1950s Stylin’

Good Afternoon Guys and Dolls,

This week I took my cooking experience to a whole new level. I enjoy the time I spend in the kitchen and I am often quite surprised at my own ability when a recipe on paper ends up being a delicious dish all of my own accord. But sometimes whipping up a plateful of cupcakes can get a bit repetitive, messy, scattered, frustrating, time consuming, stressful and so on and so forth. I am definitely one to get flustered when things become overwhelming and this got me thinking about the ladies of the 1950s whom inspire me so much.

I know they were housewives built into societal roles of mother, wife and homemaker ultimately given the job to spend their days within the home but they were still pretty amazing at maintaining an immaculate home and appearance. Now I’m not in any way trying to glorify the ’50s or compare the women of today to those over 50 years ago. We all know their lives were not perfect. But their sense of style and grace was flawless.

Nobody wants to return to a time of patriarchal prime in which women were restricted to the home but maybe we can take a few tips from their composure or even borrow their beauty tips on the occasion. I don’t know about you but when I’m having a bad day not much helps more than getting dolled up to put a smile on my dial.

Just think about it though. We have to give these women some credit. They were dealing with;

  • the end of World War 2
  • the heating up of the Cold War
  • economic changes
  • advances in technology
  • the threat of rock’n’roll and
  • rebellious teenagers

All of this still with fresh lipstick and not a curl out of place. If only life could be that simple. It’s no wonder that whilst we have advanced in so many ways including gender equality, technology and opportunity we still look to the past for inspiration in today’s fashion. Every day we can see the resurfacing of vintage garb; the coiled up do’s, the perfect pouts, the hourglass figures. It can’t hurt to also seek cooking inspiration from these lovely ladies surprising the family with some sweet treats, trying out some cake decorations for a friend or making a sunday roast to bring the family together.

The 50’s weren’t all bad for the women.  

In case you hadn’t noticed already, I love the 50’s era and I may have a slight obsession with Marilyn Monroe. As such, in true 50’s style, I decided to spice up the usual routine of baking by getting dolled up and making cupcakes with a slight twist. Unlike the vanilla cupcakes with butter cream frosting that are an easy fave I decided to try out the special Red Velvet recipe; one I have never personally tried or made.

I even altered the frosting combination to use Activia Cream Cheese which actually helps lower cholesterol. Always a plus when craving something sweet whilst maintaining that hour glass!

Maybe you can try out some dress ups and baking too. The recipe can be found at;

http://www.thecomfortofcooking.com/search?q=red+velvet+cupcakes&x=0&y=0

Lady Jayy. xo

The Cocktail Party

Good Morning dolls,

Last Friday night a friend of mine hosted a “Girl’s Night In” to raise money for women’s cancers. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend but they raised an amazing $2650, over $1000 more than their goal. This event got me thinking about the good old fashioned cocktail parties that seem to be so unheard of these days. As much as I love the idea of having a “Girl’s Night In” to support a charity it makes me sad that we need a reason to throw one. We are all so willing to spend a little extra cash and go out to a restaurant rather than spend a little extra time in the kitchen to cook with, and for, friends.

I don’t mean to sound so judgemental because of course I myself am guilty of this crime. I all too willingly go out for dinner with friends for some girl time, regardless of how low my bank account may be, rather than put some time or effort in. I shouldn’t really be surprised though. Once again I am also guilty, along with almost everyone else I know, of another crime.

I never have enough time.

Also known as;

Not enough hours in the day-itis.

Symptoms:

  • Running out of time.
  • Misplacing an hour or two here and there.
  • Having more activities/assignments/plans than the amount of hours within one day.

WARNING! If this sounds familiar you should probably go and get tested.

When you think about it though, the way we eat today is pretty disappointing. As much as I support those who look to ‘Lite’n’Easy’ and the like to lose weight (which I definitely feel is the healthiest way to do it) it just doesn’t seem right that we no longer have the time to make a home cooked meal that is both healthy and delicious. Ultimately, it’s just too hard. 

I don’t expect people to be spending hours in the kitchen slaving over a hot stove or anything oppressive like that. However, I feel why not follow in the footsteps of ‘Lite’n’Easy’ and make some meals that you can freeze for future you so that when you’re in a rush you can still sit down and appreciate a good meal without staying up all night trying to fit everything in. I made mini arancini over the weekend in light of the cocktail party inspiration and so far they’ve served as lunch and dinner on 2 different days this week alone. I have to say, it wasn’t too hard or time consuming for what it was worth.

I think next time the girl’s and I decide to have a big catch up I’ll definitely be on side for a night in with some homemade finger food and wine. No restaurant can beat that. I know whipping up some glorious tapas and dessert for you and all your friends can seem quite daunting and frankly, quite time consuming, it shouldn’t be! Why not make one dish to share and allocate each one of your friends to do the same. The result is a fun night in with the girls, a various array of goodies to share, no stress and no dint in the bank account. Win win.

If you want to whip up some tapas yourself you try out the Mini Broad Bean and Fetta Arancini recipe from the Coles website.

http://recipes.coles.com.au/recipes/2357/mini-broad-bean-fetta-arancini/

Enjoy.
Lady Jayy. xo

National Dishes

Hey Dolls,

I recently took a 10 day trip with my brother’s girlfriend, Jessie, to a place so close they joke about its short distance, the beautiful New Zealand. This was my first overseas trip without my parents and it can definitely be listed as a success! New Zealand had never been high on my priorities list of travel destinations but after going I realised it should have been. For somewhere so close it is worth seeing. The scenery is breath taking and the people are so down to earth you feel instantly at home.

The tour we took travelled from the top of the North Island down to the bottom of the South Island, but Jessie and I had limited time and had to finish in Nelson the first town in the South Island. As we travelled we came across many souvenir shops and as we perused the many items we could bring home I kept seeing the same thing. A 50s style tea towel in red, white and yellow, the colours of my kitchen at home, with the picture of a housewife and the recipe of New Zealand’s national dessert. This was the ideal gift for my mum but I needed to clarify one thing with my tour guide. After questioning her about the tea towel I was shocked to know the truth.

New Zealand’s national dessert is PAVLOVA! 

We Australian’s have been living a lie!

(Which also begs the question, what actually is our national dessert? But that can wait for another time.)

Apparently, the Pavlova, although advertised as the Australian national dessert, derived from New Zealand and we are just claiming it as our own. Scandal.

I must admit that I am not the biggest fan of the Pavlova, however I feel much better saying that now that I know it is not originally our national dessert, but I decided I’d try this tea towel recipe I found in light of my recent trip. I made friends, memories and had experiences I’ll never forget and this Pavlova just represents a small part of that and it looks pretty damn good if I do say so myself.

Taking this trip and trying out something new, like my cooking, can seem quite scary but going out of one’s comfort zone and taking risks is what life’s all about. I encourage you all to do something daring this week, even if it’s just trying a food you’ve never tasted or saying hi to a stranger. Enjoy!

Lady Jayy. xo

Food for Thought

Good Afternoon Dolls,

As I was reading through last week’s Herald Sun Sunday magazine the other morning whilst eating my usual bowl of Just Right I came across an article from Steven Poole’s, You Aren’t What You Eat: Fed Up with Gastroculture. Expecting to find an interesting insight about food, cooking or the like, I instead read on to surprisingly find criticisms of the current foodie culture we live in and many of us love.

Steven goes on to describe the stereotypical fanatic response of screaming girls usually found at a ‘One Direction’ concert that now seem to be appearing at Jamie Oliver appearances and Masterchef demonstrations. Whilst the overwhelming audience reaction can seem a little unnecessary and girls on the brink of fainting is overly dramatic I cease to understand why this new found love of food and cooking is a negative?

He says, “We’re living in the Age of Food.”

That might seem a simple statement but the context within the article is dripping with judgement and disapproval. He states, “food festivals are the new rock festivals,” as if he would prefer the youth to be parading around in short shorts and tops that barely cover their breasts, let alone anything else, drinking and doing only God knows what. That’s not to say I have anything against a good music festival, don’t get me wrong I love them, but why is it bad that food festivals are gaining similar popularity?

Before this current foodie obsession begun, and even now, however, I’m sure I could find various different articles that complain about the laziness of Gen Y and how the youth of today no longer help out in the kitchen or around the house like they used to. But as soon as society takes up some of this advice and gets involved in the kitchen again that’s seen as just as bad. We can’t seem to win. Although I personally am not a fan of Junior Masterchef due to the competitive nature thrust upon such young children I think it’s a fantastic opportunity for children to start learning vital skills for the future and experimenting with the different talents they may have.

I was really disappointed in Steven’s perspective because of all the things in the world to complain about, I think the current foodie trend is pretty low on the priority list.

To show him how much his unnecessary complaining affects me, here is another recipe for you to try. This is one of my all time favourite dinners because it’s pretty simple but just by changing an ingredient or flavour it creates a completely new taste sensation. I found this in the Gourmet Garden recipe book for Stir Fry, Rice and Noodles.

The beauty of a stir fry is that you can easily remove certain vegetables that you may not like, such as carrots for me and add those that you do. I’ve linked you to the recipe that I used as a basis but instead of prawns I used chicken, and I also added baby corn, mushrooms and broccoli. But the main thai seasoning remained the same. Never feel scared to add more or less flavouring though to suit your tastes.

Experiment away my friends. 🙂

http://www.gourmetgarden.com/au/recipe/view/Spicy-Prawns-on-Singapore-Noodles

Lady Jayy xo