Monthly Archives

July 2010

HOME + GARDEN OUTDOOR space

Stunning Swedish Outdoor Hot Tub

bathroom of Katarina Grundströmer as seen on Sköna Hem

bathroom of Katarina Grundströmer as seen on Sköna Hem

This summer home is heaven on Earth. I do not know which view I prefer between the bathroom or the outdoor wood-fired hot tub. This is the summer house of a new star in the Swedish stylist scene (according to Emmas designblog), Katarina Grundströmer.

wood-fired swedish hot tub as seen on sköna hem

Do not miss the rest of her summer home, it’s a place where it should be great to go every weekend.

SOURCING:
+ photos: Sköna Hem
+ via Apartment Therapy San Francisco

CAKES + desserts ENTERTAINING

Matcha Sablés, Chiffon Cake and Other Japanese Treats

matcha sables as seen on evan's kitchen ramblings

matcha sables as seen on evan's kitchen ramblings

I still have a craving for the fabulous matcha bakery treats I ate in Japan. One thing I like about Japanese desserts is that they are not as sweet as here. They mix traditional French patisserie with Japanese techniques and ingredients to create cakes and pastries that taste fresh and new.

Therefore, it will come to no surprise that I felt in love with the photography of Evangeline who runs the blog Evan’s Kitchen Ramblings and a bakery shop in Singapore called Patisserie dessert couture. She specializes in macarons, petits fours secs, tartlets and cookies.

I love sablés. The most memorable I ate lately were the sakura sablés and the matcha sablés we bought at a fancy bakery shop in Kyoto. Evangeline shared a Matcha sablés recipe from the Okashi treats cookbook written by Keiko Ishida. But do not search for the cookbook, it is out of print.

mini matcha chiffon cake by evan's kitchen ramblings

Another treat that brought back nice memories is the Matcha chiffon cake. Chiffon cakes are popular in Japan. I still have to publish a cool video I filmed about the making of these tasty cakes.

matcha treats :: matcha financiers and madeleines

Finally,  a Japanese version of  two French classic cakes. First, her homemade matcha financiers decorated with black and white sesame seeds. For a twist, why not bake your own matcha madeleines.

+ photography: Evangeline Teo of Evan’s Kitchen Ramblings

FOOD + DRINK RECIPES + menus

My Call for Less Salt in Processed Food and Restaurant Food

too much salt :: fight against sodium in processed food and restaurant food

too much salt :: fight against sodium in processed food and restaurant food

Salt may not have calories but eating too much sodium can lead to premature deaths due to heart diseases and strokes. In North America, we eat on average twice the recommended daily intake (1,500 mg). Something has to be done. It is relatively easy to cook with less salt at home, if you make a lot of thing from scratch. But what about processed food and food that you eat at the restaurant? We have no control over that.

I am happy to report that more food companies in the United States decided last Spring to join the voluntary cutbacks of salt in their products. On average, 75% to 80% of the daily salt intake of an American citizen comes from processed or restaurant food.

In Canada, a panel chaired by Health Canada aims to reduce our Canadian daily intake from 3,400 mg to 2,400 mg by 2016. But I find it strange that their recommendations do not bring down to 2,300 mg since it is considered the upper limit for an adult.

What can you do at the grocery store?

Over the last 3 to 4 months, I started to check the sodium on all the canned and processed food I buy at the grocery. Be careful, when you buy canned tomatoes or vegetables. Most of them have added salt. For example, Del Monte Whole Green Beans have 380 mg of sodium per 1/2 cup. The same is true for peanut butter, even the organic kind. President’s Choice Blue Menu produces a low sodium collection. In the meantime, read the label before buying and encourage brands with low sodium content.

Let’s hope they will be wise

As a cook, I can tell you that it is to take the easy road put large amount of salt to create flavor in a dish. I do not cook with very little salt and my food is very tasty. I hope that food companies will make more healthy choices than with the fight against fat. The low fat yogurt many not have fat but it is filled with sugar and still have the same amount of calories. But for that to happen, they will have to accept the fact to create completely new recipes.

HOME + GARDEN OUTDOOR space

Revisiting Swimming Pool Trends on HGTV

revisiting swimming pool trends

revisiting swimming pool trends

For my monthly column on Style Sheet by HGTV Canada, I took a look at stunning, modern style swimming pools designed by architects. I would in heaven to get a pool like that in my backyard. Maybe one day, when we move to sunny California.

I also discussed the latest trends in pool equipments. There are a lot more options than in the past. It’s best to get informed before selecting which system would be best for you. I invite you to check my post on Style Sheet.

FOOD + DRINK FOOD presentation

Beautiful Caviar and Vodka

flavored vodka shooters and caviar on an ice bar

flavored vodka shooters and caviar on an ice bar

It is not everyday that I see stunning caviar pictures like those photographed by Kate Harrison for the wedding of a Russian bride. Flavored vodka shooters were served on an ice bar with an assortment of caviar. Lilly and John’s wedding had fun activities.

flavored and regular vodka bottles and caviar on an ice bar

You can read on Snippet & Ink that:

The ceremony took place on the balcony overlooking San Francisco, after which guests were able to explore the penthouse, playing pool in the billiard room, nibbling on hors d’oeuvres in the living room, and dancing in the dining room.

That sounds wonderful. The decor billiard room is something else; it’s Persian inspired. You can admire more photos on Snippet & Ink.

SOURCING:
+ photos: Kate Harrison

FOOD + DRINK TABLEWARE

Hand Stenciled Table Linens

emersonmade eat linen napkins

emersonmade eat linen napkins

I like the casual, easy living quality of the hand stenciled pure linen napkins and table runners produced by Emersonmade. They will custom print your choice of 1 to 3 upper case letters in black print.

emersonmade hand stenciled initials on linen napkins

The couple who runs Emersonmade are fun to watch through the pictures they put on their blog. We can see here posing for a Scrabble photo shot.

emersonmade table linens

SOURCING:
+ Print Your Own Initials Table Linens $52 USD for 4

CAKES + desserts ENTERTAINING

Twist Lollipops and Ribbon Candies by Hammond’s Candies

twist lollipops and ribbon candies by hammond's candies

twist lollipops and ribbon candies by hammond's candies

I can’t believe that I did not introduce Hammond’s Candies earlier. This is the company that produces the adorable ribbon candies. They come in regular and mini sizes. In total, you get a choice of 12 flavors/color combinations that allow to design a superb candy table.

They also make the twist lollipops that we have seen on the hands of many brides and grooms over the last few years. And my Canadian readers will be happy to know that they will ship to Canada.

SOURCING:
+ Ribbon Candies by Hammond’s Candies $17.99 for mini ribbons (two 5 oz gift bags), $21 USD for set of 4 regular ribbons
+ Handmade Pink Lemonade Twist Lollipops, 1 oz. $18.95 for 8 or $68 for case of  34 – Four 4oz. size for $17.00
+ All Natural 1 oz. Orange Lolli Set $18.95 for 8 or $68 for case of  34
+ Strawberry Shortcake 2oz. Lolli Set $15.95 for 4

FAMILY KIDS products

Kids’ Chef Aprons by Beansoup

chef aprons for kids by beansoup

chef aprons for kids by beansoup

One way to foster good eating habits for your kids is to develop their taste buds through cooking. Plus, it allows parents to pass time with their kids. You will make it more special and fun if they wear a chef’s apron. Beansoup specializes in kids aprons.

The aprons are available in two sizes: for toddlers (2-5 yrs old) and for children (5-9 yrs old). The choice of patterns is awesome. Beansoup makes their aprons from machine washable 100% cotton. They are reinforced with double stitched binding.

Update: Just learned on Twitter that you can get 25% off right now if you enter BACK2SCHOOL at checkout.

SOURCING:
+ Chef’s apron for kids by Beansoup $24 USD

FOOD + DRINK FOOD presentation

Food Presentation by Matt Armendariz

fennel salad and asparagus tarts

fennel salad and asparagus tarts

When you cook at home, you do not have a team of sous-chefs to help you plate an elaborate dish. Therefore, I am always on a hunt for these small details that add a Wow factor. The latest work of Matt Armendariz goes in that direction.

See how cutting a square tart at angles makes all the difference. It could be used on a pizza or a fruit tart. Or you can cut your fennel with a tiny bit of stems and elegantly lay down a fennel and red grapefruit salad on a plate.

vegetables with dip and cucumber appetizers

Take advantage of freshly harvested vegetables to serve light appetizers. Scoop the seeds and drain your cucumber slices for at least 30 minutes if they replace the traditional crostini. When you scoop the seeds, be careful to leave a thin layer at the bottom of the cucumber slices.

+ photos: Matt Armendariz

ENTERTAINING OUTDOOR entertaining

Delightful Mondays: More Summer Food for Entertaining

warm beet salad with goat cheese and fresh herbs by the dog's breakfast

With all those great food photography, I had a hard time deciding which recipes to feature this week for my Delightful Mondays. So, I opted to feature three food blogs instead of two.

 rustic mini blueberry pies and lemon bars by sweetcakes bakeshop

First, I could not resist the rustic Blueberry Pie and Lemon Bars by Sweetcakes Bakeshop from San Francisco. Both recipes would be easy to carry in your picnic basket. I spotted those summer treats on Coco+Kelley.

strawberry mojitos and vietnamese style pickles carrots by white on rice couple

From White on Rice Couple, I suggest their Strawberry Mojitos and Vietnamese Style Pickled Carrots.

warm beet salad with goat cheese and fresh herbs by the dog's breakfast

Then, the Warm Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Fresh Herbs by The Dog’s Breakfast.

DESIGN and style LIVING

Kate Spade’s iPhone cases And The Need for iPhone 4 cases

kate spade iphone 3G cases

kate spade iphone 3G cases

I always put a case to protect my iPhone. Kim of The TomKat Studio talked about her Kate Spade’s iphone case. They are for the iPhone 3G/3GS. I wish I saw those girlie cases before. With the iPhone 4, I am not ready to invest in new accessories for my iPhone 3GS. I wrote this article to encourage designers to design iPhone 4 cases that are tailored towards women.

SOURCING:
+ iPhone cases by Kate Spade $40 USD
+ kate spade new york Agenda Case for iPhone 3GS $39.95 USD
+ kate spade new york Agenda Case Flowers for iPhone 3GS $39.95 USD