Music: Well, its a pretty mainstream choice but right now I am thoroughly enjoying Adele. I “liked” her first cd and recognized her as quite the talent but “21” (also her age BELIEVE IT OR NOT) is transcendant. She writes songs with the feeling and intensity one would expect from a long lifetime of heartache. There is a mellow jazzy-y meets country vibe to her music that makes Adele’s 21 a perfect soundtrack for whatever you are doing. This particular video is a brilliant modern dance interpretation of this song by CaseyFord Alexander. LOVE

Book: The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. This is her debut novel (2005) and is based on stories her father told her as a child…about Dracula. There is nothing cheesy or done-before about this book.  It is a terrific read and somewhat of a metaphor for evil deeds in history that cannot be undone, and the role of history, and how it is recorded for future generations. Her writing is wonderful and just draws you in. It is a dense and heavy book, both literally and figuratively, and I’ve picked it up to read twice and put it down again each time. This last time hooked me and I cannot put it down. Not light reading, yet it pulls you in as if someone was telling you a bedtime story you didn’t want to end…

Food: Well, I finally mastered a homemade peanut sauce! I adore spicy peanut sauce and have always been intimidated to try to make one. Thanks to my Dad’s recipe I have finally achieved it.  He is a mean cook, as long as there are no vegetables involved. I make sure to add the veggies as I love them, but they only serve to make his amazing recipes better. Here is his recipe, I added tons of different coloured peppers, onion, carrots,  and celery. The great thing about Dear Old Dad’s recipes is they take well to customization. Enjoy!

500g                          Ground pork (I used lean ground beef, you can add meat of your choice)

3 T                              Soya Sauce

2 T                              Dry Sherry or Saki

                                    Ground white pepper

2 T                              Oyster flavored sauce

4 T                              Peanut butter, chunky if available (I used smooth…yum)

1 T                              Rice vinegar

1¼ cups                     Chicken stock  (I was all out & used vegetable stock)

1 T                              Peanut oil

1 inch                        Fresh ginger root, minced

2 inches                     Leek, white part, chopped finely (I had no leeks…it was fine)

6                                 Medium garlic cloves, pressed

3/4 t                           Red chili flakes

                                                      OR

1 t                               Sambal oelik (Chinese red chili sauce, Indonesian actually)

1 t                               Sesame oil

350 gm                      Dried noodles

3                                 Medium Scallions sliced thinly

1 cup                          Bean sprouts

1 t                               Sichuan  peppercorns, toasted & ground ( didn’t have these…seemed ok)

1) Combine pork, 1 t of the soy sauce, sherry and white pepper in small bowl, stir well and set aside. Whisk together oyster sauce, 2 t of soy sauce, peanut butter, vinegar, good pinch of white pepper in medium bowl. Whisk in chicken stock.

2) Bring 4 L water to a boil in large saucepan. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil separately.

3) Heat oil in nonstick pan, gently saute ginger, leek and garlic. Add pork and fry til cooked breaking it into small pieces. Add red pepper or sambal and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add peanut butter/chicken stock mixture; bring to a boil; reduce heaat to medium and simmer til reduced somewhat. Stir in sesame oil.

4) Add noodles to4L boiling water; cook until tender. Pour 2 cups boiling water over bean sprouts and leave for 1 minute.

5) Drain noodles and bean sprouts, ladle noodles into bowl, cover with bean sprouts, ladle ½ sauce over each bowl; sprinkle with scallions and ground Sichuan pepper corns; serve immediately.

 

Fashion: Ballet flats! These are simply something we cannot have enough of, and for me, soft pliable comfort and the perfect neutral tone is something I am constantly on the search for. Repetto have so far been my fave flats, the leather is like kid-glove leather so they end up fitting your foot like a glove, and I have yet to find a colour I like more than their soft metallic gold. What are your fave flats? Share!

 

Skincare du Jour: Thanks to Janine at Beautygeeks for introducing me to La Roche Posay Cicaplast. This is a miraculous healing cream/balm/lotion intended to heal post-chemical peel (ouch!) skin that I have been using for my blemishes (I try not to pick…I really do!), sunburn and any irritation or cut I have (bad cat!). It also works miracles on chapped lips when I use it at bedtime and let it soak in. This probably deserves it’s own post but I just had to share!

              

Perfume du Jour: It’s definitely a tie between two gorgeous new faves. I have been LOVING Estee Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia- wow this is drop dead gorgeous with creamy white flowers that just wrap around you like pure silk. I also have the body lotion in this which I love to use on my hands at bedtime and to layer with the eau de parfum, it just makes it last longer. The other one is Acqua di Parma Colonia Assoluta. Ok. This line has several concentrations, Intenza, Essenza and Assoluta among them, and shopping for one can be “confusa” to quote my perfumista friend Kevin. Seriously. All I know is the Assoluta is the most floral of the collection- read a nice review here. Acqa di Parma is just your basic, classic eau de cologne and Assoluta is my personal favourite version. Refreshing, clean and gentle and totally unlike what I usually go for. Dane at Pere de Pierre laughed at the thought of me in such a butch scent but it is pretty, sexy and understated and works for me. Go figure!