Christmas trifle Australian-style


IMG 2041 680x510 Christmas trifle Australian style
I’m non-stop gluten and dairy-free, but that didn’t stop my family requesting a trifle for Christmas day.

Nana is no longer able to answer questions about how she used to do trifle, but I remembered her saying “sherry makes you merry”, so I sloshed on plenty.

My recipe is below:

Cake layer:
1 x cheap and nasty jam roll from the supermarket
1 x bottle sherry

Jelly layer:
1 x packet of gelatine
1 x bottle sparkling rose

Custard layer:
1 x pint cream
1 x vanilla pod, split, seeded
6 eggs

1 x punnet strawberries, cut into heart shapes

Cream layer:
1 x pint (600ml) thickened cream
2 x teaspoons sugar
1 x punnet blueberries

Cut up sponge as you like and layer in the base of the bowl. Slosh with sherry so that it all appears wet with the good liquor.

Lay some blueberries on top of the sponge.

Make 600mls of jelly following instructions on the gelatine packet, only use champers instead of water. Don’t forget to add a load of sugar. Gourmet traveller has a nice way with champagne jelly. Chill in fridge until nearly set, then layer onto sponge.

While the jelly is cooling, make your custard. Or just buy some. I like the Mary Berry traditional custard method, which I used here.

Your custard needs to cool before adding on top of the jelly layer, so while this is happening, cut your strawberries into heart shapes.

I slice three good centre sections out of each strawberry, then trim the natural dip in the top for a more rounded strawberry shape.

Place the hearts around the edge of the bowl. Pressing them well into the glass will keep them visible once you pour in the custard. Do this next. Chill again, then add a layer of whipped cream.

Top with whatever you like – nuts, blueberries, honeycomb. Then nom heartily.

Guess what? They side effect of using all those eggs for the custard is that you have leftover eggs for a pavlova, and that’s coming up next.

April and Jerry


April and Jerry

Emanuelle Alt at Burberry


This is the time of year you’ll find me on my knees in front of someone super famous and tres fashion. Yup, fashion week means I’m out hunting the who’s who of feet. I walk around eyes cast down, not to avoid eye contact, but to see who’s feet I should creep up on next.

Here are Emanuelle Alt’s lovely little lace booties at Burberry’s ss12 show. Her style is, as you well know, wild, and I love the way she counters simple denim jeans and a blazer (both quite masculine) with something as feminine as a lace boot.

DSCN1134 680x510 Emanuelle Alt at Burberry

Emily Lamb and Design Collective Scotland


scotland shoe crop 680x551 Emily Lamb and Design Collective Scotland

Emily Lamb and the Scotland Design Collective came down to London for London Fashion Week to, like everyone else, pick up some buyers and make a name for themselves.

Emily has just graduated, and has a delicate sensibility and a wearable style that many male shoe designers lack. Her shoes are graphic, well-balanced and made with combinations of soft suede and here, some clear perspex.

Emily’s just at the beginning of her shoe career, so wish her luck.

Dominique Lucas’ shoe accessories


shoe accessories 2 680x528 Dominique Lucas shoe accessories

Dominique Lucas brought her Masters project to London Fashion Week, and isn’t it great? She has designed a series of brass and salmon hide shoe accessories that strap on to your existing heels.

The severe point, delicate chain curtains, salmon hide texture and brass spikes manage to cancel out any immediate facial contortion I do when confronted with the phrase “shoe accessory”.

Dominique’s pieces are 100 quid wholesale, which may make them 280 retail. It’s likely if you have 100quid for a nice pair of heels and another 280 for these striking accessories that you’d spend it on a 380 pair of shoes in the first place.

Her pieces also rely on you wanting to wear an ankle strap, as that and a kind of stirrup are how the pieces are attached to the shoe. My long-standing view is that an ankle strap cuts off and unnecessarily shortens your leg. If you’re not Erin O’Connor or a giraffe, then you need every inch of leg you can get. If you’re a tall bugger, heed not my concern.

I hope Dominique can either find a way to produce her accessories at a lower price point or that she hooks up with some other young designer like Emily Lamb, to create shoes that have this kind of detail built in. Otherwise, they will only be available to a wealthy elite, and they’re not noted for being creative enough to add such a clever accessory to a shoe.

shoe accessories 680x522 Dominique Lucas shoe accessories

Moroccan boots


IMG 2355 680x510 Moroccan boots

I spotted these Cobra Society woven boots at the London Fashion Week exhibition. They’re displaying here for the first time. The fabric is woven in Morocco, although it could easily be confused for Navaho. The boots are also made in Morocco, where I have been told by many other makers, the workmanship is some of the best in the world.

This is just the second collection from Cobra Society, and has plenty of the bright colour, especially yellow, that is seen across the ss12 palette.

I have a slightly crazed penchant for not just a cowboy boot, but a navaho-style fabric. It makes me a feel like a wild Mad Max extra and not at all a London commuter who mainly marches the pavements, battles only tube crowds and works in air conditioned comfort.

Erdem in shoe form


erdem shoes 339x451 Erdem in shoe form

Beautiful and ready to buy now for autumn, from Matches or Luisa Via Roma.

erdem kirkwood shoes 339x451 Erdem in shoe form

Maria Francesca Pepe anklets


maria francesca pepe 680x510 Maria Francesca Pepe anklets

Two iconic Maria Francesca Pepe bracelets worn as anklets. Shoes, Aldo.

Cassette heels


cassette show 680x510 Cassette heels

These cassette heels by Cleo B at London Fashion Week might not aid you when running for the bus, but they’re a mad hot taxi shoe. Or a bar stool shoe. Or a TV presenter shoe. Essentially, they’re good for posing.

The heel is made of a metal cast of a cassette tape, which to some youngsters, was a medium on which we used to record music from the radio in the olden days. You remember the radio, right?

Cookies at London Fashion Week


lau cookie 680x510 Cookies at London Fashion Week

It’s London Fashion Week once more. So yesterday, in between blasts of sunlight and showering rain, I ducked into the exhibition in Somerset House.

It’s a cliche that everyone in fashion is skinny. There’s plenty of body shapes to go around, and shapeliness at the exhibition was aided by these delicious Millies cookies.

The busy one was at Lu Flux, the dollface cookie was at Elizabeth Lau‘s stand.

I didn’t taste them (gluten, yawn), but I did ditch the fashion and head to St Ali for a brilliant latte and fruity granola. Fashion and nom = a Shoesandcake day in heaven.

cookie 680x510 Cookies at London Fashion Week