Monthly Archives: July 2014

FashionAdvisor

There was TripAdvisor, now there is FashionAdvisor ©.

A brand new concept that will show you what fashion is really all about.
What you should wear, what’s in, trends from fashion magazines, and nail polish colours…

And let’s start with a bang!
Xmas is just around the corner, but sometimes it takes time to find the perfect outfit. And I’ve got it!

InStyle magazine says in their July edition:”You can do BEJEWELLED. Designers have gone delightfully dotty for big, bold embellishment. Sprinkled with crystals or encrusted all over, these pieces are guaranteed attention-getters.
Why we love it:
1-More resplendent than it is flashy (sequins play only a minor role), this trend makes you feel like a million dollars.
2- There is no need to save the drama for eveningwear; a jewelled sweatshirt works wonderfully with jeans by day.
3- If you are weary of going OTT, glamorous extras will provide a hit of sparkle and amp up even the most casual ensemble.”

They said it, not me!

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Classy, is it not?

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This a unique piece, a collectors item that you won’t regret buying (if you manage to hang around a Chinese stall somewhere…).

Tuesday Lifelines

From “The little book of beauty” by Kaz Cooke:

Draw around your eyes with eyeliner to make them stand out more. If you don’t , people may never know they’re here.

Grind blusher into your face with a scourer for that extra exfoliated glow.

Keep lipstick smudge-free by not eating, talking, moving or making facial expressions while it is on. If you are still having trouble, first apply rubber cement to the lips.

 

SATURDAY COOKING: BEETROOT AND CHOCOLATE CAKE

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1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 ½ cup self-raising flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup grated beetroot
2 tablespoons walnuts, chopped coarsely

Method:

Grease and line a 23cm round tin. Preheat oven to 180°C.

  1. In a big mixing bowl, sift the cocoa powder and flour. Add the sugar.
  2. In another bowl, mix together the oil and eggs. Add this to the dry mix.
  3. Add the beetroot, vanilla essence and walnuts and mix until just combined.
  4. Bake for an hour.
  5. Eat!

Super easy recipe, you only need a big spoon to mix it all together.
I find the cake gets better as it gets older (on the day of baking it, it was soft and quite crumbly), it gets a bit denser, but it’s not a heavy cake.

SATURDAY COOKING: VEAL, CHERRY AND PISTACHIO TERRINE

Yes, it’s your lucky day!
Another recipe, to make up for the lack of it last week.
I recently did a Xmas in June dinner and I always have a couple of meat entrees. This time, I tried a VEAL, CHERRY AND PISTACHIO TERRINE.
The recipe comes from taste.com.au.
And as always, read it first to get your ingredients and to remember to start the recipe a day ahead.
It’s not very difficult to make. It will serve 8 nice portions.

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20 slices flat pancetta (from delis)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 teaspoons chopped thyme leaves
750g mixture of veal and pork mince
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup (35g) fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 cup (75g) pistachio kernels
1 cup (150g) pitted cherries
3 chicken tenderloins fillets, trimmed

Cherry sauce:
1 cup (150g) pitted cherries
100g dried cranberries
finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
1 cinnamon quill
1/3 cup (75g) caster sugar
1/4 cup (60ml) Marsala (Sicilian fortified wine)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°c. Line a 1.5l terrine with pancetta, leaving enough overhanging the sides to fold over the top.
  2. Heat oil in a frypan over medium-low heat. Cook onion, garlic and thyme, stirring, for 3-4 minutes until softened. cool slightly, then add mince, egg, breadcrumbs, pistachios and cherries. Season, then mix well to combine.
  3. Press half the mince mixture into the terrine and arrange chicken tenderloins down the centre. Pack with remaining mince mixture and fold over excess pancetta. Cover with foil and place in a deep roasting pan. Fill pan with enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the terrine.. Bake for 1 hour. Cool to room temperature.
  4. Place terrine on a tray and top with a piece of cardboard cut to fit. Weigh down with cans, then chill overnight.
  5. The next day, for the sauce, place all ingredients in a pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until thickened. Cool.
  6. Turn out terrine and slice. Serve with the cherry sauce and crispbread.
  7. Eat!

– It may be hard to find flat pancetta, and I actually ran out of it. So my advice is use round pancetta, which is available at the supermarket, and is also quite thin, so perfect for the terrine. If you use flat pancetta, make sure it’s cut thin, easier to line the terrine with and nicer texture for the end result. Don’t feel tempted to use prosciutto instead: much saltier and less fat. The fatness in the pancetta soaks through the terrine when it cooks, better taste.
– I used about 450g of veal and 300g of pork mince.
– If you don’t have a cherry pitter, don’t run to the shop and buy one just for this recipe: cut the flesh around the pits (carefully, don’t cut yourself) or use frozen cherries (thawed and drained from excess liquid).
– I don’t make fresh breadcrumbs, I use packet crumbs.
– I made the sauce for the sake of making it and trying it, but too sweet for me.
– I ate the leftovers with gherkins (cornichons).

SATURDAY COOKING: PAIN D’EPICES (SPICED BREAD)

 

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A very French recipe, a specialty in Burgundy called “PAIN D’EPICES“,  or SPICED BREAD.
This recipe is from Serge Dansereau’s cookbook “French Kitchen, classic recipes for home cooks”.
“This is a very versatile bread that is perfect to eat with chicken or duck liver pâté, smoked fish or oysters. It is best toasted until crisp so the flavours really shine.”
The only requirement for this recipe is to have an electric mixer with a whisk attachment.

150ml full-cream milk
250g honey
finely grated zest of 1 orange
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
3 free-range eggs
50g (1/4 cup) sugar
125g (1 ¼ cups) rye flour
125g (1 cup) plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Lightly grease a 25× 12× 10cm loaf tin with oil spray and line with baking paper.
  2. Heat the milk in a small saucepan with the honey, orange and lemon zests and vanilla bean paste until just heated through. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. Put the eggs and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer with a whisk attachment and process on high speed for about 15 minutes, or until you have a sabayon – a creamy mixture that has doubled in size. Add the warm milk and mix at low speed to combine.
  4. In a separate bowl, sieve together the flours, baking powder and spices, then gently fold through the egg mixture until just combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 50 minutes. Check to ensure the centre is cooked by testing with a wooden skewer – if it comes out clean the bread is done. If it is still wet, cook for a further 5 minutes. If the bread browns too quickly on top, cover with a sheet of baking paper. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. When the loaf has cooled, it can be wrapped and kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  6. Eat!

-Because I was not sure how much the bread was going to rise, I used 2 loaf tins. I could have used my glass loaf tin 13.5×23×7cm and gotten a taller loaf. The bread rose nicely, and the final consistency is a bit “spongy” to the touch when it comes out of the oven.
-I didn’t have vanilla bean paste, so I used a vanilla bean, split in 2 and the seeds scraped out. It seems quite a bit of vanilla otherwise, French pain d’épices has got more the flavours of ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg than vanilla.
-I also weighed the ingredients rather than use the cups measurements.
-Make sure you use nice oranges, preferably non-sprayed, because the zest can be very bitter and it will completely spoil the end result.
-I kept the bread in a plastic container, wrapped in alfoil, for 2 weeks. And I didn’t toast, it was fine like this.
-I ate it with butter. And a piece of chocolate…
This bread is very nice, really true to my memory of what a pain d’épices really tastes like.

Monday Lifelines

Yes, I know, we are Friday, but time flies and I’m trying to catch up…

From “1001 facts that will scare the s#*t out of you” by Cary McNeal.

Fact: In April 2009, a Louisiana man was arrested for stabbing his sixty-three-year-old brother after the two argued over a can of pork and beans. The victim was treated for multiple stabs wounds to his arm and shoulder. The two men had been drinking when the fight began.  Alcohol and beans-always a recipe for trouble.

Fact: The bullet ant earned its name because of a sting that feels like getting shot with a gun. Some consider the  bullet’s ant sting the most painful of all insects, and pain can persist for up to twenty-four hours after contact. How would they know? Do they shoot a guy and let a bullet ant sting him at the same time and then ask him if the two feel the same?

Fact: Blowing your nose when you have a cold might feel good, but it can actually worsen your condition. Blowing generates enormous pressure and propels mucus into the sinuses, spreading viruses or bacteria potentially causing further infection. What’s the alternative? Just letting the snot run down your face?