Hello everyone! How are you all doing today? Hope you have all been well. Things are starting to slow down for me, finally. Life is getting back in perspective and the thing I have missed the most is talking to you, not at you, but to you. I read every single comment here, I follow many of your blogs, I see your Instagram pictures and Facebook posts, I stalk you all in my own completely non-threatening way. I may not always write, reply or like (I am working on it) but I am watching you people! So keep doing all the amazing things you do, because the beauty of life is that it is long and you have plenty of time to do things you love over and over again.
I have been busy. I am not just saying it. I finally wrapped up the second phase of the Food & Wine Photoshoot. The pictures turned out great and I can’t wait to share them with you. I also shot an e-book for Vitamix (did you enter the great Vitamix giveaway?). I fit in an amazing 3-day media trip to the Barossa Valley for some great food and wine adventures. I partnered with Nespresso and Darren Purchese to introduce their newest limited edition permanent flavours. I did interviews. I wrote a series of posts for Kidspot Village Voices. I spent an amazing day collaborating, cooking and chatting with the ever awesome Hayden Quinn at home (I am so excited for his cookbook to be released later this year). He cooked a gorgeous eggplant dish from his upcoming cookbook and I made my Lunchbox Couscous. We swapped notes on cameras, lenses, food, culture and life in general. A great day!
I met the lovely Jude Blereau (who surprisingly reads my blog) at her book launch tea (My signed copy of Wholefood Baking looks amazing!). And finally I met Brandon VanOver, the managing editor of Random House for a mentoring session. It was a simple but powerful experience that I will always cherish. The 45 minutes were a blur. But like a strange dish you try for the very first time and one that you reminisce about later when you piece the flavours together, my meeting with Brandon still pops up in my subconcious every now and then. I am resolved to get closer to the stories bubbling within me.
Lately the pile of new unread cookbooks on my shelf has been steadily growing, my Kobo has acquired many new books I hope to read, my lemon trees are starting to bow really low with heavy ripe fruit that no one has cared to harvest, my veggie patches are as bare as my chicken’s bottoms (although some fluff and feathers are growing back on the ladies) and I have missed a few evenings of college. I have the intent for all of these things but not the time. I want to reclaim my time without splitting myself in half. I have started the process by organizing my props. I took inspiration from this Prop post on Matt Bites. I bought a shelving unit, mobile drawers and clear boxes from Officeworks ($178) and coupled with my two existing shelving units, a vintage tallboy, three massive industrial boxes and a big wooden crate; all my props now have a structured home. I find clear boxes are versatile and light enought to carry around. They also don’t need to be labelled as you can see the props inside. Non-pretty objects like uninteresting bakeware go in opaque boxes so I don’t have to look at them constantly. Most of the time I buy props that I can also use in daily life and things that are a pleasure to look at in interesting clusters of display. I like to group my props by colour and material. Trolley drawers house knives, silverware, wooden spoons, scissors and tiny bits and bobs as they are easier to move around while shooting. I am sharing some pictures of my (no-normal-home-should-have-so-many) props. This is by no means all of it because I haven’t even begun photographing my boards, surfaces, linens, boxes, crates and bottles. But I love them all dearly (wherever they are lurking in my home and garage) and could tell you the story behind each and every one of them. I get asked a lot about my props, so here are some pictures for all you busybodies (just joking!).
I now also have limited self-managed advertising (see left bar). There are 5 spots in all.The big ad is currently booked until August. If you feel your business/blog/product fits well with the Cook Republic demographic, do consider these lovely spots. I want to send a shout out and love to my first few sponsors. Thank you for your support!
French Navy Stationery is a gorgeous stationery store dreamed up by ex-advertising-diva Miss French Navy.
Kookery tea towels are so quirky and so delightful, I might just wrap them as a cravat to keep my neck warm and have a conversation starter handy.
Down That Little Lane is a gorgeous site selling bespoke things from wooden camera earrings to stunning vintage furniture and also some of my Tasty Circus necklaces.
Lead Photo – The opening photo was shot earlier in the morning sun at an extra workspace I have set up in my little home studio. I love the view and the light. I now have five tables in my studio (I think I could fit in a couple more). In the picture you will find a small collection of my favourite French linen tea towels, my little ceramic egg tray that has fresh eggs laid by our four hens this morning, a white Reidel enamel milk pan that I use for almost everything, my granite and marble mortar and pestles, garden scissors for herbs and flowers, vintage wire basket for picking fruits and veggies from the backyard, Bialetti Moka Express that makes the most delicious cup of coffee, black pepper grinder and my favourite knives all with weathered wooden handles that have a story to tell. Food & Wine magazine will be doing a small feature on me in their September 2013 issue and this is one of the pictures for that feature.
And now for a list of my favourites for June.
– Manger is one of my most favourite blogs. I have talked about Mimi Thorisson’s lovely work before but I must share her two recent posts about Strawberries and Acacia Flowers Fritters. I want to make both. I want to live inside the pictures. And oh those chickens peck-kissing just made my day!
– It is warmer in the Northern hemisphere and it is evident from these posts about edible flowers and flowers in general on 101 Cookbooks, Call Me Cupcake and La Buena Vida.
– We cooked Nettle Pasta in the Barossa in a dear little place called Casa Carboni. Peter captured the mood of the day.
– I bought Gwyneth Paltrow’s book recently and I think it is quite something. It is clean and peaceful. I found this a very interesting read – I tried Gwyneth’s diet and got rash on my face.
– You can totally start a garden in a tight space.
– This potato roll recipe.
– This awesome photo idea.
– This Polish blog has very interesting recipes.
– This stunning Tasmanian blog.
– Whipped cream with a difference.
– This beautiful Parisian blog.
– Tunes I am trying to brainwash myself with on my train journeys – Paramore. Bastille. Ellie Goulding.