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eating | growing | sharing | making | living | escaping

New Celebrating the things that matter  most

i n lov e w i t h

issue 06 | ÂŁ4.99

chillies Growing a windowsill crop for seeds and spicy sauces

escape Wi nte r b e ac h e s : fresh air, foraging and shellfish for tea reclaimed style

at h o m e mixing colours and vintage finds

feel the warmth Decorate your home with books

make a simple valentine gift

cook an easy treat for two

stack up style in every room

Paint a mug and  chalk your message

a three-course supper to share

From sunrise to sunset then back again – and every precious moment in between. You can’t beat The Simple Things.

Most of us already have everything we need

for a meaningful life. Sometimes we need a compass bearing to help us track it down. Join us in sharing new discoveries and

celebrating quirky ancient ones. That hidden beach, that witty book, that eccentric little

shop. The pudding you made with the

rhubarb you grew in a trough from a scrapyard. Satisfaction lies in our own hands.

Plant the seeds. Spread the word. Smile.

The Simple Things: it’s not complicated.





Because nothing beats the satisfaction of growing your own. It’s true that a patio, window box or just a pot will do.

Because the real joy of food is in the preparing and the sharing – simple suppers, breakfast with friends and always cake-in-the-house.

Because it feels so good to say you made it yourself. Learning new skills and discovering traditional crafts well worth reviving.

Because it’s family and friends that shape our lives – the Sunday walks, the hot-dogs on the beach, the movies in front of the fire.

‘london toile’ Wallcovering from Glasgow design studio Timorous Beasties. Shown in ‘red & pink on cream’, also available in greens and blues.

Contents Issue 06



Cover photography: Philip sowels, manipulation James wooton

Find a quiet corner

Lunch New York style

Always time for cake with friends



11 A breakfast recipe

44 Wish list

Whizz up a batch of your own nut butter

Best buys for staying in or going out

12 Wish list

48 food from afar

Our edit of things to wake up and want

Cake and coffee German-style

16 things to plan and do

50 Escape

From making Nordic bread to blacksmithery

Beachcombing on a blowy day

19 interview

60 Notes on shellfish

A chat with Leon’s Kay Plunkett-Hogge

Gourmet guide no.6: choosing and cooking

23 Interior style

62 The Expert

Making the most of your books

Fishmonger Mitch Tonks advises on shellfish

28 My city

68 Homes tour

A personal tour around Melbourne

A bright and beautiful mix-and-match home

34 lunch with friends

79 Obsession

Meeting up at New York’s Fat Radish

A collector in love with Valentine’s cards

40 urban garden

83 gardening

Christopher Raeburn searches for caterpillars

The world of chilli-growing on your windowsill

Wake up slowly and make plans for your morning

Special subscription offer free book by holly becker 32 Subscribe in the UK 117 Digital subscription 128 Subscribe overseas


Make sure you plan some good old weekend escapades

88 looking back Photographer John Londei’s view of retail history

94 the mindful gardener Embracing the colder weather




A chat with a Valentine expert


Growing chillies on the windowsill


Visiting an inspiring home


Escaping to a winter beach


Home for the evening – gather, cook, read and relax 99 Simple pleasures Singer-songwriter Claire Campbell (aka Abagail Grey) describes her day in cups of tea


Share a cosy night in

119 february Enhancing the simple life with the practical and the playful

100 cake in the house A chocolatey take on the Victoria sponge

101 Exploring the senses Susannah Conway encourages us to reach inside and find our sixth sense

102 reflecting Jeremy Seal on the wonders of the wildlife that we can find close to home

104 Gathering A simple but special Valentine supper

112 What I miss Memories of places we were once allowed to play

114 The craft hour Creating a mugful of love with Amanda Wright’s Valentine project

130 And so to bed A bedtime story and a late-night snack with author Benjamin Buchholz

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Making picture frames • serving wine correctly • tying a lover’s knot • choosing wellingtons • identifying seashells


Porcelain milk bottle This colourful and stylish handmade vessel is perfect for those who disagree with serving milk straight from the plastic container. Santsi print Liven up your kitchen with this poster from the Tsai & Cafe collection, inspired by the sound of clinking cups.

Vintage heart cutting board Warm the heart of your loved one by serving up a Valentine’s breakfast on this heart-shaped cutting board.

Kantha-stitched mug An interesting mug for your collection, named after a type of embroidery popular in West Bengal.

things to wake up and want Perch table lamp Place the blown glass of the stylish, petite Perch table lamp on a bedside table to bring a mid‑century look to your bedroom.

Utensil set and rack Invite a burst of early spring colour into your kitchen with this boho set of cooking utensils. www.anangel


Shop of the month

Unpackaged Birdy Walk dinner plate Donna Wilson brings her whimsical style to this plate. Follow the footprints to discover culinary delights.

Branches rug Fast-forward to spring with this hand-tufted rug, which is made from Favriel yarns in a striking colourway.

Yellow stripe blanket Banish the dark mornings and brighten up your bedroom with this cherry yellow stripe throw from New Zealand-based Father Rabbit.

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Bring a jar, a paper bag, Tupperware or – like one lentil-buying customer – an old bottle. What for? To fill with everything from olive oil to washing-up liquid and seasonal local food at Unpackaged, the newly expanded East London grocery store where customers bring their own refillable packaging. So how did Unpackaged begin? “I used to go to a health food shop locally to refill my Ecover household cleaners,” explains founder Conway, “but still had to buy all my dry goods in packaging. It seemed so silly, so I started thinking… ” Catherine knew there was a better way, and wanted to give her customers the chance to do right – “for themselves and for the environment”. Since Unpackaged’s beginnings as a market stall in 2006, she has upsized, via a first shop in Islington to the new, bigger premises in Hackney with a bar – minus bottled mixers – and a café. “We’ll be expanding our zero-waste ethos to these new parts of the business,” says Catherine. “And people will be able to have a refreshing beer once they’ve worked up a sweat refilling!”

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Holly Becker, the world-renowned stylist and founder of presents Decorate Workshop: A Creative 8-Step Process For Transforming Your Home. The book is packed full of ideas to inspire individual creativity and also comes with practical advice to help bring it all together. Subscribe now to get your free copy!

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overseas readers See page 128 Terms and conditions: This offer is for new UK subscribers only. Full details of the Direct Debit guarantee will be provided and are available upon request. Your subscription will start with the next available issue. If you are dissatisfied in any way you can write to us or call us to cancel your subscription at any time and we will refund you for all unmailed issues. Please allow up to 28 days for delivery of your gift. Gift is subject to availability and in the unlikely event of stocks becoming exhausted, we reserve the right to substitute the gift with items of a similar value. Offer ends: 28.02.2013

★urne My city*: melbo French photographer nico alary explains why he feels at home in this vibrant city



*Share the simple things in your city. Leave a comment at or email

wherever you may be


Nico alary Nico Alary is a photographer originally from France. He has lived in many cities over the last six years including Melbourne and Vancouver. He specialises in food and travel photography with a focus on portraits and stories.


Most of us live in cities. Even if a tiny part of us yearns for the country, it’s hard to deny the excitement of town. Every issue we ask one person – clearly in love with their city – to tell us what makes it so special. Through their eyes, we can take a fresh look at where we live too. How long have you lived in the city?

I’m originally from France (no specific city, my Dad is in the airforce so we moved a lot), but I arrived in Melbourne in April 2011. My girlfriend – who was already in Melbourne – told me it was a fantastic city, and was really laid back with a lot going on. I was settled in Carlton North a few weeks later. What keeps you in the city now?

Melbournians are great. Generous, friendly, warm, easy to get along with, they love to chill in the park, go for a bike ride, cook a nice dinner for you, go out to a gig, they are true epicureans and life lovers – and that’s how I consider myself as well. Second, the food scene is great, and a lot of young chefs are doing incredible things and so, as a result, Melbourne has a unique contagious energy. There are cafés, restaurants, food trucks and pop-ups opening every week. I love that about the city. Third and finally, it’s gorgeous; the architecture, the green streets, the beaches. When it comes to texture and colour, it’s a photographer’s dream. Subscribe at


Which season makes your city feel most alive?

Summer. Melbournians love to be outside, going to a festival, gathering at someone’s house for a barbecue and a few beers or in some random lane for a late afternoon drink. Everyone is out during summer, riding bikes, relaxing on their porches and mingling until late. What time of day do you most enjoy?

I love to get up before 7am and get out for breakfast. I ride to one of my favourite cafés (Market Lane, Proud Mary, St Ali, Seven Seeds, Twenty & Six, Patricia, The Premises), drink a coffee, ride on to another café and order breakfast and be back home before 10am. »

1 A delicious selection served at The Duchess of Spotswood. 2 A classic Melbourne sight, this time in front of Brother Baba Budan, one of Nico’s favourite coffee spots. 3 Mark, a friend of Nico’s serves black coffee only at one of his nomad pop-up events. No milk, no espresso, just pure black coffee. 4 A classic Victorian Melbourne house. 5 The pretty Auction Rooms café offers a stunning space with food to match.

Look to the high tide line for foraging clues. Empty shells hold promise of hunting razorfish for tea.

Blowy walks on winter beaches windy days with gritt y salt spr ay tightening your skin‌ it’s winter but we still like to be beside the sea Photography: Anouk de Kleermaeker/Taverne Words: Kate Hodgins

THE EXPERT: shellfish mitch tonks, restaurateur, author and ‘fishmonger for the 21st century’, tells us why we should enjoy more shellfish

PHOTOGRAPHy © John Carey

Words: sue bradley

“I got fed up with driving up and down the motorway to work in finance,” says Mitch Tonks. “I thought, ‘I’m going to change all this and become a fishmonger.’”

Taste adventures


PHOTOGRAPHy © Toby Roxburgh

ast your net wide – canvas friends and neighbours, scour the high street and browse local websites – because finding a good fishmonger will change the way you eat. Shellfish is probably one of the foods we have least experience of: the UK coastline is teeming with it, but its delicious flavours are still undiscovered by many of us. Meet a man who wants to change that. Seafood is often seen as inaccessible and difficult to cook, but Mitch Tonks is making it more approachable with his award‑winning restaurants, fishmongery business and cookery books. “Eating fish is about delicate flavours, texture and provenance,” he explains. “It’s about freshness and clean, simple tastes. It’s about avoiding overpowering and dominant flavours and letting the fish do the talking.” Mitch grew up in the seaside town of Weston-superMare, where he spent many happy hours with a fishing rod in his hand. “Because I lived and messed around on the sea, seafood was always of great interest,” he says. Mitch trained to be an accountant but soon realised his true calling lay in seafood, so he gave up his job in finance and set up a fishmonger’s shop in Bath. “I’m a self-taught cook who learnt the trade from a handful of great books, my travels and my palate,” says the father‑of-five, who now lives with his family in Brixham. His passion for fresh, simple seafood makes Mitch the perfect person to guide us through the process of selecting, preparing and cooking shellfish, making these wonderful seaside flavours an everyday indulgence. I’m a bit afraid of shellfish – can you reassure me?

Shellfish is utterly delicious and not eating it is missing a trick. It’s low in calories and contains many minerals, including zinc, and mussels are a great source of omega 3. The important things to remember are to handle it confidently and don’t worry about it spoiling quickly – it’s quite forgiving. Once you’ve understood the basics, the same rules apply to cooking almost any fish. And as you eat and cook more, and start to understand the individual textures and flavours of each species, you’ll soon find that you’ll be able to create easy and simple recipes of your own, from whatever ingredients you have to hand, with increasing confidence and success.

Would you buy cooked or raw?

I only buy raw, but if you have a good fishmonger you can trust him and buy cooked. The advantages of buying it raw are you have more control over the shellfish and know that it’s extremely fresh.

Where would you go to buy it?

The golden rule is to find a source of good fresh fish – this will prove to be the most invaluable investment of your time. If possible, find a good, local fishmonger. They tend to work directly with fishermen and are also the best people to go to for advice on eating shellfish. What’s the best to get in the UK?

We have fantastic shellfish around the British Isles. Our crab and lobster are the finest in the world and we’re growing oysters that are so good they’re exported to France. We have great resources when it comes to producing shellfish: we have good water and we really understand about growing and producing oysters. Subscribe at

When is the season for it?

It depends on the type of shellfish you’re eating. Rock oysters, which are farmed by growers in estuaries and river banks, are available all year round. Native oysters are fished under strict conditions between September and April. In Cornwall they can only be caught from a sailboat. Native oysters are slightly sweeter and more chewy and firm than rock oysters. Wild prawns can be caught in rivers around places such as Devon and Pembrokeshire from August to November, but a lot tend to be exported because that’s where a higher price is paid. Fat, juicy mussels are available during the autumn and winter months. »

You can tell if shellfish is fresh because it has a lovely ozone smell. Buying raw rather than cooked gives you more control over your dish.

Bright & cheerfuL Debi Treloar pairs junk-shop finds with colourful treasures to create a mix-and -match home in her own rel a xed st yle Words: Kate Burt Photography: Debi Treloar

How we live

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G r ow i n g chillies There’s no need to leave the house to enjoy growing chillies – Emma Bond makes in the garden the most of the windowsill


Photography: getty images

rowing chillies scores highly on the gardening satisfaction scale. I am a full convert to chilli growing and have found it can easily become an obsession. Once you’ve run out of windowsills in your house, you know you’ve gone too far. It’s easy to get too enthusiastic and use the entire packet of seeds and end up with far more mini plants than you need. Just remember the seed does keep well for another year, so unless you want a chilli forest growing in your kitchen, just sow a few. The time for sowing comes now in February. Each year I try to grow something different: last year it was Cherry Bomb Chillies, Numex Twilight and Cayenne, all very different types of chillies, and now I’m starting off some Hungarian Hot Wax as well as some Jalapeño that I am going to attempt to smoke on my barbeque. If you are a beginner, any of these are good as the growing techniques are the same. »

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Dinner for two a delicious Valentine dinner designed to woo fl ames old and new Photography: luisa brimble Recipes: aaron teece/studio neon


Holding hands over dinner is fine – just this once. It is Valentine’s Day after all.


alentine’s Day falls on a Thursday this year. A week night hardly has the promise of a Saturday, but it’s still worth making plans for a cosy night and a memorable meal. Stop off on the way home for a few special ingredients and act casual while you whip up something rich and satisfying. Start with a nutty aubergine dish, follow with a treat of rich duck and a little break before you serve up poached pears with homemade Subscribe at

gingerbread biscuits – heart-shaped of course. Everything is designed to be easy to cook with company in the kitchen. The only prep is to bake the ginger biscuits the night before. The quantities are generous enough to allow for extras to crumble over dessert and a cheeky few for you to hand out to potential Valentines during the day. If you don’t have a true love to hand on the big night, spoil yourself and your flatmate instead – this menu is too good to go untried. Set the table and get out the posh plates... »

MEN U Aubergine with pistachio & sesame seed crumbs Duck with spinach & pomegranate Poached pear with gingerbread biscuits

dawn section header

PHOTOGRAPHy: Dieter Leistne/Gallery Stock

20 THE SIMPLE THINGS issue one

The Simple Things Issue 6 sampler