Thursday, December 26, 2013

Mango Grilled Shrimps Salad

 The second recipe on the Christmas menu that I will be sharing, is not any ordinary shrimp avocado salad. The sauce mainly consists of mango that brings a fresh, exotic, and sweet taste, as well as, a new twist to the usual salad found on the menu of restaurants.
 Before enumerating the required ingredients and steps for this recipe, I will tell you a funny story for the entertainment of this blog.
 One day, I went to the Grocery store with mom and at that time, I was confused with the different varieties of avocados there existed. Because there really is many avocado varieties but I couldn't tell what was the difference in taste. To not seem dumber, I made sure the different varieties of avovado looked different by surfing the web. Aside the green ostrich skin and pear-shaped avocado, there's another uglier, more rounded shape with a darker blotched skin. So I spotted these two varieties at the Fruits and Legumes section and I touched the freckled rounder one to investigate on the fruit's ripeness. It seemed like a soft, savory, and full of ripe avocado. The helper at the section gave me a look of attitude and miscomprehension. I took advantage of his attention and I asked him,
"Chou el fare2 ben heyda el avoca w heydak el avoca?" (What's the difference between this avocado and that avocado?), while pointing towards the more beautiful avocado. 
He replied,
"Madame heyda Mango" (It's a Mango!)
And suddenly, I burst out laughing so hard out of misbelief, shock, and extreme embarassement. How the hell have I confounded between the two? It's not the first time I see a mango neither an avocado. I'm going back to Kindergarten!

For about 25 servings you will need,

1 Mango
1 Avocado
4 handful of Loose-leaf or Romaine lettuce
4 handfuls of Rocket
1 tsp pink peppercorn, crushed
The juice of 1 orange
3 tbsp Olive oil
2 tsp Garlic based seasoning
2 tsp Paprika powder
2 tbsp of white distilled vinegar
About 50 fresh jumbo shrimps (preferable), can be replaced with commercial

Cookware and Cutlery:
Food processor, for the sauce
Pan, for the shrimps
Large platter, to serve salad

Wash the mangoes, avocado, orange, lettuce, and rocket.
The sauce:
Mix one Half of the mango, cut into smaller pieces, with the olive oil and fresh orange juice in the food processor. Add the peppercorn, then, mix until homogeneous.

Wash the shrimps with the vinegar and remove the heads. Brush the shrimps with olive oil, garlic seasoning, and Paprika powder, then, put to cook on a pan for a minute or 2 on each sides.

Cut the avocado into cubes and the rest of the mango into smaller cubes.
[Tips about cutting mangoes]

Place the lettuce and the rocket on a large platter, put the avocado and mango on top and dress with the sauce. Add the shrimps on top and pour over the sauce on each individually.

Christmas Caviar Appetizer

Tradition holds in the family that on Christmas' eve of every year, the family gathers at home to celebrate the commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the start of the long-awaited cultural holiday, this moment of family reunion, and last but not least, to savor all the delicious food in the buffet dinner (turkey included) my mom has prepared for the occasion. Honestly, i have learnt cooking the most from my mom and I thought that it wouldn't be bad to share with you the new additions she made to our typical Christmas menu. Among them is the caviar appetizer which is a buttered sweet bun toast with black caviar that sits on top of an avocado mousse. In the next post, I'll be sharing with you the recipe of mango grilled shrimps salad. 

For about 35 pieces you will need, 

1 avocado
10 Cl of whipping cream
2 tbsp of lemon juice
3 drops of Tabasco
Sprinkle of salt
Sprinkle of ginger powder
About 35 mini sweet bun toast (I got from Pain D'or)
50 g of butter
50 g Black caviar (Kesteloot brand)

Smash the avocado into puree with a fork.
Add the lemon juice and mix until homogeneous.
Whip the cream lightly and incorporate it to the avocado mixture.
Add the salt, Tabasco, and ginger powder. Mix well and refrigerate.
Soften the butter in the microwave (not melt) and spread it on the bread.
Put one spoon of avocado mousse and top it with black caviar.

Et voila you can enjoy this starter with wine, before the main course dinner, for a special occasion like this New Year's eve or for a regular gathering between friends or family!

Tips: You can do the same, without the avocado mousse, with red caviar and an added lemon slice on top of it.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Shopping

You cannot be feeling the Christmas spirit if not by getting stuck in the crazy traffic lights of the highway. Yet, far from it being a kind of hassle like morning work traffic, people seems okay with it but mostly happy for going Christmas shopping.
This year, Marc Jacobs is being generous; for our gift purchase they gave us phone studs that you actually plug in the earphones hole.
I thought... good way to defend yourself with all these stories of mugging coming up. You see, here in Lebanon, we don't have the pepper spray invention. Violence is always the answer for violence (sarcasm).
Besides that, I was really disappointed with Abercrombie and Fitch because I ordered clothes worth more than 300 dollars, which isn't nothing, to San Francisco, at my cousin's appartement (so he would bring them with him when he's back among us and he is now). Problem is, Abercrombie packed the wrong package, 2 XL Men sweatshirts. I'm soo mad I was waiting to wear this sweater and this sweatshirt and that ripped-off jeans. But I'm also mad because I'm not sure if Dad is going to be okay with me ordering again... what would be the probability of this to happen again? Regardless, it's a really bad experience with online buying. I just really hate this employee who packed the wrong order because my order was amazing. Yes, I'm getting emotional. And now I can't help thinking about all those bad reviews of service that Abercrombie and Fitch have on the Internet. At least, I got this beanie from Urban Outfitters!

Friday, December 20, 2013

That Sunday Brunch

I can finally breathe after these two stressful weeks of preparing for my end-of-semester final exams. And I allowed myself to sleep in this morning until 3pm and January is ahead of me. No, January is going to be far more productive and I plan to launch a new blog about media and marketing while of course keeping this one. On this final point, I will leave you with the outfit I wore on the brunch at Mondo two weeks ago.
Actually I just remembered something funny that hapened that day and I'm going to tell you about it before I jump to the outfit details.
While I was posing for my brother to snap the few pictures for me, my car arrived and the Valet pulled out of it and waited patiently. My brother and I were just a few steps farther away from the car and were about to reach it, when, suddenly, a middle aged man started crying over his car and shouting at the valet with anger and misbelief "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO MY CAAR?!" He was nearly dancing, he got closer to his car, and noticing better the broken rear view mirror and the huge scrap on the side, he kept on yelling after the valet who was turning his back to him, waiting to hand me my car. "Ma32oul bta3mlo hek bel Phoenicia???!!" (In arabic, "is it possible that u make this kind of mistake in a service of a luxurious hotel?") The man must have thought how rude the Valet man is, even ignoring him!
Then all this happened in a matter of seconds: I approached to get into my car, and the man realized it was My car, not his! I saw him step back, hiding his face in the shadow from the daylight, humiliated and embarassed of himself for pulling such a scandalous scene in front of the chic uptight clientele of Phoenica. His face turned tomato red and he then started apologizing to me because he thought it was his car, apparently he has the same one--VW white Golf. My brother and I were laughing so hard, but we could barely let out a sound from how much we both ate. On the road back home, we laughed again and again. hahahaha I can still laugh!

(P.S. I should say that it was a truck that hit my car and made these scars, anyway I will put it at the garage during this holidays)

For this day out, I wore the lace black leather Isabel Marant x H&M pants, H&M assymetric beige shirt, and Zara Merino wool coat. Adding on this, I wore my heeled Repetto flats and Fendi tote. Oh and my new Gucci watch, leaf bangle, Lapis Lazuli beads bracelet, and Pandora charms bracelet.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

When to Throw Away Your Make Up

Yes girls, you have to. Cosmetics do have their expiration date and holding on to that lipstick too long might not be a good idea... After all, make up is meant to make you look good and not make you sick.
So check out this helpful guide I discovered from Elle magazine and get your trash can ready!

So what do you think? Is it a mere encouragement to increase sales or is it the truth? Somewhat, I felt that I wasn't using my mascara that much to throw it away after 6 months... yeah God blessed me with long and curled eyelashes by nature... what can I say! Yet, other things weren't logical, for instance, the cleanser wouldn't sit a full year, it will take me up to 2 months to finish it only!!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Sunday Brunch at Mondo

   Last Sunday I had the best brunch ever at Caffe Mondo in Phoenicia Intercontinental hotel, Ain el Mreisseh. No, it wasn't just the best of all because of where it was, yet, mostly because this breakfast/lunch buffet is open from 11 am till 4pm. So any dysfunctional family with punctuality issues (like mine) can always manage to arrive on time. Or even you can consider it a brunch that leaves you sleep in. Likewise, there is no rush, which is again the beauty of a brunch--just relaxing and enjoying a Sunday brunch. No worries--it's not like I have final exams this coming week, and basically that is the reason why I haven't been posting!
   Regarding the atmosphere, I just wish they played some low music in the background; the faces of people would have looked less like a stressful Monday morning! Regarding the service, it was impeccable--really nothing to add or complain about!
Besides that, let's have a look at the buffet menu through the pictures, which is btw really worth its 55,000L.L.

Personally, I liked the chocolate croissant, which had a hint of hazelnut, and the vanilla cream ones. They also had croissant with sausages but I didn't like it because it was somehow dry.

The pizza was a bit cold when i ate it (2pm), but the salads were really worth trying without disappointment. Yet, if you have an allergy on a certain food like tomatoes or olives, be careful.
Above are some fish platters; I particularly loved the salmon tomato spaghetti topped with cheese gratin.

Here, a picture of the spaghetti described above, along with a whole piece of salmon steamed with tomatoes, and a wheat salad.

The typical sushi of Phoenicia's buffets (positive thoughts).


The dessert, the largest, and my favorite section!

This Macaron did not just look nice for the fun of it but the biscuit really tasted like strawberries and red berries naturally, also I preferred the light whipping cream instead of the usual thick and high on sugar ganache for the filling.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Birthday Punctuality

  I celebrated my birthday with my closest friends last Friday at Maki Gourmet, a sushi restaurant, then went down to Mar Mikhael to continue our night.

   No, but I still can't believe that I was actually late for my birthday. A good hour. I'm late even on my birthday. My friends, far from being mad at me, made a joke out of it; it's like I planned a surprise birthday party for myself. Hilarious. Except that or even this included, we had lots of fun! Also, I was spoiled with gifts (thank you loves), and my cake (Bahamas from Pate a Choux) was just yummy-in-my-tummy!

   For this special occasion, I chose to wear the waxed red leather pants by Isabel Marant x H&M, Miss Selfridges embellished crop top, Repetto black camille flats, and miu miu cross bag.

Birthday Princess

Mar Mikhael Gas Station, where I parked my car

Cake leftovers and going back home

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Young Wilderness, the New Cool is a very new fashion e-commerce site founded by 22-year-old AUB graduates, Hiba and Yasmine. The brand is meant to dress the frenzy quirky and daring young woman to basically experiment and have fun with her wardrobe and be dressed according to her style and character. Indeed, offers an offbeat but wonderful graphic designs in leggings, crop tops, and body leotards; it also sells Vintage clothes. Last thursday, I visited the girls in their office to discuss an interview. I just realized that I should have taken some pictures there! Anyway, I still managed to make the most out of my visit, tried on a few leggings, and ended up buying this one!--It's called the hispters. Of course, it wasn't the first time I have a look at their stuff, I visited their website (HERE), let's say like a billion times. I definitely    want to wear them soon and of course I'll show you here! Most importantly, don't forget to tag your purchases with #YWprints #YWvintage and #YoungWilderness to be featured on their website!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Obssessive Sweatpants

Ever since I have received my Isabel Marant x H&M purchased items, what I have been wearing all the time is the sweatpants. Despite the fact that there is some nicer and more interesting items of the collection, the flexibility and effortless style of this soft ash-grey woolen high-waist jersey pants makes it extremely easy to pair up with a simple tank top, flats or sneakers, and a statement jacket. 
Besides Isabel Marant, grey sweatpants are a must-have I can say. The good news is, H&M is having a second round sale of the Isabel Marant exclusive collection tomorrow, saturday, at 8 am. How is this even possible? Well, Lebanon scored record sales for this limited collection (practically entirely sold-out) while other countries in the Middle East didn't do so well. I can simply explain that by the very frenchy and western style clothing of Isabel Marant that arab countries are not very well accustomed to; Arab countries are really all about the glam and the sparkly. Therefore, I am assuming that the non sold items in the rest of the Middle East region will all be combined at a single collection, in Abc Ashrafieh tomorrow morning. (Announcement confirmed by a phone call to H&M.) if you couldn't snatch your favorite item last thursday, are you going to give it a second chance?

At AUB, I wore the 'Isabel Marant x H&M' sweatpants with an oldie Gap tank top, Sandro varsity-inspired jacket, and white Guipure 'The Blonde Salad x Superga' sneakers, plus holding my Fendi tote.

For a more chic twist to the sweatpants, I switched the Superga sneakers with Repetto flats for a sunny Sunday afternoon. I wore them with 'Isabel Marant x H&M'graphic tank top with the tough addition of a simple black leather jacket.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Cooking Festival at Biel

More than a week has passed since I went to the Cooking Festival in Biel, to feed my curiosity. I remember it was a three-day event, from Thursday the 7th till Saturday the 9th of November; I was only able to make it for a short hour on Saturday. Between study and homeworks, chilling with my French Lebanese friend who visited Beirut for the weekend, and a birthday of a good friend of mine, (and besides the fact that I woke up at noon) I was literally running the stands at Biel in order to make the most out of it in the shortest period of time. Not to mention the 40minutes hour traffic down the last road to Biel, it caused me to be late for the birthday dinner 2 hours!! Likewise, I have to mention the parking problem at Biel--very little room relative to the large number of interested people. Moreover, the valet parking wasn't taking anymore cars because they have filled up all of their potential parking.

Some things I noted worthily:
-The majority of the stands were distributors defending a self-owned or licensed brand directly to the consumer; this was the B2B companies interacting with their product's end-customer. The rest were local businesses, like product shops or pastries, Librairie Antoine, and a cooking demonstration as well as an olive oil tasting (way of marketing of a certain brand). I expected more sorts of workshops, perhaps a cuisine training as well?

-There was some kind of soup recipe tasting for both Maggi brand and Campbell's,which is distributed by G. Vincenti &sons in Lebanon. 
Maggi, which was a boss at attracting the crowd, was serving tongue-burning soup in masses. Yet, what i found most beguiling was the giant step they tried to make to build their social media awareness and  to make people participate in their social online presence. In fact, they exchanged sets of soup worth only 2$ with a Facebook like on their page! And people got excited for the free soup...but hey you already incurred a 10,000 L.L ticket bill at the door. From a business perspective If free food was their real motivation for showing up here, they were at terrible loss! (I could not waste my time on a petty Facebook like, I love social media, yes, but not always the way it is represented). At the same time, if I choose so, I can praise their marketing system too; they were the only one at the cooking festival to make use of social networking.
Then, I head to Campbell's stand; there was less of a crowd there, the people were more quiet, less stressful, perhaps more knowledgeable if they knew the iconic image of the brand and highly publicized due to Andy Warhol's handmade work of art. For the first time, I tried the famous condensed tomato soup... Rating? It was too blend and I thought it would be more spiced up! 
The guy serving the tomato soup was kind of cute, and I thought that he must be part of the management team at Vincenti. Even better than that, turned out I was speaking to the brand manager of Campbell's, chez Vincenti, in Lebanon. So I chatted him up, I told him about my mandatory internship this summer and I thought I might be interested to go to a food oriented company... He gave me his email, and I really should be sending my CV soon.

- I bought a pistachio eclair and before I have a bite of it, it falls on the floor. I am leaving what happened next to your imagination...

I discovered a stand that sells flavored salt to use for different types of cooking, for salads, meat, or poultry. The seller let us discover the different tastes of salt mixes with tiny pieces of apples that we dipped in every bowl. I bought a purple Hibiscus salt for salads, I thought it would look nice on pictures! It also tastes great. It is just too bad that the place does not have a store yet, their only selling point so far was this stand. Perhaps the purpose of this stand was to test the interest of potential customers in their product line. They took the email of those interested, including me, to keep us updated. The bottles sell for 5$ the unit.

- I bought one recipe book and another food critique book.

- I just loved loved the aprons designed by Carol Nader!! If interested, you can contact her at 03/713714. Her Facebook is carol.nader.90

More pictures...