Thursday, April 21, 2016

10 Spring Wardrobe Essentials

Spring is finally here with warm weather and sunny days, which means new, exciting looks. So, It’s time to shop for springtime. There are so many amazing pieces right now that are feminine and flirty and perfect for spring. There are so many trends out there, which ones should we invest in? From cold shoulders to clinched in waists, long floral dresses, pastel tones, ruffled dresses, metallic fabrics, pleats, stripes and mini handbags, the list is endless. I must admit that really will depend on your style preference and budget. Check out my list of spring wardrobe essentials that are must-haves in your closet this year.

1. Lace-Up flats
These flats are probably the trendiest thing on this list. The laces make simple flat shoes a little more interesting – you can bunch them up under a rolled up skinny jean or wear them laced up your leg with an easy spring swing dress

2. Silver Jewelry
While gold may have shined last year, it’s all about silver this year.

3. Classic White Sneaker
Lowtop or hightop, a white sneaker is a must-have in your spring style.  I like them with long dresses, cropped pants, tailored shorts…

4. Basic White or grey T-Shirt 
You can wear it alone with a great accessory or layer under your jackets and t-shirts is crucial. Can be also striped one)

5. White Jeans
White jeans make a crisp statement and pair well with everything from neutrals to pastels to brights. I cannot imagine my spring and summer wardrobe without them.

6. Cropped Trousers
A cropped pant is the perfect spring staple ans can be paired with flats, boots, or heels for a classic, clean look. It’s nice to show a little ankle after months of winter)
Cold shoulder tops and dresses took this year’s Fashion Week by storm.

8. Bright Blazer
While black and white blazers are always classic, a bright color will add a spring-y infusion to your ensemble. I generally think of blazers as work wear, but it’s chic and on trend to pair a blazer with boyfriend jeans or skinny jeans for a fun date night or weekend look. 

9. Flare jeans
Flares are super flattering, particularly when worn with heels and a turtleneck, but can be paired with almost anything. You can wear them according to your personal style and even carry them forward for summer.

10. Trench coat

Trench coats are timeless, genderless, perpetually stylish, and ridiculously practical. They come in a multitude of silhouettes, colors, and fabrics.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Wholegrain pasta with broccoli and walnuts cream

I like traditions of Mediterranean cuisine, because there are used a lot of greens, vegetables, fresh salads and of course extra virgin olive oil)) Perhaps this is th reason that people live here almost 100 years, taking a coffee in a local bar in the morning, going to the hairdresser, taking a glass of red wine in the evening with friends (other old age people))) Tasty and healthy food from the field near the town directly to the table what can be better! 
Now, of course, young people are spoiled and use white flour instead of whole wheat. Previously, all the bread and pasta were made of whole wheat flour and white one was used only for making sweets for the holidays, it was very expensive. Now everyone eats a lot, whereas previously there was a fish day and a meat day and not everyone could afford it.

But I have moved away from the topic, and today I show you how to cook wholegrain pasta with cream of broccoli and walnuts. This is a very simple and quick recipe. You can try to cook this pasta for your the children))

You will need 2 portions:

  • 300g of broccoli
  • 70-80gr of wholegrain pasta
  • 40g of chopped walnuts
  • 1 small hot pepper, can be dry or fresh or in powder (optional)
  • 20 ml of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • 50g of grated pecorino romano cheese
  • salt and pepper

Break up the broccoli florets so the flowers are quite small. Put them to boil in salted water. 

When they are cooked, remove them from the water and leave it to boil pasta. Grind the broccoli with mixer, adding a bit of cooking water, pepper and olive oil.

Cook the pasta according to the package directions,  until the pasta is al dente

Meantime, chop garlic finely. Heat olive oil in a large pan, add garlic and fry for 1 minute, then add chopped walnuts (and hot pepper) and fry gently for 1 min. The final touch - add the cream of broccoli. If pasta is not ready, then turn off. Turn it on later before adding pasta.

When pasta is al dente, drain, leaving 1/2 cup of cooking water, and mix it with the broccoli cream. Gently stir on the heat for 1-2 minutes. Add pasta cooking water if necessary.
Sprinkle with the  pecorino romano before serving. IT's a really mandatory final touch!

As you can see, everything is very simple)

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Italian pasta types

Some time ago I found this amazing image of pasta types in internet. I thought it’s interesting and will be great to post it on my blog.  You can download it here in large size. 
There are roughly 350 different shapes and varieties of pasta in Italy, even more counting regional differences. It comes in all shapes and sizes.  It is impossible to remember them all)) But all Italians know mostly used types of pasta and how to cook it and with which condiment. 
Some are great with sauce, others stand on their own, just asking to be drizzled with olive oil and eaten 'al dente'. Pasta shapes with holes or ridges like mostaccioli or radiatore are perfect for chunkier sauces. The tiniest shapes are often used in soups. Some shapes are large enough to be stuffed and baked. 
Pasta can be homemade or produced commercially and often is available in different flavors or colors, seasoned with vegetables and also with wine. But also there are a lot of regional artisan pasta producers and many people prefer to by their products, which can be dried or fresh one day made.  Lastly the producing of whole wheat, spelt or made from other cereals pasta is growing too.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Asparagus and taleggio risotto recipe

For quite a long time I didn’t write new Italian recipes here) Today I show one spring recipe - asparagus and taleggio cheese risotto. This recipe is from Northern Italian cuisine, in the south asparagus is used rarely and it is difficult to find, but I was lucky) Risotto itself isn't hard, but like any risotto,  it just needs constant attention 

Ingredients for 4 portions:

  • 320 gr of rice - Arborio or Carnaroli - The type of rice used to make risotto is important. 
  • 500 gr of asparagus spears (if it’s asparagus with thick skin and should be peeled - 700-800gr)
  • One medium onion
  • 40-50 gr of butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine 
  • 150 gr of Taleggio cheese (if it’s impossible to find it, you can take a brie cheese or mix Gorgonzola with mascarpone)
  • a couple of spoons of cream (optional)
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 500ml of vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup or less - grated Parmesan cheese 

So, first of all you have to prepare asparagus. I will explain you if you are new to asparagus. Line the asparagus up so the ends are even. Use a sharp knife to cut off the bottom inch. If you have thin and tender asparagus, you need to peel only the bottom part about 5-7 cm. Use a vegetable peeler or sharp paring knife to peel off the skin of each asparagus spear.  If, like me, you have thick-skinned asparagus cut off only tender ends, about 5-7 cm. The rest should be peeled. Cut it into slices.

Boil asparagus  in a large saucepan with 5 cups of salted water until just tender, about 10 minutes.

If you do not have a vegetable stock, it can be prepared quickly)) When the asparagus is cooked, simply put it in the same water some vegetables, which you have at home - I put the carrot, onion, celery and a couple of cherry tomatoes. The stock will be ready just when you need to add it to the rice. If you don’t have possibility to prepare the stock, then you can just use the water where you cooked asparagus.

I cook ends separately just to add them at the end)

When it is ready, chop the onion finely.  

Melt butter (leave a piece of butter, we will need it in the end) in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat and add some olive oil too. Add onion and saute until tender, about 3 minutes. 

Add rice and stir until golden, about 3 minutes (toasting the rice helps prevent it from becoming soggy).

Add wine and stir until absorbed, about 2 minutes. Do not forget to constantly stir the rice - this is the secret of good risotto. Now, I think, your stock is ready, but even if the vegetable is not cooked yet, you can already use the stock.  Add stock one or two ladles at a time, simmering until liquid is absorbed before each addition and stirring frequently. The rice will take approximately 15 to 20 minutes to cook.
Now we need to prepare the asparagus cream. This step is optional,  just I like the cream more than just boiled asparagus. The cream I make in a blender, adding a couple of tablespoons of cream, for creamy consistency and puree until very smooth. Some ends I like to leave out just to decorate risotto in the plate)

About 10 minutes into the cooking add asparagus cream and continue cooking over low heat. Do not forget to stir and add the stock continuously. When the rice is almost ready, put the chopped pieces of taleggio cheese, a piece of butter and grated parmigiano.

At the last moment I add boiled ends ))

By the way, I do not salt risotto separately, because the stock is already salted, and cheese will make it taste more salty as well so it’s better to adjust salt   in the plate if necessary.
Another tip - Don’t over-cook it! Like pasta, rice should be slightly “al dente”. Tasting is the only way to really know!
By the way, on the photo risotto is not green because I cleaned asparagus legs.  If you have thin and tender asparagus, the your risotto will have light green color.
Buon Appetito!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Espadrilles before and now

Espadrilles have been made in Pyrennean Catalonia and the Occitania region since the 14th century at least. There are shops in the Basque country still in existence that have been making espadrilles for over a century. The word comes from French language but dates back to ancient Catalan "espardenya", a term that indicates the esparto, Mediterranean plant used to make the special soles of these shoes. 

 The Archaeological museum of Granada owns a pair of espadrilles that were found on human remains inside the “cueva de los murielagos” (the bat-cave). It is estimated that these shoes are around 4000 years old. Clearly, they are a very primitive version of today’s espadrilles.

Designed as an easy-to-wear utility shoe in canvas with a jute rope sole, it was worn not only by the King of Aragon’s infantry in XIII century. In the XV century espadrilles became the peasant class shoes, not only in Spain but also in Portugal. Later espadrilles became also mine workers and priest’s shoes, because of low price.
In the XVII century began to make espadrilles from spinning plants of the family Malvaceae - jute. The fiber of jute has high wear resistance in comparison with esparto fiber.

In the XVIII century espadrilles got a fabric top - it came up in French where for these purposes were used cotton and linen. But this does not mean that in Spain they laid down arms: in 1776, was born Rafael Castaner, who became the founder of a whole dynasty of shoemakers, specializing exclusively in espadrilles. In 1927, the family founded a company Castaner.

The espadrille reached widespread popularity around the world in the 1940s - when espadrilles were seen on actresses Lauren Bacall, Sophia Loren and Grace Kelly - that the fashion world caught on. 

In 60s Yves Saint Laurent came into contact with Isabelle Castanet on one of industrial exhibitions in Paris. Castaner Spanish shoe factory at that time was on the verge of bankruptcy. Yves Saint Laurent offered Castanet to make wedge espadrille, which had never been done before. It was an instant hit, influencing fashion even today.

Surrealist artist Salvador Dali was often photographed in a pair of black ankle lacing espadrilles and JFK sported a similar pair for a trip around the Mediterranean.

The famous shoe designer Manolo Blahnik began his career decorating espadrilles made by his parents with pebbles and seashells. These shoes were adored also by wealthy ladies.
The espadrille style was revived in the USA in the 1980s, due to the success of Miami Vice—the shoe was worn by the character Sonny Crockett.

Today, espadrilles are everywhere. But especially they are extremely popular both in France, Italy and in Spain, especially in the summer. People seemed to like it because of the sole, which is 100% natural, molds itself to the shape of the foot, and allows the skin to breathe. 

By the way, do not think that espadrilles are only women's shoes! They are a lot of models for men's that perfectly demonstrated last collections for summer 2016.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

©2009 Katrinshine | by TNB