Unique Wallpaper

Karman Grech is one of those people whose incredible talent should be bottled. I recently met the 'go-to-guy for hand printed wallpapers' and was blown away by his extensive range and knowledge. Karman has been in the business for over 40 years and specialises in reproducing period wallpapers (ie. wallpaper from as early as 1890). He can also create one off designs - all you need is a little bit of visual reference for him, and off he goes - to design and hand print anything, in any colour - all at his humble Carlton studio. As you can imagine, I left our meeting dreaming about my personalised (and surprisingly affordable) wallpaper. Karman also mentioned that he has struggled to find an apprentice truly dedicated to the craft, so if there is anyone out there looking for a new trade - you might want to consider the art of wallpaper?



I hit the shops yesterday for new work boots but ended up with two books (for a person that shops props for a living, I find clothes shopping almost impossible). The Stylist's Guide to NYC by Sibella Court is one of those tactile publications that draws you to 'touch and take in' before you actually get to reading the print. Beautifully designed with a pull out map, it has taken me one step closer to the dream of a big trip to New York. The second book, Gran's Family Table made it home simply because the recipes reminded me of the food both my special Nan's raised me on. There is nothing quite like mash potato or cauliflower + cheese at your Grandma's table. Don't you agree?
- Briar
PS. Apologies to my subscribers who received an email with an old post on Friday - it was an an annoying 'Blogger glitch', out of my control...but I hope some of you were inspired to make the orange cake again??


Mark's Ravioli

Thanks for all your lovely comments and emails re. my new job. It really is so lovely to read your support and excitement for the film. On a different note, it's guaranteed to be a good day when my husband gets his pasta maker out and cooks up a storm. You might remember the table setting and menu for a lunch we hosted recently, but I completely forgot to share this dish with you. It's kind of a fiddly dish, but if you master it, your lunch guests will think you are really clever (yes, clever Mark - I'm talking about you).

1 quantity home-made pasta dough - email me if you would like the instructions for this part.Roast Pumpkin, Sundried Tomatoes and Fetta filling
500g butternut pumpkin, peeled, chopped
100g crumbled fetta cheese
100g chopped sun dried tomatoes
Bunch chopped herbs (basil and continental parsley)
Season with sea salt and cracked pepper to tasteGarnish
Kalamata olives
Rocket leaves
Parmigiano Reggiano
Good quality olive oil

Preheat the oven to moderately hot (200°C/180°C fan forced). Place pumpkin on a lightly oiled tray; roast for about 40 minutes or until pumpkin starts to slightly darken in colour. Allow to cool then mix ravioli filling ingredients well in a bowl. Roll dough to the thinnest setting on a pasta machine. As soon as the dough is rolled into sheets, prepare the ravioli – don’t allow the pasta to dry out. Roll two sheets at a time and keep the remaining dough wrapped in plastic. Place the pasta sheet on a flour-dusted surface. Place rounded teaspoons of filling about 5cm apart in 2 rows, 2cm from the edges. Brush around the filling with a little egg wash (lightly whisk 1 egg white with a touch of salt). Place another freshly rolled pasta sheet on top. Press around each piece of filling to exclude the air. Cut into squares or rounds using a knife or cutter. Place ravioli on a tray dusted with a little flour. Add ravioli, in batches, to a large pan of boiling salted water; simmer, uncovered, until pasta is just tender, about 3 minutes; remove from pan with a slotted spoon.
Assemble torn rocket leaves, chopped olives then drizzle generously with olive oil. Then place Parmigiano-Reggiano flakes over the top.

An extra tip from the chef: Serve with an Eden Valley Riesling or a young Hunter Semillon (Or if you are like me, a light Rosé works a treat too).
- Briar


Scandinavian Style

When I was in my early 20's, the style of my home could have been described as 'Op Shop Nanna Chic', but over the past few years I've been drawn towards the calm you find in Scandinavian interiors (but with yum hits of bright colour). If money was no object and I got the opportunity to create my absolute dream home, emmas designblogg would be a first stop for a source of lovely inspiration. A next stop would be to re-visit the Bondi home I shot on Wednesday for Real Living magazine. Homeowner Carina, who also owns Funkis, has created an utterly spectacular and very Swedish space. I'll make sure to share some pics once the issue is out (Carina is also about to open a new Funkis store in Paddington). In the mean time, pictured above is a little collection from my present home, sort of a miniature mood board for our dream/much more fabulous home. A girl can dream...


It's Business Time

Ta-da. These are my new business cards. Finally, I'll be able to hand over something with my name on it...I have been carrying around my old maiden-named cards for far too long. Yesterday, I was worried they were starting to look like a business card for a 'twee' Antique Store, but the addition of a tiny bit of yellow string (I do love my yellow) from the cupboard pulled it back to being more 'me'. Hopefully. What do you think?


Very White

Besides my homage to white walls, it occurred to me today that I haven't photographed a collection of white for the blog yet - although the above is bordering close to the collection of cream. It was tricky culling the white - it seems our home has a lot of it. I swear by using Dulux Sprayak Quick Dry on anything for a bright even coat (like the deer antler from a film job above). Included in the collection is a very sad and empty bottle of my favourite fragrance, Diptyque Philosykos. Orson + Blake don't sell it anymore, so I was thrilled to find the fig scent exclusively at Mecca Cosmetica. A lovely new bottle is at the top of my wish list. What's your favourite scent?


Quick Question

Spending extended periods of time with my stationery/general contents of the craft cupboard is a favourite past time. Two of my sisters recently visited South Korea and certainly delivered the goods after I mentioned 'It would be great if you could bring me back some cute stationery'. Creating things with my collections of papers, tapes, stickers and stamps is actually how I like to spend my downtime...which brings me to the quick question. I am sourcing for a few Real Living shoots at the moment, and one shoot in particular is themed 'Mum's Escape Spaces'. I have to create six 'chill out' areas especially designed for the busy Mum. As you know, I'm not a Mum, so I would love any tips, ideas or feedback from the mothers* out there. What would be your own perfect space in the home, and how would you spend your time in it? Thanks for your help peeps. -Briar
*If you're not a Mum of a small person, but would still like to contribute your thoughts, please do.


The weekend with a new camera

I spent the week helping at the last minute to dress some sets on the new television series of Underbelly. If, like me, you really got in to the first series, but lost interest with the second and third, promise me you will re-visit the fourth series, Underbelly:Razor. Set in 1920's Sydney, my colleague (and friend) Rob Wood has done a beautiful job of decorating the sets, and the scripts are great. It was with rather tired eyes on Friday night I got to play with my new camera. I'm planning to do a course (let me know if you can recommend a good one in Sydney) to really make the most of it. That didn't stop me from snapping with it around the house, and for the rest of the weekend...

'New York City in a bag' given to me by my cousin from here.

Dried 'Craspedia' flowers on the bookshelf, from this wedding.

Thrift purchases and a lamp from IKEA.

Impressive pies served to us at a dinner party in Surry Hills on Saturday night (that girl sure can cook).

Sunday Breakfast with Mum here. Whatever you all got up to - I hope you had a great weekend.
- Briar


Food for Friends

As a devoted brown bread eater, I occasionally enjoy spongy sliced white bread when there is a sausage with tomato sauce or fancy-pants chicken involved. We created the latter on the weekend from Guillaume Brahimi's new cookbook Food For Friends. The combination of celery, walnuts, apple and homemade mayonnaise made the Waldorf sandwiches irresistible with a glass of bubbly. As Guillaume says in the book "Girls seem to love to talk and talk over copious amounts of them". I totally agree. The recipe below looks long, but the method is actually pretty quick and easy.

Chicken Waldorf Sandwiches
1 L white chicken stock
2 skinless chicken breast, trimmed of any excess fat
1 celery stick, peeled
1/2 granny smith apple
50g walnuts, chopped
1/4 bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
100g mayonnaise (see recipe below)
sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
1. Place the chicken stock in a saucepan and add the chicken breasts. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is firm to the touch. Remove the chicken from the stock and place in the fridge to chill.
2. When the chicken is cold, cut it into 1cm dice and place in a mixing bowl. Grate the celery and apple on top, then add the walnuts, parsley and mayonnaise. Season with salt and pepper and mix well.
3. Add the chicken mixture to 5 slices of bread and top with the remaining slices to make the sandwiches. Remove the crusts and cut into triangles (or kind-of-messy fingers, like we did). Serve immediately.

Homemade Mayonnaise
2 egg yolks, at room temperature
1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
300ml olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
juice of 1/4 lemon
Whisk together the egg yolks, vinegar and mustard in a bowl. Slowly pour on the olive oil, whisking continuously until all the oil has been Incorporated. Whisk in 1 tablespoon of warm water. Finish with salt, pepper and lemon juice.

- Briar


The White House II

Some of you may remember the white house 'Kalua' I blogged about back in July last year. Long story short...since then, coincidentally the P & O Art Deco home came on the market, my sister and brother in-law fell in love with it, (I reminded them that I spotted it first), and they then managed to snap it up (lucky, lucky). It was with delight today that my sister had the new keys and got to take me behind the gates to see it up close. It. is. beautiful. What surprised me the most was the size of the gorgeous back yard. There are already plans in the works to make some updates (carefully and in-keeping, as it's heritage listed), so i'll make sure to share pictures with you when it's all completed. Until then, my hand is up for house sitting duties.


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