Friday, February 25, 2011

London Series part 1 - The Internationality

Being the second time I was traveling to London, I knew exactly what to expect as of its inhabitants. I remembered the friendliness and the openness they would want to help you in any of your questions. Most of them do not have British roots, so let's take a look at the internationality of this city.

Around the year 43 A.C. the Emperor Claudius creates the province called "Londinium", transforming it really soon in a commercial point. Now, commerce, as you all know it, attracts people who want to buy and sell, hence, make trade, therefore not from just one part of the world, but from many.

Later on in history, London was the centre of the British Empire, which attracted migration from the collonies towards this city in search, probably, of a better life. Today it has become the most cosmopolitan city in Europe for sure. It is said that there are 550 overseas banks in London - more than in other city of the world. Also, the most international calls in the world are made to and from London. There are over 300 languages spoken every day there, being also a financial and legal centre of the world. And it is one of the most visited cities in the world. What greater proof is needed than going out there and noticing yourself, without having read all this data before? At the airport I bought my shuttle bus ticket from an Afro-American lady, was driven on the bus by a British guy, got off at Baker stree and the first coffee shop I see is French. People around me are American, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish etc. There comes my friend who picks me up, so we are 2 Romanians. At her dorm we meet a girl with British and Italian roots and then have lunch with a girl from the Ukraine. During all my stay I noticed all the employees at museums, venues, restaurants, shops etc,...each and every one of them from a diffrent background. I ate British, French, Korean, Chinese and Italian cuisine... in just 7 was a delight.

I am sure that this international spirit makes London a city that is very vibrant and constantly on the move. And it makes you be yourself and still be part of a community. It makes you competitive and culturally aware of the world around you (with all the collections from around the world in the free access museums). It makes you smile because you know how a melting pot looks like!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What can one find in London...

...cannot be limited and put down in words in just one blog entry! This is why from today I will start my very own London Series, telling you about my trip to London and its surroundings and all I found there: not just some clothes/accessories which you can see below, but also the culture, the music, the sightseeing, the colours and flavours of the markets, the gastronomic diversity and excellence, the fashion, the outings, and of course, the long missed friends. So sit down and take your time to soon enjoy the London Series, Ingrid's Style!

(clutch in the background, bow bracelet and flower ring)

(my very own Vogue 2011 March UK edition with my delight for the title "fashion's new love for colour"-proven by my findings)

(detail on my new skirt from London)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I love Moet

Dear all,

if one of you is in New York until Monday, February 14th, grab the opportunity and get yourself one of these beauties!

The pink bottle of rose Champagne is a limited edition and maybe a wonderful way of saying "I love you" or whatever you want to say, because you can write it message yourself. The bottle comes with two flute Champagne glasses and a gold marker all packed in a nice tinned gift box. It's a perfect occasion for Valentine's or birthday anniversary or whatever you and your loved one are celebrating. It's called the Valentine Day Graffiti Kit and it should be available at retail price of approximately 120 dollars.

In case you didn't know, I love Moet & Chandon!

(Picture source:


Monday, February 7, 2011

Gastronomic pleasures II: poires au vin rouge and birthday cake

Last week was one filled with celebrations: both my mum and dad had their birthdays plus my grandma and two other firends, so it was a bit crowded. So I decided to gift my parents something special, and thought I could make a birthday cake. Imagine, it was the first time!!! I'm more of a cook than a I was a bit nervous.

After I had done my research, I went to buy the ingredients for the cake, some of them being fruit. So that was when I stumbled upon pears. Mmmmm, the idea of poires au vin rouge came immediately to my mind and I knew I was in for some serious work. I got back home and this is what I did:

I started by peeling off the sure to pick a type of pears which is more consistent, more solid, as you have to cook them for a while and you don't want mashed pears at the end, but rather nice-looking, solid ones which melt in your mouth once you bite them.

Leave the possibility to grab them...the pears will look prettier and they will be easier to handle when you serve and eat them.

What I did next was to put them in wine with sugar and cinnamon and left them there to boil until they were tender and ready to eat.

Meanwhile, I started working on the cake. Soak the cake dough with some fruit syrup (choose mainly syrup of the fruit you will use in the cake) and then put a layer of cream, on which the first row of fruit will be.

I chose some vanilla-flavoured cream as it is rather neutral and gives a particular aroma to the composition.

Peaches were my first choice, these I took from a compote.

Meanwhile the pears were cooking beautifully and taking the colour of the wine. Take a look at this great picture!

Back to the cake! Second choice were oranges - they give a bit of freshness to the whole cake. These were fresh, not out of any can.

Pears were then ready....I don't know...I think after 20-30 minutes of medium fire cooking.. Here's one of the result:

Because it is still winter, as a top layer for the cake I chose apples. I cut them in small pieces and put them all in a pan with the sauce from the pears. Added some extra sugar and extra cinnamon and fried them until they were soft and the whole house smelled like winter delights.

Carefully I put the apples on top of the cake and put it in the fridge about an hour or more before serving.

Here's the end result. Hope you are hungry or you have some new inspiration for cooking for your loved ones. This huge cake dissapeared after two servings (3 people), altough it could have been enough for 10 as well.

Bon appetit!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Gastronomic pleasures I: marinated mutton

Dear all,

as I have promised a friend of mine lately, here is a post about what you can make from a piece of meat.

I'm really into Jamie Oliver's American Road Trip, have watched most of it lately, and I find his search for genuine flavour and for people's warmth and unity through food such an inspiring message. I myself am constantly seeking for more and more flavour mixtures to satisfy my interest for the culinary art and to check its and my borders.

Still, my country, as I see it, with all the culinary influences it has gotton over the time through invaders and people who went abroad and brought back new stuff, is not tasteless but rather gentle in taste and not daring. Basically salp and pepper are not missing and we might use parsley and dill, seldom some mint, but that sums it all up. Then there are the regional variotions, Transilvania for example uses quite a lot of tarragon while some other regions use a juice made of fermented bran (tarate) or sour cream to modify the taste. For steaks cooked in the oven there are also bay leaves used and the garlic is also one of the few taste-givers of the food. (Hopefully the EU won't go through with its idea of banning the garlic.)
The meat used in Romania is basically pork. French people might suffer here, as veal is not so often found, but on the other hand, people such as Germans or Swiss might be delighted with our food. Apart from pork, chicken is the most common.

Now, you can imagine my delight when few days back I came across some mutton muscle in a hypermarket. Even if it was a bit pricey, I took the oportunity. On my way home I thought that mutton would not be as tender as you would expect lamb meat to be so I had to make a marinade and let the meat in it for a few hours. My first thought went to some red wine...I had a good one at home which would offer a finger-licking aroma,...and then I made the mistake of watching Jamie Oliver again. Now he is so passionate about cooking (as am I) that he transfers his delight through the screen of your PC easily. And there I was, having 3 mutton pieces...and inventing 3 marinades.

Nr. 1 - The Wine Marinade

Nr.2 - The Herb Butter Marinade

(Meat in marinade paste rolled up in foil)

Nr.3 - The Asian Inspiration Marinade

After a few hours of letting the meat rest in the fridge in its marinade, it was ready to be grilled. I chose to do it medium, as it would be to hard to chew if it would be well done.

The result was mouth-watering. 3 delicious was of making tender mutton. I have used for the marinades the following: wine, garlic, bay leaves, salt, black pepper, thyme, herb butter, parsley, basil, curry, yoghurt, mustard, cloves. As a small tipp, for the third marindade, which included curry and cloves among others, I left the spice mixture in a frying pan for half a minute after I grinded the components, just that the aroma develops even more through the heat. Then I mixed in the yoghurt and the other components. Hope I have inspired you for your spice ventures.
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