Friday, March 30, 2012

Enjoy Easter With T2

What's not to love about Easter? It’s a long, lazy weekend of chowing chocolate with guilt-free, gleeful abandon. To aid you in such pleasing pursuits, T2 have devised a degustation of chocola-tea treats:

Good Friday: T2 Toasty Nougat
Easter Saturday: T2 Terrific Toffee
Easter Sunday: T2 Chocolate
Easter Monday: T2 Crème Brulee

Now you can slurp your Easter days away, or wrap them up for an Easter present that is sure to satisfy the choosiest of chocoholics.

Visit T2

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Tips for Choosing and Using Colour

Want to liven up a dull room with colour but not sure where to start? Use these helpful tips from Better Homes & Gardens editors, interior designers, and colour pros to learn how to choose and use colour to add interest to any room.
Test Paint Colours 
Always remember to test out paint colours before diving in headfirst. Paint large sample swatches by the window, next to trim, in the darkest corner, in the lightest corner. Let them dry, and give them a second coat so you can accurately assess the colour.
Get Inspired 
Take the time to curate your colour palette. Collect magazine pages, brochures, post cards – anything with a colour that you like. Gather home-related items that catch your eye, such as fabric and wallpaper swatches, flooring samples, and paint samples, or even natural finds. Take snapshots of things that inspire you. Edit and add to your inspiration board as you work through the decorating process.
Set the Mood 
Decide what mood you want the room to embody. Different colours, tones, and saturation's will naturally lend themselves to a certain persona. For example, if green is your hue of choice, a soft sage will project serenity and calm, while a sea foam shade will give the room a relaxed, cottage feel. A dark olive green will imbue a classic, reserved look; conversely, a zingy apple green will project trendy vibrancy.
Make Accents Pop 
As a building block for a colour palette, look closely at art and fabric. Pull out the background colours for room accents. For example the green from a rug can be used as the accent colour in pillows for a lounge room or bedroom.
Freshen Up  
Fresh flowers are a perfect way to add colour to any room without a long-term commitment., They also help celebrate the season.

Include a Neutral Colour  
Neutral colours act as peacemakers – they help bold colours and patterns get along. The neutral creamy tones of a rug can balance brighter coloured walls, or patterned curtains, or a textured chair.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Royal Albert Must-have Interiors Lifestyle Collection

Set to be on any wish list this season, Royal Albert introduces the latest in chic interior design with the launch of the vintage modern homes and lifestyle collection. From the debut of exquisite textiles and accessories through to formal and casual dining and tea sets, this floral wonderland will bring a luxurious vintage feel to any home or social gathering.

Offering a colourful and eclectic mix of statement floral homewares emblematic of our time, five new floral patterns fuse vintage shapes and retro patterns with the latest materials, fabrics and design o offer classically feminine and delicate products for the table, bed and bath.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mini Easter Cheesecakes

Celebrate this Easter with a delicious dessert that will get family and friends' mouths watering fast! Like these mini Easter cheesecakes from Taste. 

2 tablespoons boiling water
2 teaspoons powdered gelatine
6 plain chocolate biscuits (see note)
20g butter, melted
250g cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1/4 cup pure cream, lightly whipped
50g milk chocolate, melted
8 caramel-filled mini Easter eggs
Cocoa powder, for dusting  

1. Line 8 holes of a 1/3 cup-capacity muffin pan with paper cases. Place boiling water in a heatproof jug. Sprinkle over gelatine. Using a fork, whisk to dissolve gelatine.
2. Process biscuits until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add butter. Process to combine. Divide mixture between cases. Using the back of a teaspoon, press mixture into cases. Refrigerate for 10 minutes or until firm.
3. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in a bowl until smooth. Add gelatine mixture. Beat to combine. Fold in cream. Add melted chocolate. Gently fold mixture to create a swirled effect. Spoon into cases. Smooth surface.
4. Push 1 Easter egg into the centre of each cheesecake. Cover. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours or until set.
5. Remove cheesecakes from pan. Dust with cocoa. Serve. 

Visit Taste

Monday, March 26, 2012

T2 Tea Seed Oil

This month T2 are dishing the good oil – extra virgin tea seed oil! These cold-pressed beauties are dressing up salads all over town, melting into meaty marinades, frying with fish and dancing their way into dipping dishes for maximum lip-smacking loveliness.

Oozing with anti-oxidants, there are three delicious flavours to choose from, including a nutty Natural, light and grassy Green Tea and the fresh and refined Camellia. With a high smoke point, and even higher nutritious virtues, T2 have got the oils for just about any dish.

Visit T2

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Perfect Rug

By adding a rug to your lounge room can add a feeling of warmth and depth. It can transform a room depending on what colour, style and texture you choose. We have found some stunning rugs at Designers Guild

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

30-minute Chicken Parmigiana Bake


Take a rich tomato sauce base and top with tasty chicken schnitzels and eggplant for a family meal that's ready in half an hour.  

Ingredients (serves 4)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
6 (700g) chicken breast schnitzels (uncrumbed), halved crossways
1 medium brown onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
340g jar fire-roasted pepper strips, drained
230g tub diced antipasto chargrilled eggplant, drained (see note)
1 1/2 cups tomato pasta sauce
1/3 cup Fountain Spicy Red sauce
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
100g mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
1/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs
Basil leaves, to serve   

1. Preheat oven to 220°C/200°C fan-forced. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook chicken, in 2 batches, for 2 to 3 minutes each side or until browned and cooked through. Transfer to a plate.
2. Heat remaining oil in pan. Add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes or until onion has softened. Add peppers and eggplant. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add pasta sauce and Spicy Red sauce. Bring to the boil. Stir in basil. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Place half the chicken in a 10 cup-capacity ovenproof dish. Pour over half the sauce mixture. Top with remaining chicken and sauce mixture. Top with cheese. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
4. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until top is golden. Serve topped with basil.   

• Serve with cooked short pasta such as spirals, penne or farfalle. 
• Chicken breast schnitzels (uncrumbed) can also be sold as chicken minute steaks. 

Visit Taste

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sweet Mary's Delicious Treats

Sweet Mary's Caramel Chocolate Apples, The Perfect Date Popcorn or the Sweet Mix are perfect for your next party, bridal shower or even as a gift to your guests at your wedding. 

One bite of the Fuji apple wrapped in a generous amount of soft, delicious caramel, hand-dipped in milk chocolate, then white chocolate and to top it off drizzled in dark chocolate. The complementing chocolate-hued ribbon adds an extra touch to the special treat!  

Cure your sweet tooth with this perfectly, popped corn smothered in White Chocolate then drizzled with Milk Chocolate infused with Raspberry: the perfect combination between salty and sweet! 

For those who want the best of both worlds: salty and sweet, the Sweet Mix is the perfect balance between both flavors. Pretzels, oat cereal, corn puffs and peanut butter candy smothered in white chocolate drizzled with milk chocolate makes for an indulgent, any-time treat!

Founded by owner and president Mary Riesgraf, Sweet Mary's is a confectionery house based in Los Angeles that now offers her delicious treats via the Sweet Mary's.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Penny Farthing Design House

Hand painted in ink on Japanese artist paper by Penny Farthing Design House's in-house artist, the Lonely Planet artwork has then been photographed and printed on 100% cotton canvas and arrives framed and ready to hang.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

St Patrick's Day

This Saturday on March 17 celebrate St Patrick's Day with traditional Irish recipes and emerald-coloured dishes and drinks instead. We have picked our favourite recopies from Taste to create the perfect Irish feast!


Ingredients (serves 6)
1/4 cup plain flour
1.2kg lamb neck chops, trimmed
1/4 cup olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 carrots, peeled, sliced
1kg desiree potatoes, peeled, cut into 2cm pieces
6 cups beef stock
thyme sprigs and crusty bread, to serve
1. Place flour and chops in a snap-lock bag. Seal. Shake until chops are coated. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and thyme. Cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes or until tender. Transfer to a bowl.
2. Increase heat to high. Add 1 tablespoon oil. Add half the chops. Cook for 2 minutes each side or until browned. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining oil and chops. Layer 4 chops and half the carrots, potatoes and onion mixture in pan. Repeat layers with remaining chops, carrots, potatoes and onion mixture. Pour over stock. Bring to the boil, skimming off fat when necessary. Reduce heat to low. Cover. Simmer for 1 hour 30 minutes, skimming off fat when necessary. Remove lid. Simmer for 30 minutes or until chops are very tender and sauce has thickened slightly.
3. Season with pepper. Top with thyme sprigs. Serve with crusty bread.

Ingredients (serves 4)
1/4 cup (40g) plain flour
800g beef chuck steak, cut into 3cm pieces
2 tbs olive oil
4 large brown onions, cut into thick wedges
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
440ml Guinness draught beer
1 1/2 cups (375ml) beef stock
2 dried bay leaves
8 fresh thyme sprigs
1 sheet (25cm) ready-rolled frozen puff pastry
1 egg, lightly whisked
Mashed potato, to serve
Steamed peas or beans, to serve
1. Place the flour in a large bowl and season well with salt and pepper. Add the beef and gently toss to lightly coat with the flour mixture. Heat half the oil in a large flameproof casserole dish over high heat. Add one-quarter of the beef and cook, turning occasionally, for 5 minutes or until brown all over. Transfer to a heatproof bowl. Continue in 3 more batches.
2. Heat the remaining oil in the pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until onion is lightly golden. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until aromatic. Add the beef, Guinness, beef stock, bay leaves and thyme and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to very low and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for 1 1/2-2 hours or until beef is tender and sauce thickens slightly. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper. Set aside for 30 minutes to cool slightly.
3. Preheat oven to 200°C. Spoon beef mixture evenly among four 1 1/2-cup (375ml) ovenproof dishes. Cut the pastry into quarters and lightly brush with egg. Place a piece of pastry over each dish and use a small, sharp knife to cut a small slit in the top of each pie to help release steam. Place on an oven tray and bake for 15 minutes or until pastry is puffed and golden. Remove from oven and serve immediately with mashed potatoes and peas or beans.

Ingredients (makes 12)
Melted butter, to grease
1/2 x 400g pkt bought chocolate cake (Mills & Ware brand), icing removed
125g cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tbs brown sugar
1 egg
2 tbs Baileys Original Irish Cream liqueur
Cocoa powder, to serve
1. Preheat oven to 150°C. Brush twelve 30ml (1 1/2 tbs-capacity) mini muffin pans with melted butter to lightly grease.
2. Use a serrated knife to cut cake into 5mm-thick slices. Use a 3.5cm-diameter round pastry cutter to cut 12 discs from cake. Place cake in bases of muffin pans.
3. Use an electric beater to beat cream cheese and sugar until combined. Add the egg and beat until combined. Use a metal spoon to fold in the Baileys. Spoon the cream-cheese mixture among pans.
4. Bake in oven for 10 minutes or until just set. Remove from oven and set aside for 30 minutes to cool and set completely. Dust with cocoa powder to serve.

Visit Taste

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Perfect Party Dinnerware

If your hosting a party at your house then Donna Hay's range of disposable wooden dinnerware is a must! Chose from boat-shaped dishes, a range of cutlery, cups and plates. Fill them with an array of sweet treats or savoury delights. The large boat-shaped dishes are perfect for individual meals, while the small make chic vessels for nibbles such as olives and nuts. 

Visit Donna Hay

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Jamie Oliver's Fluted Blue Dinner Set

Jamie Oliver's Fluted Blue Dinner Set is all about casual design and laid back looks. The set contains practical pieces that are microwave and dishwasher safe and designed to last. With its soft cream and duck-egg blue palette, this dinnerware is designed for kitchens just like yours. Each piece in the range has a charming speckled finish that’s inspired by vintage dinnerware and elegantly fluted silhouettes.

"I love this collection. It's got the look of the antique plates I adore, but it's tough enough to be used everyday – a perfect combination!" – Jamie Oliver

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

How to Add Colour Without Paint

A little colour can go a long way, but who wants to paint the whole house when you can add splashes of colour to your existing rooms. Better Homes & Gardens show you how.

Keeping a room's wall colours neutral allows you to add any accent color you like to your furniture. Here light blue upholstery and playful patterned pillows spice up the soft gray walls and plain floors. 

The color pink isn't just for nurseries. When played against chic neutrals, such as gray, pink takes on a decidedly grown-up tone. This light pink sofa was reupholstered for a more modern look. 

To add character to a neutral room, this bedroom includes accents in a warm colour scheme. Two vintage-style mustard-yellow chairs tie in colours from the quilt. A bright pillow echoes the pinks and oranges found in art pieces throughout the space.

The open cabinets in this kitchen provide the perfect display space. With neutral cabinetry this allows brightly coloured, patterned dishware and small appliances to be displayed.

This spacious screen porch allows for easy entertaining. A sturdy sailcloth functions as a neutral tablecloth that can blend with any colors and patterns. Crisp white and bright red chairs create a nautical atmosphere. A simple bouquet of yellow daisies emphasises the laid-back nature of the home.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Frittata with Zucchini, Peas, Mint & Ricotta


This quick and easy frittata with zucchini, peas, mint and ricotta can be whipped up in know time for a delicious mid week dinner!

Ingredients (serves 4) 
6 free-range eggs
2 tbs chopped mint leaves
1 tbs olive oil
500g zucchini, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 cup (120g) frozen peas, thawed
150g fresh low-fat ricotta

1. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Crack the eggs into a bowl, then use a fork to lightly beat with the mint and a good sprinkling of salt and pepper.
2. Heat the oil in a 26cm non-stick frypan over low heat. When hot, fry the zucchini and garlic for 8-10 minutes, stirring, until zucchini is light golden and tender, then stir in the peas.
3. Spread the zucchini and pea mixture evenly through the pan, then carefully pour in the eggs, crumble over the ricotta, then cook the frittata over medium-low heat for 5-6 minutes until almost set.
4. Place the pan under the grill and cook for a further 1-2 minutes until the top is set and golden. Cool slightly, then slice into wedges and serve warm, with a salad if desired. 

Visit Taste

Monday, March 5, 2012

Zig Zag

From the giddy peak of Machu Picchu, you look back down the zig zagging path to the now distant memory of Cusco and know the journey was worth it. Ancient Incan steps of Amethyst work their magical way across soft, bruised clouds, leading you ever onwards to this timeless perfection. The Cusco quilt from AURA features a large zigzag print and the quilt covers and Standard pillowcases are reversible to a zigzag pattern in Cloud. 

Visit AURA

Friday, March 2, 2012

Vintage Cheese Markers

Emerald & Ella have just received these gorgeous cheese markers, all made from a variety of vintage cutlery. The markers are perfect for identifying the cheeses on your board and they also make a great gift!