By the time you read this it'll be 2017, so happy New Year everyone! I hope your year is filled with love, happiness and health. And fact is, if you're here for the green smoothie recipe, you're off to a pretty good start if you ask me ;).
2016 for me was one of the craziest years of my life. Now, I told you a little bit about some major developments that have been going on for me in my last blog post (please do give it a read if you've got a minute) and today I'll reveal a tiny bit more about what's been happening for me and why I was quieter on social media towards the end of the year ...
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 precious 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 :)...
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
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!
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?
Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a safe and fun journey into 2016. May your new year be filled with joy, happiness and great health!
I don't know about you, but I sure feel ready to get back onto the healthy bandwagon as Christmas was a feast of utter indulgence *ooops*. That's why I love the fact that the start of a new year and the opportunity to renew my commitments to healthy eating come so close after Christmas. I think that's because the universe knows a thing or two about perfect timing :).
As I was putting my blog schedule together for 2016 I was certain that I really wanted to start the year with a raw and savoury blog post (anyone else had enough of baking?). So when I was asked to do a sponsored blog post for a raw recipe including Tenderstem®, I jumped at the chance. Now, before I delve into the recipe, I wanted to say something about doing sponsored posts, as well as about Tenderstem® itself. I hope that's ok.
In terms of sponsored blog posts - over the past 12 months I have been approached a few times by companies asking me to do sponsored posts or review their products; those of you who visit the blog regularly will know that I have never accepted any of these offers. That's because none of the companies that contacted me were selling products that I would ever eat, would consider healthy or could wholeheartedly recommend to you. So please rest assured that if ever I write a sponsored blog post or review something, it is because I genuinely enjoy the items featured and think you will too. I have no plans of making sponsored blog posts a habit, but when I do one I'll be totally open and upfront about it. Sound cool?
Perhaps, on the surface of it, nothing much has changed in 2015. This is still a plant-based blog, I am still living in London and I am still very much studying nutrition (counting the days though, getting so near now to the end!). But once you take a closer look it soon becomes evident - I feel - that this blog as well as I have gone through a major transformation.
I mean, let's start with the biggest change of all – I quit my job and have now spent the last month (YIKES) at home, focusing on the things I realised mattered so much that it became impossible to keep neglecting them for the sake of following the wrong career path. Though I still wake up some days rather perplexed by the fact that I don't need to rush to the office, I am happy to report that resigning from my job was very, very clearly the right decision for me and my family.
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...
On September 11th, 2001 I was at my parents' house in Madrid, returning home for a brief stay whilst in my final year at university. We were in the living room watching some television when the news broke that something odd had happened in New York. We switched to a news channel and watched reporters frantically try and make sense of what was going on when suddeny, in front of my eyes, the second tower was hit by a plane. I remember feeling sick to my stomach and watching my dad move across the room in total disbelief. We'd never seen anything like it before.
Warning: This is yet another long post about food blogging. (Sorry I know I sound like a broken record). If foodie talk is not what you came for, just scroll down to the end of this blog post and you'll find the recipe. No offence taken.
Gosh so what am I on about this time? Well, to answer that question I need to take you back a few weeks to late June . It was the My New Roots Cookbook Supper Club, which I attended with two friends, one of whom knows me really well. Seeing this was a supper club hosted by gorgeous plant-based blogger Sarah Britton, it was impossible to escape food blogging talk. So when I was asked about my blog I mentioned nonchalantly that it was a lovely, pleasant hobby of mine, but certainly nothing else. My friend interrupted, looked me straight in the eye and said: 'But Kimberly, The Little Plantation means soooo much more to you than that.'
What? What was she talking about? I just shrugged it off at the time and thought nothing more of it.
After 6 long weeks 'on the road' and a rather bumpy, arduous and exhausting 20-odd hour trip door-to-door, we're home. Though it hasn't quite sunken in yet, I must confess. You see, I still keep getting confused about what time of the day it is and what day of the week it is. I am getting all muddled language-wise and speaking more Spanglish than ever. And when I wake up in the morning it takes me a second or two to remember where on earth I actually am.
But that will all pass, I know, as will this mix of emotions I am currently experiencing (saying goodbye is horrible, but coming home is the most amazing feeling ever). Well, it's got to pass presto because I'm going back to work tomorrow and the little one is returning to school on Wednesday :(. So I just have to get on with it, right?!
Hi everyone! Sorry it's been a little while since I posted a recipe. As you know I like to post bi-weekly, but the last few weeks I've been away from home meaning it's been rather complicated to access the internet or a kitchen for that matter. I'm glad to report though, that I may have found a way around this problem. For now. More about that soon...
Firstly, I wanted to tell you a teeny tiny bit about my week on the island of Curaçao or Curadise as I like to call it. If you've been following me on instagram, you know I enjoyed lots of gorgeous and fresh juices whilst I was there. Honestly, I can tell you that they were all as tasty and refreshing as they looked!
You'll be glad to hear though that those delicious juices formed only a tiny part of our wonderful time on Curaçao. I mean the warm and friendly people, the fun music, the vibrant atmosphere and those magnificent beaches were actually what made our stay unforgettable. It's such a special island; I can wholeheartedly recommend a visit :).
As you read this post I'm either at the airport, perhaps I'm even on a plane high up in the sky or maybe I've already landed in my first destination. Either way, I won't be in London. In fact I won't be in London for the next 6 weeks (eek!). Needless to say I'm excited and not just because it's a holiday and a nice long one too. Nope, it's more than that. Actually it's really all about my son. He's just finished his first year in school and with me being so busy over the last 12 months, we've not seen each other as much as we we did before he was in full-time education. So, I though it was worth making the most of the school holidays and spending the entire time together.
During the first week of our journey, we will be on the gorgeous island of Curaçao which forms part of the Dutch Antilles. Curaçao has the most beautiful beaches I know and it's also the place my mother is originally from meaning that part of my roots as well as my son's roots are from this stunning little country too.
I've posted some really long blog posts recently and you'll be glad to hear this one's gonna be short and sweet. Why? Cuz I've got a massive nutrition exam coming up at the end of the week and I am waaayyy behind schedule. Which in turn means I'm in a total panic :(
BUT I made a commitment to this blog and to you so here is my bi-weekly post as promised. And, it's a pretty good one too. In fact it's a super good one - my all time favourite green juice! Yup, this is one of the juices that helped me find my green path and I bet it will help you on your wayy too.
WARNING: This is another looooong blog entry, mainly about food photography and food styling. So if you're just here for the recipe – no offence taken – just scroll way down to the bottom of this post and you'll find what you're looking for :).
You still here? Great, cuz it's a blog post I've been feeling really excited about sharing with you. But first the backstory: I'm a complete total first born. I think as a first born you always feel responsible and you always want to make things better for everyone. So if someone comes to me and tells me their problem – I go into first born mode. I'm a sympathetic listener, sure, but mainly in the back of my head I'm thinking: OK, this person is upset/sad/frustrated, what can I do to make everything alright? How can I solve their problem and make them smile? Cuz that's what you do as a first born, you fall into that psydo parenting role, right? At least I do.
So what's that got to do with food photography? Well, loads actually. See this time around I was the one with the problem that needed fixing. I just got so bored of hearing myself moan about not knowing how to take good enough pictures (BTW I don't feel that way anymore, but at the time I did ;)). So, I thought about all the ways I could make things better and solve my problem. Ah! Attend a food photography and food styling workshop of course...
In many ways I have always been a city girl at heart. I was born in a big city - New York in case you were wondering - and have lived in countless cities all over the world. My frequent moves were partly the result of my parents' work (they were in the airline industry when I was growing up) and party the result of my gypsy ways getting the better of me in adult life.
After spending time in the lovely, small and quaint Williamsburg, Virginia (of all places right?!) for my undergraduate studies I knew with every bone in my body that I desperately needed to get back to the bright lights of urban life. Hence it's no coincidence that after a few detours here and there, I eventually landed in London.
So here it is. My blogiversary. It's gone so quickly and - it might sound cliché but - it feels like only yesterday when I pressed the publish button and sent this vegan carrot cake out into the blogosphere.
I know that blogiversaries are supposed to be a time of joy, but as the the date drew nearer, I felt quite ambivalent about it all or, dare I say it, even slightly downcast. I'm a pretty upbeat, positive sorta person, but I couldn't help but feel a sense of overwhelming disappointment. All this work that I put into the blog and I had nothing to show for it. No thousands of instagram followers (What did I read the other week? Someone got 72,000 in their first year?!), no million blog hits a week (Yes, someone else mentioned that staggering figure on social media just a few days ago. Amazing stuff, right?) and nothing exciting on twitter either (I don't even get that platform, do you?). So I turned to my husband and asked him if I should just call it a day and stop blogging.
Though still in the midst of Winter, the sun was shining brightly the day I got to hang out with the most influential Raw Chef in the UK – Russell James. Many of you will know Russell from his youtube channel and other may know him from his popular blog The Raw Chef. I was lucky enough to meet him at an uber-cool converted South London warehouse which is his live/work space. It houses not one but two stunning, envy-worthy kitchens; the first kitchen Russell uses to teach his super popular raw food classes, the second one (an electric blue one nonetheless), is his personal kitchen which is as high tech as it is inviting and beautiful.
Now what do you do when you meet a vegan foodie superstar with more than 190,000 facebook followers? Talk plant-based food of course ;)