creative direction & photography CYNTHIA NGUYEN
recipe adapted ASHLEY ALEXANDER


An
Insatiable Hunger
for More.

The first article of 2018. This year, I wanted to introduce a new section to my blog and incorporate more delicious food and lifestyle-related articles.

Food has always been a realm of passion and stimulation for me. We’re not talking about eating to gain just nourishment, but to expand opportunities for social gatherings and encourage togetherness. To share good food, good company, enjoyment and love. To explore another creative venture for one to be excited about, challenged and share with those around them. To grow a wonderful skill to own at home for yourself and pass down.

 

Having grown up with a talented chef as a father who cooks all sorts of cuisines and a mom who cooks breathtaking Vietnamese dishes at home, the insatiable hunger for a wider experience in tasting and cooking continues. This shift and addition to my blog is seen as another way to further diversify and strengthen my cooking as a self-taught cook and creative. It has become a method to encourage me to record all of my parents’ recipes down for myself. When it comes to food, not only do I want to share the places I’ve eaten within my city and other countries, but I would like to share my take on cooking. Whether they’re adapted recipes from other chefs to passed down family recipes, I’d like my blog to be a space where I share my other passions aside from fashion and photography. 

In this article, I’m sharing with you my take on the Beetroot Spaghetti dish with Pesto. I originally found the Beetroot Spaghetti recipe through an Instagram story that was shared by Ashley of Gather and Feast. Since the original recipe paired the pasta with goat cheese– I wanted to find a dairy-free alternative. Which lead me to pairing it with a nice green pesto made up of spinach, pistachio and thyme. You’ll also see that I’ve swapped Spaghetti for Tagliatelle, as I wanted a wider and thicker pasta for more real estate to be covered in beetroot puree. It’s been one of those things I’ve been dying to try but couldn’t…simply because I didn’t own a food processor. Side note: Thanks J for lending me yours! I’m still in the market looking for a good one. Suggestions are welcomed!

Without further ado, here is the Beetroot Tagliatelle with Pistachio Thyme Pesto recipe. Bon Appétit!

Beetroot Tagliatelle with Pistachio Thyme Pesto
Serves 4
A modern and dairy-free way to enjoy Tagliatelle and beetroot.
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Ingredients
  1. 3-4 large fresh beetroot
  2. 2 cups water
  3. 1 onion
  4. 2½ tbs balsamic vinegar
  5. ¼ cup olive oil
  6. 4 cloves fresh garlic
  7. 2 cups spinach
  8. 5½ tbs fresh thyme leaves
  9. ½ juice of lemon or lime works
  10. ½ cup of pistachios
  11. ½ tsp grated nutmeg
  12. 500g good quality Tagliatelle
  13. Pinch of chili flakes
  14. ½ tsp sea salt
  15. Pepper, to taste
Toppings
  1. Walnuts
  2. Pistachio
  3. Fresh Sage
For the Pistachio Thyme Pesto
  1. Add the spinach, 4½ tbs fresh thyme leaves, pistachio, nutmeg, lemon juice, 3 cloves of finely chopped garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor until well-combined, but still slightly chunky. You may add a pinch of chili flakes for a little kick.
For the Beet Tagliatelle
  1. Peel the beetroot, roughly chop and place onto a paper lined baking tray. Season with pinch of salt and bake for roughly 45mins - 1 hour.
  2. Remove the beetroot from the oven and add to a blender or food processor (once cooled).
  3. Add 2 cups water and blend until smooth. You may add another ½ cup of water if you find the texture still too thick.
  4. Place a large fry pan onto medium heat and add a tbs of olive oil with the 1 clove of finely chopped garlic, chili flakes and ½ tbs thyme leaves and sauté for a few minutes until fragrant.
  5. Add the pureed beetroot, balsamic vinegar and a generous pinch of salt and stir until warmed through.
  6. Cook your Tagliatelle as per packet instructions (al dente), drain and add to the beetroot mixture, fold in and stir well to completely coat the pasta.
  7. Place the Tagliatelle into a large serving bowl or individual serving bowls and top with the pistachio and thyme pesto. Serve and enjoy!
Notes
  1. You may also add walnuts/pistachios/fresh sage on top
Adapted from Ashley Alexander
Adapted from Ashley Alexander
Pinch of Chic http://www.pinchofchic.com/

 

creative direction CYNTHIA NGUYEN photography VINCENT KO in collaboration with SHEIN and NICOLE VIENNA

Pinch of Chic Shein Ruffle Sleeves

Let’s understand what’S HAPPENED

This entry is my second article published in 2017— another little milestone reached! In between all this crazy hustling and bustling, there’s no better way to give yourself some positivity but to take a breather from reality and just start typing away your feelings…or ‘feels’ if you will.

Man, has this year gone by rocket fast… It feels like only a few months ago did I decide to start a blog in my little bedroom I was renting out in a student house during my final year of post secondary. My full-time work schedule has shaded so much of my vision and attention that I had completely forgotten that my blog had turned 3 years old! January 7th marks the day this site launch. I told myself 3 years ago that I only had 3 years to hit that ‘blogging peak.’ You know, that pinnacle of success— that tier where one gets all the endless invitation to Paris Fashion addressed with ‘Madame’, get offered cool collaborations with Louis Vuitton and be gifted Chloe Drew bags of every neutral shade. I told myself that if I didn’t reach that peak within 3 years that I was going to fail the rest of the way because that new wave of bloggers will simply come and surpass me and my reach. There was no real over arching purpose for Pinch of Chic, other than to share my favourite outfits, foods, rants as well as inspirational pins from my Pinterest boards. In my previous post, I had mentioned that I migrated from Squarespace to WordPress and during the midst importing all the photos, I came across all my earlier blog posts when I had just started back in 2014. It was super nostalgic and pretty heart-warming to see where I’ve begun. J.Crew obsessed and Sophia Webster-loving… Wow, talk about trekking down memory lane.

Now, seeing my spurts of effort in the form of blog posts created alongside such talented photographers makes me feel kind of touched. All my great efforts to keep this blog alive, even with the sporadic posting times still did me good.

Looking at today, I wouldn’t exactly say that I’m an established ‘influencer.’ I don’t have the numbers and I definitely don’t have the kind of time like the full-time, dedicated ‘established’ influencers do. I would much rather call myself a content creator if anything. With that being said— I don’t really know how far this blog will go but 3 years has certainly passed and I’m still sitting here writing in this text field… All in all, it’s just real nice to know that I got this far with this platform— with opportunities to create and collaborate with great people anytime. Pinch of Chic not only has just been a blog but a portfolio book for me, as well as a platform for people to be inspired and feel as if they were engaging in conversation with me. It’s funny to acknowledge that this blog has opened so many doors for me— making great friends, pushing my creative thinking, practicing my entrepreneurial and negotiating skills, working with cool brands and independent designers, encouraging me to constantly go out and uncover the hidden gems, network and hunt for the most awesome brunch places all around my city. To showcase my hood through my taste and brand voice.

I’d say I’m doing pretty alright, even if I haven’t received my Chloe bag yet.

You can find me me doing a victory dance to surviving 2016 in exaggerated ruffles (only $15! See details below) with my good friend, latte.

 


Caught up with Vincent over some beautiful, and I mean really beautiful brunch at Baddies. Test drove the granola yoghurt + chia pudding.

OUTFIT DETAILS— Top SHEIN Suede pants BANANA REPUBLIC Watch NICOLE VIENNA Elenah heels NINE WEST

 

 

 

 

creative direction CYNTHIA NGUYEN photography VINCENT KO in collaboration with LIVSSTIL

Happy 2017! It’s another new year and what does that mean?

The whole ‘NEW YEAR, NEW ME’ kind of stuff. Which equals new changes! Good changes? We’ll see.
Here’s to hoping it all works out well of course. With that being said— it was time curate a brief hit list to post on my little o’ blog.

Time is indeed too precious to remain comfortable and not to take some risks. So I made some goals…

Number one— For this particular blog, I wanted to explore and further develop my articles more creativity and editorially.
For that, I had to migrated from different blogging platforms… THOUGHTS???

Number two—  Realized that life is getting way too short for me to stick to basics all the time. Here I am, wearing sparkles from head to toe in broad daylight, out and about eating brunch at La Société on a regular Saturday morning. No, I was not performing a cover of Michael Jackson for Snapchat or Youtube. I decided for myself– I can enjoy a meal in public in a getup like this. Why not. Why shave off your years of youth without making at least a day or two outrageously fun for you and glorious for others to see.

Number three—I told myself to travel at least twice a year. I traveled to Europe for the first time just late last year! Yippee!

Number four— I [just] started working out. Confession, I don’t gym… at all. Only on a few of those blue moon days a year do I suddenly get that spurt of motivation that only lasts for about maybe 2-3 hours. But unfortunately for me… my metabolism HAS slowed down for me in the last year. I saw the shift in my weight, I whined about it for a bit before committing to change my lifestyle with regards to including time to do real fitness and choosing what I eat more mindfully. Next, I need a blender. Fancy shakes and acai bowls, here I come!

Number five— Start posting about interior. And get more furniture. I’ve lived in my home for just over a year now. (My home anniversary was December 14, 2015–YAY! Does such an anniversary exist? Who really knows.) Next thing is to print and frame my work, get a sweet rug and a couple of end tables.

Shop my entire look at LIVSSTIL

Brunch: croque madame, pain au chocolat, buttermilk pankcakes, mille feuille at La Société

rogue bag c/o COACH
oversized jacket in metallic RELIGION
cargo trousers in metallic RELIGION
the progress hat FALLENBROKENSTREET

in this photo
mille feuille La Société

And…..what are all your lovely goals for 2017?
Let me know in the comments below!
+ Happy new year, folks!


American Apparel lightweight Dylan trench in Paperback
Ecru lab Shakepearean Luv silky button-down cami
Zara white wide leg trousers
Yves Saint Laurant Nude Wrap Ankle Block Heels
Sunglasses (Similar here and here)


Perhaps it’s time to acknowledge that I have a brunch addiction. It’s pretty evident and real. And no, I’m not ashamed. Truth is, it’s an actual expense I put aside for…for each and every weekend, if possible. It’s the joyful time I look forward to each weekend while vigorously going over geo-locations and foodie blogger Instagram’s  for enticing food photos.

Had the great pleasure of kicking off my brunch adventures at Bar Reyna on Cumberland St. with Darlene of The New Girl. The space was nothing short when it came to interior and exterior decor and the food itself. Impeccable Greek fries with shaved feta, delicious oysters and tasty shakshuka. (If you’re looking for a good Shakshuka— I recommend the one served at the ONE Hazleton restaurant.) Oh, and a nice glass of mimosa of course. In a extremely odd way— it’s almost therapeutic for me when I’m sitting down and eating brunch…after a long period of shooting the untouched food. Maybe it’s just good food in general moves people like that..  Or maybe I developed this love for food through being raised by a chef as a father and stay-home mom that cooks phenonmenal Vietnamese food. Don’t be jealous! x

All in all— I love brunch. I have a shirt that says it. And no— an all day breakfast wouldn’t count!  

Photography by: Darlene Anderson



J.Crew Cotton Off-the-shoulder Top
J.Crew Rayner Trousers
Lack of Color Spencer Boater Hat
Call it Spring Aralle Heels (On sale for $30!)
Massimo Dutti Suede Cross body bag

See below for similar options!


Let me tell you… if you do decide to go out and shoot photos– don’t wear an off-the-shoulder top. Definitely not ideal as it’s quite difficult move around in with the elastic band around your shoulders being restricted. Cute yet not the most awesome idea for comfort and working efficiency.

On that note, I’m slowly being sucked into the “cold shoulder” trend. Considering snagging some dramatic ruffle tops/dresses. Maybe a piece in satin or silk if possible for a more elevated, chic, look. We will see…

On a “Chic Eats” note, I went to Smith (I totally dig their branding which Leo Burnett did and their site) on Church St. with my lovely blogger-pal, Vincent Ko. Ordered their crazy french toast, a massive and extremely dense stack of pancakes, accompanied by some scrumptious and bomb-ass donuts (which I highly recco getting if you ever find yourself at Smith restaurant.) Practically almost passed out after the big, carb, brunch consumption party…

Photography by: Vincent Ko