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  • Craven Maven is about..

    ..experiencing food and all that goes with it.
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    Locavore App for Iphone
    Download the Locavore App for iPhone to find out what produce is currently in season in your region. (created by enjoymentland).

Food to Fragrance: Rhubarb & Custard pie meets Ricci Ricci

ricci ricci ingredients rhubarb / rose / sandalwood

Over the years, you will come to find that there are few fragrances that will literally turn heads and stop conversations mid-sentence when you wear them. For me, one of those scents is Ricci Ricci by Nina Ricci which contains notes of rhubarb, rose and sandalwood. The result is, by definition, a fruity-floral scent, but due to the vegetable on top { rhubarb } and the warm back of Sandalwood there is a certain playful sensuality to this fragrance.

I have always found that the warmth of sandalwood gives skin a nice warm sensual feeling, not dissimilar to what enveloping something in warm custard does for what it covers. Sandalwood’s odour is not overpowering or pronounced, but it’s effect is definite – its what gives the certain something that makes people want to draw close and investigate.

Rhubarb is an interesting choice of fragrance note. In the food world it’s a fruit { in America } and a vegetable elsewhere – visually resembling a sort of red celery; when cooked it’s tender with a tarty zing.

ricci ricci meets rhubarb custard pie

The Fragrance: Ricci Ricci by Nina Ricci. The mix of rhubarb, bergamot, rose, tuberose, sandalwood and patchouli create a glamorous scent that is perfect for going out..or just when you want to smell head turningly good.

The Dish: Rhubarb and Custard Pie pudding by The British Larder

Why it works: Rhubarb is the only literal food to fragrance translation I chose to go with in this case. The zing of rhubarb is subdued in this dish due to the inclusion of sugar and vanilla pods in the recipe. The reduction of sharpness makes it ‘friendlier’ – producing the reaction of wanting to ‘get close’ that the fragrance invokes.

The custard and pastry in the recipe comes with a hint of rum – a grown up ‘sophisticated’ element to what could otherwise have been a usual dish. Which brings me to the dish itself. Rhubarb and Custard was, and may still be, a dish that was served weekly for school pudding. I remember few children being able to appreciate the unique taste of such a dish, nevertheless it was a bastion of the school dinner menu rotation.

In a similar way, Nina Ricci is a brand that has proven longevity – 78 years this year in both the worlds of fashion and beauty – staples in life in the Western World at least!

Fragrance tip:
Every fragrance does NOT smell the same on every person, ‘your scent’ can and will be influenced by what you eat as certain foods leech out of the pores after consumption. My foolproof trick is to not eat garlic or spices 24 hours before I am going somewhere special where I need my fragrance to waft at its maximum potential!

Food tip: Personally, I like to consume custard on the day it’s made – it is one food that doesn’t macerate as well as others. Make the dish with a view of eating it day of or the day after at lastest!

Try the fragrance, try the recipe and let me know what you think of both!

images via the british larder and nina ricci
ingredients: 1. 2. 3

Food Stylin’: Petrina Tinslay

petrina tinslay

Petrina Tinslay is an Australian food photographer who keeps company with such Domestic Goddesses as Nigella Lawson, and her soft, light, feminine images make even the butteriest pastries look like feather-light fare. Enjoy the photos, and be grateful that it doesn’t cost any calories to look…

petrina tinslay

petrina tinslay


all images by petrina tinslay

Food to Fragrance: Why you should eat what you smell..

fragrance and food ingredientsbergamot / grapefruit / pink peppercorns

They say the quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, I always thought it was with a very sharp, well placed knife. The saying though, hits on a very interesting point; what we eat is usually something that brings us comfort, invokes good memories and transplants us to far away lands. It warms our heart.

“Scent is the strongest sense linked to memory,” so stated an Axe commercial a few years ago. While many Axe ads are somewhat flippant that statement is actually true and it’s because of that, that the olfactive industry spends millions on research and development into what scents make you, the consumer, happy.

It’s a fact that we find pleasant and comforting scents that are reminiscent of foods that we find nostalgic, whether it be the vanilla sweetness of egg nog or the cinnamon warmth of a pumpkin pie. It is interesting to note that many fragrances include ingredients that are part of the food family.

In a former life, I worked in the olfactive industry, specifically fragrance development. It was, and continues to be an industry filled with amazingly talented people who create the most intricate, notorious scents in the world yet, unassumingly pass you on the street on a daily basis. Most people don’t know that such an industry exists – but indeed it does..you don’t think that Paris Hilton or Puff Daddy, ACTUALLY mix their concoctions up in their bathrooms do you?!

But back to food. Due to this direct correlation between fragrance and food – ie food makes us happy..and scent is the strongest scent tied to memory, it only makes sense to develop fragrances smell like foods that bring happy memories back to YOU…because YOU will buy it, and equally as important, YOU will feel GOOD when wearing it!

Food & Fragrance is going to be a regular feature on this blog – where I will break down the ingredients of a fragrance – and find a dish that closely corresponds to it in ingredient content and overall effect.

The first fragrance to commence this project is from the new collaboration between Le Labo and Anthropologie.

Le Labo and Anthropology Chant de Bois

The Fragrance: Last night, I attend the NY launch of the 5 new scents that fragrance creators Le Labo concocted with Anthropologie – Chant de Bois particularly caught my attention. Its notes of bergamot, grapefruit, pink pepper, patchouli and cedar lend it a spicy and citrusy mix.

Citrus and spices are common ingredients in Asian dishes. In a fragrance, citrus notes create a sparkle effect on skin, kind of like what zest does to your mouth.

Pink Peppercorns on the other hand are a very specific taste. Exotic and aromatic, they aren’t like other peppercorns; while they add spice it’s not a fiery hot pepperiness, rather more subdued and sophisticated. As it does for your palete so it does for a fragrance. Pink Peppercorns bring intricate depth to the fragrance by their warm exotic odour, the overall effect is something very sophisticated.

The Dish:
Stir-Fried Shrimp with Spicy Orange Sauce by Cooking Light.

Why it works: The orange juice ingredient provides the citrus zing that makes Chant de Bois sparkle. Soy and Ginger exude the exotic spice and depth that is provided by pink peppercorns in the fragrance. While those are more literal translations of food to fragrance, an abstract interpretation is the inclusion of shrimp. Remember the elements of Chant de Bois create an overall sophisticated air. To honor this effect I purposely chose a dish that doesn’t contain an ‘every day’ protein, such as pork, chicken, beef or tofu. Hence the shrimp is the sophisticated element.

If the dish is one that you or your Amore likes try the fragrance, as with each wear it’ll rekindle memories of good eats. If the *fragrance is to your liking then try the dish and see how elements of the fragrance translate to your food!

Let me know what you think of this new series..future posts will be much more succinct and feature men’s fragrances also!

images via anthropologie and myrecipes.com.
Ingredients: 1 / 2 / 3

*As of last night Chant De Bois is the lead seller of this new line!

Hot Apple Toddy

Apple Toddy

I have it on good authority that it’s started snowing today in London. As a kid I remember it snowing every year before things changed. Now in New York, you are guaranteed epic snowfalls on an annual basis; where epic = housebound blizzard.

While hot chocolate sufficed when I was a kid, as a grown up I’m all about the hot toddy. Any pub worth half it’s salt can make you a decent hot toddy – I remember one place actually sent their waiter out to buy some honey to make it right. But if you decide to make it at home, check out this recipe from readymade magazine for Spiced Apple Toddy.


* 1 baked apple
* 1.5 oz. Calvados Pays d’Auge (Busnel VSOP)
* 2 tsp. sugar { or honey }
* 3 oz. boiling water
* nutmeg


* Foil
* Muddler (or spoon)


1. To make the baked apple, peel, quarter, and core an apple (Braeburn or other seasonally appropriate variety). Dust apple quarters lightly with ground cinnamon and allspice. Wrap each quarter separately in foil and bake at 350°F for 30 minutes. (To make slices to garnish glasses, cut another apple into ¼-inch slices and bake until just softened.)

2. Combine Calvados, apple, and sugar in a hot mug. Muddle apple (or mash it with a spoon), add boiling water, and stir until pulp dissolves. Lightly grate nutmeg on top.

Hope you enjoy!

image and recipe from readymade magazine

Jamie Oliver’s fab new Iphone App..

jamies recipes

If you love to eat { which I suspect you do if you’re reading this blog }, and you have an Iphone or Ipod Touch then you will be glad to know that Jamie Oliver released his second Iphone app yesterday – Jamie’s Recipes. Oh, and did I mention it’s FREE?

I spent the better part of yesterday playing around with it and I must say of all the recipe apps i’ve tried, this one is by far the most aesthetically pleasing and practical.

To start with there are three videos – Jamie introducing you to the app, while standing in a bright light drool-worthy kitchen space, a lesson in knife skills that will save your pinky, { heaven knows I have had many a blood gushing knife incident in the kitchen in my lifetime..}, and a tutorial on how to place your chopping board. Jamie reassuringly walks you through this basics and get’s you set for what’s to come.

jamies recipesrecipes for free or downloadable packs for a fee

Next you have two options to select from – free recipes that come with the app or the option to download a ‘packet’ of ten recipes for $2.99. Recipe packets are varied, with categories such as ‘Brilliant Breakfast and Brunch’ to ’10 minute meals’ to ’20 minute vegetarian dishes’.

jamies recipesingredient listing that can be sent to a shopping list

Pictures of the finished product are incredibly well styled. Each comes with a summary of the dish, a list of what you will need in terms of both equipment and ingredients and a step by step ‘how-to’ guide with pictures. Then, and this is my favourite bit, with a quick click you can add all the ingredients to a shopping list for when you go to the supermarket.

jamies recipeshow-to directions

Last night, I found myself in bed, going through the Banoffee Banana Split recipe, adding it’s contents to my shopping list, then popping over to my Fresh Direct app and creating a request for the items to be delivered to my home..all from under my quilt!

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have officially reached The Future.

This new app is so very easy to use, I highly recommend it and will be playing with it in the weeks and days to come. Let me know if you download it and make something delish!

images from jamieoliver.com

Fondue-ing it at Pure Green Magazine

pure green living holiday 2010 fondue spread

The new issue of Pure Green Living dropped earlier this week and its the best one yet. Gift suggestions from some great bloggers, a house tour and interview with the ever design discerning Hindsvik and of course great eats.

I have never had fondue. Can you believe that? I love chocolate and I love cheese but I’ve never fondue’d it up either at home or at a restaurant. In efforts to fix that I have been on a { long & fruitless } search for a Michael Lax Copco fondue set on ebay. Once I get my fondue pot I will be making the delicious sounding chocolate fondue with amaretto recipe in Pure Green Magazine. YUM!

image via pure green magazine

Sweet Paul Holiday Edition: Something for everyone

sweet paul holiday cover

The holiday issue of Sweet Paul Magazine went live this week and it is continuing to show that it’s a formidable contender in the world of food and craft magazines. The quality of content in both written word, styling and dare I say recipe ‘yumminess’ makes it a magazine you won’t put down before reading cover to cover.

I highly recommend you read it for yourself, but in the meantime, check out some of my favourite articles in the latest incarnation:

Sweet Paul Holiday edn - Uncle Beefy cupcakes

Bradford Crowder blogs under the moniker Uncle Beefy, writing about design, style, food and general good natured etiquette. His posts always have a storyteller quality with a rim of wit. It’s only fitting then that he wrote and illustrated a heartwarming feature about the Sherry Cupcakes he enjoyed in his youth. Check out the feature on page 34-35.

sweet paul holday edn chocolate chocolate

Chocolate, oh chocolate. I love it so much I would have it on IV drip if I could. After all these years I must have consumed it in all it’s forms, but what I haven’t done is try to make anything overly impressive with it myself…then I saw this recipe for Amaretto Truffles on page 54 ..good gravy they look hella good..adding them to my ‘must make’ list!

sweet paul holiday edn bright bazaar layout

On page 42, another of my favourite { male } bloggers, Will of Bright Bazaar, created a lovely dinner table inspired mood board that goes above and beyond holiday season dining and has inspired me for many a dinner parties to come!

sweet paul holiday edn  brunch

Living in New York, you would think I am a consummate bruncher, although I wish I were, my schedule almost never allows for it and I find myself more of a night owl coffee/drinks/dinner sort of gal. But the one time of year I do indulge in making brunch is around the holiday season, not as a celebration of the holiday itself but rather as everyone has an indispensable amount of time to eat, laugh and enjoy. Page 88’s caramelized onion and goat cheese tartlets anyone? They look and sound so delish…I will be adding this to my 2010 brunch menu!

So check out the mag now there is something for everyone in it – recipes for kids or even dogs and if cooking is not your niche, there are plenty of crafty projects to enhance and beautify the dining table!

While you’re at it check out Sweet Paul’s Kickstarter page! Your contributions can and will lead to an even bigger better evolution of something that’s already a riveting read!

all images via sweet paul mag