Who am I? Hedonist extraordinaire--lover of all things fine and beautiful. Woman, artist, dreamer, thinker, traveler, truth seeker, soul searcher, Palazzo promoter. And this is my account of life, love, work and travel written with passion and a wicked sense of humor.
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Juicy ripe tomatoes kissed by the sun...Crisp greens tossed and drizzled with oil...Garden vegetables and fresh fish infused with the smoky wood of the grill...The sparkle of Proseco or a blushing Rose refreshingly chilled on ice. What will your summer taste like?
Olives are one of my favorite foods and perfect for so many warm weather recipes. I love its liquid gold goodness simply drizzled over crusty bread with a glass of wine. Tapenades are pretty tasty as well and simple to make to keep on hand. I'm so ready for summer!
Maisons Cote Sud
Three Olive Tapenade
1 cup pitted black olives
1 cup pitted green olives
1 cup pitted kalamata olives
2 cloves garlic, peeled
3 tbs balsamic vinegar
3 tbs olive oil
Combine the olives and garlic in a food processor. Pulse to chop, add balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Process until smooth. Refrigerate overnight if possible, before serving. Serve this yumminess at room temperature with crusty bread or crackers.
I recently read that preparing a meal for another person is an intimate expression of love. But then, we knew that already. Perhaps you have a magical evening of coq au vin and candlelight that you have filed away in the emotional archives. (I really hope you do!) One need only smell the aroma of a favorite childhood dish wafting through the kitchen to bring memories flooding back of mom or a special holiday. A big part of my efforts in cooking have been to provide my children with just such memories. My daughter has gone out a few times with an Italian friend and it wasn't long before the requisite inquiry regarding her cooking skills ensued. Italian men do have their priorities. But I certainly wouldn't out her on my blog! I don't think it by chance that the heart of the home has changed over the years to become a natural extension of the living space replete with furniture meant for hanging out. It is best said by the writer, Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher in her words "When I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and it is all one."
Heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan; add the leeks, potatoes and 1 tsp of salt. Saute for 15 minutes, stirring to prevent from burning. Add the corn, paprika, cayenne pepper, coriander seeds and bay leaves and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the stock, season with salt and pepper to taste, cover and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and cool the soup a little before liquidising half of it. Return the liquidised soup to the pan. Stir in the cream and heat gently before serving. Serve with crusty bread.
Recipe courtesy of British House & Garden (hence the metric measurements)
I was reading the latest issue of Australia Vogue Living and found this deliciously novel concept. Debra Cronin, former London-based hair and makeup artist, returned to Sydney intent on pursuing a new life path. She did not expect to stumble upon a crumbling, historical piece of property and fall in love. After a renovation she describes as Addams Family meets Alice in Wonderland, she teamed up with a chef friend to develop an underground bespoke dining experience called the Bite Club.
Ralph Lauren has always been one of my favorite designers. Not necessarily so much for his clothing or housewares, albeit lovely as they are, but more so for his tremendous ability to create a dream and have us buy into it. I remember visiting his lifestyle boutiques when I was in high school. I loved the ambiance that permeated every thoughtful detail to reflect the world of polo players, weekends in the Hamptons and the smell of old money. Mr. Lauren is a master businessman and has now has set his sights on expanding his empire by introducing his particular brand of Americanism into the European market. And they have graciously accepted the invitation. His forty European stores now do better than their American counterparts. With his newly opened flagship store on the Left Bank of Paris, he has recently added fine jewelry and a restaurant aptly named, Ralph's to his endeavors. Parisians can now shop for the luxury of Lauren while working up an appetite to enjoy American gastronomic classics. If anyone can romanticize fried chicken and hamburgers, it is Ralph Lauren.
Can you truly have a full-blown love affair with a room with which you barely have a relationship? Do weekend trysts and holiday dalliances really count? That just feels like feast or famine. Maybe you can't quite commit because you just have too much on your plate or you've been burned in the past. Or maybe you can't stomach the idea because you think that love is just a half-baked notion. No, love is not for the faint of heart; it is an acquired taste and sometimes we bite off more than we can chew. But here is some food for thought--when was the last time you tried something new to get things cooking or make life spicy? How often do you just eat and run? You probably wonder if it is even possible to have your cake and eat it too? Are you like me and sometimes choose style over substance? Forbidden fruit can be so enticing--but you generally end up having your goose cooked! Ah, but who can resist a pretty face?
One of the best things about fall is the season's comfort food. More than any other time of year, I enjoy breakfast so much more than usual. This granola recipe is simple and easy to prepare and so delicious with warm milk and fruit.
Nutty Honey Granola (Makes 10-12 servings)
6.25 tbsp maple syrup
6.25 tbsp clear honey
4 tbsp sunflower oil
250g (1.6 cups) rolled oats
75g (1/2 cup) roughly chopped almonds
75g (1/2 cup) roughly chopped brazil nuts
50g (1/4 cup) pumpkin seeds
1/2 tsp salt
100g (3/4 cup) golden sultanas
Preheat oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Put maple syrup, honey and oil in small saucepan and warm over a low heat. Put the oats, nuts, seeds and salt in a mixing bowl and stir. Pour in the warmed syrup mixture and mix thoroughly. Line two baking trays with baking parchment. Spread the granola over the trays, making sure it is no deeper than 1/2 inch and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove the trays from the oven and stir the granola from the edges to the center then smooth out again. Return to the oven for 15 to 20 minutes more, until lightly golden. It won't be crunchy (mixture is soft until it cooks). Don't let it get too dark or it will taste bitter. Remove from the oven, leave to cool for 10 minutes then stir in the sultanas. Leave to cool completely, then break into pieces. Store in an airtight container and eat within 1 month. (It's so good I doubt it will last that long!)
Recipe/photo courtesy of British Country Homes & Interiors