My Quest Is Finally Over: I Have Found My Very Own Olivia Pope Coat

Published September 17, 2014 by fashionfoodandflirts

olivia

Loyal readers will know by now that I am probably the biggest Scandal fan on the planet.

I honestly love that show. It’s intrigue. It’s drama. It’s Kerry Washington in all her stylishness wearing the most power-exuding clothes imaginable.

I love it.

Love it, love it, love it, luuuvvv it.

I even based my thesis on stereotypes of African American women in US television on the character of Olivia Pope and Scandal. That’s how much I love it. (Shonda Rhimes, If you’re reading this, I’ll gladly come to ‘Merica to discuss the remarkable results of my research with you, if you like. )

Those of you who are as passionate Scandal fans as I am (hard to imagine someone can be as big a fan as I am, but hey…)will already have highlighted September 25 in their agenda (or in my case, I circled the date with glitter and surrounded it with pink fluffy cat stickers)

On that day, season 4 of Scandal will finally premiere and I have been looking forward to that day ever since last season had its very awesome yet earthshattering final last Spring.

The question that is probably on all of your minds right now is why the hell am I telling you all of this??

Well, dear readers, because something amazing happened yesterday that is intrinsically linked with Scandal. You see, for the past year I have been looking for my very own (read: affordable) Olivia Pope coat. Especially that one coat with the big envelope collar truly made my fashion-beating heart melt. As you can imagine, Olivia Pope’s designer coats are not within my budget (uhum), but that didn’t stop me from embarking on a quest to find a more affordable version.

I looked everywhere, but never ever found what I was looking for. Either the coat was way too expensive, or just not as elegant/sharp/ I-am-a-career-woman-looking as Olivia Pope’s.

I had even given up on my seemingly impossible quest and was trying to get the image of me looking all powerful and important with a starbucks coffee in my hands out of my head.

pope coat2

And then yesterday, as if God was rewarding me for my patience, I found my very own Scandal coat.

I bought it at Mango, it’s a charcoal grey colour, has a soft fabric and it makes me look like a sharp and elegant career woman.

mango coat

And it has an amazing collar:

mango1

Conclusion: Miracles can happen!

Warning: I’ll be looking real Scandalous this winter!

PS: Yes, I’m aware hers is light and mine is dark, but with my pale skin, a cream coat is just not the way to go.

A Belated Tribute To the Brangelina Wedding: Baking With Booze, the Romance Edition

Published September 13, 2014 by fashionfoodandflirts

This doesn’t need much explaining; the video says it all.

I love romance. I love weddings. I love Angelina Jolie.

Pour all these things together into one overindulgent celebrity event, and you will understand why I went completely crazy over the Brangelina wedding.

Whereas I couldn’t care less about Kimye tying the knot (too many big egos, too much fuzz, too fake,…), I was completely and utterly thrilled when Brad and Angelina secretly said their vows.

In fact, I was so mesmerized by so much love and romance, I decided to use their wedding for this week’s baking with booze episode.

This chocolate and red wine cake with berries and Cassis liqueur is by far the most romantic cake on the planet. It may not look like a true showstopper (there are no decorations, no frosting, no icing, no tiers,…) but what it may lack in romantic appearance, it totally makes up for in flavour.

This cake will make you “drunk in luuuuvvvvv” in every possible way ;)

Chocolate and Red Wine Cake with Berries and Cassis

Ingredients:                                                              

  • 150gr flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 125gr butter
  • 200gr caster sugar
  • 100gr dark chocolate
  • 300gr mix of frozen berries
  • 150ml red wine
  • 2 tbsp of Cassis liqueur (plus extra for drizzling over the top once baked)
  • 2 eggs

Method:

  1. Put the frozen berries in a large bowl and pour the red wine and Cassis over the top. Let it soak overnight in the fridge until your berries are lovely and boozy.
  2. Preheat the oven to 170°C and line a loose-bottomed cake tin with baking parchment.
  3. Melt the chocolate and butter together on a low heat until everything has melted. Take off the heat and stir in the caster sugar, followed by the boozy berries and all that incredibly yummy fruity red wine liquid. Stir well.
  4. Pour the chocolaty mixture into your bowl with the flour and baking powder and stir well until everything is incorporated.
  5. Crack in two eggs and mix.
  6. Pour the batter in your prepared cake tin and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes.
  7. Once the cake comes out of the oven, drizzle generously with Cassis liqueur.
  8. Let it cool completely before serving with a huge glass of red wine.

Going Gourmet with a Can of White Beans

Published September 8, 2014 by fashionfoodandflirts

bean

One ordinary can of beans.

It’s not exactly the most exciting, let alone foodie-approved ingredient. And yet, when used correctly, these dull-looking beans can taste bloody brilliant.

So forget about baked beans in tomato sauce! White beans can be so much more than the horror that is a full English breakfast (Apologies if I’m stepping on any British toes with this statement, but –come on!- it’s the truth).

Just be creative, think outside the box and add a large quantity of spices! The following two recipes are totally worth spilling the both figurative and literal beans about. They are both loaded with exotic, fragrant Middle Eastern spices and are dead simple to make. They are the ultimate proof that a can of beans – against all odds- can become quite the gourmet meal.

Saffron Parsnips with Moroccan-spiced beans

These saffron-scented parsnips not only look incredible, they also taste absolutely marvelous. These sweet jewels go perfectly with the spicy and aromatic bean mix!

DSCN4151

Ingredients (serves 1):

  • 2 parsnips, peeled and cut into strips
  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • Small can of white beans, drained
  • Chili flakes
  • ½ tsp nigella seeds
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp cumin )
  • 2 dried dates
  • 2 dried apricots
  • 1 shallot, finely sliced
  • Fresh coraiander

Method:

  1. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan and fry the parsnip strips for a couple of minutes. Season with salt, a pinch of chili flakes and add the saffron and turmeric. Add a splash of water and let it simmer on a low heat until the parsnips are lovely and soft and gorgeously yellow.
  2. In a different pan, heat some olive oil and add all the other spices and the shallot. Sauté for a couple of minutes and add the beans and dried fruits.
  3. Let it heat through and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve the spiced beans with the saffron parsnip and sprinkle a generous amount of coriander on top.

Aromatic Aubergine, Pepper and Feta Tart with Homemade Bessara

Bessara is traditional middle eastern dip similar to hummus but is made with white beans and is usually a bit runnier in consistency. However, since I wanted to spread a layer of this wonderful dip onto my puff pastry, I kept the consistency rather thick to avoid a soggy bottom. This harissa-flavoured bessara adds another tasty dimension to an already quite flavoursome tart. Trust me with this one, you would be a fool (moron! Idiot! Imbecile! Brainless guttersnipe! ) not to bake it!

DSCN4154

Ingredients:

  • 1 aubergine, cut into large chunks
  • 1 red pepper, cut into large chunks
  • Handful of orange cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 100gr feta cheese, crumbled
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nigella seeds
  • Sheet of puff pastry

For the bessara:

  • Can of white beans, drained
  • Coriander stalks
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tsp harissa
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp good quality olive oil
  • Salt

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and add the aubergine and peppers. Add the spices and season with salt and pepper. Fry for a couple of minutes. Set aside.
  3. Make the bessara by blending all the ingredients together until you get a smooth paste.
  4. Roll out the puff pastry and spread a layer of bessara over the pastry. Top with the aromatic vegetables. Add some cherry tomatoes and crumble on some feta cheese.
  5. Fold over the sides of the puff pastry to create a nice “ruffled” edge.
  6. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle on some fresh coriander.

Baking With Booze: White Russian Tiramisu

Published September 4, 2014 by fashionfoodandflirts

The following video should come with a warning: If you’re a pessimist, cynic, grumpy old fool, you better stay miles away from this video.

Seriously, this video seems to have been blessed by the spirit of the late Saint John Lennon. At one point it is absolutely normal for viewers to either feel nauseous of so much sugary peace talk, or expect me to start throwing flowers and papier-mâché butterflies in the air.

However, given the current state of the world –filled with so much trauma, tragedy and horror!- I think my hippy attitude is justified. In fact, if everyone would just start focusing on spreading love instead of hatred, the world may not be doomed after all.

 

Let’s create some peace, y’all! And what better way to start doing that than by making this White Russian Tiramisu, right?

Ingredients:

  • 250gr mascarpone
  • 200ml double cream
  • 70gr caster sugar
  • 140ml Vodka
  • Pack of ladyfingers
  • Large cup of coffee

Method:

  1. Stir the mascarpone, sugar and 70ml of vodka together until you get a smooth consistency. Set aside
  2. Whip up the double cream until you get stiff peaks. Gently fold the cream into the mascarpone mixture.
  3. Mix the coffee together with another 70ml of Vodka. Dunk the ladyfingers in the boozy coffee and layer the bottom of a tin with the fingers. Spread a layer of mascarpone on top.
  4. Add another layer of coffee-soaked ladyfingers. Now top with the remaining mascarpone mix.
  5. Put in the fridge for 4 hours (or overnight). Grate some dark chocolate on top for decoration.

Hip Hip Hurray for Hair: This season’s coziest trend

Published September 1, 2014 by fashionfoodandflirts

I’m aware that the sun is shining and that people are wearing flirty skirts and sunglasses. And yes, I know that it’s only the 1st of September… but that doesn’t stop me from getting ready for the winter with some fabulous fall fashion.

Although there are plenty of beautiful trends and styles to choose from for next winter (from French minimalist luxury to gipsy-inspired Wild West harsh winters), there seems to be one overarching trend that was used by practically every designer, no matter the theme of the collection…

HAIR.

I’m not talking about certain new hairstyle trends.

And I’m certainly not talking about Cameron Diaz’s plea to let “everything” grow wild and free.

I’m talking about all the types of “hair” that can be worn as a piece of clothing.

Whereas in the past, your only option was to wear that shiny fur that is often linked with old ladies who have a lot of money but  little taste, your hairy options nowadays are more versatile than ever. Not only do they often come in animal-friendly fake versions, you also have furs that target an entirely new type of women.

So forget about old ladies in fur coats, this winter every woman will want to have a fuzzy, warm and hairy piece of clothing hanging in her closet!

These are the different styles you can go for:

  • Classic elegance: Elie Saab shows us that traditional fur can still be drop-dead gorgeous. So embrace your inner princess and buy that (faux) fur stole!

hair elie saab

hair elie saab1

  • Classic elegance with a twist: Although Elie Saab and Armani seem to go for the same type of glamour, Armani adds a little edge to an otherwise traditional fur piece by experimenting with shapes and more frantic-looking furs.

hair armani

hair georgio armani

  • Grungy chic: who said fur and rock and roll can’t go together? Jean Paul Gaultier and Versace give the hairy look a classy yet grungy edge.

hair jean paul gaultier

hair versace

  • Go for colour: Think out of the box, ladies! Fuzzy clothes don’t always have to be in the traditional colours such as gray, black and brown, but can be in funky colours such as this petrol bleu at Marni.

hair marni

  • Cowboys and Indians: Again, you need to look at Marni’s collection for inspiration! Hairy coats, skirts and jackets with a wild wild west vibe almost would make one look forward to harsh winters! (Almost!)

hair marni1

hair marni3

In short, this season’s hairy fashion will definitely keep us warm this winter!

Rollercoaster Red Carpet: From Slutty Fashion at the VMAs To Bold Yet Classy Choices At The Emmys

Published August 26, 2014 by fashionfoodandflirts

Be still my fashion-beating heart!

When I laid my eyes upon the monstrosities worn at the VMAs last Sunday, I honestly thought the world was doomed. Seriously, I have never seen so many ugly, trashy and horrifying dresses in one night. I mean, when Nicky Minaj is wearing one of the classier looks of the evening, you just know something is not right.

vma minaj

Luckily for me and my traumatized love for fashion, the Emmy awards made up for all the fashion horror we were forced to witness at the VMAs. Not only did the stars of US television look astonishing in their fabulous gowns, many of them opted for bolder cuts, shapes and colours as well. (Without looking trashy!)

But let’s start with the negative news… the very negative news… the horrid fashion event that was  the VMAs. These past couple of years, the VMAs have turned into a fest of weird, slutty and downright “You have got to be kiddin’”-fashion. This year’s edition was no exception. The trashy looks (yes, it was trashy ladies, not sexy!) were swamping the red carpet, but all those slutty looks had exactly the opposite effect on my attention span. I was bored as f***

Seriously, even Beyoncé (yes, Queen Bey!) made me yawn in her albeit beautiful, stunning and not-at-all-trashy dress.

vma beyoncé

Every look on the red carpet that night was completely uninspiring and nothing I hadn’t seen before. Apart from Beyoncé, here are some other boring yet awkwardly slutty looks:

vma ariana

Ariana Grande. I know she is still young, but jeeeez girl, even prostitutes might save this for a special night.

 vma taylor

Is it just me, or do I detect a camel toe in Taylor Swift’s weird and far too short playsuit?

 vma kim

Bad. Worse. Worst. Kim Kardashian

vma miley

Miley Cyrus in a crop top. Again. Showing skin. Again. Wearing unflattering trousers in unflattering fabric. Again.

But praise the Lord! Luckily the Emmys demonstrated that at least not everyone in celeb-ville has lost every fashionable brain cell in their body. The actresses on the red carpet were breathtakingly gorgeous:

kerry-washington-emmys-2014-emmy-awards1

A thigh-high split, a bold orange colour and an underlying sparkling mini skirt: Kerry Washington shows everyone that the terms “daring” and “elegant” can be used in one sentence.

emmy january

Another bold cut: January Jones’ Prabal Gurung gown is pompous and elegant at the same time!

christine barenski

Christine Baranski: Zac Posen … with a cape!

emmy julia louis-dreyfus

Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Carolina Herrera. Fabulous!

emmy lizzt caplan

Talking about making a major entrance! Lizzy Caplan black and white Donna Karan gown is to die for!

emmy julia

Julia Roberts looks both stylish and cool in het short crystal-embellished Elie Saab dress with long sleeves.

There were also plenty of bold colours:

emmy mindy

Mindy Kaling in Kenzo.

emmy kate walsh

And my favourite colour of the evening: the canary yellow of Kate Walsh’s dress.

So my advice to you, dear readers: Forget the VMAs ever happened and focus on the glamour of the Emmys instead! 

 

Fishy Business: Two Inventive Dishes from the Sea

Published August 24, 2014 by fashionfoodandflirts

fish

Contrary to what the first part of the above title may suggest, this post is actually a celebration of all the wonderful things that can be found under the Sea, and has nothing to do with rather suspicious or shady affairs with handsome Italian business men in Armani suits. (Sorry to disappoint you)

Although I will always attempt to eat vegetarian, there are days when I simply cannot resist the enticing call of a wonderful fish dish. (After all, I am a Pieces.)

The following dishes are true showstoppers that will make for a perfect Sunday meal with the family. They are full with bold flavours, colours and textures and will satisfy your fishy cravings in a heartbeat.

DSCN4133

Oriental Fish Fingers with a Thai-inspired Warm Noodle Salad

These fish fingers are without a doubt the best on the entire planet. Yes, I repeat: the best. You can also use this method to make crispy prawns, scallops, salmon and vegetarian alternatives such as tofu.

For the Fish fingers:

  • 600gr of strong white fish, cut into thick strips
  • Flour
  • 100gr desiccated coconut
  • 2 eggs
  • Pinch of chili powder
  • Salt and pepper

For the sweet-and-spicy dip:

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 5 tbsp sweet chili sauce
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

For the warm noodle salad:

  • 300gr soba noodles, cooked according to the instructions on the package
  • 2 red chilies, finely sliced
  • 2cm piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 pak choi, cut into chunks
  • 1 red pepper, cut into strips
  • 200gr bean sprouts
  • 3 spring onions, finely chopped
  • Lots of fresh coriander
  • Handful of sesame seeds
  • Juice one 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce

Method:

  1. Season the chunks of fish with salt and pepper and a tiny bit of chili powder. Place the flour onto a plate. Place the beaten eggs into a wide bowl and place the desiccated coconut on another plate. Take a piece of fish and dust it in the flour, next dip it in the egg (allowing any excess to drip off) and finally into the coconut. Put the fish fingers on a large plate and refrigerate for 30 minutes. (This is an essential step in creating the perfect fish fingers, so do not be tempted to skip it!)
  2. Meanwhile, make your dipping sauce by mixing everything together and pouring the sauce into individual serving jars.
  3. Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large wok and add the pak choi, ginger, chili, garlic, and red pepper and fry 5 minutes. Stir in the cooked noodles and beans sprouts and add all the other sauces and lime juice. Stir in the sesame seeds and season to taste. Finish with lots of coriander and spring onion.
  4. Deep-fry the fish fingers for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Serve with a wedge of lime, the sweet and spicy dip and the fragrant noodles.

DSCN4145

Red Bream and Pesto lasagna

What makes this lasagna truly stand out is the home-made basil and almond pesto. Sure, you can just use store-bought pesto if you want, to save yourself the time and effort, but trust me: this pesto will transform an already great lasagna into an I-can’t-stop-eating-this-is-sooo-good lasagna.

Ingredients

For the basil and almond pesto:

  • 2 huge bushes of fresh basil
  • 50gr parmesan cheese
  • One clove of garlic
  • Handful of white almonds
  • Salt and pepper
  • Good quality olive oil

For the lasagna

  • Sheets of dried lasagna (no-precooking necessary)
  • 2 large courgettes, cut into 0,5cm slices
  • 1 yellow pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 500ml tomato passata
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp harissa
  • 500-600 gr red bream filet, cut into strips
  • Home-made pesto
  • 200gr mozzarella, cut into thin slices

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Grill the courgette slices for a couple of minutes on each side until you get a lovely griddle effect. Set aside.
  2. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan, add the garlic, onion and pepper and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add the tomato passata, oregano, balsamic vinegar and harissa. Season with salt and pepper and let it simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Make the pesto by blending all the ingredients together. The pesto should have a rather thick consistency and look more like a tapenade rather than a pesto.
  4. Grease individual baking dishes with butter and start assembling the lasagna. First a layer of lasagna sheets, then the courgette slices topped with a thin layer of tomato sauce. Then another layer of lasagna sheets, followed by the fish topped with a generous layer of that home-made pesto. Now another layer of lasagna sheets and another of the courgettes and tomato sauce. Finish with a final layer of lasagna sheets and spread some remaining pesto over the top. Put the mozzarella cheese on top of the lasagna and put in the oven for 30 minutes.
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