Sunday, 22 December 2013

The Interior Edit #3

A few weeks ago we purchased a new, made to look old, industrial style bookcase from our living room. I thought I had enough 'stuff' to display on it but shockingly I don't! Nor did I have any idea about how I should style the opening shelving unit. So `i've been on the hunt from some helpful bloggers who know a thing or two about bookcase styling and now I will show you what I've found! Originally we bought the bookcase for the living room but after many hours searching through magazines and blogs I now think it would look even better in a kitchen, so the long term plan is to find a new home with the perfect kitchen to place our beautiful bookcase (it's that good)!



My dream kitchen/dining room. I love the exposed brick and the opening shelving. This is of a restaurant but can easily be achieve in a home as well. The only negative is dusting everyday, but still very worth it in my opinion.

Caitlin from Desert Domicile has a fantastic post about a bookcase she style in her home. She explains how to break up the displays and work in 'chunks' with room to tweak here and there. Below is her display, to find out more on how to achieve this look, visit her site Desert Domicile for more details.





Simply white.


In this room, they have similar items on each individual shelf. This can easily be achieved but grouping your objects together and arrange them in color and shape. You can play around with the placement and be sure have in each shelf something that is similar in each. Here, they have kept the colours to brown and white as well as glass. You can see this in each shelf. 



Neat and precise. For the perfectionists in us all! 


I love the simple stacking of magazines in this monochrome living room. For a sleek and modern look, this is styling I would definitely recommend. 


Full, eclectic & easy breezy shelves bring this living room together. An easy way to add colour to a neutral room. 

Friday, 20 December 2013

Spiced Breakfast Muffins




As a special treat for a midweek breakfast recently I whipped up these muffins. I originally planned to use a recipe given to me by my Mum but after taking a look at the recipe, it looked way too complicated for my morning mood. Instead I made these and they were delish and super easy! I didn't measure all the ingredients properly so you may need to add more/less butter and golden syrup. Let your baking intelligence take control!

Heres the recipe -

Ingredients

1 C plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

3 tbsp melted butter
1/3 C golden syrup
1 egg
1/4 C milk

-Preheat oven to 175 degrees celsius and line muffin tin with muffin liners.
-Mix wet ingredients together in a bowl and mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl. 
-Once mixed, combine and evenly distribute mixture between 6 space muffin tin.
-Bake for 12 (fan forced). Once cooked, brush with butter and sprinkle on cinnamon sugar. 


Sunday, 15 December 2013

The Interior Edit #2

Kitchens have been on my mind lately and I've gathered some inspiration to share with you all. In my opinion, the kitchen is the heart of the home. I have so may fond memories of watching my mum bake in the kitchen while my siblings and I would learn her tricks, have tea and converse and sweet memories of the warm light coming form the fridge in the middle of the night in pursuit of a midnight snack. I believe a kitchen should be inviting, warm and homely and preferably with a dining table within reach. A lot of natural sunlight is desired and should more than often have a smell of freshly baked muffins.

As I live in the Middle East although there is a lot of sun, at times too much, there is a lack of natural light flooding the house as one would expect. This is mostly due to the tinted windows that all homes have which very needed to for summer months. Unfortunately for our kitchen, there is little sunlight and the kitchen is a very dark wood, with terra cotta tiled floors and a greeny-dark gray bench top, all of which make it look even darker!  So after doing some research, we are looking into changing the splashback tiles to a fresh bright white, in a subway brick tile. Do you think it will work to make the kitchen lighter? Tell me your thoughts!

All images taken from Pinterest, to get to the source click on the P button on the left hand side and find Interior Edit album on my account.


I love the simplicity and raw appeal of this black and white kitchen. The Baby's Breath add a feminine touch while the hanging bulbs give the oh so lovely warehouse feel. This is definitely a kitchen I'd love to cook in, with the condition that there should be natural light and lots of it. 


Eceltic and county, the copper pots are the perfect addition to this kitchen bringing some warmth to the olive green tile. 


Happy and Bright - this is a great modern and fun kitchen. 


Classic Country - I can see my Mum in a vintage apron, listening to Nat King Cole and baking some Madelines in this beautiful kitchen! The chandelier is perfect here. Every well loved kitchen deserves some bling. 


Simple White - Subway tiles, Le Crouset and that gorgeous oven. Perfect for the one who prefers simplicity. 


Yellow - A great way to add warmth to a cool room. Very American, very Martha. 


This is my favourite and felt appropriate to leave last as a parting vision. The gold accents with the graphic monochrome back splash is perfectly eye catching and would look great in any house. 










Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Slow Roasted Lamb


As I was growing up my Mum would make a Sunday Roast every week, sometimes chicken, sometimes beef and sometimes lamb. I could never choose a favourite between the chicken and lamb although the good thing about the lamb was that there was always leftovers for a lamb and ketchup sandwhich the next day. Since we more than often eat chicken rather than lamb now, I decided to make a Slow Roasted Lamb with a twist on Mum's classic.

Although I have always been afraid of cooking a Roast Dinner, this could not have been simpler. There is no need to worry about the meat being too dry or the timing of the vegetables. I got this recipe from a Marie Claire cookbook I've had for some years but shamefully have only tried 2 of the recipes. I fear that I may sometimes buy a cookbook for the beauty rather than the recipes. I think we are all guilty!
The image above is from the book, such beautiful photography throughout! 

I tweaked it a little by leaving out the red wine and instead using balsamic vinegar and extra vegetable stock, it worked perfectly! Also as my piece of lamb was 1kg less than the recipe called for, I used a little less liquid and cooked it for 3 hours rather than 4. If you are cooking for more than 3 people, I would suggest using a 2kg piece. 

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil
2kg lamb leg
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 rosemary sprigs
1 1/2 cups of vegetable stock
1 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
400g tin chopped tomatoes
100g green beans, trimmed
50g creamy feta cheese

- Preheat oven to 160C.
- Heat the oil in a deep, heavy roasting tin over a medium heat and brown the lamb on both sides.
- Remove the lamb and add the onion, cooking until it is translucent.
- Add the garlic, stock and vinegar to the onion and stir to combine.
- Return the lamb to the roasting tin and then add the tomato and rosemary sprigs.
- Cover with a lid or foil and transfer into the oven.
- Cook for 4 hours or until the meat is very tender. You can check at about 2 1/2 hours and add more liquid if needed. 
- Once the lamb is cooked, remove from the roasting tin, season with sea salt, cover with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. 
- With a large spoon skim away any surface oil from the tomato sauce, add the green beans and stir through. Return the tin to the oven for a few minutes or allow to cook using your stove top. 
- Slice the lamb and arrange it on a warm plates. Spoon the beans and tomato sauce over the lamb, then crumble feta over the top.


Voila! Beautifully tender roast lamb. Feel free to mop up any juices with a crusty piece of bread. 


Tuesday, 3 December 2013

The Interior Edit


Something that I miss so much about living on the other side of the world is those days I would spend with my favourite galpal Courtney, shopping for vintage furniture then usually followed by a long chat and several cups of tea. Although it is not the same, sharing my love of antiques and interiors without her I can still easily waste a whole day strolling through furniture shops,picturing my favourite pieces in my home, or scrolling through interior design blogs, swooning over home renovations and architecture. So here I begin one of many to come regular posts on interiors that have caught my eye throughout the week.

I am a huge lover of interior design, styling, architecture and furniture and I want to celebrate the amazing talent that is out there. I find that there are so many styling options available in the market. from the affordable to excessive, all of which in someway suit the style of each individual. Although my taste may not be to everyones liking, I hope that you can gather some ideas and find your inner interior stylist. 

My first post will be about what stole my interior loving heart from the very beginning, and although I have now opened up to a wider range of design, white rooms with floorboards will always hold a special place in my heart. I think many people will agree with me that everything looks nicer in white, it helps to make a small space seem bigger, to give the illusion of increased natural sunlight and will help you to stay calm and relaxed. All pros in my opinion, save the problem of dirty small hands...

All images courtesy of Pinterest, you can click the pintrest button on the top left hand side of my blog to find more style inspo. 


















Sunday, 1 December 2013

Magnolia Banana Pudding, a Tribute...


On my first trip to New York in 2011, I made a special visit to the world renowned, Magnolia Bakery. I knew about the bakery thanks to numerous episodes of Sex and the City, where the girls often stop by the pastel colored shop for a perfectly iced cupcake. Although I went for the cupcake, of which I purchased several, the highlight of my Magnolia experience was the Banana Pudding that the baker behind the counter insisted I try. One spoonful and I was hooked, it was one of the most amazing things my taste buds had ever experienced and I will remain ever so grateful to that insistent baker.

Although we are fortunate enough to have our own little Magnolia Bakery in Dubai, it does not compare to the Manhattan shop in looks or taste. Its true what they say, you just can't beat an original. So here I have a tribute to that special banana pudding using a few different ingredients, with an intention that it would not be a copy, as it would be a insult to Magnolia's own. 


I made my own meringues using this recipe but feel free to use store bought if thats easier for you. I had a few left over from another dessert so wanted to use them up, thus this recipe was born! I would use less sugar than what it stated, as the dessert is very sweet. I know that the magnolia recipe uses Nilla Wafers, so if you want a pudding more authentic to Magnolia, you can also use them. I also used Jello Instant Vanilla Pudding in this dessert, which I am unsure if you can get all over the world but I do know that there is an equivalent in Australia called Cottees. 

Finally, the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 meringue nests
  • 100g packet of instant vanilla pudding
  • 397g tin sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 cups ice cold water
  • 2 bananas, sliced
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • banana chips for decoration


  1. To the make pudding, empty the contents into a large mixing bowl and add the water and tin of condensed milk. Whisk continually for 2mins then cover with cling wrap and leave in the fridge to set (about 3 hours, or you can leave overnight).
  2. Once pudding has set, whisk the cream with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold whipped cream into pudding mixture until completely combined. 
  3. Break the meringue into large chunks using hands. 
  4. In your serving bowl (or individual jars), begin layering the broken meringue, then the banana, then the vanilla pudding mix. Repeat 3 times or as many times as you need to fill your bowl. Garnish with extra meringue pieces and cover with cling wrap. 
  5. Leave to chill until you are ready to serve. 

Enjoy!

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Winter Risotto

So its finally winter in Dubai and unlike in my hometown in Tasmania, I'm loving the cooler weather. We can finally enjoy being outdoors without the all too familiar uncomfortable sticky skin.

This recipe is perfect for the cooler months as well as a comfort meal if your feeling a little home sick or just in need of a familiar homely taste. This recipe was given to me from a friend back home in 2010 and I've been using it ever since. I had never before attempted risotto as I always thought it involved too much slaving over the stove, mixing for hours. This recipe is the exact opposite, you just stick it in the oven and let it cook. You can change it up if your feeling adventurous, maybe add a little spice or use pumpkin in place of sweet potato. I'd love to hear about your variations! Serves around 4 adults, you can easily double the recipe if needed.

Here is the recipe -

Ingredients

25g butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 large chicken breast
1 cup risotto rice
4 1/2 cup chicken stock, homemade or store bought
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup of cubed and roasted sweet potato
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

- Place chicken breast in a baking dish and drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of lemon pepper or mixed garlic spice. Bake the chicken breast in a 175C oven for around 25mins or until the juices run clear. Once cooked, allow to cool then pull apart pieces using your fingers. You can do this earlier in the day if you prefer.
- Keep oven preheated at 180C.
-  Melt butter in a large pan then add the onion and saute until soft and translucent.
- Add the vinegar, allow to cook then add the rice, stirring to coat with butter mixture.
- Add 1/2 a cup of the stock, allow the rice to soak it up then add another 1/2 a cup. Combine and allow rice to absorb.
- Transfer rice mixture into a large baking dish and top with the remaining stock. Cover dish with foil and put it into the oven.
- After 20mins of baking, take out the dish, stir the mixture and cover once again with foil for another 20-30mins, checking in between if you need more liquid or if the rice is cooked.
- Once cooked, add the cooked chicken, sweet potato and cheese and stir to combine. Serve with a fresh green salad.


Monday, 25 November 2013

New Day, New Look

Welcome Deer Friends
...to my new blog look! I hope you all love the new design as much as I do. After shopping around for months for something that was within my budget, style and taste, I found Suzana from Croatia who is the sweetest web designer I've met to redesign my blog!

Friday, 22 November 2013

Exaggerated Chocolate Chip Cookies



Lately I've been so busy with crocheting and custom orders that I've had little time for my other passion, baking. The oven was begging to be used and my stomach was craving some home baked goods, so I turned to a trusty Australian cook book and these cookies were born an hour later.





The cookie base is so versatile, you can add pretty much whatever extra chocolates you want. For this batch I chose mini M&Ms and chopped up mars bars, an amazing combination! Although be warned that the mars bar will melt out a little around the edges and as delicious as they are, the appearance is very rustic... but thats the way I like it! I made these just over 24hours ago and all 12 are gone, no crumbs remaining!


Here is the recipe -

Ingredients
1 cup loosely packed brown sugar
90g unsalted butter
1 egg, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1 cup of your favourite chocolate confectionary, chopped into small bits if large


- Preheat the oven to 180C and line two large baking trays with baking paper.
- Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg until well incorporated.
- Sift in the flour and using your hand, fold in to combine.
- Gently fold in the chocolate confectionary
- Cover will cling film and rest in the fridge for 15mins.
- Roll the mixture into golf size balls, place on prepared trays, allowing room to spread between each, and flatten slightly.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes - less if you prefer a chewier cookie or longer if you prepare a crunchier one.
- Remove from the oven and cool on the trays for a few minutes, then move to wire racks to cool or eat them hot with a glass of cold milk.

*Makes around 12 large cookies. 



Enjoy!
Melanie xo




Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Just a few reasons I love old movies...

Some of my favourite lines from some of my favourite movies...


It Happened One Night 


Shapely: "Shapely sure knows how to pick em. Yes sir, Shapelys the name and that how i like to pick em.... What's the matter sister your not sayin' much?"

Ellie: "Seems to me your doing excellently without any assistance"

Shapely:"Well shut my big nasty mouth. Theres nothing that i like better than a high class momma that can snap back at ya. The cooler they are the hotter they get. Yes sir, when a cool momma gets hot boy how she sizzles."

I'm not sure if everyone else finds these lines as funny as my Mum and I but it gets me every time! Gotta love Shapely. 


The Philadelphia Story



Dinah: "Oh I wish something would happen! Nothing ever possibly in the least ever happens here!"

Tracey: "Put me in your pocket Mike."

Sabrina




Sabrina writing to her father from Paris: "I have learnt how to live... How to be In the world and Of the world, not just to stand aside and watch. And I will never, never again run away from life. Or from love, either..."

And my favourite introduction of all time...


Once upon a time,



 

                   

on the North Shore of Long Island,

some 30 miles from New York,



 

                   

there lived a small girl

on a large estate.



 

                   

The estate was very large indeed

and had many servants.



 

                   

There were gardeners

to take care of the gardens



 

                   

and a tree surgeon on a retainer.



 

                   

There was a boatman to put the boats

in the water in the spring



 

                   

and scrape their bottoms

in the winter.



 

                   

There were specialists

to take care of the grounds,



  

                   

the outdoor tennis court

and the indoor tennis court,



  

                   

the outdoor swimming pool

and the indoor swimming pool.



  

                   

And a man of no particular title



  

                   

took care ofa small pool in the

garden for a goldfish named George.



  

                   

Also on the estate there was

a chauffeur by the name of Fairchild,



  

                   

who had been imported from England

years ago,



  

                   

together with a new Rolls-Royce.



  

                   

Fairchild was a fine chauffeur

of considerable polish,



  

                   

Like the eight cars in his care.



  

                   

And he had a daughter

by the name of... Sabrina.



  

                   

It was the eve of

the annual six-metre-yacht races



  

                   

and, as had been traditional

for the past    years,



  

                   

the Larrabees were giving a party.



  

                   

It never rained on the night

of the Larrabee party.



  

                   

The Larrabees

wouldn't have stood for it.



  

                   

There were four Larrabees in all -

father, mother and two sons.



  

                   

Maude and Oliver Larrabee

were married in     .



  

                   

Among their many wedding presents

was a town house in New York



  

                   

and this estate for weekends.



  

                   

The town house has since been

converted into Saks Fifth Avenue.



  

                   

Linus Larrabee, the elder son,

graduated from Yale,



  

                   

where his classmates voted him



  

                   

the man most likely

to leave his alma mater$   million.



  

                   

His brother, David, went through

several of the best Eastern colleges



  

                   

for short periods of time,



  

                   

and through several marriages

for even shorter periods of time.



  

                   

He is now a successful

six-goal polo player



  

                   

and is listed on Linus's tax return

as a $    deduction.



  

                   

Life was pleasant among

the Larrabees,



  

                   

for this was as close to heaven

as one could get on Long Island.





Friday, 15 November 2013

Travel Diary - Day 12 & 13

Some more photos of Versailles, the Queens Hamlet which she had built personally as well as the Petit Trianon which she had redecorated in the latest fashion! 
We spent our last full day in Paris visiting the Champs Elysee, the Eiffel Tower, breakfast at our favourite bakery and a lunch of macarons, tarts and more pastry which we worked off after trekking an innumerable amount of spiral stairs to the top of the Arc de Triomph (but very worth it, the view is one of the best in Paris)! After a long day of touring the city by foot, we had a quick rest then went to see PAris by night, which is a truly amazing experience. We took an open bus tour which took us all around the city dazzling in lights. It was one of the highlights of the trip! We were both very sad to leave the next day but with hope that we would once again return to my favourite city, Paris. 


 Grand Trianon

  Petit Trianon, one of my favourite rooms.

 The Queens Hamlet, part of her private estate.


 Just one secluded area of the Queens Hamlet, so beautiful!

  The far left garden of the Palace.


The Grand Palais 

The gorgeous old staircase inside the Arc de Triomph 

 One of the best views in Paris!

The Sacre Coeur a top Monmatre. 

Amazing architecture of the Arc de Triomph 

Picture perfect, the rainbow in the Latin Quarter.  

The Parthenon, such a beautiful spot and just a short walk from our hotel.