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Recipe Friday: Milk Cafe's Omelette with Confit Duck

words Tamara Vos

26th November 2015

At Milk, we like to call this omelette “ghetto omelette” as we couldn’t be bothered to learn how to make a proper French omelette - this is a total cheat but it's delicious anyway! 

This recipe is perfect for the morning after a dinner party, when you might have some confit duck and roast onions kicking around. We've included our confit duck recipe below, but it would really work with anything - get creative, but make sure it's decadent. 


For the Confit Duck

4 duck legs
100g flakey sea salt
¼ bunch thyme
3 bay leaves, torn
5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 tbs black peppercorns, cracked
2 litres duck fat

One. Sprinkle the bottom of a roasting pan with half the salt, pepper, herbs and garlic.

Two. Place the duck legs flesh side down and sprinkle the fat side with the remaining salt, pepper, herbs, and garlic.

Three. Cover dish with cling film and refrigerate for 12 hours.

Four. Rinse off the duck legs under cold running water and dry with paper towel.

Five. Heat duck fat in an oven safe tray. Once melted, place the duck legs in a single layer. If the duck legs are not completely submerged, add more duck fat. Do not double stack.

Six. Place tray in oven at 150 and bake for 3-4 hours until the duck is falling off the bone. Shred the meat and put to one side - reserve the duck fat for another day. 

For the Omelette

2 free range eggs
100ml double cream
generous butter for frying
50g blue cheese
a few pieces of leftover roasted red onion 
a few sprigs fresh thyme

One. Whisk together the eggs and cream.

Two. Melt the butter in frying pan over medium heat. Pour in egg mix and fry, pulling in the egg from the edges to create an even layer of set eggy, creamy goodness.

Three. Top the omelette with generous chunks of duck, blue cheese and roast onion. Place under a grill for a few minutes, until the cheese has melted and the duck is crispy. 

Four. Season with salt, pepper and fresh thyme, then serve in the pan with lots of buttery, toasted sourdough. 

Christmas Crafting with Oh Comely

words Sarah Mccoy & Liz Seabrook

20th November 2015

We're hosting a festive knees-up to remember on 3rd December, and you're invited! Click here for tickets, or read on to find out more...

2015 has been a good year here at Oh Comely; we’ve celebrated bodies, contemplated the weather and turned five to name but a few things.

As such a great year draws to an end, it seemed like the perfect excuse to throw a party. There’ll be workshops to dip into from the wonderful people that we’ve worked with over the last twelve months, some of our favourite photographs and illustrations pinned to the walls, tunes playing, and most importantly, a ginormous Secret Santa for everyone to get involved with.  


* Christmas Crowns with The Flower Appreciation Society *Limited Numbers

* Customised Christmas Cards with Prickle Press 

* Paper Diamond Decorations with Origami-est

* Merkin Knitting Tutorial with Sophie Scott

Other Activities Include:

Varosha Lamb painting portraits live and displaying outtakes from our reader shoot, in-grid show collection (offering an exclusive discount), a chance to star as an Oh Comely cover girl in our photo booth, Venus Vinyl spinning the best hits of 2015 playing into the night, gingerbread decorating and much more…

The Oh Comely Christmas Shop will also be open for business selling Christmas Subs, back issues, exclusive merchandise, prints and one-off collaborations.

Come along, bring a pal, be merry and don’t forget your Secret Santa Gift!

Date: Thursday 3rd December 2015.

Time: 19:00-21:00

Place: 71a, Leonard Street, London, EC2A 4QS

Ticket Price: £12 - workshops, drinks, food and goodie bag included. Get yours here

Images (Top-Bottom): Rosanna Durham, Prickle Press

Looking Back to Move Forward: A Conversation With Mary Beard

words Anna Godfrey

20th November 2015

On 19th November, a debate took place between Classics Professor Mary Beard, and the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. The title of the debate was rather ambiguous: 'Greece vs Rome'.

The debate not only sold out – forcing its host, Intelligence Squared, to locate to the biggest venue in central London, Westminster’s Central Hall – but its high demand was recognised by Curzon Home Cinema, who filmed the event and are now enabling those who missed out to watch it from their homes. But why the abundance of public interest? Was it the opportunity to see a politician debate outside of the political arena? Is there an untapped, widespread fascination with Classics? Or do people simply want a closer look at Boris Johnson’s luminous hair?

To try to understand both what the question of 'Greece vs Rome' was really asking, and why there was such public interest in the debate, I spoke with the delightful Mary Beard the day before the event. Perhaps Britain's best known classicist, Mary has developed a public profile not only as a pre-eminent scholar but as Classics editor of the Times Literary Supplement, and for voicing her – at times controversial – political viewpoints.

To what extent is the underlying question of the debate, “which civilisation can we most relate to?”

You can always find wonderful things in the past and horrible things in the past, so I think the issue is not, as you say, what is “good” and “bad”, but what matters to us. In some way all civilisations have contributed to our deep history, but my claim is that there is more in Rome that makes up what we are than in ancient Greece.

In what way?

There’s a wonderful phrase by the Roman writer Tacitus, when he’s trying to imagine what the objections to Roman power are, and he says: “they make a desert and they call it peace.” I think there isn’t one of us, really, who can look over the last twenty years of Western interventions and not think “they make a desert and call it peace.”

How much can we say that the success of a civilisation is based upon the ability to conquer, rather than success as measured by the quality of the ideas it produces?

That’s always a big issue. Roman civilisation has got elements in it that have totally formed Western culture; Virgil’s great epic poem The Aeneid has been read by somebody every day since 19BC. You’ve also got the sense – in both the ancient and modern worlds – that alongside the soft power of culture is the brute force of boots on the ground. It’s not just whythey were successful, but what they thought of their success. What a lot of people don’t realise is that Romans were wondering about the way that conquest actually undermined the moral fibre of their race.

How important will the topic of politics be to the debate? And, seeing as you’re debating Boris Johnson, how much do you expect his own political background will shape his arguments?

I think politics is half the debate, but not all of it. You have to say: here we have two cultures which offer two versions. If we talk about ancient Athens, the slogan for at least 150 years was democracy; it was about people power. And that’s one of the slogans we’ve inherited. Whereas Romans would never claim to be democrats, but they talked about liberty: what “libertas” was and how you achieve the liberty of individual citizens. Those are two sides to our own sense of what our political system is. The Roman version is more topical because modern debates are about terrorism, stand-offs between the right of the individual citizen and homeland security. Rome looks at those issues head on and raised questions like: “is it right to execute a citizen in the interests of the state?”

So Rome is important because the people who will be sat in your audience tomorrow will want to engage with problems similar to those addressed by the Romans?

Now! Yes, now! The problems we face now! There is a lot of “now” about both the Greeks and Romans. But the Romans, they’re a big culture, they lived in a city of a million people, they had an empire of 50 or 60 million people – it's multivalent, it's polyglot, and it’s us in some way.

In a piece for the BBC last February you wrote about the lacklustre rhetoric used by many politicians. Do you think Boris Johnson will throw off his political rhetoric tomorrow and come out guns blazing?

[Laughs] I doubt it, but I hope so. He’s very funny, very witty. I don’t think Boris ever really throws off his political rhetoric.

Do you think he's the reason for the debate’s popularity?

It’s got to be Boris – it’s not me! If you got Boris talking about nuclear fusion, would you get an audience? I think you would. It goes along with people wanting to think about the past, that the ancient world gives us new and different ways of talking about the problems we want to face.

In that same BBC piece you referenced Nick Clegg’s phrase “alarm clock Britain”, and wrote: ‘most of us don’t wake up to an alarm clock anymore, just some preselected music’. On the morning of the debate, what song will be waking you up?

I think it’s got to be "Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves".

Intelligence Squared's Greece vs Rome event featuring Mary Beard is available to watch now on Curzon Home Cinema:!/film/CRZ_GREECE_VS_ROME

Song Premiere: Wovoka Gentle

words Linnea Enstrom, portrait Sequoia Ziff

20th November 2015

Twin sisters Imogen and Ellie Mason have been singing together since they were kids, eagerly circling the piano with their family to the point where family friends would refer to them as the von Trapps. At six they picked up the violin and formed a string quartet with their siblings and, as teenagers, they began writing their own songs.

Teaming up with fellow singer songwriter William Stokes, Imogen and Ellie now go under the name Wovoka Gentle and make folk music draped with sparkling electronic and experimental sounds, fusing the soundtrack of their upbringing with a desire to create something new.

Today, we're premiering the London trio’s track Likeness from their new blue EP (the follow-up to their yellow EP, released earlier this year) - a song, fittingly, about family.

What have you been up to today?

Today we were celebrating our birthday, so we had a load of friends over for breakfast at our house in South East London. There were lots of flowers and bacon.

How would you describe your new EP?

It’s punchy and uncompromising and, at times, quite layered. It may take a bit of excavating, but at its core is a set of simple and approachable songs. The blue and yellow EPs are two parts of a single body of work which we made over the first three months of this year in Scotland. They were actually recorded at the same time, but because we mixed the blue EP after the yellow one with a different producer in a different studio, we feel that it still represents a progression of some kind.

You have made music together for a long time, but how did William fit into it?

We were mutual fans of each other's music for a long time, and since our individual projects began to wind down at similar times we naturally gravitated together. We were so excited by the band dynamic and the new sounds we were making that it seemed like such a natural transition to explore, turning the band into a full time project. Our first outing as Wovoka Gentle was scoring a physical theatre piece at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this summer.

You use your instruments in an unconventional way. How did that transpire?

It started with hitting guitars with drumsticks because we liked the combination of the melodic with the percussive, and then started to consider the sonic potential in all sorts of instruments beyond the ways they are conventionally used. We like doing things like playing the tops of synthesisers with drumsticks, putting vocal mics through guitar pedals and using mobile phones as part of our live set. Maybe there is no “correct” way to play an instrument.

You have previously said you want your listeners to be part of your music's narrative. In what way?

The music we respond to the most has often been stuff that has taken multiple listens to yield its best aspects. As Wovoka Gentle, we want to create music that is accessible but also intriguing and at times challenging. We want to experiment but not in an esoteric way, so maybe that narrative is one of coming around to find meaning in something you didn’t initially think of as easy or digestible.

When did you first discover folk music and 60s psych?

We have been surrounded by traditional folk and Americana music for as long as we can remember - it was always playing in our house growing up. More psychedelic bands, like The Beach Boys and The Beatles were also a big part of our musical upbringing. Will grew up listening to people like Paul Simon and James Taylor, but really got into folk music later on through his association with the West London folk scene in 2008 and 2009.

What is Likeness about?

Likeness is a song about inheritance and taking on characteristics of your father. It’s kind of like a response piece to Philip Larkin’s This Be The Verse

Wovoka Gentle is launching the blue EP with a headline show at London’s Elektrowerks on Monday. The record is released on the 27th of November.

Recipe Friday: Milk Cafe's Balinese Black Rice Pudding

words Tamara Vos

19th November 2015

This Balinese Black Rice Pudding might be the best rice pudding possible. The combination of cascara, cocoa nibs and citrus really sings and, while it takes a bit more work than your average rice pudding, it really is so worth it. 

Cascara is a coffee cherry tea - the word means 'husk' or 'peel' in Spanish, and refers to the dried skins of the coffee cherry, which is what's left over when the coffee bean has been removed from the cherry. Although it's from the coffee plant, cascara has a sweet, fruity flavour more akin to tea - you should be able to find it in most specialist tea shops. 

For the Cascara Jelly

550ml water
50g sugar
12g dried cascara with citrus notes
2 sheets gelatin

One. Bring the cascara, water and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, then switch off the heat. Leave to infuse for 30 min.

Two. Soak the gelatin sheets in cold water and set aside until ready to add to the cascara syrup.

Three. Once cascara has infused strain and discard of it, adding sugar to the liquid stirring to dissolve.

Four. Heat the syrup back up with the added gelatin this time Stirring until the gelatin melts into the syrup.

Five. Pour syrup into a shallow container and leave to set in the fridge for at least three hours, until set.

For the Black Rice

½ cup black rice
4 cups water
20g coconut sugar
200ml coconut cream

One. Boil the black rice in the 4 cups of water until it is soft to the bite, once it has reached this stage strain the liquid from the rice and return rice to the pot.

Two. Add the coconut cream and sugar and return to the heat cooking until the coconut cream is almost all absorbed by the rice. The mixture should be dark purple, thick and creamy.

Three. Serve the black rice with cut up chunks of cascara jelly, clementine pieces and cocoa nibs, and dollop on yoghurt, cream, or - as we like to do at Milk - lemon posset! 

Tattoo a Tote with Everything in Colour

words Sarah McCoy

16th November 2015

Here at Oh Comely we love trying our hand at new things. When we met the lovely ladies at Everything in Colour we loved their work so much that we knew we had to collaborate with them. And so:

Join us on Thursday 19th November at The Hawkhurst Vault on Brick Lane for an informal evening of stitching and fun!

The team from Everything in Colour will take you through the steps of desiging and creating your own tote bag inspired by the visual diversity of tattoos, to take home with you. They'll teach you traditional hand embroidery stitches and will show you how to use them in an exciting, modern way to realise your design. All materials are included; just bring your ideas! Tickets are just £10

Everything in Colour is a creative hub and shop in Hackney Wick, which houses a contemporary and sustainable fashion brand. Making unique, high quality clothing and accessories for men and women using quality unwanted and end of line fabrics, all pieces are made and sold on site. 


What: Tattoo a Tote with Everything in Colour
When: Thursday 19th November
Where: The Hawkhurst Vault, Brick Lane
Tickets: £10, available here

A Glimpse Inside The Secrets Box

words Alice Naylor

12th November 2015

The latest Oh Comely Box is shrouded in a cloak of secrecy. Which is handy because Issue 28, out at the end of November, is all about Secrets. We’ve been pondering, wondering and plotting about the creations we want you to uncover in our curious box of delights.

Without giving too much away – this is the Secrets issue after all - we were inspired by the story of Pandora’s box. Based on Greek mythology, it is at once a dark tale and one filled with hope. Hope comes in many forms and we’ve been discussing our own versions of Hope. Keep an eye out on Twitter and Instagram next week for more.

One of the most important elements about our box of treats for you, oh lovely subscribers, are the collaborations with illustrators, designers and makers that make up such an important part of curating the box contents. Karolin Schnoor is a London-based illustrator and designer and she is our guest illustrator and collaborator this month. 

Karolin has created some beautiful drawings for us based around the Pandora’s Box tale and some of these will adorn our box along with illustrations of slightly sinister creatures that make an appearance in the magazine. We’re not filling the box with anything too scary, we promise, but there will be some mysteries to uncover.
You can see here, that Karolin has been working on some beautiful drawings and intriguing ideas and they hint at what you might discover inside.

Recipe Friday: Milk Cafe's Crumpets

words Tamara Vos

12th November 2015

Real honey can sometimes be a challenge to find, but more and more people are starting to keep their own bees in and out of the city, and the results - as well as being undeniably more delicious - are far more sustainable than commercially produced honey.

At Milk we like to buy whole combs of honey from the hives of a primary school down the road. It makes all the difference! Make sure to get your hands on the good stuff to enjoy these crumpets with - you've gone to the effort of making them, after all! 

The following makes roughly 16 crumpets. 

You Will Need: 

10g dry yeast
10g caster sugar
175 g warm water
230 g plain flour
230 g strong flour
1 g cream of tarter
325 g warm water
10 g sea salt
170 g warm milk
3 g bicarbonate of soda

One. Whisk yeast, sugar and 175 g warm water in bowl and leave in a warm place for approx. 10 min until frothy.

Two. In large bowl mix plain flour, bread flour, cream of tarter together. Add 325g warm water and the activated yeast in water. Mix together for around 2 minutes, until it's all come together.

Three. Cover with cling film and leave in warm place for around one hour or until doubled in size.

Four. Kneed in salt and then let stand for a further 20 minutes in a warm place.

Five. Warm the milk over a low heat and mix in the bicarbonate of soda until dissolved. Add the mixture to the batter and kneed in.

Six. Heat two frying pans with a generous amount of oil on medium heat. Spray your rings with oil spray and place on the frying pans. Put a ¼ cup of batter in each ring and leave until there are lots of holes and the top starts to firm. Remove from ring, flip over and cook until they are a light brown colour.

Note: if the crumpets do not form holes properly, thin out the batter with a tablespoonor two of water.