Monday, January 25, 2010

From an Interior design fair Cologne

Here some pictures I brought back from Imm Cologne - International Moebel Messe Koeln  last week. The Music, Design and Fashion are taging along each other side by side from Styling, Direction, Colors and Materials.

Club & lounge atmosphere

Ecologicals material without processing.
Very beautiful stone seating made from wool

Grass bench
They both are so soft and very comfie.

White is stying in a very strong position as a main color. This time is mix with orange, grey, green, all tone of purple (some shade of purple as furnitures is difficult for me to live with everyday!), yellow and turqoise. 


The Grey Zone! Yes all shade of grey .. I love this when mix with the right color can be so fresh.


Living on the floor ...


The mix materials and texture and NATURE and something that show a craftmanship or handmade or animal expression like fur and feathers


Recycle... archictecture with cardboard or plastic boxes.
 How's about pizza boxes!

Transparent room with plastic boxes.

Outdoor - the 50's & 60's 

Lots of great storages ideas and multifunction furnitures for small spaces for all function .. unfortunately I was not allow to photograph them. Next exciting fair is the Milano Salon in Milan, Italy.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Ting Tings


Stir Fry !!!

The other day my sister- Chittrayo who lives in Boston asked me for tips and suggestions to boost up her stir fry dishes. She lives on this literary. Stir fry is the most fun, creative, quick, healthy and tasty dishes. You don’t need to be a pro to do this.  This is one way of cooking to empty the fridge before I travel.

The rules of thumb for stir fry are - quickly cook food in hot oil wok/pan for some minutes that vegetables are still crisp and meat or seafood are tender and juicy. The wok/pan needs to stay fairly hot while you cooking so you hear sizzle while you’re cooking. Cutting of meat, seafood and vegetables also plays very important role. They should not be cut too thick or too big. The pieces should be in bite sizes. It does take practice.

Stir fry became very popular in USA in early 90's. I remember trendy/scene restaurants were featuring something stir fry or grilled something with stir fry something. Also it was a hit theme for cooking and health shows on TV. Friends used to ask me how to do it. I think many Asian at that time were asked the same question. I grew up eating stir fry or Pad (calls it in Thai) every day! Stir Fry has developed and fused into hundreds of flavor and mixtures since then. 
My favorite combinations are mostly based on my Asian root. Growing up and living in 3 continents (Asia, North America and Europe) I discovered new fresh produces and herbs. I will share my basic combinations of flavor, spices and herbs with you

Some notes before you start:
Sauce - decide yourself how much sauce you want in your stir fry. It should never be a swimming pool. I know that western people love sauce. Add liquid if your stir fry too dry using water or stock of chicken or vegetable. You can use cube stock by adding little water. Remember that cube stock already has salt in it. You have to reduce the amount of salt or omit it completely depend on the amount of stir fry and taste. I recommend using corn starch mix with water or soup stock to thicken the sauce. It should be added shortly before you finish so you can check and adjust the consistence and flavor of your dish.
Oil - I recommend ground nuts oil to add nice flavor to Asian flair but using vegetable oil is fine.
Jazz it up - using aromatic herbs such ginger, scallion, garlic chive, coriander, finely chopped lemon grass, rosemary, thyme, etc or dried mushrooms soak in water such Shitake, trumpeter mixing soaking water with corn starch for sauce or sprinkle with roasted sesame seed or nuts, add fresh chili or sambal oelek chili (Indonesian chili sauce) sauce for a little kick or dash of Sesame Oil. Create your own combination!
Tips - Short steamed or blanched vegetables beforehand can make it easier for some stir fry. It depends upon vegetables you use. Please try it out. Make sure that the vegetables stay crisp.
Leftover meat is also great for stir fry. It already had flavor to it.
You can throw in cooked noodle, pasta or rice noodle at the end of stir fry and cook for some minutes until it hot then check and adjust flavor before you finish.
A pinch of sugar at the end is always round up the flavor as my grandmother used to say.
Firm or Fried firm Tofu can substitute meat or seafood – one of my favorite ingredients.

Here we go Maxie’s Basic Stir Fry:

Asian flair:
-          Ingredients: Garlic, ground pepper with soy sauce or fish sauce or salt
Instruction: add meat or seafood with garlic in hot oil stir fry for couple to few minute according to your fresh ingredients. Add vegetables then follow by the sauce or salt and ground pepper and check and adjust the taste.
Chinese Influence:
-          Ingredients: Garlic, Ginger, dried whole chili (optional), ground pepper, chopped scallion, sugar, with soy sauce and/or salt. Sauce thickening with mixture of corn starch and with liquid stock.
Instruction: quickly fry garlic and dried chili for couple minutes before you add the vegetables, meat or seafood. Add the rest of spices and herbs to corn starch mixture. Shortly before finish the dish add the mixed sauce to your stir fry and check and adjust the taste. Add sherry and vinegar to the sauce when you cook with beef or chicken to add tangy flavor.
-          Ingredients: Oyster sauce, salt and ground pepper.
Instruction: add quick steamed vegetables in hot oiled pan and quick stir fry for couple minutes. Add lot of oyster sauce, salt & pepper to taste stir fry for another couple minutes.
Tip: you can just top your favorite steam vegetables with oyster sauce and serve.
Sweet & Spicy: This is very nice for chicken, seafood and pork with vegetables
-          Ingredients: Garlic, ginger (optional), scallion with Thai Chicken sauce with chili, salt and/or soy sauce.
Instruction: quick fry garlic and scallion add meat or seafood then steamed vegetables vegetable and stir fry for a few minutes. Finish with Thai Chicken sauce with chili, salt and/or soy sauce and check and adjust the taste
      Vietnamese influences:
-          Ingredients: Garlic, finely chopped or sliced lemon grass, dried whole, chili, sliced onion, scallion with fish sauce, sugar, salt and ground pepper.
Instruction: add garlic, dried chili to hot oil fry for 2-3 minutes. Add meat or seafood and lemon grass stir fry for couple minutes add onion and vegetable cook for about 3 minutes add the rest of ingredients and check and adjust the taste.
Indian influence: for seafood and chicken
-          Ingredients: Garlic, ginger, chopped onion, curry powder, chicken stock with salt, soy sauce, salt and pepper
Instruction: add onion and garlic in hot oil fry them for a few minute. Add curry powder fry for 2-3 minutes then ginger and seafood or chicken stir fry for few minutes add the rest of ingredients and check and adjust the taste.
Western Flair:
-          Ingredients: Olive oil, garlic, onion, herb de Provence, salt and ground pepper
Instruction: add onion and garlic in hot olive oil cook for few minute. Add herb de Provence and meat cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add vegetables and salt and pepper cook for a few minutes check and adjust the taste.
Southern Europe influences:
Bunch of Thymes: great for chicken, turkey, fishes and potato with vegetables
-          Ingredients: Olive oil, butter, thyme, lemon thyme, chopped flat leave, lemon zest, salt, ground pepper and lemon wedges
Instruction: melt butter in olive oil add meat or chunky cooked potatoes fry it until the meat almost cook. Add herbs and lemon zest stir fry it for 3 minutes then add steamed vegetables and the rest of ingredients, cook for few minutes and check and adjust the taste. Serve with lemon wedges.
Variation: omit lemon zest and lemon juice. Fry rosemary sprig in hot olive oil for 2-3 minutes and take it out. Keep crispy rosemary for sprinkle at the end. Precede the same steps.  This is great for beef and pork as well.

I can go on for days about this subject … I will leave it to up to you to discover and create your signature stir fry. Don’t be afraid to experiment. That is a fun part about cooking!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Guiliano Fujiwara AW 2010

 I just love his AW 2010 !!!

giuliano fujiwara fw10 from Soncini Communication Agency on Vimeo.

Song of the day

A young star to watch in 2010---Ellie Goulding --- a new generation of Kate Bush 

Monday, January 18, 2010

Autumn/Winter 2010

The Fashion Weeks for Autumn/Winter 2010 had started in Rio and Milan. Today in Milan - there was live broadcast of Prada Menswear Show A/W 2010 on their website-
I like the background video and the room architect - the model paraded down the runway during the show like they were waliking in the maze. The collection has very much 60's influence. I love the shiny black leather coat.
A BIG step forward for Burberry view their Menswear A/W 2010 at
Super Cool!
Any way my favorite cocktail which always reminds me of Milan is NIGRONI (1 Part Martini Rosso,1 Part Campari and 1 Part Gin over ice and thick slice of orange) . The Aperitivo hours - which I liked to rush in to get a place near the bar and buffet of canapies and snacks to slow down my Nigroni. It is very easy to make and it had been adopted as a part of my house bar menu.

Let See what are coming up in the next Fashion Weeks in London, Paris, New York and Tokyo.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Rio Fashion Week FW 2010 Runway Review

Brazil Fashion Week from my one of my favarite blog. Take a look - Enjoy !
Rio Fashion Week FW 2010 Runway Review

Friday, January 15, 2010

The chocolate fever..

Again...I inspired by a film. This time is “It's Complicated!” Meryl Steep got in the kitchen one more time. This time she got me longing for Chocolate Cake. Recently I have been playing around ...trying to create hot chocolate something in the direction of a marvelous chocolate chaud I drank at Jean-Paul Hevin locates in the basement of Department Store Isetan in Shinjuku, Tokyo. It was so incredible that I some time get this luscious chocolate taste in my mouth. I have been researching and reading about Chocolate and how to make a good cup of hot chocolate not hot cacao . I remade and experimented many recipes. After I went through couple bars of dark chocolate (70-85%) and almost a box of fine cacao powder. One Evening my batch turn into something like velvet creamy chocolate sauce. I added a little hot water and a shot of spiced rum, served in a small espresso cup. It was i rich and creamy that I enjoyed it by sipping. I did not use any cream just little bit of lactose free milk.  My system does not tolerate well with dairy product. So I am very conscious about it and substitutes with other ingredients if I can.

After I watched the film I determined to bake a very chocolate cake with very chocolate topping or frosting. I wanted to add a fresh flavor to my very chocolate cake using basic cake recipe. Orange … yes I am a fan of citrus fruit! I don’t want to be complicate(d) so I borrowed orange cake recipe I posted last December just added almost 3 generous tablespoons of fine cacao powder to flour.
While the cake was baking I prepared the sauce. I added Cointreau to match up the orange flavor in the cake.
Maxie’s Cointreau Chocolate sauce recipe
50 gram Dark Chocolate bar 70-85% of pure chocolate, break into small pieces – I used 85%
¾  cup of Milk or Cream – I use lactose free milk
½ cup of Raw Sugar
¼ cup of fine cacao powder
1 ½ table spoon of unsalted butter
¼ cup of Cointreau
1 tablespoon of light vegetable – to add the shine

  1. In a small sauce pan over low heat melt broken Chocolate pieces with Milk. Stir well until it blends
  2. Add sugar and Cacao powder. Mix until smooth. Add little more milk if the paste is too thick
  3. Add Butter and Vegetable Oil. Mix well
  4. Taste and check consistence and flavor. Add more sugar if you like more sweet. Take off the heat.
  5. Add Cointreau and Mix well. If you want to get rid of alcohol add this over the heat and stir well to evaporate alcohol.
Finishing the cake
  1. Cut the cake horizontal with long sharp knife in half
  2. Pour about 1/3 of sauce over the bottom half
  3. Assemble back the cake with the other half. Try to match it.
  4. Pour the rest of the sauce on top. Spread the sauce evenly but let it drips down on the side. Let it cool before serving

This cake is very rich and very chocolate with a fine fresh tang to it.It was a really yummy!
Here is a nice book about Chocolate 

The Great Book of Chocolate

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

More winter stock

Rugula is one of our favorite leave. We eat and prepare this lovely spicy leave in many different ways. Jårg requested this pesto sauce while we were at market trying stocking up our fridge. One great thing about this you can make it and keep it for couple weeks. It’s great to have it on hand for quick snack or meals also to dress up some simple chicken or fish dishes. 

Rugula Sundried Tomatoes and Walnut Pesto

250 gram chopped fresh Rugula or Rocket salad
5-6 medium size cloves of Garlic
1-2 pods hot Chili pepper such Peperochino (optional)
7 Sundried Tomatoes not in oil – roughly chopped
½ fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice plus more if you need
Grated zest of 1 Organic/Untreated Lemon
1 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¾ cup of Grated Parmesan Cheese
50 gram Crushed Roasted Walnut (roasted Pine nuts can be substitute)
Freshly grounded Pepper
Sea Salt

With Mortar:
1.        In mortar  grind Garlic, Chilli, and sundried Tomatoes until rough paste
2.      Add Crushed Roasted Walnut grind until walnut and the other ingredients turn rough paste
Stone (Granite) Mortar and Pestle, 7 in, 2+ cup capacity3.      Add 3 spoons of the Extra Virgin Olive Oil into the paste 
4.   Add Rugula with grated Lemon Peels and grind until Rugula broke into smaller pieces – Important that the paste it should not be fine that you still can chew on pieces of ingredients
5.      Add the rest of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Lemon Juice
6.      Add grated Parmesan Cheese and mix well with spoon
7.      Add Salt and Pepper to taste
8.      Let the Pesto sit at least 30 minutes. Then taste it and add salt and pepper if needed

With Blender:

Oster BPST02-B Professional Series Blender, Black1.       Put garlic, chilli, Sundried Tomatoes, 3-4 Tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil blend it with LOW-medium speed (depends on your Blender. I use Low speed with my professional blender) for 2 minutes. Make sure that it is not pureed.
2.      Add Rugula/Rocket handful grated Lemon Zest with the last batch of Rugula, the rest of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Lemon Juice. Make sure that Rugula is not puree and still have bit of leaves.
3.      Add Crushed Roasted Walnut or Pine Nut 1 tablespoon at a time, Salt and Pepper and blend at Low/Medium speed. The nut should be in small chunk not fine. It is okay to have few nut chunky.
4.      Put the pesto in to a bowl and add Grated Parmesan Cheese. Mix well with spoon and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. Then taste it and add salt and pepper if needed

Store the pesto in a glass jar. Pour Extra Virgin Olive Oil to cover and seal the pesto after each use. It can be kept for 1 ½ Weeks in cool dry place or refrigerator.

Serving Suggestions: Rugula Sundried Tomatoes and Walnut Pesto is excellence for pasta and/or top with fresh chopped tomatoes or fresh rugula, grilled chicken, spread on toasted bread for bruchetta, grilled fish and sandwiches.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Some Winter stock ...

I picked up a whole bag of organic lemons and other fresh produce last week before the arctic storm Daisy arrived. I must say…I was disappointed that there was not much snow in Dusseldorf as I thought. We packed the fridge with the thought that we might be stuck in the apartment for the few days according to the weather report. I was planning to do some stocking up on sauces and preserved lemon. I made Rucola/Rocket Salad Pesto of course Preserved Lemons. I use this salty lemon in all kind of Tagine such Chicken; Fish; Lamb & Quince, Chicken soup and other dishes.
In this blog I will share my Preserved Lemon. The Rucola/Rocket Pesto is coming in the next blog.

Preserved Lemons:
10-12 Organic Lemons
12 Coriander seeds
3 Cloves
1 Fresh Bay leave – can substitute with dry
1 cup grain Sea Salt plus more if needed
12 Black Pepper Corns
Filtered water enough to cover lemons
Pasteurized 2 Liters Glass Jar

1. Wash Lemons well and dry
2. Cut lemons with sharp knife 4 times quarterly lengthwise make sure it does not cut through into wedge.
3. Boiled Water and keeping it hot until ready to use
4. Pasteurize the glass Jar – short cut: I put the jar in the oven at 180 C for at least 15 minutes
5. Put salt in between cut Lemons and catch the juice in a bowl so you can add it to the jar.
6. Put salt in the bottom of the pasteurize jar then Lemons, Herbs and spices in the glass jar and cover with salt
7. Pour hot water until just cover the Lemon
8. Close the jar. It will vacuum itself as the jar cool down.
9. Leave it in a cool dark place for at least 4-5 weeks before use. Wash lemon before use to reduce saltiness. It can be kept for 6 months and longer in refrigerate.

Crazy Water Pickled Lemons: Enchanting Dishes from the Middle East, Mediterranean and North Africa