Christmas in July event by EatReadLove

Last Saturday was a very fine day as it was the Christmas in July pop-up event organised by Natalie from EatReadLove. I’ve been following her on Instagram for a while as she also hosts beautiful kinfolk gatherings but somehow always missed out.

This time Corina and I got in quick and signed up for the Noel en Juillet gathering at the Royalla Farmstay in the Southern Highlands. We left very early morning and off we went to Robertson.

It was a gorgeous sunrise and when we arrived at the Royalla farm we were greeted by the gorgeous team who had put this incredible event together: Natalie Haylar from EatReadLove, Natalie’s assistant Jess Kneebone, Jaclyn from BlogSociety, Stylist Lisa Madigan, Photographer Luisa Brimble and our chef for the day Mario from Marios Kitchen.

For breakfast/morning tea we had warming tea and coffee and delicious toasted muesli and tea cake.

Lunch was served on a buffet and we had beautifully tender lamb shanks, preserved lemons and braised onion salad, pumpkin feta salad. Ah, let’s not forget the dessert. Poached pears with ganache and vanilla ice-cream, yummo!

The menu was printed on a beautiful card but also written on the window behind the buffet. Every one of us had their name written on the wine glass in gorgeous handwriting. There was so much attention to detail which in parts I only noticed afterwards when I looked through all my photos.

Lisa had brought the inside in for the wintery table setting and Mario our chef created a hearty meal of Middle Eastern flavours. It was delicious. It was so nice too to meet like-minded people and connect with some that I already “knew” through Instagram but now was actually meeting them, which is really thrilling.

After lunch we had a little walk around the beautiful farmstay and surrounding and more time for chatting and photographing. Luisa Brimble followed us with her camera and also filmed a beautiful video which is shown at the end.

When we came back we indulged on berry scones and home made chai tea while Natalie and Mario where already busy getting the bonfire underway to roast our marshmallows from Black Pantry.

Below the photos is a video that brings it all together, beautifully captured by Luisa Brimble.

I also created a little cinemagraph of the bonfire which can be found on Tumblr.

.Beautiful setting for yummy breakfast

Beautiful setting for yummy breakfast

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Noel en Juillet | Christmas in July Workshop Hosted by Natalie Hayllar of Eat Read Love from Luisa Brimble on Vimeo.

Bondi, my love

If there is anything I regret about moving to Sydney, it’s that we didn’t move right to Bondi Beach! I just love it! But then, at least I live in this very beautiful city  and the beaches are just one of the many cool things that Sydney has to offer.

Beginning of Winter I was following my friend around with my camera in hand on her morning surf (before going to work) and it was magnificent. The morning started not very promising actually.

It was grey and foggy when we got to the beach, and still very dark. But we got lucky, my friend took to the waves and I waited for the sun, and she came.

Gloomy Bondi
Paddle boarding and surfing in Bondi
Paddle boarding and surfing in Bondi
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Riding the waves
Riding the waves
Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach
Surfer are happy people
Happy surfer

Greek Easter Biscuits - s'more

Greek Easter Biscuits

A while ago, we visited Martha from Crave Good Food  and we asked her for her favourite recipe. Having a Greek background she sent us the recipe for these beautiful Greek Easter biscuits – perfect for afternoon tea.

The dough is easy to make and fun for the kids too. The traditional shape is a plaid or little rounds, sprinkled with sesame seeds for a nice crunch.

These biscuits, Koulourakia in Greek, are an authentic treat on Easter sunday.

Here is Martha’s recipe for traditional Greek Easter Biscuits:

This is a family recipe that never fails.   Even though these biscuits are traditionally reserved for Easter, it is not uncommon for my mother  to whip up this recipe during school holidays as an opportunity to get the grandkids baking along side her. Makes approx. 45 biscuits.

Ingredients
250 g unsalted butter
50 ml olive or vegetable oil
2 cups caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla sugar
5 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup full cream milk, lukewarm
1 kg self-raising flour
sesame seeds (optional)

Glaze
1 egg, lightly beaten
50 ml olive or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons water              

Method
Preheat oven to 180˚C. Melt the butter. Stir together butter and oil and add the sugar. Add the eggs and milk and whisk to combine. Sift the flour and baking powder and slowly add to the wet mix. Beat until the dough is well combined.
Set aside and rest for approx. 10 mins.  Stir together the glaze and set aside. Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface to 15 cm long rope then fold over and twist to get a plaid-like shape. Brush plaids with the glaze and sprinkle with sesame seeds (optional).
Bake 10-15 minutes or until golden. Put on a wire rack to cool.

Blood Orange Tarts - s'more

Blood Orange Tarts with Candied Orange

This year seems to already be flying away and we here in Sydney have welcomed autumn. Funny thing for an European to think of Easter in autumn. So, when the two of us think of Easter, spring still comes to mind, blooming flowers everywhere in beautiful vibrant colours. We love poppies, so wonderfully delicate yet vibrant and poppy seeds are much loved for baking in Europe. Eggs are obviously a staple for baking especially around Easter and Corina also remembers blood oranges from her time in Texas.

There you are, our ingredients of choice for these delicious tarts. If you can’t get blood oranges, use normal ones but omit the lemon juice.

There’s certainly something opulent and mysterious about this kind of fruit and it was once reserved only for royalty and the very privileged.

The flesh develops its characteristic maroon colour when the fruit develops with low temperatures during the night. Sometimes there is dark colouring on the outside rind as well, depending on the variety.
Blood oranges are usually sweeter than the normal orange and therefore I added a bit of lemon juice to my tart filling. The distinctive dark flesh colour is caused by the anthocyanins, a family of antioxidants. It also contains a rich blend of vitamin C, folic acid, calcium, vitamin A and fibre. Quite a superfood!

Blood orange tarts with candied orange

Filling
3/4 cup thickened cream
4 eggs
½ cup caster sugar
3 teaspoons finely grated blood orange rind
2/3 cup blood orange juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons cornflour

Pastry
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/4 cup caster sugar
125g butter, chilled, chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 ½ tablespoons poppy seeds
1 tablespoon water, chilled

Candied orange slices
1 cup caster sugar
2/3 cup fresh blood orange juice
1/3 cup water
1 blood orange, thinly sliced

Method
For the pastry, put flour, sugar and butter in a food processor. Process until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add egg, poppy seeds and water. Process until dough just comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until just smooth. Shape into a disc. Cover in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C fan-forced. Grease 8 little fluted, loose-based tartlets (ø 12cm) tins. Roll out pastry between 2 sheets of baking paper to form a large circle. Line base and sides of prepared tins with pastry. Trim excess. Re-roll pastry scraps and line remaining tins. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
Place tins on a baking tray. Line pastry with baking paper. Fill with ceramic pie weights or uncooked rice. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove weights or rice and paper. Bake for 10 minutes or until light golden. Cool.
Reduce oven to 160°C/140°C fan-forced. Whisk cream, eggs, sugar, blood orange rind, blood orange juice, lemon juice and cornflour in a bowl until smooth. Pour into pastry case. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until just set. Cool for 20 minutes. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

Meanwhile, to make the orange syrup, stir sugar, orange juice and water in a small saucepan over low heat for 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Add orange slices. Increase heat and simmer, without stirring, for 4-5 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly. Serve with tarts.

Shibori Workshop

Shibori – Japanese fabric dyeing technique

A week ago I participated in a Shibori fabric dyeing class at the Community College in Rose Bay. It was such a rainy day and I was happy to spent it inside and to learn something new. We used only natural dye such as indigo, turmeric and black tea.

Our teacher Zoe MacDonell guided us through the techniques for different shapes and patterns. Basically it’s trying to prevent the colour to reach certain areas of the fabric to penetrate. That can be done by folding, tieing, clamping or binding. Rubber bands, synthetic string, buttons or even marbles are great to use. My favourite technique was the diagonal constantine fold which I then wrapped around a metal pole, tied it up with string and rubberbands before I dipped it into the dye. You need to wear gloves otherwise your hands will be stained and indigo in particular is a very strong dye. In fact, the indigo on my fabric is still rubbing off so I am not sure what to use those for. Might just end up in my props cupboard ;-)

There are the so-called mordants, mineral salts which will either enhance, intensify or change the colour. It also helps to fix the dye colour.

We used only three different natural dye but Zoe told us we could also use ground coffee, henna, onion skin or different sorts of leaves. I know that onion skin works well as I use this for Easter eggs. However, you have to extract the colour by cooking the dye out before you can dip the fabric in.

Lightweight natural fabric such as silk, cotton or linen works best. Smaller pieces are easier to handle than bigger ones and, the dyeing process is quite a messy one as you will see from the photos I took.

From raw to colour

Brunsli {Chocolate Almond Cookie}

Only four sleeps til Christmas… enough time to bake another batch of cookies… so why not try Brunsli? One of the most popular Swiss christmas cookies and absolutely delicious with coffee, tea or even a glass of wine.

Ingredients
250 g sugar
250 g ground almonds
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp plain flour
2 egg whites
Pinch of salt
100 g dark chocolate, chopped

Method
Place the sugar, ground almonds, cinnamon and flour in a bowl and mix well.

Use an electric mixer to whisk egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. Gently fold in the sugar-almond mixture with a spatula until just combined. Don’t overwork.

Melt chocolate in a warm water bath and fold gently through the sugar-almond mixture. Form the dough into a ball, cover and let cool at room temparature for about 1 hour.

Dust the work bench with sugar and roll the cookie dough with a rolling pin to about 5mm thickness. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters and place on a lined baking tray.

Let the cookies dry at room temperature for a few hours (best over night). Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees Celsius and bake cookies for 5 min. Remove from baking tray and place on a wire rack to cool.
s'more Brunsli

Kokosmakronen {Coconut Macaroons}

So here is one of our recipes from the magazine…. enjoy baking the light and fluffy coconut macaroons with chocolate base.

Ingredients
3 eggwhites, at room temperature
330 g caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
170 g desiccated coconut
Zest of 1 lemon
150 g dark chocolate, melted

Method
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Place the eggwhites in a bowl and use an electric mixer to beat until soft peaks form. Add the sugar in batches, beating continually, until the mixture becomes stiff and glossy. Add vanilla extract and fold through with a spatula. Add the lemon zest and coconut, in batches, and gently fold through with a spatula until evenly distributed, being careful not to overwork the mixture.
Spoon 2 teaspoonful of batter on a baking tray lined with greased baking paper. Bake in the oven for 10–12 minutes, or until the macaroons are lightly browned.
Gently remove from the baking paper immediately and cool on wire racks. Once cooled dip macaroons in melted chooclate and let set on a wire rack.

s'more coconut macaroons kokosmakronen

Bike Riders from Behind - New York

Downtown from Behind

Such a great idea by photographer Bridget Fleming:  bike-riders on the streets in New York – but from behind!




“I got lucky. A bike was one of the first things I bought when I moved here from Sydney three years ago. If I wasn’t riding between cafés and bars downtown maybe I wouldn’t have had the idea!” (source The Global Mail)

Check out this video and her tumblr account to see more shots and some out takes.

Kirsty Mitchell’s Wonderland

These photos are unbelievably creative. It’s Once upon a Time meets Crouching Tigger, Hidden Dragon and then down the rabbit hole to have tea with Alice in Wonderland.

Kirsty Mitchell was born and raised in the county of Kent, known to many as the ‘Garden of England’. Her mother, an English teacher and passionate storyteller, read to her almost everyday to an age she could no longer admit to her friends. The imagination and belief in beauty became her root, and the place she constantly tries to returns to in her work. Educated in history of art, photography, fine art, costume for film and theatre and fashion design, art became her only passion. When her mother got ill and passed away in November 2008, she threw herself into photography and started producing pieces that echoed the memories of the stories she read to her as a child.

By combining her various backgrounds, Kirsty creates images where everything has been designed and produced by herself. Inspired by the love and death of her mother, she conceived Wonderland, this fantastic and poetic series of  pictures. “The costumes, props, sets and accessories, are all a vital part of the process that is finally recorded in the finished product of the photograph. This physical creation is my favorite part, and has taken me to places I would have otherwise never known. I have walked on snow covered in flowers, stood in lakes at sunset, painted trees, set fire to chairs, made smoking umbrellas, and giant wigs from stolen flowers.” (via Trendland).

Aquabumps – Photographer from Bondi

Eugene Tan, a Sydney-based photographer, has created a most wonderful website and gallery called Aquabumps. Shots of surfers waiting for the right wave, stunning sunsets over the ocean, surfers riding a wave an so on. Makes me want to jump on a board right away – if only I knew how to surf. But anyway, the photos are so beautiful you don’t really need to be a surfer to enjoy them.

In this video the Aquabumps gang rolled over to New Zealand for a little road trip, in search of surf and good vistas. Here is a little film about the journey and the guy (::uge) that takes all the pictures that you see on Aquabumps.com. Traveling with surf guide, and legend, Maz Quinn to find all the best little places along NZ’s amazing coastline of the North Island. By Knack Studios.

The Basin (Mt Gibraltar) by Hamis Ta-mé

Hamish Ta-mé – CircPan

The Basin (Mt Gibraltar) by Hamish Ta-mé

Balmoral Circpan by Hamis Ta-mé

Balmoral CircPan by Hamish Ta-mé

Sydney City Circpan by Hamis Ta-mé

Sydney City CircPan by Hamish Ta-mé

How amazing and unique are these CircPan images by Sydney based photographer Hamish Ta-mé! Hamish has developed a photographic technique that captures a panorama into a circular image offering a very unique perspective on the Sydney beaches and the harbour. I hope there are lots more to come.

If you are interested in owning one of the prints you can buy them at the shot by hamish website or you can usually find Hamish on Sunday’s at Bondi Markets and get your print there.

Each of the images comes in a limited edition print of 300 and is hand numbered and embossed.

Surreal Photography by Martin Stranka

A while ago I came across those beautiful photos/art works from Martin Stranka, (via Digital Photography School) a photographer/artist from Czech Republic. It seems he has won every photography award out there and his exhibitions have shown around the world. Except Sydney though.

His photos create a delightful melancholy and draw you right into it. Check out Martin Stranka’s website for more details.

Lama/Non Lama Exhibition

I just received the latest Trendland newsletter and noticed this beautiful and amazing collaboration between fantastic artists and manufacturers. The photography (by Andrea Ferrari) and styling (by Studiopepe) is stunning.

Lama /Non Lama (Blade, Not Blade) exhibition opened last week, featuring a selection of knives from an array of artists, designers and manufacturers, in collaboration with the historic cutlery shop Lorenzi. The exhibition is hosted at the new Valcucine Showroom whose interiors have been designed by Studiopepe.

52 Suburbs Goes Travelling

Last year I met Louise Hawson, a photographer from Sydney, at a talk which was part of her very own photo exhibition in the Sydney Museum. Louise had the grand idea (one, where one thinks, gosh, I wish it was my idea) to photograph suburbs in Sydney she had never visited before even tough she grew up in Sydney. She went to places like Bonnyrigg and Cabramatta, on the outskirts of Sydney to see who lives there and how. Her photos build the blog 52 suburbs (because each week she would visit and photograph a different Sydney suburb) which attracted a large number of followers. Her blog became a book and her exhibition was a great success. Inspired by her success and support she has started her next journey: travelling the world with her camera and her daughter to find and photograph suburbs off the tourist track.

She started in Hong Kong, flew to Delhi and is currently in Paris. Have a look at her blog, her photographs are amazing, quirky, colourful, bold and intimate depending on where she is.

Bill Cunningham – New York

I finally watched the Bill Cunningham – New York documentary on DVD yesterday. Yes I know – I am very late! The movie came out about a year ago. But if you haven’t seen it yet, do so. It is one of the best documentaries I have seen in a long time.

Bill is a truly talented and inspirational artist. But what struck me most, is what an amazing human being Bill is. So humble and so much integrity…. and such a funny guy. Thank you Bill for agreeing to make this film. You truly inspire us all.

You can watch the trailer below. The movie is available on DVD. For more information visit www.zeitgeistfilms.com.

The Ballerina Project

I never wanted to be a ballerina as a child but this project by Dane Shitagi  The Ballerina Project is just so beautiful! I especially love the shots because of the juxtaposition of the ballerina outside her usual environment on the stage. It makes them even more graceful.

It all started in Hawaii where the photographer Dane Shitagi is from and it seems it’s moving acros the United States. Check it out and vote for it so Dane is able to continue the Ballerina Project.

 

Chanel and the Black Jacket

Ah, you’ve gotta love Karl! He is just so amazing and he’s done it again. This time he collaborated with Carine Roitfeld as stylist (former editor of Vogue France) to create a photo exhibition with numerous good looking and famous people wearing the classic black Chanel jacket. I unfortunately wasn’t invited to this high-class exhibition but luckily got the newsletter from Trendland.

Easter Tea Cosy - Blue Mountains - s'more

Easter Inspiration

A few weeks ago Kristin and I packed the car and drove up to the Blue Mountains in Sydney to shoot the Easter e-mag. Our amazing and utterly creative hosts Juliana an artist/crafter/designer, her husband Lenny Bartulin a novelist, and their son Luka made us so welcome. Even though the weather looked very grim on Saturday, on Sunday morning the sun peaked out and it was the perfect day for the photo shoot.

To Juliana, Lenny, Luca and all our beautiful models, thank you so much for being part of this project and for making it such a wonderful experience.

We got so many great photos, here some that did not make it into the magazine but we still love.