Two weeks ago I had the joy of working on not one, but TWO collaborations with some of the best food bloggers I know. First, at the start of the week I invited Aimee R. from Wallflower Kitchen into my home and together we made these fluffy vegan pancakes. (Sooooo yummy!) Then, later that same week Silvia from Salvia+Limone and Aimee T. from Twigg Studios popped by to bake today's insanely yummy vegan apple cinnamon buns.
Those of you who read the blog regularly or follow me on instagram will know that Silvia, Aimee T. and I baked together once before earlier this year when we created this vegan matcha pistachio tres leches cake. So gorgeous, right?! We promised one another that very day we'd meet and bake together again and true to our word, we did!
If you are a regular reader of my blog or follow me on instagram, then you know I adore hanging out with fellow food blogging friends. In fact cooking and baking with other women who love food as much as I do may just be my most favourite part of blogging. And last week I got extra lucky because I had the chance to create vegan magic in the kitchen with Aimee R. from Wallflower Kitchen and then, a few days later, with Aimee T. from Twigg Studios and Silvia from Salvia + Limone. BLISS!
If you don't know already, Aimee R. is not just 'any' vegan blogger. Nope! Apart from being breath-takingly beautiful, super duper sweet AND an awesome baker, she's also the successful cookbook author of Coconut Milk Icecream, a book dedicated to making creative and tasty vegan ice creams. Oh and she's always saying I don't look my age, meaning I'm MEGA fond of her and will never turn down an opportunity to bake with her ;).
These last few weeks, well months really, have been a whirlwind of craziness and this blog post right here is yet another example of the unexpected twists and turns I never imagined possible. See there are a few blogs out there that I am TOTALLY obsessed with. Like, big crush obsessed; like I follow them like a crazy stalker obsessed, like I loose my breath every single time they post something on instagram obsessed. That's because these bloggers produce images and recipes that just move me in ways I can't even put into words. And sadly my blog doesn't have emojis cuz they might do a better job at expressing my feelings than a collection of random sentences ever could.
Berlin based Susann and Yannic who you might know as KRAUTKOPF are two bloggers who firmly fall into this 'I'm obsessed with their blog' category. And if you have a quick glimpse at their instagram page you will totally understand what I'm on about. Hence when they contacted me to try out their vegetarian cooking app because they were interested in my feedback, I practically choked on my avo toast. Surely, this couldn't be? I didn't even know they had clocked that I was stalking them, thought I'd covered my tracks real good, but somehow they did know I existed and moreover they wanted my input. So after double checking that they'd not made a mistake and contacted the wrong blogger (I mean, these things happen, right?) and drinking some water to shift that piece of bread out of my throat, I said HELL YEAH!
Hi everyone! I hope you enjoyed PART 1 of the food photography backdrops series as this week I bring you PART 2! To keep the blog post as short and informative as possible, I haven't included a recipe today. Sorry. But I'll be back with a stunning recipe next time. Is that ok? Cool ;)! Ok, so let's quickly move on to two of my most favourite food photography backdrop options EVER, shall we? Fabrics and metals...
Storage: easy/medium/a tad more complicated
For those of you who have been following me for a while on instagram, you'll know I'm OBSESSED with fabrics. In fact you'll be hard pressed to find an image in which I don't use fabrics. That's because I love the look, feel and texture of fabrics so, so much and believe they often add the missing ingredient to a shot.
Hi everyone! I can't tell you how excited I am about this week's blog post. Not only am I bringing you an ACE vegan pad thai recipe (so, SO good), but I'm also tackling another major food photography secret - how to create, source and buy FANTASTIC food photography backdrops.
Following this post on instagram and tons of questions on the subject over the past few weeks, I'm well aware that you've been keen to read up on my tips and tricks ;) and truth be told, I'm even keener to share them with you in the hope that they are going to be helpful.
Now a few notes from the outset - if you're just here for the recipe, please scroll all the way down. The recipe IS there somewhere ;). And if you're hoping to learn everything there is to know about backdrops, let me warn you now, I'm breaking this topic up into 4 blog posts as there's quite a bit to say about the matter. So sorry in advance that you won't find all the answers here today. Thing is, I'm well aware my blog posts have been a tad bit too long recently (ooops) and I really don't want to demand too much of your time in one sitting.
Okay, so without further ado....
FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY BACKDROPS PART 1
As some of you know I recently prop styled a commercial shoot and - just as I do at home - my starting point was my backdrop. It's because a backdrop really sets the tone for your picture and can TOTALLY make or break a shoot. Now, I appreciate not everyone has got a big prop house with tons of backdrops a few tube stops away at their disposal, so here some ideas which you CAN recreate at home with ease.
Storage: easy/medium/a tad more complicated
Hi everyone. Thanks for finding your way back again to my little corner of the blogosphere :). Thanks too for all the AMAZING comments on my last post about working with brands. Both in the comment section itself and on instagram you had heaps to say about the matter and lots of tips to share, which made me feel like it was right to release that blog post into cyberspace. Moreover, ironically, I had tons of brands contact me since I unleased that blog post, which made me giggle. The universe has such a funny way of working ;).
BUT in the midst of all the e-mails one company totally stood out - Green Leaf Matcha. The company is a small start-up dedicated solely and completely to the most gorgeous organic matcha tea I have EVER tasted. Like I said, I felt like a fairy scattering previous gold dust when I was working with Green Leaf Matcha tea, it''s so lush.
The owners explained to me that they chose to sell this particular tea because it was important to them to have an organic super premium ceremonial matcha tea; they'd not settle for anything less. Interestingly, the tea leaves stem from Uji, Kyoto in Japan; this variety of leaves has been cultivating there since the 13th century. Subtle but important nuances in taste sets this tea apart from any other. It also packs a kick-a**-antioxidant- high-level-chlorophyll punch. Plus the colour is just to DIE for!
Is it just me, or did the last 2 weeks just fly by? I could have sworn I was just putting together the finishing touches to my last blog post and now I'm 'due' another one. How did that happen?
Anyway, today I wanted to talk a tiny bit about setting your price when working with brands as a food blogger. Now, if that's of no interest to you whatsoever, than just scroll down and go straight to the recipe at the very bottom of this blog post :). But, if this topic IS of interest, then do read on and be prepared to be bombarded with LOTS of info. You've been warned :)...
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where –” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“–so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.” - Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Caroll (1832 -1898)
I kinda feel like Alice at the moment, which is why this quote really resonated with me when I spotted it on Jessica's instagram feed a few days ago. See with all the joy that's come from finishing my nutrition course, I am now faced with the reality of saying goodbye to my student status and getting serious about working again, of finding something 'real' to do. But what do I want to do? Where do I want to get to? I wasn't so sure...
Hey everyone! It's another fact filled blog post today, which I'll break into 3 sections for ease. Meaning that you can just skip to the bits that you're most interest in. Sound good?
Great, so in today's blog post I'll be talking a little more about some key food photography lessons I learned during my #InFranceWeCook workshop. You can find the corresponding blog post and all the photos taken during the workshop here AND you can also see a little behind-the-scenes video at the very bottom of this blog post :).
Secondly, I'm over the moon to tell you that I'll be co-hosting a food photography, yoga and creative gathering event in North Devon with Aimee from Twigg Studios and Carole from Mademoiselle Poirot. If you're interested to learn more and wish to join us then do read on ;).
Finally, I'll sharing today's vegan recipe which I developed together with Carole from Mademoiselle Poirot at her gorgeous South London home. Therefore, if you'd like just came for that, I suggest you scroll down to the very bottom of the blog post to find what you're looking for ;)
After 3 long, ardeous years during which I practically abandoned my friends, neglected my family and pretty much stopped sleeping, I can gladly report that the completion of my nutrition studies is now firmly in sight. In fact if my arms weren't so short, I'd already be able to touch the light at the end of tunnel, but alas, they are short so I still have a teeny, tiny bit to go ;). For me the most important thing though was getting my final exam out of the way and on Friday the 17th of June, 2016 at 11am I handed it in with the hope of never ever writing another exam ever again. Woohoo!!! If that's not reason enough to celebrate, I don't know what is.
Hi everyone! I hope you're all doing super well. In contrast to me cuz I'm totally stressed :(. Bitten off more than I can chew (again!) and trying to stay afloat during final exam preparations. As a result of my other commitments today's blog post is really short; that's cuz I must get my act together and STUDY! BUT I am leaving you with a really yummy vegan recipe which was a massive hit here in The Little Plantation household. I hope that makes up for the short blog post. PLUS there's also an awesome cookbook giveaway courtesy of The Book People this week. Am I forgiven yet ;)?
I'm delighted to be able to send a lucky reader a copy of Aine Carlin's book Keep It Vegan. The Book People kindly provided me with a copy for you to enjoy which was super generous of them, wasn't it?
A few months ago I got a lovely invitation to spend a long weekend in a rustic farm house in the French countryside. The initial idea was to hang out and have some fun, but seeing that it was super talented Aimee T. from Twigg Studios asking, the lazy weekend concept was quickly ditched for a full blown food photography emersion workshop. See neither one of us could afford one of the luscious food photography retreats run by star bloggers, so we set out creating our very own little version of that on a shoestring :).
Furthermore we thought: What if we got a handful of other gifted women to join us who were all willing to share their specific knowledge and skill base, not for financial gain but instead for sheer pleasure! Wouldn't it be super empowering and a great opportunity to support one another at becoming the best that we can be creatively? So with that idea in mind we approached Aimee R. from Wallflower Kitchen a talented vegan baker and cookbook author, my sister Sumera an artist and singer who is developing her film making skills and Aoife, a wedding photographer with an eye for portrait photography and photo editing. Needless to say they all agreed to take part.
Me, wearing my Grace Apron from Thread & Whisk and feeling like a princess Linen napkins by Heal's
Hi everyone. Hope you're all well :)
I've got LOTS in store for you this week. which is why I thought it would be helpful if I break this week's blog post down for you, so you can skip to the bits you're actually interested in ;). Cuz - just so you know - this is a looooong one and I don't want you getting bored ;).
This week you can find info on...
I've been dying to write about superfoods ever since I started my little plantbased blog and with turmeric as the star ingredient in this week's vegan recipe, I coudn't think of a better time to share my thoughts on superfoods. This means I'll give you a list of the 7 superfoods that I believe truly live up to their name and should appear on your plate every single day!
2. BLOGIVERSARY + A COOKBOOK GIVE-AWAY!
It's actually my blogiversary this week. Eeeeek! I STILL feel like a novice, but here I am finishing my second year of blogging. Crazy stuff! To celebrate I'm giving away a copy of Jessica Sepel's new book The Healthy Life. This give-away is open to UK and EU residence, so do check it out:). I'll provide a short review of the book and then I'll let you know what you need to do for a chance to win it.
3. TURMERIC RECIPES
I'm sharing 2 superfood recipes this week. One is this healthy raw vegan breakfast come snack recipe (the BOMB by the way). Two is a crazy sexy superfood Turmeric Cinnamon Tea on the Rocks recipe which you'll find over on Heal's blog this week. Just cuz turmeric is SO good, I had to create 2 easy and delicious recipes so you've got no excuse not to give this spice a go ;).
I posted the following statement under this image of Xochi Balfour's new healthy lifestyle book 'The Naturalista' on instagram the other day:
'FACT I get lots of cookbooks sent to me. FACT I buy lots of cookbooks,. FACT I'd never recommend something I don't wholehearted believe in.
So if I say that the healthy living book 'The Naturalista' by @xochibalfour is INSANELY AWESOME you better believe it's true. I hope this treasure gets the attention it so deserves when it comes out at the end of April. @xochibalfour you should be darn proud of this looker.'
And, though it's been a few weeks now since I first received the book, I still feel mega excited about it and super duper lucky to have been given a copy. Yup, it's THAT good. So, what about it is so special, you might wonder? Well, ...
1. The voice behind the book - Xochi is engaging, genuine, so, so sweet and I read the story of her journey to health with great interest. It's one that so many of us can relate to. (I'm not telling you more. You just gotta buy the book ;)). Plus, I've had the pleasure of meeting Xochi in person and I can tell you, she's not a brand. She's the real deal :).
2. The stunnig, healthy and most importantly achieveable recipes - I have literally bookmarked every other page - banana almond pancakes, kale and avocado rice with pickled carrots, smoky beet hummus etc.. I mean there are soooo many recipes to get excited about and most of them require ingredients that are easy to come by. However, please be warned - there are a few non-vegetarian recipes in this book. It doesn't bother me as you can count them on 1 hand, but I'm aware that for some of you this may be a deal breaker, which is why I'm pointing it out.
3. Drop dead gorgeous photography - In case it's not totally obvious from the hours I spent writing about it, I'm obsessed with good food photography. And this book's got some of the most stunning shots I've seen in a long, long time. In fact, if I ever photograph a cookbook I kinda want the pictures to look like the ones in Xochi's book *blush*.
Hi everyone! If you're here to get the recipe for the vegan pistachio milk green smoothie which I created exclusively for Heal's then please head over to their blog where you'll find some more images of the recipe creation process as well. The smoothie recipe was put together to show off one of the gorgeous Mervyn Gers Bowls which they sell at their flagship store on Tottenham Court Road in Central London. As those of you who follow along on instagram know, I have been a massive fan of anything Mervyn Gers makes and so this collaboration felt like a match made in heaven.
I often get asked about where and how I source my food photography props so, as I'm not sharing a recipe on the blog today, I thought I'd take a little time out to talk you through where I get my food photography props from and how I choose them instead. I hope this will be of some help to you.
When first starting out....
1. Use what you've got.
When I first got into food blogging I just used the plates and bowls I had at home. It was a very cheap and easy way to get started and also helped me experience first hand why certain plates work better than others. For example, there was nothing particularly remarkable about the plates I used for my Spring pearl barley risotto recipe, but the simplicity of the plates let the food shine, which was all that was needed.
And whilst in South America I used these cute little bowls, which were the only ones I had to hand, to show off this easy vegan blackberry crumble. The bowls were mainly white, but had some simple detailing around the edges, which just worked for this particular shot. And - from my experience - it is simple plates and bowls like these that make a good recipe look great!
There are hundreds of thousands of food blogs out there. In fact, there's one source on the net which claims that there are over 2 million food blogs currently in existence. CRAZY, right!?! Yet, somehow I feel I've been lucky enough to find the right food blogs to get stuck into and get excited about. They aren't always the most well known (in fact I love 'discovering' blogs with smaller followings ;)), but the food blogs I read all have two key things in common:
1. They are about good, home-made, delicious, flavoursome food and
2. They are written by kind, thougtful bloggers whose voices I want to 'listen' to.
At the start of 2016 I had made it one of my goals to post more recipes of the actual foods I eat on a day to day basis here on the blog. This meant more savoury dishes with whole grains and legumes as the star attraction. No sooner had I put that statement out there, did life firmly grab hold of it and make it become a reality. Or better, NETFLIGHTS did. They contacted me, asking me to prepare a dish that represented my heritage and this Colombian bean stew - which I veganised ;) - instantly came to mind as THE recipe I needed to make for them.
I am never sure how I come across on social media. If the person you envisage me to be, is anything like the person I really am. If you hear my voice in your mind the way it actually sounds (deep-ish, subtle American accent, that's gone a bit British – think Madonna in her Guy Richie days) or if you're totally off the mark ;). So in case it's not blatantly obvious – and just for your info - I am a social creature. Now, don't get me wrong, I LOVE my own company and have no problems being alone, but I thrive mostly in social situations. Hence going from a busy office full of chatty, like-minded social workers to a quiet studio (AKA the guest bedroom) where I work in solitude has been an interesting change. I am extremely happy I followed my heart and moved into blogging/food photography/recipe development (you can read more about that change here), but that's not to say being on my own during the day hasn't required some getting used to.
Consequently, I relish any given opportunity to replace my hours of solitude with moments of chatter and laughter surrounded by talented, creative and lovely women. Women who are eager and open to share their special gift and unique talent with me (I feel so lucky!). Women whose generosity made today's blog post possible.
A few days ago my son turns 6. Can you believe it, 6! I know it sounds so cliché, but time truly does fly when you're having fun. And when you have children you can actually see the physical evidence of life's continual forward flow, which is quite grounding as well as - for me on this occasion - really upsetting. (I so wish my blog platform did emojis cuz I'd insert that crying face with buckets of tears streaming out of its eyes right here).
It's not that I miss the baby stage, I don't at all and every day, every week and every year that passes by I enjoy motherhood more and more. But it's that realisation that everything is just temporary and that I can't hold on to the here and now forever, not even for my little boy. And that recognition left me feeling a tiny bit lost the other day. I don't know, but I just felt emotional.
Before I started writing my blog, I read blogs. Loads of them. All the time. And what I noticed as I did so, was that many of the food bloggers I followed got cookbooks send to them. For free!!!! Sometimes even before they were released in the shops!!!! I mean if getting free cookbooks isn't the best thing EVER about food blogging, I don't know what is. And (confession time!) though the hope of receiving free cookbooks wasn't the main reason I started The Little Plantation ;), it sure did play a teeny tiny role (*blush*).
So when insanely talented food photographer, stylist and blogger Aimee, from Twigg Studios, asked me if I wanted a copy of her brand new cookbook, Love Aimee x, to review on the blog, I don't think I actually even let her finished her sentence before shouting a loud, resounding YES!!! In fact when Aimee asked me, I may or may not have nearly choked on the toast I was munching on as we sat in a quaint little cafe in the heart of East London's Spitalfields. And, in case you're wondering, yes, she is just as sweet in real life as she comes across on her blog ;).