That’s right. I am announcing a workshop in Australia and I don’t know how I will manage to end the page without screaming too many times yeeeeeh-yhuuuuuu-whoooo-jabadabadoooooo while jumping up and down and throwing my passport towards the ceiling like a mad woman. You can imagine me this way, while I prepare some cakes with a vaguely aristocratic name, wondering if they can be valid as an “Australian recipe” since I twisted it by spreading in the house the very essence of Italy: espresso.
Before giving you the details of one of the most exciting projects for 2017 I want to tell you about the intensity life slaps us with, sometimes. But this is not a sad story, I promise.
How many times have I said “my eyes are tearing apart” this year – only my Mom knows, because she knows more than anybody else how much time I have spent behind this pc from morning to night, while the seasons changed outside. I must say that I have never cared much about the nominations to the Saveur Awards. I have never considered them as one of my objectives nor as an important opportunity for my career, but only as a far away possibility for me. I started to believe in it only when someone persuaded me that I could also deserve a nomination somewhere between the Best New Voice or Best Photography categories.
I know that many of you supported me, I received many beautiful messages which once in a while I secretly re-read… I could never thank you enough for that.
The fact that I did not receive any nomination caused me a certain unexpected dejection, I cannot deny it. Constantly questioning myself is unavoidable for me, it is part of my evolving process.
The wave that overwhelmed me was like a powerful tide which led me into deep and dark water, where I was carried away by doubts which were greater than the ocean, and I felt as if I was slowly drowning. At the end I was driven back, a bit worn out like an old log which is carried ashore after floating for a long time and finally reaches a beautiful and soft, dry and warm earth.
I gave space to that warmth, letting the wonderful sun embrace me, knowing that it could eclipse any shadow, and I shared the joy of success. Even though it was not my success, it carried me away from my dangerous cold streams.
I had heard someone saying “I am happy as if it had happened to me” and I always thought that it was a typical motherly feeling, the proof of great unselfishness and love for someone else. I am not talking about sharing happiness but of the personal satisfaction for something beautiful that has happened to another human being. And then, finally, I understood.
I cannot say if that joy was the unintentional compensation for my disillusionment, but I know that it was real. A warm blow which carried me on comfortable shores I could hold on to. I felt happy for somebody else who had obtained what I had also fought for.
Giving space to a positive feeling instead of a negative one is not always easy, but I think that the more we become available to receiving “good” energy the more we can bring something good in our life. I think it is like a proportion: the more we expand our “bubble” of positive feelings, the more they will come back in the form of everything we need or desire.
Those who know me well are perfectly aware of how much faith I have in these invisible movements of energy which I sometimes invoke by saying: “Power of the Universe, please bring me …” and I always receive what I ask for.
I wish I could tell you how many times the Universe has helped me by sending me any possible or imaginable thing, but I am afraid you would not believe me, because sometimes it surprised me as well. It has always given me what I needed exactly when I asked for it. Umbrellas when it rained, mineral water, new shoes, train tickets, a bicycle… these are only little things compared to the very many opportunities I was given.
Opportunities must be created, you might say… that’s for sure, but only if we are ready to believe in them and to repay the Universe with the only valid currency of this system, that is, trust.
In this continuous and constant exchange, even people arrive on the doorway as gifts – the most beautiful ones. They come and go like sea-tides, leaving fresh footprints on the sand. Sometimes they violently burst in our life like a tsunami, uprooting us from the ground and carrying us away with them… Other times they step in delicately and silently like the frost.
Valentina and Anisa (look at their post!!!) arrived in my life in two completely different ways, but they both brought some fresh air (and new opportunities) I am very grateful for.
We all share a similar sensibility which makes us talk the same language and love the mysterious ways of “moody” and chiaroscuro photography. And we are all very happy to announce our workshop which will take place in Australia on April 28-30 2017 in the fascinating Bundara Farm, between the beautiful township of Berry and the stunning Seven Mile Beach just two hours from Sydney, and less than three hours’ drive from Canberra.
All details below. If after reading this wonderful program you don’t feel like yeeeh-yhuuuu-whoooo-jabadabadooing and subscribing at once (reserve your spot here!)… you will still find the recipe for these cakes (below) which will make you jump from your chair. If it is not enough, have faith and the Universe will take care of you somehow… I promise!
A 2 and a half day chiaroscuro food photography, styling and cooking retreat held in Berry, NSW. Please go to this link for more information and to purchase tickets.
Host: Anisa Sabet
The retreat is set at Bundarra Farm, a beautiful homestead nestled into the delightful village of Berry. The homestead is a beautiful large house with a communal kitchen and dining area where most of our classes will be held. The grounds are beautiful and we will have lots of opportunities (weather permitting) for outdoor dining. Berry is located approx. 2 hours from Sydney and Canberra.
Who Can Attend
This workshop is for beginner – intermediate photographers. If you’ve never picked up a camera, we will be going through camera settings and photography basics.
This retreat is perfect for those interested in food photography and who want to meet like-minded creatives. There are only 12 places available.
April 28 – 30 2017
Accommodation included is for April 28 and 29 2017, is on site, and is single beds or bunks in shared rooms. Accommodation is nice, immaculately clean but basic.
Join us for an intimate chiaroscuro food photography, styling and cooking retreat set in the picturesque and rustic Australian bush. We will cook, we will feast, we will laugh and learn.
Workshop sessions will be taught by photography creatives, Zaira Zarotti of A Freaky Table and Valentina Hortus of Hortus Cuisine. Both have mastered the beautiful art of story telling and moody photography.
Retreat highlights include
Photography basics | We will go through basic camera settings, how to approach lighting, colours, compositions, angles and lenses.
Styling process | Together, we will learn how to create beautifully styled food stories. Zaira and Valentina will demonstrate how to create a scene by going through the thought process, set up, examining natural light, crafting an environment, choosing props, managing time, and choosing angles.
Chiaroscuro | We will learn how to create this dark and moody type of photography with ingredients and using florals to make beautiful still scenes.
Cake making class | We will bake a special cake together, which we will then decorate, style and photograph.
Forage walk | We will (weather permitting) lead a participatory guided foraging walk around the grounds to show you how to find various plants and florals that would be suitable for use in photography styling.
Lightroom demonstration & preset building | We will sit down to a collective lightroom editing session, where we’ll talk about post-processing and how to develop your own preset to get the look you want consistently.
Business and Marketing | We will talk about the business side of blogging which is as important as the creative side. We will discuss blogging, sponsorship, marketing, social media and how to develop a consistent brand.
Special barnyard dinner | You will be treated to a special barnyard dinner under the stars. We will share a meal, sample local wine and share stories.
Autumn cocktail class | In a special masterclass, you will learn about autumn cocktails, which alcohols work best and which fruits and flavours to pair with them.
Feasting | The best part of the retreat – the feasting! Together we will cook and eat local produce, sample regional delicacies and get to know one another.
Friday 28 April
Welcome and housekeeping
Autumn cocktail class
Session 1 – Photography Basics
Session 2 – Styling and photography – cocktails and fruit
Long table dinner
Saturday 29 April
Session 3 – Cake making, styling and photography – ingredients
Picnic lunch and foraging walk
Session 4 – Chiaroscuro styling and photography – cake and florals
Session 5 – Editing and preset building
Sunday 30 April
Session 6 – Business, marketing and social media
Farewell morning tea
(*Note this programme is subject to change.)
There are only 12 tickets for this workshop available. Be sure to get in quick to avoid missing out on this once in a lifetime retreat.
Two nights shared accommodation on site
Beautiful cottage farmhouse location for the retreat period
All lessons and discussions
Welcome snacks and drinks
Two cooking sessions (cake making and fresh egg pasta)
One picnic lunch
Two morning teas
One afternoon tea
Carefully curated set of gifts
Snacks during the retreat
Some wine/cocktails with meals
Transport to and from Berry
The workshop commences 12pm Friday 28 April and finishes 12pm Sunday 30 April. Please contact email@example.com for more details.
The all-inclusive cost for the retreat is AUD $1500. This includes 2-nights shared-room accommodation in Berry for April 28 and 29 2017| AUD$500 deposit will be required on booking to hold your place, the balance will be invoiced two months before the workshop. Please go to this link for more information and to purchase tickets.
- 100 g butter, room temperature + 1 little piece to greese the mold (20cm x 26cm x 4cm)
- 120 g caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 150 g flour
- 4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 italian cups of espresso (about 80 - 100 ml)
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- 150 g mascarpone, room temperature
- 2 tbsp icing sugar
- 3 tsp instant espresso coffee powder
- 3 tsp hot water
- 100 g good quality dark chocolate
- 150 ml espresso (a moka for 3 italian cups)
- 5 large handfuls shredded coconut
- Pre-heat oven to 180˚C/350˚F.
- Grease the mold and set aside.
- Make espresso (ideally using a moka) and allow it to cool.
- Cream butter and sugar together using an electric hand whisk until really light, thick and fluffy, add the eggs one at a time and beat well until incorporated.
- Add in the sifted flour, cocoa and baking powder. And pour in, a little bit at a time, the espresso until all the ingredients are well mixed in a smooth and frothy cream.
- Pour the mixture in the mold leveling it with a spatula and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer comes out of the centre clean. Allow it to cool entirely.
- Combine coffee instant powder and hot water in a cup, allow to cool.
- Cream mascarpone and icing sugar together using an electric hand whisk until really thick and fluffy, add the coffee and beat well until incorporated.
- Place the cream in the fridge for 10 minutes while you prepare the coating.
- Make espresso, again and ideally using a moka and allow it to cool a little bit.
- Crush the chocolate and melt it in a water bath or in the microwave.
- Add espresso to the melted chocolate, a little bit at a time, stirring continuously until you have a fluid cream that will coat a spoon. Place it on the water bath pot to keep it slightly warm and fluid.
- Place coconut into a large mixing bowl
- Remove the sponge from the mold and carefully cut into perfect little squares (about 20-24 parts to obtain 10-12 Lamingtons).
- Spread the mascarpone coffee cream over the top of one of the sponge rectangles and sandwich the second on top.
- Very carefully dip each "sandwich" in the chocolate espresso coating and then roll in the shredded coconut. Allow to cool on a cake rack.