Here's a sneak peak of one of the new vintage-style charm bracelets I'll be offering in my shop. (This one's available at Mink Boutique!)
*Etsy shop updates are underway. Several new items have been added tonight, with lots more to follow over the next few days...
Lil' Emily wears Paper Treasure!
(Image borrowed from Emily's Myspace)
Ilana wears Paper Treasure!
(Image borrowed from Erica's Flickr)
Maclean of Dear Cormorant (formerly Maclean Loves You) wears Paper Treasure!
(Image borrowed from Maclean's Myspace)
Kelly Lynn Jones of Little Paper Planes wears Paper Treasure!
(Image borrowed from Kelly's Flickr pool)
Do you have a photo of yourself wearing Paper Treasure? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll include it here!
Happy Holidays, Friends! I appologize for such a long absence! I've been without a computer for awhile now, but not to fear... I've been very busy creating new jewels! The Xtabay and Mink Boutique in Portland, Oregon have newly restocked so if you're in the neighborhood go check them out.
And, I have a few Holiday Shows lined up...
I'm kicking things off with a Black Friday Art and Gift Sale at The Jam (2239 SE Hawthorne)... hosted by Brenda Dunn of the former Garment Boutique. I will be doing another show there closer to Christmas in addition to a trunk show at the Xtabay (stay tuned for more details!).
In other news, my brand new website should be live in a few days! The etsy shop will be updated with all the new goods just in time for the Holidays... there will be lots of new necklace styles to chose from plus a new addition to the Paper Treasue line... vintage-style charm bracelets!
Is the week over already? It seems like only a moment ago I was seated at a beautifully appointed table with many like-minded people, sharing stories over an incredibly delicious roast pig! And now, I am at my desk, at the end of another week, winded by work, but satisfied still that I give it my best every day. Little by little I will stretch out of my “work-week” speed and slow down as I approach the weekend, a time that I always seem to be longing for. I think everybody deserves a spot of spoiling ourselves during the weekend, don’t you? Whether that means a flurry of parties, a day at the spa, or simply sleeping in shamelessly...this weekend, please indulge yourself! You deserve it and so do I! :)
Now, before I burrow into the obscurity of my duvet (taking a couple of books and a bottle of Brunette with me) I will leave you with something to think about. The next theme of Hay Hay it’s Donna Day!!! (and hopefully you will all be thinking about what your entries will be!)
As I’ve mentioned here, I am hosting this round of HHDD – having won the last round for my Chai Yogurt! Hay Hay it’s Donna Day is a food blogging event created by Barbara of Winos and Foodies, and is now under the auspices of Bron of Bronmarshall.com. HHDD is without a doubt the blog event that I participate in the most! Why? Because I am an absolute, unabashed, dorky, fangirl of the marvellous Ms. Hay!
I’ve decided to go with simple this round as I’m sure many of you are preparing for Thanksgiving and the other upcoming holidays. I also wanted something that could be adapted in many ways and incorporated into many meals...to avoid waste and all ;) So this round we’ll be making PESTO!
Rough Chop Basil Pesto
(from Donna Hay Magazine, issue 35, page 104)
- 1 cup roughly chopped basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons roughly chopped toasted pine nuts
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- Place the basil, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and oil in a bowl and stir to combine.
- Makes one cup.
This is a very basic pesto recipe done without a food processor so I figure everyone can do this! Having used some sort of processor for all the pesto I have ever made, this was new to me. I have to say I liked its coarse and chunky texture very much! The flavours of the ingredients were more pronounced individually then in the usually paste-like pestos I make. I had some with pasta (excellent!) and it was fantastic dribbled on some store-bought rotisserie chicken!
Please feel free to take this theme and run with it in whichever way fate takes you! You can make modifications to this recipe OR you can make your own pesto recipes using whatever ingredients you want OR you can incorporate this pesto into another dish OR you can make a dish that involves pesto...in which case please have the pesto play an important role in the dish as a whole! Donna has made many versions of pesto herself – aside from regular basil, she’s used coriander, capers, rocket, spring/green onion, mint, and olive! This doesn’t even include the dishes she’s made that use pesto!
As with all HHDD rounds, here are the guidelines:
- Hay Hay it’s Donna Day is open to all food and wine bloggers.
- Entries submitted for HHDD must be made specifically for the current round of this event, although photos may be submitted to photo competitions such as “Does My Blog Look Good In This.”
- The host (that’s me!) will select, make and post an original Donna Hay recipe without any changes (all done!). Participants may make that exact same recipe as is, or put their own spin on the recipe by altering the ingredients whilst remaining with the theme. Or if they prefer participants may share a well loved recipe within the same theme.
- Participants must include a link to the host and the facilitator (that’s bronmarshall.com) in their entry post.
- Entries can be made at any time once the event has been announced, but must be posted and emailed to the host by the closing date.
- I will then assemble all your entries together into a roundup, from where the participants of the round vote to elect a new host for the following event.
Deadline for all posts to be up and submitted is December 12, 2008. I will be posting the round up about a week after that, after which voting will begin!
Please email all your entries to eighty_breakfasts[AT]yahoo[DOT]com. In your email, please include the following information: your blog name, your name, your location, your recipe name, and the permalink to your entry.
So go and pesto yourselves silly! And when you’re done, take a photo and send me the link :) Happy weekend everyone!
I am feeling better but I still sound like a loud, barking seal. Do I have any readers who are doctors or nurses [or anyone else with a cure]? Please, tell me of a cure for this hacking cough. I will love you forever.
I also think that pillow ideas are quick and easy designs that you can make. I made the one above a while ago with my Funky Flowers fabric. It's so bright and happy. I'll highlight a few more ideas in the next few days. I have my sister, bil and cute little nephew visiting this weekend. I can't wait. I hope that you are all having fun prepping for the holiday weekend. xo, L
A big, fat, chocolate-dipped thank you to whoever voted for me!!! :)
A little Donna side story: A friend’s sister, who lives in Australia (and is one of the sweetest persons I have ever met!), was visiting and I totally plied her with Donna Hay questions. I know I love Donna, but I never realized what a crazed fan I was until I meet poor, unsuspecting M from Australia and burst out with a slightly manic, “OMG! Do you know Donna Hay????” I’m really not this dopey I swear it! Good thing M totally got it ;)
So, not only do I get to waltz around the flat with my HHDD Chai Yogurt crown and sceptre, I also get to choose the theme and host the next round! Watch this space for that announcement very soon!
Meanwhile, here are some photos of what I did over the weekend. Veteran local food blogger Marketman had his annual get-together in Cebu this year and guess what was served? :) Lechon! He had been experimenting with different ways of preparing this local delicacy of whole roasted pig and has come up with a couple of over-the-top delicious versions! Stuffed with various herbs, skin pinpricked before cooking to develop a chicharon-like crackling (as opposed to the regular smooth lechon skin), the newly cooked lechons lovingly rubbed down with olive oil – heaven! And I’m not the only one who loved them...a couple of weeks before we were there, a certain sexy someone thought it was pretty darn great too!
Aside from the lechon we also had the most sublime kinilaw (like ceviche) of fresh tanguigue (with coconut milk, local limes, tomato, red onion, kaffir lime leaves, and chilis – serious yum), chicharon from Carcar (a town in Cebu that some say makes the best chicharon), sisig, grilled prawns, crabs, various salads...check this post to see the whole lovely spread. And the dessert!
Of course, the food wasn’t the only draw. Getting together with other people passionate about food is always fantastic...none of the usual inhibitions apply! It’s all chatting away at 100kph about everything gastronomic (with some camera talk here and there) :)
What a fabulous, albeit much too short (as always!), weekend! Now it’s back to (that mountain of) work for me! The next theme for HHDD should be up by the end of this week so stay tuned!
I thought that I'd start with a project that has been available on my web site in case any of you haven't seen it yet. You can find the pattern here.
It was my brother’s birthday last week. My mother is in New York on her annual vacation from us, so we decided to have a quiet dinner out on Sunday evening. Just me, my bro A, his girlfriend B, and C.
I know what you’re thinking. It was fine when it was just C, but A, B, and C? No, I’m not making it up.
So, back to the birthday dinner and my awesome brother who celebrated it. He and I are quite close, as far as siblings of opposite gender with five years between them go. In the beginning, I (and he) admit, it may have been for lack of choice. You see, it’s just the two of us. But after much hair-pulling and face-smacking and blood-drawing (ok, that was only once, and he bit me!), we realized that in a family of four, neither of us would get anywhere with only 25% of the vote. Together, with a 50% share, we had more power. We could watch each other’s back and, even as the junior generation, lobby enough to sometimes change the unwavering tides of parental decree.
It may have seemed strange at times – my Barbies and his Transformers*** co-existing in the same city built of Styrofoam (he used the Styrofoam from old toy boxes). Obviously these games were pretty much silent because Barbie and the Autobots did not have much to say to each other...although they did eat the same birdseed/hamster food.
From these incongruent beginnings though, we discovered strong and fundamental similarities that bound us: the love of books and reading; intense discussions about everything from government, to God, to utopia, to, um, gas; a passion for food and eating; valour in the face of grossness; fondness for things weird and unexplained; an obsession with the way we smell; a predisposition to be unskinny; the conviction that sleep is indeed an important “activity”. And a love for chocolate cake.
As I mentioned here, my brother is one of my favourite people to cook/bake for. His appetite, coupled with his eloquence, make him the perfect envoy of food-related compliments. His favourite baked-by-me chocolate cake, so far, is this one from Chocolate & Zucchini. I have to say it’s my favourite as well – I love this pretty much flourless approach to chocolate cake. This cake by Nigella, though quite different, quickly won our palates.
Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake
(from How To Be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson )
- 225 grams soft unsalted butter
- 375 grams dark muscovado sugar
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 100 grams dark chocolate (the best you can get), melted
- 200 grams plain flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 250 ml boiling water
- Cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until color lightens (it’ll go from dark to light brown). Add eggs and vanilla, beating in until incorporated.
- Fold in the melted (and slightly cooled) chocolate. Blend well until just combined but do not overbeat.
- Gently add the flour (to which you’ve added the baking soda), alternately, spoon by spoon, with the boiling water, until you have a smooth and fairly liquid batter.
- Pour into a 23x13x7 cm loaf tin that has been greased and lined. The lining is important because this is a very damp cake. I used a slightly smaller loaf tin and got two cupcakes extra :)
- Place filled loaf tin on a baking tray into a 190C oven and bake for 30 minutes. Turn the oven down to 170C and bake for 15-20 minutes more. An inserted cake tester won’t come out completely clean as the cake will still be a tad “squidgy” inside.
- Place the loaf tin on a rack and wait until it gets completely cool before turning out.
As the name suggests, this cake was moist and dense with a very tight crumb. It also had a surprisingly intense chocolate flavour. That being said, the cake was incredibly soft and light. Puzzling but delicious. On the whole, a cake better eaten than explained.
I used the darkest muscovado sugar I had. As I only have experience with our local muscovado (which is different from our local brown sugar), I have no idea if it’s any different from the muscovado Nigella uses across the pond. Ours is more like powder than crystals, deeply brown, with an earthy molasses-like taste. Is it the same for you? I now realize that in different editions of her book it actually says dark brown sugar. So which should actually be used I wonder? In any case, it worked brilliantly on this cake so I’ll continue to use our local muscovado when I make this in the future.
The loaf pan I used was a bit smaller than what was indicated in the recipe so I got the two extra cupcakes out of it. Not a bad thing that ;)
On a personal note, this must be the softest cake I have ever made. And that is saying something as I am sadly heavy-handed with cake batter (no matter how much I envision myself to have elegance and finesse). Really, I was so amazed at how soft the tight-knit crumb was that I kept poking it gently with my finger, as one would a new feather pillow. No matter what, for now, I will be in Nigella’s debt for that.
And to my brother: I wish you all the happiness you deserve...which is to say an awfully indecent amount! And more chocolate cake of course :)
***Although my brother never developed any sympathies for Barbie, I did kinda fall in love with the Transformers. Yes, I watched the movie. And I’m not ashamed to admit I cried the first time Optimus spoke.
It’s no use. I might as well face the facts and admit it to the world. I’m a closet vegetarian.
For so long I have been tooting the horn for pork-lovers everywhere, wrapping things in bacon and eating pork rinds with all the fat attached. I’ve revelled in the intricacies of pig’s ears and cheeks and every permutation of pork belly. I’ll eat bacon fried with sugar or crumbled in a chocolate bar. I love pork and all the wonderful adventures I have with it, from nose to curly tail. Let’s not forget that the “chicha” in Chichajo stand for chicharon – my all time favourite pork snack.
In truth, although pork is definitely my first and most passionate love, I like all kinds of meat. From land, sea, or air. I relish trying new things and I will try anything at least once...especially if it has some nice cultural or historical significance. The only things I draw the line at are things which are endangered – because really, any true consumer knows that finishing up supplies that can no longer be replaced is, for lack of a better word, quite stupid (I mean, if chocolate were running out you wouldn’t damn us all and finish it right? No, you would find a way to make more).
So, in between my undying love story with pork, and my quest to eat everything, I am sometimes (understandably) cast as a rabid carnivore. But what my friends, and myself, forget, is that “everything” includes animals and plants. There is, after all, no way somebody who eats as much as me is going to ignore a whole food group. And I don’t. A vegetable, as much as a meat, has got equal opportunities to be eaten by me.
I do love vegetables as much as I love meat, the same way I do love Jamie Oliver as much as I love Daniel Craig. Perhaps a different kind of love for each, but love nonetheless, and I am equally likely to run away with one as the other (um, I mean if I wasn’t already married to Benicio del Toro of course). AnyWAY, lately my love for veggies has been turning into a full-on infatuation for vegetarian cuisine (and yes, I do consider it a cuisine). There have been people who have actually mistaken me for vegetarian because of all my blabbing about it! I’ll probably never be a vegetarian (giving up pork is just not in the cards for me) but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the food :)
Brown Rice with Roasted Squash and Onions, with Herby Yogurt Dressing
(happily inspired by this recipe on 101 Cookbooks)
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- 200-250 gram wedge of squash, peeled and seeded
- 3-4 small red onions
- 2 tablespoons natural yogurt (if you have Greek or Greek-style even better!)
- 1 teaspoon roughly chopped cilantro
- 1 teaspoon roughly chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon chopped spring onions
- Olive oil (1 teaspoon for the dressing, plus more for drizzling on the veggies)
- Sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper
- Chop the squash into small cubes and set on one side of a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt, and toss until the squash is pretty evenly coated with the oil.
- Peel and quarter the onions, and place on the other side of the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt, and toss as with the squash.
- Roast in a 180-190C oven for about 30 minutes or until both squash and onions are soft and caramelized. You may have to flip them and toss them around once or twice so they are evenly browned. The reason I roast them on separate sides of the baking sheet is so just in case you need to take the onions out earlier you won’t be fishing for them amongst the squash cubes.
- Make the dressing while your veg are roasting. In a bowl mix the yogurt, cilantro, parsley, and spring onions with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste, stir, and set aside in the fridge.
- When the squash and onions are ready, place the rice in a bowl, top with squash and onions and a generous splodge of the dressing.
- Serves one.
In my little romance with vegetarian cooking, 101 Cookbooks is my porn, my guide, and my absolute blog-crush. What Heidi Swanson has done to this little pork-lover is nothing short of amazing. She has enthralled me with photos and recipes that make vegetarian dishes seem like a cross between Mr. Big and that Hermes bag that’s got a 5,673-person waitlist. Yup, I’m talking about longing folks, and yearning. She makes me want to eat nothing but vegetables (and nuts and grains and any mixture thereof) forever and ever. I know in my heart that that’s not going to happen, but still. Nobody has ever made me want it like that.
This dish, inspired by a Roasted Pumpkin Salad recipe at 101 Cookbooks, did not only look good, but tasted good as well. And although I’ve deviated from the original recipe, this is my humble homage to Heidi and her genius. The rice I’ve used here is local Kalinga mountain rice from the Cordillera region – a blend of five different native varieties. The rice is sourced from family farmers who still grow it according to tradition. It’s 100% whole grain and absolutely delicious. The little wedge of squash and the red onions were from my veggie basket :)
At the end of the day, you don’t have to be French to enjoy French food, and you don’t have to be vegetarian to enjoy the incredibly fresh and colourful world of vegetarian cuisine. As for me...I’m still a half-breed meat-eater, pork-lover, vegetarian-wannabe. Am I a cheat and a fink for wanting it all? I’ve decided I don’t really care...I’m just happy my veggie-self is out of the closet :)
The ladies at Stone Creek Creations manufacture these nifty little totes for storing your tools. They had a really cute booth and an adorable little girl in a big chair. It reminded me of the kids' show, "The Big Comfy Couch". They gave out these cute headbands with feathers [as shown in her hand]. I couldn't believe that they women and men wearing them throughout market. My little one has been wearing my bright fuschia colored one and hopping around like a bunny. So funny.
As far as vegetables are concerned, we have been dining like kings lately. It’s all thanks to local organic farmers! Beautiful baskets of fresh, vibrant produce are delivered right to my doorstep. I don’t even have to leave the house! They come over, we have a nice chit-chat about what’s growing, observe the difference between the veggies from last batch (oh my! Look how the mustasa has grown!)...all without having to start my car (plus points for that!) :)
Of course, I still meander through the market...what’s a girl to do without her market-therapy right (no, shoe-therapy does not replace it...though they do complement each other I believe)? Plus I have to continually restock our garlic and onions, which we go through like there’s no tomorrow (please someone tell me that onions are blazingly healthy)! I hardly buy any vegetables at the market anymore though, onions and garlic aside. You see, those baskets we get keep us two nicely covered in veggies for a while. In fact, I have to race to use them all before they start to, um, complain ;)
I get my veg from two sources. One from the organic farmer I mentioned here (coincidentally delivering his first basket on my birthday!). The other is the same one who delivers to Christine. Here is where some of them went...
Roasted and Grilled Veggie Salad
- 2 Asian eggplants (the long thin ones), sliced on the diagonal
- 1 white onion, sliced relatively thick
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 yellow bell pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt
- Freshly cracked pepper
- Herbs de Provence
- Roast the peppers. I cut them in quarters, remove all the seeds, and then lay them skin side up on a baking tray lined with parchment. Place in a 200C oven and roast until the pepper’s skin is black and blistered in places. Take the peppers out, place in a bowl, and cover with cling wrap. Leave to cool slightly. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, gently peel off skin (it will come off easily at this point), slice into strips and set aside.
- While your peppers are roasting, heat a grill pan. Brush the eggplant and onions slices with oil and grill until they are soft and have respectable grill-marks.
- Place grilled eggplants and onions (the onion rings may fall apart...that’s fine) in a bowl with the roasted and peeled peppers. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with herbs de Provence and season with salt and pepper.
- Serves two.
This is one of my favourite ways to have peppers and eggplant (aside from tortang talong) -- roasted and grilled, or just grilled or just roasted, then tossed with some good olive oil and salt. The herbs de Provence adds a lovely aroma, but if you don’t have any, feel free to use what you’ve got. Or stick to the olive oil and salt. With great veggies you really won’t need much else. This is good at room temp, so it can sit patiently while you go about making the rest of your meal. You can also add a splash of red wine vinegar and finely chopped garlic (or roast some garlic alongside the peppers and smoosh that in) and you’ll have something approaching escalivada (a Spanish salad I am extremely fond of). If you have leftovers, just park them in the fridge and toss them with some pasta the next day.
Aaah...Lovely simple vegetables! Something tells me this won’t be the last “veggie basket” post...please indulge me :) I’ll try not to be too dull and swoony!
I'll get back to a few more Houston photos later in the week. For now, I need to do some work. I need to do a bit of catching up because I'd caught a cold when I was in Houston.
Meanwhile, I am working at the wee hours of the morning and trying to distract myself by looking at the little things that I have around my desk. I picked up that frame at the top for my cork board at an estate sale about 12 years ago. The glassware is a bit newer. I got them at anthropologie. The most beautiful item is my tall vase. It is a ceramic piece from Kosoy and Bouchard. I love it and I love their whole line of ceramics. Their pressware line is to die for. I wanted to buy a few pieces when I met them at the One of a Kind show in Toronto but I knew the realities of having the pieces in my home. My little boys would somehow introduce themselves to the pieces. I'm sure that my little one would make a new home for his Bakugan balls if I'd treated myself to the flat plates or put his rock collection on top of it.
Yesterday, I went to grab Alex's jacket and it felt as though the jacket weighed 20 pounds or so. I discovered his love for jagged rocks and hence, his new collection in his pockets. Yes, this is the same child who took a Sharpie marker and colored my dashboard [fyi, Magic Eraser works wonders in erasing it all] and wrote on my light beige carpet with it. I am told that I shouldn't be mad or surprised because "he takes after me". I won't tell those folks who told me that they're right but between you and me, they are right. He's fiesty, artsy and gutsy. I have no one else to blame and I'm not mad.