Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Our Kitchen Hero

Last March, Bubble & Squeak traveled to Ireland for a weeklong adventure around the Emerald Isle.  There were stoic castles, charming pubs, and sheep galore, but one thing we were surprised to discover about this bucolic nation was how crazed the Irish are about food. In the U.S., we are just beginning to care about where our food comes from, but in Ireland, in each village pub we patronized, they not only told us what farm our beef cheeks came from, but who the farmers were and how long their families had been in the business.  In the evenings, we found ourselves watching a television show called Kitchen Hero, which stars a young and energetic lad named Donal Skehan.  Donal, a self taught cook, brings a fresh and modern approach to Irish cooking.  In one episode, Donal makes beef fajitas and a fish pie for his friends who've just returned from a surfing trip in Kerry.  We know what you're thinking...surfing in Ireland?  Who knew?

Having followed his career for a while on Facebook and YouTube, we dreamt of the day that Bubble & Squeak would collaborate on something with Donal.  While researching our latest post featuring Matthew Patrick Smyth's retreat in the Dingle Peninsula, we knew that this was our chance.  

Inspired by the Matthew's coastal sanctuary, Donal has created a special Bubble & Squeak pan fried trout and root vegetable recipe that will make your stomach smile!  Enjoy!

Pan Fried Trout With Roast Beetroot and Fennel Salad
1 pound baby beetroot, trimmed and washed
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 trout fillets
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large fennel, with fronds, finely sliced
2 lemons, each cut into 4 wedges

For the dressing:
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the beetroot and fennel salad:
Preheat the oven to 325°F.  Place the beetroots on a large piece of tin foil, drizzle the olive oil over and season with salt and pepper. Fold the foil over to enclose in a parcel and roast for 1 hour or until tender when pierced with a knife. Meanwhile, prepare the dressing by simply whisking the olive oil, white wine vinegar and salt and pepper together in a large bowl and set aside. Once cooked, peel and halve the beetroots and set aside.

For the trout:
Just before serving, cook the trout. Use two large frying pans to ensure all the fish is cooked and ready at the same time. Divide the butter between two large frying pans and melt over a medium heat. Gently fry the trout, flesh side down first, for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden and cooked through.

To serve:
Toss the fennel through the dressing, reserving the fronds for now. Don’t toss the beetroot otherwise it will stain the fennel. Arrange the fennel in the centre of each serving plate and scatter the beetroot on top. Drizzle any remaining dressing over and then carefully lay a trout fillet, flesh side up, on top. Roughly tear the fennel fronds over and serve with a wedge of lemon. 

Not to be missed:  Check out Donal's new seven part television series, Rediscovering the Irish Kitchen, which celebrates traditional Irish cooking by exploring historic recipes and techniques.

Thank you, Donal, for the support!  We had a great time in your kitchen, and hope to visit again soon.

Friday, June 20, 2014

When Irish Eyes Are Smiling

Several years ago we had the pleasure of working with Matthew Patrick Smyth on a review of his, then, new book, "Living Traditions:  Interiors by Matthew Patrick Smyth."  We were instantly taken by his down-to-earth demeanor and gentlemanly charm.  Since that initial meeting, Matthew has become a friend that we ring for lunch or dinner whenever we're in New York.  A few months ago we ran into each other at the New York Botanical Garden's Antique Fair, and he asked when we were going to start blogging again.  Unbeknownst to him, we had been toying with the idea of starting up again, and his unsolicited question was the light we needed to get our fireworks off the ground.  So, it's only fitting that the first post for the re-launch of Bubble & Squeak should be with Matthew, and his dream retreat in the Dingle Peninsula on the West coast of Ireland.  Bubble & Squeak sat down with Matthew recently to discuss Irish cottages, Gloria Vanderbilt, and his underwear...  Enjoy!

 no. 1 - Dingle Peninsula

Bubble & Squeak:  You have homes in New York City, Connecticut, and Paris.  In which do you feel most "at home"?

Matthew Patrick Smyth:  I feel most at home in NYC as I was born here and this is where my life functions at it's fullest.  But, Paris is a close runner up. Two very different cities but they balance each other in a way that suits me fine.

B&S:  Your retreat is in the Dingle Peninsula of Ireland.  So, what about the Emerald Isle captures your imagination?  

MPS:  It's officially my other county as I have dual citizenship.  My family comes from Ireland and it's very familiar to me...the faces, attitudes, contrasts.  I love the West Coast and it's dramatic coast line, landscapes and challenging weather.  Ireland is not as well known to me as England and France so there is more to discover which is part of its allure and mystery.  The Dingle Peninsula has always fascinated me since I saw David Lean's movie, "Ryan's Daughter", in high school.  I re-watch it every couple of years. 

B&S:  Having two passports must make you feel a little like James Bond?  Except your saving the world from bad chevron throw pillows and tab-top drapery.

MPS:  Yes, it comes in handy!

B&S:  So you're in the cottage, the candles are lit, you’ve been planning the dinner menu for weeks, the table is perfectly set, and there’s a knock at the door...  Who's coming to dinner?

MPS:  Gloria Vanderbilt!  She has great energy, enthusiasm and lives very much in the moment.  She is the most creative person I know.  Her stories are fascinating and, if lucky, she sings...  She knows every word to every Cole Porter song ever written.

B&S:  And what would you serve?

MPS:  Dinner would be simple.  Gloria recently mentioned in an interview with the Financial Times that her favorite meal is angel-hair pasta "mixed with kale, a can of petit pois, some crumbled bacon, shredded carrot, red pepper and olive oil."  I would just follow her recipe.  Why experiment with perfection?

B&S:  And I'm sure you'd save a seat for Anderson Cooper too, just in case...

B&S:  Many designers have a personal aesthetic different than what they would pull together for a client.  Would any of your clients appreciate your Dingle cottage?

MPS:  I think they would appreciate the photos! Many would get the simplicity which seems to be the common tread we are all dealing with to some degree in one way or another.  Most would understand the reason of why I am there.  

B&S:  Any great designer knows that music creates atmosphere.  What is your go-to mood maker album?

MPS:  Other than Gloria Vanderbilt singing Cole Porter, the soundtrack to Ascenseur Pour L'Échafaud.  It's Miles Davis at his best, recorded in Paris in 1958.

B&S:  There are two kinds of people when it comes to firewood (or peat logs in your case)... those who cut their own and those who don't. Does Matthew Patrick Smyth cut his own peat logs?

MPS: Matthew likes the idea that he is supporting a professional log cutting person, who neatly stacks, in doing what they love to do! I do not believe in cutting into someone else's livelihood, especially when an axe is involved.

B&S:  Lastly, Matthew, the design community is all a-buzz with one important question. While at the cabin, boxers or briefs?

MPS:  Boxers.... 

no. 1 - Dingle cottage
no. 2 - Dingle traffic jam
 no. 1 - Batting down the thatches
no. 2 - Traditional lime-washed facade
 no. 1 - Blackthorn Shillelagh walking stick, a centuries old Irish icon
no. 2 - 18th century Georgian entry
no. 3 - Carved mahogany walking stick
 no. 1 - 19th century mirrored candle sconce
no. 2 - 16th century drawing room inglenook
 no. 1 - Matthew Patrick Smyth's Connecticut home
no. 2 - Textiles by Matthew Patrick Smyth for F. Schumcher & Co.
no. 3 - 18th century Irish mahogany drop leaf wake table
 no. 1 - Kitchen window ledge with brass candlesticks, c. 1830
no. 2 - Irish brass eight-arm chandelier, c. 1880
no. 3 - 19th century Irish poplar kitchen cabinet
 no. 1 - Unpainted beams and architectural supports
no. 2 - Studio Donegal hand-woven undulating twill blanket
no. 1 - White glazed terra cotta bath tub with wood surround, c. 1728
no. 2 - Irish Georgian marble-top console table with claw and ball feet, c. 1770

Matthew Patrick Smyth
136 E. 57th Street, Ste. 901
New York, NY  10022

A special thank you to Matthew for giving us the shove we needed to get back in the game.  And for reminding us that its not the money, or the fame, or the number of subscribers we have that keeps us blogging, but that the friendships we make along the way is why we do what we do.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Over the River and Through the Woods...

1.  Laurel Nest, Highlands, North Carolina.  Photo by Erica Dines
2.  Appalachian Mountains in Fall

Bubble & Squeak has been so unbelievably busy this fall that we’ve almost forgotten to stop and appreciate the leaves changing color.  Luckily, we’re getting our Autumnal fixes in other ways.  Our good friends Bill Cook and Michael Faust have invited us to tour their home, Laurel Nest, in the rolling Appalachian mountains of western North Carolina (which was just published in the always beautiful Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles magazine).  Bill is the founder of Vermilion Designs Interiors and Michael is an architect, both based a stones throw from Highlands in sweet and sultry Atlanta.  Intrigued by fairy tales and a taste for whimsy, their style is truly a mix of fantasy and reality.  Their storybook spirit comes across loud and clear with a mingling of Adirondack-inspired balconies, exposed beam rooflines, and a stacked log and stone façade.  Inside, they’ve created a magical world of Swedish Black Forest ski chalet meets English country house meets Hansel and Gretel (no German children were harmed in the building of this house).  Bill, and his discerning eye for antique furniture and rare objects, and Michael, and his classically trained architectural sensibility have created a uniquely modern and comfortable home-away-from-home. Grab a seat by the fire and enjoy the fairy tale.
1.  Vermilion Designs Interiors, photo by Lou Freeman
3.  1970 Mercedes Benz 280 SE Cabriolet

Resting on the seat next to him is a thoughtfully packed basket containing an apple pie, still warm from the oven, which his mother insisted he take when he left. She can be overbearing, but a bad cook she is not. It will be the perfect treat to end the long drive home. With each twist and turn up the steep road, Hunter tightens his grip around the bony steering wheel of his vintage red ragtop Mercedes-Benz. He’s driven this way every weekend since building his dream cottage up in the mountains two years ago, but tonight something is different. Dusk came early this evening, he thought, as the headlamps catch flashes of golden foliage floating over the dark, damp pavement.  Although the route is familiar, there is an eerie unknown in the air. The wind picks up, and the grumble of thunder can be heard over the rumble of the engine. After a sharp turn, Hunter finds a downed tree branch lying motionless in the road forcing him to get out of the car to clear the way. Dragging the stray limb across the pavement, a howling gust of wind from the shadows knocks him to the ground with the force of a pouncing wolf. His breath is instantly knocked out of his chest, and his lungs begin a long fight to draw in the chilly night air. Regaining his composure, Hunter drags the limb across the road and gets back into his car. Arriving home after an eventful drive, he heads straight for the kitchen for the long awaited treat. “What a strange night”, he says aloud while cutting a giant slice of his mother’s apple pie. “And my, what big eyes you have, Hunter”, he laughs while taking his first bite. 
1.  Fenwick Carriage Pocket Lantern, The Urban Electric Company
2.  Vermilion Designs Interiors, photo by Lou Freeman
3.  Leather and Brass Dog Leash, Sterling and Burke Ltd.
1.  Vermilion Designs Interiors, photo by Erica Dines
2.  Black Forest Hall Tree, Paul Kleinwald Art and Antiques, Inc.
1. Vermilion Designs Interiors, photo by Erica Dines
2. French Art Deco Club Chair, Jean-Marc Fray
1.  Argentinian Wrought Iron Chandelier by Jose  Thenee, Architectural Artifacts
2.  Vermilion Designs Interiors, photo by Lou Freeman
1.  Vermilion Designs Interiors, photo by Lou Freeman
2.  Vintage Hermes Orylag Fur Blanket, 20th Century Interiors 
3.  Vintage Stag Horn and Brass Mirror, Hadassa Antiques 
1.  Woodland Dinnerware, Spode
2.  Vermilion Designs Interiors, photo by Erica Dines
1.  American Hooked Rug, The New England Collection 
2. Ripple Circular Table, Soane Britan
3.  Vermilion Designs Interiors, Photo by Lou Freeman

Sunday, August 12, 2012

And the Winner is....

Thank you to all who entered!

And, a special thank you to Vervain and Barry Dixon for their generous support.

Don't miss the next Bubble & Squeak giveaway coming soon!

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Sunday, August 5, 2012


We're extremely excited to offer one of our lucky readers this phenomenal pair of Bubble & Squeak designed pillows featuring fabric and trim from the Barry Dixon collection for Vervain.  Vervain has graciously provided all of the fabric and trim to make this amazing giveaway possible.  We can't thank them enough! Please see the rules below to qualify for these gorgeous pillows, valued at $850.00!

Three simple rules for entry:
One:  You must SUBSCRIBE to Bubble & Squeak here: SUBSCRIBE
Two:  You must COMMENT on Barry's blog post here:  COMMENT   
Three:  You must SHARE this post on your wall on Facebook.

***Please note that you must subscribe to Bubble & Squeak the blog, not the Facebook page.  And, you are not subscribed to Bubble & Squeak unless you verify your account by clicking the "Activate Your Subscription" link emailed to you at the time of subscription.  If you don't activate, you are not eligible for the giveaway.  All current subscribers do not need to re-subscribe, but you must be verified, and are required to COMMENT on Barry's post and share this post on facebook. The winner will be chosen at random and announced on August 13th. If the chosen winner has not completed all three rules for entry, another name will be chosen at random until we find a winner.  Good Luck!
Each pillow is 20" wide x 20" high 
Fabric:  Ishtar in Grey and Lemon
Cording:  Bosal in Honeyopal
Tape:  Tympani in Walnut
A very special THANK YOU to Vervain for being so generous!  They have been such a pleasure to work with and we would not have been able to offer this giveaway without their support. You MUST visit Vervain's website and view the rest of Barry's amazing collection or, better yet, view it in person at your nearest design center. You will not be disappointed!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A True Southern Gentleman

Barry Dixon  
Garden at Elway Hall, Traditional Home Magazine 

A gentleman, and a designer, and a farmer, and a social media junkie? Wait, what? Either this bottle of wine is getting to us or these unusually hot summer temperatures are playing tricks with our heads.  Few designers these days actually make us take notice, however, Barry Dixon makes us swoon.  Always the gentleman, Barry is as charming as his interiors are honest. He is a master of creating spaces with a sense of history and courage that indulge the senses on every level.  Bubble & Squeak had the pleasure of sitting down with Barry to discuss his dream cabin, Facebook, Downton Abbey, and his underwear. That's right, his underwear! 

Bubble & Squeak: So, you're very active on Facebook, more so than most designers. What makes you click "Like"?
Barry Dixon: Anything that inspires me, in any direction...emotionally, spiritually, or aesthetically, and almost any picture of a dog.

BS: When you get up from your computer, what's the first thing you reach for?
BD: Ellie, my wire-haired fox terrier. 

BS: Describe your fantasy cabin retreat in three words.
BD: Serene, layered...magical.

BS: You're unpacking your groceries at the cabin. What's in the bag?
BD: A sharp robust Gruyere cheese, sweet red grapes, free range eggs, tart cherry tomatoes, whole wheat bread, coffee.... and spicy ginger snaps!

BS: When traveling, what four must-haves are in your carry-on?
BD: Dark blue jeans by Ralph Lauren, Thom Brown Brogues, my iPhone, and sunglasses.

BS: What puts Barry at ease?
BD: A trip to the barn on my farm in Virginia.

BS: Speaking of your farm...your beautiful estate, Elway Hall in Virginia, is right out of Downtown Abbey. Which of these Downton characters do you identify with most and why? The Dowager Countess, John Bates, Lady Sybil Crawley, or Matthew Crawley?
BD: Matthew Crawley, definitely. I truly believe that we don't own these old homes, they own us. Rather, we act as stewards, guardians that "protect the realm" for our time, then pass it on, the better for our efforts.

BS: Well, Elway Hall has completely "owned" you!  Cascading drapery, tassels, and fringe, oh my! Many people think of cabins as rustic places, how do you see these two worlds colliding?
BD: Happliy. I love the juxtaposition of formal with rustic. The tension between opposites is far superior to a calculated mean.

BS: What are the first three songs on your cabin playlist?
BD: 1. Adele: Someone Like You 
    2. Michael Buble: The Way You Look Tonight
    3. Lulu:  To Sir With Love

BS: There are two kinds of people when it comes to firewood... those who chop their own and those who don't. Does Barry Dixon chop his own wood?
BD: No. But I'm a consummate stoker.

BS: Lastly, Barry, the design community is all a-buzz with one important question. Boxers or briefs?
BD: At the cabin...neither.
Interiors by Barry Dixon
1. Robertson Bench by Barry Dixon for Tomlinson/ Erwin-Lambeth
2. Duck Head Decanter in Smoke, Asprey, London
1. Poillerat Sconces, George N Antiques
2. Oatlands Side Chair by Barry Dixon for Tomlinson/Erwin-Lambeth 
1. Martini Table by Barry Dixon for Tomlinson/Erwin-Lambeth
1. Fresh eggs from Elway Hall, Traditional Home Magazine 
1. Ginger Snap Cookies 
1.  English Convex Mirror c.1840, R. Ege Antiques 
1. Royal Water, Creed Perfumes 
1. Luminor Panerai 1950

Thank you Barry!  You're an asscher-cut diamond amidst a field of rough-cut gems.

Please visit Barry's website to see more of his beautiful, jaw-dropping projects.  

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Only The Canyon Will Tell

He was skeptical of the plan at first, but his family has lived in this canyon for hundreds of years so I knew that he was the right person for this job.  Ahiga is his name, Navajo for “He fights,” another good reason to have him by my side on this expedition.  A quiet man with an intense nature, he didn’t offer much conversation, but that’s not why I hired him.

The descent into the canyon was rocky.  It’s not for the faint of heart—riding on the back of a mule down a trail barely wide enough for the mule itself—but I was assured that this was the safest way.  We circled for hours around this canyon wall, and that canyon wall, each one looking exactly like the last.  By the time we reached the canyon floor, the temperature had dropped significantly and the mysteries of this stoic valley began to reveal themselves.  Modernist abstract paintings emerged from the colorful sedimentary stripes of the canyon walls.  An audience of saguaros stood at the rim silhouetted against an orange sun watching our every move.  The wind howled like a pack of coyotes.

We kept our pace for several more hours until I begged Ahida to stop so I could refill my canteen from a trickle of water weeping from the rock walls.  Looking to the sky I found the saguaros that had been guarding the rim of the canyon all day had begun to retreat into the crimson and violet sky.  Night was falling fast and I couldn't wait to crawl into bed.  "Just over that ridge and we'll be there," Ahida announced.  His echoed words disappeared into the canyon—a secret waiting to be discovered.  
1.  Sunrise over Fountain Hills, Arizona
2.  The Painted Desert, Arizona
1.  Coronado House near Tuscon, Arizona.  Architecture by Voorsanger
2.  Almidi Hurricane, Casamidy
2.  Papago Figural Basket, c. 1910, Four Wind Gallery
2.  Robinwood Chaise, Sutherland by Starck
1.  Kara Mann
1.  The Blanket Weaver-Navaho, 1904, by Edward Curtis
2.  Shipibo Beer Pot, Douglas Dawson Gallery
1.  Amangiri Resort, Canyon Point, Utah
2.  Aspen Firewood Bucket, Tuell + Reynolds
1.  Petroglyphs at Newspaper Rock State Historic Monument, Utah
2.  Sunset over Tuscon, Arizona

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Odyssey

23 April 2003
San Juan Islands

"It's just around this cusp."

"You said that about the last two," I shouted into the wind.


"Never mind!"

"It's hidden amidst the rocks.  We won't see it until we're upon it," he said before we embarked on what seemed like an impossible expedition down the rocky shoreline.  Earlier this morning we sailed North from Whidbey Island in Puget Sound until we reached the Southern coast of the San Juan Islands.  As a child, it was here that he remembers witnessing several hundred migrating Orca with his parents, or so he thinks.  No one can agree on the exact location of the occurrence.  His mom claims it was North of the island, and his dad insists it was West.  And, each time the story is retold, the Orca pods double in size and the boat dwindles.  Thus, it has become a family fairytale of sorts that I have never entirely believed.  To add mystery to the legend, there was also mention of a small cabin nestled among the stoney shoreline that "makes Falling Water look amateur" (again with the exaggerations!).

Months had been spent planning the trip and it was this weekend that he was intent on making me a believer.  I first started feeling sorry for him when, after several hours of sailing, there were no Orca sightings.  Likewise, we scaled the coastal cliffs for the last half of the day without spotting a single manmade structure.  "Maybe it really is on the Northern coast," I said to ease the blow.  With the sun setting in front of us he said, "No. It's here somewhere.  I know it is."  

2. Rutland Crystal Column by Vaughn Designs 
1. Pewter Mounted Ceramic Jardiniere by Orivit c.1902
1. Gant
2. Intermezzo Blue Double Old Fashioned by Orrefors
1. Seedling Dinnerware by West Elm
2. Sea Urchin Napkins by Seaside Inspired
1. Carl Suede Brown Slippers by Frette
2. Shawn Henderson Interior Design

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