Monthly Archives: June 2014

Alexander McQueen Resort 2015 Collection


The Alexander McQueen resort 2015 collection features clean lines and structure while pulling some inspiration from vintage kimonos and men’s wear fabrics. Love it. Enjoy!


Credit: Style Pantry


Chocolate Caramel Turtle Flan


Flan can be terribly intimidating – chocolate cake topped with flan takes it to another level of intimidation! But this Chocolate Caramel Turtle Flan really could not be any easier and is pretty foolproof.

Chocolate Caramel Turtle Flan


For the cake:
1 cup dulce de leche
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 whole egg
3/4 cup flour
1 cup cake flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk

For the flan:
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
4 whole eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract

Cake toppings:
1 cup dulce de leche
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and position oven rack to the middle. Generously butter a 10-inch Bundt pan and sprinkle with flour or use Baker's Joy cooking spray. Tip the pan and tap out excess flour. Warm the dulce de leche a little bit to soften it and pour it over the bottom of pan to coat evenly.

2. For the cake: In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until light in color. Scrape the bowl. Beat in the egg. Sift together the flour, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and cocoa. With the mixer on medium-low, beat in about 1/2 of flour mixture, followed by 1/2 of buttermilk. Repeat. Scrape bowl, then raise the speed to medium-high and beat for 1 minute. Pour batter into the Bundt pan and spread evenly.

3. For the flan: In a blender combine the sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk, the eggs and both extracts. Blend until smooth.

4. Slowly pour the flan mixture over cake batter. Pull out the oven rack, set the cake into larger pan, then set both pans on rack. Pour 6 cups of hot water around the cake. Carefully slide the pans into the oven and bake for about 50 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the water bath and cool at room temperature for 1 hour.

5. Refrigerate cake for several hours or overnight. Carefully run a thin bladed knife around the edge of the cake to free the edges. Invert a rimmed serving platter or large plate over the cake pan, grasp the two tightly together, then turn them upside down. Gently jiggle the pan back and forth and let the cake release and drop.

6. Drizzle the reserved cup of dulce de leche over the cake and sprinkle with pecans. Slice and serve.

Private Dancer – Video Clips


Classic Tina and I love it!!

Tina Turner Blog

The 1980s saw the rise of the music video clip – and Tina Turner followed the rule: every single release needed a video. So, no wonder that we can enjoy “three plus one and another one” video clips from the “Private Dancer” album. So, five clips in total but why the strange bookkeeping? Follow us back to 1984 and throw in either a video cassette or a Laser Disc.
Tina Turner - Private Dancer Videos - Japan Laser Disc

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Chocolate-Peanut Butter Brownie Banana Splits


Happy Saturday!! In this stupendous dessert, fudgy peanut butter brownies get topped with bananas caramelized in dulce de leche and served with scoops of vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and peanut brittle. Enjoy!

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Brownie Banana Splits


1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 pound bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 sticks unsalted butter
4 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup natural peanut butter

1 cup dulce de leche
4 firm but ripe bananas, split lengthwise and halved crosswise
Vanilla ice cream, lightly sweetened whipped cream and crushed peanut brittle, for serving


1. MAKE THE BANANA SPLITS Preheat the oven to 325°. Line the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan with parchment paper. In a small bowl, whisk the sugar, with the flour, baking powder and salt.

2. In a saucepan, stir the chocolate and butter over very low heat until melted; let cool slightly. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the sour cream and vanilla. Whisk in the dry ingredients, then the melted chocolate mixture. Transfer 2 tablespoons of the batter to a small bowl and stir in the peanut butter.

3. Scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan and dollop the peanut butter over the top. Swirl in the peanut butter, but don’t overmix. Bake the brownies for 45 minutes, or until risen and the top is lightly cracked and glossy; the brownies will still be jiggly. Transfer the pan to a rack to cool, then refrigerate until the brownies are chilled, at least 2 hours. Cut into 18 rectangles.

4. In a large skillet, melt the dulce de leche over moderate heat. Add the bananas and cook, turning occasionally, until heated through, about 3 minutes. Set 8 brownies on individual plates and top with the bananas and dulce de leche. Spoon the ice cream and whipped cream alongside, top with the crushed peanut brittle and serve.

Claudia: A Photo Essay

Claudia: A Photo Essay

An amazing story and I had to share it.


Most of the football pictures I’ve taken in Brazil are pretty self explanatory…  there’s a kick around going on somewhere in Rio and not too much more to add. But this one troubles me a bit. The story behind it isn’t a good one. The mother of the family, Claudia da Silva Ferreira, was shot in March by police who thought she was an armed drug dealer during a shoot-out. She was in the wrong place at the wrong time. She later died in shocking circumstances, falling from the police van on the way to hospital. I visited their home a couple of weeks after it happened with a colleague who was interviewing Claudia’s husband and this was taken as we were leaving and the kids began playing again… a brief moment of normality at a tragic time for the family.
_MG_0364_TB_web(Credit: Interview and words by Angelica Melo /…

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Chocolate Panna Cotta with Spiced Pepita Brittle


This light, silky panna cotta tastes a lot like hot cocoa in custard form. The brittle is easy to make; heat sugar and water on the stove, swirl in butter and spiced pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds), then let cool.

Chocolate Panna Cotta with Spiced Pepita Brittle

Active Time: 30 min
Total Time: 2 hrs 30 min
Yield: 6 Servings


2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
2 3/4 cups whole milk
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Vegetable oil
3/4 cup salted roasted pepitas
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter


1. In a small bowl, sprinkle the powdered gelatin over 1/4 cup of the milk and let stand until the gelatin is softened, about 5 minutes. In a medium saucepan, combine the remaining 2 1/2 cups of milk with 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the salt and bring just to a simmer over moderately heat. Remove the milk from the heat and whisk in the softened gelatin until dissolved.

2. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the chopped chocolate at high power in 10-second intervals. Gradually whisk in the hot milk mixture until creamy.
Strain the panna cotta mixture through a fine sieve into a large measuring cup.

3. Lightly brush six 1/2-cup ramekins with oil and set them on a baking sheet. Carefully fill the ramekins with the panna cotta mixture and refrigerate them for about 2 hours, until the panna cottas are firm.

4. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or lightly oiled parchment paper. In a small bowl, toss the pepitas with the cinnamon and nutmeg. In a medium saucepan, combine the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar with 1/3 cup of water and cook over high heat, swirling the pan gently, until a medium amber caramel forms, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and swirl in the butter and spiced pepitas. Pour the brittle onto the prepared baking sheet and spread it in a very thin layer. Let cool completely, about 20 minutes, then crack it into shards.

5. Run a knife around the panna cottas and invert onto plates. Garnish with the pepita shards and serve.

Chocolate Babka


Laden with chocolate, butter, and old-world charm, this babka is luscious served as dessert, with coffee, or as breakfast. While baking, the rich dough becomes incredibly tender, so it pulls apart in buttery pieces that melt in your mouth.

Chocolate Babka

Yield: Makes 2 loaves Active time: 1 hr Total time 6 1/2 hr


For dough
3/4 cup warm milk (105–115°F)
1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar
3 teaspoons active dry yeast (from two 1/4-oz packages)
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting
2 whole large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened

For egg wash
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy cream or whole milk
For chocolate filling
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, well softened
2 (3 1/2- to 4-oz) bars fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (no more than 60% cacao if marked), finely chopped
1/4 cup sugar

Special equipment: a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment; 2 (8 3/4- by 4 1/2- by 2 3/4-inch) loaf pans; parchment paper


1. Make dough:
Stir together warm milk and 2 teaspoons sugar in bowl of mixer. Sprinkle yeast over mixture and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If yeast doesn’t foam, discard and start over with new yeast.)

2. Add 1/2 cup flour to yeast mixture and beat at medium speed until combined. Add whole eggs, yolk, vanilla, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar and beat until combined. Reduce speed to low, then mix in remaining 2 3/4 cups flour, about 1/2 cup at a time. Increase speed to medium, then beat in butter, a few pieces at a time, and continue to beat until dough is shiny and forms strands from paddle to bowl, about 4 minutes. (Dough will be very soft and sticky.)

3. Scrape dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

4. Assemble babkas with filling:
Line each loaf pan with 2 pieces of parchment paper (1 lengthwise and 1 crosswise).

5. Punch down dough with a lightly oiled rubber spatula, then halve dough. Roll out 1 piece of dough on a well-floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into an 18- by 10-inch rectangle and arrange with a long side nearest you.

6. Beat together yolk and cream. Spread 2 1/2 tablespoons softened butter on dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border all around. Brush some of egg wash on long border nearest you.

7. Sprinkle half of chocolate evenly over buttered dough, then sprinkle with half of sugar (2 tablespoons). Starting with long side farthest from you, roll dough into a snug log, pinching firmly along egg-washed seam to seal. Bring ends of log together to form a ring, pinching to seal. Twist entire ring twice to form a double figure 8 and fit into one of lined loaf pans.

8. Make another babka with remaining dough, some of egg wash, and remaining butter and chocolate in same manner. Chill remaining egg wash, covered, to use later. Loosely cover pans with buttered plastic wrap (buttered side down) and let babkas rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until dough reaches top of pans, 1 to 2 hours. (Alternatively, let dough rise in pans in refrigerator 8 to 12 hours; bring to room temperature, 3 to 4 hours, before baking.)

9. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.

10. Brush tops of dough with remaining egg wash. Bake until tops are deep golden brown and bottoms sound hollow when tapped (when loaves are removed from pans), about 40 minutes. Transfer loaves to a rack and cool to room temperature.

Over The Hump Old School Sound Check – Isley Brothers


Happy Thursday and summertime! Isley Brothers getting me in the mood for the weekend. Enjoy!