours)
Elstar (juicy, sweet and honeyed - makes a great tarte tatin)
Spartan (well balanced flavour - enjoy on its own)
Worcester Pearmain (our top choice for juicing)
There are dozens of other varieties that are less widely available but often excellent; if you see a type you've never heard of, give it a try.
Our favourite picks of the unique and handcrafted from the interiors magazines this month...
From left to right
Featured Artist: Celia Minoprio
Celia Minoprio is specialist painter and animal portraitist. She had classical drawing training in Italy.
Her studio for 20 years was in the artisan area of Florence where she learnt many original techniques including gilding, marbling and trompe l'oeil. She has worked all over Europe, in private homes and hotels, including The Grand Hotel in Florence.
Her dog and horse portraits are in the realist style and she uses either oil or acrylics depending on the timescale. Her brushwork is light and and her colour selection is very distinctive. Celia will work from any photo you might have or will take her own. She also likes to meet the animal first and get the feel of it's character. The paintings are full of life and capture the essence of her subjects perfectly. Life like dogs look as if they are about to wag their tails. Her horses are either moving at speed or about to nuzzle your pocket for an apple.
Celia has worked with Figura on several occasions, where clients have requested a specific paint finish.