It no longer cuts it just to have beautiful looking home bedding. Not since Montreal designer Janna Notkin set the bar at such dizzying ethical heights. Her exquisite range of cushions and blankets — the result of five years of research and development — are made from the finest sustainable fibers on the planet and — get this — will biodegrade in a composter in one year.
In a search effort that would put American Idol to shame, Notkin spent two years scouring the globe before deciding upon “Climatex Lifecycle yarns and felt from Switzerland (free of toxic chemicals and hazardous by-products), organic cotton and Kapok, a fibre from the Rainforest in Malaysia.” Development of the chemical-free dyes took another five, but it was well worth it for a designer who believes “good design must incorporate sustainability”. The truly beautifully and utterly unique knitted cushions come in an array of eye catching designs, while the waffle-weave blankets offer a great excuse to stay in bed all weekend.
It’s no wonder Looolo Textiles have been featured in “fashion-forward magazines like Lucky, Domino and Elle.”
And then there’s the name. Those of you skilled at cracking codes may have already deciphered that Looolo is a typographical representation of 100 percent — symbolizing their commitment to wholly organic design with a minimal environmental footprint. Although Looolo’s home wares boast biodegrade properties, you’d have to be 100 percent nuts to throw these cozy items away.
Photographer: Julia Gartland
This is one of my favorite times of year in New York. For me, everything right now has to be creamy, warm and filled with ginger. That doesn’t mean I don’t still drink green smoothies and kale salads, but when it comes to dessert, it has to be fruit-filled and warm.
I became obsessed with all the mini pears I saw around the greenmarkets. Anyone who reads this knows I have an affinity for anything miniature or especially tiny in size. This may be because I relate to them, being barely 5’1 myself. The little guys have to be recognized sometimes, so I thought I’d treat these little pears just as if they were big ones, and poach them. It resulted in a creamy, sweet and Autumn dessert with just enough of a napoleon complex to be big & bold in flavor.
The first time I tried macarons was at the Macaron Café in Midtown, Manhattan. I had seen many photos of them prior to that and always wondered if they were as tasty as they were pretty. And were they ever. Those macarons melted in my mouth and made my eyes close with pleasure. Even today, whenever I am in the area, I indulge and buy a box of six.
Since preparing healthier alternatives to old favourites is what I love, I decided it was time to conquer the macarons. And what better time to do it than the winter holidays? They are sweet, colourful, and overall cheerful – a wonderful treat and a nice gift. For the flavours, I went with seasonal fruits like persimmon and pomegranate and two powders I had on hand – matcha and blueberry. Each created a beautiful colour, no artificial dye required.
We decorated our tree yesterday. It’s a beauty and fills the home with the smell of pine. Paloma was thrilled when she came home from day care and found the tree all lit up in our living room. She couldn’t stop singing this song, which is a traditional Russian jingle about the New Year’s tree.
The macarons were a success, everyone in the family enjoyed them with a hot cup of tea or two. The persimmon kind were voted the popular favourite.
Photographer V Blak
This recipe is from the San Francisco restaurant Gather, created by their chef, Sean Baker. His recipe was featured in Food and Wine Magazine last month as one of the best restaurant dishes of 2010. It was the only vegan recipe so, of course, I had to try it. YUM! I added walnuts when he called for pecans cause I didn’t have any on hand as well as no miso and still it was rich, flavorful and delish.
Photographer V Blak
It’s challenging to find fresh organic fruit in the dead of winter. This, of course depends on where you are located in the world. As for me, all the organic berries I find in the markets of New York, are not only extremely expensive but they all seem to be coming from far away places. And so, I decided to go with a couple of bags of frozen organic berries. Those berries were my inspiration for this gluten free berry crisp dessert. It just goes to show you, you never know from where or from what something delicious will be born!
Photographer V Blak
Napa and savoy cabbage are a softer and sweeter variety than your regular green cabbage, so choose either for this recipe. This is a wonderful accompaniment to serve with one of your favorite winter soups. Adds a refreshing crispiness to your meal.
This maybe a simple salad, but believe me it pacts a flavorful punch. The sweet carrots mixed with Moroccan spices and fresh herbs are a heavenly combination and a refreshing colorful addition to any of your winter meals. Warning, you may wanna eat the whole bowl all by yourself…
This is a decadently delicious wheat free cake. The chestnut flour adds a divine depth and a touch of nuttiness and has quickly become on of my favorite gluten free flours to bake with. Serve this cake alone, with cashew cream or some homemade Ice Cream and you and your guest will never think this is vegan. Oh and your chocolate fix will be…ummmm…fixed.
This recipe was inspired by pastry chef extraordinaire, Will Goldfarb. I read this in Bon Appetit magazine a few years ago and then altered and adapted it to become gluten and dairy free. Sometimes adaptions work and sometimes they are a bust. This time, I am extremely happy to report, it is f***ing brilliant. Yes, I am tooting my own horn. And so will you after you make this incredible dessert. It’s that good.
Photographer Assaf Friedman
Perched atop the bluffs of LA’s exclusive Pacific Palisades, the Vicino House is more than just a home; it’s an experience. Designer Timothy McCarthy of the Forma Design Group and Owner / Developer Michael Gottlieb made it their mission to create a home that would evoke the feeling of being in a high-end spa. They succeeded. Visiting the Vicino House, I almost expected to be handed a white fluffy robe and some cucumber water.
The epitome of sustainable living and luxury design, the Vicino House was recently awarded LEED Platinum certification. A modern marvel of steel, glass and wood — one of the homes most striking features is the 180-degree view of the Pacific Ocean — which can be enjoyed from almost every room in the house and many of the sun soaked outdoor decks.
Photographer Assaf Friedman
The newest addition to my pantry is my trio of NUDE BEE HONEY’s. This line came out in Toronto by two local boys. I love it. What is sexier then two men starting a honey line?
This brand in particular has some fine packaging, with a slick black label. It is a long tall jar, which is thin and elegant. I would take this honey out for a taste any day of the week. I would even love to just spread it, pour it and blend it into anything I create. It would make for a sweet addition that is smooth balanced and rich. That’s my kind of honey!
I should also mention that is honey, is untouched, raw in it’s own virgin state. What can be better than that. It hasn’t lost anything; it’s got everything it needs to give me what I need. Nutrients, enzymes, minerals and an unparalleled flavour.
It is also organic, coming from the purest of sources, no chemicals or strong or smelly aftertastes. It was created to be enjoyed… from bottom to top.
Now don’t get too picky, there are three fine honey’s to choose from:
Star Thistle – Works well with all natural of teas and can dress or top any dessert. This superstar possesses after notes of vanilla and lemon.
Honey Dew – This is a darker richer honey, which means it contains more vitamins and minerals. It is rich and fragrant so get your hands on some and add it to some fruit for a warming compote or natural jam.
Wild – The most versatile of the bunch, blending different local nectar’s. This honey goes both ways, and lends itself well to both raw and cooked recipes.