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  • Craven Maven is about..

    ..experiencing food and all that goes with it.
  • Who is the Craven Maven..?

  • Be a Locavore – what’s in Season?

    Locavore App for Iphone
    Download the Locavore App for iPhone to find out what produce is currently in season in your region. (created by enjoymentland).

Of Gastro gifts and house guests..

plan the menu!

On the list of ‘things I want to be when I grow up’, Inn-Keeper ranks somewhere near the top. It’s no surprise then that any given year, my teeny flat (600 and change sq feet) is home to visitors, travelers and nomads alike. I like it, as it gives me the chance to be a tourist in the town I live in via their experiences and stories { there is ALWAYS a story..}.

One thing i’ve come to realise is that more often than not, my guests always leave a gastro inspired gift. My last guest left last week and when I came home I found attached to my fridge the nifty pad pictured above. Made by knock knock, this ‘planning the menu’ pad forces you to curate your meal plan for the day or a specific event and gives space for feedback and ingredients used. It’s just what a needed and a nice staging area for recipes that aren’t yet fit to make it into my moleskine recipe journal.

So thanks house guest! You’re welcome around these ‘ere parts anytime!

image via knock knock

Thomas Stanley’s Seriously Sexy Flatware

thomas stanley

When I first came across Thomas Stanley’s Élégance flatware I let out a sigh that is usually uttered only when eating my most favourite cake/biscuits/sweet treat..There is something a little sci-fi alien meets long lean supermodel about these ‘utensils’ and I am absolutely smitten.

Thomas shares the same sentiment as mine when it comes to having ‘special’ things’ – “It is not to be stored away and only brought out on special occasions but to be used everyday for every meal. Why should we use cheap undesirable flatware to eat 99% of our meals?

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

image from thomas stanley

Le Cassoulet: The perfect Autumnal tool

Le Creuset Cassoulet Set

Autumn has official arrived my dears. The sky outside is gray, the air brisk and I have worn boots more than once this week…oh summer – I’ve already forgotten what you look like.

But not to fear – with the introduction of a new season is the necessity to change ones menu. Comfort foods that make you feel snuggly inside are the call du jour and boy are there some good ones. When I got my latest email blast from Williams Sonoma I knew they were feeling the same – because they launched a new Le Creuset Cassoulet Set. **breathe**

To say I love Le Creuset is an understatement – not only are they beautiful vessels, they also work very very well. My tofu is best ONLY when cooked with a sprinkling of chilli infused olive oil in my Le Creuset round pot.

This cast iron and porcelain Cassoulet set – comprising of the cassoulet and 4 bowls, is a limited edition and available online in red only for $199. Perfect for your Autumunal casseroles or blackberry pear cobblers..yum!

image via williams sonoma

Helen Beard UK Ceramicist

New Helen Beard Ceramics

I don’t know quite how it happened, but I’ve developed quite a thing for ceramicists. There is something intriguing about vessels that have traditionally been used in a utilitarian capacity being formed as a thing of beauty. Preciousness. Art.

The craven side of me tells me, ‘its just a plate, eat off it’ but the artist in me wants to hold it in higher regard, display it and admire it like any other work of art that adorns my wall. Thus ceramic arts create quite a conflict within, and to be honest, I kind of like it.

Helen Beard SwimmersSwimmers and the pool

Very recently I learned of the work of Helen Beard, a ceramicist, living and working in London. Helen creates wonderful start white pieces upon which she hand paints every day scenes, people and occurrences. When these pieces are grouped together they form a story. What a lovely idea.

Skaters on iceSkaters on ice

Her artist statement reads:

Helen Beard’s distinctive pieces begin with drawings of quirky individuals and curious places, which she uses to illustrate her hand-thrown pots. By grouping the pots together, she likes to tell a story, creating whimsical scenes that capture the insignificant yet precious moments that make up our daily lives.

Every pot is individually thrown in Limoges porcelain on a potter’s wheel before being hand-painted. The pots are decorated using a technique that Helen developed to create an effect similar to watercolour and ink. Her freehand line drawing is transferred onto the pot using a form of relief print. Colour is painted over the drawing using different washes of ceramic stain, and finally the pots are dip-glazed and smoothed down ready for the final stage of firing. Each is unique – a work of art, but also a functional piece of domestic ware.

Shopping Mall

Art and functional domestic ware? It seems my quandary is over. Currently her work is available in the US via Ashes and Milk (a great artist outlet you should definitely bookmark) and Helen is known to show from time to time in NY and roundabouts. Sign up to her mailing list for more info.

It’s been some time since I’ve visited friends at Craft Central. I only hope that next time I am in London I can pop by and see some of Helen’s lovely work in person.

Swimmers

images from helen beards site

Baby’s gotta eat in style too..

I hate walking on main streets. Mostly because at any given time I am in a city and the main street is awash with tourists who slow me down from getting where I got’s to go. (Yeah, I said it). But the other day, I found myself scurrying down Oxford St in the pouring rain. My thoughts were fixed on getting to where I needed to be and then I saw this..The Bloom loft. What the what? I totally backed up (against foot traffic no less).

Bloom Loft

The Bloom loft is a baby chair that is not only functional as a 3-in-1 piece of furniture – resting, feeding and play chair but it’s so ‘stylin’ I almost blurted out ‘Are we living in the time of the Jetsons??’

I can honestly say I’ve never seen a baby chair quite like this. It’s cocoon like shape comes in a high gloss white or black while the fabric interior is available in a wealth of shades, including metallics! But is it just a pretty piece or is it also functional?

bloom loft reclined for a newborn

It’s called the Fresco Loft as it has the ability to be elevated to counter height or high enough for a standing adult to comfortably feed the child, no bending over a piddly little baby tray! The cocoon shape works well to hold a newborn, but is big enough to seat a child weighing up to 79lbs – so you have some longevity out of it.

I can see this piece fitting into a mod home with no problems, at first I wondered if you could add it to a house with just any old aesthetic. Traditionalists might initially balk, bohemians might recoil from the lack of whimsy, but on second look the structural form is like a piece of art, not just a functional piece of furniture. It’s like having a scuplture in your space…which brings me on to price..the one I saw was priced at 320GBP..not the price of your average baby high chair, but then again, this isn’t your typical baby chair.

Check out more pictures and info a the Bloom website.

image by bloom baby

More than just a plate

Silence Came Plate by Lisa Grue
Silence Came Plate by Lisa Grue

I love when something is done differently and done well, when something walks the line between art and function. I am a firm believer in using ‘special things’ in the day to day. Why have that China for ‘special occasions’ when every day can be a celebration? I used to have the reputation for going to work in clothes that some might reserve for a special night out – suitably dressed down of course, it made me and others feel good and made every day just that bit more special.

Yesterday I came across these fantastically creative plates by Lisa Grue. From a project she titled, ‘Owls have more fun’. They are classic Royal Copenhagen plates, adorned with Lisa’s illustration, woven with wool and adorned with pompoms.

Lisa Grue Plates
Hell Yes and Wake Up plates by Lisa Grue

They are such a step up from the ‘typical’ illustrated plate most artists of this medium go for. The addition of wool woven around the edges and intermittent pompoms leaves you wondering just what to do with this piece. It defy’s function, or so you would think..I would have no issue with serving a canape or two on these…they are sure to be a talking point of any dinner party. The ‘fun’ of them makes me smile. Pom Poms immediately draw me back to childhood, wearing ankle socks with pompoms at the heels as well as making pom poms with my sisters. The illustrations are almost childlike and in comparison to the bright whimsy of the wools selected, are a little dark and foreboding, a nice contrast thats a little unsettling – making you question Lisa’s choices, motivation and message she is trying to portray.

Clear water plate by Lisa Grue
Clear water plate by Lisa Grue

Whether a person decides to decorate with these or use them in their day-to-day, there is no doubt that these plates are special and as such would make the day to day much more interesting and entertaining.

Plates retail from $100-$300 and can be found in the gallery hanahou shop. All images from gallery hananhou.

With my ongoing obsession with picnicing..

Picnic set

..I stumbled across this on huset this morning. What the heck is in the strapped up container I wondered..and then I saw, and I melted – behold!

Picnic set details

A picnic set! My palate watered, my palms went clammy and my heart raced. Satisfies my obsession with putting things in containers? CHECK, appeals to my ongoing want/need/desire to go picnicing? CHECK. Aesthetically delicious? CH-CH-CHECK! Readers, we have a trifecta.

Designed by Swede Carina Ahlburg, the melamine set comprises of plates, cups and tableware for four persons, housed in a bowl for serving and storage – with stainless steel cutlery it appeals to my hatred of using plastic ‘cutlery’ in public settings. It’s practical, as well as ‘kewl looking’. Carina’s philosophy of combining aesthetic values with usefulness and contextual meaning to create products that meet market needs is clearly exhibited with this piece. I believe it is one for my {ever growing} wishlist!

images from huset