Men in RED: Really Exhilarating Dudes

Published July 31, 2014 by fashionfoodandflirts

red

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past week, you will most definitely have noticed that the official trailer for the Fifty Shades of Grey film has been launched. (and when I say “noticed”, I of course mean “watched it at least twenty times”.) It should come to no surprise that I am looking forward to its release like people in the desert look forward to rain, or like paparazzi look forward to another Bieber incident. (For once, I am actually excited about Valentine’s Day, instead of wanting to hurl into a bucket!) To honour this marvelous trailer (and the always marvelous, (almost) always shirtless Jamie Dornan in it), I wanted to dedicate a post to the clothes which I think make a guy look sexy. Admittedly, Christian Grey – as his name suggests- sticks to an array of grays and dark hues in combination with charismatic and power-exuding suits. There is definitely nothing wrong with that. (Hell, it is darn sexy!) But if it were up to me, every guy should wear red.

From classic shades such as ruby and crimson to darker berry hues and shiny blood orange tones… these fiery colours will definitely lit up a man’s wardrobe! Not to mention what it will do to my fashion-beating, sexy-dude-loving heart!

Merely thinking about a world in which all men wore red, makes my ovaries tingle… Oh my…

So dudes, please translate some of this summer’s heat into your closet, and I am sure the warmth will simmer through all the way to next winter.

Whether you opt for a head-to-toe look or go for a more nuanced outfit with one statement red item, red will always ooze power, confidence and last but not least CLASS.

So take an example of the following designers and start embracing your inner Christian Grey.

Dark burgundy for Valentino…

red valentino

All elegance and style at Versace…

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Lessons from Tom Ford: one key red item will transform your wardrobe

red tom ford

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How can you not be drawn to the guy in the red suit from D&G??

red D&G

Apparently Dolce & Gabbana must have gotten  reactions similar to mine to their campaign , because this is what their summer collection for 2015 looks like…

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Hallelujah! If summer 2015 looks like that, we are all in a for a wild ride! ;)

 

Simplicity At Its Best: Mediterranean Dinner in France

Published July 28, 2014 by fashionfoodandflirts

france

When I was on holiday in the South of France (I don’t mean to rub it in) I discovered one simple truth: simplicity is the key to good Mediterranean cooking. With ingredients that you can count on just one hand, you can conjure up the most delicious dish imaginable.

So there I was…in my (temporarily rented) garden… watching how the boats sailed into the harbor… and I just knew that I had to attempt one of those classic, simple dishes myself.

So meet this delicious Coeur de Boeuf and Burrata mozzarella starter. In my homecountry  Belgium, I would never have voluntarily opted for a tomato and mozzarella salad at a restaurant. The tomatoes taste like water, the mozzarella tastes like water… I just found it really bland and boring most of the time. Until the French Riviera made me realize that a simple plate of tomato-mozzarella can be truly magical if you have the best products on the planet to work with. These Coeur de boeuf tomatoes were juicy, succulent and bursting with flavour and the burrata mozzarella… by golly, don’t get me started on the mozzarella! Burrata is the creamy King of mozzarella cheese: a texture that almost resembles thick yoghurt and a lovely rich flavour that almost does not require any additional seasoning. To make my version of this Italian classic dish extra special, I used some extraordinary olive oil I bought in Nice in the restaurant Oliviera (which I already blabbed on about in my previous post). It has a lovely sweet and nutty, almondy flavour and gives a peppery finish at the back of your tongue.

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Ingredients:

  • Burrata mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • Coeur de boeuf tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • Coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Good quality olive oil
  • Fresh basil

Following  the rules of simplicity, I also made this lovely fish dish: locally sourced fish topped with an almond and red pepper tapenade on a bed of courgette and fresh flageolet beans. Served with some homemade garlic bread (really really garlicy!)

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Just spread some good quality, store-bought almond and pepper tapenade (preferably bought at a local market, of course) on top of your fish. Put in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 200°C until tender and juicy. Cut the courgettes into thick slices and take the beans out of the pods. Blanche the beans al dente. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a huge pot, add the courgettes and salt and pepper and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add the blanched flageolets and let it simmer for a further 10 minutes. Right before serving stir in some fresh basil leaves and sprinkle on some lemon juice.

Now pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy the sun!

 

 

Holiday Recap: I came, I saw and I ate

Published July 25, 2014 by fashionfoodandflirts

cannes1

I’m back, dear readers. After spending a week enjoying the heat of the sun and the gentle sea breeze in Cannes, followed by a week of nothing but mountain glory in the North of Italy, it was time for me to come home.

I did not want to, believe me. I would have rather stayed in France and would have preferred to spend my entire life sitting on the beach, eating fish soup with delicious rouille whilst making googly eyes at a tall and dark French Adonis, but unfortunately, life is not a fairy tale. Reality awaited. And I had some duties to return to. Like paying rent, going to work and, last but definitely not least, connecting with my thousands of loyal followers. You.

So here it is, folks. A long (and yet incomplete) list of all the delicious things I had the joy of eating during my stay at the French Riviera and in the Italian Dolomites.

Because I Cannes
Let’s start with the heavenly delights of France!
First off, I have some unfortunate news: I did not spot any celebrities. *releases a soft wail of disappointment*. However, what Cannes was not able to offer me regarding star status, it totally made up for in its array of hotness walking around. Because –let me make abundantly clear- Cannes is FULL of handsome men.
I mean, hallelujah! It was almost uncanny –pun fully intended- to see so much hotness on one tiny spot by the sea. Add to that the fact that the French Riviera had tons of delicious food on offer –I’m now referring to those of the non-male, edible variety- and you will understand why I had such a lovely time.

Sweet and juicy scallops with a saffron sauce and plenty of different vegetable side dishes. Always a winner with me!

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A delicious fish skewer, marinated in lemon and herbs with a sauce vièrge. That dish was preceded by the most delicious fish soup I had ever tasted and was so damn yummy I forgot to talk a picture.

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FYI, if you go to Cannes, it is key to find local restaurants. They will most likely offer delicious but affordable food. So don’t go running to the Carlton for lunch. Just sayin’.

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I mean, who the hell would pay 8 euros for a cup of coffee??

The French Riviera is famous for its fish, so obviously I ate plenty of it. This was a succulent piece of red mullet with Brandade de Morue.

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This dish surely packed a punch: homemade gnocchi with pistou and octopus in a spicy tomato sauce

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If there is one restaurant experience I have to tell you about, it is this restaurant in Nice: Oliviera. Honestly, it was one of the most extraordinary restaurant experiences in my entire life. First of all, the waiter. He was awesome and talked with so much passion about the food and his olive oils you almost started drooling just by listening to him. Secondly, each dish was paired with a particular type of olive oil. Olive oil was not just used as something to cook with, it was the heart of every dish. While we were waiting for our different courses, the friendly waiter brought us plenty of different olive oils to taste. Lastly, the food was insane. Pure. Delicate. Simple. Heavenly. Succulent burrita mozzarella with Coeur de Boeuf tomatoes, feta and herbs filo pastry tart, homemade raviolis,… and all drizzled with plenty of good olive oil. Mmmm. This was a courgette flower stuffed with a spicy bulgur salad and –of course- drizzled with lots of fragrant olive oil.

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Needless to say, I enjoyed plenty of desserts as well. I started my holidays with an epic ice cream cone with the most insanely delectable flavours: caramel au beurre salé and marron glacé

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(not a very flattering pic, but it’s about the ice cream, not my face ;) )

Furthermore, I ate quite a few café gourmands, which are espressos served with lots of delicious things along the side.

This one was bold and big with honest flavours: a mini chocolate fondant, a strawberry macaron, vanilla panna cotta with apricot coulis, an almond tart and a huge scoop of rum and raisin ice cream with whipped cream…

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And this one was more petite in portion but –Oh my Frenchy God- that was by far the best coffee layer thingy I have ever tasted in my life! The flavours! The layers! Sensation in the mouth guaranteed. (I enjoyed this one at a rather fancy-looking place called Le Nôtre in Cannes)

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On our last night in Cannes, we ate dinner at L’Assiète Provençale, which is situated in the touristy heart of Cannes –right at the harbor!- but was anything but the tourist trap. The food was refined, and offered modern interpretations of French classics. I had the most amazing fried fleur de courgettes as a starter, honey glazed tuna steak with five spiced vegetables (praise the Lord!) and by miles the BEST LEMON MERINGUE PIE I HAVE EVER TASTED. (In fact, it was so good, I only realized half way through that I forgot to take a picture. So my apologies for the half-eaten slice of pie)

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Oh Mighty Dolomites

Now onto the delicious food I’ve eaten in the Dolomites, a region that embraces both Austrian and Italian cuisine. (So double check pot!) Luckily for me, apart from eating, I spent my days hiking, climbing mountains and doing laps in the swimming pool, so (hopefully) most of those calories got burnt off.

Our hotel is renowned for its gourmet cuisine, so I definitely do not want to spare you the delicious details:

Open ravioli with pea puree, delicate fish and a cream and white wine foam.

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Pan-fried sea bass with steamed vegetables and herby mash

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Milk chocolate mousse with mango and orange-scented shortbread

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Seared swordfish with crispy vegetables and beetroot macaroons.

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Fragrant herb risotto with prawns

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The most delicious banana tart with banana-flavoured parfait

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The ultimate Tiroler dish: spinach spätzle with Almkäse (mountain cheese) and fresh mushrooms

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Steamed whiting fillet on a bed of red pepper couscous

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Vanilla and puff pastry tompouce with vanilla ice cream and red berries

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So who’s hungry now? ;)

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)

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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!

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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!
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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.

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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.

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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!

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