Friday, November 19, 2010


The irony of this week is that I am reading the much acclaimed novel Eat, Pray, Love whilst on a very carbohydrate prohibitive diet.  It's been hell...although I have been living out my food fantasies vicariously through the novel.

The author begins her journey of self discovery in Rome, spending 3 months there completely indulging and immersing herself and her taste buds in the local food and wine.  She writes about a pizzeria in Naples that produces the most amazing pizza with a base similar to naan bread.  I really...really want to go there....NOW!  Alas...its back to my little bowl of cashews.....

So, this week, we bring you an exciting summer pizza recipe that will have everyone queuing up for seconds, the Italian version of Coco Chanel, plus some great Christmas gift ideas fresh off the delivery truck!...and more, so read on and take a leaf of the Italians book....enjoy...and most importantly...indulge!

Elsa Schiaparelli (10 September 1890 — 13 November 1973) was an Italian fashion designer. Along with Coco Chanel, her greatest rival, she is regarded as one of the most prominent figures in fashion between the two World Wars. Starting with knitwear, Schiaparelli's designs were heavily influenced by Surrealists like her collaborators Salvador DalĂ­ and Alberto Giacometti. Her clients included the heiress Daisy Fellowes and actress Mae West.

Schiaparelli did not adapt to the changes in fashion following World War II and her business closed in 1954.
Schiaparelli was born at the Palazzo Corsini in Rome. Her mother was a Neopolitan aristocrat and her father a renowned scholar and curator of medieval manuscripts. Her father, Celestino, was Dean of the University of Rome and an authority on Sanskrit. She was a niece of astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli, who discovered the canali of Mars, and she spent hours with him studying the heavens. 

She studied philosophy at the University of Rome, during which she published a book of sensual poems that shocked her conservative family. Schiaparelli was sent to a convent until she went on hunger strike and at the age of 22 accepted a job in London as a nanny. Elsa led a refined life with a certain amount of luxury provided by her parents’ wealth and high social status. She believed, however, that this luxury was stifling to her art and creativity and so she removed herself from the “lap of luxury” as quickly as possible. Schiaparelli moved first to New York City and then to Paris, combining her love of art and design to become a surrealist couturier.

In Paris, Schiaparelli - known as "Schiap" to her friends - began making her own clothes.  Schiaparelli was an innovative woman and fashion designer. She had a lot of "firsts" in the fashion industry. Her career began with her introduction of graphic knitwear to the world of fashion with knit patterns and emblems.

As Madonna was a ground breaker in the music scene, so was Elsa to the world of fashion, and her designs and style mould can be seen in todays fashion influences around the world.

Just arrived! French Style 3 Piece Garden Setting.

French Style Wooden Door Panels with Iron Inserts...a perfect way to complete your gardening project.

Rustic Chandelier.  Fully Wired.  What a statement!

Rustic Style Wooden Garden Bench.  Perfect for those who love to read and enjoy the garden at the same time.

My favourite....our gorgeous Stone Based Hurricane Lanterns, make the perfect Christmas Table Centrepiece.

Everyone loves Pizza and this week, we bring to you a beautiful traditional pizza recipe.  Tomatoes are pretty much available year round, but always are so much more tastier in the warmer months.  Take advantage of their freshness and summer flavour with this amazing Summer Pizza.


  • 4   tomatoes (about 2 pounds), seeded and chopped
  • 1  teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1   small red onion, cut into thin slices
  • Fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes (about 2 cups)
  • 6  tablespoon(s) chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) fresh-ground black pepper
  • 2  shop purchased pizza bases
  • 1/2 cup(s) grated Parmesan
  • 2  tablespoon(s) olive oil
  1. Heat the oven to 450°F. Put the tomatoes in a strainer set over a medium bowl. Toss with the salt and let drain for 15 minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the drained tomatoes with the onion, mozzarella, basil and pepper. Top each pizza shell with half of the tomato mixture.
  3. Sprinkle the pizzas with the Parmesan and drizzle with the oil. Bake directly on the oven rack until the cheese just melts, about 8 minutes.
  4. Grilled Pizza: The summer ingredients on this pizza make it a perfect candidate for grilling. Brush a tablespoon of oil on the top of the pizza bases and set them, oiled-side down, on the grill. Cook until warm, about three minutes. Brush with another tablespoon of oil, flip the bases, and top with the remaining ingredients. Cook until the cheese just melts, about ten minutes.
 Bellissimo!...Dig in...

The Perfect pre- dinner Cocktail...and so very Italian too.  The Negroni!

Ingredients: 1/3 Vermouth rosso, 1/3 Bitter Campari, 1/3 Dry Gin.
Preparation: Served on the rocks, you need to use a medium tumbler or a old fashioned glass, stir the ingredients directly in your glass and garnish with a half slice of orange and lemon peel.

Cheers to all and hoping that your weekend is a great one.  We know it will be!
 Be sure to pop into the showroom for a spot of Christmas shopping.  We have a huge selection of unique and exquisite gifts and homewares, made especially for the person who has everything! 

Until next week.....
The Charcoal Girls xxx