Archive for September, 2013

Apple & Pecan Pie Take a Back Seat…

  • 29th September 2013

This week we’ve tried a few different desserts and most of them did not make the cut.  This moist bundt cake from Martha Stewart Living, however is an ideal recipe for the upcoming season combining all the goodness of pecan and apple pie in one shot.

 

Apple Walnut Bundt Cake

Ready to eat

 

Similar to your favorite pecan pie recipe, it deftly combines nuts and brown sugar all the while mirroring the tartness of the best apple pies.  Nutmeg and ground cinnamon add depth.

 

Using the best quality apple cider you can find, will make the cake a real showstopper.

 

 

Apple Walnut Bundt Cake

Cake glazed and ready to serve.

 

 

 

An apple-cider glaze and caramelized apples in the batter, set this cake apart,”  Martha Stewart Living

 

Ingredients:

 

For the caramelized apples:

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon water

3 tart green apples, such as Granny Smith, cored, peeled, and cut into 1-inch chunks

 

For the cake:

 

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Coarse salt

1 3/4 cups packed light-brown sugar

3 large eggs

1/2 cup whole milk

3/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts

 

 

For the glaze:

 

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

3 tablespoons best-quality, apple cider

 

 

Apples and brown sugar

Apples and brown sugar

Apples caramelizing

Apples caramelizing

 

 

Preparation:

 

Make the caramelized apples: Cook granulated sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, without stirring, until sugar caramelizes, about 4 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Stir in apples. Cook, covered, until softened, about 6 minutes. Slightly mash apples with a fork until broken down but still chunky. Continue to cook, uncovered, stirring, until liquid evaporates, about 5 minutes. Let cool completely.

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

 

Make the cake: Butter a 10-inch Bundt pan. Dust with flour, tapping out excess. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and 1 teaspoon salt into a medium bowl.  Beat butter and brown sugar with a mixer on high speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time. Reduce speed to low, and add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk, beginning and ending with flour. Mix in caramelized apples and the walnuts.

 

 

Batter ready for the walnuts and apples.

Batter ready for the walnuts and apples.

 

 

 

Once you've added the apples and walnuts it gets messy.  Don't worry if the batter does not look smooth.

Once you’ve added the apples and walnuts it gets messy. Don’t worry if the batter does not look smooth.

 

 

Transfer batter to pan. Bake until cake is deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Let cake cool in pan set on a wire rack for 10 minutes (We recommend longer, maybe 30-40 minutes for cooling). Turn out cake onto rack, and let cool completely.

 

 

Cake is ready for glaze.

Cake is ready for glaze.

 

 

 

Cut nice hearty slices for serving.  Similar to apple pie, this cake tastes especially delicious served alongside vanilla, caramel or praline ice-cream.

 

 

 

You can serve the slices re-heated slightly in microwave, then add ice-cream.

You can serve the slices re-heated slightly in microwave, then add ice-cream.

 

 

 

des Plumes

  • 26th September 2013

Do it right and it looks luxuriously elegant….with not a trace of Sesame Street.  Pair feathers with slightly tousled hair and you might have stepped right off the stage at a music festival.

From Chanel’s fall accessory line to eyelashes hitting the fashion runways, feathers are partout!

 

….Some of our favorite ways to fall prey to this look….

 

Naeem Khan channels looks from Gatsby (or maybe it was the reverse?!)

 

Naeem Khan Fall 2013

Naeem Khan Fall 2013, Photo Courtesy of Vogue.fr

Naeem Khan Fall 2013

Naeem Khan Fall 2013, Photo Courtesy of: Vogue.fr

 

 

 

Carey Mulligan as Daisy in the Great Gatsby. Photo Courtesy of:  Google Images

Carey Mulligan as Daisy in the Great Gatsby. Photo Courtesy of: Google Images

 

 

How to do the feather cape:

 

Kate Moss for Topshop Black Feather Cape
Black Feather Cape

Pair it with leather and elegant sheers.  Photo Courtesy of: Vogue.fr

 

 

 

Biba Feather Cape in Black
Biba Feather Cape in White

 

Biba Feather Cape in Black or White, houseoffraser.co.uk,  £ 65.00

 

 

Debenhams Feather Cape
Rare Opulence Feather Cape

 

 

 

Star by Julien Macdonald Black Feather Cape, debenhams.com, £16.50

Rare Opulence Feather Cape, rarelondon.com, £120.00

 

 

Our Favorite Dresses & Skirts:

 

 

Feather Dress Collage

 

 

1.) Jay Ahr Ostrich Feather-Trimmed Jersey Dress, net-a-porter.com, $1560.00

2.) Nanette Lepore Plume Feather-Hem Crepe Dress, neimanmarcus.com, $398.00

3.) Collection Feather Flutter Dress, jcrew.com, $1950.00

4.) Milly Feather Sleeveless Dress, bloomingdales.com, $645.00

 

 

Matthew Williamson Mirror Lace and Feather Dress
Jason Wu Stretch Feather Ostrich Dress

 

 

Matthew Williamson Mirror Feather Dress, matthewwilliamson.com, £3,495.00

Jason Wu Ostrich Feather Dress, farfetch.com, $4950.00

 

Work runway trends into your eye-ensemble!

 

 

Shu Umera Rainbow Feather Eyelashes

 

 

 

Shu Uemura Rainbow Feather Lashes, harrods.com, £34.00

 

 

Bohemian & Dreamy:

 

Sienna Miller in Feather Earrings.

Sienna Miller in Feather Earrings. Photo Courtesy of: Google Images

 

 

 

Aime Parades Earrings
Aime Parades Earrings

 

 

Aime Parades Earrings, modewalk.com, $161.00

 

 

Feather Earring Collage

 

 

5.) Daytrip Feather Earring, buckle.com, $5.36

6.) Nadia Earrings by ToniMay, thegrandsocial.com.au, $89.00

7.) Evocateur Peacock Feather Earrings, ahalife.com, $168.00

8.) House of Cach Italian Horn Feather Earrings, maxandchloe.com, $65.00

 

 

Elegant & Classic:

 

Thomas Sabo Feather Wing Earrings

 

 

Thomas Sabo Feather Wing Earrings, harrods.com, £109.00

 

 

 

 

Jason Wu Ostrich Feather Top Vogue Russia

Ostrich Feather Top by Jason Wu: Photo Courtesy of Vogue Russia

 

 

 

Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Russia

Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Russia

 

 

Mixing rose gold, black & feathers this shoe it truly ethereal…

 

The Carlton Shoe Kate Spade

 

 

The Carlton, katespade.com, $598.00

Gulai Terung Dengan Daging (Beef & Eggplant Curry)

  • 20th September 2013

This Indonesian curry comes to us by way of the Around the World Cookbook and is aromatic with a lovely lemon grass flavor.

Like most curries it tastes even better the next day as the flavors sit and meld together.  The long, slow cooking time ensures the softest pieces of meat and the coconut milk brings true depth and offsets any heat.

 

Beef and Eggplant Curry

Beef and Eggplant Curry. Photo Courtesy of: The Around the World Cookbook

 

 

 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup sunflower, vegetable or canola oil

2 onions thinly sliced

1 inch fresh ginger root, sliced, and cut in matchsticks

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 fresh red chilies, seeded and finely sliced

1 inch fresh turmeric peeled and crushed, or 1 teaspoon ground turmeric powder

1 lemon grass stem, lower part finely sliced (top part reserved)

1 1/2 pounds good quality steak, cut in even slices

14 ounces of coconut milk

1 1/4 cup water

1 eggplant, sliced and patted dry (when picking up eggplant look for shiny skin, no bruises, and light weight)

1 teaspoon tamarind pulp, soaked in 4 tablespoons warm water

Deep-fried onion garnish

Ground salt and pepper

 

 

Brown the meat with the lemongrass, garlic, onions and turmeric

Brown the meat with the lemongrass, garlic, onions and turmeric.

 

 

Heat half of the oil and sautée the onions, ginger and garlic until they give off a rich aroma.  Add the chilies, turmeric, and the lower part of the lemon grass.  Push to one side and then turn up the heat and add the steak, stirring until the meat is browned.

 

Add the coconut milk, water, lemon grass top and salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and simmer gently for 1 1/2 hours, or until the meat is very tender.

 

 

Add the rich coconut milk, and remaining lemongrass stalk and cook until the meat is super tender.

Add the rich coconut milk, and remaining lemon grass stalk and cook until the meat is super tender.

 

 

Towards the end of the cooking time heat the remaining oil in a frying pan and fry the eggplant slices until they are brown on both sides.

 

 

 

Fry the thinly sliced eggplant.

Fry the thinly sliced eggplant.

 

 

Add the browned eggplant slices to the beef curry and cook for another 15 minutes.  Stir gently from time to time.  Strain the tamarind and stir the juice into the curry.  Taste and adjust the seasoning.  Serve with basmati rice and garnish (if desired) with deep-fried onions.

 

 

 

Delicious, rich, tender and ready to serve with rice.

Delicious, rich, tender and ready to serve with rice.

Cape Crusades

  • 18th September 2013

You do not need to be a superhero to don a cape this fall!  The best part is, that like their superhuman counterparts, the cape has many iterations in the form of a dress, coat, blazer, top, even jumpsuit!

 

Bluemarine Vogue Japan

Bluemarine Vogue Japan

Balenciaga, Vogue Collections Paris

Balenciaga, Vogue Collections Paris

 

 

Derek Lam Vogue Collections Paris

Derek Lam Vogue Collections Paris

Burberry, Vogue

Burberry, Vogue

 

 

We take a peek at the most divine in all price ranges from the extraordinary to the more down-to-earth.

 

The Cape Top:

 

 

Dior Cape Top, Saks Fifth Avenue
J Brand Cape Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dior Cape Top, select Saks Fifth Avenue stores, $2700.00

J Brand Ready-to-Wear Cowley Crepe Top, nordstrom.com, $395.00 (available on pre-order)

 

 

 

Levi Cape Shirt

 

 

Levi’s Cape Shirt, levi.com, $78.00

 

 

The Cape Dress:

 

St. John Cape Dress Saks Fifth Avenue
Yes Clothing Cape Dress

 

 

 

 

 

 

St. John Cape Dress, Available at select Saks Fifth Avenue stores

Inset Cape Two-Tone Dress, yesstyle.com, $122.00

 

 

Bohemian:

 

anthropologie cape

 

 

Alpine Paisley Cape, anthropologie.com, $168.00

 

 

Uber Sleek:

 

Victoria Beckham Blazer Style Cape
Diane von Furstenberg Cape Sleeve Jumpsuit

 

 

 

 

Blazer-Style Cape, Victoria Beckham, mytheresa.com, € 2,275.00

Diane von Furstenberg Lucy Crepe, Cape Sleeve Jumpsuit, bergdorfgoodman.com, $425.00

 

 

 

 

Carey Mulligan looks sharp in Victoria Beckham's Cape Suit.

Carey Mulligan looks sharp in Victoria Beckham’s Cape Suit.

 

 

Structured-Boxy:

 

Marni Glenn Check Cape
Moschino Cape

 

 

 

 

 

Marni Glen Check Cape, barneys.com, $1535.00

Moschino Cape, yoox.com, $515.00

 

Military:

 

La Fiorentina Military Cape
Aran Knit Cape with Leather Buckles

 

 

 

La Fiorentina Military Cape, nordstrom.com, $78.00

Aran Knit Cape with Turtleneck and Leather Buckles, massimodutti.com, $135.00

 

 

 

Wearing Coats as Capes:

 

The how-to for a nonchalant, chic (because it’s just so easy) look!

 

Coats as Capes

Photo Courtesy of Vogue UK

 

 

 

Vintage Chic Look:

 

Cape and beret combination.  Photo courtesy of: Vogue Russia

Cape and beret combination. Photo courtesy of: Vogue Russia

 

 

 

 

 

Fresh Fig & Nectarine Vinaigrette

  • 7th September 2013

As summer closes and fresh figs, peaches and nectarines flood farmer’s markets, this vinaigrette is the perfect way to celebrate their flavors.  It will last in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks and can be used on sandwiches, salads, to marinate meats and for the perfect savory appetizer, as we have done below.

 

 

Nectarine & fig spread on melba toasts with brie cheese and black forest ham.

Nectarine & fig spread on melba toasts with brie cheese, black forest ham and pomegranate seeds.

 

 

Ingredients:

5 fresh black figs (flesh scooped out)

1 nectarine cut into quarters (flesh scooped out)

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (best quality)

1/4 cup olive oil (best quality)

1/4 tbs rice wine vinegar

1/8 tbs soy sauce

4 cloves of garlic quartered

Salt & Pepper

 

 

Fig and Nectarine Vinaigrette ready to blend.

Ready to blend

 

 

Blend and enjoy.  (You can modify the thickness by varying the amount of olive oil).

 

 

Fig & Nectarine Vinaigrette blended.

Blending is a cinch

 

 

For the toasts:

 

Spread a dollop of the vinaigrette on melba toasts.

 

Melba Toasts

Melba toasts available at Surfas in Los Angeles.

Nectarine & Fig spread on toasts

Nectarine & Fig spread on toasts

 

 

 

Add hand-torn black forest ham, sharp good quality brie cheese, 3-4 pomegranate seeds for extra tang, generous salt & pepper.

 

Mini savory toasts.

These mini savory toasts are loved by all.

 

 

 

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Scotland’s Seductive Summons—Part Deux

  • 1st September 2013

In the Chanel Pre-Fall collection (pieces are in boutiques now and selling-out rapidly) Lagerfeld took the medieval ornamental ‘sporran’ and transformed it into a gorgeous line of purses and minaudieres.  We’ll highlight those today, alongside another beautiful and famous transformation, that of Inverlochy Castle into a renowned destination hotel.

 

The Sporran as a handbag:

Typically made of leather or fur, often with feather ornamentation, the sporran is a traditional part of male highland dress and functions as a pocket, for the pocketless kilt.

 

Traditional Sporran

Traditional Sporran. Photo Courtesy of: Wikipedia

 

 

Below it is gloriously adapted per Chanel, even for those not Highland-bound:

 

Chanel Pre-Fall Collection Sporran-style purse.

Chanel Pre-Fall Collection Sporran-style purse. Photo Courtesy of: Bragmybag.com

 

 

Photo Courtesy of Lachanelphile.com

Photo Courtesy of Lachanelphile.com

 

 

A few more favorite handbags from the collection include:

 

Beautifully embellished tartan minaudieres.

Beautifully embellished tartan minaudieres.

 

 

 

Photo Courtesy of: Citizenoffashion.com

Photo Courtesy of: Citizenoffashion.com

 

 

 

Luxurious velvet clutch-bag

Luxurious velvet clutch-bag

 

 

 

Velvet clutch bag on the runway.

Velvet clutch bag on the runway.

 

 

 

The luxurious tartans and tweeds, pearl embellishments and delicate feathers from the Edinburgh Pre Fall collection could not be more perfectly suited to the impeccably resplendent grounds of Inverlochy Castle Hotel.

 

The drive up to Inverlochy

The drive up to Inverlochy.

 

 

Just a four hour drive (through the Scottish countryside) from Edinburgh, Inverlochy Castle Hotel is a 19th century-baronial mansion located near the town of Fort William.

 

 

The front of Inverlochy as seen from the rolling grounds.

The front of Inverlochy as seen from the rolling grounds.

 

 

It was built in 1863 and retains all of the elegance the time-period afforded.

 

 

The perfect room to take tea.

The perfect room to take tea.

 

 

The main reception room features live music in the evening.

The main reception room features live music in the evening.

 

 

Invelochy Castle Hotel Main Reception

 

 

 

Queen Victoria spent a week at Inverlochy in 1873 remarking, “I never saw a lovelier, more romantic spot.”  The Queen’s suite allows you to share in her wonderment.

 

Dress for dinner, but sorry there are no Lady's Maids.

Dress for dinner, but sorry there are no Lady’s Maids.

 

 

The mansion has been a hotel since 1969 and in 2006 Inverlochy Castle Hotel was voted, “Best Hotel in Europe”  by Travel + Leisure magazine.  Much of its fame is due to its renowned cuisine.

 

Adult breakfast

Adult breakfast

 

 

 

Traditional 'Egg & Soldiers' for children

Traditional ‘Egg & Soldiers’ for children.

 

 

Cap off dinner with an amazingly fresh cheese course.

Cap off dinner with an amazingly fresh cheese course.

 

 

True that some of the best game hunting and sport fishing is just steps away, but even a walk through the rolling grounds or a canoe-ride across the lake is activity enough.

 

 

Stop for a game of chess before ambling down a pathway into greenery.

Stop for a game of chess before ambling down a pathway into greenery.

 

 

Walking paths surround the castle.

Walking paths surround the castle.

 

 

The greenery is only broken by wildflowers and small lakes.

The greenery is only broken by wildflowers and small lakes.

 

 

 

 

Velvety Foxglove pops up everywhere.

Velvety Foxglove pops up everywhere.

 

 

 

The grounds behind the castle are equally stunning.

The grounds behind the castle are equally stunning.

 

 

 

All guest rooms enjoy sweeping views.

All guest rooms enjoy sweeping views.

 

 

Inverlochy Castle Hotel

 

 

 

 

 

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