Wednesday, 8 April 2020

A RECIPE FOR HOMEMADE KIMCHI & HOW TO USE IT!




I LOVE Kimchi. It's one of those foods I can literally eat by itself any time, any day. It also happens to be a total super food and naturally low in calories, it of course being fermented spicy Chinese cabbage meaning it is filled with vitamins and super good for your gut.

Delicious and great for your health!? Let's be honest that does not happen that often when it comes to food and I have always been intrigued by the idea of making my own kimchi at home. I am lucky to live close to a great Asian supermarket that sells it ready-made, but once again with time on my hands and with a great tried and tested recipe for homemade kimchi, courtesy of my friend Pont, I simply had to give it a go!

Pont's recipe is super easy to follow and if you are unable to find some of the more niche ingredients like Japanese daikon I will give you some great substitution.

I would say order online or find at your nearest Asian supermarket the Korean red pepper powder  and don't be tempted to substitute it because it does add a crucial and distinctive flavour element and also make sure you have a jar at hand that you can shut air tight, ready for the kimchi to ferment in.

Overall I loved making the kimchi - the chopping, whizzing and all that jazz, and then also seeing the process of what happens after, the finished kimchi left in a dark, cold room for three days to develop flavour and ferment, almost a bit magical!

The end result was so tasty and better than any kimchi supermarket version I have had and and I cannot recommend enough making this yourself at home while we do have the chance to discover our inner domestic goddesses!

Of course I also had to find a recipe to use the kimchi as part of and the below incredible buttery kimchi noodles with egg yolk were JUST the thing!

Let me know if you end up making your own kimchi and what you think of the end result!


HOMEMADE KIMCHI

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 big head or 2 little ones of Napa/ Chinese Leaf / Savoy Cabbage, cut into 1 inch slices
  • Coarse Sea Salt
  • Bunch of Spring onions, sliced
  • Half a Japanese Daikon, cut into thin batons (carrots can be used as substitute)
For the kimchi paste:
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice + pineapple slice from a can
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 3 tbsp fresh ginger
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 small white onion
  • 1/2 cup korean chilli flakes

METHOD
  • Sterilise the jar you are using by boiling it in a saucepan, set aside.
  • Put sliced up cabbage in a bowl of water with 1/2 cup of salt. 
  • Place a plate with a weight (I used two tins) on top to press down. 
  • Leave for at least 1 hour.
  • Add all paste ingredients to a blender and whizz until smooth.
  • Rinse cabbage and throughly dry.
  • Return cabbage to rinsed bowl and thoroughly mix with the paste.
  • Add the spring onion and daikon and mix again so all vegetables are coated in the paste.
  • Add sliced radishes and spring onions.
  • Transfer to your sterilised container/mason jar. 
  • Leave to ferment in a cool room for around 3 days. The longer the ferment, the more pungent, tangier and intense it will be but make sure to stir it through once a day.
  • Once happy with the taste, transfer to fridge. It will keep for 2-3 weeks (if you don't polish it off before then)

And once good go I can't recommend these super comforting and quick to make noodles:

BUTTERY KIMCHI NOODLES WITH SPRING ONIONS


Serves 2

INGREDIENTS
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 300g Udon noodles
  • 1 cup of your homemade kimchi
  • 2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste, available to buy online or your nearest Asian supermarket)
  • ½ cup vegetable broth
  • 1 pound fresh or frozen udon noodles
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 3 spring onions, white and green parts thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

METHOD

  • Heat 2 Tbsp. butter in a large saucepan over medium-high. 
  • Add kimchi and gochujang and cook, stirring occasionally, until kimchi is softened and lightly caramelised, about 4 minutes. 
  • Add broth and bring to a simmer. Cook until liquid is slightly reduced, about 3 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, boil noodles according to package directions.
  • Using tongs, transfer noodles to pan and add remaining 2Tbsp. butter; cook, tossing often, until sauce coats noodles, about 2 minutes. 
  • Season with salt if needed. 
  • Divide among bowls and top with egg yolks, scallions, and sesame seeds.

Monday, 6 April 2020

SPRING VEGETABLE RISOTTO WITH A POACHED EGGS




With allll the time on my hands right now, indeed like all of us for the foreseeable future, I FINALLY managed to update my recipe index on the site and realised two things:

Firstly I have cooked and tried a lot more recipes than I had thought and, secondly, most of them are centred around pasta! Not that that is a bad thing, I mean who hates pasta and it is, after all, one of the most versatile basic ingredients in terms of shapes and ways to combine it. BUT if not now then when is it ever going to be a better time to widen and improve my culinary horizon?! Which means the plan for now is to tackle recipes that have so far eluded me or scared me off a little, to prove to you guys they are more than possible to make at home and hopefully inspire you to get creative in the kitchen too!

After a bit of Pinterest brainstorming, I suddenly realised that I had never, ever made a risotto. I am not the biggest fan of rice usually, but the times I did plunge for one in a restaurant I was always left pretty impressed, yet had never made the commitment of making one at home so far, a little intimidated by the time and stirring involved to get that perfect creamy texture.

Good thing then that I stumbled across this gorgeous and surprisingly easy recipe for the most vibrant spring vegetable risotto, by one of my favourite cookery writers Alison Roman (most famous for her Insta famous 'THE STEW'), which looked so stunning I was more than willing to accept the challenge to recreate it and master my first ever risotto.

This was not only going to be my first risotto ever, it was also my first attempt at a poached egg. Why had I never attempted one? Again it was probably me being a little intimidated by the process, even though poached eggs are actually my favourite way to eat eggs ( I can't stand them scrambled). Anyway, once again I said to myself 'Well let's take the positive of isolation boredom and try to master new things!' and so I did!

After watching a few Youtube videos and buying a 6 pack of eggs, which meant a dry run was possible, it actually ended up being pretty easy to achieve a perfect poached egg and I am kind of annoyed at myself for holding off on trying to make one for so long when it's actually so easy!

The final dish was just gorgeous, like spring on a plate, not too heavy but indulgent, and perfectly finished off with the poached egg, oozing egg yolk for added indulgence plus, with a little bit of solid chopping work, this was actually super easy to master and the stirring proved more therapeutic than anything!

A perfect dinner choice during a period where we have time to invest into making beautiful dishes that we are usually too rushed off our feet to successfully make. I for one am a total risotto at home convert and can't wait to make this again, in isolation or back in "normal life"

Adapted from Alison Roman's recipe. 

Serves 3-4

INGREDIENTS

  • Sea salt
  • 2 cups of broad beans (Sainsbury's sells them frozen)
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 3-4 large eggs (freshness is key here, ideally buy the eggs on the day you are planning to poach them)
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/4 pound wild mushrooms, halved or quartered if large
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large leeks, whites and pale greens only, chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 bunch spinach
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups finely grated Parmesan plus more for shaving on top
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives plus more for serving

METHOD

  • Defrost broad beans in microwave and set aside in bowl.
  • Bring water in a small saucepan to boil, then reduce to simmer. 
  • Add vinegar. 
  • Crack 1 egg into a small bowl, then slide into simmering water. 
  • Cook until whites are cooked but yolks are runny, about 3 minutes. 
  • Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer egg to a bowl of ice water.
  • Repeat with remaining eggs.
  • Bring broth to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and keep warm.
  • Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large saucepan.
  • Add mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes. 
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer to bowl with broad beans.
  • Heat oil and remaining 1 tablespoon butter in same pot over medium heat. 
  • Add leeks, fennel, and garlic. 
  • Cook, stirring often, until vegetables are softened, about 4 minutes. 
  • Add rice and stir to coat, about 2 minutes. 
  • Add wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until evaporated, about 4 minutes.
  • Add 1 cup broth. Cook, stirring often (no need to stir constantly), until broth is almost absorbed. 
  • Add remaining broth by cupfuls, allowing broth to be absorbed before adding more, stirring often, until rice is tender but still firm to the bite and mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total
  • Add spinach, sour crean, 1 1/2 cups grated Pecorino, 1/4 cup chives, broad beans and mushrooms to risotto. 
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, until spinach is wilted and cheese is melted, about 2 minutes. 
  • Season risotto with salt.
  • A few minutes before risotto is done, reheat poached eggs in saucepan of simmering water, about 1 minute.
  • Divide risotto among bowls and top with eggs, shaved Parmesan, chives, and pepper.

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

THE BEST HOMEMADE TRUFFLE FRIES


I LOVE FRIES. In fact potato crisps and fries are probably my favourite two savoury things in the world that I could not live without (and vegetables in general but that is a bit boring and "healthy") and while I can still get my hands on my favourite crisps in these strange times we live in, my fancy local organic supermarket stocks my go to fancy truffle crisps from Torres and Co-op still sells those iconic Chardonnay vinegar crisps, it is pretty impossible right now to get your fry fix unless you make them yourself, heck even McDonalds is shut after all!

I mean you can get frozen fries of course but the kind of fries I am talking about are the ones you have to make fresh - perfectly crisp, a little brown on the edges and even in London not that easy to find, the kind of fries dished up in a little Parisian cafe with a delicious mustardy mayo on the side, accompanied by an ice cold glass of white wine.

I wasn't sure how well I was going to do in recreating decent French fries at home, especially with neither a deep fat fryer or a thermometer (a requirement for many recipes that I found online), but after some extensive online research I found a brilliantly easy and effective recipe with the end result being rather outstanding restaurant quality fries!

I topped the finished potatoey goodness with some truffle oil, a staple in my cupboard but not a must, and shaved parmesan, and apart from the oil for frying and potatoes, it really did not need much for a very marvellous end result. It may not have been in a cute cafe in Paris but me, my truffle fries and a glass of ice cold Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc had a bloody marvellous time and I will sure be making these a lot more often at home now that I know how easy it is to make the perfect fries with your own two hands!

Serves two for an evening of wine and fries. I rustled up a little salad of tomatoes, red onion, avocado and coriander on the side for added greens and vitamins.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 baking potatoes (this kind of potato has a dense texture and will keep their shape nicely), thinly cut into fries, about 1.5cm width.
  • 1.5 Litres of canola or sunflower oil
  • Sea Salt
  • Truffle Oil to drizzle on top (Sainsbury's sells a very decent and reasonable priced one)
  • Parmesan to shave on top


METHOD
  • Cover a few baking trays with kitchen towels for draining.
  • Scrub potatoes and dab them dry, then cut into batons.
  • Place batons into a big saucepan and add oil; it will barely cover the potatoes. 
  • Turn stove on to highest setting and bring oil to a boil, which will take about 5 minutes. 
  • Cook potatoes for another 15-20 minutes; do not stir; they’ll just break. 
  • At this 20 minute mark, you can use tongs or a thin spatula to gently scrape loose any potatoes that have stuck to the pan. 
  • Continue to cook, stirring only if absolutely necessary, for 5 to 10 minutes longer, or until crisp and as golden as you like them. 
  • Use a large slotted spoon or spider to scoop potatoes from and spread them on prepared trays drain, tossing immediately with salt as you do.
  • Plate up and top with truffle oil and parmesan.

Best enjoyed with a lovely white wine like my favourite, a good old Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc!

Get frying ;)

Saturday, 28 March 2020

PASTA WITH BUTTERNUT SQUASH SAUCE & CRISPY FRIED SAGE


I've always wanted to attempt a butternut squash sauce as a big fan of this veg but had so far never got around to making it,  usually a little too time consuming for me considering the roasting and blending involved. 

Alas what we do have in buckets right now is TIME! Which is why I rustled up this dish on a very strange Friday night, all alone, glass of wine in hand and with a few FaceTime friend dates lined up post dinner. 

I have to say this was one of the nicest pasta dish I have ever made at home, so flavourful and comforting and the fried sage leafs elevated this to the next level! I would say you could also easily make this vegan by omitting the cream and parmesan or replacing with dairy free alternatives and I for one can't wait to make this for friends IRL!

Serves 2-3

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 5cm chunks, ready for roasting
  • 1 medium white onion, quartered
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
  • Olive oil
  • Salt 
  • Pepper
  • Nutmeg
  • A splash of double cream
  • Parmesan, 70g to go into the sauce then some to be shaved on top
  • 400g pasta (I recommend a wide variety like tagliatelle)
  • A handful of fresh sage leafs
  • 30g butter 

METHOD
  • Heat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
  • Chop up and peel your butternut squash and garlic and quarter your onion.
  • Add veg onto a lined baking tray and coat in olive oil, season, then pop into the oven.
  • Roast for around 45 minutes when the squash will be nice and tender.
  • Cook your pasta according to package instructions.
  • Add your roasted veg, cream, a touch of nutmeg and parmesan to a blender and blend away. 
  • Gradually add a little water to get desired sauce thickness, you don't want to add too much water too quickly and make it watery. Feel free to add more cream as well depending on the type of creaminess you want. The sauce is now ready but you can always heat it back up in a saucepan.
  • Melt your butter in a sauce pan and add the sage leafs, fry until crispy.
  • Mix your cooked pasta with the butternut squash sauce, plate up and top with parmesan shavings and crispy fried sage leafs.

Thursday, 26 March 2020

BAKED GNOCCHI WITH ARTICHOKE, CHILLI & CREAM SAUCE






While it was still ok to have friends around for dinner (what an alien thought right now even though this was only last weekend!), I rustled up this gnocchi dish for my lovely friend Katie and her boyfriend Jordan. This was of course already when the British public was going a slightly insane, panic buying food for no discernible reason, which made this recipe such a great choice.

For one I don't think many people have tinned artichokes on their apocalyptic shopping list and as long as you can find some gnocchi, which I guess are a little less popular than the pasta, to be eaten by the kilo by everyone in this country, everything else in this recipe is either store cupboard (e.g chilli flakes and oregano) or stocked in even the smallest Sainsbury's local (spinach, cream parmesan).

I for one have found that my local greengrocer and nearby smaller Tesco's and Sainsbury's basically have everything, even, SHOCK horror, toilet paper, while when I have headed to bigger supermarkets the shelves have been fully ran sacked. Anyways this is proper comfort, fun to prepare, a delight to eat, especially when you are stuck with more than yourself like me right now, to give your loved ones, flatmates or whoever you live a reason to smile and forget what is going on for even just a second!

I have a lot of amazing recipes lined up as I will be very bored at home and am no good at watching Netflix right now, after all productivity is the best medicine to keep sane so watch out and let me know what you end up cooking!

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves crushed and finely chpped
  • 200g  baby spinach 
  • 250ml double cream
  • squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 400 g jarred/canned artichokes drained
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 kg (2 pounds) shop bought potato gnocchi (if you can avoid supermarket own brands and get De Cecco's version)
  • 200g roughly torn mozzarella cheese

METHOD
  • Pre-heat your oven to 200ºC/390ºF. 
  • Fry the onion in a large saucepan until soft and translucent. 
  • Add the garlic and cook until fragrant then add the oregano, chilli flakes and spinach. 
  • Cook until the spinach has wilted then pour in the cream, lemon juice and artichokes. 
  • Allow to simmer for 5 minutes until the sauce coats the back of a spoon easily then season to taste and set aside. 
  • Cook the gnocchi in a large pot of salted, boiling water until they float to the surface. 
  • Drain and stir into the sauce. 
  • Top the baked gnocchi with the mozzarella, then place in the oven and allow to bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown and bubbling. 
  • Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes then serve.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

LILAC DUO




Denim Set / Zara
Boots / Topshop

Monday, 23 March 2020

FLOURLESS & SUGAR FREE ALMOND BUTTER COOKIES WITH WHITE CHOCOLATE CHIPS


 
Let's be honest, the outfit content on Stella's Wardrobe may, for now, become a little secondary for a few obvious reasons. Firstly I won't be able to shoot outfits because of course I not only live alone but we are also facing an inevitable lockdown, which doesn't exactly lend itself to taking pics outdoors. 

We will also pretty much be living in sweatpants with no makeup on, so me dressing up feels a little bit irrelevant to the current situation and to be honest I have not really felt like it either.

I mean fear not you will still get some excellently art directed mirror selfies as I have some dresses waiting to be worn, so I will get inventive when it comes to shooting them. I will also make the effort of putting some makeup on and changing out of my gym kit on some days so that I don't descent into becoming a total slob, but in the meantime I want to use the blog for interesting content to keep you entertained and me sane.

That will be anything from new recipes, to my favourite podcasts, to how to re-organise your wardrobe (a project I have been putting off for years but hey ho now is the time I guess), which will keep me busy and productive and will hopefully bring a little smile to your face, provide you with things to do, cook and bake and hopefully keep us all occupied enough to remain positive. As bad as everything seems now, we will be ok!

Anyways to kick things off a wonderful recipe for cookies I tried last weekend and which was super fun to make and even better to eat.

I have been a bit obsessed with all things almond since discovering almond milk (yes, I am a millennial cliche) so was more than intrigued when I stumbled across this flour and sugar free recipe for almond butter cookies with white chocolate chips.

It uses maple syrup instead of sugar and the cookies have an amazing texture - super gooey and indulgent without being too sweet, hands down one of the best home made cookies I have ever made! You will probably get to see a lot more cooking content but these "healthier" cookies are a new favourite so get baking!


INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup almond butter (smooth)
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup (130 g) white chocolate chunks

METHOD
  • Preheat oven to 180 Celsius and line a couple of baking trays with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg with a whisk until it's slightly frothy. 
  • Add the almond butter, maple syrup, and baking soda (baking powder also works if you double the quantities), mixing well until fully combined. 
  • Fold in chocolate chips.
  • Using a tablespoon place scoops of the cookie dough onto the baking tray. 
  • Only do about 4-5 cookie dough scoops per tray as they spread quite a bit while baking. 
  • Repeat process until all dough is used and bake in batches.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges begin to turn golden brown. 
  • Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. 
AND ENJOY!

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

HOMEMADE LAKSA



I am big fan of a good laksa. For those unfamiliar with what a laksa is (how have you lived is my first question!!) it is a spicy, super comforting noodle soup which stems from South East Asia, though there is much argument surrounding which country exactly can claim to be laksa's true inventor.

Think of it as kind of ramen but with a coconut-y and spicy broth and with rice noodles instead of egg noodles. It's similar to a Thai Red Thai curry but with more complex fishy notes which come from various forms of seafood that are added to the stock and I instantly fell in love with it as a dish when I first tried a bowl in Singapore 2 years.

There are lots of variations when it comes to what goes into a laksa depending on the country you are in and the cook that is making it - some come with the addition of shredded chicken, some with a very reduced almost creamy broth that makes it way less soup like, some have eggs as additional toppings and some include a mix of rice and egg noodles rather than just rice noodles, regardless I have always wanted to attempt to make laksa at home every since getting my first taste of it.

Another reason for wanting to master laksa at home is the fact that it is not actually that easy to get your hands on a good bowl of the stuff in London. However if you are too lazy to attempt the below, and I do have to say it's the kind of recipe to tackle on a slow weekend afternoon, or indeed now during social distancing when you have plenty of time on your hands anyways, with quite a bit prep and cooking time involved there are a few good spots, tried and tested by me. I mean in these very strange times I won't tell you to perhaps plan a dinner at Sambal Shiok, Laksamania or C&R in Chinatown, but a lot of these spots do deliver and offer takeaway so show some support if self isolation isn't bringing the chef out in you but you still fancy a good laksa!

On another note make sure to research a good Asian supermarket near you, I have an amazing one, Longdan, literally on my road and to be honest you will struggle to find some of the more niche ingredients like dried shrimp and deep fried tofu in your normal supermarket (though worst comes worst there are substitutes and missing out a few bits will still mean a decent laksa plus there is always the internet for more random ingredients).

Anyways I loved all the processes and labour that went into the laksa - making the paste, cooking the stock, even finding all the random bits at the Asian supermarket. It was a real labour of love and the end result was amazing to eat, as good as the best laksas I've had in Singapore, perhaps because a lot of love went into make it.

In a time where everything feels uncertain apart from the fact that we will probably have a lot of time on our hands in the next few weeks I urge you to give this laksa a go, especially if you have a well stocked Asian supermarket in walking distance to you that will be more than happy about some extra business!

Cooking soothes the soul and you will for sure be getting a lot more recipes from me in the coming weeks - let's keep sane, together.

Recipe adapted from Felicity Cloake @ The Guardian!

HOMEMADE LAKSA

Soak 30 min
Prep 25 min
Cook 55 min

INGREDIENTS
Serves 3
  • 300g of uncooked large prawns
  • 4 tbsp neutral oil
  • 1 litre water
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, lightly crushed
  • 50g laksa leaves (hot mint), or a mix of coriander and mint, plus extra to serve
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • Sugar, salt and pepper, to taste
  • 8 cubes deep-fried tofu (shop-bought, found frozen at my local supermarket)
  • ¼ cucumber, deseeded and finely shredded
  • 100g of beansprouts
  • 400g wide flat dried rice noodles 

PASTE
  • 10 dried chillies, soaked
  • 30g dried shrimp, soaked
  • 75g ginger, peeled
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 small Asian shallots (about 50g), peeled (normal shallots will do too)
  • 30g shrimp paste
  • 2 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 5 macadamia nuts (we used almonds and they did the trick as well)


METHOD
  • Soak the chillies and dried shrimp in hot water for 30 minutes, then drain.
  • Put in a small food processor with all the other paste ingredients and whizz fairly smooth.
  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan, then add the paste and fry, stirring, until dark and aromatic – about 10-15 minutes.
  • Beat in the water, then add the lemongrass and laksa leaves, and bring to a boil.
  • Turn down the heat and leave the broth to simmer gently for 30 minutes.
  • Pass the stock through a fine sieve to remove the solids, squeezing out as much liquid as possible, then return the broth to the pan.
  • Whisk in the coconut milk, return to a boil, then stir in the tofu puffs and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
  • Add prawns and reduce heat until they have turned pink, making sure to not overcook them.
  • Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to the packet instructions, then divide between 3 bowls.
  • Pound the fresh bird’s eye chillies with a little coarse salt to make a coarse paste. Check the broth for seasoning, then pour it all over the noodles.
  • Top with the tofu and prawns, shredded cucumber & beansprouts.
  • Serve with the fresh chilli paste and lime wedges on the side AND ENJOY!

xx Stella

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

GOLDEN GIRL


Top / Stine Goya
Trousers  / ASOS
Earrings / Zara
Necklace / Zara

Friday, 13 March 2020

PARIS FASHION WEEK DIARY

Before full Corona hysteria broke out over Europe I was able to spent a very busy but very fun week in Paris during fashion week over there, taking BTS snaps of the amazing talents the wonderful agency I work for, Management Artists, represents.

While running from show to show, I got to discover a few new Parisian spots to add to my list, that I of course, had to share with you, including the most gorgeous airbnb I have ever stayed at in Paris.

I know, right now travelling abroad or even leaving your house may be a very scare thought but based on scientific facts (I am from a doctor family after all) I know WE WILL BE OK and staying positive, not thinking like life will end, heck I have even just booked a trip to Copenhagen in May, will make sure our wold keeps moving so get planning on your next trip because out of the darkness of these few months lightness will come again so hopefully the below inspires you a little and gets you dreaming about a Paris getaway.


WHERE I STAYED: THE DREAMIEST AIRBNB THERE EVER WAS IN THE MARAIS





It’s not easy to tell how good an AirBnB will be in real life based on the pictures you get on their site. I have never had a total disaster but there has been times where pictures had clearly been taken at a VERY flattering angle, on my last visit to Paris for the September shows for instance the flat clearly was for airbnb lettings only, lacked personality and was also incredibly loud from outside traffic. 

However on this occasion I hit total jackpot with a little airbnb that looked even better than the already very cute pictures of the place suggested. Owned by the most helpful host Zoe, who left me amazing instructions via WhatsApp voice note, the apartment was simply perfect. Layout, interior design and location could not have been better and if I could I would transport the entire apartment to London. 

I won’t bore you too much with details, its one bed (not a studio which you usually get in this sort of price range), bang in the middle of Marais, close to the Metro stop Republique, and very affordable considering the level of style, taste and effort that has gone into it so if available I cannot recommend Zoe’s place enough, I for one felt totally at home for my 6 days there and would one hundred percent stay there again on my next visit to Paris

Here is the link to her lovely apartment.


HEAVEN FOR A TRUFFLE LOVER @ ARTISAN DE LA TRUFFE



Anyone that knows me just a little will know I LOVE all things truffle. And with love I mean obsessively try and find it on every menu, try any bag of crisps that promises to be flavoured with it and generally trying to make it as much part of my diet as is reasonable on my budget. 

Which is why when my Paris based Austrian makeup artist friend Tom Lorenz suggested a restaurant that literally only serves truffle on its menu I was of course immediately on board, especially as the prices at Artisan De La Truffe proved very reasonable considering their portion sizes and freshly shaved truffle included as part of each dish. 

It may not have been the most vibey restaurant but for a true truffle lover it is a must visit for dinner during a stay in Paris. We shared an outstanding truffled baked camembert, which you can season with truffle salt and truffle oil to your heart’s content as provided on each table, followed by a flawless tagliatelle with truffle cream sauce for me and their special of the day, truffle ravioli with mushrooms, for Tom and I have to say every bite was a delight. Plus for the 17.5 euros I paid for my truffle pasta I got a very generous portion with plenty of freshly shaved truffle on top and our camembert was more than enough for two as a starter and a steal at 14 euros. 

They have 2 restaurants in Paris which do get pretty rammed so make sure you book ahead and take a fellow truffle lover, I want to already go back to try their truffle risotto, truffle scrambled eggs. seared tuna with truffle ( I could go on...) because here the menu is literally made for me and a special treat that won't break the bank!



FOR ALL YOUR BAKED GOOD NEEDS THE BOULANGERIE EVEN THE LOCALS QUEUE FOR @ MAMICHE




Even though Paris (and France as a whole) is of course famous for their baguettes, croissants and boulangeries I hadn’t actually stumbled across that many amazing places selling fresh baked goods on previous visits to Paris that weren’t Paul or Eric Kayser, another (albeit very good) chain of bakeries, which is why it was a gift from the gods that my AirBnB happened to be on the same street as this rather famous little bakery. 

Mamiche not only has 26k followers on Instagram but at most times of the day, apart from Sunday when the bakery is shut, also always has a long queue of locals forming outside, locals that clearly know a little wait is fully worth it here. Intrigued by the constant crowds outside the bakery and after having peaked in to spy their incredible array of pastries, bread and sandwiches I couldn’t help but check out Mamiche for myself on a particularly hungover Saturday to sort me out with alll the carbs and boy it did not disappoint. 

This is outstanding baking on all levels and over the course of my stay I managed to try their donut like vanilla cream filled beignet, juicy cinnamon pastry and veggie sandwich which consisted of thick slices of outstanding fluffy bread, filled with perfectly seasoned roast veg that came tossed in parmesan, and everything wowed. 

I can see why people make the journey across town to get the bakery fix for Mamiche, I would if I lived in Paris and I am so happy I accidentally ended up literally living opposite it for a week. A must visit for proper French baked treat, you can thank me later!


EXCELLENT COFFEE @ YUMI




Just across the road from Mamiche is Yumi, a super cute cafe specialising in organic and vegan breakfast and cakes as well as juices which also happened to serve one of the best cups of coffees I have found in Paris. The interiors are gorgeous, with plenty of seating which makes it a great spot to catch up on emails.


A CREPE TO WOW @ BREIZH CAFE

So this a controversial one where I am slightly backtracking on a previously bad review (yes even I can be proven wrong). Breizh cafe always gets mentioned when it comes to the best places for crepes in Paris but when Maddie and I tried it last February I was not convinced considering the hefty price tags (10 euros upwards if you go for more extravagant options), especially with flavours being pretty meh.

Starving on my last day and severely craving a crepe however and with Breizh only being a 10 minute walk away from my Airbnb I thought I would leave my usual cynical self behind and give them another go and it was an altogether a much more pleasant experience! For one as solo diner I found a spot in the much more calm shop next door to the main dining space which felt cramped, hot and overfull on our first trip. The shop next door instead only has a couple of window seats and a big table in the middle to perch on, but was an oasis of calm with classical music playing and attentive as well as super fast service.

Already in a zen mood from the surroundings, I also went for one of their sweet specialities this time that came highly recommended by my waitress - a buckwheat crepe, topped with chestnut sauce, chestnut cream and chestnut ice cream which was an absolute dream to eat - a perfectly cooked crepe with fillings that weren’t too sweet and a rich and warming chestnut flavour throughout.

It’s still not a cheap place for a crepe, this one was 11 euros plus a steep 4.5 euros for a coffee but on this occasion I didn’t mind considering the quality of food served and the lovely setting. So if you do go to Breizh Cafe for a crepe skip the main restaurant and head to the shop next door, for me it meant a totally different experience and if you are after something sweet I cannot recommend their chestnut crepe enough!


THE BEST COOKIES IN TOWN @ SCOOP ME A COOKIE


I am a bit of a cookie connoisseur, as my regular visit to Crème and Ben’s Cookies in London would attest to, so had to immediately try this amazing little cookie shop on one of the busiest street of the Marais, Rue de Bretagne, as I wondered past one afternoon in-between shows. And their interesting array of flavours didn’t disappoint! In fact they do such inventive flavour combos and so many of them that I am really sad I only got to try one this time. There is a baked Alaska cookie with meringue and white chocolate, a matcha cookie with dark chocolate, a banana bread cookie, a peanut butter, milk chocolate and pretzel cookie, and a Kinder chocolate cookie plus too many to list which is crazy considering the 4 flavours you get a creme and 8 at Ben’s.

Overwhelmed by choice, I played it safe and when for their ‘Surprise Me’ cookie, a heavenly combo of caramelised Pecan nuts and huge white chocolate chunks and it was definitely on par with Creme’s miso white chocolate one and miles better than any at Ben’s.

I will most definitely go back to Scoop Me A Cookie and get a box next time as I was seriously impressed by their range of flavours and if you are in Paris a cookie pit stop here is a must.


MEXICAN COCKTAILS @ CANDELARIA

Candelaria is a great hidden basement bar, upstairs is a proper Mexican restaurant, with a buzzy vibe and fun crowd! It gets super busy on the weekend so be prepared to fight your way to the bar.



--> A CLASSY DRINK BEFORE THE EUROSTAR @ SAPE BAR IN THE 25HOURS TERMINUS NORD HOTEL


The area around Gare Du Nord station is not exactly the best place to grab a nice last drink before jumping on the Eurostar back to London, in fact the cafes and restaurants right outside the station are generally a bit grim, but there is one hidden spot away from the suitcase carrying crowds.

In fact the 25hours Terminus Nord hotel, which I have stayed at previously and loved, has a hidden little bar on their first floor which is not only gorgeous interior wise but has a very nice chilled vibe and great wine by the glass


MY TOP 3 PFW BACKSTAGE MOMENTS

Of course my PFW diary needs to include some fashion so here you go!

Dries Van Noten - Makeup by Inge Grognard





Balmain - Casting by Adam Hindle





Mugler - Nails by Sylvie Macmillan


-->