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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.

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!

A Few Spring Things

29 Apr

Hello and Happy Spring (even though I live in a Tropical climate where our only seasons are rainy and dry). Here are a few things I have been and continue to enjoy as we mark time until glorious summer!

MAKEUP

Pretty Birdie by Pretty Vulgar

Pretty birdie palette

This brand launched on Sephora.com sometime last year. I remember it initially got a bit of buzz then everyone , myself included seemed to forget about them. Fast forward to March this year when I saw this brand in store.

I was immediately drawn to this palette with its mixture of bold mattes(Nevermore and Snitch) and muted jewel tone shimmers(Wing it, Brilliant and Jealous). The formula is smooth and easy to blend and allows for many different spring appropriate looks!

Life`s a Festival by Too Faced

Life’s a festival palette

Are you sick and tired of unicorns and mermaids yet? I`m not! But I understand why some people might be. If you fall into that group I implore you to look past the ~ unicorn-ISM ~ and the somewhat silly packaging because this palette is solid.

It`s definitely meant for creating more fun, festival inspired looks with a few brightly coloured matte shades(Dessert Vibes and Young and Free), a lot of beautiful shimmers and some popping duo-chromes (Artist pass and Mystic Rain). If you can still get your (unicorn) hoofs on this one, definitely give it a try!

EATS

Starbucks Instant Refresher and Bobo`s bar

Starbucks Refresher

I am an obligate coffee drinker. I say obligate because I need the caffeine to get me going in the morning but I wouldn’t consider myself a coffee lover by any means. However, I`m always looking for something different and I recently found this. This is a hibiscus and berry flavoured drink with just a touch of caffeine. Enough to get your mornings going with a fruity/floral refreshing taste.

Bobo Bar

I discovered Bobo bars a few months ago in my quest to find breakfast on the go that didn`t contain gluten (I have some gluten intolerance) This company began as a mother daughter home baking endeavor and their bars come in a multitude of flavours from peanut butter to orange cranberry. They taste great warmed up for a few seconds in the microwave and go along great with tea, coffee (or starbucks hibiscus berry refresher)

BODY

Lip Mask

Lip mask by Lifestyle Products

They are making masks for everything these days: face, eyes, hands and lips! And to be honest, they don’t make a real difference one way or another , but they can give some temporary relief and improvements and they’re fun !

This brand is called Lifestyle products and they have a few different ?flavours ?scents such as shea butter and coconut. Your lips feel hydrated and soft after use.

Body Spray

BBW Rose Quartz body mist

Bath and Body Works is always out there looking for new ways to separate me from my hard earned money. One of their latest (successful) attempts is their new New Age , mineral inspired line. This is quite interesting as most minerals (rocks) don’t actually have any associated odours.The three scents are Rose Quartz, Aquamarine and Moonstone and they are available in shower gels, lotions and body mists. They all have more mild, clean scents with rose quartz having a soft rose water type of scent.

HOME

Candle

BBW Avocado Coconut 3 wick Candle

I love me some candles especially BBW candles. This particular style they have brought out features a more squat but wider shaped candle (stated to be the same amount as the regular shaped ones) and many of the scents are more natural inspired. This one, combines avocado and coconut, a rather unlikely pairing which gives a creamy, rich smell.

Thanks for letting me share some of the things I currently like and have an awesome day!

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!

Apple Fritters

26 Nov

Hello, today is a quick delicious easy recipe for apple fritters. Apple Fritters a sweet treats made from fresh apples.

WHAT YOU NEED 

1 large Granny Smith apple

1 cup of flour

1/2 cup of sugar

Assorted spices- I used nutmeg and cinnamon

1/2 tsp Vanilla essence 

Milk- add to dry mister a little at a time until desired consistency achieved. 


WHAT TO DO 

1) Dice apple

2) Add all ingredients and mix until a lumpy consistency 

3) Heat oil in a skillet/pot

4) Make balls of the dough and drop into oil

5) Fry until golden brown

6) Mix some confectioners sugar with water to create a runny glaze 

7) Drizzle glaze over the fritters and they’re ready to serve

These are a fantastic snack to make for guests or as a dessert option. The crunchy texture and tartness of the apple goes along fantastically with the sweet spiciness of the cinnamon and nutmeg.

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!

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