Interview with Laurence Koutny – Founder of ‘Art of Chocolate’ & Winner of 2013 Belgian Business Manager Trends Woman Award

Laurence Koutny – Founder of ‘Art of Chocolate’ & Winner of 2013 Belgian Business Manager Trends Woman award

Hello Laurence, it is such a pleasure and honour to have you speak with me today! You have over 17 years in the chocolate industry…Truly amazing! Could you tell us some more about you, the woman behind all this knowledge and experience?

Hello, nice to meet you. Indeed, I am passionate about chocolate. As a kid, I was a fan of my Cote d’Or, as a student I started to discover the world of the candy-bar, when I finished my university, what a dream……Mars employed me on the campus. I worked there for 3 years understanding the world of multinationals and chocolate.

I then moved to Levi’s and travelled a lot. After years, my passion for chocolate came back and I got the dream job @ Godiva Chocolates. I was in charge of Marketing, the Retail design and then the entire innovation internationally.

I realised how much the Belgian savoir-faire was highly respected and recognised around the world. I then thought about how important it was to continue to claim our savoir-faire.

Your experience is overwhelming considering the various fields you have worked in, to mention a few: Accessory, Fashion, Sport, Education….Which one of these fields spoke to you the most and why?

I love fashion as it’s a continuous innovation process. You need to reinvent all the time and make people feel good in what they wear.

I love sport as it’s a must to live and to feel good and more importantly experience nature.

I love chocolate as it’s the best indulgence in life and then finally what’s best to pass legacy and educate people on what you love.

Which project has been the most difficult for you in your entire career?

On the 30 years of my career, there have been several.

Probably, the most recent one was the celebration of the 90th anniversary of Godiva in February 2016, where I organised an event with 150 journalists from all around the world. This event happened between the terrorist attack in Paris in November 2015 and the one in March 2016 in Brussels.

The level of stress was very high at our event, with everybody thinking that an attack might occur while we organised a week of events for these very important journalists.

You also were the winner of the 2013 Belgian Business Manager Trends Woman Award! That is a prestigious title to have! What were your feelings when they announced you as the winner?

I felt so thrilled as I had no idea I would win. It was a tough process to get there but when they call you on stage, I felt so proud……..amazing experience!

You are the founder of “Art of Chocolate”. Tell us about your journey in getting this huge project started?

It was a natural journey…after 17 years in chocolate, passionate about it, convinced that we have major talents in Belgium on the matter, I thought it was a must to share this savoir-faire worldwide.

I talked about my academy with highly respected people in the industry, to teach everything about chocolate from the bean to the consumer experience, to buying chocolate. They followed me on my thinking and supported me in the adventure.

Has “Chocolate” changed your life, because I know that the masterclasses you offer, do train and change other people’s lives?

Yes it did. I saw so many things in life but the most amazing thing is to see every smile on each face when people taste chocolate, not only chocolate but good chocolate. The nice thing is to keep contact with the participants after they pass by our masterclasses and see how they applied their learning.

One opened a chocolate shop in Ghana, another one launched a food truck ‘bean to bar’, and another one re-merchandised his entire store….so many nice stories!

I am so curious together with all my readers, to know more about your masterclasses. Could you tell us some more on that?

In the heart of Brussels, ‘Art of Chocolate’ delivers dynamic masterclasses aimed at chocolatiers, chocolate entrepreneurs, chocolate professionals in any field or anyone with a passion for chocolate from anywhere in the world, and interested in learning from the best to take their chocolate skills to a new level.

The philosophy is to cover all the steps from the bean to the consumer experience and cover the entire chain.

Our interactive masterclasses are centred around the following themes:

  • The chocolate making process for starting chocolatiers
  • Advanced chocolate making – Bean to bar
  • Sensory – Creating innovative, premium products
  • Building a successful chocolate business through developing rich customer experience

Please share with us some of your expertise in building a strong, coherent team and its impact on one’s business!

People are the base of everything if you want to succeed in business! It is crucial to have people with the same passion, respect and vision. With “Art of Chocolate”, I only met fully passioned, talented people who are ready to share their knowledge with others.

Everybody respects each other for their competency and the way they complement each other towards one same goal to train about the Belgian chocolate savoir-faire.

I replicated a recipe that I used during the last 30 years with the large numbers of teams I have had to manage.

Have there been other role-models that you have looked up to, or that have influenced you in some way?

There have been many people who had a real impact on my life. From a famous side, it goes from Mandela to Madonna to MèreThérésa (Mother Teresa) to Arétha Franklin to Simone Veil to Jorge Donn to Stromae to finally some amazing chocolatiers such as Laurent Gerbaud, Pierre Marcolini, Jean-Christophe Hubert from Milenisme, Patrick Roger, Stephane Leroux  and many others for their beliefs and passion!

Then on my career side, with 23 different bosses, you have some who really show you the paths and those who you really don’t want to be like, and you learn a lot from that too.

What is your advice to young entrepreneurs?

I wouldn’t say enough, have the passion for what you do, believe in what you do with concrete facts to validate your idea and be honest to admit the skills you miss and surround yourself with others who have those skills, to allow you to shine in your best qualities.

You must have a very busy schedule. What does a normal workday look like to you?

After a good breakfast….. it goes from managing the social network to recruiting participants; having to contact them to understand their real motivation. To develop new courses with teachers and to meet people for consultancy jobs, to organise sessions and prepare all the material.

Days go fast…..I constantly meet new fascinating people with the same passion for food and more especially for Chocolate.

The other day, I met an incredibly passionate ‘perfume’ guy, who was developing the best perfumes you would have never smelled before, in his garage in Brussels .

What do you do in your free time, and how do you manage to make time for it?

After having been in corporation for 30 years moving to Independent is a challenge! I want to be outside all the time but so much to do ……..I spend time with my 2 kids (or they do with me as they become older😊) and party with my friends.

I walk a lot, bike a lot , play golf and travel when I can to discover new things.

What is next for you…your next big project?

I have seven sessions to organise from now till end October. 3 very exciting confidential consulting missions in the chocolate business and I am preparing the whole schedule for 2020 with new, exciting modules.

How can my readers contact you, find your work?

The best way is to visit our website: www.artofchocolate.be or contact me at laurence@artofchocolate.be

BY CHRISELDA BARRETTO

Signup to my mailing list to receive a reminder to my future articles. See you next time!

Check out more projects by Chriselda Barretto :

Her Blog – chriselda.blog

ART-IS-IN

HER BOOKS

THE DIG

“THE 3 PILLARS” PODCAST

Signup to my mailing list

Quirkiest Kitchen Gadgets – 2019

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

So, are you a gadget lover like me ;)? I can never get enough of trying out new technology to see if it actually works! I must say that the items listed below are my “Quirkiest” gadgets, which you might want but not necessarily need… Having said that, they do look good on your counter-top or your kitchen-island and ‘yes‘ they do work! So have a look and see if any of these were ‘missing’ from your daily ife and just have fun with it!

Play and Freeze, Ice Cream Ball- Ice Cream Maker

So at the “Numéro un” spot, I have the ‘Play and Freeze Ice-Cream Ball‘. You might ask why? Well, here are some of the reasons why this cute ball adds some liveliness to a very dull kitchen:

  • It makes ice cream in approximately 30 minutes
  • Manual, no electricity required
  • Polycarbonate construction for durability
  • Makes 1 pint
  • Provides a hands-on experience to studying the properties of movement, freezing, and basic science principles

Nostalgia Retro Pop-Up Hot Dog Toaster

I love ‘Retro’ stuff and guess what…it’s IN right now! If you are a big “Hot-Dog” fan, then this one is all for you. It also comes in an “Aqua” shade which is just as adorable. A real ‘show-stealer‘! Some more reasons to indulge in this cute, nostalgic toaster:

  • Cooks two regular-size or extra-plump hot dogs at a time
  • Toasts two buns at a time
  • Adjustable cooking timer and stop cooking button
  • Removable hot dog cage
  • Includes mini tongs for removing hot dogs
  • Drip tray for easy cleaning

Kuhn Rikon Kochblume Spill Stopper

Haven’t we all been through stuff spilling over, which we just hate! I am famous for letting milk spill, especially when I try my hand at making some “Indian Chai!” But, now that’s a thing of the past :), with this ‘Spill Stopper‘. I think this is really handy to have in the kitchen and it comes in an array of different colours! Some more reasons why you could consider this:

  • Designed to prevent spills from frying pans etc.
  • Acts as a lid
  • Keeps hobs/stoves clean
  • Premium quality
  • Easy to clean

Personalized Wooden Cookie Decorating Stamp

Another adorable little personalised item! Imagine decorating your cookies with your logo or you name, or whatsoever you see fit! This one will get your guests talking about it for sure, not to mention talking about how tasty those cookies you served them are! Some more details on this product:

  • Personalized embossing cookie stamp, embossing rolling pin alternative
  • For one stamp
  • Made from solid beech wood
  • The stamp measures 2” in diameter, 5” tall including the handle
  • The stamp is to be cleaned dry with a brush, then washed with cold water and dryed before the next using
  • Cookie stamps can be customized with an image of your choice, your name, logo etc.

KLEMOO Meat Tenderizer

Love this one! It turns your cheap cuts into succulent, mouth-watering steaks. 48 needles, crafted of stainless steel, plunge down into your cuts and tenderize every impact area all at the same time. Handy buy which lasts a lifetime. Go for this one! Some more details:

  • Razor Sharp Knife Blades – with 48 ultra sharp stainless steel blades
  • Reduces Marinade & Cooking Time
  • Maximizes Meat’s Tenderness & Flavor
  • For Chicken, Steak, Beef, Pork, Fish
  • Easy to Use & Control – Ergonomic design with a comfortable, non-slip handle
  • Easy Clean up
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Comes with a clear protective plastic cover for safe storage and keeping your tenderizer sanitary

The Rollie Egg Cooker

The Rollie is an electric egg cooker that basically makes tube-shaped omelettes. Just beat your eggs, drop them in the Rollie, turn it on, and you’ll have perfectly shaped eggs for your next breakfast burrito!

  • Revolutionary cooking system lets you enjoy egg treats like never before
  • Prepare eggs, omelets, frittatas and more in just 2 easy steps
  • Unique, patented design cooks healthy and delicious eggs without the use of pots or pans
  • Easy to use and clean with a durable non-stick cooking chamber
  • Each unit comes with a cleaning brush, 5 wooden skewers, food packaging accessory, and a user manual with 25 recipes

The Selfie Toaster

Hehe! A hilarious gift idea. Imagine surprising your guest with their face on the toast you are serving them… A selfie on a fresh piece of toast. An apt gadget for a selfie generation !

Crepe/Pancake/Galette maker

I have one of these and I love it! You can make sweet and savory pancakes/galettes/crepes, anything you fancy! You can really be creative with this one and the kids love it! A good investment!

  • PERFECT 12“ CREPES EVERY TIME
  • The non-stick aluminum surface provides easy perfectly cooked crepes every time.
  • PRECISE TEMPERATURE CONTROL
  • In addition to crepes ,blintzes, jianbing, and dosa, the G&M Kitchen Essentials Professional Crepe maker can also be used as a griddle
  • Cooks a variety of breakfast foods like pancakes, eggs, bacon, tortillas, injera, roti…
  • 100 RECIPE COOKBOOK, BATTER SPREADER AND WOODEN SPATULA
  • The small design makes storage simple and travel friendly. Compact and lightweight, the crepe maker is a perfect holiday kitchen gift.

So there you have my “Quirkiest Kitchen Gadgets” for 2019. Follow my blog for updates on products and more of my ‘Top Lists’. See you around!

BY CHRISELDA BARRETTO

Contact Chriselda Barretto

Signup to my mailing list

Check out more projects by Chriselda Barretto :

Her Blog – chriselda.blog

ART-IS-IN

HER BOOKS

THE DIG

“THE 3 PILLARS” PODCAST

“The History Of Chocolate -The Gift From Quetzalcoatl”

Quetzalcoatl – Pixabay

Building up towards “International Chocolate Day” on September 13, I decided to pen a few articles around this unique ‘flavouring ingredient’! Originally considered a gift from the God of Wisdom – Quetzalcoatl, once used as currency, also thought of to be more precious than gold and a delight only to be partaken by higher-ups or royalty…makes one think that there must be more to it that just a dessert! So I started researching on it and it is with pleasure that I share my findings with you on this dark-hued pod!

HISTORY [1]

Chocolate dates back to 450 BC in Mesoamerica. The Aztecs believed that cacao seeds were the gift of the god of wisdom – Quetzalcoatl and were of so much value that they were used as a form of currency. Originally prepared only as a drink, chocolate was served as a bitter liquid, mixed with spices or corn puree. It was believed to be an aphrodisiac and to give the drinker strength! The word “chocolate” is derived from the Classical Nahuatl /Aztec word “chocolātl“.

“Rumor has it that the 16th-century Aztec emperor Montezuma drank three gallons of chocolate a day to increase his libido! “

The Olmec, Mayan and Aztec civilizations found chocolate to be an invigorating drink, mood enhancer and aphrodisiac, which led them to believe that it possessed mystical and spiritual qualities.The Mayans worshipped a god of cacao and reserved chocolate for rulers, warriors, priests and nobles at sacred ceremonies.

Chocolate remained an aristocratic nectar until Dutch chemist Coenraad Johannes Van Houten invented the cocoa press in 1828, which revolutionized chocolate-making. The cocoa press could squeeze the fatty cocoa butter from roasted cacao beans, leaving behind a dry cake that could be pulverized into a fine powder, that could be mixed with liquids and other ingredients, poured into molds and solidified into edible, easily digestible chocolate. The innovation by Van Houten ushered in the modern era of chocolate by enabling it to be used as a confectionary ingredient, and the resulting drop in production costs made chocolate affordable to the masses.

The Chemistry Of Chocolate [2]

Photo by Marta Dzedyshko on Pexels.com

Think chocolate can give you a high? Well…

  • For starters, the most widely used psychoactive drug in the world is found in chocolate [source: Fackelmann]. The compound 1,3,7-trimethylxanthine — better known as caffeine produces a stimulating physiological effect by exciting the central nervous system, which, in turn, increases heart rate and contracts muscles. Caffeine acts on dopamine and adenosine receptors in the brain, which then release their respective pleasure-producing chemicals.
  • Another compound that’s closely related to the active ingredient in marijuana (tetrahydrocannabinol-9) is also found in chocolate. When cannabinoids hit the CB1 and CB2 receptors (found most predominantly in the frontal cortex and the parts of the brain responsible for motor function and memory), a person starts to feel intoxicated and relaxed as a result [source: Medscape].
  • Chocolate also packs in another surprise…Phenylethylamine which is often called the “love drug,” since it releases the same chemicals that are introduced into the human body when love comes calling [source: Millward]. The compound produces a similar effect to the one produced by amphetamines, and is classified as a hallucinogen!

The Benefits Of Chocolate

Dark chocolate has a wealth of health benefits. Listed below are only some of them:

Antioxidants

Chocolate helps combat excess free radicals given its high antioxidant content. Rich in flavonoids, it helps prevent premature aging of cells. It can also be used as a facial and body mask.

Energy

Chocolate is a stimulant that gives us an energy boost when we need it. This is essential to feel full of vitality throughout the day!

Eye health

Dark chocolate can improve eyesight due to its flavonoid content, which improves blood flow to the brain and the retina.

Mood

Chocolate contains a chemical called anandamide which improves our mood and overall state of mind, reducing the chances of depression. In addition, eating this food stimulates serotonin production in the brain, which helps us to feel happier, and prevents us from feeling anxious, moody or stressed.

Types Of Chocolate [3]

Photo by Marta Dzedyshko on Pexels.com

Chocolate should be consumed in its purest possible state, without mixing it with milk and large amounts of added sugar, for it to be considered healthy and non-fattening. This is because milk and sugar add fat. The cocoa itself is not fattening. Dark chocolate is the best choice, as it is the purest form and provides the most health benefits. It goes without saying that chocolate and other similar products should always be consumed in moderation.

Dark chocolate

This must contain a minimum of 50% of cocoa paste to be considered dark, giving it quite a bitter taste. This chocolate is richer in the properties listed in the first section of the article, like antioxidants.

Milk chocolate

It is usually eaten more, especially by children, since it is sweeter. The proportion of cocoa is below 40%, though it can contain up to 50% in gourmet confections. Milk does provide calcium, but the chocolate itself is less pure so it provides less benefits overall, and it is more fattening than dark chocolate.

White chocolate

This type contains at least 20% cocoa butter, 14% milk solids, 3.5% milk fat and up to 55% sugar or other sweeteners. This mixture is made with cocoa butter instead of solids, so it acquires a yellow hue together with the milk powder and sugar. Bad quality white chocolates are completely white instead of yellow, as they do not have any cocoa butter at all.

FACT

International Chocolate Day coincides with the birth date of Milton S. Hershey (September 13, 1857), founder of The Hershey Chocolate Company.”


Chocolates in a row (Canva)

MODERN DAY [4]

Coming back to our present times, roughly two-thirds of the world’s cocoa is produced in Western Africa, with Ivory Coast being the largest source, producing a total crop of 1,448,992 tonnes. Ghana, Nigeria, and Cameroon are other West African countries among the top 5 cocoa producing countries in the world.

Chocolate is a delicacy that is now easily affordable and the number of professional chocolatiers around the world has risen beyond expectation.

‘ART OF CHOCOLATE’ MASTERCLASS

If you feel compelled to learn more about chocolate, there is an “Art of Chocolate” Professional Masterclass given by Industry experts in the heart of Brussels. You will experience the Belgian Chocolate Savoir-faire and learn from the best experts to acquire professional skills to create and sell premium chocolates.

They speak of a 4 key program with highly talented people from the industry, focusing mainly on: The art of perfecting, creating, making and selling of chocolate! They also offer tailored masterclasses dedicated to businesses and teams. Learn more: HERE

Laurence Koutny – Founder of “Art of Chocolate” and Winner of the 2013 Belgian Business Manager Trends Woman Award

Look out for my next article on chocolate where I will chat with Laurence Koutny, founder of “Art of Chocolate” and Winner of the 2013 Belgian Business Manager Trends Woman Award!

Thank you for joining me and hope to see you soon on ‘chriselda.blog

BY CHRISELDA BARRETTO

Contact Chriselda Barretto

[1] Source “The Sweet History Of Chocolate” by Christopher Klein

[2] Source “Can chocolate give me a happy-high?” by Josh Clark

[3] Source “Is Chocolate Fattening?” by Max D Gray

[4] Main article

Sign up on her Mailing list

Check out more projects by Chriselda Barretto

Her Blog – chriselda.blog

ART-IS-IN

HER BOOKS

THE DIG

“THE 3 PILLARS” PODCAST

The Heel Challenge!

By Chriselda Barretto

I know how we all love our “Louboutins“! Some more than others… and I think I might be part of the guilty party! The thing is if you love shoes, please note I said love and not addicted :), then the newer the model, the better it is to show it off. But let’s be honest, we can’t possibly afford to have so many pairs, without buring a hole through our wallets!

So I decided to take on the challenge of trying to find the most similar and more economical versions of some of the trendiest shoes, stilettos and heels in particular! Don’t worry, I will also follow up with flats, sandals and other shoes, if time permits. So keep a look out for my future articles…you never know when my creativity peaks and I erupt out articles like this one :)!

Without further ado, here are some of the closest versions I found to the real thing. Fancy something? Well…then click on it, and it will take you to where you can purchase it economically ;)!

Have a look and enjoy!

REAL 1

As close as it gets

Qupid Women’s LYRA-30 Heeled Sandal

Shorter heels

DREAM PAIRS Women’s Lowpointed Low Heel Dress Pump Shoes

Anne Michelle Exception 10 Womens Single Band Open Toe Platform Heeled Dress Sandals Neon Pink 8.5


REAL 2

AS CLOSE AS IT GETS

Guilty Shoes – Womens Cutout Gladiator Ankle Strap Platform Fashion High Heel Sandals Heeled Sandals, Blackv3 Pu, 8 M US

Shorter heels

TOP Moda LEVIN-27 Ankle Strap Open Toe Chunky Heel Platform Gladiator Sandal (Black, 8 M US)


REAL 3

AS CLOSE AS IT GETS

DREAM PAIRS Women’s Oppointed-Lacey Nude Nubuck Fashion Dress High Heel Pointed Toe Wedding Pumps Shoes Size 8 M US

Jessica Simpson Women’s Cirrus Dress-Pump

ZriEy Women’s Heeled Sandals Ankle Strap High Heels 10CM Open Toe Bridal Party Shoes Nude Size 7


REAL 4

AS CLOSE AS IT GETS

Elisabet Tang High Heels, Womens Pointed Toe Slip on Stilettos Party Wedding Pumps Basic Shoes NU 7 Nude

Shorter heels

Calvin Klein Women’s Brady Pump, Desert Sand Patent, 5 M M US

Shorter heels

Nine West Womens Flax Pump Barely Nude 8.5 M

JENN ARDOR Stiletto High Heel Shoes for Women: Pointed, Closed Toe Classic Slip On Pearl Dress Pumps (8 B(M) US, Pink)


REAL 5

AS CLOSE AS IT GETS

DREAM PAIRS Women’s Show Coral Nubuck High Heel Dress Pump Sandals – 10 M US

Onlymaker Women’s Gladiator Ankle Strap Lace up Open Toe Stiletto Harmoni Heeled Strappy Sandals Black 15 M US

Women Ankle Strap Stilettos High Heels Criss Cross Sandals Open Toe Bridal Wedding Evening Dress Casual Party Shoes (10, Red)

Huiyuzhi Womens Chunky Ankle Strappy Sandal Pumps Lace Up High Heels (10 B(M) US, 1-Red)


REAL 6

AS CLOSE AS IT GETS

Herstyle Charming Women’s Open Toe Ankle Strap Stiletto Heel Dress Sandals Elegant Wedding Party Shoes OrangeNeon 7.0

Shorter heels

Sam Edelman Women’s Patti Strappy Sandal Heel Jute Glam Mesh 6 W US

Sunday88 Women’s Stiletto Heel Lace-up Sandals Gold

Shorter, block heels

Madden Girl Women’s Beella Dress Sandal, Black Fabric, 8 M US


REAL 7

AS CLOSE AS IT GETS

PiePieBuy Women’s Pointed Toe High Heels Ankle Strap D’Orsay Pumps Shoes Bow Wedding Bowtie Back Dress Sandals (9 B(M) US – EU Size 40, Leopard)

Ermonn Womens Leopard Stiletto Heels Peep Toe Ankle Strap Thin High Heeled Pumps D’Orsay Sandals

High Heels, Women Pumps Shoes 3.94 inch/10cm Pointed Toe Stiletto Sexy Prom Club Heels LP 7

Shorter heels

IDIFU Women’s IN3 D’Orsay Pointed Toe Ankle Strap Mid Heel Low Kitten Dress Pump Shoes (8.5 M US, Leopard Suede)


REAL 8

AS CLOSE AS IT GETS

Olivia and Jaymes Women’s Strappy Triple Band Ankle Strap Chunky Platform High Block Heel Sandal for Wedding Party Office USA

DREAM PAIRS Women’s Hi-Chunk Floral High Heel Pump Sandals – 5.5 M US

Shorter heels

DREAM PAIRS Women’s Fiona Floral Fashion Stilettos Open Toe Pump Heeled Sandals Size 8 B(M) US


REAL 9

AS CLOSE AS IT GETS

Cambridge Select Women’s Classic Pointed Toe D’Orsay Inside Cutout Stiletto High Heel Pump

LAICIGO Women’s D’Orsay High Heels Stilettos Pointed Toe Slip-on Wedding Party Pumps Shoes

JENN ARDOR Stiletto High Heel Pointed Closed Toe Slip On Dress Party Wedding Evening Pumps Shoes for Women Pink 7.5 M US


REAL 10

AS CLOSE AS IT GETS

Sammitop Women’s 10cm High Heels Pumps Transparent Pointed Toe Party Club Office Dress Shoes US7

Mackin J 188-7 Transparent Pointed Toe Slip On Stiletto High Heel Pump (9, Clear Heel Transparent)

Miluoro Women Pointed Toe Transparent Rhinestones High Heels Party Wedding Pumps (7, Silver 4.72inches)


REAL 11

AS CLOSE AS IT GETS

Onlymaker Ankle Strap Gem Clear Stiletto High Heels Gladiator Transparent Strip Sandals with Rhinestones Rose Gold 11 M US

Jiandick Womens Rhinestone Ankle Bootie Prom Heeled Sandals Evening Dress Stiletto High Heel, Gold, 9 B(M) US

Allegra K Womens Strappy Rhinestone Heels Beige Heel Sandals – 7 M US


There you go, aren’t they all lovely? I hope you found a pair or two that you would like to have. Stay tuned for more of my articles on “Shoe challenges”!

Signup to my mailing list to receive a reminder to my future articles. Till then…chill, relax and take care! See you next time!

BY CHRISELDA BARRETTO

Contact Chriselda Barretto

Check out more projects by Chriselda Barretto :

Her Blog – chriselda.blog

ART-IS-IN

HER BOOKS

THE DIG

“THE 3 PILLARS” PODCAST

Signup to my mailing list

Trending on Instagram…But so NOT Trendy!

Hi Guys,

Welcome back to another one of my articles, this one all in the name of “fun”, not meaning to offend anyone or anything! Don’t we all just love browsing on Insta thinking ‘WOW’ most of the time and then suddenly you come across something so hideous…you don’t know if you should laugh or cry or maybe its just some kind of cruel, crazy prank, someone is playing on you!

I have been busy collecting some of these fashion “Faux Pas”, in the hope of making this entertaining read for you! Some of these ‘ideas’ defy logic and are simply impractical! I hope you have a good laugh like I did and concerning the people advertising these…WELL…they say ‘bad publicity is also publicity‘ (…Hahaha)!

So here goes…..have fun!

Photo by malcolm garret on Pexels.com

LOL…So btw this is supposed to be a shoe-bag! Please tell me they were kidding when they designed this “shoe on your back” thing! Maybe this is punishment if you bunk school, you get to carry this piece of work on your back? Who knows?

WHAT????…Need I say more! Are these different coloured Crab Claws? Like even her nail polish is chipped…this has to be a joke :)! Maybe I got this one wrong and this will be the next big thing?

🙂 Ladies…don’t we love glitter, but you agree that this is kinda overkill? I wonder if they are just stuck on…what happens if they fall into your food…would this be considered a choking hazard?

OK another nail one! Nice colours but…something’s wrong! The first two couldn’t possibly use a keyboard or a smartphone, I guess! Maybe they use it as a stylus? How do they manage to clean anything around them…like seriously LOL! No comment!

Ahem!…What are these even called? If you know, then please send me a message with its name! I seriosly think that this must be some kind of safety hazard, in the ‘Driving Law’ Rules and Regulations Booklet! Love the pink cat look…or is it ? 🙂

I love jewellry, especially rings, but this is what??? I mean like seriously, do the tassles go into your food, drinks, keyboard, etc… What about the normal things like writing, cooking or washing your hands…guess you either stay away from tasks like that or you don’t buy this!

Pretty as a picture, but….what happens when you open your eyes like the rest of us! 🙂 Maybe you can still see the details at the edge of your eye-lids, or you close your eyes again…just like in the pic and keep your nails close enough to show your attention to detail with the matching colours and all! Haha!

No comment here…I don’t want to offend…really! Hope they aren’t Swarovski!

Oh, this one had a video with it, showing the buckling of these “Cowboy thingies” on your pretty neat and normal ankle books! Maybe they add a bit of sparkle and a raunchy “Cowboy….sorry Cowgirl” look to it all!

Right! You better not eat, drink, kiss, nothing after you so nicely used all these lovely rainbow colours on your lips. Extremely artistic but…..! She started with 7-8 tubes of lipstick, quite handy carrying around 8 lipstick tubes with you everywhere, in your little handbag. I can’t find or mostly forget to carry even one tube… with great difficulty, imagine carrying around 8!

I saved the best for last…! Can somebody please tell me why this is considered trendy? It is repulsively disgusting! Maybe they love seafood? This probably was a joke gone wrong…!

That’s all folks for this round of “Trending but not trendy”! Hope to catch you around for the next one. Stay tuned and thanks for joining me :)! Take care…

By Chriselda Barretto

Contact Chriselda Barretto

Signup to my mailing list

Check out more projects by Chriselda Barretto :

Her Blog – chriselda.blog

ART-IS-IN

HER BOOKS

THE DIG

“THE 3 PILLARS” PODCAST

My Top 5 Easy-Peasy Chocolate Delights

Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

You know what I find really difficult? It’s keeping up with a recipe and especially those ones that go into 3-4 pages, or with difficult-to-source ingredients, or are just overly-complicated! I don’t think I could compete on “MasterChef”…forget it :)!

I love keeping things simple so naturally I go for easy recipes as well, that create just as stunning a dish within a couple of minutes. That said, something else that we don’t have the luxury of is “time“… we don’t really have all the time in the world now do we?

So here are my top 5 Easy-Peasy Chocolate Delights. Some I sourced online, while others were handed down to me or shared. If you are as lazy as me when it comes to baking, yet to the one eating your chocolaty dish…you are going to look like an absolute pro! Promise they taste divine!

Here goes and “Happy Baking”

  1. Home-made Chocolate Ice-cream

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup whole milk

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup granulated sugar

 2 cups heavy cream

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Method

  • Whisk together milk, cocoa powder, and sugar to combine. The sugar and cocoa should completely dissolve. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla extract
  • Refrigerate the chocolate ice cream base for at least 30 minutes before putting it in your freezer, so it is completely cold. (This will help it freeze faster, improve the texture, and allow the cocoa powder to be fully hydrated by the milk and cream)
  • Give the ice cream base one more gentle stir and freeze

Store your ice cream in an air-tight container, to help preserve its flavour and texture!

2. Simple Dark Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

200g dark chocolate

200g butter

225g sugar

5 eggs

2 tsp. of flour

Method

  • Melt the butter and chocolate. Mix in the sugar. Crack in the eggs one at a time and mix. Add the flour, mix
  • Cook at 180C for 25-30mins

*Thank you ‘Margot’ for this delight!

3. Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

125g butter

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup caster sugar

½ tsp. vanilla essence

1 egg

1¾ cups self-raising flour

½ tsp. salt

½ cup chocolate chunks or chips

Method

  • Preheat oven to 180°C or 160ºC (fan) and grease or line two baking trays with baking paper
  • Beat butter, brown sugar, caster sugar and vanilla until pale and creamy, add egg and beat until mixed
  • Sift in flour and salt, mix until combined before stirring in the chocolate chunks or chips
  • Roll heaped teaspoon sized balls of mixture and place on tray, press down lightly with a floured fork. Bake for approx. 12 minutes

4. Chocolate Molleux Cake

Ingredients

½ cup white sugar

¼ cup brown sugar

½ cup flour

A pinch of salt

½ cup butter, softened

4 ounces semisweet chocolate

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Method

  • Preheat oven to 160°C
  • Line a muffin pan with paper baking cups or use any individual moulds that you have. If you are using ramekins, brush the insides with melted butter
  • In a large bowl, mix together the sugars, flour, salt and eggs and stir briskly until mixed. Put the butter and chocolate in a double boiler and melt, stirring frequently until melted. Let cool slightly and pour into the first mixture and beat until blended. Stir in the vanilla
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared pans, filling half full. Bake for about 15 minutes, but don’t over-bake. Remove from oven and turn out onto a cooling rack

5. Easiest Choco Mousse

Ingredients

200g dark chocolate, broken into pieces

3 large eggs, separated

50g caster sugar

softly whipped cream, to serve (optional)

Method

  • Place the chocolate and 120ml of water in a large heatproof bowl set over a pan of just simmering water – the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water. Heat gently, stirring, until the chocolate is melted
  • Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly, then stir in the egg yolks with a wooden spoon until well combined
  • In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites with the sugar until stiff peaks form, then gently fold into the chocolate mixture
  • Spoon the mousse into individual dishes and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight. Top with softly whipped cream (optional)

Recommendations:

Most of these recipes are simple enough to do the whisking by hand, but what I use, and what makes it so much more easier is investing in a good hand mixer like the one shown below. It is so handy to have around and an extremely good buy!

KitchenAid – Ultra Power Hand Mixer

KitchenAid KHM512ER 5-Speed Ultra Power Hand Mixer, Empire Red

Thanks for joining me. Stay tuned for more of my upcoming lists and articles, especially for my follow-up articles around “Chocolate”. See you soon!

BY CHRISELDA BARRETTO

Signup to my mailing list

Check out more projects by Chriselda Barretto :

Her Blog – chriselda.blog

ART-IS-IN

HER BOOKS

THE DIG

“THE 3 PILLARS” PODCAST

5 “Beat the Summer-Heat” Tips

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Oh, dear, summer’s here,” I hear this phrase often, which after a certain point sounds comical as we complained all through the winter that we missed the sun. And now, we have too much sun, it seems! Wouldn’t you sometimes wish if you could jump into a pool and stay there all day, or better still to shut all your window shades and hibernate indoors just to escape that dreaded heat?

Fear not because I am going to reveal to you my top 5 tips to beat the heat and stay cool this summer. You probably are already doing some of them, if not… go ahead and give it a try. Stay calm and refreshed all summer long!

1) Ice cubes everywhere

Stock up your freezer with ice cubes. They are not only a lifesaver to add to all your drinks, but they could be used as a cold compress to cool you off. Stuff some of them into a clean cloth or sock, tie the end up and rub across your forehead, wrists, the back of your neck; your pressure points to feel refreshed. While at it you could also try some ‘Ice Therapy’. Read more about your Feng Fu point here.

Remember the ‘hot water bottle,’ fill it with cold water and some ice cubes and better still leave it in the freezer for a bit. Take it with you to bed to give you a fresher feel!

2) Lie low

Talking about beds…considering that the heated air will rise to the ceiling; it makes sense to move your mattress to the floor, as it will be cooler lower to the ground. Similarly, the ground floor of your “storied” house will generally be cooler than the upper floors.

3) Create a draft

We love air conditioning, but it isn’t very green or economical. Another way to keep cool is to use ventilators and to place them appropriately, like diagonally to a window so that it can optimise whatever little breeze passes by. Opening your windows/doors to create a draft running through your room will help.

Sometimes, depending on the isolation of your house, it’s cosier to close your shades and turn the lights off. The isolation maintains the cool air inside!

4) Cotton and more cotton

If you had to pick your clothing appropriately, then choose cotton or linen and go for light pastels instead of dark colours. Synthetics are a big “no-no,” as they do not breathe as easily as cotton does! Additionally, don’t forget to use cotton bed linen to give you a better, restful night.

5) Time to hydrate

I pile up loads of bottles of water into the fridge because there isn’t anything worse than drinking hot or room temperature water when it’s warm all around you. Take sips of cold water or make some lovely lemonade with many, many ice cubes! Try to stay away from hot drinks, but a few cocktails wouldn’t hurt anybody ;)!

Here is my ‘Easy Icy Cold Lemonade Recipe‘…ENJOY!

Photo by Wagner Soares on Pexels.com

(Serves 4, in under 10mins)

Ingredients

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 6 lemons)

3-3½  cups water

Prep

Make a sugar syrup [the general rule is using 1:1 sugar and water]. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Bring to a boil, occasionally stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Let it cool.

In a pitcher, combine the syrup with the lemon juice and 2½ to 3 cups water. Serve over lots of ice. If you find still-water boring, then replace with sparkling water…it’s just as fine!

CHRISELDA.BLOG

By Chriselda Barretto