food

Coogee Pavilion // Blogger's Guide To The Good Life

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Is it just me or are there amazing new venues and restaurants popping up in Sydney everywhere you look? I'm loving this influx of new, creative spaces as you know I'm always on the hunt for new venues for our events and workshops so when I heard that the Coogee Pavilion was opening their new rooftop I knew it was going to be gem and I certainly wasn't disappointed.

Amazing food, delicious cocktails and perfect for those end of summer nights (not to mention full of Instagram worthy decor) I'm certainly adding this one to the top of my 'Blogger's Guide To The Good Life' list. Maybe a Sydney blogger meet up is in order - who's game?

Megan Flynn Peterson of Freckled Italian // Behind The Blog Scene

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I'm a sucker for a good food blog. My love probably stems from the fact I have little talent in the kitchen and my food photography leaves much to be desired but I have a huge amount of respect and love for my fellow bloggers that conquer the foodie world with ease.  One of those beautiful souls is Megan Flynn Peterson, a blogger living in Charlotte, North Carolina and the writer behind Freckled Italian (my new fav food read).

I was lucky enough to meet and chat with Megan while at Alt Summit recently and just had to find out more about how she took on full-time blogging in 2013  and how she balances food, friendship, family, and marriage on her blog. Join me in saying hello and just a hint of warning, looking at her blog my instil strong hunger pangs...

Describe your blog in 3 words
Food, love, stories.
What is your blogging manifesto? 
Sharing the ins and outs of life and connecting with people all over the world on a personal level.
Top 3 blogging essentials? 
My planner, my camera, and a good cup of coffee!
My biggest blogging moment/milestone was....
Definitely making the leap from blogging as a hobby to blogging as a career. I quit my day job in August of 2013 and sometimes it still doesn't feel real; that this is my job and I get to do it every day for a living.
Best piece of advice I've been given? 
Don't worry so much about where you're going to end up. Trust the journey and just work hard every day.
I'm dreaming about traveling to.. 
Ireland, Norway, and Argentina
Best piece of advice to a newbie blogger? 
Be yourself. Write about the things you love and take the time to be genuine and authentic. It can be a challenge, but it is so worth it.
If I wasn't blogging I'd be...
Working in publishing or back in school, studying to be a librarian.
Behind the scenes of my blog looks like...
Organized chaos. Working at home is so fun sometimes but I have the worst time staying organized. I can usually see the big picture, but I tend to get a little lost in the details from time to time.
This year I'm most excited about...
Taking a step back and adopting a "less is more," or "quality over quantity" approach to blogging (and my life in general). 

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Photos by Sarah Gatrell of Photo + Love for Freckled Italian.

Creating Your First Cookbook 101

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Hello everyone, I'm Marita Karlson and this is my second guest post for Blog Society and thanks so much for letting me share some more Cali luv, it feels great to be back! 

This time I’m gonna share a little of what i’v been up to lately here in Los Angeles.  I'm currently working on my next cookbook - California food with a healthy twist for all the superfoodies out there, guest stories and lots of lifestyle. 

The girl behind the lens is Stephanie Bjelkstam and she is also doing all the layout. It is crazy fun to work with someone who shares the same philosophy and mindset and wants to do the best work possible. Anyone who made a cookbook before knows what I’m talking about when I say that you have to put your life on hold for a moment. All energy and time goes to creating recipes, writing shopping lists, going to prop houses, grocery stores, unloading and organizing groceries, planning, creating, cooking and making it look pretty for the camera to make the recipe work. Then let's not forget cleaning up all the mess, writing down the recipes as you go, so you don’t forget them and planning for the next day - and hopefully sleep a little in between. There is 16hours a day, right there but i would never complain even a tiny bit because it is a hell of a lot of fun!

There will be 7 guests in the book who all share a delicious little something with us and i'll help them prep in the kitchen. These places are all my favorites around and it can be health cafes, raw food chefs, a local outdoorsy personality or a juice bar. I think it gives the book a little more life to get to meet the locals who shares their story and philosophy. And I’m also a huge fan of prepping food with fresh seasonal ingredients and I adore fresh-from-the-farmer-produce which I share with all these guests. And they all taught me some new tips and tricks to use in the kitchen. 

Here I am with Suzanne Hall, the editor of The ChalkBoardMag (above). We are rolling raw rose ruffles at their office in Santa Monica. Oh my, were they delicious or were they delicious? And of course the book brought us to my favorite beach town in California, Santa Barbara. 

With the Channel Islands on the horizon and the easy, sweet, lifestyle we just had to bring that to the book. This is Scott and Erin, they are the founders one of the greatest juicebars around, Juice Ranch. They pick the produce from local SB farmers, always organic, always fresh made juices and the menu is creative and delicious. Erin creates her juices with her whole heart and soul. Here, I'm helping her prep a green savoury juice for the “Feeling Energized” chapter. Yum!

And then we have this little gem. A paradise for hummingbirds with gazillions of flowers and exotic plants to eat from plus an impressive chefs garden. As cute as can be. Rent a cottage, eat a meal with ingredients from the garden and hike up the trails in those mountains you see. San Ysidro is true beauty nestled in the foothills of Montecito. 

The book will hit the stores next summer and we still have lots of work to do - watch this space!

x Marita 
#maritakarlson

Blog Fuel // Easy Peas-y Spring Tart

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By Elizabeth Hewson

Ciao from Bra, Italy. My name is Elizabeth Hewson and my blog (and book) is called Moving Out, Eating Out. I’m a 27-year-old Australian with an obsessive passion for food. Ever since I can remember, my book of choice was a cookbook, my TV show of choice was a cooking show and my idea of having a good time was pottering in the kitchen. Before I dive into my recipe, “easy peas-y spring tart” let me tell you a little bit about myself and how I came to live in Italy. I love to cook. It’s as simple as that. I cook when I’m happy, I cook when I’m sad, I cook when the sun shines and I cook when it rains.  

My passion for food came about during my 3 years at university- when I first moved out of home. I left Sydney to study at Charles Sturt University in country NSW. At the end of three years, I walked away with a degree in Organisational Communications and Public Relations, some self-taught kitchen skills and a passion for cooking. I came back to Sydney and realised that if a girl wants to cook… a girls got to eat… so I needed a job. Whilst public relations was not the obvious career choice for a self-proclaimed-foodie, I managed to parlay my office job in PR into a way to follow my gourmet dreams. I was lucky enough to work for the likes of Australia‘s best restaurant; Quay, Australia’s best butcher; Victor Churchill, Australia’s best providore, Simon Johnson and the world’s best glassmakers; Riedel. All allowing me to (excuse the pun) feed my passion. But this didn’t quite satisfy my hunger for cooking. I needed something more, a creative outlet to share my love of food. And then came my idea about writing a book…and then a blog. I saw a gap in the market for something that catered to my lifestyle and needs when I started my own journey moving out of home. A book that understood that one night might involve eating alone, the next might suddenly be about feeding a group of six; a book that understood that ingredients need to be readily available and affordable as well as delicious; a book that didn’t require prior kitchen knowledge, but could just be picked up and cooked from. I wanted to write a book for fellow peers to share my love of food, my self-taught cooking skills but most importantly to get young people into the kitchen cooking and not heading down the road for take out. The book was published in October 2014 and the blog went live shortly after (the delay due to me braking my leg in three places – ouch) 

After the launch, it became so clear to me that I had found my calling. I had my eyes well and truly set on a career in food. But what to do next…There is another thing you should know about me and that is that I have always felt a strong connection to Italian food – the spirit, the warmth, the tradition, the passion and simplicity – it’s a culture I’ve wanted to immerse myself in.  A spirit I want to absorb. It’s my gastronomic home. And then, as thought the universe was hearing me, I stumbled across the University of Gastronomic Science, or the “Slow Food University” in a small town in Northern Italy. Almost immediately I applied, and then 3 months later packed my bags for my next chapter in Bra. So here I am, and it’s almost eight months since I first arrived in Italy and it has stolen my heart. The people, the food, the wine, the passion; it is everything I dreamt of and more. I haven’t yet properly mapped out the next “chapter”, but I do know for sure that it will involve food. And, well, that just makes me very happy indeed. 

Now back to the tart, which I presume is the reason you all came here. My easy peas-y spring tart is beautifully green, fresh and simple. All the things you want when you are having a lunch with girlfriends. And it’s these meals I cook for friends and family that I enjoy the most. In my view, eating, laughter and enjoyment are inextricably linked and always should be. Enjoy this with a glass of crisp white wine, a gaggle of girlfriends and the backdrop off a beautiful spring day. You’ll be in heaven, I promise. Ex 

PS. Of course if you can’t get fresh peas, like me when I shot this recipe, you can use frozen peas. 
P.P.S This was shot by the multi talented Alecia Wood, a fellow Aussie here in Italy with me. 

Easy Peas-y Spring Tart
Serves 4 
Equipment: Baking tray 
32cmx26cm sheet of all butter puff pastry 
1 cup ricotta, full fat please
1 lemon, zest only
1 tablespoon fresh mint, finely chopped plus extra for serving
1 egg
Pinch of chili flakes
½ cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated 
2 zucchinis, thinly sliced
Drizzle of olive oil
Salt flakes
½ cup fresh peas
Preheat your oven to 200°C

Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Roll your pastry on top. Fold the edges of the pastry in 1cm and then fold them over again. This creates a higher edge that will rise in the oven as the pastry cooks, creating a rectangular tart shell. Using a fork, prick the middle of the tart all over to avoid it rising in the oven. Place in the oven and cook for 10-12 minutes or until the middle has started to golden and the edges have risen. Don’t worry too much if the middle has risen slightly; just carefully prick with a fork to allow the pastry to deflate. 

In a bowl, combine the ricotta, lemon zest, finely chopped mint, egg, chilli flakes and Parmesan cheese. Fill the middle of the tart with your ricotta mix. Lay your thinly sliced zucchini’s over the top making sure they overlap, gently pressing them into the ricotta mix. Drizzle over olive oil and season with salt flakes. Return to the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and zucchinis are cooked. If you notice that your pastry is getting to brown, whilst your zucchini still needs a bit longer, carefully cover the pastry with foil to protect it from the heat. 

Meanwhile, blanch your fresh peas in boiling water for 30 seconds and refresh under cold water. If you are using frozen peas, let them sit in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes to defrost. Drain peas and put aside. When the tart is cooked, remove from the oven and decorate with peas. Garnish with mint leaves. Serve immediately.

Follow Elizabeth on her Italian food adventure on Instagram or Facebook or pick up a copy her book here.

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Images of Elizabeth Hewson by Nancy Bundt.

Kinfolk Sydney Wabi Sabi Dinner // A Messy Meal

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I've talked a lot here about my past experience working with Kinfolk and how grateful I am to be able to collaborate with such visually creative people. What never ceases to amaze me is that each event we team up on continually impresses me, pushes boundaries and creates a lasting vision in my mind.

Our most recent Wabi Sabi Messy Meal was no exception.

The latest Kinfolk gathering kicked off around the world on October 11 with Sydney being one of the first host countries and we happily embraced the unique theme of 'wabi sabi' - or the art of imperfection. We left behind the preconceived ideas of what a Kinfolk dinner should look like and created something unique and different on a beautiful Sydney afternoon with the most interesting group of strangers.

The sun was shinning on our private rooftop loft on the top floor of The Stables Retail Concept in Bourke Rd Surry Hills. Imagine exposed brick walls, aged timber beams, concrete floors and a rooftop garden. Combined with my hosting BFF's, food from Mario's Kitchen and wine from Cake Wines it was pretty much perfection.

But like all great things, there was a team involved that made it happen. My dream team and I'm eternally grateful for their support and hard work - for this event and always. Find the beauty in the imperfections, you may just be surprised at what you see...

A special thanks to our event partners:

HOST// Natalie Hayllar Eat Read Love / Jaclyn Carlson Blog Society / STYLING & BLOOMS // Lisa Madigan / FOOD // Marios Kitchen / VENUE // The Stables Retail Concept / PHOTOS // Rachel Kara / VIDEO // David Child Kat Parker / GIFTS // Aesop / WINE // Cake Wines TABLEWARE // Ode Ceramics

Images: Rachel Kara