Monday, September 15, 2014

Canyon Ranch Elasticity Body Balm

Elasticity Body Balm ℅ Canyon Ranch  - $42

Finding a body moisturizer that isn't too greasy or too fragrant can be difficult. While I love a great smelling body lotion for a lot of occasions, sometimes I want something that doesn't interfere with my perfume. Right now, I'm completely in love with Canyon Ranch Elasticity Body Balm. It's not full of colors or overpowering fragrance, it goes on smooth, it's not at all greasy and it provides moisture, something we will all need a bit more of as the temperatures drop this Autumn.

Containing shea butter, camellia, borage, almond and sunflower oils as well as ceramides, Elasticity Body Balm sinks into the skin, leaves it soft, retains maximum moisture and minimizes water loss. I've been using this product all over my body and I've seen a noticeable different in the moisture of my skin all over, particularly on my knees, elbows and chest.

Canyon Ranch Elasticity Body Balm is $42 and available online via Canyon Ranch.

Daily Style September 15, 2014 - Autumn Colors

Friday, September 12, 2014

Gorgeous Autumn Stationery by Rifle Paper Co.


I recently discovered Rifle Paper Co. and basically fell in love with everything they sell, particularly the selection of Fall and Thanksgiving appropriate wares that are perfect for Autumn parties. One of my favorite things about Fall in the USA is the decorating that ensues, especially across well-kept homes in the south. Summer flowers are replaced with colorful leaves, gourds, pumpkins and scarecrows… It's the homey welcome of a new season and the pre-curser of a Christmas soon to come.

Since moving to London where there's no Thanksgiving holiday, I've missed the traditional Autumn decorations, festivals and traditions. Though I've celebrated Thanksgiving every year since moving here in some form or another, I am aiming to do better with the other exciting traditions. this year and I might just start with a few sets of place cards from Rifle Paper Co. for my upcoming dinner parties!

All of the items pictured above are available online via Rifle Paper Co. Greeting cards are $4.50 for 1 or $16 for a box of 8. Place cards are double-sided $7 for a pack of 8.

Daily Style September 12, 2014 - Dress Envy

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Strozzapreti With Peas & Pancetta Cream Sauce


This recipe is inspired by, or shall I say the result of, a few different situations. Firstly, I learned not too long ago that some pasta is shaped the way it is for specific reasons. For example, pasta shells have a cavity that holds juices or sauce differently than a spaghetti. I came across this strozzapreti in a local Italian deli and thought with it's twisty slits that it would be perfect for hoarding a delicious creamy sauce. If you can't find strozzapreti easily where you live, don't worry… You could equally use penne, rotini or my other favorite for this dish, farfalle aka bow tie pasta. It's just as delicious with other pasta shapes, but when I saw the unique strozzapreti in its pretty package with its different shape, I just couldn't resist it. It's also interesting to know that according to Wikipedia, strozzapreti is Italian for priests choker or priests strangler. 

Aside from finding a fun new pasta to try, this also stems from a few other dishes I've recently enjoyed. A new Italian restaurant in my neighborhood serves a Tagliatelle with Peas & Pancetta dish that I had once and absolutely loved. Sadly, I've been back to that restaurant several times and it hasn't reappeared on the menu since that first encounter - this is a place that changes its menu like the weather - and I've craved it ever since. Recreating something similar to this dish has become a bit of an obsession for me. Additionally, I fell in love with all of the recipes featuring my new favorite combo of peas and pancetta in Nigellissima by Nigella Lawson. This recipe is what I like to think of the perfect marriage of both with a new twist and it's becoming my favorite thing to cook for either lunch or dinner!

You don't need much to be able to make this dish, although I will say that a shallow Le Creuset casserole is perfect for cooking the sauce. However, if you don't own a Le Creuset casserole, not to worry… A non-stick frying pan or wok with a lid will work just fine. As a last resort, you could even make do with a large, non-stick saucepan with a lid… Additionally, it may seem odd or wasteful to use lemon zest, but no lemon juice, however this is what gives it a slightly lemony taste without being sour. As they say, "waste not, want not" so I usually juice the lemon anyway and keep the juice in the fridge for pouring over smoked salmon at breakfast in the morning or using for other recipes later in the week. Finally, if you can't find garlic oil, just substitute regular olive oil, not extra-virgin. 

The recipe below serves 1 hungry person as a meal or two people as a side dish because I make this most often as lunch for just myself, however to make it for more people, just multiply the ingredients.

 

Ingredients
100g strozzapreti (or other short pasta of your choice)
125g pancetta
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup frozen Petit Pois or other sweet peas
100ml double cream
2 to 3 tablespoons garlic oil (or regular olive oil)
3 tablespoons grated parmesan
3 tablespoons white Vermouth or other white wine (white cooking wine works too)
Salt to taste, plus more for the pasta water
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
Drop of olive oil for pasta water

Method
1. Put water for pasta on to boil with plenty of salt and a drop of regular olive oil. When the water comes to a boil, cook the pasta according to instructions on the packet, but be sure to check it a few minutes before it's meant to be done to get the consistency you prefer. Before straining the pasta, reserve a cup of the cooking water and set aside for later.

2. Heat the garlic oil in a shallow, heavy based pan or casserole with a lid on medium low. When the oil is hot, add the lemon zest and give a stir. 

3. Add the pancetta and cook until a dark, crispy bronze color. I may seem strange to cook the pink out of it, but this will create a gravy consistency later and give the pancetta more of a crispy bacon taste.

4. When the pancetta is lovely and brown, stir in the chili flakes first and then the frozen peas. Stir the peas until they aren't coated in the oil and don't look frosty anymore.

5. Stand back as you pour in the Vermouth or white wine. Let it bubbly up nicely as you give it a quick stir, then cover the peas and pancetta with plenty of water. Turn the heat up to high and bring the mixture to a rapid boil. Then reduce the heat to med-low and cover, continuing to cook for about 10 minutes.


6. After 10 minutes, remove the lid and increase the heat to high. Boil until reduced to a light gravy-like substance, stirring occasionally (about another 15 minutes or so). When it's reduced completely, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of the pasta cooking water and stir, continuing to cook on high heat for another 5 minutes or until fully reduced.

7. Reduce the heat to low and pour in the double cream, stirring constantly until the cream combines with the bacony juices in the pan and coats all of the peas and pancetta.

8. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and keep stirring until all of the mixture is combined and remove from heat immediately.

9. Either in the pan, or if you're making a larger quantity, transfer to a warm bowl, toss the pasta in the sauce until all is coated. If the mixture is too dry, add some more of the pasta cooking water a little at a time (about a teaspoon) until it's wet enough to cover each piece of pasta.

10. Salt and pepper to taste and if you like, garnish with a little chopped fresh mint, parsley or both.


Have you ever cooked with strozzapreti before? I'd love to know what sauce you serve with this unique pasta shape!

Daily Style September 11, 2014 - Sport Luxe

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Bacon & Cheese Frittata


When I was a kid, I absolutely loved omelets and my mom made them for us as a special treat occasionally. Ham and cheese was always my favorite! As I've gotten older, I still love an omelet, but I prefer other egg dishes such as quiche. I like to think of a frittata as quiche and omelet had a baby and it's now one of my favorite things to make when there's not a lot of time or energy. It's great for breakfast, lunch or dinner and it's also very nice as cold leftovers!


I made this Bacon & Cheese Frittata one night because I had some bacon that I couldn't figure out how to use. I am constantly making recipes that only call for 2 slices of bacon and I hate throwing out the rest, so this was a good way to incorporate the leftovers into a lovely dinner.

You'll need a skillet or frying pan that can be used both stovetop and in the oven. I love the cast iron Le Creuset Skillet for this dish. Also, I should point out that I've made this dish twice and on both occasions I used different bacon. Any bacon will work, including maple flavored or smoked, each offering a distinctly different but delicious flavor!


Ingredients
6 eggs
At least 4 slices streaky bacon (or any bacon) or as much as you have on hand
Sea salt flakes
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups grated Gruyère cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter


Method
  1. Pre-heat the broiler or grill on high.
  2. In a non-stick skillet, cook the bacon until crispy. Once done, remove to paper towels and pat to remove the excess oil.
  3. Chop or cut the bacon into bite size pieces and set aside. (I like to snip it with scissors - it makes it easier to do while it's still hot.)
  4. In a bowl, beat the eggs, cheese, salt, pepper and bacon with a fork or a wire whisk until they're mixed well and set aside.
  5. In an oven-appropriate skillet, met the butter over medium heat. When it starts to froth, pour in the eggs and turn down the heat to low.
  6. Leave the eggs  too cook for about 15 minutes or until the bottom is set. They will still be a bit runny on top.
  7. Take the eggs off the burner and place under the grill for 2 to 3 minutes until they are set, but not brown on top.
  8. Slide a rubber spatula under the frittata to remove it from the pan and slide it onto a warm serving platter or plate. 
  9. Slice, serve and enjoy!



Daily Style September 8, 2014 - Sweatshirt or Sweater?

Friday, September 5, 2014

Nigellissima by Nigella Lawson

Nigellissima by Nigella Lawson

Okay, so it's another review of a cookbook by Nigella Lawson - this makes 3 - but I'm serious when I say that I can't get enough of her books! No, I'm not working for her and no one has asked me to do this - I'm a serious fan girl and as far as I'm concerned, the proof is literally in the pudding! I've only read 3 so far, but I must admit that after a recent shopping trip, I own them all now. I look forward to plunging face first into the next one and the one after that and the one after that…. What I love about Nigella's books is that they're easy to follow, enthusiastic about food and her food style suits me. What I mean by that is that there are times when I pick up a cookbook and there's nothing in it that I really want to eat, but when I pick up a book by Nigella Lawson, I pretty much want to eat most of it, sometimes even stuff I'd never eat in a million years - that's pretty good for a picky eater such as myself, but it's no doubt a tribute to her enthusiasm for cooking, tastes and the preparation of delicious food.

Italian Roast Potatoes, page 225

Spaghettini With Lemon & Garlic Breadcrumbs, page 21

Spaghetti With Spaghetti Spice, page 235

Nigellissima is different than the other books I've read by Lawson so far, Kitchen and Nigella Express. It has its own personality so to speak. I suppose it should be described as a guide to cooking like an Italian in an English kitchen - I guess you could say it's fusion.

Curly Edged Pasta With Lamb Ragù, page 9
As a young lady, Nigella Lawson spent time working in Italy and it seems to have inspired her greatly. I love the way a place and a feeling you get while you're in that place can work its way into your personality and help to shape the way the rest of your life will be. It seems Italy and its food had this effect on Nigella Lawson and thank goodness for that because the recipes in Nigellissima are nothing short of incredible. I've cooked at least half of these recipes if not more with each and every one turning out to be more delicious than the last. If I'm being truthful, there were a couple of recipes I didn't really like - they were completely edible, but just not my cup of tea. I haven't made a single dish that was thrown out from this book - the selection of recipes is that good!

Spaghetti Spice, page 235
Shortcut Sausage Meatballs, page 75


Several of the recipes in Nigellissima have been inspired by an experience or another recipe and learning about those stories is fascinating, especially if you're reading it right before you eat it. Adding in Anglo influences, Nigella has created tastes and flavors than showcase her reverence for Italy's culture, cuisine and traditions, while also reflecting her British heritage in a way that makes these recipes more accessible for all of us cooking in UK kitchens.

Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake, page 175
Cappuccino Pavlova, page 249
I love this book! It's a fast favorite and mostly because the food is so incredibly good and easy to prepare. The desserts alone are lifesavers and I take great pleasure in sharing that on three occasions I made desserts from Nigellissima and every single guest at all three dinner parties had seconds if not more. I have never seen such dessert devouring in my life until I saw it three times in three weeks, but I'm not judging - it was a happy sight to behold. On each occasion I was practically screaming Nigella's name in praise for making me look good in front of fiends and colleagues - I wonder if her ears were itching? Should you choose to purchase this book, and I would suggest that you do, don't underestimate the power of the Cappuccino Pavlova or the Chocolate Olive Oil Cake - they are pure stars and fondly enough, both are gluten free! Also, if you're not a fan of lamb, I urge you to try the Lamb Ragù on page 9 - it made a lamb lover out of me and I'm now eating lamb at least once a week after years of hating it! For more information on Nigellissima or Nigella Lawson, visit nigella.com.

All photos and food preparation above by Ashley Turner.