monthly favourites: august

August Favourites

Fashion: When a friend decided to host a white party, I was in trouble because I don’t do all white. Ever. There are multiple reasons for this but it boils down to (a) I’m a klutz and (b) I’m pasty so don’t look good in it. Fortunately H&M came to the rescue with a cheap but stylish white lace dress that was summery party perfection (1). I may even pull it out again for regular parties…

Face: Nobody likes a full face of make-up in summer (well, at least I don’t!) but when you want to feel a bit special, a sheer red lip can be just the ticket. I fell head over heels for Lipstick Queen’s Aloha (2) and, as it’s limited edition, I recommend you grab your own quick smart!

Food: The weather started to cool down a little earlier than I’d hoped, but I decided to embrace the temperatures by cooking up Adeline and Lumiere’s fantastic pumpkin, goat cheese and caramelised onion pizza (3). This recipe is very straight-forward, and it tastes like you slaved in the kitchen for hours!

Film: How can you not love Guardians of the Galaxy? (4). It was so much fun to watch and despite the fact that it was an all-out, space-fantasy story (AKA not my usual scene), I loved it!

Flashback: Over the final days of summer, I really enjoyed re-reading the post from 2012 about five must-pack items for a beach break (5).

gift idea #23: get baking!

Christmas is only two sleeps away and the stores are complete and utter madness. If you’ve left your Christmas shopping to the last minute, why not bake up something special instead!

I’m not the best chef in the world so I’ve turned to my blogroll to get help from the experts…

Glorious Treats has recipes for the most beautiful cookies you’ve ever seen including this beautiful and tasty gingerbread garland (above).

(Author note: I may have actually bought my own cookies from the Shingle Inn – they look homemade and taste fantastic!)

For a different take on rum balls, FashionFoodFatale is rolling some brandy balls – can’t wait to try those out myself!

If you want to make something a little less sweet, star-topped mince pies a la the fabulous Nigella Lawson will go down a treat.

If you have any other favourite Christmas recipes, please share them in the comments – ’tis the season, after all!

drink up: the negroni

The Negroni has become my boy’s signature drink so in honour of his birthday, I thought I’d share it with you.

The cocktail was invented in Florence, Italy in 1919 at Caffè Casoni (which still exists today as Caffè Giacosa). Count Camillo Negroni asked the bartender to strengthen the Americano (his favorite drink) by adding gin instead of soda water.

The bartender also added an orange garnish rather than the lemon of the Americano to signify that it was a different drink.

The Negroni
One part gin
One part sweet vermouth
One part Campari

Stir in an old-fashioned glass over ice, add a slice of orange peel to garnish.

tasty treats: pannacotta with granita

While it may not feel like it yet, summer is at an end and cooler weather is on the way. To celebrate the last few days of warmth, I’m contemplating knocking up a batch of my favourite summer dessert – white chocolate pannacotta with champagne granita (borrowed from Gordon Ramsay’s Sunday Lunch).

Champagne Granita:
– 125g caster sugar
– 3 tbsp liquid glucose
white chocolate pannacotta– squeeze of lemon juice
– 250ml champagne

Pannacotta
– 600ml double cream
– 150ml milk
– 60g caster sugar
– 3 gelatine sheets
– 200g white chocolate

To serve:
– 125g raspberries
– finely pared lemon zest

First, make the granita. Put the sugar, 250ml water, the liquid glucose and lemon juice into a heavy-based pan and stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat to high and let the sugar syrup bubble for 3 minutes. Leave to cool completely before adding the champagne. Pour the mixture into a shallow plastic container and freeze for 2-3 hours until partially frozen. Scrape the semi-frozen granita with a fork and stir up the ice crystals. Return to freezer until ready to use.

To make the pannacotta, put the cream, milk and sugar into a heavy-based saucepan over a low heat to melt the sugar, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, soak the gelatine sheets in a shallow dish of cold water for a few minutes.

When the cream begins to bubble up the sides of the pan, remove from the heat. Stir in the white chocolate and continue to stir until it has melted. Squeeze the excess water from the gelatine leaves, add them to the warm mixture and stir well to dissolve. Pour the mixture into 6-8 moulds. Stand the moulds on a tray and refrigerate for 5-6 hours or overnight until set. The pannacotta should still have a slight wobble when it is ready.

To turn out, dip the base of each mould in a bowl of hot water for two seconds, the invert onto a small place and give the mould a shake to release the pannacotta. Serve each pannacotta surrounded by raspberries and shavings of champagne granita. Top with a curl of lemon zest.

What better way to say farewell to summer? Bon Appetit!