Friday, August 28, 2015

Fabulous Finds for the Fall Home

Fall Home Decor
Harvest Foliage Platter / Acorn Salt & Pepper Shakers / Harvest Pumpkin Wreath
40W Gold Decorative Filament Bulb / Copper Leaves Napkin Ring / Linden Sienna Tablecloth
Golden Trellis Duvet Cover & Pillow Cases / Pleated Diamonds Cushion /  Corn Husk Pumpkins
Feather Pheasant Bundle / Autumn Bunting
Autumn is upon us… For some who love summer, this is a sad occasion, but I always look forward to the Fall. I love the decorating, the full calendar of events, the dinner parties and nights out for roast dinners enjoy fireside in cozy pubs. It's my favorite time of year!

It doesn't take much to embrace Autumn vibes in your home - a new serving dish here, a pumpkin centerpiece there or perhaps just a change of throw pillows to warmer tones from those you use in the summer. These are the pieces that I have my eye on right now for giving a space that little spruce that helps you get excited for crisp, Fall days spent at home!

Strawberry Rum Punch With Parrot Bay Strawberry Spirit Drink

Strawberry Spirit Drink ℅ Parrot Bay
When I lived in the Cayman Islands, rum punch was one of those things that seemed to be everywhere, but I specifically associate it with the Jolly Roger, a booze cruise if you will on a big pirate ship that I spent many nights on celebrating various birthdays, engagement parties and leaving do's. I've never been a big fan of rum itself - rum & Coke is my least favorite thing to drink ever - but I love a good rum punch and when it's made well, it doesn't taste of alcohol at all. It's a little bit dangerous that way…


This recipe for Strawberry Rum Punch is perfect for parties and though it's quite a summery drink, I wouldn't turn my nose up to it for parties during the cooler months. In fact, I'd love this at a Christmas party. The fresh fruit in the glass gives off a sense of occasion and punch is good for a party any ole time in my humble opinion. 

Making this recipe is as easy as 1, 2, 3, but you will need a rather large receptacle to mix it in. I have a large crockpot with a removable dish so I use that and it works perfectly. A large punch bowl should work well too. If you don't have something large that you can mix this up in, it might be worth trying to reduce the quantities. 


Serves 15 to 20… 

Ingredients
200g caster sugar
100ml water
350ml spiced dark rum
1 litre apple juice
500ml freshly squeezed orange juice
Juice of 8 limes
3-4 quick dashes of Angostura Bitters
Nutmeg
Ice to serve
Cut fresh fruit to serve (optional)

Method
1. To begin, make a simple syrup by adding the caster sugar and water to a small saucepan on medium heat, stirring and cooking until the sugar is completely dissolved. Pour the syrup into a small bowl and set aside to cool a bit.

2. Mix all the other ingredients in a very large bowl or pot and stir gently with a wire whisk to combine.

3. Grate in a generous amount of nutmeg and stir again.

4. Slice up some fresh fruit for serving if you're using it such as oranges, lemons, limes and strawberries.

5. When the syrup is cool enough, gently whisk it into the punch mixture. Serve poured into glasses packed with ice and sliced fruit. 

Rustic Polka Dots

Elliot Polka Dot Bakeware
An interesting and chic addition to any dinner table, this polka dot casserole totally has my heart at the moment! 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Strawberry Lemon Granita


Cool, refreshing and a lovely ending to any meal, this boozy version of a traditional Sicilian treat features Parrot Bay Strawberry Spirit Drink (℅ Parrot Bay), which gives it a fruity strawberry flavor and a tiny little kick! Low-maintenance hardly describes how easy this is to make - it's so easy, it practically makes itself!


Ingredients
3 lemons
1 cup of water
1/3 cup of caster sugar
Fresh strawberries for serving (optional)

Method
1. Peel 2 of the lemons with a vegetable peeler and reserve the peels.

2. Juice the lemons.

3. Heat the sugar and water until the sugar dissolves completely. Stir in the zest while still on the heat and simmer away for another minute or two, then set aside to cool for about 10 minutes.

4. Strain the liquid into a smallish metal bowl or other metal container and continue to cool for a few minutes more.

5. In another small bowl, mix the two tablespoons of Parrot Bay Strawberry Spirit Drink with the lemon juice using a wire whisk to stir gently.

6. Stir the juice mixture into the cooled, strained sugar mixture and place in the freezer.

7. Fork through the mixture as it freezes about every 1/2 hour until it becomes slushy. Then you can freeze it over night if you prefer. 

8. When you are ready to serve, fork through the mixture a final time. If you have frozen it for several hours or more, you may need to set it out for about 20 minutes to soften first. Fork through it to get a slushy consistency and serve in small glasses, bowls or ramekins with a fresh strawberry on top if preferred.

Chic Egg Storage

Anthropologie Creamerie Egg Caddy
Who wouldn't love baking or whipping up a bit of breakfast if the eggs were stored in this gorgeous egg caddy from Anthropologie? In addition to storing fresh eggs in this, I'd also pull it out occasionally for displaying boiled eggs on the breakfast table… 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Cocktails & Sharing Plates at No. 32 The Old Town in Clapham


Situated just off Clapham Common, No 32 The Old Town is a sweet little spot serving up drinks and food in a hip, rustic setting with plenty of outdoor seating. Boasting both ground level outside tables and a roof deck, No 32 is the place to be on a sunny day. Unfortunately for my visit, the order of the day was soggy, disgusting rain so I didn't get to sit outside, but the inside is lovely and nicely buzzy, just as you'd expect a hip Clapham bar & restaurant to be.


No 32 The Old Town is the sister restaurant to No 11 Pimilico Road which I visited earlier this summer. They have a few things in common, mainly the menu and the masterminds behind it. The vibes are at once similar and different, with each restaurant reflecting its location in a way that seems appropriate and intriguing. Fondly enough, the menus have changed a bit since my visit to No 11 Pimlico Road and I was excited to try out the new dishes and cocktails!


We started with a Raspberry Vieux Carré, a fruity Rye based cocktail and a Chilli Mango Margarita which features a house-made chilli salt around the rim. Both cocktails were delicious!



When it comes to food, I love what No 32 & No 11 are doing - it's reasonably priced, fairly casual, interesting food that you could nibble on all evening. We started with the chicken skewers which were so tender and delicious! Perfectly cooked chicken with a tangy lemon yoghurt sauce on a bed of vegetables & flatbread… Yum!


Also exceptional were the Smoked Haddock & Spinach Fish Cakes with Warm Cheddar Sauce. Crispy on the outside, soft and flavorful on the inside, these little nuggets took my breath away! 


Along the same lines, we also ordered the Ginger Chicken Cakes. I expected these to be really strongly flavored with things like ginger, soy sauce, etc. and have a really intrusive flavor, but they didn't. There was a perfect balance and they're a little addictive!

 

Crisp on the outside, tender on the inside, these are like grown-up chicken nuggets! Nom nom nom… 


The Beef Carpaccio was our least favorite dish and while we loved every single other thing we ordered at No. 32 The Old Town, the Beef Carpaccio just couldn't compete with the other small plates we ordered.  


For round two, we laughed in the face of the miserable rain and ordered the two sunniest drinks on the menu - the Fruit Cup which is similar to a Pimm's style cocktail and the Pineapple & Sage Mojito. Both were fruity and delicious! 


After trying all four, I think it's safe to say my favorite is the Chilli Mango Margarita and I'd definitely recommend making a trip to either No. 32 The Old Town in Clapham or No. 11 Pimlico Road in Belgravia to try it - it's a special cocktail and it might not be on the menu forever!


I'm not a big fan of cheesecake, which I know is weird, but when our server suggested we try the Crumble Cheesecake which he described as deconstructed I just couldn't resist. 


It certainly is deconstructed and the Crumble Cheesecake is one of the nicest desserts I've tasted recently. A sort of crispy, granola type crumple with bits of berries in it is scattered all about the dish with a plop of cheesecake on top and a garnish of fresh berries. It's a beautiful dessert to look at and and incredibly tasty to eat!


I'd definitely recommend drinks and/or food at No. 32 The Old Town if you ever find yourself down Clapham way. The staff is friendly, the atmosphere is relaxed and you simply can't beat the cocktails! For more information or to book reservations, visit www.no32theoldtown.co.uk

Glamorous Gold at Home

H&M Chevron Candle
H&M Candle
I am really excited about gold metallic accents for the home this Autumn… There's something so lush about a little touch of gold that really adds a touch of glam and makes being at home feel like an occasion. Plop this chic candle on the dinner table for an added bit of zhush at mealtimes or simply display it somewhere where everyone will see it… It's only £7.99 at H&M, but nobody needs to know that! 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Gingham Gear

Poketo French Tart Server
Whether you fancy quiche, pies or tarts, a server is a kitchen necessity… These gingham tart servers have my heart! 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Chorizo, Edamame & Halloumi Salad With a Fried Egg on Top


This is not really a salad in the traditional sense, but it is a mish mash of different things thrown together and it's a rather tasty lunch if you ask me. I love having this dish all to myself, but if you like, you can either multiply the ingredients or simply split it in half and add another fried egg. 


Ingredients
100g frozen shelled edamame (soya beans)
100g cooking chorizo, chopped into bite sized half moons
100g halloumi cheese, cubed
Zest & juice of 1 lemon
1 banana shallot, finely chopped
3 tablespoons regular olive oil
1 teaspoon grainy mustard
1 large egg
Sea salt flakes & freshly ground black pepper


Method
1. Cook the soya beans in boiling water according to packet directions, usually 3 minutes or so. Strain and set aside.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large, non-stick frying pan and cook the shallots for about 5 minutes or so until tender and starting to color ever-so-slightly before stirring in the lemon zest.

3. Add the chorizo and cook for another 8 minutes or until it starts to bronze. Add the halloumi cheese cubes and cook for a further 3 minutes.

4. Toss in the soya beans and cook for another minute or two, pouring in the lemon juice for the last minute. Salt and pepper to taste, being careful not to salt too much as the halloumi cheese is usually quite salty. Keep warm.

5. In a separate frying pan, heat the other two tablespoons of olive oil and fry the egg.

6. To serve, spoon the bean mixture onto a plate or shallow bowl and slide the fried egg on top. Sprinkle the egg with a few grinds of fresh black pepper and eat hot.

Keeping Family Recipes

Ivy + Anchor Personalized Recipe Cards & Recipe Box in Buffalo Check
Beloved recipes are something of a keepsake and should be organized in a way that they can be useful to you time and again. Whether they're old family favorites or new dishes you pick up along the way, building a repertoire of the foods you make for your friends and family time and again is not only fun, but also a great way to keep you sane. No more rushing around desperately trying to find something to make for dinner or potluck dinners… You'll always have your favorites to call on when unexpected visitors call, you need to whip up dinner for the family or you need something to make for the kids' bake sale at school. What could be more special than keeping your best recipes on personalized cards in a personalized box? Consider it an heirloom… Some day you may pass this box on to your son or daughter to keep the recipes in the family and they'll think of you every time they cook from it.