A Midnight Feast with ALAS

A Midnight Feast with ALAS

A MIDNIGHT FEAST WITH ALAS

If anyone is licensed to discuss midnight feast menus, it’s Kelly Elkin.

Kelly is one half of the scarily dynamic duo behind the Sydney-based, slow fashion sleepwear label ALAS, and she’s an expert in late nights, sleep kit, and getting things done – especially lemon meringue pies.

An acronym for All Light All Shadow, ALAS has been five years in the making, and is the work of Kelly, her best friend Betony Dircks, assistant Mimi, and a team of makers in India. 

Their latest Kandinsky-inspired collection blurs the line between activewear and sleeping attire, and is the embodiment of what the Danes call ‘hygge’. Betony and Kelly design all their own prints (they graduated together with a Bachelor of Fashion Design from QUT) and their label is fair trade.  More impressive still, the pair know exactly how their products are made, from seed to cloth - and who makes them.

“We have travelled all over India to find the best producers and the highest quality organic cotton sateen,” explains Kelly. “The yarn for our knits is bought from a local organic cotton farm and it is then spun, knitted, dyed and printed in local Tirrupur workshops using GOTS certified techniques.”  ALAS’ producers then cut, sew quality control and pack the collection and send it to Australia.

While Kelly believes that responsible manufacturing should be ‘common sense’ for designers, she admits that her attention to quality and unwavering commitment to a transparent process has been far from easy.  Cashflow is a problem for every small business, and trips to India, the cost of organic cotton, and GOTS certification all add up.  But, as far as they’re concerned, it’s non-negotiable.

“We launched our first sustainable clothing brand in our last year of university, but moved overseas working as designers for an ethical brand stocked across the UK, including Topshop,” explains Kelly.  “We moved back to Australia after a few years, motivated to bring our new knowledge to the Australian market.  Australia was still very behind on the sustainable front and there seemed to be no interesting or high quality sleepwear. We loved fashion, our friends did too….so why did we have to wear poor quality, boring clothing to bed!?”

While she’s not big on night time rituals, Kelly is rock solid when it comes to midnight feast menus.  An integral part of the sleep over, the midnight feast, as imagined by Enid Blyton and J.K Rowling at least, is the ultimate in secret  decadence – and Kelly’s version is no different. Canvassing melted chocolate, hot, spicy chai and meringue, we give you Kelly Elkin’s midnight feast. 

 

Chocolate Fondue

Recipe from Martha Stewart

Ingredients

450grams bitter chocolate

2 cups full cream

Accompaniments

Crystallized ginger

Dried figs

Dried plums

Dried apricots

Combine chocolate and cream in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Using a wooden spoon, stir occasionally until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Divide among 8 small bowls or ramekins; serve immediately with accompaniments.

 

Almond Milk Chai Tea

Recipe from For Love and Lemons 

Ingredients

1 black tea bag

2 whole star anise pods

2 cinnamon sticks

4 dried cardamom pods

Almond milk

optional: ½ inch knob of fresh ginger

optional: sweetener (maple, honey, stevia, etc) to taste

 

Place 1 black tea bag and a few whole spices into a mug.

In a separate mug, heat the almond milk in the microwave for 1-2 minutes. Pour steaming almond milk into spiced-tea mug and steep for 5 minutes.

Remove the tea bag and let the spices steep for 5 more minutes. (The longer they steep, the more flavorful your drink will be). Taste and add sweetener if you like. Scoop out the spices (or just drink around them).

 

Lemon Merinuge Pie

Recipe from Gourmet Traveller

Ingredients

Lemon curd

3 lemons, juice and finely grated rind only

45gm cornflour

3 egg yolks

150gm caster sugar

80gm unsalted butter 

Shortcrust pastry

50gm (1 cup) plain flour

55gm (¼ cup) caster sugar

75gm cold unsalted butter, coarsely chopped 

Italian meringue

330gm caster sugar

4 eggwhites

For pastry, blend flour, sugar and a pinch of salt in a food processor until combined, add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add 2 tbsp iced water and pulse until mixture comes together. Form into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Roll pastry onto a floured surface to 5mm thick and use to line a 2cm-deep x 24cm-diameter cake ring placed on a heavy-based oven tray or a shallow 24cm tart tin. Trim and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 180C. Line pastry with baking paper, fill with pastry weights or rice and bake blind for 15 minutes. Remove paper and rice and bake for a further 5-10 minutes or until golden. Remove and cool to room temperature.

Combine lemon juice and rind in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. In a separate bowl, combine cornflour and 2 tbsp water and stir to combine, then add to lemon mixture and whisk to combine. Add 1 cup boiling water and whisk over simmering water until thick. Remove from heat, whisk in egg yolks, sugar and butter until combined and refrigerate until cold. Spoon mixture into pastry case and smooth surface.

For Italian meringue, place sugar in a heavy-based saucepan, add ¼ cup water and stir over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and cook until syrup reaches 115C on a sugar thermometer, then remove from heat. Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, whisk egg whites until soft peaks form, then, with motor running, slowly add hot syrup and whisk for 5 minutes. Reduce speed to low until ready to use.

Spoon meringue into a piping bag fitted with a 2cm plain nozzle and pipe 3cm high peaks over lemon filling. Place pie under a hot grill or using a blowtorch, toast meringue until evenly golden.

**

The new ALAS collection is now live and will arrive in store on 29 April.