IN LIVING COLOR | As if Kathryn Ireland’s advice wouldn’t be enough, she turned to her closest friends – including Lulu Powers, aka “The Entertainologist,” and photographer Ithaka Roddam – for stylish tips and tricks. Her book also contains pictures from her own dinner parties at home in Southern California and in a converted farmhouse in the South of France.
Ireland spent her childhood in London and on the coast of Scotland, with summers in Italy and France. “I was always inspired by color and entertaining,” she says. “My mother, Lillian, had a pot of Bolognese sauce on the AGA stove and was ready to entertain. She was very stylish and a great decorator – not as a trade, but she knew how to make a home.”
Ireland says she goes to her home in France, “with 360-degree views of rolling hills and lush countryside” to both relax and entertain. “There are usually guests! That was a huge source of inspiration for this book. You can feed larger groups with little prep time,” she says. “Great wine, food and people make a great party. Some of the best dishes are uncomplicated.”
What about her gorgeous line? “Fabrics are a key element in all of my work. A great fabric can instantly add character, color and set the mood for an occasion,” she notes. “You can get so much range out of textiles – pillows, upholstery and curtains tie a space together.”
Her first collection, 20 years ago, was inspired by her favorite patchwork quilt. Look for her newest line soon, as well as woven fabrics by her son, Otis Weis. Shop color drenched pillows and lampshades on kathrynireland.com.
FLOURLESS HAZELNUT CHOCOLATE CAKE
1 cup (about 7 ounces) dark or semisweet chocolate (chips, chunks, whatever high-quality brand you prefer)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
6 eggs, separated
1 cup fine granulated sugar
2 ¼ cups ground hazelnuts (hazelnut meal)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1) Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease and lightly flour a 9-inch round deep cake pan or springform pan.
2) In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and butter on low heat; set aside to cool. Beat the egg yolks and sugar together with an electric mixer until they turn pale and creamy. Add the ground hazelnuts, baking powder, vanilla extract, and salt; mix well.
3) In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Stir the chocolate and butter mixture into the main batter until well mixed, then fold in the egg whites. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until firm to the touch.
4) Test for doneness by inserting a small knife tip or toothpick in the center; it will still have moist crumbs clinging to it. Let cake cool on rack for at least 20 minutes
¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 teaspoons sugar
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons whole hazelnuts
For the topping, melt the butter with the sugar, salt, and hazelnuts in a small saucepan, stirring until a caramel starts to form and the nuts become golden and toasted. Cool, then roughly chop the nuts and sprinkle over the cake. Serve slices with whipped cream or crème fraîche and berries.
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