Monday, 29 April 2013

Recipe: Huevos Rancheros from the Lakeland Magazine iPad App

I think the earliest signs of my love of cooking was how much I loved reading certain pieces of my mothers post at the weekend breakfast table. The first thing I always grabbed was pretty normal; her BBC Good Food Magazine subscription. The other thing I enjoyed rifling through was slightly more strange but I enjoyed it none the less; the Lakeland Limited catalogue, in the days before they started opening stores up and down the country. Now, for those of you who are not familiar with what Lakeland has to offer, let me introduce you to a kitchen lovers heaven. Lakeland stock everything you could possibly want from the latest cake moulds and non stick pans, some of the best cling film I have ever used, preserve jars and labels  cake decorations, ice cream makers and juicers, and other little kitchen gadgets that you never knew you needed until you came across it in their catalogue. My grandmother while she was alive was a particular fan; if Lakeland had brought out a new time saving gadget, you could guarantee you could find it in her kitchen. They also sell gourmet foods at Christmas, and a whole range of clever and hard to find cleaning products, but I hate cleaning so who cares.
For my American readers who won't have come across a Lakeland store or had a catalogue come through their letterboxes, Lakeland is basically Williams Sonoma, but just so much better. However, enough of my rambling about the store (I promise you this is not a sponsored post!) Today I wanted to introduce you to something that has been around about a year, but as I have only recently taken possession of an iPad, I have only just found out about; Lakeland's amazing (and free) magazine app on the newsstand which shares four seasonal issues a year full of great recipes, stunning food photography, entertaining ideas and some information and history about whatever is seasonal. iPad users can find it in the app store by searching for 'Lakeland Magazine' and as well as the current Summer issue, you can download all of the issues from the last year. I'm a little obsessed, and I think this has to be the best free find I've had for the iPad so far.
While I have a long list, especially from the current issue (which includes features on barbecuing, seafood, Greek food and ice cream) of things to try from it if is their Mexican food feature I'm particularly interested in, because in case you had not noticed I'm on a bit of a Mexican food kick at the moment! I thought I'd share with you from the magazine their recipe for Huevos Rancheros which I enjoyed as a delicious and filling Sunday morning brunch last weekend (I think this would be a great hang over cure dish with the chilli kicked up another notch) I've screen capped the feature rather than typed out the recipe, so you can get a feel for the apps layout and stunning photography. As you can see from my own picture of my egg and potatoes in this post, this recipe is easily quartered to be made for one in a ramekin. I also discovered mid week when I was running late for class but I had not eaten yet that day if you fry your egg and add the potatoes and the egg to a tortilla wrap instead of baking you will have made the best variation on a breakfast burrito ever.
huevosrancherosrecipe1 huevosrancherosrecipe2
I honestly can't wait to try a lot more recipes from the app, especially this Summer when I go back to England and I will have a fully equipped kitchen at my disposal. I've found since getting the iPad it has been amazing to have it in the kitchen with me while cooking off of blogs. Paid apps wise, I love my Evernote Food subscription which streams all my bookmarked recipes into one, but I think this is the best free app I have. Do any other fellow iPad users have any more foodie recommendations for me?

Friday, 26 April 2013

Student Suppers: Homemade Chicken Fajitas

As a kid, fajitas were always a treat food in our family. I think with the exception of oriental starter nibbles from Marks & Spencer the only form of semi-pre made or processed food that ever crossed the threshold of my Mother's kitchen was the little red and yellow sachets of fajita spice mix that became popular just as I was entering my teens. There is just something about having a big bowl of something hot and meaty for you to make up your own wrap with, adding condiments and fillings out of little bowls to your own specific requirements that really appeals to a kid who usually has everything laid out for them on a plate, all of it to be eaten, including vegetables. I think that is why Crispy Oriental Duck was also a favourite. 
Homemade Chicken Fajitas | @rachelphipps

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Places To Eat In Los Angeles: Blue Plate Taco, Santa Monica

Los Angeles natives may have noticed the pretty cool looking taco place that popped up on Ocean in the last month or so. I noticed it to. I also noticed that I have been living in Los Angeles for the last 8 months and I had yet to try any Mexican food, which frankly is criminal. This seemed then, like the perfect reason for me to go and try out Blue Plate Taco one Friday for a late lunch before a few hours spent in the sun at the beach.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Summer Basics with LA Based Brand Splendid + Win A $1,000 Shopping Spree in their Coast to Coast Competition

While I love the food here, and the beautiful weather and the general being in California part of my year abroad, I know the thing that I was most excited about last year when I was leaving England was the extended Summer, which started at the beginning of April here in Los Angeles. It was Summer dressing I was excited about. You see, most people think I'm a Winter wardrobe person. I love big knits, layers and wearing lots and lots of black, but that is only because that is what I'm comfortable in in London. However, when I actually have a tan (mine had been building for months) and the weather is such that you don't have to remember to take a cardigan with you to go over your sundress every time you leave the house, I actually prefer Summer dressing.
Image via Planet Blue 

Los Angeles and Southern California are famous for their laid back style and attitude, and while I did not really 'get' it completely before I moved here and I still don't understand why this is, but there is something about this incredible city that makes you just go about life (and dressing) in such a more relaxed and laid back fashion than the rest of the Western world seems to. I wonder how long my new mental place is going to last once I've moved back to England?! Anyway, I thought talking about the mystery of the very real laid back West Coast style would be the perfect introduction to looking at some of my Summer picks from a LA based clothing brand I adore; Splendid and their Coast To Coast Facebook contest which is taking a look at the totally different style ethos' that exist on each coast of the United States. (Also, a quick note to my British readers, while Splendid is mainly only available in the States, they do offer international shipping to the UK, and you can find their clothes on sites like Shopbop that also ship.)
I was in Bloomingdales at Santa Monica Place the other day (god I love that place!) and the moment I walked through the doors of the womans clothing department I gravitated to this Chambray Shirt Dress which was hanging on the end of the Splendid display. Okay, so I still need to try it on, but I think I have found this years Summer dress. They also make it in a Ditzy print. Failing that, I could always go for this shirt dress in my usual black, or now because I have a tan for the first time in my life this bright yellow? I'm currently having a bit of an obsession with bright yellow nail polish; how awesome is Butter London's 'Cheeky Chops'?
Emi-Jay for Splendid Pack of 3 Hair Ties: $8

When I first moved to Los Angeles the team at Splendid were kind enough to send me a welcome to the West Coast package, and as well as some of their fantastically soft tanks I've been wearing over my bikini in and around Santa Monica and Venice when I'm not actually on the beach, they send me a couple of packs of their hair ties from their Emi-Jay collaboration. I've never really got on with hair ties (I find cut up rounds of old tights suit my hair better) but I have now fallen head over heels with these fantastic bands, and because I know they are hard to get back home I will be stocking up before leaving California.

Recently when I was in the Splendid store at The Grove and I was trying on some of their basic tees (I picked up a great plain black scoop neck) I asked the assistant to grab me some bottoms as I'd come in wearing a maxi dress. She passed me a pair of their Dolphin shorts, and I must say that they make for the perfect Summer basic. You can move about in them, they have a flattering fit and they come in so many different colours.

Anyway, now I've shown you some of the things I like from their current collection, for my American readers it is time for me to tell you about Splendid's Coast to Coast Facebook competition. Essentially to enter to win a $1,000 Splendid Gift Card, a one-on-one styling consultation with one of the Splendid team and the chance to be featured on the Splendid blog is to upload a look inspired by either the East or West Coast by May 1st.
maxi1 I've entered this look which I feel really embodies West Coast style; it is something I would never have considered wearing before I moved here! You can vote for my look here, and enter your own look here! How would you define your style, regardless of where you live in the world? Are you more East Coast or West Coast?

This is a sponsored post. To read my policy on sponsored posts, please click here.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Outfit Post: Photo Shoot at Venice Canals & Abbot Kinney Blvd.

One afternoon over Spring Break after iced coffee and juice from the Pressed Juicery at the amazing TOMS Flagship store on Abbot Kinney Boulevard my friend and amazing photographer Nicole and I planned to walk over to Venice's famous canals. As neither of us are LA natives it is somewhere that we had not ventured to before, and as we are both photographers we are always looking for the next beautiful photo spot (when we are together we also feel the need to Instagram everything in sight as no one is judging us!) As you can tell from Nicole's fantastic photos in this post, the canals were so beautiful, and I really recommend you head down there if you are visiting Los Angeles for a late afternoon walk; it is so idilic and along with the Getty Villa in Malibu it is one of the only places in Los Angeles where I don't feel like I'm in a city.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Weekly Love: Week 132

Believe it or not, this week my parents told me that maybe I should try and relax a bit more and actually unplug. I know through my blog and Instagram it seems like all I do is go to the beach and eat out, but if you had told me how much work editing and writing one blog, editing and contributing to another, keeping up with work stuff and my university degree, even though it sounds a lot I would not have believed you how much it takes and how little downtime I have. Even in the shower I'm formulating new blogs posts, and and I'm thinking about ways to tweak the recipes I'm currently testing while I'm walking to class. The moment I wake up in the morning I grab my iPad and skim through the days emails. I know reading something that involves thinking about and staring at my iPad screen for hours at a time is not exactly what they meant, but on Sunday I actually managed to find a lovely couple of hours to relax in; if you feel like life is getting on top of you, sit down with the Sunday papers and read every article that interests you in every single section from cover to cover; you'll be surprised by how much more relaxed you feel at the end of it.
1. Spending a Friday afternoon chilling out on Santa Monica Beach. | 2. Lots of taco goodness at Blue Plate Taco on Ocean Boulevard, opposite Santa Monica Pier; it is a relatively new restaurant  and I was very impressed. Expect a 'Places To Eat In Los Angeles' feature soon! | 3. Champagne Mango Agua Fresca to match my nail polish (a new Revlon shade that I am not entirely impressed with, still hunting for the perfect yellow!) picked up at Whole Foods when I stopped in to pick up some raspberries. | 4. Yogurtland with fresh mango, sprinkles and lots of strawberry and mango boba. | 5. Catching the latest episode of Have I Got News For You on my iPad now a new season has started is one of the highlights of my week. | 6. I've been experimenting with a new fajita recipe for my 'Student Suppers' column recently, which hopefully will be online soon. An unauthentic but still very effective habit I picked up from my Dad; my fajitas happen in a Wok!

Change is afoot at The Glossy Guide, the makeup and beauty blog I write with my best friend Kathryn. Once we have been reunited in June and we've managed to fit in plenty of 'meetings' laid out in the sun on Santa Monica Beach we are going to be re-launching with a new style, design, the works. (You heard it here first!) over the next two months or so alongside our regular content we are going to be trialing some new style posts, the first of which I have written about high end hair care went online a few days ago. We'd love your feedback on the post, on The Glossy Guide in general, what we could do better, what features you absolutely love, and which you would not really mind if we scrapped. 

Also, I want to say a big thank you to Katy, the editor of Creative Boom for featuring Rachel Phipps of one of Creative Boom's Top 10 Lifestyle Blogs For Food. I am flattered by the company I find myself alongside on the list, including Joy The Baker, A Beautiful Mess and one of my recent food blog crushes the insanely talented 17 year old Top With Cinnamon.
7. Bright pink blossoms so typical of LA. | 8. I love the chalk board in TLT Food in Westwood detailing the story behind TLT and The Lime Truck. | 9. Okay, so I may have had yet another meal at Toast.

Finally, while I usually try to keep my politics as far away from my blog as possible, I wanted to take a moment to honour Lady Margaret Thatcher who died last week. Either if you believed that she saved Britain or that she destroyed it, as I know the majority of my readers are British females we should take a moment to note the passing of our first British Woman Prime Minister. There are people who say she did nothing for women because while she was Prime Minister she did not do anything that could be singled out as specifically for women like governments after her did; she went after the difficult  'non female' briefs like finance and defence. She made it that being a woman did not matter; she was not able to do the highest job in our country because she was a woman, but because she was elected to the position and by being the same Prime Minister she would have been if she were a man, she did more for women than if she had made a big special out of womans issues in her premiership. She had the view on feminism that I do; it is nothing to do with woman being as good as or the same as men, but about everyone being judged according to how good they were at the job in hand, regardless of their sex.

What have you been enjoying this week, and what do you have planned for the weekend? This weekend I'm hoping to shoot a few upcoming recipes for the blog and tomorrow I'm going to head down to Abbot Kinney Boulevard to shoot some photos to go with this months instalment of my 'Project LA' column for The High Tea Cast.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Places To Eat In Los Angeles: Bottega Louie, Downtown

I had been living in Los Angeles for 7 months before I first ventured Downtown. While I love cities like London, Paris and in a whole slew of Scandinavian countries, I really don't like big, dirty cities where the skyscrapers and massive high rise buildings loom over you, trapping you in. Living on Los Angeles' Westside with easy access to Venice, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills and West Hollywood I have not really had much reason to venture much further. However, while as predicted I hated Downtown when I got there, only stayed for two hours and will be perfectly happy if I never go back, I am glad I went. Why? The reason I headed there in the first place: Bottega Louie, the place everyone talks about for French pastries, patisserie and traditional macarons in Los Angeles. 

Monday, 15 April 2013

Recipe: Freshly Popped Parsley Butter Popcorn

Sometimes I buy an ingredient for a recipe, I don't enjoy what I have made so decide not to make them again, but then I'm stuck with a big bag of something-or-other in my kitchen cupboard. The most recent ingredient I've gained a big bag of (it was the smallest I could buy!) is popcorn kernels  Now, before I picked up this bag to try a recipe for popcorn cookies (which were an epic fail, by the way) I had never popped my own popcorn before, so by extension I had never experimented with my own popcorn toppings and flavourings before.
Something that annoys me about grocery shopping in California (okay, one thing, if you follow me on Twitter you'll know that there are actually hundreds) is when you buy parsley or cilantro (coriander) fresh, unlike the rest of the herbs that come in little plastic boxes, you have to buy the whole bunch, which only has a one or two day shelf life before it goes all limp and wilted in your vegetable crisper, unless you leave it propped up in a glass of water, and who has room to do that in their fridge anyway? So, one evening after a long day and I could not really be bothered to make dinner, and Revenge was on so I wanted something to munch while I watched I decided to just make a big bowl of salted butter popcorn. I love how popcorn is actually quite healthy, up until the moment when I pour a hell of a lot of melted butter over the top of it.
DSC_1325 Anyway, I had an almost wilted parsley bunch left in the fridge while I just knew was not going to last until the next day when I could be bothered to actually cook something real, so I decided to see what would happen if I chopped it up really fine and tossed it in with my buttered popcorn. Next came the edition of some fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper, and my Freshly Popped Parsley Butter Popcorn was born. This makes a big bowl for sharing. I think it would make a great nibble to go with drinks in little boxes like I've used here.

  • 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 1/4 cup (30g) Popcorn Kernels
  • 2 tbsp (30g) Unsalted Butter
  • Handful of Curled Fresh Parsley, Chopped
  • Fine Sea Salt (I'd recommend French Fleur de Sel)
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Put the oil in the bottom of a large lidded saucepan. Tip in the popcorn kernels and shimmy the pan around until they are all coated and are in a flat layer across the bottom of the pan. Put on the lid and set over a medium heat. When you hear the first kernel pop shake the pan gently, still with the lid on and over the heat until all the corn has popped. Remove from the heat. While you are waiting for the first kernel melt the butter over a low heat or in the microwave. Add the parsley and stir. Now, the amount of butter I have used is the minimum to get the flavour and get everything sticking together. However, I actually amp this up to 50g, but I'm used to French style cooking and I'm completely immune to caring how much butter is in whatever I happen to be eating, so it is up to personal preference. 

Once you have removed the popcorn from the heat add half of it to a large mixing bowl. Pour over half the butter mixture and a little bit of salt and pepper. Mix well with a large spoon until the popcorn is coated with the butter and parsley. Add the rest of the popcorn to the bowl then the rest of the butter. Coat again, and add more salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy, preferably curled up in front of a movie or if you live in Southern California like me, sitting on the patio enjoying some well deserved cocktails!

What are your personal popcorn preferences, salty or sweet?

Friday, 12 April 2013

Recipe: Super Simple 3-Step Chocolate Brownies

I love brownies, but most of the time I am too lazy to make them. I know I'm the type of person who will happily make time for a 6 hour soup recipe (along with my father I once went through the two day process of making crispy aromatic duck with everything down to the pancakes made from scratch) but in my mind, something as simple as a brownie should not involve such an effort as melting the chocolate and carefully extracting them from the pan, not to mention the exact science of getting them perfectly cooked so they are not raw, but they are still gooey inside. No wonder Rose's infamous 'Slutty Brownies' are so popular; they not only contain so may things that are supposed to be terrible and calorific for you, but they are just so simple.
Super Simple 3-Step Chocolate Brownies #brownies #chocolate #baking
When I originally came across this recipe for chocolate brownies made with just cocoa powder, not the usual obligatory melted solid chocolate on Food 52 I honestly did not think that it would work, or that it would simply not taste as good as your classic brownie. I don't actually have a go to brownie in my repertoire  so while I hoped these would work, I did not hold out much hope. Cocoa brownies, as my Twitter followers agreed with me when I voiced what I was trying on the afternoon of baking, tend to come out more like cake than brownie. However, as you have probably guessed by the fact I am now sharing this brownie recipe with you, they came out better than any brownie I had ever made before; dark, rich and crisp but slightly chewy on the outside, and gloriously gooey on the inside. The recipe is also deliciously low fuss. 
Super Simple 3-Step Chocolate Brownies #brownies #chocolate #baking
As these brownies are rather rich and indulgent, while I did enjoy one after cutting and photographing while reading The Sunday Times on my iPad and drinking a tall glass of iced tea, I would recommend serving them with fresh berries and some creme fraiche as a decadent dessert. I think I'm also going to try baking the next time with fresh raspberries in the batter.

  • 150g (10 tablespoons) Unsalted Butter
  • 300g (1 1/4 cups) Caster Sugar (Granulated if you are in the USA)
  • 110g (3/4 cups plus 2 tbsp) Cocoa Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Eggs, straight from the fridge
  • 120g (1/2 cup) Plain (All Purpose) Flour

Step 1: Heat your oven to 160 degrees (325 Ferinheight). Place the butter, sugar, salt and cocoa powder in a medium to large heatproof bowl. A big pyrex mixing bowl is perfect for this; I am rather lost at the moment without the one in my mothers kitchen. They also cost about £6, and last literally forever unless you drop it. Place the bowl over a saucepan of hot water, simmering but not boiling so the bottom of the bowl is not sitting in water. Gradually stir every few minutes until the butter has melted and everything is combined. The mixture should be smooth, but slightly gritty. Set aside, off the water to cool.

Step 2: Line a 8 inch square tin with foil or good quality baking parchment while the mixture cools a little. Alternatively  you can buy a disposable foil brownie tray. Beat in the vanilla extract with a balloon whisk followed by the eggs one at a time until the mixture is smooth.

Step 3: Beat in the flour until the mixture is smooth and slightly glossy. Pour into the tin and bake on the bottom half of the oven for 20 minutes. Allow to cool and remove the foil and slice the brownies into 16 squares once completely cool.

Do you have a go to brownie recipe, or are you still looking out for one?

*Edit: I've created an updated version of this brownie recipe with a super gooey chocolate ganache filling here.*

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Future Travel Planning: Looking At Mediterranean Cruises

People have mixed opinions on cruises. Some people think you can't see enough only visiting each city for a day, and some people absolutely hate the idea of being stuck on a ship with the same bunch of people out in the middle of the ocean for days on end. However, some people actually love the idea of a cruise as you get to see so much in such a short period of time in what is basically a floating hotel. I fall firmly into the latter category, as long as a cruise is done well. By this I mean beautifully big and well equipped ships with good chefs and stops in culturally relevant destinations, rather than smaller package holiday deals. For some reason it is always these ships that seem to hit the news for outbreaks of disease, and pirates. 
I went on a couple of cruises in my early teens, and thanks to them I consider myself lucky to have been able to see so many incredible sights, place and cities so young. I'm a classics geek and it was on a cruise I got to see the colosseum  the remains of the old Roman forum in Rome that I later went on to study doing my A Levels, and the ruins of Pompeii I had already read so much about, and on another cruise around the Scandinavian coast I got to see a view of all the tiny little islands with just one house on them and fishing villages that you can only see by boat along the beautiful Nordic coastline. 
Now I am starting my twenties cruising holds another appeal for me; food. I am still a total culture geek who relishes the idea of wandering a different historic town every day or treading the well worn path through some of the worlds most famous galleries (my trip to Russia's famous Hermitage museum was another cruise stop in St. Petersburg), but the idea of being able to sample the local food in a different city or town every day for a week or excites me no end. Not the coming  but next Summer is a bit of a landmark year for both me with my graduation and 21st birthday, but also for my family with another landmark birthday so we have been talking about the three of us heading off on another cruise like we used to when I was younger and on Summer escapes from boarding school. Happily for me, this has lead to my third favourite type of online research after shopping and food research holiday research! I think all three of us like the idea of going to the Mediterranean again, (as you have probably gathered I've been on cruises around the Mediterranean, Scandinavia and the one I have not mentioned was around Egypt and up the Nile) with the only destination all three of us want to be included on the itinerary being Venice, a city I've never been to and my parents went on honeymoon, though personally I would quite like to go back to Naples, still with food on the brain! I thought I'd take this research as an opportunity to delve into the treasure trove of inspiration that is Pinterest and share some images from around the Mediterranean in a bit of an inspiration post, both for me and for any of you who might be planning a holiday in the next year or so.
Castelo de Vide Portugal
st marks square venice italy
Positano Amalfi Coast Italy

Are there any dream destinations that you wish you could just drop everything and head off to? While looking at these photos, I think I'm going to have to do a bit more research into seeing if any cruises do both Venice and Greece. It is far too long since I have been on any of the Greek islands, and just think of the food!

This is a sponsored post. To read my policy on sponsored posts, please click here.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

The You Generation: Fantastic Food (Introducing The Worlds First Global Youtube Audition Process)

It is no secret to anyone that my real passion is food. I think the fact that without actual intention on my part, many of my readers who have been around longer than most noticed that this website had basically become a food blog that just happened to have the odd outfit post and shopping or travel piece thrown in for balances sake. It has come to that sort of time for me that while I never really took university seriously in the first place, I can clearly see the end point where I am going to have to live in the real world, which means I have to think about a direction I want to go career wise. I have no solid plans yet (I try not to make them as they always end up broken) but I know I want to do something that combines my love of writing with my love of food. I also know that working in a professional kitchen would be my idea of hell (have you read Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential?), so the type of people who have careers in food but don't have to go near a professional kitchen who spring to mind are Nigella Lawson, Nigel Slater and my favourite Times food critic Giles Coren. The problem is, times have changed a bit from when these people were starting out.

A few weeks ago I was contacted about helping to promote the food section of something called 'The You Generation' which I want to take a moment to talk about, because I not only think it is the perfect vehicle for people looking to get into food presenting (while my main aim is to write about food, my experiences filming with Channel 4 have made me think that food presenting is not something I'd be adverse to, either) but for any of us of the digital generation to get into things like presenting, being a stylist, or even being in a girl band too. There are shows like The X Factor and Britian's Got Talent for singers and stage performers, but what about the rest of us with other talents that don't translate so well onto a stage? Well, it is funny that I should mention The X Factor and the Got Talent franchise because The You Generation has been set up by Syco Entertainment (Simon Cowell's production company) and Youtube to basically act as the first global online version of these shows. Youtube, after all has basically become its own television station, the good and the bad!

"The You Generation is the first global online audition process, giving people the chance to show off their extraordinary skills and win a prize - simply by uploading a video."

The You Generation is running over 52 weeks with 26 fortnightly contests showcasing different talents. Last fortnight the round for presenters was running, and yesterday saw the launch of Fantastic Food, looking for the talent in Youtube food videos, trying to find the next big thing. In the blogging world, forgetting the traditional food bloggers everyone seems to be trying to embrace food at the moment, from Chiara Ferragani's cooking videos with Lifestyle Mirror to recipes popping up on top outfit bloggers blogs, so this could not come at a better time, I think. I really wish I could enter but I don't have the set up for filming at the moment (but what would you guys think if I started making recipe videos?), so I am really glad to be on board in a blogging capacity instead. 

So while they were laid out in the video I thought I'd clarify the rules, and of course the prize part! The competition will run until 11:59pm on Saturday 13th April. To enter you have to be 14 years old or over, and the video must be entirely your own work with no background music etc. for legal reasons.  The prize is $2,000 for the category, and there is also a $5,000 prize for the best among all the categories a year from now. Also:

  1. Your video must not be any more than 5 minutes long.
  2. You must lick a spoon at some point (hello Nigella!)
  3. The dish must contain a yellow ingredient, and a green ingredient. 

You can enter by clicking HERE. I'd love to see any entries by my readers, so if you could tweet them at @makingmewonder I'd love to see them! You can also keep up with The You Generation and their upcoming contests by following them on Twitter and subscribing to The You Generation channel on Youtube.
The You Generation is open to applicants from Australia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Belgium, Ireland, Netherlands, UK, Czech Republic, France, Israel, Poland, Russia, Spain, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Canada and the USA. Just to give a little bit of flavour for the things to come, some upcoming catagrories include one for Stylists, which I know lots more of my more fashion than foodie contingent among my readers might be wanting to enter, and girl bands.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Places To Eat In Los Angeles: Axe, Abbot Kinney Boulevard [Now Closed]

I have started to feel that the place to go for brunch on a weekend morning is Venice's Abbot Kinney Boulevard. If you fancy something sweet and delicious served with a both imaginative and potent cocktail, head to The Tasting Kitchen. If you fancy a delicious cream cheese bagel with your choice of salmon and a fresh pressed juice served in a mason jar you can't go wrong at Local 1205. If you fancy something fresh, local and fully of bright colours served with a nice chilled glass of rose or champagne I'd recommend Gjelina, but if you want something warm, delicious, seasonal and with a nice chilled atmosphere; you need to try brunch at Axe.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Weekly Love: Week 131

So, on Monday I started my final quarter at UCLA, and also realised that in only 11 weeks time I will be boarding a flight at LAX back to London; I can't believe how fast time has flown! Some of you ask me what my daily routine is like, and during term time all the time I'm not in classes I tend to be in front of my laptop working on the blog and work stuff, except for Fridays which is usually my Los Angeles exploration day, and Sunday mornings when I get up to go get groceries. I try to get all my school work for the coming week nuked over the weekend as well, as I am totally useless at doing any sort of work after about 6pm. The evenings are for reading the paper and watching TV. This week I've been really getting into Game Of Thrones. Why have I never watched it before? So glad I have two whole seasons to work through!
1. Smoothies from Joan's on Third while walking down West 3rd Street on a Sunday afternoon after brunch. | 2. A late Monday morning breakfast/ lunch at Toast. I can't get enough of their burgers and sweet potato fries. | 3.  Santa Monica sunsets through the bus window. | 4. Checking out the new season collections in Bloomingdales. I adore this Marc Jacobs bag. | 5. J.Crew always have the most stylish shop mannequins. | 6. New kitchen tip I have worked out for fresh cut herbs; make them last longer buy sitting them in the fridge or on the counter in a glass of water. Mine used to be dead in a few days, but I've been working with this bunch of Italian flat leaf parsley for over a week now!

As for house keeping this week there are two things I wish to bring to your attention. Firstly, another month means another of my 'Project LA' columns for The High Tea Cast has gone live. This month I am talking about the academic differences and the differences in classes studying in California, as opposed to London. Secondly, first went Google Reader, now we have to say R.I.P to another blog reader Hello Cotton (well, their English version at least, their French site is still going strong) who are shuttering. As for alternatives of where to follow your favourite blogs, I would recommend Bloglovin' which I personally adore, but I have laid out all your new subscription options for all blogs, not just my own in this blog post.
7. The one bright point of a rather disappointing brunch at Little Next Door on West 3rd Street in West Hollywood was this cute sign by the patisserie case. | 8. The bright pink wrapping and sweet note from Team Birchbox really made me smile at the beginning of term; can anyone guess what they sent me to review on The Glossy Guide? | 9. Editing photos from this outfit post while watching TV and browsing Bloglovin' on my iPad. | 10. Channeling Paul Hollywood with the vast amounts of homemade bread I have been making recently. | 11. Easter treats picked up at Joan's on Third. | 12. My best friend knows me so well, that sending me a package of various flavours of Hotel Chocolat's champagne truffles (among other goodies) is the quickest way to my heart!

What have you been enjoying this week, and what have you got planned for the weekend? I have not made my plans yet, but aside from getting ahead on my reading I am feeling that a trip to the beach or going on a food truck hunt might be in order!

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Hunter & Barbour: Wearing Countryside Heritage In The City

My wish list is full of things that I would like right now, but are better suited to my in England life of bouncing back and forth between London and the Kentish countryside than my current state of living in Los Angeles where the current Spring weather is something I would liken to probably the one or two only truly 'hot' days we get in England, but for weeks at a time. There are brands like Joules (I did manage to wear one of their padded jackets in January when it got a little chilly here), Cath Kidston and Jack Wills (yes, Jack Wills, don't look at me like that!) which I adore and I can still intergrate into my Los Angeles wardrobe, but there are some, which some Angelenos try to incorporate that would just be plain hilarious. 
Hunter Original Gloss wellies in Wisteria lilac purple
Kristabel from I Want You To Know modelling the Hunter Original Gloss style in Wisteria I've been coveting.

There are two brands in particular which whenever I see them worn in Los Angeles causes me no end of amusement  one more prevalent than the other. They are two great British heritage brands, made fashionable as well as functional in recent years: Hunter who make wellington boots (not rain boots Americans, wellington boots) and Barbour, maker of wax jackets. Hunter wellies are something I see all the time here, sold in every department store and I see on everyones feet any time rain is forecast  And by forecasted rain in Los Angeles, I mean something us Brits would not even justify as spitting. I found this hysterical when I first arrived here, and after 7 months it still baffles me. Hunters to me are the traditional wellington which I usually wear on an actual farm. Mine may be pale pink, one of the fashion colours they made before they started making the newer shiny fashion colours, but they are covered in farm mud and very worn in. They are long, and pretty hard to get on and off with a good heel. I mentioned all of this, is because it is these last two factors on the classic Hunter boot that make them so good for riding a horse in or rambling through the Kentish countryside. On New Years Day year before last I could be found rambling around near my best friend Kathryn's village, with the rest of her village and their dogs wearing mine over a pair of nice bright blue Farlows of Pall Mall shooting socks. I collect thick bright socks to wear inside my Hunters.
Before the New Years Day walk 2011. Traditional countryside Hunters bottom left.

Hunters were basically that for me, to be worn on a farm or on muddy country walks for me for quite a while before I moved to London, which coincided for me with Hunter starting to make more 'fashion' styles, which is what I like to call their 'city' styles; wellies people who actually need country wellies won't use them for, but something that even will want a pair for, not to wear in the regular London rain, but in the snow. I remember going with Kathryn to buy her 'city' pair on Oxford Street last February, and I have had my eye on their shiny lilac pair ever since they first appeared in their new season ad in my sidebar. I'm rather jealous of my friend Kristabel right now, who has just styled that pair for Hunter's current Blogger Style Series. Recently I've been playing around with new shopping search engine Style In View which pulls together products from loads of different online retailers all into one place, and it is staggering how many different Hunter colours, shapes and styles you can find on there to choose from.
This photo from Barbour's official Instagram is what a Barbour should like like to me; well worn and loved!

I think I have only seen a couple of Barbours worn in Los Angeles, and everyone has looked stupid and out of place in them, even in the Liberty pint one I saw. The only place I have seen anything by Barbour on sale in LA was in the Opening Ceremony store, and even then it was one of their lighter waterproof jackets rather than their classic wax style. A Barbour to me has always been the classic countryside jacket. Every farmer or friends parents from the countryside I know has one, and to me a good Barbour is like my fathers massive or my mothers which I sometimes slip on when I'm going outside on a cold day very loved and worn in but still impossibly warm versatile and waterproof. I have always, always wanted one. As with Hunters, my view of them shifted somewhat when I moved to London. I could not get my head around the fact that everyone in the city, most of whom the idea of the countryside terrified or baffled them had Barbour wax jackets. Bankers wore them over their suits on the tube, and even Barbour I had seen was so impossibly new looking. My bafflement was impacted at a press evening I spent messing around the Pall Mall store of the quintessential countryside outfitters, shooting and fishing suppliers Farlows. I was clearly the only person at that event aside from the people in the store who had ever been to the countryside, let along ridden a horse or done something like clay pigeon shooting. But then, after a while, I came around to the idea of a Barbour in the city, rather in the countryside  Like with the Hunters, I just needed to think of a different type of Barbour, that was all. For me, this different type of Barbour comes in the form of their Liberty print styles. I am currently coveting one from their second round of print styles, this dark blue wax jacket lined with a feather print. Again, as with the Hunters, another countryside heritage brand I have grown up with I was shocked when I searched for them using Style In View and I found how many styles, colours and designs are now available

I know I always end most of my posts with a question, and sorry to my American readers, especially on the West Coast who I think I've made fun of a bit today but this is for my British readers: if you are from the countryside, how do you feel about our traditional brands being reappropriated by city dwellers, and Londoners, did you consider wearing brands like Hunter and Barbour in the city before 'fashion' collections were produced. 

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Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Instagram Diaries: Spring Break In Los Angeles

I know I usually do a roundup of my Instagram photos from the last fortnight in my Weekly Love posts, but I've had the most incredible last two weeks over Spring Break I thought some of the pictures I've taken with my iPhone over the break warrant a post all to themselves; not only is this my last ever Easter holiday (I know I have another year of university in London left, but all I have after Easter next Spring are exams, which makes the holiday not really count), and my first ever and only American 'Spring Break', but the last two weeks have made me realise how incredibly lucky I am to live in a city like Los Angeles, even if I do miss London terribly at times and moan incessantly about the dreadful public transportation here. 
Spring Break In Los Angeles | @rachelphipps

Monday, 1 April 2013

Recipe: Green Mango & Pink 'N' Green Breakfast Smoothies from The Conscious Cleanse

I have a love hate relationship with cleanses and diets. We don't really have cleanses in England, it is more of an American thing, but as for diets, like a cleanse one would never work for me. I'm always cooking, baking and eating out; in a way because of my blog it is my job to do so so dieting or cleansing would never be practical for me. Also, while there are some great of both out there, there are also some that are simply stupid and leaves me thinking that it both can't be healthy, and why would you deprive yourself? That is the hate half. However, my love relationship with diets and cleanses are the recipes; yes, some are down right archaic, but some are actually pretty awesome. Some of my favourite and most flavourful recipes in my everyday repertoire alongside the Salted Caramel Double Chocolate Rolo Cookies and the fried Smoked Salmon Latkes actually had their origins in diet cookbooks. I do eat healthy sometimes, you know!