Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Style Wednesday: A Spruced up Wendy



We had good friends over for dinner last night, friends we had not been able to get together with for almost a year, given a whole series of tedious scheduling complications, yada yada yada, so I was particularly keen to make them a great meal.

I pulled out my Nigella Lawson Christmas Cookbook and made some of my favourite treats.

nigella-christmas.JPG


We love Nigella in our house and our ardour has not been reduced one bit by her recent troubles.

The Menu for last night?

  • baked brie with a grape/balsamic vinegar compote
  • A red salad, comprised of red cabbage, radicchio, pomegranate seeds and red pepper with a honey mustard vinaigrette (a Nigella recipe from above)
  • Christmas couscous with lovely middle eastern spices, fresh coriander and pomegranate seeds (a Nigella recipe from above)
  • Champagne Chicken - I got this recipe from the biography of the Veuve Cliquot and whenever I found myself with exactly one cup of champagne left in a bottle (which causes me great distress that this even happens to begin with), I make this recipe!
  • Spruced up Vanilla Cake (a Nigella recipe from above) with a strawberry compote, the recipe can be found here.  People love this cake and I find it gauche to discuss calories around the holidays - check self-righteousness at door, take small piece if you must, but embrace the cake, my sweet embraceable you!


The recipe for the Champagne chicken is dead easy and is by Mireille Guiliano:

Chicken au Champagne

INGREDIENTS

4 chicken breasts (with skin and bone)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Chervil, tarragon, or thyme (optional)
1 shallot, quartered
1 cup Champagne (Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut recommended)
 
Yield: 4 Servings  

RECIPE

Place the chicken breasts in a roasting pan, and season them. Pour 1/2 cup of the Champagne over breasts. Make a slit in each breast and insert a piece of shallot.

Place the pan under the broiler, skin-side up, for 3 minutes, until the skin is nicely browned. Turn and broil the other side for 5 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the broiler, baste with the pan juices, and add the remaining 1/2 cup of Champagne. Adjust the oven temperature to 475 degrees and bake the chicken for 30 minutes, basting once or twice.

Serve over brown rice. Sautéed mushrooms add a special touch and go beautifully with Champagne. (In a warm frying pan with a touch of olive oil, add clean, roughly chopped mushrooms, and cook for a few minutes. Add a few drops of lemon juice, freshly chopped sage, seasoning to taste and 1 tablespoon of butter.) Pour the cooking juices from the chicken over the meat and rice. Serve the remainder of the bottle of Champagne (about 6 glasses) with the meal.  

I swear you will thank me (and Mireille!).  The chicken is the most golden hue and when you spoon the champagne chicken juices over (avert eyes Janet!), you are in ecstasy!

I spruced myself up too, opting for a black cashmere sweater, black taffeta skirt and new black suede studded Kikis.  The latter filled a gap in my wardrobe, replacing the high heeled version I have had for several years which I never wear.  I am now down to about 5 pairs of heels and that is it.  Given my flat feet and desire for comfort and happiness in my everyday wardrobe, I may eliminate the heels, save one or two, altogether in 2014 - they simply hurt my back.  Since my life is all about being authentic and true to myself now, I must admit that despite my wee height, 5'2", I no longer feel the need to try to become a 5'5" Amazon (!), content to believe that good things come in small packages!





Close up of the comfy shoes:


You will see I am actually wearing a the JCrew stone pendant.  This was a very cheap "ride-along" during the big sale when I bought the shoes; it is nice pop of colour. 

This is a REALLY comfortable outfit and so I will likely trot it out many times this winter!




How about you - are you dressing comfortably for your holiday shenanigans?

It is snowing AGAIN!  I guess we will well and truly have a white Christmas!  Have a great day and stay safe out there!





 

34 comments:

  1. Oh boy, you gorgeous hostess! I can't believe the food offerings at yours, that is the most incredible feast.
    I only wear heels on the odd occasion out for cocktails etc, I have néver been able to wear them during the day I've always had problems with my feet.

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    1. I am glad I am not the only one! I just never reach for them at all now, though I realize a couple of pairs are a good thing in one's arsenal!

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  2. Need to score an invite to yours somehow! You look very chic in that outfit. Hope you didn't cook in it as well?

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    1. Nope - Well - yes, did make the champagne chicken in that, but I had my chef's coat on, so all was well!

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  3. Oh and meant to say, I am finally accepting my height too, I don't care anymore.
    Have locked myself out of BT mail again, so until I have three hours to call India expect radio silence!

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    1. Oh don't you hate that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    2. I somehow mucked up "mother's maiden name" three times!

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    3. I've misspelled my own name....

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    4. I hate when that happens!! I actually got into a yellng match over the phone with google when they insisted I got my mothers maiden name wrong.

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  4. You take you hostessing duties to another level. You look great and happy and your meals are all spectacular. I like a one to two inch heel/wedge over a flat. I also get my high heels out when going out sometimes. Otherwise I live in indoor/outdoor slippers. My heels can not tolerate going barefoot any longer. If you have nothing to do check out Orphan Black on BBC America. Our family of four is binge watching it over the break.

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    1. I'm off to see if Bbc canada carries it!

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  5. You look lovely and what a feast! I never wear heels when entertaining at home, but for dinners out-absolutely. I'm excited to wear a pair on Friday night as we are going to a restaurant with our friends rather than cooking-everyone is just too busy to put together a Friday night dinner party. I'm going to have have to try that cake recipe - Slugger and I are big fans of vanilla - a sliver at a time for me though.

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    1. I should sliver, I think I slab....

      Have fun out!

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  6. I am so jealous of your white Xmas!!! Your outfit is really great and the necklace is a lovely touch. I am also all in comfort even for festive outfit. I think I have three pair of heels left... I just bought myself a nice comfy pair of flats that I expect to wear for Xmas and probably New Year's Eve... I love this Nigella Book. I complemented it recently with the Delia Xmas book (5 pounds on Amazon!). I find it a good combination.

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    1. I need the Delia one too!

      I think white Christmases are especially nice when your children are young and like to sled and all and make snow forts - they don't like to play out in freezing cold temperatures otherwise, do they!

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  7. Is that a Talbots skirt? I ordered in in the Black Watch tartan and loved it, but it didn't fit well, though I sadly feel a twinge of regret for returning it. It looks great on you and your menu sounds delicious!

    My go-to holiday comfort wear for at-home entertaining is a ten-year-old pair of stretchy palazzo pants in black velour from Target, of all places. They are as comfy as sweats but they look like a million bucks. I throw on a sparkly sweater or tee and I am all set. Happy holidays!

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    1. Hexicon - it is a joe fresh for $39 and fits perfectly, and has pockets. Was my Christmas miracle!

      I haven't checked target for clothes yet (we just got ours a few weeks ago and with Christmas crowds have been avoiding!) but will have to do so!

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    2. I know - I have a similar one from Pink Tartan that is way more expensive, but fits half as well!

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  8. How much do I love your outfit! I am very attracted to black right now, and with those shoes (love!) and that necklace it is just perfect.
    And very suitable for your elegant dinner I might add.
    I will be trying that chicken recipe for sure, looks delicious thank you!

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    1. Dani - your family will love it! It is always a hit at our house! Thanks for the kind words, which are wonderful coming from my style muse. The shoes are so comfortable and very chic IRL. Really, the only money JC has really gotten from me this year was for Kikis, though I do think I will order the snow cashmere tee today before the sale ends!

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  9. Very classy outfit for a very classy meal. Poor Nigella-- she'll straighten everything out.

    I have worn the "khaki" sequin longsleeved top with black slim pants to the last 3 parties,black booties. Easy and looks festive. I need to get more duded up for Friday, though. Mostly have been shovelling...

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    1. I am like you - give me a uniform (preferably one with sequins and slimming!)

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  10. Hi Wendy, your outfit is lovely and elegant - I haven't checked out Joe Fresh in a long time, must have a look.

    I also haven't worn heels in a long time - just got a pair of black patent leather ones for a wedding and I tried to stay seated for most of the evening; I wasn't even drinking that much and I was unsteady on my feet!

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    1. I used to wear high heels at work - they always looked good while I was at the conference table!

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  11. You look gorgeous, as always!!!! I LOVE those shoes. And, I purchased that pendant necklace too. It's one of my favorites!

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    1. I see to do better with pendants than the bigger pieces and this one is fun! Thanks!

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  12. Oh wow, the champagne chicken sounds incredibly delicious!! Must try it, although I will probably use prosecco instead of Veuve Clicquot. Such a great outfit - you look fabulous! Love those shoes, I totally missed seeing them but must go check them out. I have also been getting rid of most of my heels - most are new and unworn, and bought with a fantasy life in mind. My real life requires that I can run in (not to exercise, just to keep up with the kids!!).

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    1. ...shoes to run in, that is! (so tired right now - my brain is fuzzy)

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    2. Louise - I use Prosecco usually, but since I had 1 cup of Mumm's left, I knew I had to go for the real thing! The shoes are 40% off today - an even better deal than what I got! I had a fantasy life with heels that involved me walking confidently everywhere, but then my back and knees reminded me that I was being silly!

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  13. I'm crazy about those tights! So cute with those gorgeous shoes. Wherever did you find those!

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    1. those were a winners find - I bought 3 pairs of them earlier in the fall!

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  14. Your outfit is fabulous! I had to give up wearing heels years ago. Bad feet and vertically challenged. Loving your tights too. Tres chic!!

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    1. thanks Jennifer! I loved the shoes and was glad I bought them!

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Kindness is a virtue...