Recipe: Asparagus & Courgette Salad with a Water Cress Dressing

With spring in full swing, we've already managed a few BBQs this year, and with the summer months stretching ahead, we can't wait to enjoy more alfresco dining (providing the Great British weather doesn't let us down!). 91 contributor Catherine Frawley has created a fresh and healthy salad, perfect for summer lunches or with your barbecued meat or fish... we can't wait to give this a try! 

Asparagus & Courgette Salad with a Water Cress Dressing

This is a lovely seasonal dish with substance, the watercress dressing gives a warm peppery twist serve for lunch or dinner or both.

Ingredients - For the Salad

  • 200g Asparagus, trimmed and cut into pieces
  • 1 Courgette, sliced into ribbons
  • ½ an avocado, sliced
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • 100g cous cous
  • 2 tbsp. pine nuts
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach
  • Salt & Pepper

Ingredients - For the Dressing

  • 50g watercress (more to garnish)
  • 1 tsp. of honey
  • 8 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • Squeeze of lemon juice

SERVES 4

Method

Start by cooking the cous cous according to your packet instructions. Whilst that is on the go heat a pan and toast the pine nuts, once golden remove and set aside. Add a little oil to the pan and brown the asparagus, once done set aside. In the same pan, add a little more oil if needed and brown the courgettes. Again once done, set aside.

In a blender add all the ingredients for the dressing and blitz until smooth, you may need to add a little more oil if the mixture needs to be looser. This will make double the amount of dressing you need for this recipe but the remainder can be stored in a jar in the fridge for about a week.

Add 2 tbsp. of dressing to your cooked cous cous, season with salt and pepper, stir through and transfer to your serving platter. In a mixing bowl add the asparagus, courgette, avocado, onions, and baby spinach, season and stir through 2-3 tbsp of dressing. Add this to the top of the cous cous, sprinkle with the pine nuts and some watercress garnish. Serve immediately.

Recipe and photography by Catherine Frawley

Win £250 to spend with Thought

We at Team 91 share a love for beautiful, well-designed classics: from the interiors of our homes, to the clothes that we wear. This is why we're excited to share with you Thought - formerly known as Braintree Clothing.

Thought's motto is: 'we believe that contemporary fashion and sustainability go hand-in-hand' and they have recently completed an exciting rebrand, beginning a new chapter with a name that reflects their philosophy on sustainability, echoes their ethics and builds on their slow, 'thoughtful clothing' message. 

Thought's elegant pieces are made from naturally grown bamboo, cotton, wool and hemp. They offer the ideal blend of simple lines and considered detail, in a beautifully coherent colour palette that ensures it's a breeze to mix and match items from their collections into contemporary outfits that you'll want to wear again and again. In fact, Thought encourage their customers to adopt the mantra. "Wear me, love me, mend me, pass me on." as a reminder to look after what we own.

A self-confessed denim addict, I fell in love with the Frances shirt dress and found myself irresistibly drawn to the seventies-style Alfreda Midi Skirt, which is perfect to team with a pretty knit and a summer cape. A soft bamboo scarf is a dreamy way to add colour to any outfit, not to mention a useful addition for those unexpectedly chilly spring breezes.Whatever your style, Thought's tempting new collections are sure to have something that will catch your eye.

We think you'll be excited to hear that we have teamed up with Thought to offer one 91 Magazine blog reader the chance to win £250 to spend on their website! You could treat yourself to a whole new spring outfit, and you'd be able to feel good about looking good, safe in the knowledge that Thought work in an ethical and sustainable way to produce their clothes.

The giveaway closes at midnight on Sunday 21st May 2017. A winner will be selected at random and Thought will contact you directly if you are the lucky one. Do pop over to the Thought website to browse their gorgeous new collection. 

Simply CLICK HERE to enter.  

Good Luck readers! x

This post has been sponsored by Thought. All styled images are by Laura Pashby, images featuring models are by Thought. Opinions are those of Laura Pashby, deputy editor of 91 Magazine. 

A sneak peek inside the S/S 17 issue

Lots of you have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of our latest issue (some ever since you'd finished reading the last one!) and we are excited to say it is only two weeks away from hitting my desk here at 91 HQ! You may have already spotted the cover over on Instagram and heard about the exciting collaboration with Karolin Schnoor where you can purchase a magazine and screen print bundle? Well, now we have a little sneaky peek inside the issue, sharing a few of the gorgeous images we have packed into the pages...

Image by Jemma Watts

Image by Jemma Watts

Image by Tiffany Grant-Riley

Image by Tiffany Grant-Riley

Image by Kym Grimshaw

Image by Kym Grimshaw

Image by Cathy Pyle

Image by Cathy Pyle

Image by Holly Marder

Image by Holly Marder

Image by Kym Grimshaw

Image by Kym Grimshaw

If you've already pre-ordered your copy, we hope these have excited you even more about receiving it, and if not, we hope they've whetted your appetite, and convinced you to place your order asap! Pop over now to the shop to order, and do check out the gorgeous (and exclusive!) Karolin Schnoor screen prints there too, they are the perfect little treat for your walls!

Pre-order now. 

MAKE: Shooting star printed cushion

As much as we LOVE to shop here at 91, we also enjoy making our own home accessories once in a while, especially if they turn out as beautifully as this cushion cover designed by Joy Jolliffe (owner of Random Retail). Thankfully Joy isn't keeping this one to herself, today she shares a tutorial for creating your very own version of this beauty for your sofa or dining chairs. Take it away Joy! 

The inspiration for this idea began with torn paper. The snowflake designs that we all made when we were children can be a good starting point for pattern ideas. I also have a small collection of vintage wooden set squares and it was their straight edges and triangular shapes that suggested the idea for a geometric design. Celtic designs and patterned tiles are also great inspiration for this type of look.

You will need: 

  • 2 pieces cartridge paper A2 size
  • 3 pieces lightweight card A2 size
  • Sheet of tracing paper
  • Cutting mat
  • Metal Ruler
  • Scalpel
  • Pencil
  • Mark and Erase Pen
  • Small sponge pieces
  • Printing inks
  • Masking Tape
  • Cushion cover or fabric to make own 40cm x 40cm
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1. Fold a square piece of paper (that measures the same size as your cushion cover) into quarters and draw your geometric design out as above left. Cut out carefully with a scalpel. Unfold the paper.

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2. Cut the paper into 4 quarters and then reassembled the pieces to make a different pattern. Use the pattern pieces as a guide and draw the shapes onto a large sheet of paper. I mirror imaged the shapes that had been sliced through the middle. I liked the star shape that had originally formed in the middle of the design and decided instead to add one to each quarter making the design more dynamic. (see below)

3. Next you need to decide which colours you will use and where. Keep it simple with two or three colours. By reverse tracing transfer each colour group onto three separate pieces of card and cut out each stencil ready for printing. It's important to cut small matching holes in the corner of each stencil - this gives you registration points to ensure the 2nd and 3rd stencils are positioned correctly.

** SPONGEING TECHNIQUE TIP ** For this design I used a sponge to transfer the ink onto the fabric. It’s a good idea to practice on a spare piece of fabric before starting on your cushion. Dab the sponge onto the ink and then dab off onto a clean part of the plate before applying the inked sponge to the stencil. That way you can build the colour gradually and avoid blobs and blots.

** PRINTING ON READY MADE CUSHION TIPS ** If you are printing onto a ready made cushion cover, arrange your design so that it avoids seams or zips/closures/overlaps. It’s always best to print onto a flat surface. Additionally, if using a ready made cushion cover, place a sheet of paper inside between the front and the back. This ensures ink doesn’t spread to the back during printing.

4. Tape your cushion cover or fabric onto a lightly padded surface. Tape the first stencil into position and using the Mark & Erase pen mark the 4 corner registration dots onto your fabric, then start spongeing on your ink.

5. When you have stencilled all of the 1st colour, remove the stencil carefully. Leave your fabric to dry, preferably in situ. Using your registration holes and marks, tape the 2nd stencil into place and apply the 2nd colour.

6. Repeat the last step with your 3rd colour to complete the design. Allow to dry, then either stitch your fabric to make up the cushion cover, or simply pop in a cushion pad if you used a ready made cover. 

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Design and tutorial by Joy Jolliffe of Random Retail. Find more of Joy's printing designs and techniques in her book Print it!

All photography by Holly Jolliffe

Meet the Maker: Imogen Owen

This month we talk to Imogen Owen, a modern calligrapher, teacher and author, about the beautifully analogue world of hand-lettering.

Meditative, unique, elegant and beautiful are just a few of the words that can help to describe the resurgence of hand-crafting, and none more so than when considering the gentle and quiet art of calligraphy. ‘I think it’s all to do with the immediacy and homogenisation the digital age has brought,’ says hand-lettering artist and designer Imogen Owen. Her delicate script and hand-printed stationery has encouraged hundreds, if not thousands, of paper-lovers to pick up pen and ink and try their hand at lettering and revive the lost art of letter-writing. ‘Let’s face it, we never comment when we receive a nice email!’ laughs Imogen. ‘But we treasure a special letter, written by hand just for us.’  

This dedication to the hand-written word began at Camberwell College of Arts, where Imogen studied graphics. ‘They have a great Letterpress department there, and I became fascinated by the idea of owning my own huge press.’ Despite researching smaller table top presses, Imogen found her dream- a ‘hulking great 1940s vintage machine, that had to be delivered by three men.’ The three-phase electronic machine encouraged Imogen to work from home, and she honed her unique script and hand-printed wedding stationery to be exhibited at Top Drawer in 2013, which immediately led to work for Paperchase, amongst others. ‘I’m always looking at trends, particularly from the US, but I suppose my fluid style of design is quite different to the traditional calligraphy here in Britain,’ Imogen muses.  

After teaching herself the Copperplate method of hand-lettering, Imogen set up an Instagram account, and within hours had received two requests to teach workshops. Luckily, alongside the business she was building, Imogen had been teaching at a university, so she partnered with stationery store Quill in London to offer her first Modern Calligraphy workshops. ‘It got to the stage where I was teaching full workshops- around 25 people per class- all weekend, every weekend, it has been totally bonkers!’ explains Imogen. One of Imogen’s most popular workshops has been The Art of Elegant Swearing at West Elm, or ‘Pottymouth Party’. ‘It’s fun to write “bollocks” in fancy writing!’ Imogen laughs. ‘It’s not offensive if it’s pretty…’ And this notion has extended to Imogen’s range of mugs, which feature her signature elegant script, neatly and prettily announcing all sorts of profanities.  

Imogen’s teaching experience and exploration of her art are never more present than in her first book, Modern Calligraphy (Quadrille, April 2017). ‘I was first approached to write a book in 2014, but I look back on my work then and feel I’ve improved so much,’ admits Imogen. ‘The book had to be about simplicity, and ultimately something I would like to have bought when I was starting out.’ The book features brush lettering, calligraphy and other styles of hand-lettering such as chalk lettering, to offer everything for the beginner and experienced hand-lettering enthusiast. ‘There are lots of tips I’ve learnt from teaching beginners, and really help ease the kind of impatience we experience when learning something new,’ continues Imogen. ‘Coming from a design background, I’m keen to encourage people to explore their own style- and so in the book I’ve explored things like weight, placement of lines etc. and typography so that the beginner will be able to compose their own ideas.’  

Imogen spends at least one day a week in London, but her studio is at her parent’s home in Leicestershire. With sculptors for parents, there is no shortage of huge studio space there and Imogen revels in the daily routine of a 6.30am swim and rambling dog walk before settling down to work. ‘I’ll usually answer emails in the studio, and then get the presses set up with my studio assistant and letterpress assistant,’ Imogen explains. ‘After that I’ll often make samples for a wedding client, then perhaps make up a wholesale order, write a magazine piece or prepare for a show.’ Imogen will be exhibiting at New York City’s National Stationery Show in May, and is also sourcing some unique Japanese equipment for the hand-lettering kits she sells on her website. ‘The appeal of my work, for me, is the ability to zone out, away from a screen, focussing on shapes and playing with form.’ With the soundtrack of a favourite audiobook and without the distraction of a digital screen, this could be a metaphor for all hand-crafted hobbies, and a satisfying one indeed.  

Image by Courage and Dash

Image by Courage and Dash

Describe your work in three words: Fun, naughty and luxurious

What are your making rituals? Audiobook, hot drink, clean desk, sharpened pencil, new nib, I am pretty chaotic in lots of ways, but before starting any new project, I like to start with a clean slate, so desk tidied and clean, fresh sheet of paper, clean water, new nib etc, and a great story to get lost in for hours…

Tea or Coffee? Tea first thing & last thing, but coffee in the day and I’m a total arse about how I like both!

Mountains or Sea? Sea, I love to snorkel for hours and never get bored. Although to be honest, I just like to be outdoors as much as possible in any kind of environment (apart from caves, they freak me out)

Night Owl or Early Bird? Both, for action I’m a total early bird (work/exercise etc) but I’ll happily stay out and dance till dawn… and then probably get up a few hours later and start work. 

I wish someone had told me… That your knowledge is just as valuable as your products are to your business, so think carefully about what you want to share. If something makes you feel uncomfortable, then trust your instincts on it. 

www.imogenowen.com

Style a woodland themed Easter table

Easter is nearly upon us, and if you are expecting guests then take the chance to get creative and really make your Easter table a sight to behold! Stylist Amanda Russell shows us how to decorate a woodland themed table with a collection of spring plants, a bit of moss and a few simple accessories... 

There’s no denying there is a big botanical trend going on just now. As nature accelerates out of the cold dark winter months, it certainly seems appropriate that we embrace it and celebrate it, by creating a wonderfully green and lush Easter table. The natural scheme is inspired by spring’s rebirth with buds popping, leaves unfurling and birds singing.

It’s time to make your interior sing too; bring the outside in, get up close, smell the flowers and emphasise the detail with this woodland theme. It’s a simple, eclectic look, which just needs a little preparation in advance, then style by layering up the rustic elements and items you already have around the home.

Make moss wrapped kokedama:

You can make these the day before from seasonal plants like pansies, primroses or ranunculuses. You will need moss from the garden or sourced from a florist, floristry wire and wire snips. Half an hour before you start, water the plants, then leave to drain. Green side down spread some moss out in a rectangle large enough to cover the plant pot. Take the plant out of the pot, pull off the loose soil, press the roots into a ball shape, and wrap the moss around the soil. Wind wire in all directions around the moss making a firm ball. Snip the wire and press the end into the moss ball.

Styling tips:

·      Dress up simple white ceramics by placing on rustic chopping boards, if you need extra, borrow from friends or family.

·      Save time and ironing energy, by choosing natural rumpled linen napkins or use tea towels if you don’t have napkins. (try H&M or Zara for a good selection of well priced textiles)

·      Mismatched vintage or contemporary ceramic candlesticks look great with ordinary white household candles.

·      Make rustic bread rolls special by wrapping with a collar of brown paper, held in place with twine.

·      Tie in your glassware by opting for green tumblers and jugs. (H&M is a good source of affordable glassware) 

·      Write your guests' names on simple luggage tags, then add a sprig of blossom.

·      Speckled chocolate eggs in decorative nests (try Waitrose, Tiger or online craft stores for these) scattered with feathers add authenticity to your woodland theme and also are a treat for your younger (and older!) guests.

·      For a last minute finishing touch, drape a few trails of ivy.

After your celebrations, give the kokedama a long drink, drain, then group around the house or in the garden. Better still, give your guests a parting gift of a moss wrapped kokedama plant to remind them of a perfect celebration.

Styling and design: Amanda Russell - amandarusselldesign.co.uk / soulfoodstudio.com

Photography: Antonia Attwood

Foraging at Daylesford Cookery School

91 contributor Catherine Frawley recently experienced the joys of foraging at Daylesford Farm's cookery school in the Cotswolds. She learnt how to whip up some delicious dishes with the forest finds and here she tells us more about the day, as well as sharing a recipe for making your own foragers butter...

Daylesford farm began its organic journey 35 years ago. Now, one of the most sustainable organic farms in the UK, its 2350 acres in the Cotswolds is also home to a beautiful farm shop, restaurant, café, a spa, cottages and a cookery school.

There’s a huge amount of social interest at the moment in slow living and home cooking with edible flowers (according to my online world), which seemingly has never been more popular. Elderflower season is starting and Instagram and Pinterest are full of images of foraged finds being turned into cordial, cakes and more. So it was hugely inspiring to spend the day at Daylesford on the Wild Food & Foraging Course to find out more about the plants and flowers that we pass by everyday that can be added to make simple meals more interesting and visually more stunning.

Tim (pictured above) is Daylesford’s resident forager and we were lucky enough on this day to have Garry Eveleigh AKA The Wild Cook join us adding his expertise in what can be eaten in the woodlands of the Daylesford estate.

We spent a good two hours walking through the woods, fields and by the lake, stopping along the way to collect or avoid certain plants, taste what was being picked. This included wood sorrel, ground ivy, yellow celandine and pretty purple honesty flowers. At the time I visited, wild garlic was in abundance and we all collected huge bunches of it, some to be used when we returned to the school but plenty to take home with us too.

Back at the school we snacked on Anzac biscuits from the farm shop and drank Bloody Marys with wild Horseradish that the chef had prepared before making our own Foragers Butter. (find the recipe at the end of this post)

With our baskets of plants and flowers we made our own salads; creating salad dressings and choosing from an array of vinegars, mustards and oils from the larder to suit our own palettes. Added to our salads, chef served venison carpaccio and raw asparagus in a simple dressing.

Nettles were used to make a nettle ice cream, which was served with forced rhubarb. There was a huge amount of knowledge being shared and lots of tasting and simple recipes being whipped up, like homemade mayonnaise, to show us how quick and easy it is and also how much better it tastes than shop bought.

The whole day was a wonderful experience, a great introduction into foraging and simple ways you can implement it into a busy life. When lunch was over we all had a browse in the farm shop, I bought the cider vinegar and those Anzac biscuits and there may have been a few other things that made it into my basket too!

Three interesting things I discovered:

1. Washing stinging nettles will take out the sting

2. Buttercups are poisonous(!)

3. Raw asparagus in a simple dressing are delicious.

Making your own butter

- 900ml of cream will make around 400g of butter

  • Beat the cream with an electric whisk until it peaks and starts to clump and then white liquid starts to appear. The cream has now separated into curds of butter and buttermilk. It takes about 10 minutes. Strain the curds out of the buttermilk
  • In a bowl of very cold water drop in the curds to draw out any further milk. Squeeze the butter together to form a ball and then add your foraged flowers and a little salt (if you want a salted butter). Work the butter so your added ingredients are evenly distributed. Roll the butter into a sausage shape and wrap tightly in cling film.

The butter will keep for a week in the fridge or 6 months in the freezer.

Daylesford Farm is based in the Cotswolds and they host an array of cooking classes from making bread to cooking without wheat, dairy and sugar. You can find out more about their classes here - if you are interested in the Wild and Foraged course I took, the next one is on the 21st April 2017. 

If you can’t make it to the Cotswolds, Daylesford do have a number of restaurants and farm shops around London.

PRE ORDER S/S 17 issue plus exclusive screen prints

It's always so lovely to hear from our readers via social media about how much you are looking forward to the next issue of the magazine. We've been working hard of the past few months, and it's almost ready and we are SO excited about so much of this new issue! It's packed full of all our usual features as well as a few new bits and bobs for 2017! Below we'd like to reveal the cover and let you know it is now available for PRE ORDER! Plus read on to hear about the lovely collaboration we've worked on with illustrator Karolin Schnoor....

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Alongside your copy of 91, you also have the chance to buy some beautiful A5 screen prints, exclusively designed by Karolin Schnoor for 91 Magazine readers. They can be bought in a bundle with the magazine, either as a set of two or individually. If you usually buy your copy of the magazine from one of our stockists, then never fear, it's still possible to buy these gorgeous prints separately too. 

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The prints are screen printed by hand using metallic grey ink onto speckled 250gsm G.F.Smith Bier Weizen paper. Each print is A5 sized. The ink is made by mixing metallic powder into grey ink. These really are special little prints, and we only have a limited amount - so we strongly advise you get in quick! 

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close up showing speckled paper and metallic ink

close up showing speckled paper and metallic ink

So, don't delay folks! Head on over to the SHOP now to reserve your copy of the mag and bag yourself these gorgeous prints before they go! 

PRE ORDER NOW! 

91 loves... interiors using cork

While we do love our white walls and floors here at 91, we also enjoy the use of interesting materials in interiors. Anything from wood cladding, to metals like copper or brass, through to plywood and perhaps more unusually, cork. The use of cork in the home can go badly wrong, it has potential for looking cheap, but if done right, like the examples here, we think it can look really chic and is definitely a forgiving material. 

via H&M

via H&M

Photo by Petra Bindel

Photo by Petra Bindel

An entire wall clad in cork can look super cool, and can either be left blank for simplicity, or can be utilised for creative inspiration. I remember how much I loved rearranging my pinboard back in the 80's! :) 

Would you have ever thought of a cork floor? The family who live in the home above say it is a great material for flooring, having it in their kitchen and children's rooms. It's quiet under foot, and easy to clean once sealed. 

Photo by Holly Marder for 91 Magazine

Photo by Holly Marder for 91 Magazine

If covering your walls or floors in cork seems like too much of a commitment, then you can opt for some cork furniture. It has a contemporary feel, and as the above images demonstrate, it can work in both a neutral or colourful scheme. Check out Ikea's Sinnerlig stools, coasters and pot stands, or these cork pots from Mind the Cork, perfect for small plants or a desk tidy. 

#seekinspirecreate - some favourites

Image by @oldfashionedsus

Once again, we've been perusing the images that you have been sharing via our ongoing hashtag #seekinspirecreate. We love to see what's caught your eye: the objects and scenes that inspire you, the moments that you seek out, the vignettes that inspire you. Thanks to the arrival of Spring, our selection this time has a distinctly fresh and floral feel.

Image by @kymgrimshaw

Image by @kymgrimshaw

Image by @_scarlett.l

Image by @_scarlett.l

These are just a few of our current favourite images from the #seekinspirecreate feed. We'll be featuring more in future blog posts, so please do continue to share your images, and your inspiration. You can find us on Instagram as @91magazine. Come and take a peek at our stories, for behind-the-scenes snippets of 91 life.

Image by @hanbullivant

Image by @hanbullivant

91 is reading... Capture Your Style

We make no secret of the fact that we at 91 Magazine are hooked on Instagram. It's one of our key sources of inspiration, a way in which we make connections and even discover potential content for the magazine. Each issue we showcase five of our favourite accounts in our Instagram Edit and, if you follow us on Instagram, you'll know that we're posting fresh content daily, from styled flatlays to behind the scenes snippets. We also host regular hashtag projects over on IG- remember that you can still tag your tea/coffee themed shots to #91magazine_myquietcuppa for a chance to have your image featured in the next print issue of the magazine.

So naturally, given our insta-obsession, we were fascinated to read Capture Your Style, the tell-all Instagram guide from Aimee Song (aka @songofstyle), a superstar US Instagrammer with 4.4 million followers and counting.

Capture Your Style promises to help you to'transform your Instagram images, Showcase your Life and Build the Ultimate Platform'. The book is divided into five sections that cover:

- The Ins & Outs of Instagram

- Capture your Style

-Become a Storyteller

-Find & Grow Your Audience

- Instagold

If you are an Instagram beginner, or are unsure about the details of how the platform works, in 'The Ins & Outs of Instagram', Aimee explains in clear, easy-to-understand steps how to get started, from choosing a username to using the camera on your smartphone. She walks the reader through the entire process, throwing in top tips along the way.

The section on 'Capturing your Style' is essential reading for anyone who posts outfit shots, selfies or even portraits. There are plenty of ideas on how to put together an outfit shot, with interesting insights into how to use backgrounds, juxtapositions and angles to best effect. 

'Become a Storyteller' covers Aimee's thoughts on how best to shoot food, travel, interiors and flatlays, with tips on how to balance your grid (for example, Aimee suggests thinking about your images in groups of twelve) and ideas for lighting and ways to ensure that your images are perfectly straight.

'Find & Grow Your Audience' covers practicalities such as commenting, hash tagging, mentions, and timing your images to best effect, whilst "Insta Gold' touches on the ways in which Instagram can be used to support and grow your business and career.

More experienced Instagrammers may find that some of the content is already familiar to them and that some advice is rather subjective. For example, Aimee states categorically that you should use a maximum of five hashtags per post, whereas we know that 91 contributor and Instagram Coach Sara Tasker advises that using anything up to the full quota of 30 can work well.

Nevertheless, if you're new to Instagram, or if you are a fashion blogger (or a fan of outfit shots!), then this book could prove invaluable. Indeed, anyone with an interest in Instagram will find plenty of inspiration within its pages.

Capture Your Style by Aimee Song is published by Abrams Image (£11.99)

All images in this post by Laura Pashby.

Recipe: Chocolate Cake with Lilac Cream

Spring blooms are sprouting up all around us, and it is glorious! As well as our gardens and pathways, we are filling vases indoors with daffodils, tulips and anemones, so why not transfer our floral passion to the kitchen?! Today we are delving into the 91 archives and sharing this recipe from issue 8 (March 2014) for a delicious chocolate cake with lilac cream, contributed by Emilie Ekborg

For this cake you will need three layers. The ingredients list below makes one layer.

  • 100g butter
  • 210g granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar
  • 150g all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • 50g dark chocolate (70% or more)

To make the cake: 

First melt the butter then in a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar. In a separate bowl combine the vanilla sugar, flour, cocoa powder and salt. Add the melted butter to the egg and sugar batter followed by the dry ingredients and mix well until smooth. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over boiling water. Make sure no steam gets to the chocolate, otherwise it will become grainy. Once completely melted, add the chocolate to the batter and mix.

Transfer the mixture to a loose base tin and bake in the middle of the oven at 175°C for 20 minutes. The cake should be quite sticky but not runny, so test it with a skewer to see if it’s ready. When baked, leave the cake in its tin and place on a rack to cool.

To make the lilac cream:

  • 1 litre cream
  • 255g lilac sugar
  • lilac petals (approx 5-6 stems) for decoration

Whip the cream and then sieve in the lilac sugar (making your own lilac sugar is easy - just put sugar and lilac petals together in a jar and leave for at least a week before then removing the petals). Then simply fold the lilac sugar into the cream without stirring too much.

Assembling the cake:

Make sure the three layers have completely cooled, otherwise the cream will melt. Put the first layer on a cake stand or plate and, using a spatula, spread over with a fairly thick layer of lilac cream. Place a second cake on top of this and spread with cream also. Then repeat the process with the third so that you end up with a layer of cream on top of the assembled cake. Finally, sprinkle lilac petals on top and put it the cake in the fridge for about 10-20 minutes before serving.

For more of Emilie's floral recipes, pop over to our previous digital editions which are free to read, these appeared in Issue 8

And if you haven't bagged yourself a print copy of our current issue, then do be quick, we are down to under 10 copies left! Order yours here.