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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 !

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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.

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.

Easter Tea Cake

31 Mar

Hello and Happy Easter to all who celebrate! Today I’m asssembelling a cake that I think is perfect for Easter. It’s a Victoria sponge with the traditional strawberry jam and iced and decorated to add a little Easter flare.

Victoria sponge is a well known English teatime staple. It comprises of two layers of sponge cake sandwiching strawberry jam and often times, whipped cream. It can be served in typical cake slices or in rectangular finger sandwich style slices.

For this cake, I used the jam but not the whipped cream and topped it with icing rather than the usual dusting with icing sugar.

WHAT YOU NEED

1) Sponge cake– I used a Waitrose package mix but use whatever recipe or package you prefer.

2) Strawberry jam– Or any other flavour jam you want.

3) Icing– This is plain old icing sugar and water mixed to a fairly thick consistency. I chose to dye mine the faintest pink.

4) Toppings/ Decorations– I used fresh strawberries (sliced) to go with the strawberry jam and Cadbury’s mini candy coated chocolate eggs.

Sponge cake, strawberry jam and pale pink icing.

Fresh strawberries and candy coated chocolate eggs

WHAT TO DO

1) Slice the cake crossways in half to create two layers.

2) Spread a generous layer of jam over the surface of the bottom layer– The cake will absorb some of the jam so use enough to take that into account but not so much that it leaks out the side of the cake.

3) Place the top layer over the jam and place in fridge for at least 15 minutes to let it “set”

4) Spread icing over top of cake allowing it to naturally run over edges.

5) Place iced cake in the refrigerator and let the icing fully set.

6) Once icing has set proceed to adding decorations– I used a very thin layer of icing to stick on the eggs.

And there you have it! A delicious Victoria sponge with a little twist. This is perfect for Easter Tea, (or brunch or lunch for that matter). Also, with a different topping it’s great as a birthday cake or a cake for any other occasion.

Have an awesome day and an awesome Easter!

Galentines Day Bash!

4 Feb

It is often said that art imitates life. Sometimes however, the reverse is true. Galentine’s Day was first born on an episode of sitcom “Parks and Recreation” in 2010. Since then Galentine’s Day has become increasingly well known and celebrated with 2017 bringing it a trending spot on Twitter.

This holiday is celebrated on February 13th (the day before Valentine’s day) and it is seen as a day for gals to celebrate and uplift each other in a social scene where girl on girl hate is so prevalent.

This is right up my alley. An excuse to celebrate anything but especially something as positive as friendships between women.

I came up with a few very Pinterest inspired ideas to throw a Galentine’s bash for you and your gals.

Pizza Heart Bites

This is so darn cute. Heart shaped pizza bites are tasty and great party food to pick up and nibble on.

WHAT YOU NEED

Pizza crust -I used ready made flatbread crust

Cheese

Tomato sauce

Other toppings- I used mushrooms and Italian herbs

Heart shaped cookie cutter

WHAT TO DO

1) Cut out heart shapes from crust.

2) Top crusts

3) Bake until cheese is melted and you’re done!

Pink Love Donuts

WHAT YOU NEED

1) Donuts

2) Icing– I dyed it three shades of pink

3) Toppings– sprinkles

WHAT TO DO

1) Dip each donut into the corresponding glaze

2) Top with sprinkles, nuts etc and set into fridge to harden.

Sorbet Fizz Cocktail

For the cocktail portion of the evening, we combine a refreshing dessert with some fizzy wine.

WHAT YOU NEED

Sorbet– I chose black cherry to stick with the pink theme

Sparkling wine– Prosecco, Brut, sparkling rose etc.

WHAT TO DO

1) Place a scoop of sorbet in glass.

2) Pour sparkling wine over it and serve!

Guest gifts

I feel as if no celebration is quite complete without a little something for your guests to leave with. I also like giving gifts that are useful. I am also mildly obsessed with succulents…

Succulents are affordable, beautiful and hard to kill. To seal the deal I stuck a little label with a love note on the pot.

I hope this post can give you some inspiration for your own Galentine’s party or Valentine’s party or whatever party you have!

Have an awesome Galentine’s Day!

New Years Eve on the Cheap

29 Dec

New Years is one of the few things celebrated by all cultures, ages, places. The way it is celebrated is as varied as the human species but it is definitely one of those celebrations that can easily add up. Between the dress and the shoes, the drinks and the transportation you can shell out well over a few pennies for what is essentially a night out.

I have a few suggestions being someone who both loves to have a good time AND save my money.

1) Let Sparks Fly

As we know, many places set off fireworks on NYE and depending on how close you are you can enjoy the light show for free. Find a great look out spot for fireworks e.g a beach, a park, a friend’s backyard.

Put on a jacket, round up your squad and pack a bottle of wine and bag of chips. Get there a couple hours before the light show and have a chill nighttime picnic that ends with fireworks.

2) Hotel Hoopla

A beautiful luxurious hotel room with a balcony with a view and a Jacuzzi can rob you of a significant portion of your paycheck…IF you book it by yourself and IF you book for many nights. 

However, IF you and your crew put together and pay for one night it suddenly becomes a lot more affordable. Be sure to get a room where the amount in your party are allowed to be at one time and ensure the noise level rules are complied with. Everyone brings a bottle and the fun can begin.

3) Burger Queen

Another great NYE activity is to go out for dinner. Usually, you have to book well ahead of time, contend with a crowd and pay through your nose. You can still have a nice dinner in your best dress just as someplace with a few less frills.

The clan and you decide on a clean, safe and extremely affordable spot and agree to meet up wearing something nice.  Being dressed up in a casual setting will definitely make it feel more special.

4) Lucky Lady

Casinos can be a place of indulgence and decadence and financial ruin, but it need not be. Find a casino without a cover charge and grab your gals and guys and go . Decide on a low spending limit e.g $20 and spend it slowly. Order a drink or two and your night is made.

5) Night In

Have a proper night in. Decide whose home will be host to your group. Everyone brings their pjs and a snack. Binge watch a series and play monopoly. Then in the morning everyone helps cook up a casual brunch. So little money spent, so much fun had.

If you’re looking for good clean cheap fun, hopefully something here has given you am idea or two. Have an awesome day and an awesome NYE!

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!

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