winter

All posts tagged winter

Snow-Proof Food: Paccheri with Roasted Figs, Stilton and Radicchio

Published January 31, 2014 by The Feminist

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I’m leaving for the snowy mountains of Austria tomorrow.

Yes, you’ve read that correctly.

This blogger is going skiing!

You cannot believe how long it has been since my last sky trip to the Alps and I am so terribly exited , I don’t think I will be able to get much sleep tonight due to an exceedingly high level of adrenaline rushing through my body.

Austria is a beautiful country, full of magnificent nature and an über cool abundance of schnapps.

The only thing the Austrian Alps seem to be missing is a high percentage of hot dudes. (This blog is-after all- still called Fashion, Food & Flirts!) Therefore, I will make it my personal goal next week to go and look for sexy Lederhosen-wearing men, to prove to everyone that their prejudice about Austrians is absolutely wrong.

I will make it my quest to look out for men who look like this:

jesse

A mountain version of Jesse Williams? It can’t be that difficult, can it?

Or maybe find myself a Captain Von Trapp who looks like this:

michael

I would be happy to sing “the Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music” (even though my voice sounds like a cow with bowel problems) if it meant winning over a Michael Ealy look-a-like!

Me picky???

Not at all!

I would gladly “settle for”  a Hiddleston, Cumberbatch or Fassbender

bennie fassbender

…if I have to.

I can already predict the potential side-effects:

Ovaries

I’m getting slightly off topic here.

Where was I?

Ah, yes. I’m going skiing!

Which means that I will be spending a lot of time in the snow. In the cold. Possibly freezing my ass off. So in order to prepare myself for all that cold weather and glacial temperatures I cooked myself a heart-warming, super comforting dish.

A bowl of steaming pasta… with an intense stilton sauce… some heavenly-sweet roasted figs… crunchy bitter radicchio… and finally a good sprinkling of chopped walnuts…

Merely describing this dish to you all is making the snow melt, so I think I’m going to stop writing and give you the recipe instead (I still want there to be some snow left when I get there, you know.)

PS: Unfortunately, this also means I won’t be able to blog for at least a week. Sorry folks! But don’t you worry, I’ll be back! (For once, quoting Arnold Schwarzenegger is allowed, since he himself is Austrian 😉 )

Paccheri with Roasted Figs, Stilton and Radicchio

Ingredients (serves 1)

  • 100gr paccheri pasta
  • 4 figs, cut into quarters
  • Large handful of radicchio, sliced into thin strips
  • 25gr stilton cheese, plus extra to garnish
  • Chopped walnuts
  • 1 tsp honey
  • ½ tsp dried thyme

Method:

  1. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package. (keep some of the cooking liquid for later)
  2. Heat a knob of butter in a pan and fry the figs until slightly charred. Sprinkle on the honey and dried thyme.
  3. Melt the stilton cheese on top of the al dente cooked pasta and stir in approx. 3 tablespoons of the pasta cooking water to create an even creamier sauce.
  4. Stir in the roasted figs and just before serving stir through the radicchio.
  5. Serve the pasta on a large plate and decorate with chopped walnuts and some extra stilton cheese.

How to Survive Cold Weather: Eat Chocolate Banana Rolls

Published January 29, 2014 by The Feminist

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These rolls are certainly not the prettiest or daintiest of desserts, but I can guarantee that what they may lack in beauty they definitely make up for in taste. This is what I call food that is good for the soul.

That bitter richness from the chocolate, the sweet palate-cleaving bananas and a wonderfully soft dough…. Sigh. These rolls are simply heart-warming and, therefore, exactly what I want on a cold and wintery day like today.

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Sure, I could just put on a cozy sweater and read a good book in front of the fire place, but that just provides superficial warmth.  (and I don’t have a fire place, quel bummer!) On a day like this, I want something that warms me up and leaves me in a comforting state of happiness. Something that heats up the soul in the most profound way…

Something Edible.

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So I baked these wonderfully gigantic swirly rolls. From the moment I took one bite, I immediately felt a relaxing warmth coming over me. There is no scientific explanation for it. It just is what it is. Pure Magic.

Ps: As you may see, my chocolate banana rolls aren’t exactly identical in size. Some are enormous, others are rather petite. But that is the beauty of this bake: Rustic elegance. What more could you possibly desire?

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Chocolate Banana Rolls

Ingredients (makes 16)

For the dough:

  • 300ml lukewarm milk
  • 25gr caster sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp dried active yeast
  • 500gr strong white bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 85gr butter

For the filling:

  • 100gr chopped dark chocolate
  • 3 bananas, mashed
  • 150gr Nutella

Method:

  1. In a jug, mix together the milk, sugar and yeast. Stir well and set aside for approx. 20 minutes until the liquid becomes frothy.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour and salt. Add the butter and rub it in with your fingers until you get a crumb-like consistency.
  3. Make a well in the centre and pour the milk mixture into the well. Bring the mixture together to form a dough. (I used my hands for this)
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead well until soft and smooth. Place the dough back into the bowl and cover with cling film. Leave in a warm place to rise for approx 45-60 minutes until the dough has doubled in size.
  5. Once risen, knock the dough back in the bowl and turn it out onto your surface. Roll the dough out into a rough rectangular about 1.5cm thick.
  6. Scatter the chopped chocolate over the dough and press down with the rolling pin to get the chocolate chips to stick. Gently spread a generous layer of Nutella over the dough, followed by the mashed banana.
  7. Roll the dough up lengthways and cut the dough into 16 slices.
  8. Line a cake tin (or two, depending on the size) with baking parchment. Place the slices in the tin, cover with cling film and allow to rise for another 20-30 minutes.
  9. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 180°C. Bake the rolls in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

Snow White and the Cupcake

Published December 20, 2013 by The Feminist

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Once upon a time, in a land for away from here, a beautiful princess sat beside her window, watching how little snowflakes were falling from the sky. As she was working on her paper for American History, she sometimes looked outside at the falling snow. How pretty the dazzling white looked! While admiring this winter wonderland, Snow White said to herself: “If only I had a dear little cupcake as white as the snow, as fragrant as the scent of Douglas fir and with a frosting as sweet as a Christmas song that would help me forget this dreadful research paper.”

As soon as Snow White stepped away from her laptop and entered the great palace that was the kitchen, one beautiful cupcake appeared. Once Snow White realized her wish had come true and that a nutmeg cupcake with eggnog frosting had magically been handed to her on a silver platter, she could not move out of utter joy.

Oh how lovely the taste of rum, singing in the back of your throat! Oh how wonderful the warmth of nutmeg on a cold winter’s day!

When the time came that she had to return to her laptop and continue writing her paper, she felt a combination of sadness and bliss. Sad, for she had already eaten the entire cupcake. Blissful, for the cupcake would always stay on her mind with its impeccable taste and comforting texture.

And so Snow White lived happily ever after. (With the occasional unpleasant interruption of having to write a research paper)

Notes from the author:

1)      I am not a beautiful princess, just a girl stressing over her finals.

2)      I don’t live in a land for away from here. I live in Belgium.

3)      It –unfortunately- isn’t snowing.

4)      The cupcake didn’t magically appear, I had to bake it myself.

5)      The only truth in this story is the fact that I am writing a research paper (and hate  that I have to).

6)      The cupcakes were indeed wonderful!

 

Nutmeg cupcakes with eggnog frosting

Ingredients: (makes 6)

  • 1 egg
  • 125ml milk
  • 40gr butter
  • 120gr plain flour
  • 140gr caster sugar
  • ½ tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt

For the frosting

  • 50gr butter
  • 100gr icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp rum
  • Extra nutmeg

Method:

1)      Preheat the oven to 170°C. Mix together the dry ingredients until you get a sandy consistency.

2)      Mix the egg and the milk together in a jug and slowly pour it into the dry mixture. Mix well.

3)      Pour the batter into the cupcake tin and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

4)      Make the frosting by mixing the ingredients together. Generously spread the frosting onto the cupcakes once  they are cool and sprinkle some nutmeg over the top.

It’s delightful, it’s delicious, it’s de-lovely: Heart Prints in Fashion

Published December 2, 2013 by The Feminist

I’m in a romantic mood today. Seriously, my day is filled with little elements of romantic-desiring behaviour and it isn’t even two o’clock in the afternoon yet!

Need some proof? Okay, here it is:

One: I have the urge to re-watch the Notebook. Or Titanic. Will probably watch both.
Two: I’m overdosing on John Legend music.
Three: I’ve already lit four scented candles in the past thirty minutes.
Four: I bought myself a huge box of chocolates. (Admittedly, I eat chocolate every day but today I’m going particularly overboard on the cocoa)
Five: I winked at a handsome stranger.

See? I’m practically on the verge of throwing hand-cut heart confetti at everyone in the street.

Given this romantic attitude, I think it is time to highlight some very lovable fashion for you all.

For years, romantic souls like me had to deal with those dreaded skulls on every possible garment. I assume people loved this trend because it made them look tough, but to be honest, all these skulls just reminded me of death and horror movies. I mean, when people look at you, wouldn’t you want them to associate your personality with joy and love, instead of death and walking zombies?

Anyway, apparently I was one of the few who actually thought like that. But fear no more fellow romance- cravers: the era of the skull print is over!

This season’s print is all about showing love and affection. In a society in which showing emotions is –unfortunately and to my great frustration- frowned upon, this trend encourages us to step away from this collective coolness. This season, we are done remaining frozen and incapable of expressing our emotions. Let it out people!

And a first step to a more open emotional life is buying yourself some heart print clothes. This print isn’t just something you wear on Valentine’s Day, the symbol of love can be worn every single day of the year. These prints will make you feel cherished and alive. Drop that veil of calm collective posture, ladies. Trust me, it won’t make you vulnerable. It will only make you drop dead gorgeous.

This amazing trend was launched by Burberry Prorsum. The creative team behind Burberry put heart prints on practically every available piece of fabric. Apart from this very lovable print, the collection had everything a girl could possibly wish for: a silhouette of tight pencil skirts and breezy blouses, fabrics to die for (from soft cashmere to elegant leather or daring translucent rubber)and the elegant colours (beige and bordeaux) make the collection look feminine, not girly.

heart burb

heart bur

heart burber
Even guys are allowed to show how much they love us!

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These shoes from Charlotte Olympia are called “Love Me”.

heart charlotte olympia

Now, I don’t think that will be much of a problem.

If you’re looking for a subtler approach to the trend, heart-print accessories might be something for you!

What about these adorable socks?

heart socks

Or these cute glasses?

heart glasses

For the daredevils among you: don’t you think these tights with encrusted heart knee pads are just mesmerizingly beautiful?

heart tights

After such an overdose of heart-shaped loveliness, I think it’s only appropriate to seal this post with a big kiss.

kiss-mark-isolated

“I don’t pop Molly, I rock Tom Ford”

Published October 12, 2013 by The Feminist

When Jay-Z starts writing musical odes about your clothes, you just know you’re doing something right. I can only imagine how flattered Tom Ford must have been after hearing Jay-Z’s praise in a song dedicated to the designer, but on the other hand, it cannot have come as a total surprise since everything Tom Ford touches turns to gold. No scratch that. It turns into a magical world of fashionable extravaganza, in which the only rule is that there are none.

Those of you who regularly visit my little blog here, will know that I have a huge soft spot for Tom Ford Suits. Yes that’s right: Suits with a capital S, because Ford’s creations make every other suit look like a pile of garbage. He is the fashion icon par excellence; groundbreaking on every possible fashion level. Just when I thought he couldn’t get any more brilliant, he launched his FW13 campaign and needless to say… it is THE BOMB!

It is glamourous, cool, visually perfect and completely out of control. I love how he created a whole ‘cross cultural multi ethnic’ theme for his womenswear collection with a trinity of ethnicities: a black, white and Asian model. The hot pink make-up is explosive, the prints are bold and beautiful and the eyewear is drool-worthy.

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And those bags! I want those bags!

tomford bag

Tom Ford, of course, wouldn’t be Tom Ford if he didn’t have an explosive menswear collection as well, with an even more explosive campaign! The male models are super duper sexy (woohoo!), the campaign with the guys wearing black clothes in front of a stark white background is super duper mesmerizing ( double woohoo!) and the models are wearing super duper outfits (triple woohoo!)

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I hereby hope Tom Ford’s campaign will inspire all of you men (yeah, you there!) to wear a crazy-ass stylish black fur jacket this winter. Come on! You know you want to!

Probably the ugliest dessert ever, but damn it’s tasty! A heavenly ugly chocolate-pear-ginger mug cake in only 3 minutes

Published August 20, 2013 by The Feminist

Thank you, Mr. Microwave, for I couldn’t have done it without you. Thanks to you, I have now discovered the most dangerous cake in the world: a cake that only requires 3 minutes of my so precious time, is ridiculously easy to make and is even more lethal to eat. Lord have mercy on my soul.

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It looks disgusting, I know. All dark and droopy with some of the dough dripping over the side of the mug, but believe me when I say that what this dessert lacks in presentation, it makes up for in taste! This chocolate mug cake is the perfect savior for those in need of a bit of comfort. Whether you’re looking for a afternoon treat or a late night delight, this heaven-sent recipe can be whipped up in a heartbeat! The warm and intense flavour of the cake will fill your soul with glee and I just know this microwave chocolate cake recipe will become your best friend next winter. What better way to tackle those cold winter months than with a cupful of chocolaty bliss?

I for one couldn’t wait that long and decided to give this recipe a go on a very bright and sunny summer’s day. When it comes to desserts, seasons don’t matter. The only thing that matters is that undeniable urge to satisfy your sweet tooth.

So if you, like me, can’t wait until the weather gets cold, here is the basic chocolate microwave mug cake:

• 4 tbsp plain flour
• 4 tbsp sugar
• 4 tbsp cocoa powder
• 1 egg
• 3 tbsp of milk
• 3 tbsp oil
• Handful of chocolate chips

Method:
1. Mix the dry ingredients together.
2. Mix the wet ingredients together.
3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix.
4. Microwave for 2 minutes.
5. Tadaa!

Now, we all know that I’m not exactly an advocate of plain and simple cooking. So in an attempt to stay true to my inner experimental culinary genius, I wanted to jazz this recipe up with some additional flavourings and ingredients. I came up with this –if I may say so myself- brilliant chocolate, pear and ginger cake. The chocolate batter was flavoured with candied ginger to give it that zingy and spicy taste (Do I hear some gasps of utter amazement out there?) and the pear was poached in ginger and lemon tea, spiced with cinnamon, cardamom and star anise (What is that you say? …Oh stop it! You’re making my blush!)

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It looked absolutely awful!

But it tasted divine!
Proving once again, that inner beauty is much more important than a tidy appearance.

For my chocolate, pear and ginger mug cake you will need the same ingredients as the basic mug cake but I would suggest to divide everything by two, because otherwise this will be a gigantic dessert! And remember, you still have to put a poached pear on top of your batter so you’ve got to make sure your mug is big enough 😉

For the poached pear:
• 1 pear, peeled, cored and hollowed
• 1 tea bag of Twining’s ginger&lemon tea (my favourite!)
• 3 cardamom pods, crushed
• Cinnamon stick
• One star anise

Method:

1. Bring some water to the boil in a small saucepan. Add the spices and tea bag.
2. Poach the pear for about 2-4 minutes, depending on the size of your pear.

When everything comes together in blissful harmony:

1. Make your chocolate batter but instead of the handful of chocolate chips, use 1 tsp of chopped candied ginger.
2. Pour your chocolate mixture into the mug and put the poached pear on top.
3. Put in the microwave for 2 minutes.
4. Enjoy its delicious ugliness!

Bold, Beautiful, Balmain: next season it’s all about extremes

Published August 6, 2013 by The Feminist

Someday, like it or not, this ridiculously hot summer will come to an end. No more tanning on the beach. No more sweating on public transportation. No more doing the dishes in your bikini. (Uhum.) No more cocktails. (Who am I kidding, I drink cocktails all year round!)

We all have to admit that “Winter is coming”. Although Game of Thrones has a way of making that sound really terrifying, I for one am looking forward to cooler weather.

Why, you may ask? Well, it has everything to do with the autumn-winter collection of Balmain. I’ve never been so excited about one particular collection in my entire life! It’s as if designer Olivier Rousteing created this collection solely for the likes of me, because his collection contains all the things I ever dreamed of and more. Leather? Check. Glamour? Check. Bling? Check. Gold? Check. Mohair? Check. And above all, super tight waists? Check, check, check!

This collection is all about irresistible opulence. About embracing the extremes. Extremes in fabric. Extremes in silhouette. Extremes in women. Balmain’s collection is definitely not for the faint-hearted. It’s for ballsy, gutsy and confident women who aren’t afraid to take risks and –above all- who aren’t afraid to shine.

Pronounced shoulders and hips contrasted with a super tight waist: the perfect hourglass silhouette. This is definitely a look I want to try next fall. On the other hand, it would be nice to be able to breathe. Preferably. But then again, fashion is always a tiny bit of suffering, isn’t it?  😉

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I also love the contrast between the soft and cuddly tops and the shiny harem pants.

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Talking about harem pants, this collection is like a weirdly awesome- yet perfect- combination of the 1980s (shoulders pads!) and Aladdin.

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And last but not least, Balmain showed some incredibly beautiful colours:

Like this very alluring pink

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Pretty prestigious purple

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Brilliant blue

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And my favourite: poisonous green

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Oh, and before I forget, Olivier Rousteing also introduced some insanely looking thigh-high, skin-tight boots! Sigh. Why isn’t it winter already?

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To end on a much more realistic note, however: my bank account, unfortunately, doesn’t allow designer exuberance. That leaves me with three options: rob a bank, marry a very old- almost dead- billionaire, or find a similar look for a much more affordable price in retail stores. Given the fact that I look horrible with a pair of stockings pulled over my head and don’t see myself taking care of the elderly just yet, I will probably go with option three. 😉