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Dark Decadent Feast

21 Oct

Hello and happy Fall/Autumn/Halloween and if you’re in the Sounthern hemisphere Happy Spring and if you’re in the tropics Happy End-of-Rainy-Season.

THE INSPIRATION

This post is about creating a tablescape and some menu ideas for a dark themed dinner. It’s not too Halloween-ey, not overly Autumnal but rather a bit in between. I imagine this as a romantic dinner for two thrown together by a sophisticated witch who enjoys long walks crunching fallen leaves as much as she enjoys online shopping at Pottery Barn.

TABLESCAPE

I began by layering a traditional white lace tablecloth underneath a black netted material purchased at a Halloween decor store.

I then decided to cluster some synthetic and organic elements including a cast pumpkin, a white fake pumpkin interdispersed with fall/Halloween appropriate fruit and vegetables: turnip, beet and pomegranate.

I also added a battery operated off white medium pillar candle placed in a cloche for some lighting effect and to add some interest.

To complete the tablescape and add some height variation I place a clear vase with some beautiful fresh hydrangeas. The white adds the perfect classy touch but the burgundy brings the dark decadence.

The table was complete by adding two place settings of black and white dinnerware and simple clear glass flatware.

MENU

For the menu I decided on a salad, soup, light main and dessert.

DARK SALAD

This salad is a simple combination of mixed greens (I chose one with lots of purple and brown leaves) and purple (or red) cabbage. It would pair well with a balsamic based vinagarette.

To make this salad simply chop, mix and plate!

SWEET POTATO AND BEET SOUP



This thick delicious soup is made from yellow sweet potatoes and a bit of beets to deepen the colour. It can be served warm or cold.

To make the soup : Boil sweet potato and beets, blend or mash into a puree, sautee onion, garlic and spices then add puree and vegetable stock to make thick flavorful soup.

BRAISED EGGPLANT

This is the light main course: an umami fueled flavour trip. The thick meaty texture and deep flavour makes this a fantastic menu option.

To make this braised eggplant: Chop the eggplant into thick wedges

Mix the braising sauce; molasses, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, miso paste and white granulated sugar by whisking ( Mix according to your taste preference)

Using a little bit of olive oil, sautee the eggplant then add braising sauce, turn down heat and cook until thickened.

MERLOT POACHED PEAR

This one gets a chef’s kiss because it’s so good yet so simple. This is a sweet after dinner treat that requires no advanced dessert making skills.

To make the poached pears: Peel and core the pear

Bring merlot, white granulated sugar and spices (I used cinnamon, clove, bay leaf) and vanilla extract to a boil.

Add pears and let simmer until cooked and absorbed the mixture.

Let it cool and serve. This goes well with chocolate as well as a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Have a beautiful decadent autumn !

Faded Summer Backyard Bop

19 Sep

IT’S STILL SUMMER! Fight me. Lol

Welcome to the beginning of the end of another beautiful summer where the intense bright heat begins to give way to mellow humid evenings.

These are some pictures from a relaxed summer evening spent with friends.

Get your guests warmed up with a fresh cocktail.

This one is a fizzy gin and prosecco mixture. I added a bit of the rhubarb and ginger gin liquor and topped it off with prosecco to create a light bubbly yet intoxicating drink.

Add a decorative touch

I pulled a few flowers from a larger arrangement and put them in this large mason jar to add a little natural, simple decor.

Fresh, delicious eats

An important part of any gathering apart from the people and the cocktails is of course the food. Pictured here are :

Pasta pots; orecchiete pasta (so named because they are shaped like ears), cheddar cheese and pasta sauce mixed and baked into ramekins.

Peach and arugula salad: Mixed arugula and other lettuce, sliced peaches with crumbled feta and a lemon honey dressing.

Chicken fruit skewers: Sauteed chicken breast alternated with red plums and pineapple on skewers grilled to perfection.

We also had mini burgers served in pittettes (mini pita pockets) and batter fried eggplant.

The evening started off balmy with bugs and ended cool, and relaxed. Enjoy the last days of your summer and have a great day.

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!

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!

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