Friday, May 21, 2010

Baby its cold outside...Easy peasy potato and leek soup.....Projects we love & Indulgent Chocolate Martinis!

Baby...its cold outside!

Read on for our fail proof winter soup recipe that will have them licking the bowl!  Latest design projects, New Arrivals!  Chocolate Martinis, Fan Pics and more....
Cathie Venardos - The lowdown on her latest design project

Charcoal Designer, and fashionista about town, Cath Venardos (above), shares with us her inspiration for this gorgeous design project created recently.

"This is one of my absolute favourite projects so far", says Cath.  "I call it the 'Urban Romantic', and it really does personify a very sophisticated French Provincial style.  The centrepiece is the amazing custom made oak table that we had specifically crafted for the client.  Using a process called 'Adzing' by hand gives the timber an amazing texture.  We listened carefully to the clients wishes and had some gorgeous loose fitting French Linen covers made for the chairs.  These were finished off with a hand braiding that we feel gives the chairs a distinctive and unique appearance, working in perfectly with the table adding texture and balance.  The imposing Old French Mirror was purchased in the Flea Markets in Marc Sangnier, Paris, on a buying trip a couple of years ago....tough work, but someones gotta do it", laughs Cath.

Brrrrr......Warm up with The Best Soup the world!!

I am sure anyone reading this from anywhere South of Brisbane will tell us all to harden up....BUT..its a bit chilly here in 'ol Brisbane town today.  Anything under the 25 degree mark calls for a woolly scarf and heavy jacket.  Call me soft, but I just feel the cold!
So, we wanted to share one of our all time favourite soup recipes with you. Its 'souper' easy...and 'souper' deeelicious!

Potato & Leek Soup
(serves 4-6)
  • 2 slices of bacon, diced
  • 3-4 leeks, white and pale green parts thinly sliced
  • sea salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 5 - 6 medium sized potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 bunch chives, minced (for garnish)
  • extra-virgin olive oil (for garnish)
Place the diced bacon in a large pot and set over medium heat. When the bacon starts to brown (but is not quite crisp), add the leeks, a pinch of sea salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Cook the leeks for 8-10 minutes, until the leeks become golden.
Meanwhile, in a separate pot set over medium-high heat, bring the chicken stock up to a simmer.
When the leeks are ready, add the diced potatoes and cook until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Pour in about 1/2 cup of stock so it just covers the bottom of the pot. Bring the stock to a simmer, stir, and then add another 1/2 cup of stock. Repeat this process until you have added all of the stock.
Allow the soup to simmer until the potatoes are tender and can easily be crushed with a wooden spoon. When the potatoes are ready, stir in the butter and taste to adjust any seasonings. At this point you can serve the soup as is or puree it using a blender. We drizzled a bit of olive oil over the top and a sprinkle of chives to finish off. And if you feel like a bit of extra comfort, just add a dollop of sour cream on top and swirl it through...

Something for the kids....

We found this incredible website called 'Foldschool'.  Its a fun website where you can download really cool FREE patterns for making unique kids furniture out of cardboard...its heaps of fun, and the furniture is really cutting pun intended...hee hee..

We love....

....this incredible home in LA..the added texture with the rug gives this room such a sumptuous comfortable feel.  We just want to light that fire up, tuck the legs up on the sofa and relax with a...dare we say.....Chocolate Martini!?...its that time again.  Its Cocktail Friday Folks!  And this Friday we are sipping on the most indulgent of all the Martini styles....
The Chocolate Martini!  Trust me, I overindulged on these last weekend.  They are incredible, and you cant stop at the one...

4 fl.ozs baileys
3 fl.ozs vodka
1 fl oz chocolate syrup or topping (get a good quality one for best taste results)
Combine baileys, vodka and syrup in a cocktail mixer full of ice. Shake vigorously and strain into two chilled martini glasses. 

Fan Pics
Thanks to Jacqui and Deb for this great Cocktail Friday shot taken on a recent houseboat holiday on the Gold Coast.  Cheers girls!  Keep the cocktail pics coming everyone.  We are going to progressively get through publishing them on the blog and share the joy!

And finally, from us...The Charcoal you...we wish you a very happy weekend.  If you're in Brisbane, pop into the showroom and say hi.  We would love to see you. Until next time...Cathie, Colette and Jen xx