Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Family, friends & great food! The best way to spend Christmas eve. This year the Lowon Pope's hosted a fabulous Xmas eve soiree with an asian fusion theme, it was delicious! Plus I got to watch Miracle on 34th street and was given a new pink YSL lipstick - happy me!!
Thursday, December 23, 2010
This framed 50s advertisement was a gift given to me by a family friend for one of my birthdays many years ago (can't remember which one, that's how long ago), and I absolutely love it! I'm too afraid to take it back to the UK with me as I don't want it to get wrecked travelling, but I can't wait to have it in the bathroom of my future Toronto home.
My parents are signed up for the "Organic Box"program, which means a box of seasonal organic vegetables is delivered to their doorstep each week. Lately they have been getting a lot of the same veg as the kitchen is overflowing with pumpkins, potatoes and butternut squash. I guess it's winter! To clear some space, and put the vegetables to good use, I decided to make a curried pumpkin, butternut squash, yam, potato and green apple soup and it turned out to be super yummy!
I loosely followed a recipe from Epicurious on my iphone, but I mainly made it up as I went along. If you would like to make this at home, first bake your vegetables (cut in half and face down) for about 50 minutes at 350C - take out and let cool. Chop an onion, and soften in a large pot with olive oil, add lots of garlic and ginger to the mix. At this point, I added roughly chopped granny smith apples before transferring everything to the food processor. Blend the mixture until smooth and return it to your pot. Next, scoop out the baked veg into the food processor, blend until smooth and add to the pot. Add 2-3 cups of chicken stock and stir everything together well. The mixture can tend to be quite thick so depending on how much you are making you can add more chicken stock, or milk to give it a creamier taste. I played around with just about every spice in the kitchen, but I would highly recommend adding salt, fresh ground pepper, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, cumin, cinnamon and curry powder to taste.
Good luck and enjoy!
Monday, December 20, 2010
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Speaking of my friend Dana, last weekend she hosted a wonderful little tea party at her flat with tons of wonderful food, but she happened to have a little trouble with the apple cake she made. While it looked great, it was undercooked and had "too many apples" as her first taster commented. I told her I would post my Easy Apple Tart recipe as it would have been a lot faster, easier and would cook better in her crappy old oven. Sorry, but it's true! So here goes...
The Easy Apple Tart:
2 tablespoons - organic unsalted butter
1 tablespoon - brown sugar
1 tsp - vanilla
1/2 tsp - cinnamon
4-6 - apples (I often use pears as well) cored and sliced into wedges
1 roll - easy puff pastry
To begin, slice the apples (and pears) into wedges and place in a pie dish as you go a long. This is often the best way to measure as the sizes of fruit, and amount you need can vary, fill the dish until level. Heat a non-stick frying pan and melt the butter, add the brown sugar and mix with a wooden spoon until the sugar has melted and is well-blended. Poor in the sliced apples and toss until coated, add the vanilla and cinnamon (you can add more or less depended on taste preferences). Toss the apples a couple of more times, before removing from heat.
Roll out the puff pastry and place in the pie dish, roll down edges to create a thicker crust. Poor in the apple mixture and spread evenly in the dish. Place the dish into a pre-heated oven at 180C and bake for approximately 30 minutes. Keep an eye on it, when the crust and apples are golden brown it's time to take it out!
Best served piping hot with vanilla ice cream on the side, enjoy!
ELLE Deco had a little end-of-year sample sale last week and I picked up TONS of great things for hardly anything! A few cookbooks, some gifts, a new fancy pillow... eventually I will post about all my great finds. I love this pink flower power tea towel I got so much, it was sitting on the sale table for so long I couldn't believe no one had picked it up! I guess you could say it was meant to be, and I only had to pay £1 for it!!
On my first visit to England, a few of years ago, the boyfriend and I stayed at his sister's old flat for a couple of nights. She and her husband had the most amazing place, situated inside a massive old manor house, it had incredibly tall ceilings and windows, with huge rooms - the place was magnificent. But what caught my eye most of all, was her large golden vintage pineapple that she kept in the kitchen, never have I been so envious of a piece of fruit!!
Since that first sighting, I have developed a bit of an obsession with retro pineapples. In fact, when I went to get my nails done with SLC at WAH in Topshop last spring, they too had a gold pineapple sitting on a shelf to my surprise - sadly they declined my somewhat-generous-for-a-poor-person offer.
On the day of my birthday party this year, my friend Dana popped over early so we could scour local charity shops together. As we wandered through my least favourite of the three chazzers on the main strip, Dana picked up a great set of hand-painted tumblers while I was still left empty-handed. Feeling certain that I wasn't going to find anything to my liking amongst their homeware shelves - I took one last glance, before something spiky and golden hiding in the corner caught my eye. I could hardly contain myself, I GOLDEN FREAKING PINEAPPLE AT LAST!!! I held that thing up in the air like a damn trophy.
It may be a mini version of my first love, but I still love it none the less. Now it sits pretty next to my favourite little owls and I think it makes them feel happy and cool, as if they're hanging out in their own tropical oasis. Yay!
Saturday, December 11, 2010
On Wednesday night, my friend Hayley and I headed over to the Harrod's champagne bar to indulge in some festive fun. Psychologies Magazine organised a small event where guests were treated to a wreath making tutorial by one of London's leading florists before making their own to take home. Neither of us had ever made a holiday wreath before - but it was such a blast and we sure didn't mind sipping on glasses of veuve and snacking on canapes while creating our holiday works of art! I have a feeling wreath-making parties are going to be all the rage next year!
Monday, December 6, 2010
This was such an easy and delicious side dish with my Sunday roast this weekend, I feel I must share the recipe as they would be great alongside almost anything!
5-6 Organic carrots
4 Whole garlic bulbs
1 Tablespoon (or so) olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
A pinch of salt
To start, cut the carrots in half and then lengthwise (slice larger bits into 3 or 4 pieces) and place on a baking tray or in a roasting pan. Cut both oranges in half, squeeze the juice of each piece over the carrots, then place the pulp and skin around the dish along with garlic bulbs. Drizzle olive oil lightly over carrots, add salt and pepper then toss.
Place in the oven at 180C for 45 mins, toss the carrots half way through. Enjoy!
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Lately I've become obsessed with the idea of urban farming. I feel very priviliged to live in London and have such a great, green backyard. Last summer I planted a number of herbs and grew some rocket, but I would absolutely love to have a large vegetable garden growing one day. A chicken or two running aroud would be even better - fresh eggs in the mornings! It's so important that we begin re-thinking how we acquire our food. The more I pay attention to origin listings at the grocery store, the more I worry about my carbon footprint simply from trying to eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Asparagus from Spain, rasberries from California, spinach from Morocco? Each time I fill my basket, it seems there is less and less that has been grown at home in the UK. Of course, like anyone, I am used to being able to purchase just about anything at any time of year because of this, but would it really be so bad if you were only able to eat what was in season? I think we would manage. Recently, Tom Selby of Theselby.com paid a visit to New Yorker, Annie Novak - an urban farmer based in Brooklyn. It's so refreshing to see cool, young, urban people putting their green thumbs to good use by combining two different lifestyles. Check out the full feature by clicking HERE.
Monday, November 29, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
For those in London celebrating American Thanksgiving today/this weekend, be sure to visit the Selfridges Food Court to stock up on essentials for the big feast. After all, who could live without American Thanksgiving favourites such as; Mac N Cheese, French's Mustard, Lucky Charms, Oreos, jarred hot dogs, egg nog mix, and Shake N Bake??
Okay, so maybe you won't be going to purchase any of those things, but at least go visit if only to have a laugh. I would like to clarify that I am Canadian, so please correct me if my views on these gobble gobble "classics" are wrong! x
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
I absolutely love having flowers in my house, but when my bank account is running low (not that its ever on a high) sadly they are the first to be knocked off of my mental 'necessary purchases' list. However, I have found ways to fulfil my love of flowers in the home and not break the bank. Instead of visiting a wonderful florist, I simply wander over to my local Tesco and pick up a small bouquet for under a fiver! This autumn-coloured arrangement really perked up my kitchen, and two weeks later they're still holding up - now that's value! Sometimes it really surprises me how much joy I can get from spending £3. Ta! x
Thursday, November 11, 2010
I haven't had too much luck growing parsley this year. So far, looks great in store, but once home has tended to die quite quickly. I've been neglecting my sad little patch of home grown herbs out on my deck since early September, having given up all hope. But a couple of weeks ago I decided to bring my parsley inside to see if it might have better luck sitting pretty on my kitchen windowsill... and look how well it's done! Super tall and green as anything! So happy now :)
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
I ain't nevah made a fish pie before, but when I spotted the 'Fish pie with colcannon topping' recipe in the November issue of Sainsbury's Magazine (aka my favourite non-fashion magazine) well, I knew I had to try it! Silly me, I only glanced at the recipe before heading to the shops to stock up on fish parts of all sorts and didn't notice the way-more-intense-than-anticipated details. Anyhoo, it turned out delicious and the leftovers tasted even better the next day at lunch time! If you're feeling ambitious and craving something fishy then I highly recommend trying out the following:
Fish Pie with Colcannon Topping (Sainsbury's Magazine November 2010)
1kg smoked haddock fillets
500g white fish filets
a couple of bay leaves
200ml vegetable stock
600ml skimmed milk
2 x 180g packs raw king prawns
200g cherry tomatoes, halved
75g plain flour
100g mature cheddar, grated
For the colcannon
1kg maincrop potatoes cut into chunks
1 small savoy cabbage shredded
100ml skimmed milk
2 spring onions chopped
1. preheat the overn to 180C, fan 160C, gas 4. Place the haddock and white fish fillets in a shallow roasting tray (or dish) with the bay leaves. Mix together the stock and milk and pour over the fish, cover with kitchen foil and bake for 20 minutes.
2.For the colcannon, simmer the potatoes in boiling salted water for 15 minutes or until tender; drain and return to the pan. Meanwhile, bring another pan of water to the boil and blanch the cabbage for a few minutes; drain and set aside. In the cabbage pan, heat the milk with the spring onions. Mash the potatoes with the butter, then mix this with the warm milk, spring onions and blanched cabbage; season well.
3. When the fish is ready, using a slice, transfer it to a large bowl and discard the bay leaves. Tip the fish cooking liquid into a jug. When the fish is cool, removed the skin and discard any bones. Break the fish into chunks and mix the prawns and tomatoes.
4. For the sauce, melt the butter in a pan, add the flour and stir over the heat for 1 minute. Take the pan off the heat and whisk in the fish cooking liquid, a little at a time. Return to the heat and simmer for 5 minutes until thickened. Take off the heat and stir in three quarters of the cheese. Mix with the fish prawns and tomatoes. Transfer to a large buttered ovenproof baking dish.
5. Top with the calcannon and scatter with the remaining cheese. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until bubbling and lightly golden.
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
My mantel from left to right: a drawing by my brother on the back of a coaster from Germany, a coaster from the Bowery Hotel in NYC, a Rupaul birthday card, a photo of my brother and I as kids, brooch by Amanda Fatherazi - a gift, vintage hand-painted fawn figurine - a gift, vintage tray found on the Isle of Wight for £1, blossom branch light - a gift, fragrant candle from TK Maxx.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Even though I was in dire need of some salt and pepper shakers when we moved into our current flat last winter, I obviously would not settle for a generic, cheap design from my local department store. I held out for ages until I found this cute little pair sitting in one of my favourite charity shops in Chiswick. Hand-painted and so sweet, I love them! x
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Gosh, my kitchen is so au courant! In case you have yet to check out the SS11 shows, a big trend for the summery season consists of bold, FRUITY prints! Taking a look at the snap shot from my kitchen above, one might have thought that Stella McCartney had pinched her collection inspiration from inside my own home - but non! She just loves her vitamin C as much as I do.
But this post is not about my oranges, lemons and limes, it is about my lovely cerise-painted vintage butter dish - don't you just love!? Anther fab charity shop find, yup! x
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
1. Me with mum waiting for food
2. Jackson pouring sparkling water
3. Mum's amazing gnocchi dish
4. My delicious pan fried fish and chutney dish
5. Jackson's succulent steak
I was a bit nervous when my mom said she was taking my brother and I to an Italian restaurant for lunch last weekend in Dusseldorf. It was my first meal out since I had arrived and my pre-conceived notions of German-Italian food were not pretty, or tasty. However, to my great delight we enjoyed some of the best Italian food I have ever had! At the moment I cannot recall the name of the restaurant, but as soon as it comes to me I will update this post incase any my dear readers find themselves in Dusseldorf in the near future. Mains ranged from €6-16 and house wine was priced €2.50 a glass - cheers! x