Food Stylings: Charlotte Omnes

 

What are you having for lunch today?

I was thinking of ham, cheese and mustard on white.

 

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Or possibly cheese with mustard, mayo and ketchup or ham and mustard.

Followed by a selection of juicy citrus fruits.

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I love it when food stylists do things a little bit differently.

All photos by ace food stylist Charlotte Omnes.

   
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Anglomania: Google’s London HQ

 

One thing that really struck me when I went back to London was the sheer number of Union Jacks (or Union Flags for the pedants amongst us) everywhere.

 

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Not surprisingly with the Jubilee being followed by the Olympics, the place was awash with red, white and blue bunting and you couldn’t move for Union Jack merchandise.  Mostly fabulously of all most of it wasn’t done in a tacky way.  It seems the Union Jack has finally been reclaimed even by top end designers as a bit of a style icon.  There really was some good stuff out there.

So it seems that Google have hit the nail right on the head with their new London HQ, designed by award-winning British architects Penson Group.  Not only have they taken the Union Jack, but they’ve mixed in a huge number of dated British design clichés – chintz, lampshades, swirly carpets, Chesterfield sofas, wood panelling etc.  – and made them fun, witty and contemporary again.

 

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I generally loathe that very trad English maiden auntish style of décor but this is fabulous. (Though I’d never get a stroke of work done here).

But what do you guys think? Do you love these offices, or should chintz, lampshades and swirly carpets be consigned forever to the dustbin of history, never to emerge?

   
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A Morning of Raspberry Macarons

 

It is Tuesday and there are no freaking macarons in my house. I know this because for some reason I’ve been craving them all morning and a thorough excavation of my kitchen cupboards has not yielded a single delicate French confection.  When the Minx goes back to school next week (may the heavens and all the saints and angels be praised), I will MAKE some.

 

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But in the meantime all I have are some photos I took at Patisserie Camp, way back at the beginning of the summer. Sadly these will have to do.

Take it away Chef Jean-Marc.

Make a nice almondy macaron mix and colour it baby pink (I’ll put up a recipe when I’ve had a chance to make and test some, in the meantime just treat this as afternoon food porn).

 

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Pipe hundreds of the little darlings out on a bunch of baking sheets and whip up a little raspberry jam.

 

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Bake until crisp

 

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Fill with jam

 

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Sandwich them together and Robert est ton oncle. (Do Americans say ‘and Bob’s your uncle’ too?  I’ve never had a clue where that comes from).

 

 

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IFBC 2012 : Food Photography with Andrew Scrivani and Chef John

 

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On Friday I drove down to beautiful Portland with my dear friend Nazila, writer of the gorgeous blog Banamak and champion drunken snorer, to attend the International Food Blogger Conference. It’s the first one of these I’ve attended and I came away incredibly inspired and full of plans and ideas for the blog.

I met up with old friends and made new ones, attended incredibly useful classes, ate unbelievably good food and had some great conversations with advertisers, PR companies, ad networks and publishers. My head is still reeling from all the information I have to process.

One of the aforementioned old friends was food photographer Andrew Scrivani, who closed out proceedings on Sunday morning with a hilarious and informative cooking and photography demonstration with his good friend Chef John from Food Wishes

A note to all the many TV executives who read this blog – these guys need their own cooking show pronto quick.

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Mr S gave talked us through some of his amazing photos; an exciting dry ice shooting station was set up and the food paparazzi came out in force, with the maestro on hand to answer questions.

 

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Chef John tortured the assembled masses by frying up a batch of the world’s crispiest onion rings (featuring a special not-so-secret ingredient), and some garlic prawns, as well as putting together a yummy-looking affogato.

 

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Unfortunately the props didn’t last long in a room full of hungry food bloggers.

 

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An fabulously funny time was had by all, and many pictures were taken, despite the less than ideal lighting conditions for photography.

Please get The Baldie Boys on my TV set ASAP.

 

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How to Make: Strawberry Lemonade

 

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Our return to Seattle from the UK was marked by stunningly hot weather, over-enthusiasm at the farmers’ market leading to a glut of softening fruit in the fridge and the discovery of a batch of rapidly-shrivelling lemons and limes in our fruit bowl.

So the Minx and I set to to make a batch of strawberry lemonade.  Funnily enough, though strawberry lemonade seems to be very common here in the US, it’s extremely rare in the UK, so I provide this recipe mostly as a public service to my non-American readers.  It’s an absolutely gorgeous drink, both in looks and taste, which lends itself to all manner of variations, depending on the age and alcohol-tolerance of its audience (see ‘Variations’ below).

 

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Basic Ingredients

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup water

1 pint/punnet of very ripe strawberries, hulled, washed and chopped

1/2 cup water

1 cup fresh lemon juice

4-6 cups still or sparkling water to taste

Method

Make a simple syrup by whisking together the sugar and 1 cup of water in a small sturdy pan. Bring it to the boil and then heat gently until the sugar has completely dissolved and disappeared. Set aside to cool.

Make a puree by attacking the strawberries and another half cup of water with your trusty whizzer thingy  immersion blender or just put them in a blender until you have a smooth puree.

Get a large jug and combine the simple syrup, strawberry puree and lemon juice. Then add 4-6 cups of water to taste.  Chill to within an inch of its life. This should make approximately two bottles of lemonade.

 

Variations

Once you’ve got the basic method down you can start playing.

Infused syrups:  Add herbs, spices or peels to your syrup ingredients before bringing to the boil and straining the syrup afterwards.  I’m thinking peppercorns, lavender, rosemary, bay, cardamom or orange peel might be interesting to experiment with.

Different fruits:  Once strawberry season is over, try using any other soft summer fruits which can made into a smooth puree. I’m betting rhubarb, peaches, plums, cherries or raspberries would all be delicious, just pass the blended fruit through a mouli or other sieve first to get rid of skins and seeds.

Use limes as well as lemons: The first batch of this the Minx and I made was made with lime juice, not lemons and it was delectable. Use either lemons, limes or a combination of both.

Dilute with different waters and alcohols.  I like mine diluted with a splash of lemon Perrier or San Pellegrino ( in fact if left to my own devices I would make it entirely with sparkling water but the Minx would disapprove).  I have also been known to add the teensiest splash of vodka or white rum. I should think a dark rum would turn this into something smooth and dangerous. Fruit-based spirits such as kirsch, maraschino or slivovitz might also be fun.

I hope you’ve been inspired to have a play around.  I am now in dangerous cocktail-creating mood. There may be more blog posts on this topic.

   
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London 2012: The Olympic River Part 2

 

Here are some more photos from our trip up the River Thames during the Olympics.  I’m assuming that the whole light show will stay in place now, minus the Olympic Rings of course, in which case I can’t recommend a night time visit to the river highly enough if you happen to be in London.

Magical is not a good enough word.

Here’s what we had all come to see.

 

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But in every direction the river looked amazingly beautiful (that’s the home of the French Olympic delegation).

 

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London Bridge has got itself a groovy new lighting scheme.

 

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The Mayor’s Office had a laser light show featuring cyclists and tube trains amongst others.

 

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Remember I blogged about the incredible new light show they’d installed on Tower Bridge?  Well for some they flipped up the rings and then put the light show through its motions.  HMS Belfast to the right also changed colour too.

 

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And then the rings flipped back on and the Bridge turned gold to celebrate Mo Farah’s win in the 5,000 meters.

 

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Here’s the view from the restaurant we dined at in Hay’s Galleria.

 

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Finally, at midnight, we stopped off at the London Eye.

 

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Slightly awesome n’est-ce pas?

Here are some more shots from my boat trip along the river.

   
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Monthly Trend Report: Polka Dots!

 

It is with great pleasure that I’m introducing a new monthly columnist for ‘mirrormirror’.  Tina Ramchandani omits to mention that she works for a Very. Famous. Interior. Designer so she really knows her onions.   FINALLY we’ll get some proper insights around here. Check back around the middle of every month to hear more from Tina. (I have also been inspired to dye my hair bright orange).

Hello everyone! You may remember me, my name is Tina Ramchandani and I author the design blog Life in Sketch. A few months ago, I stopped by while Paola was on vacation and shared my New York Secrets with you. Well, now you’ll be seeing more of me! Paola has asked me to return and share with you my monthly trend report. I’ll be reporting on trends I see forming and those that are continuing. Today, I’ve got something really fun for you – polka dots!

 

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Many of you have heard of the fabulous Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama. She was very popular here in New York in the 1960′s and the dots, well, they’re her thing, and they have been for a very long time Ms. Kusama is back with exhibitions in London and New York, and she’s teamed up with Louis Vuitton to create a very special new collection.

 

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It’s interesting to see things getting popular, and it’s even more interesting to see them become a full on trend. Everywhere I look, I see dots! This was happening before Kusama’s exhibits and collection were announced, but now, there’s no denying the dot love. Here are a few images I can’t take my eyes off of.

 

Sources: BHLDN // DesignMom // Coolhunting // Parsons // via Cutting Edge Stencils // Oh Joy // All Pretty Little Things

Tina Ramchandani

Life in Sketch
Twitter // Pinterest // Instagram // Instacanv.as

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London 2012: The Olympic River

 

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Hey honeys, I’m home!

It’s rather a long time since I blogged here isn’t it?  Apologies for the radio silence but we’re just back from three weeks in Europe – two in London for the Olympics and one in the South of France for some sun.

I had all sorts of good intentions of blogging gently along the way but a) always much trickier blogging from an iPad and b) I was having too much fun (such a bad, bad blogueuse).  I hope you were following along on Instagram instead.

I was so glad we went back.  I was worried that the weather would be crap, it would be impossible to get around, the opening ceremony would be embarrassing and there would be all manner of chaos and craziness. 

Instead, and I hope this made its way through your TV screens, London was beautiful as I have never seen it before, festive and glorious with everyone in a jolly, celebratory mood.  It was, quite simply, magical.

Let’s go for a little trip upriver and you’ll see what I mean.

We’re starting at Greenwich.  Home of the erstwhile Millenium Dome, which has now been reinvented as a massive concert arena, and one of the main Olympic venues. Here’s the view from the new Thames cable car. See that boat at bottom right? We’ll be going on that to wend our way up to the centre of town. Can you see the Gherkin in the distance?

 

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While we’re waiting for the boat we have the perfect opportunity to look more closely at the Dome, and watch the people climbing the new walkway. Wish we’d had time to do this. It looked very fun.

 

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There’s also the chance to watch a parade of tall ships going past – it must have been amazing when all river traffic looked like this.

 

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And we’re off. Spot the tiny Gherkin to the left of the picture.

 

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Getting closer.

 

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This is what we came for. Also loving the newly-opened ‘Shard’.

 

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This was quite literally breathtaking. So beautiful.

 

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Going under the bridge. One of the most wonderful things I’ve ever done in my entire life.

 

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More pics of magical Olympic London tomorrow.

BTW my fancy pants new camera with all its fabulous ISOs and low light photography capabilities died an ignominious death the day before we were due to leave. So all pics are taken on my little Canon Rebel XSi (450D). You could almost hear it straining.

   
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