Hello old friend..

deliciousness

..Oh we have been here before haven’t we? I love to ponder my desserts on any given Friday and this week is no exception.

New York is supposed to have a record warm day tomorrow of near 90 degrees! I for one cannot wait. In the meantime, if so moved, be sure to check out this wonderful receipe for Berry Mousse and Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Verrines . The picture alone has me salivating and imagining late night conversation fueled dessert and coffee sessions in the garden I wish I had.

Have a great weekend whereever you are – this lil cravenmaven has some treats planned for you next week!

image from my tartelette

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Do you listen to music when you cook?

headphones

If there’s one thing my friends know about me its that I love music…any kind of music (brownie points for guessing the song..hehe). My tastes are quite eclectic but almost never involve the Top 10 or Top 40 as most of that stuff is tripe. I think my affinity for good sounds originates from being raised in a home with a DJ (my bro), and a father who played and danced to his varied mix of LP’s every Saturday afternoon. (His music ranged from Tammy Wynette to Bob Marley to Otis Reading to Vanilla Ice – I kid you not..).

There are some tasks I cannot perform without music, and cooking is one of them. Most times I have my ipod attached to my hip and my big headphones, not dissimilar to ones like those pictured above. I think the music I listen to affects my cooking, if its a strong drum and bass tune I mix harder and faster – if its a melancholy ballad I am more deliberate in the layers of my dessert and so on and so forth.

I had been toying with the idea of getting a speaker for my kitchen/living room, but can’t really justify it. One thing’s for sure, indie music is fast becoming my fave to cook to – Postal Service, Kaiser Cartel, Bloc Party, Whitest Boy Alive, Nurses, Wintersleep, Two door cinema club etc with driving dance beats a close second – Miike Snow, Basement Jaxx, Massive Attack, Little Boots, The Ting Tings, SSPU, Moloko etc.

So what about you? What gets you whipping up that batter, slicing n dicing, flipping and frying with that much more finesse?

image by c goulao

Kitchen Envy: The celeb ‘chef’ kitchen

The Delicious Miss Dahl Kitchen

Ah, the celeb ‘chef’. A complex creature…actually no. No they are not. Quite often they leave you wondering, ‘erm, how and WHY do they have a show??’. That seems to be the sentiment about The Delicious Miss Dahl, a cooking programme in the UK hosted by Sophie Dahl no less. I for one have never seen the show, and to be honest, doubt it would be my cuppa, but one thing that DID catch my eye is the kitchen she uses. Interestingly the home in which the prog is shot is currently up for sale, boasting a palette a lot less exciting. The set designer for the show does a fabulous job in reimagining the kitchen to something a lot more whimsical and well..twee. Nevertheless, there are some elements of the tv kitchen and the real life kitchen, (both of which are the same kitchen with different decor), that I certainly do fancy!

The real kitchen - eat in
The real kitchen

– I know what you are going to say. Why does it look like a polar bear in a blizzard? Yes, I get it, the kitchen is very white. I find that aspect a bit much to be honest, but look again. A wonderfully raw wood island, infinite sources of natural light, and is that? No it can’t be, why yes, it’s an Aga! And we all know how I feel about Aga’s now don’t we? No? Well I love them. Muchly. These rustic elements give a sense of warmth and homliness to the space which is otherwise presented as very startk and ‘modern’ in colour at least.
Just looking at this picture I want to dine in this space – the bright sunshine streaming in during the day, and a candle lit garden glimmering in the background at night. It’s just plain lovely.

Kitchen Island
The real kitchen

– Here is a better angle of the kitchen from the POV of the dining table. All in all its not a very big kitchen but it appears to be very functional. That lovely sized apron fronted sink, lower open shelving and woodblock counter tops. It’s all nice but in need of a little something to give it that flea market chic vibe its just crying out for. Despite its ‘simplicity’ the space and layout makes me want to cook here!

Delicious Miss Detail
The tv kitchen – top
The real kitchen – bottom

– Here you see the differences between the tv kitchen and the real one. I am in LOVE with that green and gold wallpaper (if anyone knows where its from, please do share), and the colourful accent items, teapots, tins and what not make this space that much more fun. It is a little cluttered for my tastes but the direction is right – for me at least. The colour works well against the vast whiteness and the small herb garden around the sink is what my dreams are made of.

– In the real kitchen, the close up shows that the kitchen cabinets look quite erm, unprofessional. I could be wrong but they do not look like standard cabinetry at all. But I love it! It makes me think of an old French farm kitchen, built by the original owners and loved by its owners down through the decades. The wonderful subway tile pulls it back into this time period and gives the kitchen something for everyone, lovers of the old school and lovers of new.

If it was up to me I would take the above elements of the kitchen and create a third idea. Yes to the vintage wallpaper but no to the one lame open shelf above the sink. I would add more upper open shelving on both sides of the stove.

Yes to the open plan kitchen and dining but a big fat no to the expanse of white..the dining space is in dire need of some colour, whether that be to upholster the chair seats and place a runner on the table ..but just something.

Yes to the indoor herb garden and abundance of florals and colour – no to the clutter. It doesn’t have to be full to be interesting.

I would also add some comfy seating somewhere in there, a wingback or two would be stellar as would option stools to turn the wood island into a makeshift informal dining space. I would also consider introducing more textiles to the space via a rug and the option of voiles that could be completely open or not – to diffuse light.

As my best mate’s mum says, I wouldn’t give this space a ‘kick in the teeth’. I really do love it. But it would definitely need some tweaking to be mine, somewhere in the middle of the real kitchen and the tv kitchen.

images from Kfh.co.uk, the bbc, renaissance vintage

The funniest food related quote on my gchat list right now..

I just looked over and saw this as a friends status message:

Likes her men like her croissants:
Rich, French, and Flaky

Love it.

Yum Review: Fiore

Fiore

I am so behind in my yummy food reviews, which is a shocker as it’s not like I eat out THAT much..nonetheless I am putting some of my faves first. Starting with Fiore on Grand St in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. First of all, I am a sucker for ambience, and when I walked in I was immediately yet somewhat subtly reminded of the time I road-tripped North Italy and the places we ate in along the way. The decor was rustic, simple and charming. The waiter, deliciously accented…ah the Italian inflections!

But then there was the food. As a veggie, and feeling in the mood for some pasta pasta I had the hand made spaghetti with tomato and basil sauce. It was very very yum and definitely tasted home made. I can be very paticlar about my tomato sauce, I hate when it has the zing of being too tart or when it is over sweetened, but this was a lovely and delicate balance.

Calamari and Zucchini chips
Calametti Frizzi con zucchine croccanti

A friend of mine ordered the Calametti Frizzi con zucchine croccanti, thats right dear readers, calamari and zucchini chips/fries! While I didn’t touch the calamari the fried zucchini was incredibly moreish and not in the slightest bit greasy or overdone.

All in all, whether it was steak, pasta or seafood no one complained about their dish. The service was friendly and light and the space conducive to a medium sized group of friends getting together to eat, chat and enjoy in a comfy environment. I highly reccomend checking it out! Their menus can be found here.

all images from fiore

Etsy T-T-T-Tuesday: Keeping it Dansk..

Dansk design is becoming more and more popular in the US and rightly so. There is something about the lines and intricacies in the work that comes out of Scandinavia that reminds one of the workmanship of yesteryear mixed with an aesthetic that is timeless. Heaven knows, they work a piece of teak like nobody’s business. But what about kitchen tools? Say, the good ole ‘Dutch Pot’? I remember as a kid, my mum had a cast iron ‘Dutch Oven’ that she’d got from Jamaica. It was very very well used, and to this day I remember the amazing kidney and onions she would whip up in that thing. Mmm…yum!

But what about a Dutch, Dutch pot? Yes, there are the Le Creuset’s and Staubs of the world and they are lovely..but let’s take it vintage. Let’s go back to the source..

Dansk IHQ Kobenstyle Enamelware Large Dutch Oven Covered Pot Aqua Turquoise

Dansk IHQ Kobenstyle Enamelware Large Dutch Oven Covered Pot Aqua Turquoise

This – is – the Hottness! First of all the colour matches the colour scheme I have established for my kitchen tools, and look at that wonderful ‘cross’ handle, and soft curves on the handle. At 10″ across this pot is a decent size – and yes, it has some wear, but this IS vintage, and any pot worth its salt has been worked and worked hard. Like a human, its going to show some wear n tear. Priced at $60, my first thought was that this is a bit pricey. But in reality a new dutch pot would cost much more and wouldn’t have the flair of this one. Plus it is clean inside and out – with only the minor chips here and there to take away from it. Visit bit o butter’s store for the details.

Red Dansk IQ Kobenstyle Paella Pan

Red Dansk IQ Kobenstyle Paella Pan

Do you like Paella? Best Paella I ever had, hands down, was in this little restaurant in Seville, Spain. We sat at a little table on the cobbled street and scoffed the best paella known to man. I’ve never tried to make a paella..hmm, maybe I should look into a recipe for a vegetarian version, but if I did make it, I would want it to be in this pot. Ooh, look at those curves…GORGEOUS! Priced at just $25 this is such a bargain, especially as it seems to be in fantastic condition. Mod Apple has it for sale, run don’t walk there please.

Vintage Dansk Kobenstyle Enameled Pot Pan - Jens Quistgaard IHQ - Open Roaster Casserole - Orange

Vintage Dansk Kobenstyle Enameled Pot Pan – Jens Quistgaard IHQ – Open Roaster Casserole – Orange

I’ve been in the market for a roaster for a little while now. However, I am specifically looking for a slate grey or carribbean blue one from Le Creuset..it’s just not happening. Then I saw this..a gorgeous, polished, funky handled roaster in the Dansk Kobenstyle – isn’t it a beaut? I refuse to buy it because the colour doesn’t go with my scheme (one must have some sort of rules to avoid going nuts!!). But I hope someone out there is able to snatch this up, it appears to be in near flawless condition! It’s $60 and on sale at one of my favourite etsy sellers, blue flower vintage.

Dansk Kobenstyle Skillet by Quistgaard

Dansk Kobenstyle Skillet by Quistgaard

One of my favourite Americanisms, nay Brooklynism’s to say is that someone has ‘mad skillz’, as in, they are very talented. To apply the same thought to the above this is indeed a ‘mad skillet’ (ok that was lame, but let me run with it. Please?). The detail of having the wooden handle is lovely. It gives it a rustic feel but also a practical element, (have you ever grabbed a hold of your cast iron skillet when its on the stove? Ok then you know just what I mean). The vibrant colour is lovely and again its near flawless. At only $45 bucks I will be surprised if Hold the Wire has this in their store for long..

Dansk Kobenstyle yellow lidded dutch oven casserole Quistgaard

Dansk Kobenstyle yellow lidded dutch oven casserole Quistgaard

Another offering from Hold the Wire. This dutch pot is just two quarts to almost half the size of the blue one in this post. The colour just blows my mind, it looks like it could glow in the dark! But in a very subdued gray/white kitchen, this pop of colour would absolutely, totally rock! It’s only $48 to boot.

So there you have it.

I hope you see something you like on here and add it to your collection!br>

images courtesy of the respective etsy store mentioned

There’s a loaf of bread in my mailbox.

Loaf

There’s a loaf of bread in my mailbox. No, this is not the opening line of a joke…there is a real loaf of whole wheat bread in my mailbox and no one seems to know how it got there. I texted everyone in my building and no one knows what’s going on or where/who it’s from.

I swear. You just can’t make this stuff up.

image from musicpb