Blogiversaries and Savoury Bread Puddings for a fresh brunch idea.

Hello foodies!

I write to you today, on the occasion of my second blogiversary. In fact, I write to you in my first week back at school and in my final year of culinary studies as a commercial cookery chef. Wow! my final year….

It means I’ll really have to put my head down this year, as I strive to finish some (fairly big assignments.) Of course, work deadlines will always loom. Though for now, I’m in a stress free zone…at least until tomorrow…bye, bye, chocolate…

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Entry for Shoot the Chef 2013, from girl in a food frenzy via @instagram

As for this blog, it first began as a way to document my studies and all the delicious recipes I’d be creating and testing and testing again, (plus a whole lot more,) over those three years.

It’s actually amazing to reach my third year at all. I was placed into a class with Working Apprentices. Me, the home cook who spent the last 10+ years working in design, with 60hr+ weekly apprentices practicing their skills day in and out… I was so nervous!

As the story goes, it lead to my ongoing love with Instagram and my efforts to achieve the best with what I could learn in mobile photography.

I was lucky to be selected for a small feature too, (which I celebrated for months afterwards) for this Pear Tart from Jamie Magazine

I was so happy. It truly gave me the confidence to keep pursuing my goals to eventually combine my love of design and food.

For those who’ve been watching,  you would know I signed with the Tastemade Network late last year and that I was so very fortunate to meet some fellow Sydney foodies, for my first mobile photography workshop too.

And so…after two big years I’ve finally decided to move ahead and give this blog a well overdue overhaul.

Which means, sadly that Girl in a Food Frenzy will be quiet for a little while, (whilst) she gets some well needed maintenance done. And yes, the site will be offline to eventually return,

Bigger, Brighter, Shinier & New!

Before I depart, you should know that you can still get your Food frenzy fix via my social media links on Instagram, Twitter, Google + and Facebook, (follow via the widgets in the sidebar.)

There will still be lots of delicious recipes and foodie adventures on my YouTube and Tastemade app-i-sodes, so you won’t go hungry!

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Savoury Bread Puddings, for new brunch ideas.

You can totally find more delicious recipes like the above Savoury Bread Puddings, to fill that little void in your tummies, whilst you wait.

I promise it will be a very worthwhile wait at that…

Savoury Bread Puddings:

If you’re looking for a smart way to make this veggie friendly, then perhaps a slice of fresh tomato (in place of the Ham,) or a nice handful of spinach between each layer could work? Otherwise read on for the ingredients list below.

Ingredients:
1 bread roll,
2 eggs, whisked
A splash of milk
A slice of jamon or ham
Parmesan cheese to garnish
Chives to garnish
Salt & pepper to taste
Freshly grated nutmeg

The Serpent’s Table & Recipes for a Happy Chinese New Year.

Kung Hei Fat Choi and many happy wishes to you for the upcoming Chinese New Year. I write at the tail end of a busy project. Indeed, it’s one of the most exciting accomplishments I’ve been a part of, during my time as a designer. I’m both grateful, saddened, excited and relieved to see it to fruition.

The Serpent’s Table combined so much of my current loves and passions, in Food Styling, Storytelling, Asian Culture, Traditions & more. The more bit, would be the set, the costumes, the ever evolving task of working with an incredible team to make it all happen. Yay Team!

A year & a half can go by so quickly… That is how long this journey took us to get to Sydney Festival 2014.

In regards to all ‘other’ things traditional for the actual Lunar New Year, you might remember my all time favourite tradition for festive eating? Including the Lo Hei ‘Prosperity Noodle Toss!’

Long Noodles for long life,
Carrots for Wealth.
Cucumbers for luck
Spring (onions) for cleverness,
and so much more!!!

Just in case you missed the previous post and recipe from 2013, clicking the picture below will take you to these Longevity Noodles.

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Longevity Noodles, for a long life.

Lo Hei & the Prosperity Noodle Toss

I’ve also round up a few of my favourite recipes from all the year round. Including some quick & easy meal ideas for Asian eggs on rice.

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Recipe for classic at home, asian eggs & rice.

…For those days you want to get into a pickle. Do you remember my experimentation with Homemade Kimchi for Beginners, (again, click the picture below) to go direct to the link.

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Getting in a pickle, Homemade Kimchi for beginners.

Lastly, because we want to end the Year of the Snake on a sweet note, a classic recipe for the very tasty Sticky black rice, with salted peanuts & kaffir lime. Recipe via picture link…

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Sticky black coconut rice, with salted peanuts & kaffir lime leaves.

However you choose to welcome in the Year of the Horse, I genuinely hope that you enjoy these recipes and (perhaps,) they might make it onto your list of international & Asian cuisines for the New Year. Just remember that it’s always lucky to wear red underpants during this time. That you can never eat too much yum cha. That it’s totally okay to accept money in red packets from strangers, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_envelope (and return them too!)

And if you should happen to see a bunch of revellers tossing noodles at a table, shouting out in glee and wishing at the top of their lungs…well come on over and say hi ;)

More links for The Serpent’s Table:

Food For Thought in SMH

How to Make Classic Dinner Rolls

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Sometime back, I began experimenting with all kinds of bread recipes. It (of course) began as a way to enjoy Homemade Bread, test my baking skills and to see what all the fuss was about?

After viewing countless bakeries, piled high with baked goods and seeing Artisan bread going at $9-$10 a loaf (sometimes in Sydney.) I began experimenting with The plastic bag bread (& shortcuts.) Through to the 24hr Honey Biga Starter and more recently, a Black Bread, made with cocoa & stout.

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Ironically enough, my Sweetheart at home likes his bread ‘Plain & White!’ So much so in fact, that he requested a simple, light & fluffy roll (to go) with our dinner….that means no 24hr starters with beer infused cocoa, or honey scented crusts!

I give you hence the classic white roll.

It’s waiting for you now. Waiting to be passed around the table. Waiting to echo that delicious crack as you break open that lovely crust. Waiting to be slathered in butter.

A silent moment for the dinner roll please…

Classic Dinner Rolls

Ingredients:
500g strong flour
10g salt
5g sugar
10g fat/or butter
14g dried yeast
300 ml warm water.

(Optional) Poppy seeds & semolina to dust.

Makes 9 medium (man-size rolls!) or 12 petite dinner rolls. Your choice!

Like this recipe? Check out the YouTube Archives

“On a Roll, Sausage Roll!” Shortcut recipe for Flakey, Golden Sausage Rolls.

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On a roll, Sausage Roll. The perfect snack or meal to go.

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Garnish those layers of flaky pastry, with these poppy seeds.

Hello 2014! Cue echo of a dozen champagne bottles hitting the recycling tub?

I don’t know about you, but it’s somewhat hard to relinquish the days of sleep-ins and lazy summer nights. I’ve been enjoying some quiet time with family in Tasmania, that beautiful apple aisle of Vineyards, Cheese farms and endless feasting with family & loved ones. I daresay we all agree, that there’s nothing lovelier than fresh country air after the busy city life!

Especially when it’s the festive season and there’s a lot of merriment, good food and good company to be enjoyed too.

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Josef Chromy.

Josef Chromy Winery

There are those moments when only wine will do…

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Cheers big ears. Talk, chatter and wine with my brother at our favourite vineyard.

…and those moments when only a talk with your best girlfriends will do…

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Stillwater Cafe’s Tuna Tartare with wasabi pea mash, goats cheese & micro greens.

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Remember delicious flaky, golden & buttery Sausage Rolls?

Although the holiday season has passed, it still feels like we’re eating delicious food… (Who am I kidding, we’re always eating delicious food!)

You know that moment when you assess the contents of your fridge and freezer, after catering for the odd BBQ, dinner or drinks catch up. Sometimes there’s a half pack of sausages, a few condiments and cheeses, the odd tub of sour cream and hopefully…lots of leftover wine.

Sometimes, there lurks a snack monster somewhere in our house, that would be me & not the boyfriend ;) Though, truth be told, I often wonder what to do with those half packs of leftovers myself.

If you should happen to love a Short cut Recipe, then these golden, flaky & buttery Sausage Rolls, might just do the trick.

Think of these as a rather dressed up version of that old childhood fave, Piggies in a blanket. Perfect for making use of odd ends & leftovers. Whether it be a short cut lunch, a packed picnic lunch or simply because your inner snack monster says so!

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A smart & easy shortcut recipe for golden, flaky & buttery sausage rolls.

Ingredients:
Uncooked Sausages, (mix of beef, lamb & rosemary,) any will do.
1/2 sheet of puff pastry (per roll.)
Condiments to seal it together. Mustard & Tomato sauce work well.
Butter, to brush the tops,
Poppy seed garnish (optional.)

Want more uses for Leftovers? Then check out this Great Sandwich Hack for more tasty ideas.

Time saving recipes for a Merry Christmas.

Happy Holidays to all. Wherever you are, I hope you’re kicking off the holiday season with loved ones, a few good snacks and not one, nor two, but a few glasses of good cheer ;)

This month, there are four recipes to get you through the holiday season!

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The quick cheat’s version, for this Melting Snowman Cookie Hack.

We’ve sung along to a christmassy-jazzy tune and oggled this Recipe for a Glazed Ham. We’ve debated the importance of home made gifts during the season of giving and the ultimate recipe for, Christmas in a jar.

20131214-120141.jpgspicedgingercake.jpg  See below for everyone’s favourite little friend this holiday. He’s famous, he’s tasty! and I know we all appreciate a good cookie hack, (every now & then!) With his little icing dribble & marshmallow hat, you’ll be feeling festive in no time! Don’t get me wrong, I am an advocate of the home made cookie, but if you should find yourself short of time or ideas this holiday season, then this video is for you!

Snowman Cookie Hack

Along the way, I’ve also taken more than a few snapshots & clips for my friends at Tastemade. If you’ve enjoyed these video tutorials and foodie films (so far,) It’s my absolute pleasure to let you know there will be more in 2014.

David Jones Christmas Display

My last, (yet not least) recipe and time saver, is for these rich Dark Chocolate & Coconut Truffle Balls this Christmas. Filled with chocolate, butter, coconut & more, they’re deliciously ooey, gooey, decadent and no-bake! Make these ahead for the Christmas and New Year period and pull them out of the fridge (like magic!) when you next settle in for your favourite Christmas movie re-runs!

Chocolate & Coconut Truffle Balls

Little Xmas tip: If you should happen to be wrapping those gifts, close to midnight and find yourself short of a few tags or two, I might just have found your  little life saver, in the form of these free printable gift tags

Most importantly I want to wish my fellow foodies a very Happy Holidays. Thank you for taking the time to follow, read, laugh eat and listen over the last year. I go into my final year as a student chef in 2014 and I promise, it will be an immensely tasty one!

But for now, “Be safe, be happy and be Merry this Christmas!” See you in 2014!

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Recipe for delicious homemade Chocolate & Coconut Truffle Balls.

Ingredients list: Snowman Cookie Hack
Plain round biscuit
White marshmallows
Icing pens-black & red
Icing sugar
Few drops of milk.

Ingredients list: No Bake Coconut choc truffle balls: makes 35-40
230g choc chips
200ml thickened cream
100g butter
3 cups dessicated coconut
1 doz, plain biscuits (crushed.)
3 tbsp brown sugar
Cocoa powder, to roll the balls in

Christmas in a jar & the art of giving!

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There’s that moment when you’re wandering through countless aisles of really nice food stuffs, homewares and really pretty things whilst gift shopping. You know those days?

Everything is lovely and shiny, very very new and often, very very expensive….

Sometimes, I see something that I really like and then my heart skips a beat, as I realise that very same thing I saw would be perfect for a friend or loved one too ;) That’s when the dreaded double bag syndrome happens and you return home with not one, but two cast iron pans. Not one, but two delicate boxes of handmade goats milk soaps…

Wait a minute, did you say handmade?

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When was it last, that handmade was in fact, homemade?

I remember one Christmas many eons ago, (okay, not that many, but a few!) A friend our mine pulled out the most lovely package of freshly made coconut ice, they were pink, fluffy, packed with sugar and a teenage girls dream.

In fact I remember then, that it became a race to see who made the best chocolate truffles the next year, or peppermint slice, or indeed one friend who gifted us with bottles of Home brew Ginger Beer too!

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The thing that I remember most about that time was not the gifts themselves, but the art of giving.

I’m no saint and I am very guilty of the impluse & quick buy, often!!! (That is precisely why, we have the full box set of Seinfeld episodes at home, that and no household is complete without one!)

Yes there will still be shop bought items as let’s face it, we mostly work, tend to our flocks (friends, families, furry pets,!)Sort out the extra lien for guests and (fingers crossed,) get more than a few days holidays. But… this festive season I have resolved to try. To Try and give a little of myself in each gift. To put my little ‘Food Frenzy’ stamp on those items and (fingers crossed,) time willing to make more and give more.

With the aid of this little recipe below, I encourage you to do the same. Relive that wonder again with the important people in your life and find a connection to both the meaning and not just things.

Spiced Ginger Cake Mix, (Christmas gift ideas.)

Spiced Ginger Cake (makes enough for 2 medium jars.)

Mixed Spice mix
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1.5 tbsp ground ginger
2 tbsp ground cinnamon

1 vanilla bean (split between jars)
1 & 1/2 cups Rye or Wholemeal or self raising flour.
(I used a mix of rye & buckwheat flour.)
1/2 cup of crumbled walnuts.
1 &1/2 tbsp Baking powder
1 cup Brown sugar
A pinch of salt.

Gift recipient to add
75g butter,
1 eggs.

Pour batter into a greased & floured mould, bake at 180C (356F) for 20-25 mins, until done.

You’ll also need clean jars. Jar covers, string & labels & a pen.

Want more Christmas ideas?

Check out this link for Arts & Crafts with Better Homes & Gardens.

Want to make a yummy, scrummy gift, that’s not edible? See this Ginger Body Scrub

Missed the recipe for Glazed ham with Pineapple & Sherry? Fear not and find the link here

List to Tastemade Channel’s network partners videos on YouTube

A Christmas Recipe for Glazed Ham, to kick start the Silly Season.

Christmas recipe for Glazed Ham

For many around us, the holidays swiftly approach.

Having finally finished my second year of studies, I can now say I have my eyes firmly on the prize. With next year being my final semester and (then my eventual) graduation as a Chef. Honestly, it’s all going by in a blur!

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Decorate the Table with a few baubles here & there.

Speaking of the blur that was 2013, my eyes really didn’t believe it, when the calendar switched over to December recently. In amongst various projects, recipe testing, videos and food…I suddenly realised that I’d “better get my skates on!”

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Shimmering Snow Globes

It’s figurative speech really, as you might well know that here in Sydney (or) Australia in general, there are no skates, (well there’s no ice of course!) Most folks here tend to celebrate Christmas with a summer BBQ, swim, tan and keenly warding off the flies…oh the flies!

Not me though, this girl is surprisingly a traditionalist.

It can be 40C (104F) and I will have that oven going. There will be the scent of cloves and sherry wafting through the breeze, as all those little beads of sweat form on my upper lip, but it is oh so worth it!

Yes, there’s a funny fever which takes over in December, all more commonly known as the Silly Season!

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Deck the Halls…

So what can I promise you this month is the lead up to Christmas? Well, to kick things off I’m sharing a pretty festive video recipe for my favourite Glazed Ham. If you like FoodPorn, Christmas Tunes and Snow Globes, then this one is for you!

Not only that, but I will be sharing my favourite all time sandwich hack for Christmas Leftovers too. It’s one that many probably know (and one my mum’s been making for years too!)

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Cured & Salted, Picnic Ham

There will be baking recipes to share with a friend and delicious and festive ‘cheats!’ for the time poor. I’ll include a couple of classic table recipes for the big day, so be sure to check back during this month!

Link for free printable Christmas Stockings & downloads can be found on this blog, here

To get you a little or (a lot) inspired, I think this wonderful Pinterest Board might do it. I’m talking 1000+ Christmas themed pins alone from this gal. No shortage of great ideas there!

Want more Christmas feast-tivities? You can find them here on Tastemade’s YouTube playlist too.

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Until the next time we merrily meet, I’ll leave you with the ingredients list for this week and I hope you enjoy the lead up to the Festive Season.

Ingredients for Christmas glazed ham: (note) double quantities for more glaze, or if you’re using a whole leg.)
Cloves to decorate
2 cloves garlic
1/2 knob of ginger
1 cup sweet sherry
2 cups pineapple juice
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup paprika (optional)

How to make Ricotta Cheese. “Indulging your inner Artisan.”

Are you a cheese lover?

Do you longingly pass delicatessen windows, peering in, sighing with pleasure in fact.

I love seeing those beautiful milky balls of curds as they bob about on the surface and oozey, beautiful wedges of Brie and Camembert as they moan under a thick mould layer… Don’t even get me started on crusty bread, which is usually somewhere within that sight line too. I love that bread as much as I love that cheese ;)

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This is one of those moments. It’s that moment when you gently wrap a bowl with a layer of muslin, draping the edges (lovingly) in preparation for an onslaught of curds and whey!

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It’s that moment when you gently simmer some milk, cradling the bowl of lemon juice before letting it loose into the milky broth and stirring with glee as the clouds of curds begin to form, thereby indulging your inner artisan as you make a batch of Ricotta cheese.

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Afterwards as you wring out that beautiful whey, you think of all the wonderful ways in which it can be utilized. Whether as a starter for the best bread in the world! A base for cakes or even a big thirsty drink for your garden, (apparently gardens love whey!!!)

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Later, whilst unwrapping that beautifully handcrafted-homemade ricotta, you think about how much you enjoyed the whole experience and the next time you walk past that shop window and the delicious display of cheese & curds in the deli… you think, ‘I can make that!

Recipe for Homemade Ricotta Cheese:
4 cups whole milk
Salt to taste
1 lemon (juiced & zested)
Garnish-lemon zest & dill (optional.)

Like this, you might like to see more cooking videos and playlists here.

Thanksgiving recipe for Sweet Potato Scrolls with Pecan Nuts

Sweet Potato Scrolls with Pecan Nuts

I’ve been told, that the holiday season approaches!

Many years ago (a friend of mine in the states,) told me that Halloween marked the beginning of the holiday season for her. She mentioned this, because Halloween is a pretty big deal right? Then it’s followed by the next month’s preparation and planning for Thanksgiving and last, (but not least) the main event, Christmas!

I remember pondering this and thinking, wow! One day I must do a proper Halloween and Thanksgiving in the States. That dream is yet to come true, but if ever there was a foodie bucket list, surely it’s okay to add events and destinations into that too? ;)

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Upon a quick Google check, I decided that this year was the time to try a Thanksgiving recipe at home & I had the most unbelievable craving for a sticky, sweet, scroll.

Sticky scrolls, pumpkin, sweet potatoes (yams?) and pecan…marshmallow and yams? Wow!

I’ve got to say that there are a billion food combinations I have tried, but I am yet to eat that marshmallow-y concoction, true story! Let’s just add that to the foodie bucket list too, (this will be funny if ever I turn up in the states one day and there are numerous people greeting me with their yam & candy dish, lol!)

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So, what can you expect when you make this version of a sticky scroll?

Well, firstly it’s packed with the flavours of yummy sweet potato and spices, (which pretty much tastes great on its own…errr not that I ate too much of it ;)) Then, it’s mixed into a light and sticky dough and amplified with crunchy pecan nuts and sweet, sweet raisins/sultanas (omit these items freely too, of course!)

Better yet, after baking and making your house smell like a Yankee-doodle-pumpkin-spiced candle (yes, I’ve heard about those and how amazingly good they smell!) you then get to drizzle these yummy scrolls from head to toe, with a oozey, milky glaze!!!

Sweet heaven!

Recipe ingredients:
Ingredients:
Dough: 500g strong flour,
1 large sweet potato, mashed. (1.5 cups approx)
14g dried yeast,
1 tbsp Ground Ginger,
1 tbsp Cinnamon,
1 cup Brown sugar,
1/2 cup melted butter,
2 eggs,
Splash of milk,

Filling: 1/2 cup of chopped pecans & raisins (mixed)
Brown sugar to dust, (optional)

Bun wash: 1/2 cup apricot jam (melted)

Milky glaze to decorate: 1/2 cup icing sugar & 3-5 drops of milk.

ps, If you’re still looking for more delicious thanksgivukkah recipes, please check out this link to the Tastemade Partner network, on YouTube here

Foodies, Chefs & mobile photography…and getting the best from what you’ve got!

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Wow! What a week it’s been foodies and friends! Let me begin by summarizing that I’m one & a 1/2 weeks away from completing my second year of Commercial Cookery. That means, I’ll officially graduate as a chef next year, wow that went by quickly!

What’s most exciting is, I’m more than half way to completing my goal. That is the goal I initially set myself to begin re-training in the food industry, to gain insight and experience into the world of Chefs. It eventually led to this blog and gave me an outlet for recipe testing, it encouraged me to learn about mobile food photography, eventually resulting in video production & so much more!

I’m actually more amazed, that I’ve survived those 7am starts in a class of great apprentices, who all work full-time in the restaurant industry, (which I don’t…) Suffice it to say, I’ve had to get quick on my feet for two years now!

Indeed, there’s more good news to share.

With big thanks to the folk at +GoogleLocalSydney, I’ll be meeting with top Food & Social Media wizards from Sydney, next week. This includes the talented & knowledgeable Bridget Davis (The internet chef), Twitter-ific Mahei Foliaki and 3 other lucky food bloggers too.

We’re meeting at Balla, The Star and it’s such an invaluable prize to Lunch & Learn. I’ll be sure to post a great story (& snaps) on the event next week, (so make you check back, or follow on Twitter or Facebook for an alert when it goes out ;)

Work-Shop Aus intro:

Next up, lets talk Food Styling & Mobile Photography, of which I recently had the fortune to facilitate my first workshop.

For me, it was an opportunity to finally put all that I’ve learnt, over these two years into practice. It was held at Work-Shop in the CBD and is the love child of Matt Branagan & Chester Garcia and their vision for connecting community, with life skills and so much more!

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Cheesecake in a jar-styling exercise

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Finally, I’d love to leave you with a few cheat sheets which we discussed at the workshop.

They’re little hints and tips which come in handy when considering the style, set up and mood for what you want to convey. Apologies, this is not the full 2 &1/2 hr workshop, but I just wanted to give you some insights to rules I generally try to remember myself!

All snaps & videos taken on the iphone4S & 5S, in addition you can check out my YouTube channel to see more of my handiwork.

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The rule of thirds.
The subject sits in the frame, either 2/3 full, or 1/3 full.

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Colour Blocking:
Works so beautifully to deliver impact, especially when trying to catch the eye in social media posts, eg Instagram or Twitter.

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Alas, this one is self explanatory. Start collecting and hoarding all those beautiful little scraps of paper you love. They just might become your next inspiration.

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Use your Words! Write text & overlay to add a quirky feel or appropriate labeling for the item. Mix it up and try a few different apps, like those suggested above.

Happy Snapping!

© Girl in a food frenzy [2013]