VEGAN RED ONION FOCACCIA WITH SALVIA+LIMONE AND TWIGG STUDIOS (V+, ChF, NF)

VEGAN RED ONION FOCACCIA WITH SALVIA+LIMONE AND TWIGG STUDIOS (V+, ChF, NF)

I can't believe it's already a week ago since the 3-day food photography and food styling course Aimee and I taught has come to an end. We had SUCH a lovely time and in fact today's images, which were taken on day 2 of the workshop really, really capture the essence of what our workshop was about; lots of great food, lovely company and heaps of visual inspiration and creativity. I personally believe the images of day 2 were extra special as one of our 'students', the super talented Silvia, was present and SO generous as to share her vegan focaccia recipe with us as well as her incredible knowledge when it comes to styling.

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3-DAY LONDON FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY AND FOOD STYLING WORKSHOP WITH TWIGG STUDIOS

3-DAY LONDON FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY AND FOOD STYLING WORKSHOP WITH TWIGG STUDIOS

It was probably around this time last year that Aimee from Twigg Studios asked me to run a food styling and food photography workshop with her in what seemed the unbelieveably distant future (March 2017!). Without hesitation I said yes and man, am I glad that I did. Though Aimee and I are VERY different people, us working together always kinda sorta really goes! And, I feel our lovely work connection shone through in this weekend's 3-day food photography and food styling workshop which was held at my humble, cosy home 'studio' in South East London. We only took 4 students each day to allow for lots of 1-2-1 attention and were over the moon that the workshop was sold out :).

After tea, cake and introductions we quickly got started with Day 1 which we broke into four sections:
1 - In the morning we looked at getting to grips with camera basics from shutter speed, ISO and aperture to discussions on light and how it moves through the camera. We spoke about how to compose a breakfast scene asking participants to think about composition, props and backdrops as well as the message they wanted to convey to their audience through their imagery. Aimee and I then set out to stage a breakfast scene demonstrating in practice the morning's learning. Thereafter, the students worked in 2s to set up and photograph their own breakfast scenes.

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VEGAN RHUBARB LAYER CAKE + SUPPER CLUB ANNOUNCEMENT WITH SALVIA LIMONE (V+, ChF, GF)

VEGAN RHUBARB LAYER CAKE + SUPPER CLUB ANNOUNCEMENT WITH SALVIA LIMONE (V+, ChF, GF)

These past few weeks I've felt like a little school girl, desperate to spill the beans but bound to secrecy. (Though if left to my own devices, I would have told ALL in a blink of an eye.) So what is it that I've been dying to tell you? Well, if you don't live in or around London, let me warn you, this is gonna be a little bit of a letdown. And if you DO live in London but aren't available on Thursday the 27th of April, 2017 then this will be an even bigger letdown. OK so, pre-warnings done and dusted....

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VEGAN CHESTNUT CHRISTMAS COOKIES DIPPED IN POMEGRANATE GLAZE (ChF, V+) WITH TWIGG STUDIOS

VEGAN CHESTNUT CHRISTMAS COOKIES DIPPED IN POMEGRANATE GLAZE WITH TWIGG STUDIOS (ChF, V+)

As I woke the morning of Tuesday, November 8th, I was feeling pretty antsy, unsettled. And as the day progressed my unease grew into unmeasureable stress; my tummy felt like it was tied in a knot and by the end of the day I felt physically sick. Why? Cuz I knew there was a real chance that Trump could win. I dare not have said it out loud that faithful day, but I was well aware that it wasn't unimagineable. Till now I'm not sure how the man and the boy in my life managed to put up with me on the 8th or the days that followed for that matter as I was not myself, stressed beyond belief. But, in fairness I had good right to be, cuz when I woke in the odd hours of the morning Wednesday, November 9th (UK time), my worst fears were turning into reality - Trump was leading, taking all the key state along with him.

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WARM MARINATED PUMPKIN, QUINOA AND POMEGRANATE SALAD WITH LAUREN CARIS COOKS (V+, GF, ChF, NF)

WARM MARINATED CURRY PUMPKIN, QUINOA AND POMEGRANATE SALAD (V+, GF, ChF, NF) WITH LAUREN CARIS COOKS

If you are a regular, loyal reader of the blog, you've probably gathered that I'm a rather social human being who loves the company of talented, friendly food bloggers. That's cuz...

a) it means I don't have to talk to myself when I'm cooking
b) there's someone to laugh at my silly jokes and
c) collaborations are magical and so, so SO much fun.

Hence you can imagine how I shrieked with delight when Lauren from Lauren Caris Cooks got in touch to say that she'd be in London and would I like to meet up with her. ''YES! OF COURSE! WHY ARE YOU EVEN ASKING?! COME HANG OUT. LIKE, NOW! Thank you :)!'' was my answer. Following some e-mail exchanges we finally got to spend a lovely morning cooking, styling and eating together in late September and despite only knowing each other on-line, having Lauren in the kitchen felt so familiar and totally lovely. The images you see her are just an outtake of the day we spent together before Lauren returned to Switzerland where she lives with her husband :(. Lauren, thank you ever so much for popping by, please come visit me again soon ;).

Would you like to read Lauren's take on the day and see her fab pictures? Of course you do! I knew it! Then just click here and the internet will swiftly take you to your desired destination ;).
Thank you everyone for reading my silly ramblings and for supporting my blog :). I hope you like the recipe below and see you all next week.

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VEGAN CINNAMON APPLE ROLLS WITH SALVIA+LIMONE AND TWIGG STUDIOS (V+, ChF)

VEGAN CINNAMON APPLE ROLLS WITH SALVIA+LIMONE AND TWIGG STUDIOS (V+, ChF)

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! 

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SUPER FLUFFY VEGAN PANCAKES AND SEASONAL FIGS WITH WALLFLOWER KITCHEN (V+, ChF, NF)

SUPER FLUFFY VEGAN PANCAKES AND SEASONAL FIGS (V+, ChF, NF) WITH AIMEE FROM WALLFLOWER KITCHEN

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 ;).

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GLUTEN-FREE RICE FLOUR MATCHA WAFFLES + SUMMER FRUITS WITH THE SUNSHINE EATERY (V+, ChF, GF, NF)

GLUTEN-FREE RICE FLOUR MATCHA WAFFLES + SUMMER FRUITS WITH VIOLA FROM THE SUNSHINE EATERY (V+, ChF, GF, NF)

“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...

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HIBISCUS POACHED BERRIES WITH VEGAN CASHEW CREAM (V+, V, ChF, GrF, GF) + THOUGHTS ON FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY 4

HIBISCUS POACHED BERRIES WITH VEGAN CASHEW CREAM + THOUGHTS ON FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY 4

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 ;)

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VEGAN SPRING SALAD WITH WARM POTATOES + #INFRANCEWECOOK FOOD BLOGGER WORKSHOP (V+, ChF, GF, GrF, NF, P)

VEGAN SPRING SALAD WITH WARM POTATOES + #INFRANCEWECOOK FOOD BLOGGER WORKSHOP (V+, ChF, GF, GrF, NF, P)

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.

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Me, wearing my Grace Apron from Thread & Whisk and feeling like a princess        Linen napkins by Heal's 

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

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!

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VEGAN MATCHA PISTACHIO TRES LECHES CAKE WITH TWIGG STUDIOS AND SALVIA+LIMONE (V+, V, ChF, GF, R)

VEGAN MATCHA PISTACHIO TRES LECHES CAKE WITH TWIGG STUDIOS AND SALVIA+LIMONE (V+, V, ChF, GF, R)

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.

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CREAMY WINTER CAULIFLOWER, PARSNIP AND GARLIC SOUP (V+, GF, GrF, ChF, NF, P)

CREAMY WINTER CAULIFLOWER, PARSNIP AND GARLIC SOUP (V+, GF, GrF, ChF, NF, P)

I love January! Sure it's cold and dark and I'm always short of cash, but there is something so fresh and promising about having the whole year ahead of me; it's what makes me January's biggest fan. You see, I feel the beginning of the year gives us a chance to reinvent ourselves, to dream of all the things that weren't possible the previous year and to make them happen this year. With that sense of hope in mind, I've been thinking loads about the direction of the blog for 2016. What do I want this space to be and how can I make it better still? That's not to say that I haven't been incredibly pleased and proud of what I've achieved in the last 12 months. I SO have, but I know that I haven't reached my destination yet and that I am STILL moving towards my own creative peek. So what does this mean for the blog in 2016 and what can you expect to find here over the coming year? 

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VEGAN MALAWI COFFEE ICE CREAM WITH SALTED CARAMEL SWIRL (V+, ChF, GF, GrF, P)

VEGAN MALAWI COFFEE ICE CREAM WITH SALTED CARAMEL SWIRL (V+, ChF, GrF, GF, P)

To me a food blog is not 'just' a place to gather pretty and delicious content. Sure it helps and it's important but I think a food blog can be sooo much more than that. For example it can be a place from which we send out positive energy into the world, a place from which we initiates change, spark an exciting idea, celebrate creativity or ignite a sense of compassion. Big stuff, right?

So with that in mind, I thought the month of December during which we aim to spread love and joy, would be the perfect time to host a virtual blog party entitiled #loveMALAWIcoffee. I am well aware that a virtual blog party might sound like a random event completely unrelated to the message normally associated with December. But rest assured there is a connection... 

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MINI VEGAN PUMPKIN AND ORANGE LAYER CAKE WITH RAW ALMOND FROSTING (V+, ChF, GF, R)

MINI VEGAN PUMPKIN AND ORANGE LAYER CAKE WITH RAW ALMOND FROSTING (V+, ChF, GF, R)

'' In the last few months I feel I have been peeling away layers, layers of who I think I was or wasn't, layers of (limiting) believes and convictions. I didn't know much about myself apparently. Maybe I still don't. The process felt and still feels so hard. And, that outer shell was so cozy, so protective. But inside I hope to discover a soft core, full of life and beauty.'' - quote slightly adapted from Silvia Bifaro

I quit my job. And though I felt relieved and elated when I handed in my notice, I also felt terribly sad. That surprised me.
I kept trying to figure out why I had felt a little upset that day and why I still continue to feel sad in the run up to my last day in the office (which is this Thursday BTW). I mean I hadn't been enjoying my work for a long time anymore therefore, surely, I should feel nothing other than joy, right?

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VEGAN FIG AND KALE PESTO PIZZA! AND THOUGHTS ON FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY 3 (V+, ChF)

VEGAN FIG AND KALE PESTO PIZZA! AND THOUGHTS ON FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY 3 (V+, ChF)

As those of you who have been reading the blog over the past few months know, I have been eager to make food blogging, recipe development, food writing and all that goes with it more than just a hobby. In order to achieve that I have spent the last few weeks trying to formulate what exactly it is I want to do and how I can ultimately fulfil my dream.  To help me find my way I did a blogger collaboration with Ceri from Natural Kitchen Adventures a few weeks ago (I shall touch on that again at the end of today's blog post) and I also attended the food blogger connect conference. Both experiences were immensely useful in assisting me to thrush out my path in the food blogging world. But, I knew that something was still missing and that I had to add another little piece to the puzzle to make it complete.

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WARM JAPANESE BLACK NOODLE SALAD (V+, GF, ChF, NF)

WARM JAPANESE BLACK NOODLE SALAD (V+, GF, ChF, NF)

If you've been following along on instagram, you know that I got REALLY lucky a few weeks ago cuz I got to share my kitchen with the sweet and super talented chef Ceri from Natural Kitchen Adventures. Not only has Ceri rubbed shoulders with Jamie Oliver (as you do!) and run a successful blog for more than 4 years, she also has a very non-dogmatic approach to healthy eating which resonated with me from the moment I stumbled across her blog.

Oddly enough, I first got to 'know' Ceri through instagram but only actually met her face-to-face in May of this year. How did it all come about? Well, Ceri mentioned in her ig feed that she was attending a food photography workshop just as I was at a point on my food blogging journey where I desperately needed some guidace and direction. Hence I gladly tagged along to the workshop and not only did I learn loads, I also got to meet Ceri in real life, which was a lovely added bonus.

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