“A life without love is like a year without summer” – Swedish proverb
Kick off your shoes, dream of summer salted lips and join us for the Kinfolk
Summer dinner on 17 May in Antwerp. From Portland to Paris, from Berlin to Tokyo, we will be gathering simultaneously around the table to celebrate the arrival of the glorious season. We’ll be sharing natural, fresh food and casual conversation Kinfolk style. Connect with new and old friends and join us for a summer inspired menu.
Red Fish Factory
Saturday May 17, 18.30 starting time – end time around 22.00
Public transport: velo, bus or tram
Annemarie van Riet lived in London, Sydney and Brussels before settling down in a converted chocolate factory in Antwerp, Belgium. She likes to find beauty in the small things, making the everyday special and feeding large groups of people.
Joy of Little Things is her online diary of the inspiration she encounters every day in her work as an interior architect and brand developer.
She also sells timeless handmade objects through her webshop.
Suzy Castermans is a children’s book illustrator and part time library employee in a contemporary art museum, so books are her habitat. She loves and lives in the beautiful city of Ghent and has the ambition to start up a design label (to be continued).
The imperfectness of crafts make her happy and she can get overexcited about well-thought creations. She is inspired by all things nature and the coziness of good food and company.
You can follow her thoughts on see.
SMARTMAT / RED FISH FACTORY / ORDAL WATER / ARCHI-DUC
My parents have been married for fifty years today, or would have been if my mother hadn’t died a few years back. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about her. I miss her terribly. My father has been going through all this old pictures and just gave me this one of my mother with a rose behind her ear. It was taken on the day they got engaged and is a new favourite on my desk.
Tickets for the Kinfolk Summer dinner on May 17 in Antwerp will go on sale next week. Sign up to the newsletter here to be the first to buy.
Photo by Beth / Local Milk blog
It’s best food blog awards over at Saveur magazine! If like me you have a slight addiction to cookbooks and blogs, hop on over to their site and have a look at the nominees.
I was glad to see my all time favourite food blog Local Milk nominated. Beth seems like one of these people I would love to share a meal and conversation with. She recently posted the recipe featured in the picture for chamomile panna cotta with lemon poppy olive oil shortbread which just makes my mouth water. I have also bookmarked this sweet potato kale tortilla soup and this faux smoked pulled pork.
Saveur also nominated some great – new to me at least – blogs I didn’t know before. Love and Lemons looks great for the original recipes. Matcha coconut latte is first on my list to try as I have a jar of matcha powder in the cupboard, now all I need is a bamboo whisk (if anyone has an idea of where to find this in the Antwerp area, let me know in the comments). And I definitely want to try the carrot green chimichurri made with carrot greens as I usually throw these out, I had no idea they were edible.
Vegetarian cooking blog Hortus makes me want to throw all wordly goods in my car and move to the Italian countryside to make spring vegetable lasagne and pistachio pesto.
And I regret not having bought the bunches of candy pink rhubarb I saw earlier in the shop as I really want to make the rhubarb and rye cinnamon tartlets over at the Top with cinnamon blog.
It’s been spring for almost a week now but still fairly cold so P made slow cooked pulled pork on Sunday. I have to admit I am not a big fan of pork but cooked like this for 4 hours in the oven it has a deep caramelized flavour and it is completely hands off too! We’ve been eating the leftovers in lunch wraps, served with veg in the evening and even for breakfast one morning, it’s that good! The recipe is from the 8 weeks I Quit Sugar Program that I highly recommend for anyone wanting to kick the sugar habit.
1-1.5kg piece of pork shoulder or pork neck
3 teaspoons smoked paprika
3 teaspoons sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
2 teaspoons whole fennel seeds
1 teaspoon each of ground cumin and all spice (or cinnamon)
2 teaspoons ground chilli (or chilli flakes)
2 tablespoons coconut oil, butter or ghee for greasing
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup red wine or stock
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1. Grind the fennel and peppercorns with a mortar and pestle (or blender). Add the salt and other spices, except for the bay leaves, and mix.
2. Rub the lot over the meat, rubbing well into the fatty bits. Really get your fingers into the meat, massaging it all over. Leave covered on the bench or in the fridge for at least 2 hours (or overnight, for a stronger flavour).
3. Rub a little oil into the meat then sear in a hot frying pan until brown all over.
4. Preheat oven to 160°C/ 320°F/ Gas Mark 3. Sear pork in a casserole dish on the stove top. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to boil. Cover with lid. Place in oven for 3-4 hrs, or until pork pulls apart easily with a fork.
5. Take out the pork and place in a dish and use a fork to “pull the meat” apart into shreds.
I am incredibly excited to be able to offer you the beautiful wood spoons, bowls and cups by Tomii Takashi in my online shop. This Japanese woodworker is considered one of the best in his field and – outside Japan – only sells through a gallery in Canada. Influenced by a stay in Oregon, US where forestry was the key industry, Tomii started carving kitchen tools such as butter knives, spatulas and spoons from twigs he gathered in the hills. Since 2008, Tomii moved to Shigaraki and started creating wooden tableware for daily use in his workshop in Kyoto. All of his pieces are still hand tooled or turned on a lathe into very simple and beautiful shapes.
Tomii lives with his wife, Miyuki who helps with his work, a daughter and a son. They are enjoying their everyday lives surrounded by nature which is clearly reflected in the simple, functional tools that he creates. I was very interested to hear his view on his work as an artisan, you can read our exchange below.
1. A lot of the objects you design are made using traditional techniques. Why is this important to you?
This is just what I design cannot be made only by machines. Of course I use several kinds of woodworking machines, but it is still essential to use hand tools to make them so I have to stick to traditional techniques.
2. What is a typical day like for you?
I usually get up at 5 in the morning and as soon as getting up I start woodworking or urushi lacquering at home until breakfast. By 9, I am at the workshop about 8km away from home and work until 8 in the evening. I get back home and enjoy playing with kids and having dinner. I often work after dinner until 11. So this means that I am always making things and thinking about what to make! I love eating and drinking so what I make is all for a wonderful meal with wonderful tableware. There is no boundary between work and everyday life. Everything happens in my life is embedded in myself, which eventually produces my work.
3. How did you get interested in working with wood?
We have so many species of trees in Japan and traditionally wood is used everywhere. It is very natural to use a material like wood because trees are just about everywhere. I feel very comfortable when surrounded by wooden products in wooden house, that is what I like about wood. The first time I got interested in working with wood is when I came back to Japan after 1 year stay in Oregon, USA where I saw many many huge trees and logs. I started making kitchen tools such as butter knives as soon as I came back. I would like my design to be beautiful so I try to select the best suited wood for a single design. Sometimes I select the wood first and think of what to make. Each design has at least one function, so selecting the best wood for the function is also very important.
The quality of wood I use is not that precious because I want to use quite ordinary wood for my happy happy life. Of course I also love precious wood with the most beautiful grain, but it is too much for my everyday life. Mostly I use domestic wood like cherry, chestnut, oak, birch, and so on. The exceptions are American black walnut, cherry, etc…
4. Can you tell us about the different finishes you use?
I usually use three types of finish. One is oil+bee’s wax finish. You can maintain the bowl by coating it with natural oil by yourself. Another is urushi finish. Urushi is definitely one of the most beautiful and durable finish one can achieve in nature. The other is what I call “kaikou” finish which I use for certain trays. In “kaikou” finish, a workpiece is dyed with ash and polished with rice bran, which gives calm texture and quiet natural gloss. Polishing floors and posts with rice bran was very common in the old days in Japan.
5. Which is the favorite from all the pieces you have made so far?
Actually I love all the pieces I make now. So the favorite pieces are everything because I make what I want and need!
6. How long does it take to make for example a coffee cup?
I first cut a board in to rough shape and roughly hollow the block out. I have to wait for weeks until the block is ready for finish turning on the lathe. Once I finish woodworking processes, I lacquer the cup several times. I usually need to wait for a day to overglaze and a cup has inside and outside, so at least it takes 10 days to finally finish it
7. In Europe, Japan is on one hand know as a very high tech society. Yet from Japan also come the most beautiful traditionally made objects. Why do you think that is?
Japan has become a high tech society only for 30-40 years or so… Very short period of time I guess and the position could be easily taken over by another high tech society (Now South Korea looks more high tech!). On the other hand tradition is always tradition. After WWⅡ, Japanese people dedicated themselves to hard working to recover their lives and since we do not have rich natural resources in this country, we had to find a way in the high tech field.
I received a lovely note in the mail from the Kinfolk team to announce the launch of their new brand Ouur, a line of ready-to-wear apparel. They wrote ‘Like Kinfolk, the Ouur collection will promote values of comfort, utility and simple living.’ The range will be launched in Japan this spring, then in the US in August later this year. Check out their website for lovely linen items with evocative names such as Linen Barista Button Apron, Linen Saturday Dress, and Linen Foraging Blouse. My favourite? The Linen Pouch would make a great bag on the go!