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Ode to the Onion

Here at our Design Studio we’re always searching for inspiration in the world around us. This week we turned our attention to one of the most humble of vegetables – the onion. Often overlooked, this root vegetable has provided design inspiration for us in the most interesting of ways and we’d like to share some examples. This is our ‘Ode to the Onion!

Our hotels are well known for our fun and eclectic headboards. These show stopping pieces create a centrepiece in our bedrooms and we even have a headboard named ‘The Onion’!

As one of our shorter headboards, ‘The Onion’ boasts an elegant ogee shape that is not to be overlooked. Often detailed with nickel studding and a contrasting fabric in the depth, it always makes a sophisticated focal point. The shape is versatile and looks great in either floral or bold geometric patterns.

‘The Onion’ shaped headboard is a great option if you are scheming for cosy loft spaces and bedrooms with lower ceilings.

In rooms with higher ceilings, this headboard pairs beautifully with a half tester. You can find ‘The Onion’ shaped headboard over at Shop Kit Kemp.

As an onion has many layers, we also love to layer a room in our approach to design. Layers create interest and invite your eyes to move around the space. Some layers can be large such as walls, whilst other layers can be small and include wooden bowls or a unique bookend. Find our blog post Layering Up to explore how we love to play with texture and share stories through the art of layering.

Perhaps so much talk about onions has made you hungry! We all agree there is nothing better than a piping hot French Onion Soup to stave off the cold during the winter months. Below is our Group Executive Head Chef Joe Fox’s recommended recipe that best celebrates this modest root. We hope you have enjoyed how the simplest things, even an onion, can spark the imagination!

French Onion Soup

50g butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1kg onions, halved and thinly sliced
1 tsp sugar
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tbsp plain flour
250ml dry white wine
1.3l hot strongly-flavoured beef stock
4-8 slices baguette (depending on size)
140g gruyère, finely grated

Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large heavy-based pan. Add the onions and fry with the lid on for 10 mins until soft.

Sprinkle in the sugar and cook for 20 mins more, stirring frequently, until caramelised. The onions should be really golden, full of flavour and soft when pinched between your fingers. Take care towards the end to ensure that they don’t burn.

Add the garlic cloves for the final few minutes of the onions’ cooking time, then sprinkle in the plain flour and stir well.

Increase the heat and keep stirring as you gradually add the wine, followed by the beef stock. Cover and simmer for 15-20 mins.

To serve, turn on the grill, and toast the bread. Ladle the soup into heatproof bowls.

Put a slice or two of toast on top of the bowls of soup, and pile on the gruyère. Grill until melted. Alternatively, you can cook the toasts under the grill, then add them to the soup to serve. Enjoy!

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