If you’re not yet familiar with Gudrun Sjödén she is a Swedish designer who has a bit of a thing for colour and pattern. She loves to layer it up in contrasting, clashing and clever creative ways. She’s also a bit of an eco do-gooder with a lot of organic cottons and a strong green ethos. Her fashion and homeware range has actually been going for 35 years with stores all over Scandinavia and Germany where she has a cult following. She’s now come to London and last night I went to the store opening on Monmouth Street, Covent Garden.

Gudrun Sjoden store opening, Monmouth Street, Swedish design textiles, colour, pattern, hot shop, homeware, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

It was a colourful affair that felt more like a garden party than a store opening. It was full of typically darn beautiful Scandi’s dressed head to toe in her collections, handsome men in floral aprons handing out canapés and summery drinks, fresh flowers in buckets and an enslaught of dedicated fans (where did they all come from!?) whom Gudrun greeted, one by one, on the door.

Think Anthropologie crossed with Designers Guild

I’m not sure I could pull off the bold, statement attire but the homeware I could happily live with. I loved the folky style rugs, ziz zag towels and gorgeous textiles and bedlinen inspired by meadows, wild flowers and sunshine…

Gudrun Sjoden store opening, Monmouth Street, Swedish design textiles, colour, pattern, hot shop, homeware, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys
I love the zingy citrus shades that feel so fresh and countrified. My bathroom needs a bit of colour and these bath mats would do the job nicely…
Gudrun Sjoden store opening, Monmouth Street, Swedish design textiles, colour, pattern, hot shop, homeware, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys
Gudrun Sjoden store opening, Monmouth Street, Swedish design textiles, colour, pattern, hot shop, homeware, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys
Gudrun Sjoden store opening, Monmouth Street, Swedish design textiles, colour, pattern, hot shop, homeware, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys
You’ll also find shower curtains with trailing floral prints, table linen, cushions, curtains and rolls of fabrics that can be bought by the metre. If, unlike me, you’re not trapped in the capital, then fret thee not as you can also buy on-line. Hoorah and happy weekend! – Alice
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I nipped down to Carluccio’s last night to meet Antonio Carluccio and toast his new DVD with a glass of prosecco. Antonio Carluccio’s Southern Italian Feast, which comes out on the 9th March, follows his travels to Italy where he samples local flavours and specialities…

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While I was there he demonstrated how to make one of his favourite desserts, with the Italian ambassador, Giancarlo Aragona, watching beside him:

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Antonio said: ‘I discovered that a great variety of flavours could be achieved by substituting different liquids for the traditional Marsala. I had the most success with Poire William liqueur but Cointreau and blackberry and raspberry liqueurs also worked well. Using the egg yolks as a vehicle for the flavouring, it’s up to you to discover new combinations –perhaps even trying fresh fruit juices such as passion fruit.”

Try it – it tasted gorgeous and looked simple to make:

Zabaglione Alla Pera (Pear Zabaglione)…

Serves 4

Ingredients:

12 free-range egg yolks

4 tablespoons

caster sugar 120ml (4fl oz)

Poire William liqueur

Method

Put the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl, preferably a copper one, and whisk until thick and pale. Add the liqueur and mix well. Set the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, making sure the water is not touching the base of the bowl, and whisk constantly until the mixture becomes a thick foam. Pour into glasses and serve immediately, accompanied by little biscuits such as amaretti if you like. – Emily