Having a Bad Day? Listen To This Song And You’ll Feel So Much Better!

Published November 18, 2014 by fashionfoodandflirts

bruno-mars-uptown-funk-video-2

Dedicated readers of this blog will probably know by now that I’m a true admirer of the God-like über man that is Bruno Mars (Correction: dedicated followers will probably be sick already of all my Bruno adoration!). Although my inner Bruno-fan has been hibernating for these past few months, I think it is about time to unleash that crazy fan once more.

Why?

Because my imaginary lover has just released his collaboration with the brilliant Mark Ronson.

“Uptown Funk” is without a doubt the best song you will have heard in months – nay – years! It’s funky, it’s groovy and with sassy, albeit not particularly deep, lyrics like “uptown funk gon’ give it to ya” and “gotta kiss myself, so pretty” these two wonder boys truly make my ovaries tingle.

Even if you’re not a Bruno or Ronson fan, this song has everything (ev-er-y-thing!) to bring a smile to your face. A smile so ridiculously large, people might start to wonder whether something is wrong with you. (At least that was how people were looking at me when I was grocery shopping a couple of hours ago.)

Seriously, dear readers. If this song doesn’t become a huge/massive/ record-breaking hit, I’m honestly going to move to another planet.Interstellar-style.

Fo realz.

Heartwarming Hodgepodge: Two Wonderfully Jumbled Vegan Dishes

Published November 15, 2014 by fashionfoodandflirts

hodge

I don’t mean to bulldoze you with my culinary brilliance- but damn!- these two dishes were just so unexpectedly delicious that it is simply impossible not to turn into an annoying show-off.

The ingredients I used in these dishes do not seem to belong together on one plate, but for some odd reason – call it being a culinary wizard- they do match together wonderfully. These dishes are a bit like the edible equivalent of going on a Tinder date, where you  start the evening with zero expectations, but then -BOOM!- your date turns out to be really hot so eventually you end up kissing under the lamppost around midnight.

What I’m trying to say is this: these dishes are unexpectedly magical!

Kamut Couscous and Coconut Porridge with Garam Masala-spiced Beetroot and Mint Chermoula

I know. Simply reading this title is just too mind-boggling to comprehend. But let me explain it a bit more into detail, in order for you to understand its utter yumminess. Hearty Kamut couscous simmered in delicate coconut milk to create a heavenly savory porridge. This comforting porridge is served with beetroot and apple, subtly spiced with garam masala and lime. And this whole dish is finished with a generous serving of fragrant mint chermoula.

kamut

Ingredients (serves 1):

For the porridge:

  • 80gr kamut couscous
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • ½ tsp nigella seeds
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp chili flakes

For the beetroot and apple:

  • ½ apple, diced
  • 2 beetroots, peeled and diced
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • Juice of half a lime

For the mint chermoula:

  • Half a clove of garlic
  • 1 shallot
  • Lots of fresh mint
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander seeds
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Olive oil

Method:

  1. Make the chermoula by mixing all the ingredients together in a blender until you get a pesto-like consistency and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Blanche the beetroot in a pan, drain and put together in a bowl with the apple, the spices, salt and pepper and lime.
  3. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a small pan. Add the mustard seeds, nigella seeds and chili. Fry for a minute until fragrant. Pour in the couscous. Stir and pour the coconut milk over the top. Add 100ml of water as well. Bring to a gentle simmer and let the couscous absorb the moisture. Season with salt. The couscous should have a “porridgy” consistency, so if it gets to dry, add some more coconut milk.
  4. Serve the coucous and coconut porridge with the spiced beetroot and apple mix and drizzle the chermoula over the top.

Saffron and Harissa Soup with Bulgur, Kale and Jerusalem Artichokes

This is a healthy one-pot wonder! The kale and Jerusalem artichokes give this soup a very autumn-y feel, the bulgur makes it extra comforting and the aromatic fragrance of the saffron and the spiciness of the harissa will fill your heart with a warm and fuzzy feeling.

soup

Ingredients (serves 1):

  • 1 pieces of Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 large kale leaves, thinly sliced
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • Handful of raisins
  • 3 tbsp bulgur wheat
  • ½ tsp harissa
  • ¼ tsp saffron powder
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tbsp honey
  • 400ml vegetable stock
  • Fresh mint (optional)

Method:

  1. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pot and add the kale and Jerusalem artichokes. Let it fry for a couple of minutes.
  2. Add the spices, harissa and raisins and cover with vegetable stock.
  3. Let it simmer for 10 minutes before adding the bulgur and the honey. Let it simmer for another 10 minutes until everything is soft.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes and let is simmer for just a couple more minutes and taste. Season with more salt, pepper or a bit more honey if necessary.
  5. Serve with a sprinkling of fresh mint.

Baking With Booze: The Carrot Cake

Published November 11, 2014 by fashionfoodandflirts

Carrot Cake. It is probably the best cake-y invention ever. Yes, even better than when those two lovely French ladies accidentally dropped their apple tart on the ground and decided to serve it upside down and call it tarte tatin.

I’m absolutely infatuated with the humble carrot cake. Why?

First of all, it is so damn easy to make.

Secondly, it looks pretty (cuz it’s orange, obvs.)

And thirdly, which is the most obvious reason, because it contains carrots.

Although the carrot cake has been a staple dessert in the Anglo-Saxon world since the Second World War, it has only become “fashionable” in tiny Belgium these past few years.

In fact, some –ignorant- people here have still never tasted it (the horror!) or even heard of it (complete and utter terror!) How these people have managed to survive without the wonder of the carrot cake in their lives is honestly beyond my comprehension.

Anyway, so when I was telling my colleagues at work that I had baked a carrot cake for my latest Baking With Booze video and two of my co-workers frowned and asked me whether that meant it was a savory cake, I seriously almost had a heart attack and fell off my chair!

So for once and for all, dear Belgian folk: a carrot cake is a sweet miracle. An edible wonder ful of spices, flavour and a bold and rich attitude.

And no, it doesn’t taste “too carroty” either.

So whether you’re finally willing to take the carrot cake leap of faith, or whether you’re looking for a new and easy version of your classic favourite recipe: this Baking with Booze recipe is it!

It’s super easy.

It doesn’t require much assembling or decoration skills. (phew!)

And it has Madeira wine in it.

I rest my case.

Ingredients:

  • 125gr ground almonds
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 50gr cane sugar
  • 150gr carrots, grated
  • 50gr pecan nuts, chopped + extra for decoration
  • 2 eggs
  • 50gr butter
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • 50 ml Madeira wine

For the the cream cheese frosting:

  • 150gr cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp (or more!) of Madeira wine

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Line a loaf tin with baking parchment.
  2. Put all the ingredients together in a bowl and stir until everything is combined.
  3. Pour the mix into the baking tin and bake in the oven for approx. 45 minutes.
  4. Once the cake has completely cooled, start making your frosting by mixing the ingredients together. Taste whether the frosting is boozy enough.
  5. Spread a generous layer of the frosting on your cake and decorate with pecans.

From Fitness to Fashion: Alexander Wang for H&M

Published November 6, 2014 by fashionfoodandflirts

alexander-wang-x-hm

“Sport Deluxe” has been a trend for quite some time now and although that whole I-just-went-to-the-gym look isn’t exactly my cup of tea (and that’s putting it mildly!), I do find Alexander Wang’s collection for H&M intriguing.

From stretchy leggings to cool crop tops and neoprene sweatshirts: everything looks “workout”-ready. The collection even has a pair of boxing gloves and …a towel!

box

doek

Long story short: Mr. Wang wants us to exercise!

In a fashion world that is dominated by the unspoken message of “starvation”, I think it is utterly brilliant to finally see a designer’s collection that seems to step away from this unhealthy doctrine and embraces the “healthy mind in a healthy body”-theme. Fit is the new skinny, so to speak.

It is a welcome trend this gym-obsessed generation has been waiting for. Even though I won’t be wearing Wang’s clothes to go to work or go shopping (for someone who prefers lipstick, pencil skirts and high heels, there is a limit to dressing casually), that doesn’t mean I will ignore Wang’s collection entirely.

On the contrary, I have already spotted some marvelous items that I am dying to get my hands on. And mark my words: I am positive these glorious fitness outfits will make me the most stylish person at my gym! (Since I will probably never be the numero uno in any other gym-related field, being the gym most fashionable seems like a pretty good consolation prize)

Here are a couple of my favourite sporty items:

to^p

legging

And who knows? I might even dare to wear them outside the gym after all. These cute crop tops and those amazing shoes definitely demonstrate that sporty can indeed by trendy.

cr^op

shoes

An Ode to Aubergine: Two Vibrant Veggie Dishes

Published October 30, 2014 by fashionfoodandflirts

aub

Food cravings. If you’re like me, this devilish food impulse will be something you’re all too familiar with. Food cravings aren’t just reserved for pregnant women with a hormonal soft spot for pickles, but is something we all go through… repeatedly…on a very regular basis. (Yes, even people like healthy food guru and yoga fanatic Gwyneth Paltrow!)

These past couple of years, I have had various food craving episodes. There was that one month last year in which I ate a ridiculous amount of chocolate (even ridiculous for a Belgian citizen, and that says a lot). Last month I had my Indian food obsession and decided to end every meal with an extra bowl of dal. And yes, I even went through a cheese phase, which led to my kitchen smelling of old people’s feet 24/7.

But this week, I am craving something entirely different. And for once, it falls within the “healthy” category. So forget about cheesy crust pizza, dark chocolate and matured Roquefort cheese, this week everything is all about the humble aubergine. (Or as you Americans like to call it: the “eggplant”)

tumblr_inline_n1exyxGy561sv5sg3

Apologies, that word cracks me up every single time.

I know. You’re probably all thinking: Why would one ever become obsessed with aubergines? Sure, they can be pretty good, but do you really want to eat them day in and day out?

Well, dear readers, I do.

And mark my words, after you’ve made these two recipes, I’m sure you’ll be on an aubergine binge fest too.

Exotic Aubergine “cheesecake”

It’s not an omelet. It’s not a soufflé, and no, it’s also not a quiche. It’s a little bit of all these three things and more. It is an easy peasy, hearty cheesecake that mixes soothing cream cheese with salty feta and combines aromatic spices with theflavour-absorbing texture of the aubergine.

DSCN4204

Ingredients:

  • 1 aubergine, cut into chunks
  • 2 eggs
  • 150gr cream cheese
  • 80gr feta cheese
  • 1 tsp za’atar
  • Fresh coriander
  • ½ tsp nigella seeds
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Red chili, finely sliced
  • ½ tsp turmeric

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and fry the aubergine for 5 minutes together with all the spices until everything starts to smell incredibly fragrant.
  2. Transfer the aubergine to an oven-proof dish, sprinkle over the chili pepper and half of the coriander.
  3. Mix together the eggs and cream cheese and season with salt and pepper. Pour the batter of the aubergine mix and crumble the feta cheese over the top.
  4. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until the egg mixture has set, but is still slightly wobbly in the middle. To finish, sprinkle on some extra coriander.

Smothered Sweet and Salty Aubergine with flowering garlic chives and smoked tofu

This dish may not look very dashing, but trust me, this dish is the edible equivalent of an English gentleman. The aubergine is stewed in a combination of sweet and salty flavours and in less than 15 minutes the entire mix turns into an Asian food fiesta. The intensity of the smothered aubergine is balanced with some incredibly pungent flowering garlic chives, coriander and is served with some smoky tofu. Yum!

DSCN4224

Ingredients:

  • 1 aubergine, cut in fine chunks
  • Bunch of flowering garlic chives, finely chopped (flowers included)
  • Lots of fresh coriander
  • 1 tsp miso paste
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey (or a bit more if necessary)
  • ¼ tsp star anise
  • ¼ tsp Chinese five spice
  • ½ tsp sesame oil
  • 100gr smoked tofu

Method:

  1. Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a pan and add the aubergine. Fry for a couple of minutes and season with salt and pepper. Add the miso paste, honey, soy sauce and spices and let everything simmer with a good splash of water until you almost get an aubergine “mash”. Stir in the sesame oil and the chopped flowering garlic chives (you’d be amazed how garlicy this type of chives tastes!) and coriander.
  2. Meanwhile, fry the smoky tofu in a separate pan and serve everything together and sprinkle on some extra chives and coriander.

10 reasons why you need to go and see Miss Julie

Published October 26, 2014 by fashionfoodandflirts

409670.jpg-r_640_600-b_1_D6D6D6-f_jpg-q_x-xxyxx

Sometimes, on very rare occasions, I do absolutely love living in Belgium.

Let me give you a couple of examples:

When another quality chocolate shop opens just a couple of blocks away from my apartment.

When there is a public holiday and I don’t have to go to work.

When it’s Film Fest Ghent.

Now, let me talk to you about that last one. Film Fest Ghent is my hometown’s very own film festival. It might not be as famous as the one in Berlin, and it is definitely not as glamorous as the one in Cannes, but it does have quite a lot of good films to offer.

And one of those films was “Miss Julie” with none other than Irish eye-candy Colin Farrell and my personal style icon Jessica Chastain. This movie, at first glance, may seem like your everyday Jane Austen-inspired tear jerker, but let me tell you: it is nothing of the sort. If I were to describe it, I would rather say it is a mash-up of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Silver Lining’s Playbook, covered in some Pride & Prejudice cling film.

This film is abso-freakingly bonkers!

Needless to say, I loved it. And this is why:

  • Jessica Chastain

Like I said, I adore her. Not only does she demonstrate that you can be a successful Hollywood actress and not be blonde, but more importantly: the woman can act. Really act. Like, lump-in-throat act.

Her performance as Miss Julie is nothing short of stunning. She plays the ultimate spoiled brat, the drama Queen, and her character’s love for drama makes my own theatrical tantrums seem pretty minute, but Jessica is able to give all this intense drama a very human and believable edge. With a part like hers, it is always dangerous to start over-acting, but Miss Chastain knows what she’s doing. And man, it is an absolute joy to watch her.

  • Colin Farrell

The fact that the guy is easy on the eyes is something we have known for a very long time (after all ,we are not blind), but the fact that the guy can act (I mean really act) still surprises me from time to time. He is absolutely brilliant in his role as tormented soul and lover and his Irish accent is just to die for.

  • It’s drama!

You know me. I like a bit of theatre, and this film is drama from beginning till end.

  • These people are f***ing insane!

Both Miss Julie and Jean are bonkers. Schizophrenia, various compulsive disorders, panic attacks, delusional ramblings, you name it.

These people are so crazy, it kinda made me feel good about myself in a weird, slightly superficial way. Because yes,  I may be weird and bizarre from time to time, but at least I don’t go chopping off canaries’ heads. Which leads me to the next point:

  • (spoiler alert!) There is a dead canary!

And it is hilarious! Not because I like to see dead animals, of course not (that would be horrible!), but because it looked so incredibly fake it more resembled a Wallace & Gromit clay puppet than an actual bird.

  • The melancholic “I think I’m about to cry” -musical score

Bring on those tissues!

  • The dialogues!

The chemistry between Farrell and Chastain is undeniable and there are some pretty fab dialogues to prove it. The language-freak in me was on a two-hour high.

jessica-chastain-colin-farrell-miss-julie

  • The monologues!

Applause for Miss Chastain, because that one monologue were Miss Julie absolutely lost it (I mean, even more than her already pretty fucked up usual self) and went totally crazy, was Oscar-worthy. Yes, Oscar-worthy!

  • There is wine!

The movie made me thirsty. That says enough, right?

wine-wednesday-17

  • And last but not least: there’s a cute dog!

Who doesn’t like a cute dog?

Get Out Of My Hair: What Beyoncé’s New Bangs Taught Me About Society

Published October 21, 2014 by fashionfoodandflirts

be hair

I’ve got a question for you, dear readers. What was last week’s most talked about topic? You’re probably thinking  “Ebola” or maybe “ISIS attack on Kobani”.

It does seem rather logical to pick one of these topics, doesn’t it?

Well, dear readers, you are wrong. The most talked about topic was Beyoncé’s new haircut.

And more precisely, the fact that it may be – in some people’s opinion- the worst haircut choice she has ever made.

Beyoncé’s new bangs led to a complete meltdown of the internet and  –more worryingly- the often ruthless comments that soon followed on Twitter went viral and the many insults (or as the Tweeples would call it: “funny remarks”) spread like wildfire. It was the biggest news event of the week, which is ironic since there are probably more troublesome things to worry about, definitely in a context of things going “viral” and “spreading like wildfire”. (Yes, I’m referring to the dramatic toll Ebola has already taken on Western Africa, but hey, you Tweeples were probably too busy tweeting about hair to be concerned about something like that.)

However, apart from the very annoying fact that something as random as Beyoncé’s new haircut was more important than a deadly epidemic, the news about Beyoncé’s bangs also worried me because it showcased how society refuses to let people change.

From the moment someone decides to change their looks, he or she (but in this case –feminist alert!- it’s almost always she) is greeted by other people’s often unwanted opinions. Beyoncé got bangs. So what? If Beyoncé wants to get a new haircut, she can f***ing get a new haircut. No need to go all crazy about it. Beyoncé demonstrated a great sense of fashion. Beyoncé showed balls. Beyoncé was brave. Something many of the people who were dissing her are too regressive and bigoted to ever be.

As you may have guessed from the tone of this post, this is a very personal topic to me. I still remember all the comments –before and after- I decided to cut off all my long hair and go for a pixie cut. I still remember all the remarks when I dyed my hair red.

Seriously. What is their problem? If I want to dye my hair, I will dye my hair. I don’t need your opinion. It is my hair. Mine. Not yours. So stay the hell out of it.

So after seeing Beyoncé being attacked all over the internet last week, I could only think of one thing: Thank God I’m not famous. If even I get judged by people sometimes when I decide to dye my hair in a colour that is not to their liking, I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like if I were famous. Every time I would get a new haircut (which is rather often in my case), the press and the public would be on me like a naked Miley Cyrus on her wrecking ball!

Miley-Cyrus-Cuts-Off-Her-Hair

It is just a sad, sad thing. And unfortunately, Beyoncé wasn’t the first celebrity to get the full “Twitter treatment”. Remember when Miley Cyrus cut her hair? Or when Anne Hathaway dyed hers blonde? Yes, even when Michelle Obama got bangs one week before the inauguration of her husband, there was so much buzz going on all over the internet about her hair and whether or not it suited her, that for a moment her hairdo threatened to outshine the President’s inauguration. So she swiftly tried to tone down the comments by stating that her new bangs might be one of the first signs of her midlife crisis. Has it really come to that? That we have to justify our own hair  choices by blaming it on hormonal imbalances? Seriously, people??? Seriously?

Women, famous or not, constantly get judged by others based on how they look or how they dress. We have become so aware of all the scrutiny that many of us have become afraid to ever change the way they look, even if they really want to. We are afraid to take risks. Not because of how it may turn out, but because of how people will react to you changing. What will they think of me? Will they like the new me?

People who do dare to take the leap and change the way they look, whether that is by cutting or dying their hair or by embracing their own unique sense of style, are often frowned upon. Twitter may seem like a very modern and progressive thing, but when it comes to the people using it, it just goes to show how traditional and change-averse the medium really is.

We should be able to wear whatever we want. We should be able to do with our hair whatever the fuck we want. Your hair, your choice. No matter what all the Tweeples say. Remember: if Beyoncé is brave enough to do it. So are you .

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,853 other followers