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Wednesday 30 November 2011

Weekly Wine: Easy peasy wine and… cheese-y

Psst… don't tell anyone but CHRISTMAS STARTS TOMORROW. Oh, okay, so it's only December 1st, but that does mean we're officially allowed to mention the big day without getting scroogey looks from people.

This week, I'm going to drool incessantly at the thought of my Christmas cheeseboard. Yeah, it's maybe not quite as important as the turkey or the mince pies, but as a cheese fangirl it's definitely a treat for me, both on the big day and at the parties leading up to it.

"But cheese and wine matching is easy!" I hear you cry (…silently.) Traditionally-speaking, you're right, and we all think red, red, red. I think most people are food-savvy enough to know you put Bordeaux reds with hard cheddary stuff, mature Burgundy matches mature softies like brie and camembert, and Port is stilton's absolute bezza.

But a post telling you what you already know is no fun at all, plus traditional doesn't mean 'right', and I like to shake things up a bit. So this year I'm dreaming of a white Christmas, wine and cheese-wise. And you'd be surprised how tasty these matches are.

Hard cheeses

Oh, yum-central. Cheddar, parmesan, Lincolnshire poacher… salty, flavourful, dry and sometimes a tad nutty. Before I fall into a cheese-induced coma, I should tell you that reds sometimes overpower these wonderful flavours. Throw a Christmas curveball and serve the hard cheeses with a medium-dry Vouvray, like Vouvray, Les Coteaux Tufiers, Demi-Sec 2009 at a surprising £6.95 from The Wine Society. The slight rich sweetness offsets the cheese's salty dryness, and its honeyed delicacy smooths out the nutty flavours. Heaven.

Soft cheeses

The gooey, melt-in-your-mouthy ones. Camembert, Brie, and even stinky goats cheese. A red-free zone in my household - I much prefer a nice crisp sauvignon. The tangy cheese is well-paired with an aromatic white, so a zingy gewurztraminer might even do the job too. My choice would be a Loire Sauvignon like Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Touraine Sauvignon for a very reasonable £7.99.

Blue cheeses

Roquefort, Saint-Agur, Stilton. When you get a really good one, it's so salty and harsh I can't quite believe people enjoy eating this stuff. But OH WE DO. Those canny French people have matched Roquefort with sweet white Sauternes for donkeys years, and I can't get believe we haven't cottoned on yet. Massive saltiness, meet massive sweetness... Wow, you guys should totally get married.
A half-bottle will do the job, and Waitrose's own-brand Sauternes is made by the massive name Chateau Suduiraut, and yet is only £14.99. It'll probably last the Christmas season in the fridge too if you don't scoff it all on the big day.

There we go, some ideas for a cheeseboard with a twist that'll make the end of the Christmas meal worth staying awake for. Three wines, and feel free to mix and match - I reckon the sauvignon would be great with some of the hard cheeses too, and Vouvray and the softies will probably be delish.
Maybe mix it up a bit with the traditional red suggestions if you don't want to be too avant-garde, but hey, this could be the start of a whole new set of cheese and wine-matching traditions…

Feel free to wax lyrical about your wine and cheese heavens on our Twitter and Facebook pages.

Image taken from's photostream under the Creative Commons License.

Bag Lust: Topshop Dalmation Box Bag

Box bags are like sexy, grown up satchels. Especially this red and black number from Topshop. I must confess a slight addiction to red and black animal print but I think I'd be drawn to this regardless. The size means you can fit quite a bit of stuff in but not be lugging around unnecessary items. And it can do the important day to night multi-tasking which is especially handy if you've got lots of post-work drinks to go to in the run up to Christmas.

Oh and it's a little bit furry. That makes it like a small useful pet and who doesn't want to carry one of those around? You can get your own furry pet bag for £32.

Wallpaper Wednesday: Paperboy Spitfires


This spitfire wallpaper is beyond lovely. Not just for boys, oh no. I think Paper Boy are brilliant at doing wallpapers that work for boys (both grown up and childish ones), but that doesn't stop me wanting to cover my walls in the stuff.

And sky blue (kids not included).

And a very fetching slate grey. Each roll is £60 and definitely not just for boys.

Shoe Porn: Lady Dragon from Melissa Vivienne Westwood

It may not be the most affordable shoe and it may not be the easiest to wear,  but my goodness this is the shoe I covet right now. This is the Lady Dragon Anglomania Melissa shoe designed by Vivienne Westwood.  It's red, it has a wing, and a sweet heel...these are shoes that are knowingly cool and sexy. But then, that's Vivienne Westwood for you.

Not only a gorgeous pair of shoes, but they are ethical too (one of my most favourite things!). The Lady Dragon is a vegan shoe part-made from recycled old shoes. They are made in factory in Brazil that works to a social and environmentally friendly code of practice, such as recycling waste and water. The are made from plastic so I'm wondering what the comfort levels might be, but they would be perfect wipe-clean suitability for those boozy Christmas parties.

Available in black or red, you can find them at Fashion Conscience for £118.

Sluttishly Savoury: Lovely Lasagne

It's a classic.

It's just what you need after your bus broke down leaving you and a number of irate passengers stranded on a cliff side for 45 minutes until a rescue bus arrives.

It's just what you need when you arrive home to find your washing machine has leaked foamy suds all over your original 1960s parquet.

It's just what you need when your bank stop your card because of "fraudulent activity" weeks before Christmas ... Ok, so it could be considered unusual for you to be buying two copies of Michael Buble's Christmas album complete with matching calendars; but if thats what your mother-in-law and step-mother-in-law want for Christmas, who are your bank to argue?!

Whatever your reasoning is for needing some soul food, you'll need:
  • Packet of lasagne sheets
  • Two tins of cherry tomatoes
  • Squirt of tomato puree
  • Three cloves of garlic
  • One large onion
  • Small tin of sweetcorn
  • 250g minced beef
  • Three carrots
  • Salt and pepper
  • Tablespoon of sugar
  • Parmesan cheese
  • 40g butter
  • 20g flour
  • 425ml milk (cold)
Make it!
  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. You can fantasise about winning the lottery and telling your boss to stick his poxy job whilst you do this, if you want.
  • Chop the onion and garlic and fry in a little olive oil until the onion starts to go translucent and slightly golden. Add the mince and fry through until evenly browned.
  • Squirt in a little tomato puree and mix. Then add the two tins of cherry tomatoes. Add salt, pepper and sugar and mix. Let this mixture simmer.
  • Add the sweetcorn and chopped carrots.
  • Boil a little water and dip each lasagne leaf in the water for a few seconds before layering in an oven-proof dish with the mince. Leave to stand.
  • Whip up a quick roux by melting the butter in a pan. Once melted, remove from the heat and add the flour. Blend until completely combined - you're looking for a thin paste at this stage, so if you're unsure add the flour a little at a time.
  • Add the COLD milk to the roux whilst still off the head. Give a quick mix then return to a medium heat.
  • Keep stirring until the mixture begins to thicken. Add grated parmesan to taste.
  • Pour the sauce over the lasagne and pop into the oven for 25 minutes.
  • Consume with a VERY large glass of red, some lovely cabbage with peppercorn and butter or a small salad and have a RIGHT OLD MOAN about your rubbishy day.
Wine recommendation: Oh, those Italians know a thing or two about creating wine to match their food - so you can't really go wrong with any young Italian red, but my fave lasagne pals are Montepulciano d'Abruzzo or anything made from the Barbera grape. If Italian wines don't rock your socks, then try something equally round and soft from Southern France, particularly from Languedoc or Provence. Old World is best, but an uncomplicated Chilean Merlot might also do the job quite nicely.

Sluttery Travels: 10 George Street, York

I've never been to York but it's one of those places that you hear only good things about. Everyone tells me that I simply must visit, and after spying the sexy pile of bricks at 10 George Street I think I might just.

It might look like a sexy hotel, but the accommodation is self-catering. It sleeps six, with three very beautiful bedrooms.

Swish, isn't it?

It's special and quirky rather than too over the top.

And of course the bathroom is swanky too.

If 10 George Street was a small hotel, it would cost you hundreds for a night. Instead, you get to stay in the heart of York for pittance. The property will cost you £560 for two nights via Chic Retreats. Between six of you, it's just £46.67 per person per night.

Tuesday 29 November 2011

The boy and his poison: The Michelada

As restoratives go, there's no denying that sometimes a bloody mary can be a bit of an ordeal. The vodka and worcestershire sauce suspended in a high-ball glass of coagulating tomato juice and coarse ground pepper punctured by that limp stick of celery. What if there was another way, one where you could get all the vitamins of the tomato, the spice of the tabasco and the soothing hit of alcohol, but with the fizz and joy of some sort of internal mariachi band? That is the power of the Michelada.

The drinks name is derived from "mi chela helada," or "my cold beer" and while its best suited to lazy summer days by the beach (preferably in its Mexican country of origin) its also an incredible panacea to over indulgence. So grab yourself a bottle of negra modelo, pick your favourite bloody mary flavours and get making this incredible drink:

You'll need:
  • 12oz beer (Brewdog's IPA is lovely but for authenticity try a Mexican one like Negra Modelo)
  • 1 oz of tomato juice
  • The juice of half a lime
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 dash hot sauce
Then make:
  • Salt the rim of a tumbler by running some lime juice round the rim and dipping it in salt
  • Add all the ingredients except the beer to a chilled glass
  • Top up with the beer and grate some black pepper over the top.

Sites we love: The Cool Hunter

As with so many things on the internet, once I've devoured The Cool Hunter newsletter each week, I completely forget it exists. Then it pops up again, and once more I'm knocked over by a selection of the most beautiful, wildly exciting and imaginative feats of creativity throughout the world.

Think that's a bit of an exaggeration? Check out this tent.

I KNOW, RIGHT? It's from a company called FieldCandy, and you should totally perve over more of their amazing (but staggeringly expensive) tents in the CH post.

The Cool Hunter simply rounds up great stuff on the internet - from beautiful new examples of architecture to stunning places to visit around the world. I have an urgent appointment with the Multnomah Falls in Oregon thanks to hours lost perving over the pictures in that last post.

I need a ceiling light for my bedroom. How incredibly impractical is it to have a chandelier made out of a tyre like in Bow Berlin?

As well as design and Things To Buy And Visit, I really love their pick of great talent too. Watch this video of some children's pitch-perfect rendition of Rolling In The Deep and realise you have achieved nothing with your life.

You can sign up to The Cool Hunter newsletter here and they're on Facebook and Twitter. Love.

Dream Dress: Pretty in Purple

I know it's a classic, but I've never really been a fan of the little black dress. Actually, I only own one LBD and I rarely wear it. I'm a colour girl. Once the weather gets absolutely bloody freezing a bit cooler, I go for bright jewel colours. It's going to be hard for me to choose between these purple dresses.

God I love this shape. This purple dress is basically just oozing sexiness. It's £45 from Miss Selfridge. There's a Miss Selfridge by Sluttery HQ. It's entirely likely that I'll have bought this within the hour. The contrasting fabric and draping is just yummy.

The Deco cut out details on this purple shift dress is gorgeous. It's from Warehouse and it's £55. Mega-flattering sleeves as well.

Mmmm, lovely lovely colour blocking. Well done Dotty Ps, this dress is £42 of prettiness.

Just LOOK AT THE SLEEVES on this dress. I want to shake them in your faces. This is just £26 from ASOS. That's £13 per fabulous sleeve.

Have a Hammade Christmas

Oh I do so love Hammade. They're just the cutest animal designs. But now that it's (almost) Christmas time, horse has stopped watering plants. And pig has stopped mowing the lawn. Instead he's putting up Christmas decorations. They're even doing their Christmas shopping! The Hammade Christmas cards are utterly wonderful.

They're £4.75 for a pack of five and they'll look awesome on anyone's mantlepiece. Especially mine.

Sluttishly Savoury: Honey Spiced Pumpkin Soup

We may be heading in the darkest depths of winter, but autumn isn't that far long forgotten and pumpkins are still in season and available at your local supermarket, farmers market and farm shop. So to keep the impending chilliness at bay and make your belly a happy place, I am sharing this easy-peasy recipe for soup that is both sweet, salty and full of goodness. 

Plus, anything with bacon in is a winner for me. 

You will need:
  • 1 peeled and seeded pumpkin cut into large cubes 
  • 5-6 tbsp olive oil 2 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of crushed dried chilli (I used ½ tsp)
  • 1 medium potato peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
  • 1 litre vegetable stock, hot 
  • 1-2tsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp honey
Make it!
    1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Place the pumpkin cubes on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes until soft and starting to colour.
    2. In a small frying pan, fry the bacon until nicely crispy. Remove from pan and set aside. Once cool, crumble or chop the bacon into small pieces.
    3. About 20 minutes before the pumpkin is ready, heat 3 tbsp of oil in a large saucepan on a medium heat and fry the onions with a pinch of salt for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to stop the onions sticking.
    4. Add the garlic, cinnamon and chilli. Fry for a minute, then add the potato with another pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring to make sure the garlic does not burn.
    5. Add the roasted pumpkin and the hot stock. Bring to a slow simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
    6. In a food processor, or with a handheld blender, whizz the soup until smooth. Return it to the pan and add a little more boiling water to create a thick soup consistency (i.e. not the baby food puree look).
    7. Add the sugar and honey, stir and allow to heat through for 5 minutes.
    8. Serve with a sprinkling of crispy bacon bits.

    GELeration: Taylor Taylor's Magical Manicure

    Boutique salon Taylor Taylor is like being in the collective brain of the Domestic Sluts. You know you're not in your grandmother's hairdressers when you walk in to find a gigantic fluffy unicorn and enormous Christmas swan on the counter of a cocktail bar. Yes, a cocktail bar. This is why evening appointments are a must - it seems a waste to pop in on your lunch break and have a cup of tea when you know a complimentary Martini could be yours.

    When I lived in east London, Taylor Taylor was my regular hairdressers. Here's why: a lithe young man takes you downstairs to a golden dungeon, where he washes your hair while you try and fail to make small talk because you're inwardly squeeing with excitement. Then a super-cool but super-friendly hairdresser brings you a drink on a gold tray and styles your hair while you stare at the glorious decor. Huge gilt-edged mirrors, shabby chic dressers and eclectic vintage decor - not to mention some excellent tattoos on those hairdressers - are far more interesting to gaze at than last month's magazines.

    This time, I was there to try out their Jessica GELeration manicure. This promises three weeks of shiny, chip-free nails, so your only worry is getting sick of the colour. As someone who regularly smudges or chips my nails within minutes of painting them, this was quite the claim.

    Antoaneta picked out a vivid blue for me and explained how the process works. It's like a normal manicure except each coat is sealed under a UV light, which means you're good to go straight away as your nails are completely dry at the end. It also doesn't damage your nails like acrylics can. She gave my nails a quick tidy up, then applied a base coat, two coat of colour and a top coat, sealing with the UV lamp after each one. 40 minutes after walking in, I could put on my gloves and go.

    Here are my nails on Day 1:

    Day 1

    It's a super glossy, 'done' look - my nails looked too perfect to be real. They don't look like false nails but it's clear that I've had something special done, because you couldn't create that wet-look shine at home.

    I was determined to put the three week claim to the test so here's why I've been up to.


    ...washing up...


    And here are my nails a fortnight later:

    Day 15

    You can see where my nails have grown, but there are no chips or tip wear. It's like magic. I'm seriously impressed at how long-lasting it is.

    At £48 plus £10 for removal, it's too pricey to become a regular treat, but it would be ideal if you were going to a wedding or off on holiday, or anywhere you wanted to guarantee flawless nails that will look perfect for weeks.

    Taylor Taylor has two east London salons. One on Commercial Street, one on Cheshire Street.

    Monday 28 November 2011

    The boy and his poison: Just the tonic

    The humble but perfectly formed gin and tonic seems to be a common thread that runs throughout this site. From basic recipes to granitas and jellies it would seem that G&T pumps proudly through the veins of the domestic sluts. However despite our dedication to this classic libation it would seem at times that we've been a bit too focussed on the G at the expense of the T and lets face it, if you're drinking any of these incredible gins the least you could do is find them a worthy bedfellow.

    There are a wealth of really interesting tonics out there at the moment but Fevertree is one of the more commonly available premium brands and in my opinion gets everything right. Their range of tonics are the brainchild by a one-time head of Plymouth Gin in answer to the quandary of why gin lovers should have to compromise a premium spirit with a mediocre mixer. Whether its the natural zing of their traditional variety, mediterranean (with its notes of thyme, Sicilian lemon and rosemary) or lemon (somwhere between traditional tonic and bitter lemon) their flavours pair beautifully with premium gins and lift the average supermarket bottle right out of the doldrums. Its their light tonic which I always keep in the cupboard, they use grape juice instead of artificial sweeteners so unlike certain 'other' slimline brands that you always get stuck with in bars you can drink it all night without suffering from a saccharine hangover the next day.

    So what are you waiting for? Raid your local supermarket, or order it online and give that gin the tonic it deserves, your taste buds will thank you.

    Top Ten Dessert Recipes

    Yesterday I (gasp) had a supermarket sticky toffee pudding. IT WAS RUBBISH. And there's really no excuse for rubbish puds when the site is full of tasty recipes. Here are our top ten dessert recipes, just in time for Christmas. Want to make cake instead? We've got a top ten cake recipes list for that as well. Pop this post in your bookmarks and work your way through the list.

    Banoffee pie: This pud is crowned the most popular! It's really easy too. They're always the best kinds of puddings.

    Bread and butter pudding: It's an old classic and you guys love it.

    Chocolate ganache pie: Born mainly out of being hungover, this pie will take you five minutes to make. You can time it if you don't believe it. We bet you a slice of your tasty pie.

    Apple and pear crumble: Crumble makes winters less rubbish. Domestic Sluttery SCIENCE FACT.

    Cinnamon Whirls: You could eat these with ice cream, but this is the kind of pudding that will taste better for breakfast the next day.

    Eton Mess: You could serve up a warm version of this for winter and it would taste brilliant.

    Chocolate Ganache Truffles: Who doesn't love truffles?

    Pear and Vanilla Crumblepie: Yep, more crumble! This is my absolute favourite baking recipe. Mainly because I can't ever decide between pie and crumble.

    Honeycomb: If you don't get third-degree burns, you'll be happy you made this.

    Chocolate pavlova: Oh yes. Oh yes indeed.

    Gypsy tart: Another old favourite. You guys like the traditional puds, don't you?

    Got a favourite Sluttery dessert recipe that didn't make the list? Tell us what it is in the comments!

    Sexy skirt sparkles

    If you've been around these parts recently, you'll know by now that we've got a thing about sparkle and sequins. If it sparkles, I love it. Kat's already got a sparkly skirt that I'm insanely jealous of, and I've got a list of glittery dresses I want in my wardrobe. But then I saw this gold sequin skirt from Oasis and oh my goshness I want it. Yes, I want to spend eighty quid on sequins. I swear, they have magical powers that blind the rational part of my brain. Now I'm all "oooh shiny things" instead of "oooh, gas bill".

    I'm fairly sure that if you were careful with the rest of your outfit you could wear this during the day. I'm a huge fan of the daytime sparkle. But you can only do it with good quality clobber - don't scrimp on sequins unless you want to be wearing tatty, colourless bits of plastic after three weeks.

    Gas bill or pretty things. Gas bill or pretty things?

    Sluttishly Savoury: Afelia

    Last week I went to Cyprus and was basically fed and fed and fed until I had to change my usual belt notch (yes, after just four days, THANKS VERY MUCH FOR THAT Cyprus Tourist Organisation). Of all of the things I ate, a dish called afelia was the one I was still banging on about when I got home. Just three days after I arrived home, I had a bash at making it myself. The secret ingredient is a handful of bashed up coriander seeds but it's basically half a pig cooked in a bottle of red wine and there is never going to be anything bad about that.

    I'm amazed that with such a short cooking time the pork gets so tender, but this is a gooey, unctuous sticky plate of pig happiness. The fat on the pork tastes excellent, but if you're not a fan, you could always adapt the recipe to suit. Your house will also smell like red wine for the REST OF THE WEEKEND.

    To feed four hungry people, you'll need:
    • 1 kilo of diced pork shoulder
    • salt and pepper
    • 2 cloves of garlic, sliced
    • 1 onion, sliced
    • 2 tbsp coriander seeds, ground and bashed up
    • 1 bottle of red wine (you won't use it all in cooking, but you're going to drink some of it)
    • 2 tbsp sugar
    • Spinach (totally optional and not at all traditional but I needed something green to battle my heart attack)
    Make it!
    • Brown the pork in a large pan with the salt and pepper.
    • Add the garlic, onion and coriander seeds. Let it all cook together a little while you pour yourself a glass of red.
    • Throw in loads of red wine (leave enough for another glass - you might use it later, you might get to drink it) and add the sugar, give it all a stir.
    • Looks a bit rubbish, doesn't it? Cover and leave it to simmer on a low heat and MAGIC happens. Actual magic.
    • Check on it in about forty minutes. Doesn't it look tasty now? If it's looking a bit dry, add the rest of the wine. If not, drink! Continue simmering for another hour or so, drinking the wine and pootling about. Add the spinach at the last minute if you fancy it.
    • You're done! You've just made afelia, the tastiest pork and red wine thing known to man. Or to me, anyway.
    • Dish up with your favourite carb. If you're going to put yourself into a food coma, you might as well go all out.

    Brilliant baubles

    I have been told that I must start thinking about Christmas. Even though it's not December yet. So I've been playing Mariah Carey all through Sluttery HQ this morning in the hope that I'll find some Christmas cheer. it's worked! I might not like early festivities, but I do like baubles and buy a special one each year (in the hope that I might soon replace my collection from Asda). Here are some festive trinkets for when you put your tree up this weekend. If it's already up, I'm totally judging you.

    I do like these acorn baubles from Graham & Green (but then, I pretty much like everything from G&G). Last week I stayed in a hotel in Cyprus that had festive squirrels on the tree. I approve. They're £3.95.

    I know it's £14.95, but as I only buy one Christmas bauble a year and this one if bone China, my brain is playing Christmas tricks on me and I want it. It's part of the Reiko Kaneko range at Bouf.

    I liked striped anything, and these stripy John Lewis baubles are no exception. Turns out you can win over my cold not-ready-for-Christmas heart with a bit of stripe and glitter action. They're £2.50.

    I'm not often a fan of 'tasteful' at Christmas. If something doesn't have a crap load of tinsel all over it, I don't think it's festive at all. But I do think these baubles from Storm in a Teacup at Culture Label might help class up my erm... 'artfully' decorated tree.

    It took me a long time to decide between Christmas penguins and Christmas black swans. But the penguins win. I'm blaming Frozen Planet. They're £12 for 12 from the V&A.

    Baking for Beginners: Malteser Chocolate Tiffin

    I massively over-catered for trick or treaters this Hallowe'en. Having recently moved in a neighbourhood with lots of children, I expected an endless stream of kids demanding chocolate on the 31st. Alas, my only visitors were two tiny boys who quietly lisped 'twick or tweat?' at the behest of their mum, and then proceeded to give me some sweets. I ended up in candy credit, having received more than I gave away.

    So for the last few weeks I've been gamely ploughing through mini bags of chocolates, but it's nearly December and enough is enough. I've tipped the last few bags of Maltesers into a bowl and added them to a chocolate tiffin, to make a delicious malty, crunchy, chewy pud. It's incredibly easy - literally five minutes work - and goes beautifully with a cup of tea in the afternoon.

    Malteser Chocolate Tiffin

    You will need:
    • 400g dark chocolate
    • 100g butter
    • 2 tbsps golden syrup
    • 150g digestive biscuits
    • 75g dried cranberries (or raisins, or other dried fruit)
    • 250g Maltesers
    Make it!
    1. Line a medium-sized baking tray with greaseproof paper.
    2. Break up the chocolate into a glass bowl and add the butter and golden syrup. Gently heat it over a saucepan of boiling water or stick it in the microwave for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally, until it's melted.
    3. Smash up the digestives by putting them in a plastic bag and taking out your frustration on them with a rolling pin. Don't reduce them to crumbs, you want a bit of texture. Add the Maltesers and give them a gentle bashing, if that isn't too much of an oxymoron.
    4. Gently stir the digestives, cranberries and Maltesers into the melted chocolate and pour into the baking tray. Leave in the fridge to set.
    5. When you're ready for a piece, turn the tiffin out of the tin and allow to come to room temperature before slicing.

    Friday 25 November 2011

    Sluttery Event: The Fever Jumble Sale, 8th December, 6:30pm

    We're so excited about our Fever event next month. It's probably safe to say that all of the Domestic Sluts have a Fever dress or three in their wardrobes (except for Nick, he prefers Miss Selfridge). We're teaming up with them and inviting you to a jumble sale dress shop extravaganza at their Eastcastle Street branch just off London's Oxford Street

    We're going to be selling our own stuff to raise money for Shelter, and a lot of gorgeous stuff it is too - no tat here. You'll be able to snap up shoes, dresses, jewellery and all sorts of pretty. Of course, you'll also be able to buy the gorgeous Fever range and you'll get a 20% discount.

    We'll also be selling and signing the Domestic Sluttery book (of course) and plying you with mince pies and booze throughout the night. There might even be a few surprises on the evening, because it's nearly Christmas and we like surprises.

    Make sure you bring cash for the jumble sale as we can't accept card payments for any of our own stuff. The event starts at 6:30 and goes on until 9:30. If you're not in London that evening, you can use the code MINCEPIES on the Fever website to get your 20% discount on the 8th.

    See you next month!

    Merry Geekmas!

    It really isn't that long to go until Christmas and I must confess that I'm already lining up decorations and planning how each room will be decorated. I am scaring myself with my efficiency. I am also a bit disappointed with all the faux tweeness that abounds when it comes to festive festooning. But then I found these laser cut acrylic lovelies.

    I know just the Domestic Slut who would absolutely LOVE them! In fact, I know a lot of people who will love them. And why not spread the festive cheer by getting these to complement them?

    Instant geeky festive cheer! Much better than yet another Santa or fairy. Made by Use Your Digits, The controllers are $30 which works out at about £20 with the consoles $35 which is about £23.

    Novelty Christmas Jumpers Ahoy!

    I am just wild for novelty sweaters. I don't own many, because I am attempting to stop my wardrobe from turning into a place where knitwear turns feral, but little cheers me more than wearing my ancient eBay-acquired French Connection jumper to work and eating a mince pie while doing so.

    Topshop has got three excellent examples in this week - tall girls can get the reindeer one - which gives me the perfect excuse to show you some of my favourites.

    Knitted penguin jumper, £50

    A friend of mine, and long-term reader of this site, Helen, has had a reputation as a penguin hater ever since she failed to see the appeal of March of the Penguins. If I seriously up my present budget, she will be getting this jumper as a sardonic LOL.

    Knitted reindeer jumper, £50

    Oh Rudolph. You look so surprised. This concerns me quite a bit. As does the fact that by looking down, your expression will likely come across as judgment once the inevitable Christmas tum appears.

    Knitted Xmas snowman jumper, £50

    I love this jumper, but have copied the item description verbatim here so that I can disapprove of it. Xmas? I hate the word Xmas almost as much as my grandma loathes Season's Greetings in Christmas cards. Are Topshop's copywriters really so busy that typing in a few extra letters could seriously hamper their chances of a Christmas bonus? (Coincidentally, Crismus Bonus is one of my favourite names in Asterix)
    Christmas in Vermont wool reindeer crew, Gant, £150

    I've been coveting this jumper from afar for weeks now, and, because it costs eleventy hundred pounds, am unlikely to get any closer to it. I love Gant. My mum occasionally gives me their socks for Christmas. This is from their menswear section - the women's knitwear has some decent festive knits, but they're all a bit too classy and polonecky for my liking.

    If you want some serious Christmas giggles, head over to the marvellous Christmas Jumper. They just seem to have a whale of a time making novelty knits: each jumper comes with several fairly rubbish pictures of a member of staff wearing the jumper and grinning away, WHICH I LOVE.

    The price is reasonable, and there are tons of different sorts from Father Christmas outfits to their prime novelty knitting which are all named things like Granissimo and Crazy Granny. You can also get kids jumpers, and mittens on a string. Utterly marvellous.

    Ho ho ho!

    Booze for Free

    Ha, I bet that got your attention didn't it? "BOOZE? FOR FREE? WHERE! DO THEY DO MOJITOS?"

    One of my favourite writers on Twitter, Tom Cox, recently posted an article he'd written about foraging, which eventually led me to this marvellous chap called Andy Hamilton, who's something of a foraging specialist. Once I got the confusion with the BBC comic out of the way, I realised that foraging sounded rather wonderful, if slightly impractical in London.

    Andy has written a book about which sounds immeasurably more practical to me, about making your own booze for free, or at least incredibly cheaply. While reading through it over a hot toddy in The Bear pub in Camberwell the other night, I realised with a growing sense of excitement, that this book is going to enable me to make my own version of Sipsmith's damson vodka, which I fell madly in love with at a tasting at Planet of the Grapes a couple of months ago.

    I'm normally a bit rubbish with cookery or skill books, as I tend to dip in and out and then get distracted by the mountain of other books sitting on my desk. I read the entire "how-to" section (beers, cider, wines, cordials, plus the history of each) in one go, before plotting which drinks I'd like to make.

    Andy gives excellent, cheap alternatives for buying your own fermenting casks, for example, and tips on how to avoid your elderflower champagne from exploding all over the shop. I was most taken with the ones that look massively easy, so stuff like rhubarb whisky, and the damson vodka (or gin, or brandy) which basically involves stuffing sugar, fruit and booze into a kilner jar and turning every time you pass it for a good few months.

    Having been summarily told off by my grandma for asking for a bottle of Laphroaigh for Christmas, I know that booze isn't going to feature in my stocking this year. But a good few jars and glass bottles - well, that's perfectly innocent. Ahahahaha.

    Booze for Free by Andy Hamilton, is £9.99 or £5.89 on Amazon. If you are my grandma, my Amazon wishlist is here, without so much as a whisper of a mention about whisky.

    Sluttishly Sweet: Wicked White Chocolate Mousse

    This very naughty and very sweet white chocolate mousse is perfect dinner party material. It can be made way ahead of time and it freezes like a dream, so you can knock up a few on a rainy Sunday afternoon and whip them out on a whim. Unlike a lot of mousses, it's also good to know that the egg in this one is cooked.

    I think this looks pretty in martini glasses, but you could use little ramekins or teacups. Or just eat it straight out of the bowl (I PROMISE I didn't do this).

    Wicked White Chocolate Mousse (serves 4-6)

    You'll need:
    • 3 medium egg yolks
    • 40g milk (plus extra to stop it burning, see method)
    • 30g caster sugar
    • 150g white chocolate, melted
    • 300ml whipping cream, whipped but not too much (you should just be able to see a trail when you lift the whisk, but the cream shouldn't be stiff)
    Make it!
    • Whisk the sugar into the egg yolks.
    • Put the milk into a saucepan and bring to the boil. You may want to put more milk than stated in the recipe if you don't have a small enough saucepan, otherwise it may burn. Then just weigh out 40g of the boiled milk.
    • Pour the hot milk over the egg yolk mixture. Whisk it in, then put the mix back in the pan (if you've burnt any milk on the bottom, use a clean pan). Cook it carefully, whisking all the time, until the mixture thickens. Don't get the mixture too hot or the eggs will scramble!
    • Pour the mixture into a mixer and leave it whisking until the bowl no longer feels hot to the touch.
    • Stir in the melted chocolate.
    • Fold in a little of the whipped cream to loosen the mixture, then gently fold the chocolate mixture into the remainder of the cream.
    • If the mix is still very sloppy, whisk it gently with a balloon whisk until it becomes thick. Spoon into martini glasses and refrigerate. 

    Book review: Celia Birtwell

    Mirrors, mugs and clocks, Celia Birtwell is the talent behind some of the very prettiest things that we feature on Domestic Sluttery. So when I learnt she also had designs on our coffee tables with the launch of her very own book, I knew that I had to take a peek. And the look of the book doesn't disappoint either. With over 200 pages of pretty to get lost in, it's a must for all fans of her distinctive style.

    The book charts Celia's life and work, moving up from Salford to study at the RCA in London, her relationship with Ossie Clark, and the textile designs she produced for his dresses in the 60s and 70s, her period as a model for David Hockney and her more recent move into home furnishing design, going up to the sensational Topshop collection which brought her designs to a new generation. With text by Dominic Lutyens, it's presented more like a scrapbook than a straight story, with tons of visual material to divert and enchant a reader.

    Each page is a work of art in itself, with decorated borders and background patterns that pick up on elements from Celia's textile designs. While perhaps not so good on technical details, the book is great at explaining the varied inspiration behind her patterns, from medieval tapestries to 1930s films, which is very inspiring in itself. If you are at all creative, I'm sure this book will have you picking up your pen and paint pot.

    Even if you don't know too much about Birtwell herself, the book is also very good at capturing the atmosphere of a period. There's images of people like Jane Birkin, Bianca Jagger and Pattie Boyd looking glamorous in Ossie Clark clothes, alongside photos showing Ossie and Celia's infamous fashion shows, and pages from her original sketchbooks. Celia is also a very beautiful woman and I spent a long time gazing at the snapshots of her, trying to glean some style tips.

    In the book Celia says her move into home furnishing fabrics is partly because she liked their gradual evolution in contrast to the rapidly changing nature of fashion. As Chanel famously noted, while fashion may fade, style is eternal. And, in this book, Celia Birtwell shows herself to be one stylish lady.

    Celia Birtwell by Celia Birtwell with text by Dominic Lutyens is published by Quadrille. It's £30 full price but is currently available for the bargain price of £15.19 on Amazon.
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