Wednesday, July 25, 2012

London 2012 Sights and Sites

We all know that London is one of the most fabulous cities in the world.  It's just not possible to walk around London without tripping over some incredible historic site, thus it's definitely hats off to the Olympic Committee for setting as many of the events in places of great historic interest.

Our intention with this blog is to paint a picture of the sights and sites of London 2012, starting with the Olympic Torch relay going through South West London on Monday 23rd July.



The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe theatrical event which is being held in Kensington Gardens was mentioned in the London 2012 blog.  This is what the location looks like.


From a tourism perspective (it's not only about the games) many countries have elected to erect temporary villages at many of the historic sites.  You can find the Africa village in Hyde Park



With Russia being the hosts for the 2014 Winter Olympics they've taken over a substantial part of Hyde Park...here's a view of the building work currently taking place.  


Stands being erected in for fortunate attendees of the Marathon Swim and Triathalon



Take a moment to enjoy the beauty of some of the Royal Parks...the pond in Kensington Gardens


How about heading over to the London Eye as seen from Hyde Park, with the newly built Shard in the background?


If you're in the market for a new car, you may find what you desire in Knightsbridge.


With the Games beginning on Friday 27th July 2012, there will definitely be more sights and sites to be seen.



Friday, July 20, 2012

FashionMom: London 2012

FashionMom: London 2012: Exactly one week to go to London 2012! Currently a teeming mass of humanity, what will London be like when all of the visitor...

London 2012 - Guest Blog from London


Exactly one week to go to London 2012!



Currently a teeming mass of humanity, what will London be like when all of the visitors for this two-week spectacle have arrived?  Can't wait to find out despite not being a fan of crowds. Crowds feels like it will an understatement after my experience of the 'hordes' in central London two weekends ago.

What a great time to be living in London!  It is an historic and irreplaceable time in our history.

Of course the Games means that we are focused on sport and I'm looking forward to seeing the cycle road race as it goes through my neighbourhood and the marathons of course.  Not least of all because I'm a fan of these sports but also because I was not fortunate enough to be able to get a ticket to any of the other events.  This lack of experiencing the Games directly will not detract from my enjoyment of the atmosphere and excitement of the event.

Since this blog is dedicated to fashion and life in general, I guess it's only right to take a look at what non-ticket holders will be able to experience and participate in during the Games.  



Culturally - there's the 12-week Cultural Olympics which began a couple of weeks ago with a free concert and will include major exhibitions at the V&A (see the British Design exhibition), The National Portrait Gallery (images of the 2012 Games), Tate Modern's installations in the new space opened in the oil tanks, the South Bank, to name a few.  Not to mention to the must participate in International Shakespeare Festival.  There will be numerous concerts in Hyde Park as well.  Don't overlook theatre land as there are a variety of award winning shows to take in.




Shopping - of course there are the ubiquitous Oxford Street which has seen the opening of the new a Adidas store to rival Nike Town and Regent Streets with their additions of Hollister and Gilly Hicks stores.  But don't be satisfied with only these streets check out Carnaby Street for eclectic and unique items, not to mention the iconic Liberty and why not venture into Marylebone.  London has a wide variety of open air markets as well, so head over to Spitalfields market and begin to soak up the atmosphere of the East End.  Many of the shops will be opening very late during the Olympics and because of our location, the sun doesn't set until after 9pm in the Summer...





Eating and drinking -we do this so well.  When you're a little tired of restaurants and coffee shops, give our wonderful pubs a try.  Have a pint or two and some good pub grub.  It's not all pie and mash.

Diplomacy - Oh yes, the major countries participating in the Games have taken up residence in some of the most historic buildings in the Capital.  For a start pay a visit to Somerset House to see the Brazilians advertising for 2016. 



Gardens and Parks - the Royal Parks all have special activities and cultural events designed for the Olympics, so be sure to pay a visit to any of them from Green Park to Richmond Park, with Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park in between.  There's a special showing of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe in Kensington Gardens.

Next adventure in the Olympics saga will be seeing the Flame going through my neighbourhood as it wends its way through London now.  Hope I get a good vantage point to see it!




Thank you so much our guest blogger Domini Q from London, we love you! 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

It's Friday! Summer Cocktail Series! Peach Sangria

I love Sangrias. They are served in tall glasses vs margarita stemware and they always looks delicious and sophisticated.  The sight of the fruit floating in the pitcher is always makes me ready to take a long sip.

Peaches are in season, this is a delicious version to try this summer. Yumness!


Peach Sangria

Ingredients

Peaches- thinly sliced
Mint leaves
Peach Schnapps ( Splash)
Sugar - 1 tablespoon
Oranges- thinly sliced
Chilled Bottle of Sauvignon White Wine

In a large pitcher combine the mint leaves with a splash of peach schnapps and the tablespoon of sugar. Gently mash with a wooden spoon. Stir in thinly sliced peaches and oranges. Add the bottle of white wine. Cover and chill for 2 to 24 hours. Gosh how delicious after 24 hours!
 of course the best part


Serve in tall glasses over ice.

Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Listmania- The professions I would like to try.






 The Nile - Aswan, Egypt



I am not sure about other people but almost weekly I have second thoughts or regrets about my career choices or my career path. I review my career options constantly, nothing seems to be the perfect job. In some ways  though I have always been a bit of a fashionista ; my first choice as a young girl was to be a flight attendant after seeing the glamour girls in the high flying glam heyday of the seventies. I have several vintage Pan Am and British Airways in the attic :) My career has always been in fashion, some real estate and a bit of home staging. 


The list below is a fantasy list. In no particular order but the first one is my top choice.  It is not too late for me to try some of these.....


Spanish, French or Mandarin Translator at the United Nations- This would be a heady experience, on every level, every single day. 

History professor  or Art History professor- I love history and could get lost in a history book almost daily. I could get lost in the 15th and 16th centuries.

Beauty Editor ( fashion magazine or blog)- Along with every woman on the planet!

Egyptian Tour Guide- To spend every day visiting some of the most magical places in this beautiful country would be an amazing experience.

Business Analyst- after a childhood spent being intimidated by math, I eventually conquered my demons, now I can't live without a daily analysis and evaluation all of my reports at work. I am an over analyzer that is for sure.

Retail  Consultant- After spending years in retail and customer service I would love to advise corporations on how to improve customer service from the inside out. Treat your inside customer ( retail teams) well first and you will get great results.

Anthony Bourdain's Job (  Travel and Food TV Host) - Travel around the world and try different cuisines ( I would have to be a chef of course, he did his time). Job of a lifetime.

Property Management - For a condo complex . Should be interesting working with people and working through their issues.

Reading Volunteer or Storyteller - Travel all over the country reading to children at schools. Would be a total pleasure to see the smiles on their faces.

Graphic Designer - I have a natural curiosity for web building, along with unique ideas.


now that you know how this mind works, please send your wish list, I would love to get the scoop! 


Fashionmom

Thursday, July 12, 2012

It's Friday! Summer Cocktail Series! Cantaloupe and Campari Pops


1 cantaloupe, peeled and seeded
3/4 cup simple syrup
1/4 cup Campari




  1. Cut the cantaloupe into large chunks and purée in 
a food processor. You should have about 21/cups (18 fl oz.) of purée.
  2. Transfer the puréed cantaloupe to a bowl or measuring pitcher with a pouring spout. Add the simple syrup until the cantaloupe tastes quite sweet.
  3. Now dribble in the Campari until you can detect its flavor. Campari is less alcoholic than most spirits, so this mixture can handle more of it, but it has such a strong presence that you want to be careful not to overdo it.
  4. Pour the mixture into your ice pop molds, leaving a little bit of room at the top for the mixture to expand. Insert sticks and freeze until solid, 4 to 5 hours. Unmold and transfer to plastic bags for storage or serve at once.
Have a great weekend!


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Caramelised Fennel, Kale and Goat Curd Quiche






For the first time in 3 years I have been hit by a cold. I spent last weekend, one of the hottest on record outdoors and indoors at different kid friendly venues. The end result? is my daughter and I are sick.  But while she was still able to head off to summer camp today, for the first time I was totally disabled...except for my fingers, so here goes. 

This is a variation on a Donna Hay Recipe. I think that everyone knows that my love for everything Donna Hay knows no bounds. With the start of  my daughter's kindergarten days coming in less than 4 weeks, I  am continuing to try different recipes for her lunch box. I did not have all of the ingredients at home so there are some substitutes. 

I tried this two days ago and the results were stellar! Enjoy! 

Caramelised Fennel, Kale and Goat's curd quiche.  Add Prosciutto for some extra kick. 



1/2 Cup Sherry Vinegar( I used wine vinegar because I could not find sherry vinegar)
1/2 Cup brown sugar
sea salt and cracked black pepper
500 g baby fennel halved ( if not a local supermarket , try farmer's markets)
2 eggs
1 cup single pouring cream( or canned evaporated milk ) 
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard. 
2 sheets store bought butter puff pastry thawed. 
kale leaves, blanched ( bring a  large pot of water  and salt to a roiling bowl boil kale until tender or al dente, your choice) and chopped. 
1./2 cup goat's curd or soft goat cheese sliced, plus extra to serve. 
Stripped prosciutto 


Preheat oven to 425F. Place the vinegar, sugar, sale and pepper in a small deep-sided baking tray. Add the fennel cut side down, and roast for 35-40 minutes or until sticky and tender. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees. Place the eggs, cream, mustard, salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk to combine. Trim the pastry and use to line a lightly greased loose bottomed tin overlapping the sheets in the center. Top with the kale and fennel, cut side-up. Pour over the egg mixture and place spoonfuls of the goat cheese around the fennel. Place the prosciutto strips around the fennel. Bake for 40 minutes or until just set and golden. Serve with extra goat's cheese. 
Serves 4. 

Enjoy! 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

It's Friday! Summer Cocktails! Citrus Sparkler Punch!



As the summer heat continues to build my cocktail dreams continue to focus on limes, lemons and oranges, I cannot seem to help myself. Here is a refreshing cocktail to take you through the weekend!  This one is perfect for large gatherings, at the pool, on the deck, on the front porch, on the lawn.....

Citrus Sparkler Punch

25 oz Gun
12 oz frozen lemonade or limeade concentrate
6 oz frozen orange juice concentrate
6 oz frozen pineapple concentrate or grapefruit juice concentrate
3 oz fresh lime juice
2 litres soda water.

Pour all of the ingredients except the soda water into a punch bowl with a large block of ice. Add soda water just before serving. Garnish with lemon, lime and orange slices!

Happy Friday!

Fashionmom


Cheese Spread for Sandwiches - Guyanese Version


So many people have asked for this recipe and it is not on the web...here goes...


Guyana Cheese Spread - This is a traditional Guyanese spread used for sandwiches. We can trace it back to our British heritage and tradition of tea with sandwiches and cakes. If we need a snack we take this out of the fridge and eat it with bread, bagels or crackers.  Adults and children are also initially attracted to this sandwich because of the different colors ( food coloring). I cannot even remember when I made this for the first time, I just knew how to make it, it passes from generation to generation.



 Cheese Sandwiches ( Mom's Recipe from Guyana South America) 



Ingredients - I do not have any exact measurements. Add the ingredients and taste as you proceed. Here are some approximate measurements.
Serves 8 people and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Sharp Cheddar Cheese - Large ( 8 or 16 oz). Must be sharp 
1 tsp of Mustard- or add more if needed. 
1 tbsp butter
1/3 cup of milk or added as needed. Milk helps the spread to become smooth and creamy. be careful if you add too much the spread becomes soft. 
A dash of Tabasco or pepper sauce. 
Parsley finely chopped ( must be very fine)
Food Coloring ( 4 to 5 colors) 

Grate the cheese ( fine ) and set aside. Put cheese, mustard, butter, parsley, pepper sauce and milk in a large bowl. Using a hand or standing mixer whip everything together until it is firm and smooth. It should be smooth enough to spread on bread. The cheese must be melted and whipped into the mixture, no chunks
( add more milk).


Place the finished spread into 4 Martha Stewart mini prep bowls.. Drizzle a different color of the Liquid Food Coloring into each bowl. Mix the coloring in and set aside. To make a "triple deck sandwich", layer one color on the bottom slice of your choice of whole wheat or white traditional bread ( I like P Farm Whole Grain . Cover with a second slice and then add a second color to the slice.Top with slice number 3. Cut all of the edges off of the bread and make a final diagonal cut. Voila! A cheese sandwich that cannot be beat!










Wednesday, July 4, 2012

FashionMom: Para Las Ninas- Recipes for Mothers and Daughters....

FashionMom: Para Los Ninas- Recipes for Mothers and Daughters....: Nectarine Tart with Fresh Basil and Reduced Balsamic.  I am the youngest of  a family of five girls who grew up in http://www.guyana...
Plus Guyanese Cheese Spread recipe

Para Las Ninas- Recipes for Mothers and Daughters.



Nectarine Tart with Fresh Basil and Reduced Balsamic. 


I am the youngest of  a family of five girls who grew up in http://www.guyana.org/guymap.html Georgetown, Guyana. I was a tad spoilt, I was not given the standard chores of  my sisters ( taking out the trash etc) neither was I asked to pitch in with the cooking and baking sessions for the large Sunday meals. My eldest sister Kean supervised the main meal and my other sister Beverly worked on cakes and desserts.  Instead I was always given the job of "taster". That job gave me lots of time to observe the cooking methods; something my mother did not truly appreciate until she sampled my cooking after I moved to the United States. She was pleased to discover that my observations paid off, I did well after all! :)  She gave me two of her prized cookbooks which I have already passed on my daughter. Her legacy will live on. 
I decided that I wanted to start that same family tradition with my daughter. She is five years old and she can handle herself in the kitchen without any major accidents. I see it as a great time to bond over something we love, food. Handling tools and measurements is also an excellent learning tool for children during their early learning years. It is also a good time to capitalize on her enthusiasm for helping Mommy, before it is too late :)

Here is a sampling of recipes along with some pictures of us cooking over the last few months. The recipes here are from my own recipes, books, magazines and Pinterest recipes. Pinterest has been an excellent source of  easy recipes for me since I joined a few months ago.  There are two different tart recipes below.  I like to make tarts because they are kid friendly. With tarts all parents have to do is to prep the ingredients and get the puff pastry ready and 30 minutes later everything is done.

Guyana Cheese Spread - This is a traditional Guyanese spread used for sandwiches. We can trace it back to our British heritage and tradition of tea with sandwiches and cakes. If we need a snack we take this out of the fridge and eat it with bread, bagels or crackers.  Adults and children are also initially attracted to this sandwich because of the different colors ( food coloring). I cannot even remember when I made this for the first time, I just knew how to make it, it passes from generation to generation.



 Cheese Sandwiches ( Mom's Recipe from Guyana South America) 



Ingredients - I do not have any exact measurements. Add the ingredients and taste as you proceed. Here are some approximate measurements.
Serves 8 people and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Sharp Cheddar Cheese - Large ( 8 or 16 oz). Must be sharp 
1 tsp of Mustard- or add more if needed. 
1 tbsp butter
1/3 cup of milk or added as needed. Milk helps the spread to become smooth and creamy. be careful if you add too much the spread becomes soft. 
A dash of Tabasco or pepper sauce. 
Parsley finely chopped ( must be very fine)
Food Coloring ( 4 to 5 colors) 

Grate the cheese ( fine ) and set aside. Put cheese, mustard, butter, parsley, pepper sauce and milk in a large bowl. Using a hand or standing mixer whip everything together until it is firm and smooth. It should be smooth enough to spread on bread. The cheese must be melted and whipped into the mixture, no chunks
( add more milk).


Place the finished spread into 4 Martha Stewart mini prep bowls.. Drizzle a different color of the Liquid Food Coloring into each bowl. Mix the coloring in and set aside. To make a "triple deck sandwich", layer one color on the bottom slice of your choice of whole wheat or white traditional bread ( I like P Farm Whole Grain . Cover with a second slice and then add a second color to the slice.Top with slice number 3. Cut all of the edges off of the bread and make a final diagonal cut. Voila! A cheese sandwich that cannot be beat!










Nectarine Tart with Fresh Basil and Reduced Balsamic (Pinterest) 


Ingredients
Cheese - Ricotta/Mozzarella/Goat or Mascapone your choice. 
1 nectarine - thinly sliced or enough to fit your tart. 
Shavings of Fresh Parmigianno Reggiano
Fresh Basil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
Olive Oil
Argula 


Place the balsamic in a small saute pan. Turn the heat to medium high. Caution- Do not allow balsamic to burn, if it burns it is done. You must watch and cook until done. 
Let the balsamic simmer until reduced and noticeably thick ( does not have to be boiling then it is too late). Set aside to cool.

Puff Pastry (store bought)
Caution- You have to begin rolling while the pastry is still chilled, anytime after that the pastry is too warm and will stick to every surface in your kitchen. 
Pre Heat the Oven to 400 degrees. On a floured surface roll out the puff pastry into a 16 x 10 rectangle. I have had some rocky experiences with puff pastry. I have tried different brands with mixed results. The best one is the one I get from a local farmer's market for 2 dollars!. Trim uneven edges. Place pastry on the back baking sheet or a thin backing sheet. With a sharp knife, lightly score pastry dough 1 inch from the edges to mark a rectangle. Using a fork, pierce dough inside the markings at 1/2 inch intervals. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.



Remove the pastry shell from the oven and cover the dough with a layer of cheese, then only layer of sliced nectarines on top of the cheese. Sprinkle the fruit layer with the Parmigiano Reggiano. Drizzle with olive oil.  Place the tart back in the oven and bake until the cheese has melted and the crust is slightly brown. Remove from oven.  Sprinkle with arugula,basil and then drizzle with the balsamic reduction. Serve warm. Voila!








Asparagus Gruyere Tart ( Martha Stewart) 

Ingredients

2 Cups of Gruyere cheese, shredded ( at your local grocer )
11/2 pounds medium or think asparagus
1 tablespoon lemon flavored or regular olive oil
Salt and Pepper


Puff Pastry ( store bought)
Caution- You have to begin rolling while the pastry is still chilled, anytime after that the pastry is too warm and will stick to every surface in your kitchen. 
Pre Heat the Oven to 400 degrees. On a floured surface roll out the puff pastry into a 16 x 10 rectangle. I have had some rocky experiences with puff pastry. I have tried different brands with mixed results. The best one is the one I get from a local farmer's market for 2 dollars!. Trim uneven edges. Place pastry on the back baking sheet or a thin backing sheet. With a sharp knife, lightly score pastry dough 1 inch from the edges to mark a rectangle. Using a fork, pierce dough inside the markings at 1/2 inch intervals. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.

remove the pastry from the oven and sprinkle with the Gruyere. Trim the bottoms of the asparagus spears to fit crosswise inside the tart shell; arrange in a single layer over the Gruyere, alternating ends and tips. Brush with the olive oil , season with sale and pepper. Bake until spears are tender 20 to 25 minutes.




As you can see this was not one of our best Puff Pastry experiments. The tart was delicious though! :)






Happy Fourth!


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