Gourmet Pairings // A Truffle Teaser

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As we start afresh for the new year, there are still great ways to liven up your family entertaining to take you through the holiday season. Instead of serving traditional culinary nibbleswhy not try something different—a truffle spread of miniature mains and classic canapés can liven up your tablescape. 
I prepared a variety of porcini pasta sides and hors-d'oeuvres with truffle blends. Porcini (or 'penny bun' mushrooms) are amongst some of the finest mushrooms to eat. These dried porcini mushrooms are easy to use, just soak in warm water for about twenty minutes to reconstitute them. They are meaty, heady, and incredibly versatile for cooking yet favourably delicate for a creamy risotto, elegant enough to dress sauces or hearty wintry dishes.

These truffle-infused sauces are from Urbani Truffles, a family-owned company that has been a truffle enterprise for a long time (since 1850). 

would say if you're not sure if you like truffles or if you've never had fresh trufflesthen these are great alternatives to try. These sauces are also marvellous gift set for any occasion as well as add to your weekly meals. Quick and easy ways for meal prepping is ideal when you have guests over because it only takes a short amount of time to create. Afterwards, you can enjoy yourself within moments of cooking. 

If you're a foodie that loves to experiment or if you have an open palate—one that welcomes delicacies and earthy flavours, then the Thrills Set might be what you're looking for. These small cans of are packed with tasty blends of fruit and vegetables. From tomato pesto to truffle and artichoke pairings, which may seem unexpected at first but invites your senses to be a bit more adventurous in thinking outside the gourmet truffle box.  

Artichokes are hearty and this marries well with the earthiness of the summer truffle taste. It's great if you merely want a hint of truffle flavour. I have to say, I experimented with using this sauce along with our truffle risotto and it was delicious. There are unconventional options to indulge in if you want to stray from more traditional ways of using truffles and make it your own. 

We loved some flavours more than others, and our top selections were the White Truffles and Porcini, Red Pesto and Truffles, and Pesto and TrufflesI served the red pesto truffle over a bed of fettuccine pasta, dressed atop with generous slices of Parmigiano-Reggiano. View the recipe here.  

Tips and Inspiration: 
Get your guests a luxe truffle twist! One offering that I decided to create was miniature spuds and truffle chips with a twist. There's nothing like a hearty baked potato, be it with chilli or loaded with your favourite cheeses. But, how about with a creamy truffle sauce and all the trimmings in-between? Tip #1: Create a baked potato bar, and add mini chafing dishes filled with the Thrills set of sauces. 

Tip #2: To make your dishes a tad more flavourful (that is if you are quite obsessed with truffles as I am), feel free to add preserved black truffle slices, truffle oil, or truffle salt. In this case, I added a dash of truffle salt with the toasted multi-grain bread. This is basically a vegetarian meal but loaded with flavour. For the truffle canapés, and potatoes, I used a drizzle of truffle oil with Urbani's white truffle and porcini sauce.  

The goods: Provided by Urbani Truffles, Preserved minced truffles-Truffle Hunter, Slate cutting board-(Buy it), Eco-friendly Copper & Brazilian Soapstone Tray-(Buy it), Get the easy truffle recipe here. Reed and Barton-Cutlery, Better Homes and Gardens-Plates. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

What do you think of our subtle truffle entertaining? Wishing you a very Happy New Year!

Shop the Inspiration         

5 Reasons To Travel Abroad

Most people plan a holiday abroad for the summer, but there are advantages to taking a winter getaway instead. Whether it’s that last minute holiday destination or a vacation planned for next year, there are several reasons why you may want to book a holiday in winter.
1. It’s Inexpensive
Hotel rates and flight costs can be massively reduced in winter. This is because there’s less demand to go on holiday at this time of year and companies in the tourist trade compete a lot more to get business. There is an exception to this rule – the period over Christmas and New Year is generally a bit pricey due to the masses travelling home to see their families and loved ones. However, January through to March is certain typically much cheaper in many countries.
2. There are fewer crowds
Winter is a great time to avoid the crowds if you don’t want to be fighting for a sunbed. It can also be a great time to visit many attractions for this reason – you won’t have to deal with huge time-consuming queues. It’s certainly a great time to book tickets to Disneyland Paris – certain rides may be shut for refurbishment, but you’re still likely to get on double the number of rides than you might in the height of summer.
3. More Sun Time
There are still plenty of places in the world where you can get some winter sun. Europe might be off-limits, although the Canary Islands and several places in the med may still be warm enough to wear a t-shirt. There may be some great Costa Rica tours to check out around this time of the year, as well as Caribbean cruises – both Central America and the Caribbean are still hot in winter. Meanwhile, South East Asia is also still hot if you fancy lazing around on a Thai beach. Added to these locations, you’ve got the entire southern hemisphere to try out if you’re looking for sun – our summer is their winter. All in all, there are loads of places to get your fix of vitamin D and wash away the January blues.
4. Make The Most of Snow
Alternatively, you could embrace the winter cold by visiting a ski resort. It’s a slightly more active style of vacation compared to lazing on a beach, however, you still get the chance to try spa treatment in the evenings and go drinking and eat great food. There are ski resorts all across the world that may allow you to experience all kinds of new cultures.
5. Selected Seasonal Events 
There are lots of events that you can only catch during winter. Christmas is the most obvious one – many cities host a Christmas market, especially popular in Europe, which can be great for getting into the festive spirit. However, there are other events to look out for such as Chinese New Year in February, as well as various carnivals across Latin America.

What are your favourite places to travel?

This is a collaboratively written post.


A Bling Thing

This is a collaboratively written post.

Jewellery has been worn for thousands of years to embody power, enhance outfits and generally beautify oneself. A lot of history shows us that jewellery was used as a statement piece to show off wealth and while trends come and go, there is one thing that has stayed current: people are like magpies. We adore fine jewellery and we adore accessorising our outfits with charming pieces of shiny bling.

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Accessorising a regular outfit with jewellery can take a look from the boardroom to the catwalk, all with one piece. Sounds dramatic, doesn’t it? A little frosting with an outfit can make the difference between the way people perceive you and the way that you carry yourself. You want to attract positive attention, and while sometimes less is more, that’s not always the case. If you wear just a 77 Diamonds engagement ring, there’s no doubt that you’ll catch someone’s eye. However, you sometimes need a little more than that to make an outfit stand out and give yourself an instant makeover.
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Everyday Jewellery: Costume jewellery and faux gems are perfect for everyday wear. You want to look beautiful without wearing thousands of dollars of bling on your body and this can be easily done with stud earrings and a simple wristwatch. With the birth of the smartphone, wrist watches aren’t seen as often anymore, so make it a beautiful one like this to stand out.

Office Styles: Office bling is usually less bling and more conservative. You want to highlight yourself as an individual while still pertaining office rules. Some formal offices prefer minimal pieces if any at all, as they expect you to wear suits and heels daily. Other offices, such as creative ones, don’t mind you wearing noisy layered bling that draws attention.

Formal Jewels: This is the bling that is all about elegance. Large gem pieces, real pearl necklaces and diamond earrings do not go amiss at a formal event and you can dress up the perfect cocktail dress with a simple set of dangly earrings. You don’t have to go too big or too much with a formal event. Statement pieces are perfect for an event.

Party Pieces: This is where you can save your silver skulls and blingy bangles. Parties are the place to attract attention and so you need to think of how your jewelry will fit your outfit and make it pop. Don’t overdo it, though, as you want people to notice you and not just your shiny fingers and ears!

Jewellery doesn’t have to be too out there or too vintage to attract attention. If you are glistening as you walk or wearing a particularly noticeable piece of jewellery, you’re going to be a conversation piece. Rings, bracelets, necklaces and earrings are all common pieces that are worn daily by women everywhere. Invest in a little knowledge and you can instantly upgrade any outfit that you want to wear. Use your bling to update your look!


Budget-Friendly Ways To Upgrade Your Wardrobe

We’re in the midst of the cold winter days and the long nights, and yet you are staring longingly at your wardrobe looking at ways to refresh it for the upcoming transitional seasons. If you’re a bit of a fashionista, then it’s only natural for you to want to go ahead and add more items to your wardrobe as the trends change. 

The problem is that in January, almost everyone is on a tight, post-Christmas budget. Don’t panic, though! There are so many things that you can do to pinch the pennies while you get the upgrade that your wardrobe so desperately needs. Check out the tips below to get that frugal update now:

Shop The Closet: People are doing this more and more! It’s time to get every single item out of your closet and onto the floor, bed, essentially any surface you can find. You can’t upgrade your wardrobe without knowing exactly what you have in stock, and taking an inventory of your items could throw up some surprise items you've forgotten.

  • In-Depth Inventory: Whilst you’re writing down every single item, check them all over. You may count out three different types of a winter coat, but you need to know whether to start looking for Stitch It coat zipper repair near you. It’s no good having more than one coat in good condition if the ones you have are falling to pieces and need repair.

  • List It: You shouldn’t head off to the store without a list in hand. The items on the display are far too tempting if you go without knowing exactly what your wardrobe needs. Keep it as simple as possible and only buy what your list needs. You don’t have to go too plain, but if your list says you need three tops, just buy three!

  • Cash Only: Using a slice of plastic to buy clothes can get very dangerous, very quickly. You can’t see the money that is disappearing through your fingers, and this can get expensive. Take only the cash budget that you have for clothes and pay for your items with money. You can stick to budget far easier this way.

  • Last Season: It sounds lovely to always be on-trend, but those last season sales are a total goldmine when you have a budget to stick to and a wardrobe to update. You can be a little less fashion-forward to get the budget score that you need, and the sales often mean that you can get double the number of items. 
  • Think, investment and quality pieces that will last versus buying sale items for the sake of it being on sale.

  • Save, Save, Save:
  • Coupons Out. Going online and searching for coupons should absolutely be your go-to before you head out to the mall to get your new clothes. The more money you can save, the more you have for other clothing items. Take the time to do your coupon search in the week leading up to your trip so you are armed and ready. Even grab those Smartphone codes to help!

Shopping on a budget doesn’t have to be boring, especially when the options feel limitless. If you can you should always, shop well, shop smart and shop cheap. You won’t regret it. Some of my favourite and most worn designer pieces have been the ones that I acquired at bargain pricing.
This is a collaboratively written post.

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