Browsing Tag



Decorating a Terrace with Tulip Lamps

tulip lamp for myyour

A quick look at my logo is all you need to understand why I share this amusing outdoor lamp. Available in a small format and an extra large format, Tulip lamp comes with or without a light. The small version is designed as a signal light or courtesy table lamp. I don’t care about the table version. What grabbed my attention is this row of illuminated 5-foot tall tulip lamps. Continue Reading


The Italian Train of Taste

Italian Train of Taste

Italian Train of Taste

If you happen to be near Lombardy region this summer, you should try to book yourself a ticket on board of  il Treno di Sapori — meaning “Train of Taste”. Passengers will be served local food and wines as they enjoy the scenery of the region. It is a nice way to discover local cuisine.

train local food

You can sit down in the dining room or sit at the bar. From what I could undertand from the Google translation, the Train of Taste travels from Iseo through the Franciacorta region along Lake Iseo and through Valle Camonica.

Train of Taste view

I love the view. And there are plenty more stunning landscape images at the il Treno di Sapori Web site.


The Secrets of Pesto Making and Homemade Ice Cream from Saveur

pesto making secrets

pesto making secrets

Reading the latest issue of Saveur (Sept. 2011) taught me that the pesto starts with the smallest, palest basil leaves. It is because they do not have the bitterness and the licorice-like taste of the mature leaves. But if you have mature green basil leaves, simply blanch them for 30 seconds and plunge them in an ice bath right away. Another tip is that coarse sea salt will help pulverize the ingredients. You want a delicate flavor olive oil to not overpower your pesto. Go for an olive oil that is pale gold. Plus, you will get several recipes from across the Mediterranean.

ice cream unplugged

The second article that caught my attention is about homemade ice cream. They showcased 6 ways to make your own ice cream without an automatic ice maker, which include using coffee cans or Ziploc bags.

+ Saveur


Hide Away your Kitchen Tools with Trim by Dada

There is more to kitchen cabinet design than the standard 12-inch and 24-inch deep cabinets. To achieve a certain look or for function, you might have to consider a custom made depth. For example, I designed a 6-inch deep kitchen cabinet over my sink to achieve a continuous flow of cabinets of the same height. It is very useful despite its small space. I am simply more selective about what I can put there.

Trim Kitchens by Dada

narrow storage details of Trim kitchen by dade

But what about the need to hide away the food products, tools and tableware that we either hang on the backsplash or rest on the countertop. Dante Bonuccelli came up with a cool solution when he designed the Trim kitchen system for Dada. He designed a narrower cabinet system that fits between the countertop and the upper cabinets. The crystal doors disappear beneath the work top when you cook. The rest of the time, they hide the contents.

dada trim kitchen system

It also hides the electrical plugs and illuminates your work surfaces. The end result is a neater space that is very efficient. I love it!

+ Trim kitchen system by Dada


Modern Twist on a Nautical Theme by Molteni and C

nautical theme room with the pass storage by molteni and c

pass storage unit by molteni and c :: modern interior

The first picture depicts the typical interior where we expect to see modern furniture like the ones produced by the Italian brand Molteni & C furniture. But modern furniture can adapt to any style.

nautical theme room with pass modular storage units by molteni and c

The latest ad from Molteni & C proved that point. I like how the designers for this photo shoot totally freshen up a nautical theme room. I adore it!

Luca Meda designed this collection of coordinated modular storage units, shelves and wall units which can be mixed and stacked. It’s called Pass.

+ Pass Storage System designed by Luca Meda for Molteni & C


Babel Bookshelf by Mario Mazzer for Bonaldo

babel by mario mazzer for bonaldo

babel by mario mazzer for bonaldo

I enjoy the original shape of the five-tier bookshelf designed by Mario Mazzer for Bonaldo. The textured surface brings to this sculptural piece a resemblance to a tree trunk.

babel bookshelf used to store tableware

You can use it to store books, magazines, toys or tableware. It could even make a cool place to store your barware.

+ Babel Bookshelf $895 CAD at Bonaldo in Montreal
+ Babel Bookshelf by Mario Mazzer for Bonaldo


Porcelain Dinnerware and Iron Works by Civico Quattro

hand-finished porcelain dinnerware by civico quattro

civico quattro home accessories

I selected waxed natural iron as the main material for our branch staircase. Therefore, it is fair to say that I adore the look. The material is easy to maintain. I simply dust the iron rods once in a while.

circular firewood rack Rotzo log holder

Imagine how great this circular log holder that sits on a wood base would look next to it. It would pair so well together. I love the rustic elegance that the Italian design studio Civico Quattro gave to home accessories and dinnerware.

Dress Up your Table with a Modern Rustic Charm

hand-finished porcelain dinnerware by civico quattro

That is not all, Civico Quattro also produces sublime hand-finished glazed porcelain tableware. They designed two sizes of soup bowls, dinner plates, cups and cylindrical vases. Dining with this organic dinnerware on your table would be treat for many years.

Posina six napkin rings fork and spoon

To complete the look, let’s rest 100% linen folded napkins inside these black powder-coated stainless steel napkin rings. You get 3 spoons and 3 forks in a pack. Look for the minimalist look of the table linen by Fog Linen Work to create an amazing ensemble. You do not even have to own a reclaimed wood communal dining table to achieve that look.

+ Rotzo log holder by Civico Quattro 360 €
+ Porcelain Dinnerware by Civico Quattro – Set of 6 bowls, cups or plates from 115,20 € to 288 €
+ Posina Six Napkin Rings 108 €


The Convenience of Spaghetti al Cartoccio | Spaghetti in Parchment Paper

spaghetti in parchment paper

spaghetti in parchment paper

I enjoy the concept behind Spaghetti al Cartoccio because it looks different and fun. For the hostess, the biggest advantage is that you can prepare the parchment pockets in advance.

The most stylish way to serve it is to prepare single portion parchment pockets. If you heat the pocket on a BBQ for a picnic at the park or the beach, switch to aluminum foil paper. Otherwise, parchment paper delivers a finer look. At home, you will cook the parchment pockets on a baking sheet in a hot oven.

Cooking Time and Recipes

If you prepare Spaghetti al Cartoccio, make sure to not overcook your pasta. Spaghetti, like any Italian pasta, is meant to be eaten al dente. Therefore, when come the time to cook the pasta in boiling water, cut in half the cooking time written on the package. The reason is that the pasta will continue to cook on the oven.

Believe me, it is worth to pay a little more for Italian made pasta like Barilla or De Cecco. They taste way better. Italian cuisine is simple. What makes it exceptional is when you select the finest and freshest ingredients.

Opt for Spaghetti al Cartoccio with a clam and tomato sauce, a seafood sauce or with a tomato and fresh herbs sauce. Have a look at these three recipes:

+ Herbs and Tomato Sauce Spaghetti in Parchment by Paula of Bell’Alimento – I showed her photo
+ Seafood Spaghetti in a Package: Spaghetti al Cartoccio by Mario Batali
+ Spaghetti e Vongole al Cartoccio at Rubber Slippers in Italy


Ovale Tableware by Studio Bouroullec for Alessi

ovale stoneware and stainless steel tableware collection for alessi

ovale stoneware and stainless steel tableware collection for alessi

The French design brother duo Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec created for Alessi a new tableware collection suitable for any time of the day. Ovale definitely has rustic and traditional roots; it is visible especially through the usage of each piece. But, at the same time, the asymmetric shapes reminded me of Scandinavian tableware.

ovale tableware collection by alessi

The Ovale collection marries white stoneware with stainless steel in an exquisite way. The dishes, serving ware, covered containers and buckets are reasonably priced for designer pieces. It is scheduled to be shipped in Fall 2010.

ovale covered containers

If you live in Montreal, New York, Chicago, Phoenix, San Francisco or Los Angeles, you could check out the collection at Alessi flagship stores.

+ Ovale dinnerware by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Alessi $14 to $62 USD at Unica
Ovale serving bowls, containers and ice buckets by Alessi $14 to $275
Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec


Britain Buffet Servers for an Elegant Buffet Table

britain buffet servers in pewter

britain buffet servers in pewter

Elegant buffet servers enhance the look of your table. Holders and caddies are handy to bring the plates and flatware from your kitchen to the table. The pattern of the Britain Buffet Servers is neither truly traditional nor modern. And the beauty of pewter means that this set will never go out of style. I like it to bring a formal sense to your buffet table.

britain buffet servers with glass dishes

Made of pewter, the Britain Buffet Servers are handcrafted in Italy. The baker and flatware caddies come with dishwasher-safe, microwave-safe, and oven-safe glass inserts. They are available at Horchow.

+ Pewter Flatware Caddy $340 USD
+ Pewter Dinner Plate Holder $240
+ Pewter Salad Plate Holder $200
+ Pewter Single Baker $230
+ Pewter Double Baker $230


The Bubbly Bar | Book Review

naughty negroni drink recipe :: the bubbly bar by maria c. hunt

naughty negroni drink recipe :: the bubbly bar by maria c. hunt

In her book, The Bubbly Bar, Maria C. Hunt shared a vast assortment of champagne and sparkling wine cocktail recipes. I just bought the book; I did not have time to yet to try her recipes. With the wedding season, I think that many of you would like options to serve a bubbly concoctions.

One section of her book that I am sure you will not want to miss for entertaining this summer is the dessert corner. She proposed seven refreshing desserts make with Champagne or sparkling wines. A Lemon Ice transforms lemon sorbet into an elegant, grown-up dessert by adding Prosecco, vodka and a mint leaf to garnish. Otherwise, the Grapefruit Vanilla Granita made with brut rosé sparkling wine sounds divine to end a Sunday brunch.

If you are not familiar with Champagne and sparkling wines, Maria wrote an effective guide at the end of her book. To give you an idea of the type of cocktail recipes you will on her book, I scoured the Web and found the recipe of her Naughty Negroni on Canadian House and Home. The recipe of her Pure Passion drink recipe is published on the

About the Naughty Negroni Drink Recipe

As you can guess from the name, it is a twist on the classic Negroni. Although at first glance, I thought that is was similar to a Negroni Sbagliato that I introduced last year. But after checking, it’s quite different. A Naughty Negroni is made with 4 measures of Moscato d’Asti Sparkling Wine, a top-quality sparkling wine from the Piedmont region. Moscato d’Asti is superior and less sweet than Asti or Asti Spumante but make no mistakes, Moscato d’Asti is a sweet wine. She also keeps a half measure of gin from the classic Negroni recipe. A Negroni Sbagliato simply replaces the measure of gin by a measure of a Prosecco Brut (dry).

If you do not recall, the classic Negroni is one measure of gin, one measure of Campari, one measure of sweet vermouth (red vermouth) served with an orange slice. I prefer the tall Negroni where you pour some soda water over your Negroni. I usually will ask for a chaser of soda water because it is hard enough for most restaurants to serve a decent Negroni. The idea to try it with sparkling wine is appealing.

+ For Americans: The Bubbly Bar by Maria C. Hunt $11.55 USD [affiliate link]
+ For Canadians: The Bubbly Bar by Maria C. Hunt $15.87 USD [affiliate link]
+ Naughty Negroni recipe