Thursday 19 January 2017

The pleasure list: Winter warmed up with Rachel

Published 28/09/2015 | 02:30

Tasty Treats: Rachel Allen is getting all hot and spicy with her new range of sandwiches for O'Brien's. Photo: Tony Gavin
Tasty Treats: Rachel Allen is getting all hot and spicy with her new range of sandwiches for O'Brien's. Photo: Tony Gavin
Afternoon tea
Max candle

There are many strings to Rachel Allen's culinary bow: chef, writer, broadcaster, judge, teacher, and those are only the broad brush-strokes.

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 She has also been creative food consultant to O'Brien's Sandwich cafes since 2010, in which time she has helped them re-energise the humble sandwich, until it is not so humble any more.

 Her Signature range has been a perfect example of how to keep things interesting between two slices of bread, and now, as autumn draws in, Rachel has teamed up with Tabasco sauce to add a bit of a kick to her sandwiches. So, to add to the existing Mexican cheese quesadilla, New York deli melt and the rest of the range, O'Brien's will now be introducing Rachel's Hot and Spicy range: sweet chicken wrap with chickpea and mint, with a touch of Tabasco sauce, and a Cajun chicken and rocket with spicy Tabasco mayonnaise served on toasted sourdough bread.

There is also chorizo and tomato soup with Tabasco sauce and smoked paprika, and a lentil and beef flavoured soup with cumin, nutmeg, cinnamon and Tabasco pepper sauce. Winter is coming, here's how to cope.

www.obriens.ie

Haute couture is now at home with top designers

Clever collaborations have long been behind Debenhams' success; the ability to spot a talented designer and work with them to create beautiful, affordable ranges.

Matthew Williamson and Julien Macdonald are two of the most recent, most fruitful collaborations, giving rise to gorgeous homewares in two very different styles.

Butterfly by Matthew Williamson is a range of pretty, floral patterned china and bedding, in delicate tones of blue or pink and white, while Macdonald's trademark opulence and glamour can be seen in his cushions, vases, throws, photo frames, bedding and more. From the cheeky glass engraved with 'wine o'clock', through to the silver-hinged dressing table mirror and regally purple bed linen, not to mention the black snakeskin-printed towels, the Star by Julien Macdonald range is witty, gorgeous and full of personality.

www.debenhams.ie

A week of wonderful ways to treat yourself to afternoon tea

The five-star Glenlo Abbey Hotel recently finished a major refurbishment of the hotel and golf course, and to celebrate are launching a series of charmingly-themed afternoon tea events, A Week of Wonders, from Saturday October 24.

Each day will bring a different theme, carried through to food and styling, beginning with the luxurious Bollinger Afternoon Tea Aboard the Orient Express. It will be served in two Pullman carriages, once part of the Orient Express, and distinguished by opulent interiors featuring handmade fabrics and ornate marquetry. That's one for you and your mother, or your grandest aunt.

On Sunday it's the family-friendly Fairytales By The Fireside, hosted by Elsa the Snow Queen and Anna, with a reading from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, gingerbread mocktails, kite flying and a film screening.

Monday is for vegetarian gourmets, while on Tuesday it's Downton Abbey meets Glenlo Abbey, with glowing log fires and a poetry reading. Truly, something lovely for everyone.

www.glenloabbeyhotel.com

Light a pretty candle

Mark and David Van den Bergh have been producing delightful scented candles since the early 1990s. The company is named after their nephews - Max and Benjamin - and has gradually evolved over the years, from the early days of simple, pretty, hand-poured candles, to an international brand.

Max Benjamin currently has 17 fragrances of natural wax candles, as well as fragrance diffusers and a hand and body care range, and sells in Japan, the UK and across Europe.

Made from soy blended with beeswax, coconut and canola oil, with no paraffin, the candles are biodegradable and a renewable, sustainable resource. They come in a variety of appealing fragrances, including Lemongrass and Ginger, True Lavender and Persian Rose. New to the range is the Coffee collection with five new fragrances including Amber, Patchouli and Pink Pepper. All rich and spicy blends, perfect for the longer, darker nights ahead.

www.maxbenjamin.ie

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