Monthly Archives

August 2009

FOOD + DRINK TABLEWARE

Thermos Bento Box Sets

Thermos bento kits for kids and rice with insulated bag

For when you wish to bring food that need to be kept cold or hot, Bento & Co added to their catalogue two cool products.

Bento Boxes for Kids

First, the Poka Poka Miffy set. Miffy is a popular female rabbit character from a picture kid book drawn by Dutch artist and illustrator Dick Bruna. This Bento set was designed to keep rice warm. For a breakfast on the park, you could carry warm oat meal or beans. A stainless steel Thermos box painted with Miffy, two small boxes and an insulated bag form this adorable set.

thermos nidan bento box set

Bento Boxes for Guys

The sportive guys in your home will appreciate the Thermos Nidan set. The bento boxes are large. There is plenty of room to feed a large appetite and to leave some for his friends. Both sets are produced by Thermos.

SOURCING:
+ Poka Poka Miffy set 34.80 EUR
+ Thermos Nidan set 25.80 EUR

FOOD + DRINK TABLEWARE

Stylish Bento Boxes for Him and Her

elegant masculine bento boxes

There is something about bento boxes that made them desirable. We often see the same ones. So I dig to see if I could find something different. Bento & Co carries products that are normally unavailable in the North American market. In fact, I was in awe with so many products that I will do two posts.

Bento Boxes for Him

Men do not wish to bring at work the cheerful bento boxes that we typically see here. As more people are getting concern with eating healthy food, I feel there is a market for bringing lunch at work. If you do not wish to cook your own lunch, why not plan with a local caterer a week of lunch meals? Bring your Bento boxes and ask them to set up your meal by day. One the morning, you just need to grab a bag.

Bento & Co proposes stylish masculine boxes. Select from the professional-grade stainless steel Zen boxes or the classic black boxes. The elegant fake-wood boxes go inside the microwave and are dishwasher safe.

Cool Way to Carry your Bento Boxes

chic ways to carry your bento boxes for her

Bento & Co also sells kits with one or two bento boxes, a chopsticks carrier and an assorted bag. A belt is used to secure the boxes and chopsticks carrier. It is really elegant.

Another way is the furoshiki wrapping technique. Here they have done the basic wrap.  The 100% cotton tea pot furoshiki looks great.

About Bento & Co

Founded by a Frenchman and his wife who lives in Kyoto, Japan, Bento & Co ships in many European countries, in Canada and in the United States. The only thing is that their site is only in French as far as I know. But there are lots of pictures for you to understand each product. They support Paypal.

SOURCING:
+ Dragon Black box 18.80 EUR, set 31.80 EUR
+ Zen 02 41.80 EUR
+ Bento Ajira fake wood 19.80 EUR
+ Furoshiki Tea Pot wrapping fabric 5.50 EUR
+ Kimono Pink Long box 17.80 EUR, set 29.80 EUR

FOOD + DRINK RECIPES + menus

A Scone, a Cake and a Tart | Quick Links 2009.08.30

3 desserts by 3 bloggers :: blueberry scone :: chocolate cake :: nectarine galette

It seems that this weekend all my favorite food bloggers concentrated on desserts. Or maybe I noticed them more because I love desserts. Three particular recipes caught my eyes:

+ Jaden of Steamy Kitchen talked about the best Blueberry Scones with Lemon Curd she ever had. She renamed the curd Lemon Glaze. This recipe will create a scone that seems different from the scones we are used to. It is moist, rich, delicate. It sounds like an improvement of the dry scones that coffee shops too often served.

+ Lili of Pickelet and Pie proposes an Chocolate orange cake with orange blossom cream. She was looking to make a dessert for 30 persons. She adapted David Lebovitz’s Chocolate Idiot cake recipe to make her chocolate and orange cake that she topped with an orange blossom cream. As a chocolate lover, I would have a hard time resisting if you present me this plate.

+ We ate tonight for dessert a warm piece of green apple and blueberry pie. I feel less guilty when I eat a fruit pie. I would feel even less guilty with this open, single crust Nectarine Galette that I spotted on Smitten Kitchen. To save time, make two bathes of the dough and freeze half in a plastic bag. You can leave unbaked dough in the freezer for a few weeks before baking.

CAKES + desserts ENTERTAINING

Pink Cake Box Brings Personality to Wedding and Baby Shower Cakes

pink cake box personalized specialty cakes

Imagine having a cake with a character that looks like the guest of honor. This is what you get when you hire Anne Heap of Pink Cake Box. She tailored her standard cake creations to fit your event.

The flower baby shower cake includes a pregnant woman modeled after the image on the baby shower’s invitation. The invitation to a first birthday also led to the color palette used for her cake. Each tier of the bachelor pirate cake has port holes with caricatures of the groomsmen looking out. Fall weddings led to leafy pumpkin decorations and a fun Halloween themed cake with bride and groom corpses as cake toppers.

Baby Shower Cakes with Personalized Moms-to-be

personalized pregnant toppers by pink cake box

Who would not be happy with a pregnant topper like those? Each topper is distinct and tells a story. Details go from the color of the skin, the hair style and fashion accessories up to matching fabric samples provided by the grandmother-to-be. All the pregnant toppers from Pink Cake Box are adorable.

If you recalled, this is the cake shop that replicate the Rachel Ray’s Studio Kitchen as a cake last year.

MORE:
+ Pink Cake Box
+ Get directions to Pink Cake Box p (973) 998-4445
18 E Main St, Morristown, New Jersey, United States, 07960

FOOD + DRINK RECIPES + menus

Introducing the Mini Cucumbers by Savoura

mini cucumbers by savoura

You probably noticed the trends towards miniature vegetables. Chefs like to use them. They are cute and make it easier to plate your dish.

Savoura, the brand that brought us the delicious tomatoes on the vine and the cocktail tomatoes, is launching a new product. This cucumber variety is unique to Quebec and exclusive to Savoura in Canada. They remind me of Lebanese cucumbers but a lot smaller. The mini cucumbers are harvested once they reached 10 centimeters (4 inches).

mini cucumbers with very tiny seeds

I have the pleasure to taste them. My friend Michelle Sullivan sent me the free samples (see photo for content) through its client, Savoura. I like it. The pale flesh is crisp with the tininess seeds. In fact, you do not taste the seed. The skin is thin and mild to the taste. I bet that they will become favorite for a crudité platter. I know I will use them from now on sice it looks better and is simpler to prepare.

You can find the Savoura’s mini cucumbers at grocery stores across Canada (I think) in 2 formats: the lunch bag containing 3 miniature cucumbers for a little snack and a 8-cucumber packet.

MORE:
+ Savoura – their Web site has not been updated to include the mini cucumbers.

ENTERTAINING OUTDOOR entertaining

Elegant Dîner en Blanc Party in Montreal

montreal\'s white dinner 2009

On August 20th, 2009, there was an outstanding picnic party in Montreal. The Dîner en blanc (White Dinner) was imagined by François Pasquier 20 years ago. He ran 20 editions so far in Paris. His son Aymeric, who now lives in Montreal, organized the first edition in Montreal. A bid crowd invaded a large place in the city that is kept secret until the last minute. The goal is simply to pass a good time around a good meal in an unusual urban place.

For this chic affair, guests bring their picnic with a or two bottles of wine. In France, many people bring Champagne. Everyone must wear white clothes and people should dress up. If you own a gorgeous white hat, you should wear it. Besides the guests, the tables and chairs are all white.

montreal\'s white dinner 2009 :: Dîner en Blanc

Dîner en blanc encourages people to bring white china and to carry their food and drinks in a white basket or bag. Do not forget to bring your wine glasses, white linen napkins and a few tea votive candles for candlelight dining.

I love the concept because it is an elegant party where everybody pitched in. This is a true experience. Everyone that went was thrilled. As I discovered how they organized this large-scale picnic, I thought you could recycle the concept for a big outdoor reunion.

Set Up the Tables and Chairs

A bus brought the guests to the location. This process ensures a steady flow of people, which is key to the set up of the tables and chairs. In France, people bring their own chairs and tables. In Montreal, they were supplied.

The guests reserved as a twosome formed by a man and a woman. This is because the event design implies that you need to be accompanied by someone from the other gender.

Every pair/couple gets a specific place (row and number in the row). Each twosome received an overall floor plan to locate their row and a detailed plan of their section. Then, an orchestrated ballet started. Men picked their folding table and 2 chairs. Women grabbed the white tablecloth. You eyeball the location of your table in the row and as your table neighbors arrive you move to the right or to the left until the long communal table is built. It sounds complicated but it is not. 1200 guests were ready to sit down in less than 20 minutes last week.

All the men sit on one side while the women sit on the other side. The event design is based on symmetry. It is beautiful to see the alternating rows of people all dressed in white.

Fancy Food

The food that people bring is fancier than at a typical park picnic. If you do not wish to make it yourself, you can always ask a caterer to prepare the food for you. This way, it is already package to be carried around. With picnic basket on wheels, you can go the extra miles. I saw a Parisian couple who brought their cast-iron fondue pot to eat a cheese fondue.

Like I said, everyone that went to Montreal 2009 White Dinner had a fabulous time. I think that recycling their concept for your party in a park would be a hit. Watch this TV report from Radio-Canada about the first Dîner en blanc that happened in Montreal. Even if it is in French, just watching the images would give you a good idea of the event.

MORE:
+ Images from the Facebook group of the Montreal’s Dîner en blanc
+ Montreal’s Dîner en blanc

COOKING tools FOOD + DRINK

The Bodum Bistro Toaster Does More Than Add Color to Your Kitchen

colorful bistro 2-slice toasters and flatbed toasters by bodum

I guess that a lot of college students will ask this toaster as a housewarming gift. I totally understand the appeal. You know by now that I love bringing color into my home. It is not the first time that Bodum introduced color in an unusual but tasteful way.

The Bistro Toasters is not just a pretty thing. It has nice features that would be appreciated by moms and dads. The 900-watt Bistro 2-slice Toaster is made of stainless steel that is cover with a heat-resistant rubber exterior. It is safer. The little fingers cannot be burned by touching the toaster. It is also easier to clean. No more worries about finger marks on the toaster. Cool features are a defrost mode and a cancel button.

Writing this post makes me want to change my 15-year old toaster. I would like a red one to repeat the bright red center of my kitchen cabinets.

Bistro Flatbed Toasters by Bodum

The Flatbed toaster is something that I never seen before. It will be soon available. I read that it is:

  • Great for Bagels, Croissants, Baguettes & More
  • Toasts one side and defrosts four traditional slices of bread at once
  • Comes with an adjustable Timer
  • Toast larger breads without crushing them

I am curious to know how well it performs. If you have ever tried something similar, I would like to get your input. The Flatbed toaster is available in the same 8 colors.

SOURCING:
+ Bistro 2-slice Toaster by Bodum choice of 8 colors $79.99 USD at Amazon.com
+ Black Bistro Flatbed Toaster by Bodum $79.99 USD
+ Bodum Toaster Collection

FOOD + DRINK FOOD presentation

Donna Hay Brings a Special Touch to Everyday Food

Plating food :: donna hay\'s speacial touch to entertaining

If I had to resume in a few words the work of Donna Hay, I would say: Time-saving and Special Touches. Donna Hay’s philosophy fits very well within my way of life. This is probably why I am a long-time fan.

The current issue, which is not yet available in Canada, will be her Entertaining Issue. While I am looking for it, I browsed her site for great simple plating ideas that you could do at home. Individual serving dishes instantly add a special touch. You probably noticed that they are in vogue.

+ Donna took further the individual serving trend with this simple green salad presentation. To reproduce, collect small juice or water bottles. Make sure the small bottles all look the same since it is the fact that you are repeating a simple object that elevates the look. Pour the dressing in the small bottles. I suggest that you make more dressing than you need because you need to fill about 1/3 of the bottle for the optimal look. If you are against throwing away food, you can serve one bottle per couple or 2 guests.

+ Instead of serving a cheese platter, make a single-serve cheese board for each guest. You could split the cheese plate with its wild fig compote on an original way.

MORE:
+ Donna Hay

ENTERTAINING PAPER goods

Announcing New Desktop Collection from Amy Butler

amy butler desktop collection available in september 2009

Available in 3 color palettes, Amy Butler’s new desktop collection will hit the stores in September. The range includes folders, organizers, binders, journals and much more!

amy butler paper crafts and gift wrap collections

In the meantime, you can browse her collection of paper craft and eco-line gift wrapping supplies. Her gift wrap collection comprises 100% post-consumer recycled gift wraps, bags, and giftcard boxes. The gift bags are sold in set of 4 with 100% recycled/biodegradable tissue paper.

MORE:
+ Belle & Sola Crafts and Scrapbooking materials
+ Petal Gift Wrap Rolls by Amy Butler $12.75 USD for 3 rolls
+ Petal Bags by Amy Butler for the Gift Wrap Company $18 USD for set of 4 bags

COOKING tools FOOD + DRINK

Better Ways to Prepare, Measure, Store and Serve Food with Royal VKB

prep, measure, mix, serve and store food with royal vkb products

I love the ingenuity of the design behind every Royal VKB products. Their motto, Thought for Food says it all. This Dutch housewares company always succeed to grab my attention. If only, I could find a Canadian retailer who carries the entire range of Royal VKB.

A new product, Table Bin would appreciate by students who live with roommates. Designed with outdoor dining in mind, it can be practical for a small family. The concept is that you can filled the bin with food waste, place the utensils in the side pocket, stack dirty dishes on top on the lid and clean up the table in one batch.

Royal VKB developed clever double-duty measuring products that come in an array of colors. They have look and function. I told you before about Mix and Measure, a series of bowls with a graduated scale inside the bowl. You can get an air-tight lid that features a spoon rest on the reverse side.

The Cup and Store canisters come in aluminum and glass. The canister integrates a measuring cup, the lid, for easy pouring. Plus you save space since the jars can stacked into another.

No more need of a scale with the Balancing Bowls. Fill one half of the bowl and the bowl will tilt when you reach the indicated weight. This is not all, you can use the bowl for servings chips and other snacks.

As you can see, Royal VKB imagined stylish practical products that can save you time and space. For that, I gave them a 10.

SOURCING:
1. Mix & Measure by Jan Hoekstra € 9,95 to € 24,95 per bowl
2. Cup & Store Aluminium by Arian Brekveld € 9,95 to € 14,95 per jar
2. Cup & Store Glass by Arian Brekveld € 7,95 to € 9,95 per jar
3. Table Bin by Officeoriginair € 29,95
4. Balancing Bowl set by Jan Hoekstra € 14,95 for set of 2 bowls

FOOD + DRINK RECIPES + menus

Rustic Fruit Pies and Tarts by Real Simple

rustic fruit pies and tarts by real simple

Besides a crème brulée, I can rarely refuse a piece of delicious fruit pie. It is a wonderful dessert to serve your family or friends.

Rustic pies symbolize comfort food. Take advantage of the fact that fruits and berries are in season to bake a pie. You will find 26 delectable pie and tart recipes on Real Simple. Apparently you are guaranteed to get a golden crust if you use a cast-iron skillet to bake your fruit pie.

Four Easy to Make Fruit Pie Recipes

+ For the finale of a Sunday brunch, make an Ice Cream Pie With Warm Blueberry Sauce. This one is made with a store-bought refrigerated piecrust – photo by James Baigrie

+  Serve this Raspberry and Rhubarb Tart to your family this weekend – photo by Christopher Baker

+ I found on the Web many forms of Apple Kuchen. Something, it looks like the classic apple pie, sometimes is has a cake base instead of a dough. I even see recipes done with layers of pancakes. I am not sure what is a true Viennese Apple Kuchen, but this Apple Kuchen glazed with apricot jam on Real Simple looks appetizing for someone like me that enjoy apple pie. Photo by Quentin Bacon

+ Like pizza, tarts and pies can be square. I like the look of this Pressed-Crust Pear Tart. It is made with Bosc pears but use whichever pears are in season. For entertaining, it is good to know that this tart can be prepared up to two days in advance. Photo by Beatriz da Costa