Splendid Summer, Splendid Shoes: Preparing for Cannes

Published July 8, 2014 by fashionfoodandflirts

sandal

I am leaving for the glitz and glam of Cannes in a couple of days - *feel free to insert an envious grunt*- and since Cannes is famous for being all classy and glamourous, it is essential that I look great. (Obviously.) So no white socks in crocs for me. (Not that I would ever wear white socks… or crocs… or wear both of them together… I would rather die… but you get my drift)

Instead I’m spending a lot of time these days selecting the most fashionable of holiday wardrobes. Not just funky dresses and chic jumpsuits, but fab day outfits as well that will turn hiking into an ultra-posh event.

And with the right outfit go the right shoes. From comfy but bold to sky high and fabulous, there is one suitable pair for every occasion! Here is a list of all the types of shoes I would ideally like to take with me to Cannes. But since I am neither rich nor famous, I will always suggest a more affordable alternative as well. ;)

1) The thrill of the espadrille

A couple of years ago, these type of flats would have been “not done” in fashionable Cannes, but nowadays the classic espadrille has become so immensely popular that even the rich folk on la Croisette can no longer ban so much cooldom in one shoe.

For the rich and famous:

espadrille stella mccartney

(by Stella McCartney)

For mere mortals:

espadrille lace

espadrille leo

(both from Asos)

2) Extravagant pumps or sandals…

… preferably with some transparent detail.
If you want to ooze confidence, glam and an I-don’t-need-a-sugar-daddy-to-make-me-happy spirit, these are the shoes you need to wear!

For the rich and famous:

louboutin

(by Christian Louboutin, sigh.)

For mere mortals:

asos shoes

(by Asos, hip hip hurray!)

3) As brogue as can be

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year or so, you will have noticed that women suits or hotter than hot. What used to be a solely male garment has now entered a woman’s closet as well and is regarded as the best thing since  the push up bra (or is that just me?) . The same thing can be said for the shoes that usually go with the male suit, because the so-called brogues are my favourite It-shoes. Not only does it look fab under a suit, but it is also a cool option for your summer holiday, because it is comfy and way more original than those boring ballerinas. (yawn!)

For the rich and famous:

brogues louboutin

(Louboutin, again.)

For mere mortals:

brogue

(Asos, again. Thank God for Asos!)

Meet My Inner Magician: Banana and Cardamom Upside-Down Cake

Published July 6, 2014 by fashionfoodandflirts

banana

Admittedly, this is not the most attractive looking cake, but trust me when I say that what it may lack in appearance it totally makes up for in flavour. The great benefit of baking things upside down is that it creates the loveliest and moistest of all cakes. Moreover, successfully flipping the cake once it has come out of the oven (and has cooled) makes you feel like a million dollar magician. In one fell swoop I managed to transform a plain, dull-looking cake into something that looks somewhat außerirdisch exotic. (Eat this David Copperfield! I’d like to see you conjure a delicious banana upside-down cake out of a top hat!)

This exquisite cake has an incredible “banany” flavour. However, while I was assembling the cake, I suddenly realized that I didn’t have enough bananas lying around in my kitchen to fill the entire bottom of the cake tin.

Quel problème.

So I decided to add some sweet melon as well. This added an extra fruity dimension, but given that this cake is called a banana upside-down cake, you don’t need to add the melon, should you decide to bake this one yourself. (and let’s be honest, you would be mad not to give this one a try!)

This is not where our flavour palate ends, dear readers. Because besides the gorgeous banana (and melon), I also added aromatic cardamom seeds and –brace yourself! – gin.

Yes, gin.

It didn’t make the cake taste boozy, but it added some extra herby and aromatic freshness together with the cardamom. (Plus: it’s just really cool to say that I put gin in my cake)

DSCN3982

Ingredients:
• (at least) 3 bananas, sliced
• 1 tsp cardamom seeds
• 4 tbsp gin (I used Bombay sapphire)
• 150gr butter
• 150gr caster sugar, plus two tablespoons extra
• 3 eggs
• 150gr plain flour
• ¾ tsp Baking powder
• ½ tsp Bicarbonate of soda

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Put baking parchment at the bottom of a loose-bottomed cake tin and grease with butter. Sprinkle two tablespoons of caster sugar on the bottom of your tin and layer the banana slices snugly on top of it. Sprinkle some cardamom seeds on top of the bananas (approx. ½ tsp)
2. Make the batter by mixing together the butter and sugar until pale. Mix in the eggs one at a time. Now add the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and the remaining cardamom.
3. Finally stir in the gin and pour the mixture on top of the banana slices.
4. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes and leave to cool completely before flipping the cake upside down.
5. If you want to add an extra caramelized top, sprinkle some extra sugar on top of the cake and put it bake under the grill for a couple of minutes.
6. Tadaa!

DSCN3985

Speedy Suppers: Vegetarian Fast Food

Published July 4, 2014 by fashionfoodandflirts

supper

Now that I’m officially a career woman, I often am far too tired in the evening to spend a lot of time cooking my ass off. So instead I try to make splendid dishes with as little ingredients as possible in as little time as possible.
If you think this cannot be done, think again! Because with the right attitude you can conjure up the most original and healthy vegetarian meal in a heartbeat!
So take note, because you will want to make these dishes time and time again!

 
Barbecue Tofu and Mango Wrap
I still have to meet the first person who doesn’t like barbecue sauce. I mean, what’s not to like: it’s sticky, spicy, smoky and sweet all rolled into one delicious dip! However, most people aren’t as creative as they can be when it comes to this yummy sauce, because they always combine it with meat.
Meat.
Phah!
Bloody carnivores!
This recipe gives a more modern-day, quirky twist to the otherwise classic barbecue-meat combination. Instead of meat I used tofu, and instead of classic I want for bold fusion with a tortilla wrap!
DSCN3969

 

Ingredients (serves 1)

For the tofu:
• 60gr of firm tofu, cut into cubes
• 4 -6 tbsp of your favourite barbecue sauce
For the wrap:
• 2 tortilla corn wrap
• ½ mango, finely sliced
• Fresh coriander
• Variety of finely chopped veg (I used peppers, radishes and lettuce)
Method:
1. Toss the tofu cubes in half of the barbecue sauce. Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a non-stick frying pan and fry the tofu for a couple of minutes. Now stir in the remaining barbecue sauce. This will make the tofu all lovely and sticky. Yum!
2. Assemble the wrap by putting a mix of different vegetables onto your wrap. Now add the tofu and the delicate slices of mango and finish with fresh coriander.

Indian Carrots and Peas with Peanut Curry Sauce
Carrots and peas. Peas and carrots. It is probably one of the most classic combinations here in tiny Belgium. Unfortunately, most of us opt for the traditional version and eat with it –you guessed it!- meat. And potatoes.
How boring.
I decided to try something entirely different and turned these two veggies into an Indian feast with coconut and peanut sauce. This is a dish that may look really strange but is as delicious as Matt Bomer on a red carpet event. (As in: very yummy) Serve with naan bread or steamed rice.

DSCN3977
Ingredients (serves 1):
• 150gr frozen peas
• 6 spring carrots, roughly chopped
• 1 tsp nigella seeds
• ¼ tsp ginger powder
• ¼ tsp chili flakes
• ½ tsp turmeric powder
• 2 tbsp desiccated coconut
For the peanut sauce:
• 2 tbsp coconut milk
• 2 tbsp peanut butter
• 1 tbsp tandoori powder
• ½ tbsp. soy sauce
Method:
1. Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a small pan and add the spices together with the carrots. Sauté for a couple of minutes and then add a good splash of water to make sure the carrots don’t burn.
2. Add the peas and let them cook for a further 5 minutes until everything is all tender and fragrant.
3. Finish with a sprinkling of desiccated coconut and fresh coriander.
4. Meanwhile, make the peanut sauce by mixing all the ingredients together in a bowl.

 
Spiced Bulgur with Strawberries and Mozzarella salad
Remember the strawberry and goat’s cheese pizza I made a couple of weeks ago? Well, I guess it is safe to say that I am getting slightly addicted to the strawberry-cheese-balsamic combination. It is just so God damn intriguing… and delicious. I added some lovely fragrant bulgur wheat for an extra bold touch.

DSCN3991
Ingredients (serves 1):
• 200gr strawberries, sliced
• 150gr mozzarella, sliced
• Balsamic syrup
• 100gr bulgur wheat
• 2 spring onions, finely chopped
• Handful of dried cranberries
• Pinch of chili flakes
• ½ tsp cumin seeds
• ½ tsp fennel seeds

Method:
1. Cook the bulgur according to the instructions on the package. Add a tablespoon of olive oil in a small pan and add all the spices and other ingredients and then add the cooked bulgur.
2. Serve in the middle of the plate and decoratively (or not) layer the mozzarella and strawberries around that delicious pile of bulgur.
3. Finish with some balsamic syrup and freshly ground pepper.

My Newest Hollywood Crush: Oscar Isaac

Published July 1, 2014 by fashionfoodandflirts

Oscar-Isaac

I know what you’re all thinking: “guuuurrlll, can’t you just pick one Hollywood hottie and stick with it?”

It’s a reasonable observation but not one I will actually take into consideration. Because your comment may sound reasonable to all those resilient to Hollywood hotness (seriously, I do not understand those people), but to me (as in: a true connoisseur of Hollywood male charcuterie) your comment equals absolute nonsense!

After all, my blog is called Fashion, Food and Flirts, so would it not be logical to be totally mesmerized by yet another Hollywood hunk when the opportunity presents itself?

Ha!

Try and refute that, grumpy hottie-hater!

And I am glad to announce that indeed one of those opportunities presented itself to me a couple of days ago…

Last week I rented Inside Llewyn Davis. I had already read great things about the film, but had not yet had the possibility to watch it. I was totally excited because our dearest J.T. was in it, but –surprise, surprise!- it wasn’t Mr. Timberlake who stole my heart, but an (at least to me) unknown actor named Oscar Isaac. Not only did he blow me away with his insane acting skills, he was also very intriguing and sexy… very sexy… But in a hushpuppy, homeless dude kinda way.

Oscar Isaac

So yes, I was intrigued.

Two days later I went to see Two Faces of January with my mom, because she wanted to see the movie. Dear mommy has a crush on Viggo Mortensen (one of the lead characters in the film) and wanted me to accompany her, but I initially refused because I honestly really really really hate Kirsten Dunst. However, for some odd reason I decided to change my mind and go with her.

And boy, I did not regret it! Because- call it destiny!- Oscar Isaac was in it! And whereas he looked a disheveled kinda sexy in Inside Llewyn Davis, he now looked drop dead gorgeous, I-need-a-towel-to-mop-up-my-own-drool-because-he-is-so-hot kinda sexy.

oscar

I mean, Oh my.

So after that, I was a fan.

And then, again one day later, I was flipping channels out of boredom and stumbled upon the film Body of Lies from 2008. Although it’s a rather old movie, I hadn’t seen it yet and … guess what?… Oscar Isaac is in it as well!! Admittedly, he dies after 20 minutes, but hey, in those short scenes in which he was alive and kicking he looked really handsome!

So now I am going berserk over Oscar Isaac. He is my new Hollywood chouchou. I hope you will all forgive me this latest outburst of Hollywood insanity. I just can’t help it.

And just so you know, Oscar Isaac will be starring in the film A Most Violent Year – together with none other than Jessica Chastain!- which will come out in theaters this fall , and in Star Wars (!!!)

Yes, I definitely have something to look forward to!

Long live Hollywood Hotness!

And long live Oscar Isaac!

Like Starbucks, Only Better: White Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes

Published June 28, 2014 by fashionfoodandflirts

DSCN3970

Did you ever hear about “the afternoon slump”? When your head feels like a box filled with bubble wrap, your energy level is below zero and when you wish your desk could turn into a mattress and pillow?

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Well, when I am in need of a pick-me-up, I always go to Starbucks for some coffee. One of my favourite beverages from Starbucks is the white chocolate mocha. Strong espresso, comforting white chocolate sauce and soothing steamed milk… could there possibly be anything better than that?

Yes.

Espresso, white chocolate and milk all mixed into one cupcake.

One cupcake!

This cupcake is a true teatime delight and will give you just that caffeine boost you were looking for! So forget about Starbucks! This time you will get your afternoon treat from your own kitchen!

DSCN3972

Ingredients (makes 6 regular or 4 large cupcakes):

  • 2 tbsp coffee granules
  • 100gr white chocolate
  • 75gr Greek yoghurt
  • 50gr soft light brown sugar
  • 150gr plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 90ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line a cupcake tin with cupcake cases.
  2. Mix the sugar and coffee granules together to create a less lumpy mixture. Toss the flour, cinnamon, baking powder into the bowl with the coffee-sugar mixture and mix well until everything is incorporated.
  3. Beat the egg with the milk, yoghurt and vegetable oil together in a jug. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix. Chop up 40gr of white chocolate and stir it in the batter.
  4. Pour the cupcake mix into the cases and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Leave to cool completely. Once cooled, melt the remaining white chocolate in the microwave and drizzle over the cupcakes.

 

These Are A Few of My Favourite Things: Ed Sheeran’s Multiply, Lupita’s Face and Chaotic Lingerie Sales

Published June 26, 2014 by fashionfoodandflirts

things

“Some things are better left unsaid.” It’s a phrase that is often used by wannabe philosophers, big-headed people managers and women obsessed with Adele songs. And although there is some truth to be found in this statement – hell, I definitely don’t want to get in a fight with Adele fans! – I honestly believe that in most cases, the entire notion of keeping quiet is utter bullshit.

Why would you ever want to keep quiet, when you have so many brilliant things to say? Right?

Right???

So in order to illustrate how therapeutic it can be to say what is on your mind, here is a list of my favourite things that happened this week!

 

1)      Ed Sheeran’s X

ed-sheeran-sing-2014

I know I have said this plenty of times before, and I will keep repeating myself until everyone on this earth agrees with me, but I simply adore Ed Sheeran. He is the Man. He is my Man. And unless you’re an emotionless, grumpy guttersnipe, I really don’t understand why you wouldn’t want Ed to become your Man as well. His new album X, as in multiply, came out this week and it is –surprise!- a piece of heartfelt, genuine, musical poetry. He is able to multiply styles, genres and melodies like a true musical Einstein and shifts from acoustic ballads, to rhythmic, rocky tunes to edgy British rap. No matter what genre it is, each song sounds like a personal page from his own diary and I’m sure every listener will find a personal favourite among his wide variety of emotional songs. My personal favourites are I’m a Mess (Go figure, me too!), One (tissue!), Thinking Out Loud (more tissues!) and Take it Back (Singalong!)

Take it from me, this album will simply sweep you off your feet. In short, X does not just stand for Multiply, it also stands for Ed’s X factor.

 

2)      Lupita for Lancome

Lupita

As you may already have heard, Lupita Nyong’o (yes, probably the most gorgeous woman on the planet) was named the new face of Lancome a couple of months ago, and now (finally!) the first picture of the campaign has arrived.

Be still my beating heart!

Needless to say, Lupita looks as flawless as can be. Even Beyoncé – the Queen of Flawlessness-  suddenly seems a wilted flower compared to Lupita’s beautiful face. Lupita personally shared the image on her Instagram page and called it “ the secret I never intended to keep”, since the images for the campaign were originally to become public as late as September. So thank God for Lupita.

Thank God for Lupita!

3)      Lingerie. What else?

DSCN3981

You might have been wondering why I have been such an irregular blogger all of a sudden. Well, let me tell you a little secret: I am no longer part of the “young crowd”. I am no longer a university student. I am now officially a grown-up.

I have a job.

I.Have. A. Job.

A serious, adult, going-to-the-office, 9-to-5 job.

Needless to say, at first I was completely terrified (As in: “OMG, I have to pay taxes!”) and got home every night exhausted. Hence the lack of blog posts.

However, my job also has its benefits! I work for a lingerie company and today we all were invited to go to the company’s enormous lingerie sale. There was chaos everywhere: women throwing around bras and taking off their trousers in the middle of the hall, but it was by far the most awesome event of the week. I was so high on adrenaline, I thought I was going to bite someone! (Now  I know what that guy Suarez must have felt like…) I ended up buying two amazing lingerie sets, which are ridiculously expensive in store, but was able to buy for next to nothing! To avoid envious looks, I will not tell how much they actually cost or how much I paid for them, but let me just say this: Working for a lingerie company definitely has its perks!

PS: Is it weird to post pics of my newly bought lingerie, dear readers? I sincerely hope not. But if so, too bad, because with brilliant bras comes brilliant bragging!

Fusion Fever: Coconut and Lime Risotto with Peach and Pepper Salsa and Tandoori Prawns

Published June 23, 2014 by fashionfoodandflirts

Image

There are days when I know exactly what I want to eat. Pizza. Tagine. Noodles.

I have cheese days. Chocolate days. Add-chili-to-everything days.

But sometimes my cravings aren’t so specific. The only thing I then know for sure is that I am hungry (very very hungry!) and want something comforting (very very comforting!). Now, when I am craving something comforting, I always choose either something Italian (risotto is on top of my list) or something Indian with lots of spice and coconut.

Yesterday, however, I simply could not choose. Italian or Indian? Indian or Italian? It was literally driving me mad.

So in a total act of desperation, I decided to do both. Mix Italian with Indian. I probably pissed off both the Italians and Indians by doing so, but at least it filled my stomach. Although “filling my stomach” does not exactly do this dish justice, because this insanely yummy dish was a lot more than filling; it was an entirely new, hallucinatory delicious experience! The coconut milk in the risotto made the rice extra smooth and creamy and the combination with the lime lifted the Italian classic to a very delicious Indian level. Furthermore, the creaminess of the risotto was in perfect harmony with the sweet-spicy-zingy salsa with peach and peppers and sits happily married with the ultra-spicy tandoori prawns.

This is fusion food at its best! So who cares if it pisses off the whole Indian and Italian population, when something is this sensational I don’t really mind stepping onto a few food-patriotic toes ;)

Ingredients:

For the risotto:

  • 320gr Arborio rice
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • ½ tbsp. nigella seeds
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • Vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • Fresh basil (you could use Thai basil, but since we’re doing Italian and Indian together, you can use the Italian as well!)
  • 1 spring onion, finely sliced

For the salsa:

  • 2 long, sweet peppers, finely diced
  • 1 chili pepper, finely chopped
  • 3 peaches, finely diced
  • 1 granny smith apple, finely diced
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh Thai basil
  • Juice of 1 lime

For the prawns

  • 30 prawns, peeled and cleaned
  • Tandoori powder

Method:

  • Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan and sauté the shallot with the nigella seeds and chili flakes for a couple of minutes. Add the rice and fry until the grains become slightly translucent. Add 200 ml of coconut milk and let it simmer until absorbed. Now add the stock, one ladleful at a time until al dente. Now stir in the remaining coconut milk to make sure the risotto is oozing creaminess. Stir in the lime juice and fish sauce and scatter some basil and spring onions over the top.
  • Meanwhile, make the salsa by putting all the ingredients in a bowl and seasoning with lime, salt and pepper. Voila!
  • Completely dust the prawns in tandoori powder and skewer them onto large sticks. Now you have a couple of options. Fry them in a large pan, barbeque them or –like I did- put them under a hot griddle for a couple of minutes.
  • Dig in!
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