In The Kitchen With La Tourangelle

I promise you, there is more to cooking oils beyond using extra-virgin olive oil, and vegetable (canola) or corn oil!

As a home cook and DIY enthusiast, I definitely keep certain oils stocked in my pantry because let's face it, quality EVOO goes far in our kitchen. Whether it’s to make a quick beauty facial oil or to use in a gourmet recipe, there are natural oils that provide nutrients and a positive impact on the mind, body and soul. 

I have teamed up with La Tourangelle to show you a few of my favourite artisan oils--pumpkin seed, avocado and pistachio oils—from nutty to fruit flavoured oils. Whilst keeping classic techniques of producing their oils (from France to California), the family-owned brand makes handcrafted artisan oils that are fair-trade, sustainable, and all-natural 
In the past, I remember walnut oil being used in some dishes at my parent’s place when I’d visit but I could never really find it regularly where I was. I would have to visit speciality shops to get certain culinary oils. Fortunately, now there are various cooking oils that are plentiful and readily available, including a large range of nut oils from the La Tourangelle collection.   

What to Expect: a selection of non-GMO and gluten-free, and certified organic oils without fillersThe essence of the seed is extracted to bring out the burst of flavour, resulting in delicious oils that are perfect for delicate dishes as well as hearty comfort entrées. 

Avocado Oil: This gorgeous green oil has a fruity flavour and is high in oleic acid. I loved this avocado oil and used it in two kale salads that I made. Try this recipe and substitute this insteaof using olive oil. It was also great in a crowd favourite that I made for friends over the weekend, kale salad with roasted duck.  

La Tourangelle Avocado Oil is 100% pure, all-natural and made from premium avocados. It's also loaded with antioxidants and nutrients, helping the skin and fights cellular damage.  

The toasted Pumpkin Seed Oil is a dark oil that is expeller-pressed and lightly filtered from Austria (in the Styrian region). I love it because it's much stronger in flavour than one would think, so you only need a little if using in salads or soups. Did you know studies have proven that pumpkin seed oil is good for your hair, skin, and it promotes a healthy heart due to its unsaturated fat?  

baked an autumn spice loaf with the pumpkin seed oil. It was moist, simple to make and hearty enough to go along with your morning cuppa, a midday treat or as a healthier dessert. It's also made with using sweet potato. Get the recipe here. 

The pistachio oil was one of my favourites—this nutty oil is pressed from roasted pistachios—it blends very well in baking and cooking. Pistachio adds a certain level of depth in your food yet it's not overwhelming. What to try it in: cakes, on your toast, roasted vegetables, or rather in a homemade French tart as I did.  

To be honest, you can really taste the quality in these oils, they aren't diluted in flavour as some other gourmet cooking oils. Now, I'm thrilled to try more of La Tourangelle’s oils; particularly the wok oilbasil oil and Nutriblend Amazonian oil (an organic blend of sacha inchi oil, sunflower and coconut sesame oils) are definitely next on my list. 

Have you explored with using any of these oils in cooking?   
The goods: La TourangellePumpkin Seed Oil, Pistachio Oil, and Avocado Oil-c/o. Autumn spice bread-Recipe. Shop the La Tourangelle collection here. All opinions are honestly expressed and are my own. 


Can Eco Friendly Décor Ever Look Good?

There is something of a perception that if a product is eco-friendly, it cannot be aesthetically pleasing. It’s understandable where this conclusion comes from. If someone were to tell you they had a natural fabric comforter, you would probably imagine a plain brown hemp piece of material. 

As wonderful and sustainable as the hemp fabric is, it’s tough to deny the fact that it isn’t the prettiest, nor the most comfortable option.
This association is probably why you would recoil from the idea of using natural, sustainable, eco-friendly products as part of the décor and furnishings in your home. No-one wants a brown sofa, after all. You may be surprised by just how good eco-friendly and naturally-sourced products can look, allowing you to do your bit for the environment and still have the stylish home you want. Here’s how to make this work for your home.
The Kitchen
  • Use glass rather than plastic for your drinking vessels. Unlike plastic, glass can be polished to a fine sparkle, meaning your dinner parties will always have an extra touch of elegance.
  • Bamboo and wood products make for great, sustainable chopping boards and will look far better than plastic varieties when displayed on countertops.
  • LED strip lights applied to the top of doors and counters can make a kitchen look both modern and cosy at the same time. LEDs are more energy efficient than other forms of lighting, so you’ll save the environment and money at the same time.
The Bedroom
  • 100% cotton makes for a great choice both in terms of comfort and the environment. Cotton is a breathable fabric, so it’s nicer to sleep on and is environmentally sustainable, especially when compared to man-made fibres.
  • Mattresses can be eco-friendly too!  As you can see, the mattress featured at is well-regarded in terms of both practicality and aesthetics and has plenty of eco-friendly credentials to boot.
  • Furniture made from reclaimed wood materials can give the room an earthy yet chic feel. One of the biggest benefits of reclaimed wood furniture is that it is usually entirely unique, so if you have tired of the same old options in stores, reclaim is a great way to obtain something truly different. 

The Bathroom

  • The biggest environmental concern in the bathroom is water usage. As shows, water wastage is a global concern, so the less you use the better. Low flow shower heads are indistinguishable from standard versions and can make a huge difference to the amount of water that you use on a daily basis.

  • Tank bags. A tank bag effectively reduces the size of your toilet cistern, meaning you use less water when flushing-- and it’s completely hidden from view too!
  • Ceramic or stainless steel for bathroom utensils such as the toothbrush mug looks so much better than plastic versions and are also better for the environment.
As the above products show that you can be eco-friendly and still get the glamorous, desirable home that you have always aspired to have.



Mistakes That Are Ruining Your Skincare Regime

If you have a careful and thoughtful skincare regime, but you still aren’t seeing the results you had hoped for, it could be because you are making a critical mistake without realising it. Read on to discover some of the common mistakes people often make when it comes to properly caring for their skin.

  • Nighttime Caring – There is nothing wrong with a bit of pampering before you go to sleep, but less is certainly more when it comes to your bedtime regime. Once you have completed your normal cleansing routine, the last thing you should do is then apply two or three different types of serums. People often do this because each serum targets a different problem, and so they think using a high number of products will be more effective. This definitely won’t be the case. In fact, the more you add, the less effective each of them will become. This is because all topical products are effective up to 0.3 percent absorption into the skin. The best thing to do is alternate your serums each night, rather than attempting to use them all at once.

  • Not Moisturising Oily Skin – A lot of people do not moisturize their skin if they have oily skin. This is a common misconception out there. People assume that it is best to leave their skin dry, rather than adding more product to it. However, moisturizer does not add oil to the skin, it adds water, and this is a key difference. SkinStyle Global have the complete range of products for those with oily skin, so you can make sure you are not putting anything harmful on your face. If you don’t moisturize your skin, it will only make your oily skin even worse. This is because your skin will overcompensate for the loss of hydration with more oil, which leads to an uneven skin texture and breakouts.

  • Bad Eating Habits – Your skincare regime may not be the problem. It could be your diet. The food you eat has a massive impact on your skin. As they say, what is good for your heart, is good for your skin. Eat vegetables that have lots of different colours in them. This is known as the tri-color salad approach.

  • Not Applying Your Products In The Right Order – It is not only about the products you use, but it is also about the order you apply them in. One of the keys to optimizing the benefits of the products you use is to ensure that products with a thinner consistency are applied first. You should then follow with creamier and thicker products. It does not matter what the active ingredients are, the thickness is what really matters. This is because the lighter weight products will be blocked by the products with a heavier consistency if you apply them first, meaning the light products won’t be able to penetrate the skin and do their job.



Foaming At The Core

Floral Arranging Prep: For Newbies
In this quick tip foam guide, the first thing that you need to know is the terms wet and dry. When it comes to foam for flower arranging, there is a difference. Whichever you choose is entirely up to you but selecting properly for your project is essential. The term wet floral foam was actually started by an Ohio-based company in the 1950s, called Oasis. 
Floral Tips:
To make the creation process easier, use waterproof floral containers, and floral foam bricks. I have galvanised containers, which are entertaining friendly not to mention, they look absolutely beautiful in a garden or alongside tablescape décor.

In these arrangements below, I've used both real flowers and silk sprays (a personal signature blending technique), in addition to paper flowers to give my arrangements texture and depth. If you're a novice, the best way to start your arrangement process is to use floral foam. I do not always use foam bricks (or blocks) but it certainly helps as a mighty guide when learning how to execute your vision in floristry.

The essential function for floral foam is to provide stability for your horticultural  arrangements, to make your blooms look like a professional and keep each stem in position. I generally buy my foam bricks in bulk due to the number of arrangements I am creating. The beauty of floral foam is that you can cut and shape it yourself.

Core Selections:
Floral foam comes in various shapes as well as different grade qualities and can be purchased either in wet or dry versions. Here is the difference: the grade allows you to classify the density. When acquiring your foam, you may notice one type of foam being heavier than another, don't panic! You merely need to figure out the specific foam to use for your floral project. Hence, the key terms: wet and dry.

Wet floral foam has to be pre-soaked in water before using (it is best to mix floral food with some water). Dry foam can be used sans the water, therefore, more suitable for silk flowers, faux pieces, dried florals or paper sprays. Dry foam is incredibly denser than wet foam, thus seemingly heavier than wet foam before usage. This makes it perfect for artificial flowers.

Wet foam is not as compact as dry foam because it needs space for the water. For events such as weddings, I use wet foam because of the fresh florals being used but I lately, I also use dry foam cut to fit the other elements that do not need hydration (see the blended bouquets below). Consequently, when using the wet version, the absorbed water will add a large amount of weight to the foam which will keep your stems in place.

Another reason to use wet foam is that your fresh flowers will remain hydrated, typically from seven to ten days with proper care. Be certain to check the foam, and water the container once a day to keep the foam wet. You can use a lighter-grade of foam for fine-stemmed flowers that might be delicate when being inserted in a standard-grade foam. For thicker, or normal to heavier-stemmed flowers, then use a premium-grade or a deluxe quality to stabilise the flowers.

Now, that I've given you a few tips. As you can see in some of these arrangements, I have used wet foam mostly with a lighter grade for thinly stemmed flowers, then a premium and standard grade was used because I did incorporate fresh cut sprays to the bouquets.

I also like to use a variety of dry foam, and floral Styrofoam--I've done just that in the first bouquet to start off the bottom since I used paper flowers, silk florals and real and faux succulents blended in-between. Floral Styrofoam doesn't need to be soaked in water, and it's also a brilliant option for dried flowers, or creating floral wreaths (used for shaping) as a base to work from. Once you know how to use your foam variety, then you're off to a great start in basic floristry design. 
 (Above) Here were blended elements for a DIY bouquet that I made for a wedding shoot. I used silk, paper, fresh cut florals with wet foram and floral Styrofoam in this arrangement.

There's really such an art in floristry and I have always appreciated it. As you may know by now, I'm keen on staying busy, and I am continually experimenting and learning new things, so I hope this post was informative as well as inspirational for you. 


Ageless Luxury: a coppery tale

Culinary comfort has various meanings to different people—sometimes it's the simplicity of a meal, sometimes it means a familial pasta dish, other times a favourite dessert. For me, a few things come to mind, one being a pastry topped pie of any kind along with copper cookware that my grandparents would use. Copper was certainly a distinct element in our kitchen. 

I have fond memories of pots and pans hanging from its designated space glistening from every angle when the light would hit it just right, or hearing the perfect sizzle when a fresh cut of meat would touch the bronzed heated surface.

In collaboration with Mauviel 1830, for this spotlight series, I am featuring copper cocottes from their M'Heritage collection. Mauviel is a generational company with copper in its DNA and premium manufacturing at its core. It's not surprising that the esteemed brand is globally celebrated by professional chefs and seasoned home cooks.

Family-style cooking and entertaining is a big deal in our household, whether on the weekend or during the week. There's nothing like cooking for friends and loved ones, what's more, comfort cooking on a slightly chilled autumn evening. 

When it comes to one of your childhood dishes, no matter how simple or complex it might be, it must be cooked right to offer a casual frisson to the taste buds. These mini cocottes allow you to do just that, not to mention it's so much nicer serving individuals to guests, making one feel as if they're some sort of dignitary, even if only for the evening! These are excellent; with bi-laminated copper stainless steel safely lined on the inside and a polished copper exterior (90% copper, 10% stainless steel). 

Why copper? Well, aside from its sumptuous aesthetic, firstly, it's a brilliant heat conductor. Using copper allows you to cook more evenly, consequently providing better cooking control and higher performance at a swift speed than other metals. It's also good for delicate sauces that need tending to properly, hence it gives a cook the ability to control the temperatures.

I decided on a family-style stout pie with a homemade pastry crust and a piquant sauce fit for a hearty autumn palate. It's the type of pie that puts any shepherd's pie to shame and did I mention how much I absolutely love shepherd's pie, and blueberry pie, and Cumberland pie for that matter. You get the gist of where I'm going with this.  

Give me a flaky pastry filled with succulence any day. Cook it very well, serve it in copper, and I will be your friend for life! I will leave you with these delicious visual snippets from our kitchen to yours. Enjoy.

Have you used copper cookware? What do you think of these cocottes?

Shop The Collection

The goods: Copper mini  Cocottes-c/o Mauviel 1830. To view the M'Heritage collection or to shop Mauviel 1830 click here. Handmade DIY painted board, Ceramic autumn pumpkin-(Shop), Copper tray-Vintage-(Shop), Decor rounds-(Shop). This post contains some sponsor/affiliate links. As always, all opinions are honestly expressed and my own. 

      Shop the Inspiration

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