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Food, Fashion, Friends : Recipes and Styling for Unforgettable Parties - Fleur Wood

Food, Fashion, Friends

Recipes and Styling for Unforgettable Parties

Hardcover

Published: 29th July 2010
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Cookbook, style guide and photographic tour de force, this is a gloriously indulgent celebration of the pleasures of frocking up, decking out and cooking up a storm.

Fashion designer and passionate home cook Fleur Wood shows us how to create the kind of event that delights the eye and ignites the imagination, from a wild-child birthday party to a winter solstice fondue dinner and afternoon tea in the greenhouse with the girls.

About The Author

Fleur Wood is one of Australia's leading fashion designers. She has stores around Australia, along with a loyal clientele in the United States and Europe. Her brand has become synonymous with beauty and style.

She has always had a passion for entertaining, which finds expression in her first book: Food, Fashion, Friends.

Fleur lives in Sydney with her husband, Nick, and their labrador, Skip.

Introduction

At home I have a kitchen shelf almost buckling under the weight of cookbooks, old and new, but I have always felt that one title was missing. Many are the times that I have reached for a book that would not only provide recipes for what to cook, but inspiration on how to put an entire menu together, from the canapes through to the dessert.

Things eventually came to a head when I awoke from a restless sleep early one Saturday morning to the daunting prospect of six friends arriving later that evening for supper. What should I serve as the entree? What could I cook as a complementary main? Oddly, it was my complete lack of inspiration early that morning that ultimately provided the inspiration for this book.

It was also born of a love of entertaining that I can trace back to my Sydney childhood. Some of my happiest and most abiding memories from that time are of watching my parents welcome friends into our suburban home. The gold-plate cutlery would come out. The fine china would also make a rare appearance. Dad would put on some Frank Sinatra or Elvis, while Mum would spike the ice cubes with gin. Back then, I would watch with wide-eyed wonder as Mum spent hours preparing the food - some curried snapper with a garnish of tinned pineapple, perhaps, or flambeed bananas. It all seemed very exotic at the time.

Just before the guests arrived, I would rifle through Mum's wardrobe, plucking out outfits for her to wear. Then I would stand peering up from the tiled bathroom floor as she styled her hair and put on her make-up, with some fabulously seventies flourishes. Late into the night, I would listen to laughter coming from the lounge room. Then, early the next morning, I would creep out of my bedroom, finish off the leftovers and go in search of any stray After Eights left scattered on the table. To my impressionable young mind, entertaining seemed glamorous, beautiful, fun - and the height of sophistication. It sparked my imagination even then.

My fascination with fashion grew from an early age, too. When an older sister rook me down to the local newsagent and invited me to pick out something to read, I ignored the shelves of comic books and pointed a precocious finger in the direction of the latest issue of Vogue. I watched Moonlighting and Dynasty, out of a strange, pre-adolescent enthrallment with Cybil Shepherd's power-suits and Linda Evans' sequined eveningwear. At the age of eight, I decided to give myself the grand title of 'family fashion consultant', and found what I thought were willing clients in my elderly aunties.

From the suburbs of Sydney, the journey into the fashion industry took me on a strange and circuitous route. To the Himalayas in northern India, for a start, where I spent two years with the exiled Tibetan community in Dharamsala. Setting out in search of spiritual enlightenment, I soon found myself chanting with Tibetan monks in their mountain-top temples and chilling out on the beaches of Goa. I not only immersed myself in the mysticism of India. Its lavish colours, fabrics and crafts were also irresistible. So, returning to Sydney I was filled with a new sense of purpose: I would launch my own textile business, from which my fashion label grew.

Joining me on that meandering journey have been some wonderful, food-loving friends and relatives. Flatmates who were serious foodies. Generous parents who prided themselves on their hospitality. Colleagues in the fashion industry with refined tastes and exquisite style. Old pals, like the internationally acclaimed chef Matt Moran, who has turned cooking into an art form. A husband who works as a globe-trotting foreign correspondent and who considers himself a world authority on food - based not so much on his knowledge of local cuisines as an insatiable level of consumption.



So this book brings together three things I have come to cherish and hold dear: food, fashion and friends.

It sets out a variety of recipes, menus and styling suggestions for a range of meals and events: the quintessential dinner parry, the relaxed weekend brunch, a kids' parry, an elegant afternoon tea, a simple country picnic. Some are straightforward. Others are much more intricate and sophisticated: more 'happy to slave all day' than 'throw it quickly together'.

Likewise, the food ranges from the really simple to the really complicated. There are the scrummiest chocolate cookies, pork roasts and lobster sandwiches. Then there are recipes for souffles, meringue cakes and rabbit ballotine. There are new twists on old favourites, such as macaroni cheese and the good old fondue. I have also managed to prise out some of the secret recipes from my favourite restaurants, such as the panna cotta from Italian restaurant Vini, in Sydney's Surry Hills. You can decide whether to serve the suggested menus in their entirety or choose individual dishes to present on their own. To make the most of these delicious recipes, I encourage you to use seasonal, organic produce wherever possible. Nor only is it better for you and the environment, it simply tastes better.

Just as the flavours and food come from all over the world, so, too, does the sense of fashion and style. There's inspiration from the flea markets of Paris to the vintage fairs of Manhattan; from the villages of rural England to the urban grunge of inner London; from the boutiques of Tokyo to the coastline and harbour of Sydney, which always draw me home.

The props have come from all over, as well: beautiful antiques, family hand-me-downs, sails from a shipyard, spray-painted backdrops, discarded milk crates and the occasional, bewildered cow.

Good food is best served with a great soundtrack. For that I have turned to my musical guru, Gary Sinclair, who always looks after the sound at my fashion shows. Again, there's everything from Pink Martini to The Velvet Underground, from Vivaldi to Massive Attack.

When it comes to entertaining, I would never claim to have all the answers. Far from it. There have been times in my kitchen when things have gone disastrously wrong, such as the night when the rice I was cooking stuck to the bottom of the pan and I tried to pass it off as smoked risotto - a recipe which, needless to say, didn't make it into the book.

For all that, I hope that Food, Fashion, Friends will enthuse and inspire. This book, remember, grew from a gap on my kitchen shelf I hope it will fill that vacant slot on yours.

ISBN: 9781921382277
ISBN-10: 1921382279
Audience: General
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 224
Published: 29th July 2010
Dimensions (cm): 30.3 x 22.3  x 2.4
Weight (kg): 1.32
Edition Number: 1