Aug 31, 2010

Prairie Collective

I love seeing how little shops are transformed. How a small abandoned space is developed into something unique and special and shows you the style and personality of its owner. The ladies over at Design*Sponge recently opened up this cute little store called Prairie Collective in San Francisco selling flowers and gifts. I love the addition of the timber rafters and old vintage furniture pieces.

Aug 27, 2010

Flowers for friday

My poor little blog has been neglected of late. Life has been a quite busy but I came across these images today and had to pause for a moment. Isn't this flower bush stunning? Helen from Tartelette visited the town in which her parents live in France. Really beautiful architecture and scenery. More shots from her visit can be viewed here.

Aug 25, 2010

All things French

A fair few years ago now we visited France very briefly and I loved every minute of it. I love the food and beautiful landscapes and that those living in Paris would be outside until nightfall enjoying the sunset and city they live in. It's funny that my parents named me Chantelle Monique and I have grown to love all things French. The language is so beautifully elegant and it has been on mind for some time to learn it so this week I started lessons. I look forward to when I return and by then will hopefully know something other than 'Parlez-vous anglais?'.

Aug 20, 2010

Chorizo, roast tomato and goat's curd pasta

Today I set myself the challenge of styling a pasta. Pasta is my weakness, well, carb in general and chocolate are my weakness. A while ago I saw this recipe in an issue of Donna Hay and have been keen to give it a go. They used lentils in their version but since Reid isn't a lentil fan I used roasted truss tomatoes instead. Recipe below.

Chorizo, roast tomato and goat's curd pasta

• 400g small shell pasta
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 2 chorizo sausages, sliced
• 200g swiss brown mushrooms, sliced
• 3 cloves garlic, sliced
• 2 extra cloves garlic for roasting, left whole
• 3/4 cup (185ml) dry sherry
• About 9 or 10 truss tomatoes, left on vine
• Sea salt and cracked black pepper
• 125g goat's curd
• Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Preheat oven to 200˚C. Cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente - about 6-8 minutes. Drain and keep warm. Line a baking tray with paper and place tomatoes and whole garlic cloves on tray. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. Cook in oven for about 10-15 minutes or until tomatoes begin to split.

In the meantime heat the oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Add the chorizo, mushroom and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes or until browned. Add the sherry and cook for 2 minutes or until slightly reduced. Add the pasta, salt and pepper and cook for 1 minute. Top with goat's curd, roasted truss tomatoes and drizzle with oil to serve. Serves 4-6.

{ adapted from donna hay }

Aug 19, 2010

Order of service

A little while ago I posted about a wedding stationary set I created with a simple, traditional and sophisticated look. I have spent the last couple days finishing off the order of service for the wedding which takes place tomorrow and I'm happy with how they turned out. 130 of the booklets were printed and I threaded and tied bows in each one to keep them together. Quite a big job but I got there in the end.

Aug 17, 2010

Mushroom soup

I'm beginning to really enjoy food styling. Playing with textures and different backgrounds is really fun and it's challenging to get the shot right before things start mixing together and your pretty composition starts to become a bit of a mess. So I've been setting myself weekly projects and this week I did a mushroom soup. I love mushrooms. This one tastes really good but you only need a very small serve as its flavour is quite strong. It makes a perfect starter. If you can't find chestnut or king mushrooms then it's fine to any other European mushroom.

Mushroom soup

• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 70gm butter, coarsely chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
• 6 large field mushrooms, coarsely chopped
• 1 tbsp plain flour
• 500ml (2 cups) chicken stock
• 80ml manzanilla sherry
• 60gm (1/4 cup) double cream
• 50gm each chestnut mushrooms and thickly sliced king brown mushrooms to serve

Heat olive oil and 50gm butter in a saucepan over high heat until butter starts to foam. Add garlic and field mushrooms and stir continuously until mushrooms are just golden and tender - about 5-10 mins. Add flour and stir for 1 minute. Add stock and sherry and cook until mushrooms are really tender - about 15-20 mins. Add cream and process in blender until smooth. Season to taste. Heat remaining butter in a large frying pan over high heat until butter begins to foam. Add chestnut and king brown mushrooms and cook until golden and tender - about 3-5 mins. Serve soup hot, topped with crème fraîche and sautéed mushrooms. Serves 4.

Aug 15, 2010

Yellow and blue

Love this colour mix of soft yellow and blue. Such a simple combination and so feminine.

Aug 14, 2010

Wilfred fall/winter collection

I'm excited to see that the new fall/winter collections are up on Wilfred. I especially love the soft colours and fabrics of their le fou brand (top two images).

Aug 13, 2010

Lisa Cohen

I love a good dose of inspiration on a friday. Nice photography by Australian photographer Lisa Cohen.

{ via mocking bird }

Magpie's Cake

Magpie's Cake located in Washington have a pretty impressive portfolio of work. The art and detail that goes into each cake is incredible. Almost too good to eat.

Aug 11, 2010

Date and walnut loaf

It's a public holiday today here in Brisbane and I always seem to crave baking on lazy days like today. So today I baked date and walnut loaf. Delicious! Spread with a bit of butter and accompanied with a cup of coffee it makes for the perfect afternoon treat. Recipe below.

Date and walnut loaf

• 1 cup pitted dates, chopped
• 1 cup boiling water
• 2 tbsp maple syrup
• 1 1/4 cups plain flour
• 1 tsp bicarbonate soda
• 3/4 cup traditional rolled oats
• 1 1/4 cups walnuts, chopped
• 1/2 cup brown sugar
• Butter to serve

Preheat oven to 180˚. Grease a 9cm x 19cm loaf pan and line base and sides with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang on both sides. Place dates in a heatproof bowl and pour over boiling water and maple syrup. Let stand for 15mins. Sift flour and bicarbonate soda together in a bowl. Add oats, walnuts and sugar and stir to combine. Add the date mixture and stir well until all combined. Spoon mixture into prepared pan and smooth surface. Bake for 40mins or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from oven and let stand in pan for 5mins. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool. Slice and serve with butter.

Aug 8, 2010

Baron Wells

Baron Wells is a brand of clothes for men and women designed and developed in New York. I really like the clothes and also quite like the styling and photography as it's a little on the quirky side. I can't quite put my finger on it but to me something about the look feels similar to that of a Woody Allen movie.

The forgotten soup

Growing up pea and ham soup was a regular in our household. We ate it at home, and we also owned a cafe and mum would cook up a pot in the winter time to sell for lunch. So I ate a lot of pea and ham soup. I reached a point where I decided I had had enough of this soup and stopped eating it completely for about 10 years. I tend to do that a lot with various things in my life. But my decision changed this week whilst flipping through the latest issue of Gourmet Traveller. Inside was a recipe for this old favourite and I thought it was time I gave it another go so cooked up a big pot. I'm happy to say that I really enjoyed it and being that it was a really cold and windy week it was the perfect meal.

Pea and ham soup

• 40 gm butter, coarsely chopped
• 2 onions, finely chopped
• 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
• 2 ham hocks
• 4 ltrs cold water
• 750 gm dried green split peas
• 360 gm frozen baby green peas, defrosted
• Loaf of crusty bread

Heat butter in a large pot over low-medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until tender - about 10-12mins. Add ham hocks and cover with cold water. Bring to simmer, reduce heat to low and cook until ham falls off the bone - about 1-1 1/2 hours. Remove hocks from pot and allow to cool. Remove and discard skin and bone and coarsely shred meat. Set aside. Meanwhile, add split green peas to stock and simmer until very tender - about 45mins to an hour. Add baby peas (reserving a little for garnish) and simmer until bright green - about 1-2 mins. Purée in batches in a blender until smooth. Add shredded ham to soup (reserving a little for garnish), season to taste. Garnish with extra peas and shredded ham and serve with crusty bread.

Aug 4, 2010

Happy anniversary to my parents

It's my parent's wedding anniversary today. My parents met at school and eventually started dating. They married and then set off overseas traveling through Europe in a little Combi Van in the freezing cold. They raised a family of three children and did whatever they could to bring in enough money to support us all. There is no doubt that they did whatever they could for our family and that family means everything to them. Life has brought them their ups, and their downs like it does with us all. But they remain together today and that is something I'm proud of. I look at my parents lives with admiration. I hope you both have a beautiful day. Love you always x.

Aug 3, 2010

Our little wedding in Cosmo Bride!

Well it's official. Our little wedding features in the spring issue of Cosmopolitan Bride which went on sale in Newsagents this week! I rushed there this morning and bought all the copies they had on the stand. I'm still buzzing with excitement and can't wait to give a copy to my parents and grandma. My grandma has been obsessed with magazines for as long as I can remember. Perhaps that's where my obsession came from. I can't wait to show her that we were actually printed in a magazine. The online write up can be viewed here. Now I promise, that's the last you will hear of our wedding!

Romina Bacci

I came across the beautiful work of Italian born Graphic Designer and Photographer Romina Bacci this morning. Her work is so soft and soothing and her talent is really inspiring. Romina speaks English, Spanish and Italian and has worked in the graphic design field for 10 years. She also illustrates and makes jewelry! If that doesn't inspire you to get out your pen and paper to jot down some creative ideas then I don't know what will. It's so nice to hear of talented people like Romina and as a creative I find it really helps and motivates you to surround yourself with such people and read of similar stories.

Aug 2, 2010


Some nice industrial inspired furniture by Sundance. I do love the castor wheel look on furniture. Perfect for moving pieces around when you have a sudden urge to redecorate!