RAW VEGAN ACAI SMOOTHIE BOWL + A COOKBOOK GIVEAWAY! (V+, V, ChF, GF, GrF, P, R)

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*. 

NATURALISACOL5
PISTACHIO MILK GREEN SMOOTHIE FOR HEAL'S AND SOURCING FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY PROPS (V+, R, ChF, P, GrF, GF)

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!

HEALS1COL
VEGAN HUMMUS MESABACHA + A COOKBOOK GIVEAWAY! (V+, ChF, GF, GrF, NF)

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. 

HUMMUSCOL1