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Monday, 17 November 2014

The Christmas Tree at Claridges

Claridges Christmas Tree 2014 - hub
Claridge's Christmas Tree by Dolce & Gabanna
Dolce & Gabbana's Claridge's Christmas tree in numbers
Two months in conception
777.9 miles by road from Milan to Mayfair for the tree’s components
10 people in the Dolce and Gabbana visual merchandising team
Eight hours to build and decorate the tree in situ in the Claridge’s lobby from 10.30pm - 6.30am
10 animatronic animals: 4 reindeer, 4 rabbits, 2 squirrels
300 glass baubles hand blown and hand painted in Bellagio, Italy
400 branches
Eight metres high
9,000 fairy lights
One throne
One crown
One gem encrusted coat
One celebrity snapper: Chris Martin on his camera phone
20 chefs viewing the finished article at 8.30am

When in Doubt...Moonwalk it out!

Oh Queso, what a smart little dork!

Saturday, 15 November 2014

William and Catherine are Brooklyn Bound!

Prince William and Kate Middleton will take in a Brooklyn Nets game when visiting New York City in December.

Prince William and a pregnant Duchess are visiting Brooklyn for a three day Royal visit December 7th to 9th! They are going to take in a Nets game and Catherine is visiting a child development facility on December 8th!! Whoop whoop!

2 Feb 1989 Mirror Online:  School time: Princess of Wales visits a day nursery in New York during visit to the US

Princess Diana's triumphant visit to New York, February 1989

Princess Diana at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York on Feb. 2, 1989 as she arrives for the Welsh National Opera’s American debut of “Falstaff.” Credit: AP Photo/Susan Ragan
Princess Diana at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York on Feb. 2, 1989 as she arrives for the Welsh National Opera’s American debut of “Falstaff
Diana gave one of the silver apples to her devoted dresser Fay Appleby, it is expected to fetch £3,000 at auction

3 Feb 1989 Harlem hospital
Harlem Hospital

I love this piece from the Chicago Tribune about Princess Diana's visit to New York 

"On her first visit to New York and her first major official trip without her husband, Prince Charles, the princess followed a program ranging from luxurious toy stores to paediatric AIDS wards.
Having forsaken the ``Disco Di`` leather miniskirts and giddy girlishness that marked the first several years of her royal marriage, the princess presented a clear image of a queen-in-training.
Winding up a day that began with a visit with homeless children and families at a downtown shelter, the princess attended the most glittering event on her three-day visit here.
The evening began with the American debut performance by the Welsh National Opera of Verdi`s ``Falstaff`` at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. As patroness of the opera, it was Diana`s official reason for the trip. A hush fell over the 900-strong crowd as the 27-year-old princess entered the opera`s ivy-swagged royal box and the British, U.S. and Welsh national anthems were played.
Having changed from the trim black-and-purple suit she had worn earlier Thursday, the princess wore a slim, strapless dress in ivory satin touched with golden beading on the top and matching bolero jacket. Her blonde hair was swept up to reveal pearl-drop earrings.
Telling Diana the ``city is graced by your presence,`` New York Mayor Edward Koch apologized to the princess and the black-tie crowd for his plain blue business suit, explaining, ``I had a town meeting in the Bronx tonight.`` Outside, the only demonstration so far to mark the princess` visit was held by those opposing the British presence in Northern Ireland. The small group waved signs and shouted slogans, including, ``Tell Princess Di to take her soldiers home.`` The only other awkward moment came 15 minutes before Diana`s arrival, when the entrance to the opera house was cordoned off, causing late arrivals to hike two blocks from their limos. Among the stragglers, Forbes publisher and socialite motorcyclist Malcolm Forbes and gasping society columnist Aileen ``Suzy`` Nehle were detained to cool their heels at the barricades for a chilly 15 minutes before granted passage.
During the opera`s two intermissions, members of the audience were presented to the princess, including Howard Stringer, Welsh-born president of the CBS Broadcast Group.
After the opera, the princess and most of the guests whisked off to lower Manhattan for dinner in the World Financial Center`s Winter Garden, where a vaulted glass ceiling and sheer glass walls afford dazzling views of the Hudson River and city skyline.
Despite the late hour, a stiff breeze and temperatures that had dropped to near freezing, a small but enthusiastic crowd was on hand to greet the princess as her motorcade arrived. Coatless, Diana walked to the entrance, pausing briefly to smile and wave at her fans, who thanked her with the shouted advice: ``Have a nice dinner.``"
Amid the garden`s royal palm trees and cascades of marble steps, about 900 guests who had paid $1,000 a head to benefit the Brooklyn Academy of Music took their places at tables covered in burgundy cloth and topped with cranberry glass vases brimming with white anemones and lilacs.
Among guests at both events were British Ambassador to the U.S. Sir Antony Acland and Lady Acland; British Consul General in New York Gordon Jewkes and his wife; Peter Walker, secretary of state for Wales; Welsh National Opera impresario Brian McMaster and the academy head, Harvey Lichtenstein, all of whom were placed at the royal table, where Diandra Douglas and Christopher ``Superman`` Reeve also were seated. Among the glitterati were Donald and Ivana Trump; Happy Rockefeller; social grande dame Brooke Astor; and David and Elizabeth Emmanuel, the British designers of Diana`s wedding dress.
Serenaded by strolling violinists from the Peter Duchin Orchestra, the guests nibbled on hors d`oeuvres of ratatouille, asparagus tips, pate, smoked salmon mousse and curried scallops followed by a main course of breast of capon with morel mousse, orzo (a rice-like pasta) and assorted baby winter vegetables, washed down with Torres Vina Sol, 1987, and Torres Coronas, 1985, white and red Spanish wines.
The finishing touch was a pastel-toned tricolor bombe confected of cassis, praline and mango sorbet, frosted with spun sugar, accompanied by raspberry and hot chocolate sauces and served with Perrier-Jouet champagne.
The princess` whirlwind 43-hour visit to New York ends Friday with a tour of the pediatric AIDS unit at Harlem Hospital and a visit to the residence of the British consul general before flying home.
Although Mayor Koch said he hoped she`d remember the visit for its
``royal New York welcome,`` Diana may well leave remembering that she made it here, which means, as the song says, she can make it anywhere."

Monday, 10 November 2014

Recipe on Deck - Tortilla Soup

Start off with some red onions in a tablespoon of olive oil 

Add 1 Tsp of Cumim, 1 Tsp Chile Powder and 1/2 Tsp of Chipotle Chile Powder

Mmm the flavours start layering here, don't forget to salt and pepper as well.

It's not a traditional ingredient, but I need carrots in my soups, they give it an earthy sweetness I adore, I can usually tell right away when carrot is missing from a recipe.

Saute for 10-15 minutes

Add 2 cloves of chopped garlic when the onions, spices and carrots are almost finished and saute them as well for another 2 minutes

I tried fire roasted tomatoes first, but if I do it again I will use regular diced tomatoes. The fire roasted ones kind of took over the flavour of the dish and I ended up adding another teaspoon of cumin. Mmm cumin.

Add in a the can of tomatoes

1 cup of chicken stock

2 cups of water

3 Chile Arbols and 2 Bay Leaves then simmer your soup for 2-3 hours

If you really want to start perfecting the flavour of your soups you should really pay attention to this part.

* Don't forget to taste your soup along the way and adjust the salt and pepper seasoning. 
*Sweet balances out hot  (add a pinch of sugar if it's too spicy and vise versa)
*Salt balances out sour (add a squeeze of lemon/lime if it's too salty and vise versa)

After 2-3 hours of simmering, take the chile arbols and both bay leaves
Transfer the soup to a blender (do it in batches if you have a small bender) and liquefy until smooth
Transfer the blended soup back to the stock pot add the set aside bay leaves and chile's
Taste the soup again and adjust your seasoning
Simmer for 1/2 hour then turn off the heat and let the soup cool, add some milk or cream if you want to make it a little thicker and richer.

Topping time! Add anything you like, I personally go for corn, avocado, black beans, shredded chicken, tortilla strips, cilantro and sour cream. Oh and don't forget to add crispy strips of tortillas tto, like Mexican crackers!

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Princess Diana's Niece - Lady Kitty Spencer

Lady in red: The young charity ambassador looked stunning in a floor-length gown
Lady Kitty Spencer following in her Aunt's footsteps hosting her first gala last night.

"Give Us Time is a small charity founded by Dr Liam Fox MP that takes one-week holidays donated by owners of holiday homes and timeshares and matches them with British soldiers in need of rest rehabilitation and reconnection with their families."

Diana Princess of Wales Nieces, Lady Amelia, Lady Eliza, Lady Kitty Spencer are a triple threat of awesomeness. It's not their beauty, which is stunning to say the least, so much, it's in their pedigree.

The Spencer family is far more Royal than Queen Elizabeth's and Prince Phillips family tree, the Spencer family lineage is a British as it gets where as The Queen and Prince Phillips family have German roots. 

I think that's why Diana had so much chutzpah dealing with the Royals in her early days. She was more Royal than they were and she knew it , they knew it and so did everyone else in society and the royal establishment. I think she liked to stick it to them every once in a while :) 

And cheers to Earl Spencer (Diana's brother) too,  for raising the Lady's in South Africa, along with his other children away from the press while they grow up. Lady Amelia got into a bit of a bust up at a McDonalds a while back, but I hate line budgers too,  I'm with the Lady on that one.