Monthly Archives: January 2012
How to: Create a cheese plate your friends will devour
If you’re anything like me there’s nothing better than a well thought out cheese plate. Cheese is basically its own food group in my world, and I think that no dinner or cocktail party is complete without a proper cheese platter. Anybody can go to a local grocery store and pick out a few blah variations of pre-packaged cheeses. A good host will take the time to go to an actual cheese shop (fromagerie) and pick out a few beautiful cheeses and accompaniments.
To start, you should always attempt to create a plate that has an assortment of textures and flavours, hard and soft cheeses and buttery and sharp flavours for example. You want your plate to be exciting! If you are not overly familiar with the different varietals of cheese you local cheesemonger can be your best friend.
Choosing your cheese:
As I mentioned before, you should ensure a variety of different cheeses end up on your platter. Make sure that there is something for everyone, so something mild, like a brie for the less adventurous and something strong, and exotic for those adventurous cheese lovers you’ve invited over. I like to keep my numbers odd, as it’s more visually pleasing, and I believe five is often a good number. I suggest trying to include at least one cheese each from: Aged (e.g. Aged Cheddar, Smoked Gouda), Soft (Brie, Camembert, Cherve), Firm (Manchego, Parmigano-Reggiano), and Blue (Stilton, Gorgonzola Dolce). As a ball park figure you should normally buy one ounce per person per cheese, but you know your guests best, if you think they will eat more or less, buy accordingly.
While I have no problem eating cheese alone, the proper accompaniments can enhance the flavours of your cheese even more. Make sure not to include too many sides, or sides that are flavoured (e.g. flavoured crackers or sourdough bread).
Carbs – Offer a selection of breads such as thinly sliced French baguette, and an assortment of plain and seedy crackers.
Fruits – I like to offer a small selection of both fresh and dried fruit, such as grapes, strawberries and dried cranberries or cherries.
Condiments – Sweet preserves such as honey, chutney, or caramelized onions.
Extras – While this is not a charcuterie plate, it is nice to include a few salty items to complement the flavours such as salami, prosciutto and almonds.
Let’s start with the plate itself. Serve all the cheeses on one big board, I think that a wooden platter or cutting board lends an authentic, rustic vibe, which I love. One of the most important things to remember is to never crowd your cheese platter, its looks awful and inevitably, you’ll end up with someone’s fingers or knuckles all over the cheese. Also very important is to never cube or pre-cut your cheese. Set out a separate knife for each cheese. Soft cheese spreads well with a butter knife; firm cheese might require a paring knife; and aged cheese often requires a cheese plane.
Your cheese should be served at room temperature, so it is imperative that you remove it from the fridge about an hour before you plan on serving it. In terms or arranging the platter, you want your guests to start with the mildest and work their way up to the strongest, so make sure to separate your cheese in that manner. Then, make up a label for each cheese, so your guests know what they are eating and where it is from. I then like to spread the accompaniments out around the board to break it up a bit.
Make sure to keep your eyes open for a future post on the best wine and cheese pairings!
For those of you from Edmonton my two favourite cheese shops are:1. Paddy’s International Cheese Market: 12509 102 Ave NW, Edmonton AB
T5N 0M4, (780) 413-0367 2. Everything Cheese: 14912 45th Ave, Edmonton AB, T6H 5T5, (780) 757-8532
Awards Season 2012: SAG Awards
Lot’s of beautiful dresses on the red carpet last night. There was plenty of colour, and risky dresses, which I love. There’s a fine line between an awful dress and an awesome dress and a few lovely ladies nailed it last night. Here are my favourite dresses from the 2012 SAG Awards:
Kaley Cuoco wore a beautiful aquamarine Romona Keveza ballgown:
Melissa McCarthy, glowed in a beautiful Badgley Mischka gown:
Lea Michele in a risky, sexy Atelier Versace creation:
Emma Stone in a 50’s inspired Alexander McQueen (who, by the way, had flawless hair and makeup):
It’s Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday. Sorry for that hahaha…someone was singing it this morning and I’ll probably have it in my head all day now. This week went by pretty quick for me, hopefully it did for you too. I’m can’t wait
to sleep in tomorrow though! Here is my roundup for the latest and greatest
Most relaxing moment:
Favourite outfit (does it get better than olive and lace?!?):
Favourite dessert (Affogato, which is espresso poured over gelato):
Staple Accessories: Top 10
I did an earlier post on my top 10 wardrobe essentials, and like I said, combined with my top 10 accessory staples, you can make any number of outfits, simply by subbing in cheap, trendy pieces. Investing is a few staples, that will stand the test of time is essential to creating a fashionable, lasting wardrobe that can take you anywhere.
1. A black pump. Invest in a high quality, black pump that you love. You will wear them a million times with everything from a gown to jeans and a blazer.
2. A cute pair of ballet flats. Lets face it. Even the best of us can’t wear heels all day, every day. Which is why investing in a great pair of dressy ballet flats is a wise choice.
3. A bold bootie. These will get you through both the winter and summer months in style and will spruce up even the plainest of outfits. I’m partial to leopard print, but anything bold will do, I’m also a fan of the studded Burberry booties.
4. A sparkly clutch. I personally prefer gold, but gold is my favourite accessory colour and complements by skin tone best, chose a metallic that works best for you.
5. A big pair of dark sunglasses, a la, Jackie O. This puppies will be a life saver. Especially on those days you have no desire to put on makeup just for a Starbucks run.
6. A purse that holds everything. I love a bag like this when I plan to running around all day. I can fit my phone, day-timer, a water bottle and a snack and still have room left over.
7. A pair of aviators. Love these, they are the perfect accessory in the summer. Again, gold is my preference.
8. A bright scarf or pashmina. These add just that little bit extra to an outfit, especially if you are like me and tend to stick to white, black and grey for your clothing.
9. A menwear watch. I wear my Michael Kors gold runway watch probably 5 days a week. I love it, and I love the way it helps tone down a girly ensemble such as a floral dress or ruffles.
10. A statement necklace. This is especially nice with dressier outfits, although they look great with casual outfits too. This will be a lifesaver for your LBD.
They call it puppy love
Travel Tuesday: Père Lachaise Cemetery
Happy Travel Tuesday all! I think these are probably my favourite posts to do. Travelling is my passion and I love to relive my trips through photos. I was going to do a post on Paris today and then I realized how ridiculous that was…I mean, I could devote a whole blog to Paris alone, how could I sum it up in one post. So, I decided that I would do pieces of Paris as individual posts and today I am going to show you some photos I took in the Père Lachaise Cemetery (or Cimetière du Père-Lachaise in French) during my trip in 2010 (I’ve been to Paris four times).
Père Lachaise is a popular tourist destination in Paris, as many famous people such as Honoré de Balzac, Claude Bernard, Frédéric Chopin, Isadora Duncan, Jim Morrison, Marcel Proust, Gertrude Stein, Oscar Wilde and Richard Wright are buried there. If you just go there to see Jim Morrison;s grave you will be missing out on a wonderful experience. The architecture in this cemetery is incredible. So many of the tombstones are like works of art, I could have spent a few days looking at everything rather than just a few hours. The history is incredible, the first grave dates all the way back to 1804!
Also not to be missed while you are there is the eerily beautiful Communards’ Wall (Mur des Fédérés) where, on May 28, 1871, one-hundred forty-seven fédérés, combatants of the Paris Commune, were shot and thrown in an open trench at the foot of the wall. To the French left, especially socialists and communists, the wall became the symbol of the people’s struggle for their liberty and ideals. Many leaders of the French Communist Party, especially those involved in the French resistance, are buried nearby. Sculptor, Paul Moreau-Vauthier created the monument to serve as a memory of those Communards shot and killed. I have no idea how he made this wall, you’ll see what I mean in the photos below, it looks like the Communards are coming out at you…like I said eerie but beautiful.
Beautiful ways to organize your jewelry
If you are anything like me you have copious amounts of jewelry scattered around the house, with only a few places to store it. Jewelry is great, because it can often be an inexpensive way to spruce up an outfit, or take a look from day to night. Which is why most of us girls end up with piles of it. And how annoying is it when your necklaces get tangled or you can only find one earring! Pinterest has tons of ideas of unique and pretty ways to keep your accessories organized and neat, best part is, most of them are DIY! Which idea is your favourite?