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Lunch at La Centrale

19 May

Lunch at La Centrale restaurant: Carne

I recently visited Miami and decided to have lunch at La Centrale. La Centrale is an Italian food hall located in the Brickell Complex in Downtown Miami offering everything from deli style food, brunch, lunch, dinner and cooking classes. I ate at the “Meat” Ristorante (even though my meal had no meat)

La Centrale as seen from the street

La Centrale’s three floors as seen from Brickell Centre

I ate the “CRESPELLE AI FUNGHI” described as porcini and oyster mushrooms , crepes and parmigiano fondue.

Menu

It was delicious. It was like a casserole of crepes, mushrooms and cheese. The crepes had a dense, slightly sweet milky flavour which contrasted well with the umami flavours of the mushrooms and cheese.

La Centrale is moderately priced and offers a variety of food fare all day. If you are in the area, 10/10 would recommend.

Thanks for reading and have an awesome day!

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ARIES SIGNATURE COCKTAIL

12 Apr

Astrology is pretty popular right now, one could argue that it has been for some time, however it’s popularity is now spreading into less traditional aspects of life, such as makeup and jewellery. Signature drinks are also popping right now and I happen to be a big fan of them and this is why I decided to concoct zodiac themed cocktails beginning with the first sign of the zodiac: ARIES.

Here are a few things to note about this sign:

ARIES

Aries runs from March 20th- April 21st

Aries is the first of twelve Sun signs in the Zodiac

Aries, along with Leo and Sagittarius is a fire sign

The symbol of Aries is a ram and it is ruled by Mars

Persons born under Aries are described as energetic, creative and independent. Others might describe Aries as being stubborn, arrogant and lacking discipline…( it’s all about balance I suppose)

Which ever way you look at it , Aries brings to mind fire and passion. These are the traits I used as inspo for this spicy whiskey sour cocktail.

ARIES Cocktail:

WHAT YOU NEED;

1 shot Fireball whiskey

1 shot Cherry liqueur

1 tbsp lemon juice

1tsp granulated sugar

Ginger beer(for more heat) or Ginger ale

Maraschino cherries soaked in brown rum.

WHAT TO DO;

Add maraschino cherries to brown rum and soak overnight (longer if preferred)

Mix lemon juice and granulated sugar together, dissolving sugar.

Pour whiskey and liqueur into glass, top up with ginger ale/ ginger beer, add lemon juice/sugar mixture and garnish with rum soaked cherries.

Ginger Pear Moscow Mule

17 Dec

Today I bring you a festive cocktail; a ginger pear Moscow Mule.

WHAT YOU NEED 

Prosecco

Pear nectar

Ginger beer

Can of pears

Fresh pear- I got a red pear

WHAT TO DO 

Muddle a pear half and place in the bottom of the mug

Pour pear nectar over pear

Pour ginger beer and prosecco 

Garnish with a slice of fresh pear

This is a delicious drink. It’s slightly fizzy with mild but complimentary flavours. A great option for a festive event!

Have an awesome day!

Stuffed Bell Peppers

5 Nov

Hello, today’s recipe is an easy delicious dinner idea. Green (or whatever colour you chose) bell peppers stuffed with a mixture of sauteed vegetables and red quinoa.
WHAT YOU NEED

1) 1 large bell pepper

2) Onion 

3) Tomato

4) Spinach

5) 1/2  cup red quinoa 

Feel free to substitute any vegetables or add some more.

WHAT TO DO

1) Chop/dice vegetables.

2) Cut the bell pepper(s) in half and remove the seeds.

3) Bring 1 cup of water to a boil and add quinoa, cook until fluffy – alternately you can microwave the quinoa to cook it.

4) In a skillet over a medium heat sautee onions then add tomato and spinach. 

5) Once the vegetables have cooked down add quinoa and spices of your choice and continue to sautee– I added cayenne pepper, black pepper and tumeric.

6) Once cooked, fill peppers with stuffing 

7) Place stuffed peppers on an oven safe sheet and bake on low heat until edges of the pepper are slightly browned.

And you’re done! You can level this up by topping the stuffed peppers with anything of your choosing.  I stopped one with sauteed haloumi and the other with sliced sauteed chicken breast.

You can choose to eat this by slicing through the entire thing getting a bit of topping,  stuffing and shell in each bite or deconstruct it eating each component separately. Any way you eat it, it’s delicious! The bell pepper is fresh and crunchy while the stuffing is succulent and wholesome. 

Try this one out and have an awesome day!

Pack with me

24 Sep

WHAT: Girls (mostly) trip

WHERE: Vegas baby!

WHEN: Sometime in the near Future

Hello and welcome to ‘Packing with me.” I will soon be taking a trip to Las Vegas and I thought I would share a few of my must-haves.

Clockwise from bottom

Flip-flops- These cute nude tones jelly ones with bows let your feet stay comfy while looking super cute.

Crossbody– This recent acquisition (as if I needed another crossbody) is by Ann Kline, a great contemporary designer. I love the structured box shape, the (faux) alligator skin finish and (faux) antique gold hardware. This will work great for all my exciting handsfree activities!

Hair Moisturizer– Do NOT leave home without your go-to hair product. This Coconut infused Whole Blends by Garnier keeps my thick, curly, unruly tresses in order. Of course, to avoid checked baggage I will be placing some of it in a travel appropriate (less than 3 fl Oz/ 100mL) bottle.

Way-Cool shades- That’s what I’ve decided to call these trendy sunglasses. The cat eye frame and super reflective finish have been popular recently and who doesn’t want to look trendy when on vacay. This is not my regular pair of sunnies, these are a much cheaper pair so just in case things get “way-crazy” and they are destroyed/lost I’ll still have my regular pair.

Bright red Lipstick– I chose this slightly cool toned brilliant red by Loreal “Frieda’s Red “. Red is my personal favourite lip colour so of course I want to have a nice turned up red on my lips while I’m turning things up in Vegas. If red isn’t your thing go for a nice bright pink/orange/coral. 

Sunscreen– Whatever your age, ethnicity, skin type etc, do not step outside without loading up on sunscreen. UV rays don’t discriminate. This is actually a daily moisturiser by Ceruve and contains hydrating cerumide but also contains SPF 30.

Fragrance– I am a huge believer in minis, whether you buy them or make your own by transferring products into smaller containers. My mother gave me this little sampler set of Atilier fragrances for my birthday and I think they are perfect for this trip. With scents ranging from blood orange to white musk, there is no occasion where I won’t find something just right.

Blazer– You really can’t go wrong with a blazer,  particularly this oversized fit black one from H+M. A nice blazer can keep you warm on your flight, dress up a nightime outfit and add dimension to daytime dress. DON’T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT ONE!

Statement Necklace- Or statement earrings, or statement arm cuff. Point is, a jewellery piece (or two or three) that can really pop and elevate your looks.

Thank you for letting me share some of my travel essentials. Hopefully you see some inspiration for your next trip and have an awesome day!

Tomato Tart

17 Sep

Today I bring a delicious end of summer beginning of autumn dish. A tomato tart. Note, I use the term tart rather loosely.  In this case it’s pastry with a topping, some might call that a tart like myself, others may call it a pie, crustini, pizza (without sauce), foccacia and more. Regardless, it’s a delicious dish combining naughty flour-ey goodness with clean fresh produce.

For this tart I used a mix of tomatoes which not only lent to the taste but made it look that much more “instagrammable”, yes that IS a word. I used small red tomatoes on the vine, yellow mini plum tomatoes and the beautiful kamato tomatoes(thde brown-green ones).

I cheated a bit by using ready made frozen pastry. This took some effort out of the process for sure.

WHAT YOU NEED 

1) Tomatoes of your choosing 

2) Pastry– I used Pilsbury croissant pastry which came as a square sheet of dough.

3) Assorted herbs– This is to add to the dough to give a bit of extra flavour.

WHAT TO DO 

1) Add seasonings to the dough and knead it in. You NEED to KNEAD!

2) Roll out the dough 

3) Add cut/sliced/diced/smashed/whole tomatoes onto pastry

4) Pinch edges to create a bit of a pastry pouch and sprinkle with seasonings and add a bit of olive oil.

5) Bake until dough is golden brown. 

6) Slice and it’s ready to be served!

This tart is delicious! The tomatoes become soft and the juciness intensifies once baked. The crust is crispy on the edge and softer in the second centre with the great taste of pastry and herbs.

This is a great appetizer for a dinner party or a more bougie (that’s a buzz word now right?) Alternative to pizza for a night of Netflix. Be sure to try it and be sure to have am awesome day!

Mediterranean Soiree 

8 Mar

This past weekend I hosted an intimate gathering in honour of my mother and sister’s upcoming birthdays as I won’t be seeing them on their respective special days.

I decided to go with a Mediterranean theme for the menu taking cues from Italian, French and Greek cuisines. 

As a rule, whenever I entertain I lays try not to bite off more than I can chew. Preparing for an event no matter how small or relaxed can become extremely stressful if you try to make everything yourself. So I chose the “semi-homemade” route, making simple recipes and using some ready made fare.

The menu served 10 persons and was as follows

Bruschetta

Mushroom crostini

Olive bar

Cheese and meat board

Chicken souvlaki (kebabs) with Tzatziki sauce

Assorted artisan mini pastries (premade)


Creme cheese croissants (premade)

Biscotti  (premade)

I will share how I prepared the items for this get together. 



BRUSCHETTA 

Bruschetta is a popular antipasto found in many Italian eateries and with good reason. It consists of slices of toasted bread coated in oil and topped with a variety of things including meats, cheeses and perhaps best known…tomato.

I made tomato bruschetta using a sliced baguette.

WHAT YOU NEED (makes 20-24 slices)

1/2 of a baguette  

Butter or olive oil

One large ripe tomato 

Spices- I used Italian spices and a pinch of salt


WHAT TO DO

Tomato

1)Dice tomato

2)Add salt and spices with a drizzle of olive oil

3)Stir to mix and place in fridge for at least 30 minutes to allow flavour to mature.

Tomato mixture 

Bread 

4)Slice baguette into approximately 1/2 inch thick slices

5)Lay flat on a baking sheet

6)Coat with butter/oil.

7)Bake until golden or desired crispness 

Bread coated in melted butter




Top bread with tomato mixture just prior to serving to avoid bread becoming soggy.

Bruschetta 


MUSHROOM CROSTINI 

If you were to ask me the true difference between crostini and bruschetta I’m not sure I could answer clearly. Both have Italian origins, both involve slices of grilled bread and both are often topped with similar items. That being said, I’m totally comfortable with calling bread topped with tomato bruschetta,  but topped with mushrooms not so much. So I’m calling it crostini.

This recipe is almost identical to the bruschetta one except for the preparation of the topping so I’ll focus on that.

WHAT YOU NEED (makes 20-24 pieces)

12 OZ of fresh mushrooms -feel free to use canned ones 

1/4 cup of finely diced onion 

2 tbsp of brown sugar- I used coconut sugar 

2 tbsp butter

1/2 of a baguette 

Ingredients 



WHAT TO DO 

Mushrooms

1)Heat butter, sugar and onions in a skillet until onions sweat (become soft and translucent) 

2)Add mushrooms and Sautee until browned.

Onions,butter and sugar mixture 


Mushrooms being sautéed 


Bread

See 4-6 for bruschetta 

3)Top bread with mushrooms just before serving

Mushroom crostini 


CHICKEN SOUVLAKI/KEBABS 

Kebabs are always a favourite of mine for parties. Who doesn’t enjoy eating bites of food off a stick? Something about it is just so much fun. Lol.

The inspiration for this came from a blog post by Closet Cooking who created this recipe after tasting something similar while on vacation in Greece. The chicken is flavour education with the tart lemon and spices and topped with tzatziki. Tzatziki is a Mediterranean yogurt based dip infused with herbs and spices. It is served with meat or used with pita bread or vegetables as a dip. You can make it yourself but it is also widely available in most supermarkets  (I bought mine).

WHAT YOU NEED (makes about 15)

1/2 lb Chicken breast/thighs boneless

1 large lemon

Minced garlic or garlic powder 

Tzatziki

WHAT TO DO 

1)Cube chicken and coat with juice of lemon, garlic and any other seasonings and let it marinate for at least 30 minutes.

2) Skewer chicken Bake until cooked

3)Drizzle with Tzatziki-I also served some on the side.

Chicken souvlaki 


OLIVE BAR

This one was easy-peasy. I saw an amazing olive bar at Whole foods and knew I had to recreate it even if on a micro scale. I bought a container of mixed olives and worked with that.

WHAT YOU NEED

Various olives- You can use as many types as your heart desires

Containers- to display the olives

WHAT TO DO

Distribute the olives in their various containers along with spoons and display. I used a wooden cutting board.

Olive bar 



CHEESE AND MEAT BOARD

I have to say, that out of all the dishes on this menu, this is the one I was most excited about. Cheese and meat boards or antipasti boards are becoming a bigger and bigger trend in the foodie world making appearances on lots of restaurant menus. But these amazing appetizer boards are well established in Mediterranean cuisine. 
WHAT YOU NEED

Cheeses- At least two types but as many as you wish. I used Asiago, Gouda and sweet onion Swiss cheese by Laughing Cow.

Meats- At least two types or skip it if you want a strict cheese board. I used sliced turkey and turkey salami

Extras- I used purple or red grapes, almonds and some crackers

Board- This can be your cutting board, a marble board, slate board, metal board etc. Whatever you have. I used a rectangular board and most that I’ve seen do the same but this can work on a circular or oblong board as well.

Ingredients 

WHAT TO DO

1)Arrange your cheeses and meats on the board. I tried to create something visually pleasing by placing the cheeses at differing heights and placing the meats in between.

2)Place your extras to fill in the empty spaces

Cheese and meat board


PREMADE items

To round out this Mediterranean inspired fest I purchased some items to cut down on prep time and stress.

Pastries 

I bought a box of frozen mini pastries which came in four flavours: spinach and cheese, red bell peppers and cheese, sweet onion and cheese and mushroom and cheese…there was a lot of cheese.

Assorted savory pastries 

Dessert

All the dessert was premade. Desserts are satisfying to make but boy will they eat up your time. I purchased some Biscotti, a tasty Italian treat often eaten along with coffee. I also bought some French Creme cheese pastries which I warmed in the oven and served.

Biscotti 

Cream cheese pastries


A few more shots of the finished table

The evening was great, spent with family and friends. There was good conversation and tasty food. As I say I always recommend doing some things yourself and getting help with others when entertaining,  it makes everything a bit easier.

I hope my Mediterranean inspired Soiree gives you some ideas for your next event. Have an awesome day and Happy International Womens Day to all!

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