5 May 2016

Plate Up. Cooking With Saint James

Following on from the incredible meal I enjoyed at Le Saint James while in Bordeaux the other week, when presented with the opportunity to join one of their cooking classes I thought, how could I say no? This is a Michelin star kitchen we're talking about after all.

As you know I love cooking, just last weekend I spent the afternoon whipping up a batch of ANZAC biscuits. And whilst I fancy myself as a bit of a skilled cook, I certainly don't find myself throwing together fine dining dishes at home. But with my new skills, these recipes [and a few thousand pounds in kitchen equipment] I totally could if I wanted to.

bordeaux; cooking; cooking class; bordeaux cooking; michelin chef; le saint james bouliac;

So if you need a dish to impress, if you're cooking for a loved one [or lover for that matter], then I've got the perfect two course menu that is certain to blow their socks off.

First up...

Prawn Tartare With White Asparagus Gazpacho & Pea & Bean Salad


bordeaux; cooking; cooking class; bordeaux cooking; michelin chef; le saint james bouliac;

What you'll need (serves 4)
4 stalks white asparagus
1/2 onion, diced
100ml chicken stock
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 slice bread
40g broad beans
60g peas
8 green prawns
1 shallot, chopped
1 lime
Fried onion
Chives, chopped
Olive oil

What to do
Preheat your oven to 120 degrees Celsius. Peel and chop your asparagus.

In a pan, heat some olive oil and add in the onion, half of the asparagus, the garlic and the sugar. Add the chicken stock and cook for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel your prawns and separate the heads. You can dry these in the oven for 40mins and use them as a garnish. Dice the prawns into small pieces and pop it in the fridge.

Take your other half of the chopped asparagus and fry it off in a pan with some salt and a pinch of sugar.

bordeaux; cooking; cooking class; bordeaux cooking; michelin chef; le saint james bouliac;

Take another saucepan (yes another one, I told you it's fine dining so you really need to be able to multi-task, but it's worth it I promise!) boil some water and cook your peas and beans for 2-4mins.

By now your stock mixture (which will become the gazpacho) should be cooked down and full of flavour so pour it into a mixer, add the sherry vinegar and bread, then whizz until well blended. Strain through a sieve and chill in the fridge.

Back to the peas and beans, which should be done, drain them and then toss in olive oil, adding the chives and the dried onion.

Take your prawn out of the fridge and toss them with the chopped shallot and the juice from the lime.

Right, all the components are now done, time to assemble!

In a bowl, place a round cutter in the base and fill it with the prawn mixture to achieve a solid shape. Add the peas and beans on top, pressing down. Remove the cutter [crossing your fingers it holds its shape!] and pour the asparagus gazpacho around the outside. Finish by garnishing with the fried asparagus and the dried prawn head.

bordeaux; cooking; cooking class; bordeaux cooking; michelin chef; le saint james bouliac;

Ready for round two?

Veal Filet Mignon With Parmesan Crumble, Artichokes & Foam Emulsion


bordeaux; cooking; cooking class; bordeaux cooking; michelin chef; le saint james bouliac;

What you'll need (serves 4)
580g veal filet mignon
1 tablespoon cottage cheese
1 egg yolk
40g plain flour
25g butter
10g grated parmesan
10g dried onions
Chives, chopped
8 artichokes, prepared
100ml white wine
1 carrot, chopped
1 onion, diced
1 cloves garlic
2 litres beef stock
150ml milk
Olive oil

What to do
Preheat your oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Cut the veal pieces into 130g portions and refrigerate.

Combine the flour, fried onion, parmesan cheese, butter and egg yolk with your fingers. Crumble onto a baking sheet and pop in the oven for 12mins.

bordeaux; cooking; cooking class; bordeaux cooking; michelin chef; le saint james bouliac;

In a saucepan, heat some olive oil and add the onion, carrot, garlic, artichokes (if you haven't prepared these before then I suggest youtube-ing it, it's a bit complex!), wine and beef stock. Cook until the artichokes are tender, before removing them and cutting into quarters. Strain the broth and reduce on high heat.

bordeaux; cooking; cooking class; bordeaux cooking; michelin chef; le saint james bouliac;

Your crumble should be done now, so whip it out of the oven and mix through some chives. Set aside.

Time to fry your veal in the pan. When cooked, brush it with the cottage cheese then roll it in the crumble.

bordeaux; cooking; cooking class; bordeaux cooking; michelin chef; le saint james bouliac;

Your jus should be well reduced now, add the milk in and then whizz with a hand blender to create a foam.

Plate up with your veal, the artichokes and spoonfuls of your light, airy foam.

bordeaux; cooking; cooking class; bordeaux cooking; michelin chef; le saint james bouliac;

Voila! Très impressionnant. A big thank you to Celia who was a wonderful teacher. Book your own cooking class at Le Saint James here.

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Photos by Krissie.

1 May 2016

Suitcase. Bordeaux, France - Travel Guide

I love France. I feel as though it's a bit like my spirit country. Every time I go back it captures me with its architecture, its way of life, its language.

My latest trip was to Bordeaux. A region I think I can adequately describe in one word...

Indulgence.
   
bordeaux; wine region; france; travel; adventure; wanderlust; architecture;

bordeaux; wine region; france; travel; adventure; wanderlust; architecture;

A quick stroll through town on my arrival had me immediately in love. The locals may not necessarily agree, but to me Bordeaux has many Parisian qualities. The architecture, the vibe, the streets. The beauty is there but on a smaller scale. The people also seem much friendlier - they're willing to help and chat to you (albeit in French but that's fine by me!) and there is food everywhere! So many restaurants and cafes lining the streets, all of which look tummy-grumblingly enticing.

If you're in town some of the sights you must see include the iconic Place de la Bourse on the banks of the river...

bordeaux; wine region; france; travel; adventure; wanderlust; architecture; place de la bourse

bordeaux; wine region; france; travel; adventure; wanderlust; architecture; place de la bourse;

The St Andre Cathedral...

bordeaux; wine region; france; travel; adventure; wanderlust; architecture;

bordeaux; wine region; france; travel; adventure; wanderlust; architecture;

Porte Cailhau which is like the ancient gate to the city...

bordeaux; wine region; france; travel; adventure; wanderlust; architecture;

The Musee des Beaux Arts...

bordeaux; wine region; france; travel; adventure; wanderlust; architecture;

And the courtyard near the Grand Theatre, the carousel is like something out of a story book...

bordeaux; wine region; france; travel; adventure; wanderlust; architecture;

bordeaux; wine region; france; travel; adventure; wanderlust; architecture;

Having walked all day and indulged in some delightful crepes (not one but two!) I set off for my hotel - the renowned Saint James just outside the city on the hill in Bouliac.

bordeaux; wine region; france; travel; adventure; wanderlust; le saint james bouliac;

bordeaux; wine region; france; travel; adventure; wanderlust; le saint james bouliac;

With its own vineyard and a Michelin star restaurant, this is a pretty great spot to base yourself for an indulgent getaway. And, as the hotel has only 18 rooms, you're guaranteed a sense of personalisation and 5-star service. If you can, definitely splurge for the suite, it has its own outdoor jacuzzi.

bordeaux; wine region; france; travel; adventure; wanderlust; le saint james bouliac;

bordeaux; wine region; france; travel; adventure; wanderlust; le saint james bouliac;

Having unpacked it was time for bed, and I tell you it was a dreamy slumber, overlooked by the winking lights of Bordeaux in the distance.

I was up with the sun the next morning, people to see, places to go! Top of my list was wine country. Obviously. Off I set in my trusty steed...

bordeaux; wine region; france; travel; adventure; wanderlust; fiat red;

If you're looking for a picturesque drive you're going to want to head north of Bordeaux, following the river up on the D209. It's stunning countryside. Wineries are dotted back-to-back each with their own château, from charming little farm-style ones to grand palatial looking things; they took my breath away.

bordeaux; wine region; france; travel; adventure; wanderlust; le saint james bouliac;

bordeaux; wine region; france; travel; adventure; wanderlust; vineyard; winery;

Particularly, Pichon Longueville, est. 1851. Wow. My inner princess was screaming "home" whilst looking around for my prince as soon as I pulled up. It truly is a stunning property, surrounded by rows and rows of vines that produce some pretty exceptional cabernet wine.

bordeaux; wine region; france; travel; adventure; wanderlust; pichon longueville; winery;

bordeaux; wine region; france; travel; adventure; wanderlust; pichon longueville; winery;

bordeaux; wine region; france; travel; adventure; wanderlust; pichon longueville; winery;

bordeaux; wine region; france; travel; adventure; wanderlust; pichon longueville; winery;

bordeaux; wine region; france; travel; adventure; wanderlust; pichon longueville; winery; red wine;

Having explored plenty of countryside for the day it was time to head back to the hotel, I was in for a treat; dinner at Saint James, cooked by head chef Nicolas Magie. Lucky I'd worked up an appetite, let the 6-course feast begin...

bordeaux; wine region; france; travel; adventure; wanderlust; le saint james bouliac;

bordeaux; wine region; france; travel; adventure; wanderlust; le saint james bouliac;

First a little appetiser to get going; a trio of fried chickpea, a creamy fish sphere and a shellfish mousse served in an egg shell. Palette tingling? Yes.

bordeaux; wine region; france; travel; adventure; wanderlust; le saint james bouliac;

The first course was possibly my favourite. Delicate red mullet served with caviar and tapioca. A lovely way to start a meal.

bordeaux; wine region; france; travel; adventure; wanderlust; le saint james bouliac;

Next was Mr Magie's famous crunchy egg served with crayfish and a bisque. The technique appeared faultless.

bordeaux; wine region; france; travel; adventure; wanderlust; le saint james bouliac;

Time then for some fish served with wrinkly little morles (wild mushrooms that are surprisingly subtle in flavour) and topped with a crispy morles creation that tasted somewhat like a prawn cracker.

bordeaux; wine region; france; travel; adventure; wanderlust; le saint james bouliac;

When in France one must have pigeon of course, this one was served with a blackcurrant sauce, ravioli and snails.

bordeaux; wine region; france; travel; adventure; wanderlust; le saint james bouliac;

For the cheese course I got to enjoy a warm goats cheese blancmange served with a sweet red pepper sorbet. Certainly a very savoury choice yet delicate and light.

bordeaux; wine region; france; travel; adventure; wanderlust; le saint james bouliac;

And finally the white asparagus dessert. A vegetable revered at this time of year, who'd have thought it could translate into a sweet dish but it absolutely did when served with caramelized hazelnuts and sorbet. Delicate and beautiful.

bordeaux; wine region; france; travel; adventure; wanderlust; le saint james bouliac;

I rolled upstairs to bed feeling thoroughly sated, the food was truly exceptional. If you get a chance, be sure to try a cooking class with the Saint James chefs as well. I've got recipes coming for you next week.

The sun peeked through my windows the following morning, signifying my final day. Just a 30min drive away, the beautifully historic village of Saint Emilion is where I would spend it. This ancient village holds such charm and character, not to mention it is a wine and foodie haven. Cobbled pathways entwine through buildings, often so steep and uneven even I struggled with footing. Trek downwards though and you're sure to be rewarded with magical alleys and vine-covered walls.

bordeaux; wine region; france; travel; adventure; wanderlust; saint emilion;

bordeaux; wine region; france; travel; adventure; wanderlust; saint emilion;

bordeaux; wine region; france; travel; adventure; wanderlust; saint emilion;

bordeaux; wine region; france; travel; adventure; wanderlust; saint emilion;

bordeaux; wine region; france; travel; adventure; wanderlust; saint emilion;

Bordeaux, it was a pleasure. France you were a delight yet again. Thank you to the Saint James for having me, book your stay here, this region is not to be missed.

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Photos by Krissie.

28 April 2016

Style It. April Celeb Street Style

It's always about this time each year that I feel like summer is close enough to go out and buy some warmer weather items [despite the sprinkle of snow we had on Tuesday!]. Admittedly in London they still need some layering, but it signals a wardrobe changeover none-the-less. When looking for inspiration, these three ladies are my go-to. Check out their best street style looks from this month.

april celeb style; street style; celebrity style; get the look; rosie huntington whiteley

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley does transit in style with this coordinated airport look. Love the sporty stripe on the wide leg trousers and pairing them with a t-shirt, gives the look a nice dressed-down effect.

april celeb style; street style; celebrity style; get the look; kendall jenner;

It's all about the just rolled out of bed look these days; a chic slip dress is wear it's at. Love the way Kendall Jenner has coordinated the look with a matching robe coat, tonal over-the-knee boots and tee for a not-so-naked finish.

april celeb style; street style; celebrity style; get the look; taylor swift;

With legs for days, Taylor Swift looks effortlessly glam in ripped skinny denim and a wrap blouse. The strappy detail on her shoes adds plenty of effect, not forgetting the season's must-have choker.

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Photos by Krissie via Pinterest and retailers.

24 April 2016

Suitcase. Corfu, Greece - Travel Guide

Ever since my first visit to Greece last summer, this southern corner of Europe has held a piece of my heart. Daily, I relive the memories of vibrant sunshine, clear seas and new landscapes. Hence why I was thrilled to return to the isles this spring - the Ionian Island of Corfu was my destination.

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corfu; travel; greece; greek islands; weekend; adventure; wanderlust; summer travel; bikini; greece bikini; marbella corfu;

corfu; travel; greece; greek islands; weekend; adventure; wanderlust; summer travel; bikini; greece bikini; marbella corfu;

We settled into our temporary home at Marbella Corfu on the south east coastline - and my what a home it was. This place is 5 stars and such a treat, particularly if you get a balcony room with hot tub. You virtually couldn't drag me away from this view.

corfu; travel; greece; greek islands; weekend; adventure; wanderlust; summer travel; bikini; greece bikini; marbella corfu;


corfu; travel; greece; greek islands; weekend; adventure; wanderlust; summer travel; bikini; greece bikini; marbella corfu; pearls of style; krissie rogers;
Dress (similar)


corfu; travel; greece; greek islands; weekend; adventure; wanderlust; summer travel; bikini; greece bikini; marbella corfu;

A walk around the grounds is also a delight. There are gardens that look like they're inspired by Italian vineyards, quaint courtyards and spectacular balconies.

corfu; travel; greece; greek islands; weekend; adventure; wanderlust; summer travel; bikini; greece bikini; marbella corfu;

corfu; travel; greece; greek islands; weekend; adventure; wanderlust; summer travel; bikini; greece bikini; marbella corfu;

corfu; travel; greece; greek islands; weekend; adventure; wanderlust; summer travel; bikini; greece bikini; marbella corfu;

Not forgetting the private beach and of course the dreamlike blue swimming pools. Let's just say for the Aussie girl coming from a long London winter, it was my idea of heaven.

corfu; travel; greece; greek islands; weekend; adventure; wanderlust; summer travel; bikini; greece bikini; marbella corfu;

corfu; travel; greece; greek islands; weekend; adventure; wanderlust; summer travel; bikini; greece bikini; marbella corfu;

corfu; travel; greece; greek islands; weekend; adventure; wanderlust; summer travel; bikini; greece bikini; marbella corfu;

corfu; travel; greece; greek islands; weekend; adventure; wanderlust; summer travel; bikini; greece bikini; marbella corfu;

corfu; travel; greece; greek islands; weekend; adventure; wanderlust; summer travel; bikini; greece bikini; marbella corfu;

After unpacking and a light lunch I was firmly on Greek time i.e., what time? I nestled in to read my book (if you love the fashion industry then you'll love this one - I couldn't put it down), alternating between poolside and beachside. Water temps are still cool at this time of year but I tell you the sun was sizzling - now I remember what a tan feels like.

corfu; travel; greece; greek islands; weekend; adventure; wanderlust; summer travel; bikini; greece bikini; marbella corfu;

corfu; travel; greece; greek islands; weekend; adventure; wanderlust; summer travel; bikini; greece bikini; marbella corfu;
Bikini (alternate colour available - top and bottoms)

Also, a word to the wise, if you can drag yourself up out of bed in the morning, then the sunrises here are simply magic.

corfu; travel; greece; greek islands; weekend; adventure; wanderlust; summer travel; bikini; greece bikini; marbella corfu; sunrise; sunset;

I must say, for me, a huge part of the Greek experience is the people. This nationality is truly so delightful. They're always happy to chat, they want to help, they're interested, they're curious, they're just a delight to be around. These islands wouldn't be the same without their charm.

Another of the highlights for me in this part of the world is the food... More specifically the breakfast... Let's just cut to the chase here... It's the Greek yoghurt. It's unbelievable. So so creamy and pillowy. Of course you simply must drown it in honey. Perfection. I don't know how I'll ever eat the stuff from the supermarket again. If anyone knows where to buy the true Greek yoghurt in London please tell me!

corfu; travel; greece; greek islands; weekend; adventure; wanderlust; summer travel; bikini; greece bikini; marbella corfu; breakfast; greek yoghurt;

On the food note, if you stay at Marbella Corfu make sure you check out their Italian restaurant - this is holiday-esque fine dining and the food is exceptional. Be sure to try the mushroom and truffle risotto, and the panacotta for dessert.

Enough about food. It's a wonder I still have a body fit for the beach. Speaking of which, there are so many beaches to explore around the island. My tip is to get a hire car and make your way around. My top picks are Palaiokastritsa and Nisaki.

On the west coast Palaiokastritsa is known as the island's gem. Multiple bays run along a 2km stretch of beach, each more beautiful than the next.

corfu; travel; greece; greek islands; weekend; adventure; wanderlust; summer travel; bikini; greece bikini; marbella corfu;

corfu; travel; greece; greek islands; weekend; adventure; wanderlust; summer travel; bikini; greece bikini; marbella corfu;
Bikini top and bottoms / Sunglasses

corfu; travel; greece; greek islands; weekend; adventure; wanderlust; summer travel; bikini; greece bikini; marbella corfu;

corfu; travel; greece; greek islands; weekend; adventure; wanderlust; summer travel; bikini; greece bikini; marbella corfu;

corfu; travel; greece; greek islands; weekend; adventure; wanderlust; summer travel; bikini; greece bikini; marbella corfu;

And if you find yourself in this neck of the woods, do not miss a trip up to Lakones in the hills above for the most spectacular view.

corfu; travel; greece; greek islands; weekend; adventure; wanderlust; summer travel; bikini; greece bikini; marbella corfu;

Nisaki on the east coast is a smaller beach with plenty of rocky charm and blue-tinted waters. Honestly it's hard not to take a postcard-worthy picture wherever you go.

corfu; travel; greece; greek islands; weekend; adventure; wanderlust; summer travel; bikini; greece bikini; marbella corfu;

I had five days in heaven and I returned to London feeling like I'd been away forever. It was a delightful break to recharge and of course get a tan after 6 months of sub 20 degree temperatures. It's safe to say Greece now holds an even larger chunk of my heart.

This part of the world makes you realise what's important in life. We don't need much to be happy; just good company, a deep blue sea and buckets of Greek yoghurt.

corfu; travel; greece; greek islands; weekend; adventure; wanderlust; summer travel; bikini; greece bikini; marbella corfu;

corfu; travel; greece; greek islands; weekend; adventure; wanderlust; summer travel; bikini; greece bikini; marbella corfu;

Thank you to Marbella Corfu for having us. Book your stay here - I'm telling you, you won't regret it.

Photos by Krissie and my beautiful friend [and travel buddy] Valentine.