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


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