Hey ho - it's nice to be home! Just a wee up-date on my weekend in Sydney where it never rains...unless I am there in which case it hoses down non-stop.
I got back a couple of days ago from my trip over to attend Denise Vivaldo's Styling workshop, which also provided a great excuse for me to revisit some of my favourite Sydney haunts. First up, my old stomping ground of Woollahra which was still beautiful, but perhaps not quite as magnificent as when we lived there 8 years ago - or it was probably just the weather! Nothing could detract though from eating toasted banana bread and drinking great coffee at Creme Cafe then popping into the amazing Victor Churchill Butcher which is pure theatre - meat displayed behind cabinets fit for designer shoes while the butcher is star of the stage, working on trimming and cutting the meat behind glass.
You can smell the fruit in the tiny little Queen Street Fruit Shop before you even go inside - with pomegranates, freshly podded peas and abundant tropical treats it isn't quite as flash as some of the wholefoods stores, but it is very sweet and the staff are always friendly...and it just smells so damn good!
Although I didn't get to cook while I was there I did get to play with food, and learn a whole lot of clever tricks used by stylists to keep food looking good for photography. Some of the techniques were incredible for film, TV or advertising styling, and there were heaps I picked up to use myself for blogging, magazine and website work - less about your style of styling if you get what I mean, and more about helping the food look it's best. We learnt everything from how to make food steam for a shot, to slowing down the pour of maple syrup or chocolate sauce, to keeping salad greens and fruit from browning under lights - even how to make fake ice-cream so it doesn't melt. Check out the pics below - would you believe that ice-cream isn't real?!! (Don't worry though, I promise my blog recipe pics always will be!). Click 'click here for recipe' to see more :)
Denise the presenter was a total hoot with a million years experience (I don't think she'll mind my saying that) and loads of hilarious stories about her adventures in the business. She is the doyenne of Hollywood food styling, has worked for hard-core celebrities like Aaron Spelling, Cher and Arnold Schwarzenegger, is the author of several books, and done a huge amount of TV and film work. I had a great couple of days, it was such a pleasure to learn from the accumulated knowledge of others. Denise is looking to head our way (New Zealand) around October next year, so if you are keen to find out more about what we got up to click on this link here and Denise's website here. Thanks also to Dario Milano the amazing photographer and Kirsty Bryson the very talented Melbourne-based stylist and organiser - thanks so much guys, it was a blast!
Denise 'magicking' a raw chicken into a cooked one!
So now I am home and itching to get back in the kitchen with heaps of ideas to try out. It is so cool how a trip away can re-ignite passion and enthusiasm - the different experiences, sights and sounds just blast the cobwebs away! I've already managed to get the zucchini fritters 'on paper', next stop a smoothie extravaganza!
Better not let you down then...I'll be aiming for another new recipe up by the start of next week...