One of our favourite summertime desserts makes its annual debut.
These delectable blackberry cheesecake bars are sure to be a crowd favourite.
One of our favourite summertime desserts is making its annual debut, freshly decked out with a delectable blackberry gelée on top to set it apart from its more pedestrian competition. We couldn’t be happier to see the seasonal advent of fruit-based desserts start its yearly parade.
1 Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2 Butter an 8" square baking pan; line with a piece of parchment paper to extend up two sides and set aside.
3 In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, almonds, brown sugar and melted butter. Press firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan in an even layer using a glass or your fingers. Bake in the oven for 7 minutes; let cool.
4 Meanwhile, in a food processor, blend together the cream cheese, mascarpone, eggs and sugar until smooth. Pour the mixture over the graham cracker crust and return to the oven; bake until the filling is set but the centre is still slightly wobbly, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool for 2 hours at room temperature.
5 To make the blackberry gelée, purée 2 cups of the blackberries with the sugar and the lemon juice in a blender; strain the mixture into a small saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat to reduce the liquid by a third and form a syrup.
6 Sprinkle the gelatin over 1/4 cup water to swell; stir into the blackberry syrup until the gelatin is dissolved. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes, then pour the syrup over the cheescake; garnish with the remaining blackberries.
7 Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 3 hours.
8 To serve, slice the cake in half, then slice each half into five equal bars.
Tip: The addition of mascarpone to this classic cheesecake base gives a lighter, silkier texture.
Amy Schumer's skylit Manhattan apartment
Amy Schumer's cozy and inviting Upper West Side apartment is anything but a train wreck.
It's happening. The opportunity to get one giant step closer to Amy Schumer has arrived. The Trainwreck star is moving on and has listed her Manhattan apartment for $2,075,000, which seems relatively modest for this Upper West Side address.
This top-floor pad of a five-unit townhouse co-op is a sweet little oasis in the big city - no, really, it even has a private rooftop garden. The one-bedroom, one-and-a-half bath unit also comes with:
We can only hope Schumer's next move will be to head west, toward best gal pal, Jennifer Lawrence in Beverly Hills.
For the full real estate listing, click here.
This top-floor unit in an intimate five-unit twnhouse co-op is more than spacious for one, but Amy is packing up and leaving. Will you move into the charming pad?
It's love at first sight with this beautiful pre-war building, just steps away from Central Park.
Keeping to a similar colour palette and introducing different textures is the best way to ease yourself into an eclectic look. The green and blue accents work nicely together to keep the spaces separate, but cohesive.
Built-in bookshelves offer plenty of open and closed storage with areas to display books, objets and, of course, wine. With a bar cart in the corner and a wood-burning fireplace, this living room couldn't be more inviting.
While it may more be the most generous space, even the smallest kitchen can be functional (even a galley kitchen!). Can't complain too much when you have a Wolf range to work with.
Many overlook their staircase as a place for design inspiration, but the wall space is key! Hang photos, artwork or mirrors to liven the otherwise dull area.
The calming blue and white palette and (second) wood-burning fireplace in this master bedroom makes this an ideal retreat in the city.
In a smaller apartment it's key to take advantage of the space you do have. Adding a simple chair and ottoman by the fireplace makes it the perfect place to read before bed with a cup of tea.
Bathe with a view in this ensuite, thanks to the claw-foot bathtub positioned under the window. While the room itself may lack flair, the grey and white colour palette with black and white floors keep this bathroom classic and timeless.
Having a rooftop patio in general is a bonus, but when it's this wonderfully lush and inviting, you have it made. With red wood making up the base of the patio, coloured pots, bins and natural greenery make this the perfect summer party spot. Mix up some drinks and break out the apps because you'll be the host with the most all summer long!
Small space: Relaxing neutral condo
When decorators Nicola Marc and Beth Gold of Marc Gold Interiors came across this one-bedroom suite in a reovated 1920s building they knew they were in for a challenge. They agreed that the 800-square-foot condo in Montreal's trendy Le Plateau neighbourhood offered the right bones, needing just a few modifications.
"This was the first time that we had worked on a project where the client didn't want any colour," says Nicola. "As a result, we had to look closely at texture, scale, shape and form." The client's only other request was tied to the desire for a soft palette in grey and pebble. She wanted her new home to be a calming, serene retreat - a place she could return to after a busy workday and sigh contentedly.
Before: Living room
The wall dividing the living room and dining room was knocked down, the one separating the kitchen (shown above) was left intact.
After: Living room
The hardwood flooring was stripped and finished in a soft white-washed grey, custom wood radiator coverings were built, the wall between the dining room and living room was removed to open up the main living space for entertaining.
The oversized custom rug connects and ground the living and dining areas. Its diamond pattern lends a subtle yet distinctive design element, explains decorator Nicola Marc.
The rough-hewn mirror in the living area acts as a focal point but doesn't overwhelm. Petite sconces enhance the mirror's large scale and keep the look au courant.
The ornate vintage coffee table, painted in a neutral hue, offsets the modern boxy sofas. "The coffee table can be easily moved around to accommodate traffic during a party," says Nicola. Indigo blue was chosen as the only accent colour because it embodies calmness.
The sightline into the kitchen from the dining room was designed to appear un-kitchen-like. The wall in view was covered in a seagrass wallpaper, which provides warmth and texture and balances the kitchen's custom finishes (like the Carrara marble mosaic floor) and sleek stainless steel appliances.
"For kitchen renos, even ones on a budget, we encourage homeowners to consider custom components because it allows you to make the most of your space," says Nicola. A small work area in the corner is a better use of space than cabinetry.
Stainless steel appliances
The galley-style kitchen features a pleasant mix of modern (stainless steel appliances and quartz countertops) and classic (marble mosaic flooring and recessed-panelled cabinetry) elements. Opting for seagrass wallpaper instead of a tiled backsplash lends the narrow space depth, warmth and texture.
The elegant smoky grey settee in the dining area converts seamlessly into extra living room seating post-meal. The pair of white porcelain pendant lights offers a lovely soft touch, while the client's existing rustic wooden dining table adds a warm textural element to the space.
The neutral palette condo offers an equal devotion to balancing sharp lines with delicate curves, softening glints of shiny metal with milky porcelain and enhancing natural textures with subtle patterns.
"The effect is an intimate tone-on-tone space that feels very harmonious," says Nicola.
Buying guide: The truth about thread count
Is there anything better than sliding into a bed laden with good quality sheets? At the end of the day, I can't wait to stretch out under my fresh, soft covers and nestle my face into a good cotton-covered pillow. We spend a third of our lives in bed so quality sheets are key, but how do you get quality for your money? There's no doubt that most consumers believe the higher the thread count, the better the quality, but this isn't entirely true. With the help and expertise of Joanna Goodman, owner of Au Lit Fine Linens, we expose the truth about thread count and what it takes to find quality bed sheets.
What is thread count, really?
Simply put, thread count is the number of threads woven into one square inch of fabric. This number is based on the threads woven horizontally ("weft") and vertically ("warp"). Extra threads can also be woven into the weft threads to increase the thread count. These added threads are called "picks" and are added in the overall count, which is how some sheets end up having thread counts in the thousands. This is why the idea that high counts equal better quality isn't really accurate. Consider this: Joanna says most weavers will say the maximum number of threads that can be woven into one square inch of fabric is 500 to 600. Though the number is arguable and, according to Joanna, "depends on the mill you deal with," it gives you an idea of where the line is between single-ply, unpicked weaves and ones that add threads here and there to bump up the count.
What to look for when buying sheets
Joanna lists three things to look for on the label: if it's Egyptian cotton, where it's woven and, lastly, the thread count. While thread count is a bit misunderstood, the buzz around Egyptian cotton is true. "The very best cotton in the world is grown in Egypt. So Egyptian cotton will be of a better quality," Joanna says. She also recommends pima cotton, which is grown in America, "though not quite as exceptional as Egyptian." When it comes to weaving, however, she swears by the Italians as being the "master weavers of the world" due to their "long tradition of weaving" and use of the best Egyptian cotton. Be sure the label says 100% or pure Egyptian cotton though, otherwise it may only contain a small percentage of the good stuff. As for the thread count, look for a minimum of 200. From there, it's all about preference!
What to avoid when buying sheets
Joanna's one key piece of advice is to watch out for extremely low priced, high thread count sheet sets. A complete sheet set with a high thread count for $100 or less is probably not the dream bargain you think it is. As Joanna believes, "you always get what you pay for." The price tag for bed linens will vary depending on the sheet size and what items you're buying, such as a duvet cover, sheet sets, or pillowcases. "A superior quality 200 thread count queen set (including flat, fitted, two pillowcases), made of Egyptian cotton and woven in Europe, could retail reasonably for about $150-$250," says Joanna.
What do you prefer?
After going through the quality checklist, go with what feels best for you. If you're looking for a durable linen, Joanna recommends any percale from thread count 200 to 800. Percale is any cotton woven with a 200 thread count or higher and will be more durable than a cotton satin of the same thread count. It's also less likely to pill than cotton satin because it has a denser weave. Love the feel of a cotton button down shirt? Joanna advises a crisp, dense 200 thread count percale. Prefer a silkier sheet? Go for a 300 to 600 cotton satin. If you want lighter sheets, Joanna says, a 400 thread count sheet can be soft and light, while an 800 percale would be soft and dense. The higher the thread count, the more likely multiple-ply thread is used or picks are added, making the fabric denser and heavier.
Now you know that quality is not just about the number, so don't let numbers rule your bed! Remember what to look for on the label and be wary of too-low prices for supposedly high quality items. Beyond that, go with what you prefer. Get a good feel of the sheets before buying. Whether you're unzipping the packaging or lying down on a display bed, make sure the fabric feels good against your skin and soon you'll be having sweet dreams!
Find out how to keep your new linens crisp and clean with our tips to whiter-than-white sheets.