Oh messy China! How lovely.

Source here.
And talking about cooking... Lauren Moffatt's recipe wheted my craving for Cookies!
I love cooking, and I manage rather well with Pastries. In my experience, one is always better at cooking what they like, and if you follow me, you know how much I like deserts. I would rather make them than buy them if I have the time to cook. I feel it is always healthier, when you can, to avoid all the chemicals and preservatives they industrialists and manufacturers add in their products. 
So yesterday I spent some time in the Kitchen with Jazz Music to make Raisins and Chocolate Cookies!

Email me for the recipe.
I was telling you yesterday about Lauren Moffatt, well if you like her design, I am sure you will like her recipes too!

Source here.
How cute are these Lauren Moffatt outfits? I love everything about them: the cut, the patterns, the pastel colours, the details, the vintage inspiration... The collection was inspired by various themes like eating crepes on the Canal Saint Martin in Paris, strolling around Saint Sulpice Church, Daydreaming at Les Puces du Design... It is very French, very 60's, very Paris, and I am absolutely falling for it.

Click here to find out more about the brand.

Sunday Sound

"You don't have to know the langage" by the Andrew Sisters and Bing Crosby - 1947

The heat is on, we are spending the day out... Ice Cream definitively is on the programme, and it is non-negociable!

Source here.
Bright Colours!

A few days ago, I had the chance to get a preview of the soon-to-open English Restaurant: the Ivy. Hosted by the Vu's Restaurant on the 50th floor of the Emirates Towers, the Ivy's team was happy to welcome their guests in order to give them a foretaste of their savoir-faire.

Although the Ivy Royal cocktail looked very tempting with it's pink fuschia colour, I have to admit that we did not really like it. I am guessing we misunderstood it: it was thick, too many strong flavours at the same time and a salty after-taste. It looked very stylish but was not what I was expected, and hoped for.

This being said, the wine was excellent, my Hamachi Sashimi was very subtle, the Dressed Dorset Crab was just what it ought to be, and the main courses (we had the Lobster Salad and the Seared Yellowfin Tuna) were very tasty. 
The Ivy's signature starter is the Bang Bang Chicken, their main course speciality is the Salmon Fish Cakes but they also do Fish'n Chips and Shepherd's Pie, so as you can see, we did not go for the regular dishes, which was tricky for the chefs who were not in her own kitchen. But it is also a very good reason for us to come back!
Nonetheless, my Sweet Tooth HAD to taste their signature desert: the Banana Sticky Toffee Pudding. Very British, very sticky, very very nice. It is by far the course I prefered: not too sweet but with an incredible texture, comforting but at the same time elegant. The kind of desert your grandmother could have cooked for you but dressed in a designer's outfit. I could easily come back just to have a coffee and that Pudding. 

Another thing we really enjoyed: the service. The staff were smiley, approchable, fast, discreet, they knew the menu and gave good advice. As always, I appreciated it and thanked them for that. As I said earlier, details are not just details.

Finally we were touched by the partnership the Ivy organised to make the most of this event and support START (all proceeds of the evening were donated to the charity), a non-profit organisation established by Art Dubai and the Al Madad Foundation which applies the universal language of art to heal, educate and enrich the skills and opportunities of children in the poorest areas of the region. 

I am definitively looking forward to their opening!

Click to here learn more about START.

The Ivy should open on the 9th June 2011.
The Boulevard, Ground Level
Jumeirah Emirates Towers
Tel: +971 4 3198767
My kinda Gal...
This photo shoot of Jamie Beck (photographer living in NYC) was inspired by Katharine Hepburn. Stunning!

Source here.
Retro Shades and iced Coffee, that's the mood!

Source here.
Details are a special kind of Science.
It is tricky to balance them, choose them, combine them... They can either be great or a disaster.
Some are naturals, others have to learn, but we all agree to say that they are important.
Details are not just details.

Source here.
"La Terre est bleue comme une Orange" Paul Eluard
"The Earth is blue like an Orange" Paul Eluard

I think I missed a few Sunday Sounds along on the road... Let's make it a Monday Sound this week!

"Hit the road" (because that's obviously what I have been doing last week) by the Andrew Sisters - 1935-1955

Sorry Puddings, it took me a while to find a good connection... Welcome to Dubai then: Land of Steam!

Time for Colours!
When I am in Paris, I mostly wear Black, Grey and White... aka the Holy Trinity.
But as soon as the Sun comes out I am craving for Colours!!

Source here.
I am packing again! Paris, London... Dubai!

Source here.
A few days ago, we were looking for a restaurant that would have a table left for a late dinner in Soho (yes, I am a very hopeful girl). After a few disappointments, we came across Polpo. I had heard lots of good reviews about it but never had the time to go and check it myself, so I was very happy to find it by chance and jumped on the occasion!

They did not have a table for us right away but told us it would be 30 minutes of waiting (which was really good compared to the 45min/1h the other places announced), I liked the fact that they would do their best to get us a table as soon as possible, and not play hard to get. The staff was adorable, very helpful, smiley and easy going, and this is a huge plus. They guided us to the basement bar. For those who feel claustrophobic, it might not be the best place to have a drink, in this case, just ask if you can drink your cocktail at the ground bar. I, personnally, really liked the place: cosy, candle light, nice barman, the music was good (cheesey hits) and not to lound: we could actually hear each other, isn't that amazing! (little joys of the everyday). I did not even have time to finish my glass of  prosecco when the waiter called us: he had not forgotten us, O Joy!
And then the fun began: the idea is to cover the table with italian tapas. The prices are really affordable, from 1.60£ to 8.40£, and you do not need to order the whole menu to feed your hunger. To be honest we did not understand everything on the menu as it was mostly in italian, so we decided to order the dishes we did not get. That is our way of choosing... Everyone has to find his style! Everything was fresh and tasty, from the Anchovy and Chick Pea Crostini to the Arancini, the Spinach Parmesan and soft Egg Pizzeta, the Rabbit and Apricot Terrine... It was lovely and simple. 

I highly recommand the place, especially for dates, or catching up with close friends. I will definitively be back and will check their other places. One thing to know though: they do not take any reservations but again, they make the waiting so short and so confortable it is a good way to get into the ambiance.

Polpo. A bacaro in Soho
41 Beak Street
London W1F 9SB.
Tel: 020 7734 4479
Click here for more information.
And back to the countryside!

Yesterday I had the chance to have dinner at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal (thank you Jules!). The chef, Ashley Palmer-Watts, was previously the Executive Head Chef for the Fat Duck group. With this new restaurant, the idea was to revisite recipes from the 16th century, with his hight experimental skills.

On the menu, you will find the source of each recipe, it is a real journey through the Middle Ages.

One of the most famous dishes is the Meat Fruit: chicken liver parfait disguised as a perfect-looking mandarin. It is soft, tasty, and a marvel of technology.

Meat Fruit Mandarin (C. 1500), Chicken Liver Parfait, served with grilled Bread.
source here

The pigeon and duck we had were perfectly cooked, simply accompanied by a few vegetables (you can add as many side dishes as you want and they are very affordable: 4£ each). I like the fact that they did not try too hard: you can actually guess what is in your plate and enjoy every flavor. I particularly liked the perfectly smoked artichokes in a heavily-reduced ale sauce.

 Spiced pigeon (C. 1780), served with Ale sauce and Artichokes.
source here

At the end of the meal, after deserts, we were served an earl grey ganache with caraway biscuits. Just the touch of sweetness you need to end a very delicate meal.

 White Chocolate and Earl Grey Tea Ganache with Caraway Shortbread.
source here
I have to say that the service was a real good surprise: the waiters are friendly and smiley. We even got the chance to have a tour of the kitchen and had a good chat with the staff.

The only regret I would have is the interior design. I was not the only one thinking that it did not match the concept of the historical recipes. Despite the show kitchen that was a real delight for the eye, the room was too modern and too bright I thought.

source here

Nevertheless it was, is and will stay one of the best evenings of this year, that is for sure. The historical references, the lovely staff, the amazing wines, and the bunch of great people made it a memorable experience!

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park
66 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7LA
Open from Monday to Sunday
Click here for more information.
"A true Gentleman is one who is never unintentionally rude." Oscar Wilde

Complete your education here.
I love Hats. I haunt them. I cherish them. 
So I was quite surprised and amazed at these Paper Wigs. They are so sculptural they are real artwork, so very Leonard: Marie-Antoinette's Hairdresser!

Source here.
College Crews - 1908 - by Edward Penfield and Charles Beck, Jr.

Uniforms and blades of rowing teams from Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Annapolis (Navy), Cornell, Penn, Columbia, Wisconsin, Georgetown, and Syracuse...

Source here.
In Miss Austen's world...

What do you do on a Sunday in the Countryside? You cook!
So here is a Scones historical Recipe from the US National Archives (sounds very serious, doesn't it?). It is the recipe for Scones that Queen Elizabeth used when Eisenhower visited her at Balmoral Castle.
Tea is served!

Source here.

Sunday Sound

"I"ll be with you in Apple Blossom Time" by The Andrews Sisters - 1941

English Roses + Home grown Eggs for Breakfast = Surrey

Hint of Beautiful. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.