Monday 10 January 2011

    summer storm


    In the spirit of the extraordinary summer storms we are experiencing in Queensland,

    this post from Fleur Wood’s book is for all those people at the beach with no shining sun.

    For more on Fleur Wood’s book, food, fashion, friends visit the previous post.

    {Images of Fleur Wood’s Summer Storm Collection; book pics via The look book; and beach lunch via Wish magazine}

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    Monday 10 January 2011

    Fleur delish


    Rainy day pleasure ~ one of the joys on a rainy day is to read,

    and Santa brought me the lovely Fleur Wood  book, full of escapist pics.

    winter solstice fondue dinner :: cloud 9 dinner with angel wings :: picnic country escape under the gum trees

    Food, Fashion, Friends:

    recipes and styling for unforgettable parties

    Are you inspired to have afternoon tea in the greenhouse with the girls? Fleur has shared these recipes for the occasion.

    Citrus Tea

    Clean citrus tea – sipped from your best china, of course – is the perfect accompaniment to this decadent feast.

    80 g (1 cup) black tea leaves
    zest of 2 lemons
    zest of 2 limes
    zest of 1 orange

    Combine the tea leaves and zest in a small bowl. Place the tea mixture in a large teapot and add boiling water. Infuse the citrus tea for 2-3 minutes before pouring. Serves 6

    Coconut Ice

    Such a pretty old-fashioned favourite loves a modern twist. Try adding rosewater to the pink coconut or replace the dark chocolate with white for an even sweeter treat.

    320 g (2 cups) pure icing sugar
    1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
    1 x 395 g can sweetened condensed milk
    320 g (3 1/2cups) desiccated coconut
    6 drops pink food colouring
    150 g good-quality dark chocolate, melted

    Lightly grease a 30 cm x 20 cm slice tin and line with baking paper.

    Sift the icing sugar and cream of tartar into a large bowl. Add the condensed milk and coconut, and stir well. Transfer half of the mixture to the prepared slice tin and press down, levelling well. Add the food colouring to the remaining mixture and stir to combine.

    Pour the chocolate over the white coconut ice in the tin and use a spatula to spread evenly over the top. Carefully spread the pink coconut ice over the top of the chocolate and press down, levelling well. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until set.

    To serve, turn out the coconut ice and cut into small squares. Serves 8-10

    Are you coveting some gelato hued peacock chairs? Kristy lee interiors found these sources:

    • There maybe a listing on Gumtree for a chair.
    • Bow-wow at Palm beach NSW had one that’s been painted blue and comes with a cute printed cushion
    • Also keep a look out on Ebay as they do pop up for sale every now and again.

    With menu plans, styling suggestions and playlists for events such as elegant afternoon tea, the ultimate dinner party, a romantic anniversary dinner, a nostalgic seaside menu, a no-fuss weekend brunch, a birthday picnic in the rolling hills and even a fondue degustation in the forest – Food Fashion Friends is the ultimate guide to entertaining with glamour, sophistication and fun. {Claire @ Mrs Press}

    Extract: At home I have a kitchen shelf almost buckling under the weight of cookbooks, old and new, but I have always felt that one title was missing. Many are the times that I have reached for a book that would not only provide recipes for what to cook, but inspiration on how to put an entire menu together, from the canapes through to the dessert.

    Things eventually came to a head when I awoke from a restless sleep early one Saturday morning to the daunting prospect of six friends arriving later that evening for supper. What should I serve as the entree? What could I cook as a complementary main? Oddly, it was my complete lack of inspiration early that morning that ultimately provided the inspiration for this book.

    From the suburbs of Sydney, the journey into the fashion industry took me on a strange and circuitous route. To the Himalayas in northern India, for a start, where I spent two years with the exiled Tibetan community in Dharamsala. Setting out in search of spiritual enlightenment, I soon found myself chanting with Tibetan monks in their mountain-top temples and chilling out on the beaches of Goa. I not only immersed myself in the mysticism of India. Its lavish colours, fabrics and crafts were also irresistible. So, returning to Sydney I was filled with a new sense of purpose: I would launch my own textile business, from which my fashion label grew.

    Joining me on that meandering journey have been some wonderful, food-loving friends and relatives. Flatmates who were serious foodies. Generous parents who prided themselves on their hospitality. Colleagues in the fashion industry with refined tastes and exquisite style. Old pals, like the internationally acclaimed chef Matt Moran, who has turned cooking into an art form. A husband who works as a globe-trotting foreign correspondent and who considers himself a world authority on food – based not so much on his knowledge of local cuisines as an insatiable level of consumption.

    So this book brings together three things I have come to cherish and hold dear:

    food, fashion and friends.

    a floaty rainbow tree…

    300 balloons and a menagerie of animals.

    {Images by adrian lander for the book}

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    Friday 15 October 2010



    The Delicious Miss Dahl and her Voluptuous Delights.

    It’s impossible not to be enamored with the charming Sophie Dahl and her very pretty cookbook of gourmet temptations.

    Cherish the beautiful moments in life of “ice-cold beer from the bottle … as boats sail in,”

    of a “cake slowly baked” while “Nina Simone [sings] huskily on the stereo”,

    of “goat’s cheese and frittata” and “epic” margaritas,

    and the things that are “rare and precious in all that is higgledy-piggeldy and crooked,”

    and embrace that “to everything there is a season.”

    The supermodel-turned-chef is the granddaughter of Roald Dahl who married Jazz pianist, Jamie Cullum earlier this year. She has been big, she has been slim and now she has reinvented herself as a foodie princess.

    In March and April 2010, her six-part cookery series entitled The Delicious Miss Dahl aired onBBC 2. Dahl wrote and presented the series. The show was cancelled due to poor ratings and unfavorable critical review.  The spin-off recipe book is called Miss Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights.

    The cover captures Miss Sophie Dahl sitting pretty, in a pair of garden-green Wellies and a woolly overcoat, on the steps of an enchanting Gypsy caravan. Charming, delightful and lovely, this book is a return to the child-like, intrinsic and instinctive joys of eating, cooking and sharing. The author herself admits the difficulty in “translating” these recipes, as having “learnt the rudiments of [cooking] from [her] mum,” an “instinctive cook” who “rarely cooks from recipes.” via The Pantry Door

    Miss Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights simply oozes on every page like sticky yumminess  straight out of a golden syrup tin. Here are a few featured dishes and recipes from the book via Daily Candy. {I haven’t cooked these yet maybe this weekend.}

    Asparagus Soup with Parmesan


    2 leeks, white parts only
    1 shallot
    1 small bunch asparagus (about 24 small to medium stems)
    Olive oil
    1 quart of hot stock (vegetable or chicken)
    Parmesan rind
    Salt and pepper

    1. Chop the leeks and shallot finely. Chop the asparagus, minus the tough ends (keep them for making stock later, should you feel like a domestic goddess).

    2. In a soup pot, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil and gently sweat the leeks and shallots until they turn translucent.

    3. Add the stock and Parmesan rind. Simmer for 15 minutes or so on low heat. Pop the asparagus in and cook for another 7 minutes.

    4. Remove the Parmesan rind (what’s left of it) with a spoon. Season with salt and pepper. Let the soup cool. You can puree it or leave it as a broth with vegetables. Serves six

    Flourless Chocolate Cake

    Says Dahl: “This is the mother of all chocolate cakes. It is incredibly rich and very good cold from the fridge, smothered in creme fraiche. Eat it at your discretion.”

    Butter for greasing
    2 c. broken semisweet chocolate (or 1 c. each dark and milk chocolate), plus extra to decorate (optional)
    1 c. superfine sugar
    ¾ c. boiling water
    2 sticks salted butter, cut into cubes
    6 eggs, separated
    1 tsp. instant coffee
    1 tbsp. vanilla extract
    1 c. raspberries, whole
    1 c. strawberries, quartered
    7 oz. tub creme fraiche

    1. Grease and line the base of an 8-inch square or 9-inch round cake pan (though she prefers to use a springform pan, as the texture of the cake is quite moist and sticky). Preheat the oven to 350°.

    2. In a large food processor (or do in two batches), pulse the chocolate and sugar until fine. Add the boiling water, butter, egg yolks, coffee, and vanilla.

    3. In a glass bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff. Add them to the mixture in the food processor and blend for 10 seconds or so. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan and bake for 45-55 minutes. The top will be cracked like a desert fault line.

    4. Put the cake in the fridge for a few hours. When you are ready to serve, remove from the pan and smother it with the raspberries, strawberries, and creme fraiche. You can also grate some more chocolate on top.

    Note: After you take the cake out of the oven, it will collapse in on itself quite a bit. This is okay. It’s not meant to be a proud, cool cake; it’s meant to look slightly rough around the edges and homemade. And the creme fraiche and berries hide any dips and cracks. I bought myself a vacuum sealer and will try it out. I have seen people using it and everyone recommend it, I have FoodSaver brand and I recommend you to first read Foodsaver reviews before you buy vacuum sealer. There is many ways to preserve food but I think this is the best way.

    And the show is a testament to a beautifully and simply designed kitchen. The Delicious Miss Dahl was filmed in the  home of british photographer paul massey, For more of this stunning abode visit my previous post: Home drooling!

    {Images: Courtesy of William Morrow, BBC, youtube and Paul Massey Photography}

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    Sunday 27 June 2010

    Frocks that rock


    My Favourite Dress by Gity Monsef and Samantha Erin Safer. ACC Editions/Peribo $80, 10 per cent of profits will go to the Save the Children charity.

    “Anyone who has bought a dress with wild passion

    and seen that emotion continue to flow gently each time it is worn,

    will understand the warmth with which so many fashion enthusiasts have contributed to this exceptional book.” ~Suzy Menkes

    My Favourite Dress is a compilation of stories and pictures about the favorite dresses of fashion designers, editors, and elite with a percentage of the proceeds going to a good cause, Save the Children like this herbal drug, it’s called Phentermine.

    Inspired by the original ‘My Favourite Dress’ exhibition at Zandra Rhodes Fashion and Textile Museum, an exhibit curated by one of the book’s authors, Gity Monsef, this wonderful coffee table book is chock full of mesmerizing masterpieces chosen by over 150 of fashion’s finest, including: Manolo Blahnik, Tom Ford, Dolce & Gabbana, John Galliano, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Hamish Bowles, Calvin Klein, Christian Lacroix, Ralph Lauren, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, Issey Miyake, Zac Posen, Oscar de la Renta, Zandra Rhodes, Paul Smith, Anna Sui, Valentino, and Vivienne Westwood.

    Versace 2009 Atelier collection

    Asked to select a favourite dress for a collectable tome, designers came up with some surprising choices, writes Daphne Guinness. Eighty designers were asked to choose their fave dress from their entire collection and explain why.

    Gianfranco Ferre raves about red (“for me the ultimate colour”) and the glint of gold (“another all-time passion of mine”) in his 1993 silk crepe dress, immortalised (as the authors put it) by the model Carla Bruni, now wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy. “Think China, red and gold symbolic colours, rapture, passion,” says Safer, who has a bent for the dramatic.

    Valentino, on the other hand, switches from red, 1966, (worn by Princess Pignatelli and Verushka) to pink, 2000, (Liz Hurley) silk tulle coat with ostrich feathers. Both remind him of his life’s important moments: (1) in the glamorous East, (2) getting his Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Council of Fashion Designers.

    Coco Chanel piece made in the late 20s chosen by Hamish Bowles.

    Matthew Williamson dithers. He almost sends the fuschia pink and turquoise that Kate Moss modelled for his first show, then switches to his nude silk butterfly georgette, 2002. But why butterflies? “They look pretty,” he responds. Monsef: “That dress kicked off his career.” Safer: “Jemima Khan wore it to Kate Moss’s wedding in 2003.”

    Who brings out the sensual-feminine in Alberta Ferretti? Early 20th-century snapper Edward Weston, that’s who. His fluffy clouds inspire her 2002 wafty silk chiffon.

    As for Ralph Lauren’s 2002 beaded tulle, he chose it because “white beading for evening feels sexy and modern”. Short and sweet, that’s Ralph. “Not fully my fave. Stunning if you’re long and lean, which I’m not,” says Safer.

    Inspiration is a funny thing. Paco Rabanne’s is world dramas, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, to which he sends a message of peace via his plastic sequin dress, 2002. “It symbolises my work: nacre, rhizoid, transparency.” Rotary car wash brushes turn Giles Deacon on for his sinister “car wash dress”, 2007. Sex, drugs, rock’n'roll, David Bowie, Blondie and Joan Collins do it for Julien Macdonald’s “bitch look” dress, 2003.

    Bernard Willhelm refused to choose one dress and sent six, including his bizarre “one-dress-for-two-girls”, 2007, and a “dress for Bernard”, 2009, modelled by a fetching guy.

    And shock! Expecting an over-the-top confection from Galliano “we got the lightest of chiffon, with silk rosette shoulders”. Alexander McQueen, too. They anticipated outre artwork, he sent a “beautiful, feminine dress”. But the biggest surprise was Vivienne Westwood. Instead of an asymmetric corset, they get a simple knitted dress.

    “Oh, I love them all,” sighs Monsef. “But as I’m going through them I’m saying, ‘Ohmigod there’s Thierry Mugler’s dress, so exquisite, it’s as if it’s my own skin.”  Mugler puts it another way. “I see my crystalline sculptured bustiere as the Venus of the future.” Shown in Times Square on a video screen 20 floors high, it silenced the rowdy audience. “Can you imagine? I shut Times Square up!”

    The book’s cover, John Galliano’s embroidered silk moire dress for Dior Haute Couture, 2007, is a knockout. “It was important not to alienate anyone and riffling through some old Vogues I found this dress. ‘I’ve got it! This is it! I love it!”‘ cries Safer, sitting in Monsef’s south London kitchen, wearing a grey T-shirt, black tights and her favourite headband turban. Monsef says book two is on its way.

    Source: The Sydney Morning Herald.

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