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Snow and Profiteroles..

..I hope you enjoyed the Ontwerpduo interview that has been posted the past couple of days. As for today, its F-F-F-Friday!! While that is usually a good thing I am sad to say that it is snowing again. Don’t get me wrong, I think snow is beautiful, but the aftermath not so much..my car is already buried and am not looking forward to digging it out and pushing my AWD to the limit.

So..In case you are stuck inside like me, maybe you might want to try something that caught my eye yesterday on the Nordljus site.

Profiteroles with ricotta, chocolate and aubergine

Profiteroles with ricotta, chocolate and aubergine

I must say, vegetable and chocolate definitely got my attention. I cannot say I have had a profiterole with aubergine..but there is a first time for everything. Who knows? If I can get to the supermarket this weekend maybe I will take a crack at it! Check out the recipe here.

Have a good one folks!

images from nordljus


Interview with Ontwerpduo!

Yesterday was a big day here at Craven Maven. Not only did I make my 100th post, but this site had more visitors in one day than ever before! A nice precursor to today’s ‘first’. Two weeks ago I debuted a new blog posting here at CravenMaven about Practical Conceptualism. Concept designs that maybe, just maybe if we changed our perspective could have a very useable application in the ‘real world’. That first post was about the Marbelous Table from the studio of Ontwerpduo in The Netherlands. I am pleased to say that Ontwerpduo was kind enough to answer a few questions for CravenMaven! As this is a special treat this post will stay atop the blog til the end of this week.

A self confessed ‘dreamer and mathematician’ Ontwerpduo graduated but two years ago cum laude from the Design Academy and are now a part of one of my favourite collectives Atelierdorp. Their work is rife with child like whimsy and fantasy, coupled with a sense of order and strong pragmatism.

Ontwerpduo Team
Nathan Wierink and Tineke Beunders

CravenMaven: Can you tell us a little bit about your background? What led you to become designers?

Ontwerpduo: When we were kids, we both liked to make things, to repair things and to draw. Later, around the age of 15 it became a very big hobby, untill we found out that we could also do it as a profession. We still work the way we did, when we were younger. We like to sketch and talk about new ideas, we make scale models, and we avoid computerwork!

CM: What is a typical day for Ontwerpduo?

O: Going crazy in the workshop, which is full of materials, machines and ideas. we experiment a lot. but also in the same day we answer our mail, talk to clients, make furniture.

Studio Space at Atelierdorp

CM: In some of your designs (eg. L-Loop Lamp), you mention ‘The function becomes decoration’. This is an aspect I see in many of your designs, how important is it that your work is functional as well as visually and intellectually stimulating?

O: This is a very important ‘rule’ in our designs. We both like to tell stories and create atmospheres with our work, but we always want the object or piece of furniture to be usable and practical. We are designers, not artists.


CM: There is a keen interest in your pieces for children and adult to interact on the same level – pieces that are playful for kids and aesthetic enough for adults not to want to ‘put them away’. Why is this important to you?

O: For me it is just strange that the world of children and the world of adults are so different, in the way of products, furniture and interior. Because the both worlds often live together. It is more obvious to have a sheared world.

Raster- enables child adult interaction

CM: Do you approach commercial projects with a vastly different mindset than those which are conceptual?

O: No, at least, not in the beginning. In the beginning we have the same process. But mostly, after a while, we have to make a change in the concept, we have to think about for example the transportation of the pieces, the efficiency of using material in mass production, the production costs etc etc.

High Loft Project

CM: How would you describe or classify your style of work? How would you like to see it develop in the future?

O: Functional playful, this is what you will find in most of our objects. We don’t know how it will develop in the future, for us it is most important to keep the level of fun we have in our job every day.

CM: I love love love the Marbelous table! It is such a wonderful and realistic harmony of function and fantasy, will this ever be a commercial product?

O: No, we don’t think this table will be a commercial product in this design. The production costs are to high. But it is possible that a table in a more simple version, but with the same idea will be a commercial product…


CM: This is a foodie blog, so I have to ask – what is your favourite Dutch meal?!

O: The favourite dutch meal of all times: stamppot, in the way my mother makes it!

CM: Thanks so much! I truly appreciate it and look forward to your new work to come!

Check out some more of Ontwerpduo’s work at their site. Special treats are PickNick an especially polite tablecloth and Window Herbs a useful kitchen tool for small spaces.

all images from ontwerpduo

A dotty sort of day..

As I mentioned earlier, it’s raining. Oh and the forecast for tomorrow? Rain, the day after? Snow and rain and the day after? You get my drift… so I feel sort of dotty today – which is reflected in my etsy choices for this week. So without further ado:

a polka dot mushroom. or two.
a polka dot mushroom. or two.

a polka dot mushroom. or two

I think the seller put it well when they said “charming little trio here. a very, very nice set of salt & pepper shakers and what i think may be a toothpick holder”. Charming indeed, spotty, dotty and Danish! A girl couldn’t ask for more. There is no doubt these would be a fun element to your kitchen / tabletop. They also appear to be in very good condition – a steal at only $27.50 Check it out at the Story book charm etsy store.

Vintage Pyrex New Dot Polka Dot Mixing Bowls

Vintage Pyrex New Dot Polka Dot Mixing Bowls

I love vintage pyrex, but stragenly enough don’t own any. What can I say, a girls got to pick and choose her kitchen addictions. Per the seller:

“Vintage 1960’s, these captivating polka dot pretties are real retro beauties in orange, yellow, green and blue. The dots are sweetly designed in a band of three rows with graduated sized dots. There are two sets of rows, each on one side of the bowl.”

As these bowls are over 40 years old – my how time flies!! – there are some flaws and Sass Box Classics freely tells you what those are. If these are still a must for you snap them up at $150 bucks! ” gotta ♥ Pyrex ”


Tea for two

Now, you know I love a good cuppa from time to time, so I yelped with joy when I saw these spotty glass teacups. Adorable, stylish, the best desk accessory for a hectic rainy day..and oh so cheap! $10 for the pair at Leslie Janson.

Vintage tray and matching coasters

Vintage tray and matching coasters

“White with green small polka dots This vintage tray screams “Poolside cocktails”!!!” So says Ora Grace Vintage and I have to agree. It makes me think of Palm Beach circa 1950 something, when life was….well different from how it is now. Add a bit of summer sun and relaxation to your kitchen cupboards with this lovely fun set for only $10.

Vintage 1960 Kitchen Canister Set Polka Dots and Flowers Retro Home Decor

Vintage 1960 Kitchen Canister Set Polka Dots and Flowers

The tins fit inside each other , but the lids can not be nestled because of their unique shape. I love things that fit in things..maybe because I never had one of those ‘square peg, square hole‘ games when I was a child…who knows. What I do know is that these canisters are a fun look for a useful product. You ALWAYS need a cannister to put something in, well, at least in my kitchen you do!

Priced at $24.99 it is currently avail at Recycled Wares.

Keep posted for an exciting exclusive post tomorrow that will be up for two days!! Trumping the usual ‘Kitchen Envy‘ and Found it! posts….all will be revealed tomorrow!!
images courtesy of the respective etsy stores mentioned

Brown Sugar Biscuits make the medicine go down..

It’s rainy today and I’m feeling in a Mary Poppins kind of mood hence the title. I am also craving cups of tea in china cups and biscuits…yummy biscuits I can dunk into the tea. In the past I have mentioned the wonderful ladies of Trotski & Ash, well, I have been making their Brown Sugar Biscuits with much success the last few weeks. However, the continuous problem has been holding onto said cookies for more than an evening! Check out some pics from the process below:

Brown sugar Biscuits ingredients

The ingredients are quite simple. I prefer to use KerryGold unsalted butter because it reminds me of home, and I feel has a different texture and taste to other butters I encounter. As it is a solid butter, I tend to leave 4oz of it out in the kitchen for a few hours so that it can soften up. You want the butter to be super loose when making these biscuits! You also need about 8 oz of brown sugar, i prefer trader joes organic brand, one egg, a smidge of baking powder, one and a half cups of whole wheat plain flour and some traders candied pecan nuts for the decor. Not much eh?!

Whisked Egg

I whisk the egg up a bit with a fork so is all nicely mixed in and has that nice orangey yolky glow.

Softened Butter and brown sugar
This is where the elbow grease comes into play if you haven’t softened the butter well enough. LOL. Mix the butter and sugar until it is a nice creamy brown concoction. Depending on your speed and strength of mixing it could take a little while. Either that or I was just tired that day..

Add the egg
Add the egg to the butter and sugar and mix it in well. The mix is now nice and fluid, though not runny, and a warm golden brown. Next sift the flour and baking powder in and add a pinch of salt. Always a pinch of salt!

poised and ready for the oven
Next roll up little balls of the mix using a teaspoons worth at a time. Be sure to make sure the surface you roll them on is dusted with flour..I made the mistake of not doing so the first time and it was a bit of a sticky task! Once you place the balls of mix on a greased baking pan, push a candied pecan slice into the middle…almost done!!
Cook the biscuits in the middle of the oven on gas mark 190C – until the bottom is a nice light golden brown. With my gas oven it was very very quick, about ten minutes. Don’t worry if you think its a little early to take them out – it probably isn’t if your oven is anything like mine!!

Yum - ready to eat
Voila! Now these biscuits above are actually from the second batch I made, not the first, which is where the rest of the pictures are from. Hee hee….the biscuits from the first batch didn’t even last long enough for me to photograph! My friends descended on them like it was their first meal in a week…grr..so craven. lol. But, the second batch I used 1/4 less cup of flour which made the biscuits come out a little flatter. Using the cup and a half of flour made the biscuits more dense and substantial. Experiement with your flour levels depending on the type of biscuits you fancy that day!

One thing for sure you will never buy biscuits again…not when you can make this brown sugar biccie goodness. Check out the Trotski and Ash post about these biscuits here.

all images by me using shakeitphoto for iphone

Too yummy to pass up..

Winter Harvest Bundt Cake

I don’t ususally start the week with a recipe but this was waaay too good to pass up. I highly recommend you get yourself over to foodie blog Straight from the Farm by the delightful Jennie from PA. She posted a recipe for the above Winter Harvest Bundt Cake, a totally original recipe (don’t you love that?!). It includes ingredients such as home made Pumpkin Puree, grated carrots and parsnips – think about it…your RDA of vegetables in a CAKE!! It’s like my wildest fanTASTIES have finally come true. heehee.

So get yourself over to her blog and give it a try. You can be sure it will be a nicer bundt cake than the one in My big fat Greek wedding!

Winter Harvest Bundt Cake

all images from straight from the farm

Yum review: The Vanderbilt Brooklyn

Blistered Peppers and Pimento Salt
Blistered Peppers and Pimento Salt

Every once in a while it’s good to step out of your comfort zone and throw culinary caution to the wind. Last week I had one of those days. The above is a dish I enjoyed at The Vanderbilt, a restaurant and bar in Brooklyn NY. The decor was sufficiently stylish but the dishes interesting – especially the Blistered Shishito Peppers with pimenton salt . I honestly can say I didn’t know what to expect when I placed my order, but what I got looked like nothing I could’ve imagined.

When I saw the peppers I immediately feared a live action remake of that episode of the Simpsons wherein Homer entered a pepper eating contest, but much to my surprise the blistered peppers had a slightly sweet and mild taste similar to a banana pepper. The peppers were paired with pimento salt, a lovely deep reddish brown salt that had a distinct smokey chipotle flavour – together the taste was just phenomenal: crunchy, sweet, smokey and dark. I couldn’t describe it any clearer than that, it is truly a dish you have to experience for yourself.

Based on that dish alone I would reccomend The Vanderbilt for a stop in if you and your friends are peckish. No one was disappointed with their food or drink (did I mention they have scrumpy cider? My favourite way to drink such a beverage..). So if you get the chance check it out at 570 Vanderbilt Ave in Brooklyn!

image by the vanderbilt

A little craven wishlist…

It’s been some time since I posted an out and out honest to goodness wishlist. So here it is …a few things if money was no object and space wasn’t an issue I would love in my home:

Daydream Wallpaper by Mica
Daydream Wallpaper by Mica

I love illustrated birds and this wallpaper looks like it was drawn straight onto the wall. I would love to paper my kitchen walls with it, the light pastel shades would readily bounce the morning sunlight all over the space. The design is screen printed onto the paper – a print process I love only second most to letter press (does letter pressed wallpaper exist??). Available at Hygge & West.

Rope Deck Mat
Giovanna Locatelli Coiled Rope Deck Mat

I love using and reusing things for a purpose other than intended. I think this deck mat would make a pretty kewl table placemat, though a little pricey (the small is $196), available at Nautical Luxuries.

Trotski and Ash
Trotski and Ash Cooking Club

Cooking Club gives Melbourne cooking enthusiasts a chance to learn more from Melbourne’s best cooks and chef’s. Starting with Arna McCabe of Boire. Club participants will learn basic knife skills and about organic and biodynamic produce, textures, flavour marriages and picnic salads! They will prepare a delightful picnic to eat and enjoy together at the end of the evening. While it costs only $90AUD for ingredients, tuition and a take home package of some lovely kitchen wares to be used on the day, it takes place in Melbourne Australia – so I would have to tack on another $1500 for travel costs alone! If you are in or around the Fitzroy area check out the trotski and ash website for details.

Java Mosaic Collection for Dwell studio
Mosaic Java Placemats and Napkins by DwellStudio

I’m a huge fan of DwellStudio and almost all that they churn out. Their recent collection for tabletop warez includes Java Mosaic placemats, runners and napkins. There is something a little retro-modern about these items that caught my attention. The sort of design that is timeless and classic yet punched with the sort of style that have friends wondering if you inherited these items from your parents…and that your parents had rad style when they were younger!

Liberty of London for Target
The entire Liberty of London for Target Collection

As I mentioned last week, I cannot wait for this collab. Liberty of London promises to present a line with Target at affordable prices, comprising of housewares, clothing, garden products and storage! Check out the video on Target’s site.

Horta Glasses
Horta Glasses at Anthropologie

These stems are ornately etched from an art nouveau garden design which twists and twines all over the glass. Available as water, wine, champage and tumbler style glasses this line is new to Anthropologie and are to die for!

images by hygge and west, nautical luxuries, trotski and ash, dwellstudio, apartment therapy and anthropologie.