Jul 9, 2011

A Passage to India. Faux Arctic Fox For Faux Arctic Weather.

I set out for breakfast this morning determined to bond with the Miranda Kerr issue of Australian InStyle.  I was feeling a bit guilty about my apathy towards this issue last night and the weekend paper was to heavy to lug with me on the uphill walk.

Admittedly, a large ricotta danish and skim mocha is probably not the breakfast of a Victoria's Secret model.  But perhaps even Miranda Kerr has Saturday mornings when she walks up the road with Orlando and baby Flynn to her local cafe in aged blue track pants and sand coloured uggs? 

I chose to believe that she does.  And with that, I opened the magazine and browsed it again with renewed optimism.  It proved to be a fruitful experience.  Did you know that the 'Tao of Miranda includes yoga and creative visualisation'?  Or that in Mexico, women choose to wrap their wet hair in a towel until it dries because this 'makes strands smooth and straight'?  Or even that 'sartorial sensibility can transcend any industry'?  There's so much in all of that for all of us.

I was in a state of enlightenment after my breakfast with InStyle.  That kind of enlightenment that leads a woman to Coles convinced that she's going to find an of the moment yet bargain priced piece of soft home furnishing.

The force was with me and it proved to be true.  Please give SSG Manor's new Faux Fur Throw in Arctic Fox a warm round of applause.  There was a short list of Arctic Fox, Wolf and Chocolate but sadly no Leopard to choose from.  Decisions, decisions.  It was the winter white and taupe of Faux Arctic Fox that sold me in the end.

This is not just a gratuitous photo of the latest Louis Vuitton catalogue and my $15 Faux Fur Find from Coles.  There is a story behind it.  Not much of a story but bear with me.

I'm the kind of person that gets only one type of courtesy phone call on my mobile.  The Concerned type.  As in Concern that I've missed booking a dental check up or regarding my recent credit card transactions for online gambling sites based in Eastern Europe.

This week, however, I received a good news courtesy call.  It was from Louis Vuitton asking whether I'd received their catalogue yet.  I hadn't at the time of the call but now that I have, it would be rude to not at least acknowledge their concern (there was a kind offer to send another copy just in case).

There was obviously something incredibly important about the catalogue to necessitate the phone call.  I just couldn't imagine what.  

Image courtesy of justjared.net

An autographed copy of Angelina Jolie's infamous 'no make up in the middle of Cambodia with a ludicrously luxe handbag' photo?  Or did head office want to have words with me about wearing Diva and Target to the 'palm trees and Miuccia Prada lookalike DJ' do in May this year?

Dan Murphy's - Australia's official source of bargain priced champagne.

It all sounded serious either way you looked at it so I settled in for the afternoon to study the catalogue with the attention it deserved.

It's a beautiful campaign.  Shot in India with such dreamy and powerful images of the architecture, the culture and natural landscape.  At times, the fashion and accessories seemed superfluous to the beauty of the landscape around the models.

As I studied (Scout's honour) each page, it became a Where's Wally exercise in trying to find the luggage and accessories in the images.  There was even an insert detailing the merchandise that you were meant to have found on each page of the catalogue.  Sadly, no photos of Angelina Jolie could be found anywhere in the catalogue.  I shook it hard too, just in case.

It's been a day of exotic influences at SSG Manor.  Which sets the scene rather nicely for tonight's dinner.  A beef biryani with almonds and caramelized onions.  The star of the evening is my new cherry red Le Creuset casserole pan.  I love the visual warmth it adds to the kitchen in winter.

I got my biryani recipe from the June 2011 issue of Super Food Ideas.  It turned out to be a major production with a cast of thousands involved.  In hindsight, starting dinner at 4pm wasn't such a bad idea after all. 

The herbs, spices and onions.  No room in the photo for the garlic.

Blanched almonds had to be toasted.  Don't they look beautiful in the setting sun?

The spice paste had to be stick blender processed.  I've never used coriander roots before, they gave the paste such an earthy scent.

There was a rotation of various pans as each layer of the biryani had to be cooked before the final bake in the oven.

Would the basmati rice simmered in stock, cardamon and a bay leaf fit in the casserole pan?  Said pan was already looking rather crowded with the beef and caramelized onions in it.

A perfect fit!

All the hard work done, I put my feet up under the arctic fox throw and had a bit of a rest in anticipation of dinner.

To serve, the biryani was garnished with toasted almonds and coriander.

I made a cucumber and mint raita and par boiled some beans for greens.  I am addicted to having yoghurt with curries.  It's so refreshing, especially with the coolness of mint and cucumber plus a hit of citrus zing with lemon juice.

The biryani itself was perfect for a winter weekend dinner.  The beef was very tender and the rice cooked perfectly in the oven.  The flavours were authentic without being overpowering and it really is worth making your own biryani paste as per the recipe.  I've got a major sweet tooth and the caramelized onion and sultana layer did it for me.  Biryanis are one of those rare mains that has every base covered in terms of taste and texture.

Another bonus is that I have leftovers for dinner tomorrow plus some for the freezer.

I'm going to put my feet up for a bit before bed.  All sorts of exciting things are happening with the blog.  Stay tuned and stay warm!

Have a lovely evening.


  1. I got to get me a copy of InStyle, I haven't been reading any good women's magazines for months! I love my LeCreuset, too - mine are cream:) Have a lovely weekend, SSG!

  2. Lamb curry is so warming on a cold Sydney night! We had flat head and corn and bean salad. A bit summery for my liking but we wintered it up with some golden syrup dumplings. So good.

    I used to love In Style. It used to be fantastic. Pity it's not living up to expectations.

    K xx

  3. sounds like a lovely saturday, can't wait to see what's happening next. enjoy the beautiful weather we're having, today i'm going whale watching :)

  4. I love cooking curries from scratch - the spices are so beautiful. do you have a link to the recipe.
    I'm lusting after a Le creuset too - although my aldi copies do quite a good job overall

  5. OMG, we are Coles faux fur blanket twins! I bought the cream version last weekend. It is very toasty :)

  6. My Favourite Things: your Le Creuset sound lovely.

    Miss Kitty Cat: can't get the dumplings out of my mind.. afternoon tea perhaps?

    Bug: hope you had a lovely day whale watching, something I'd love to do myself one day.

    Heavenly Ingredients: agree about home made paste. Will try to find link.

    Cole K: I know, so warm and so chic to boot.

    SSG xxx

  7. Faux Artic Fox and biryani - you have winter sewn up!
    Miss T


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