Matcha fondue, savoury granola, challah donuts, marzapan kangaroos and tahini cakes with buttercream frosting…. Yes. Having Molly Yeh in our kitchen for three days was a sweet experience in every sense!
Two weeks ago, super blogger and cake queen Molly Yeh made the trip from her farm on the north Dakota-Minnesota border to ours just over the NSW Blue Mountains, to teach with Luisa Brimble and myself at our ninth Local is Lovely food photography and styling pracshop. And it was awesome.
We shared many good meals, talked by the fire, late into the night, learnt a great deal not only in our workshop sessions but also over kitchen bench chats (aren’t they always the best!), and as always, our student body was one hell of a cool group (check out our hashtag on instagram for some of their beautiful images #localislovelyworkshop)
Here below are a few photos and recipes we cooked and shared on day one of our two-and-a-half day workshop. There are some delicious goodies in here and lots more to follow this week and next, so please have patience with the rather epic length of these posts, make a cup of tea and have a good read. Please also take a look and a read of Molly’s post on our workshop – thank you Molly for all your lovely words and for sharing your recipe for those amazing challah donuts!
Thank you also, to the amazing women who help me put this workshop together and stay sane; Pip Farquharson, my Mum Annie Herron and newcomer to our workshop team Harriet McMicking. Your endless energy, superior cooking and washing up skills, humor and general moral support were GREATLY appreciated and invaluable.
And finally not at all least – thank you so very very much to the inimitable Luisa Brimble whose laugh, generosity and wonderful attitude towards teaching, learning and photography is a privilege to be around.
Our last workshop for the year (with Skye McAlpine this October) is sold out and I’m making some changes to the format of Local is Local workshops for 2017 (exciting ones!) so please watch this space for news and dates in the next few months.
Within an hour of arriving at Kimbri farm (the venue for our workshops), Molly was in the kitchen whipping up the above little vanilla cakes with rhubarb buttercream. They made a perfect afternoon tea for everyone as they arrived for our first session.
Hosting a workshop in mid-winter was always going to have its own challenges – and Pip, Mum, Harriet and I were constantly lighting and stoking up fires around the house and studio to keep everyone warm. The mud and sleet just added to the fun! And of course, Mum’s amazing garden was lying fairly dormant, as gardens do in the middle of winter, so we turned to the olive trees for foliage and picked the first of the daphne and hellebores for table posies.
Breakfast on day one of our workshop was, appropriately, a collaborative affair! We took Molly’s idea of yogurt bowls and gave them a winter-y twist with roasted pumpkin and sauteed kale then finished them with a good sprinkle of my savoury granola (recipe below). Yes please, everyday thanks.
This stuff is fantastic sprinkled over pretty much anything! From yogurt bowls as per above to basic green salads, roast vegetable salads, steamed fish parcels you name it! Swap the flavours and nuts around to taste and go for it! Makes about 2 cups.
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp maple syrup,
zest and juice of one orange
1 cup buckwheat
1/2 cup almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
2 tbsp nigella seeds
1 tsp poppy seeds
Preheat oven to 160C and line two baking trays with paper. Combine the olive oil, maple syrup, sea salt and orange in a jar and shake to combine. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and using your hands, mix in the dressing mixture so everything is well coated. Spread over the two trays and bake for 10 minutes, rotate the trays and toss the mixture around so it cooks evenly and repeat two times so it cooks evenly for 30 minutes. Let cool then store in an airtight container.
After breakfast we were off and running with a workshop session by Molly on how she decorates, styles and shoots her amazing cakes. The below creation was the result!
The day progressed in a rolling feed (literally) of good things to cook, eat and shoot. We broke into groups and rotated around from Molly’s station – challah donuts, Luisa’s beautiful tapas set up and a bread and butter situation with Pip and I. Everyone had a go at styling, modelling, shooting and directing each station, Luisa played an epic Spotify party playlist and it was SUPER FUN.
You can find the recipe for these incredibly good donuts over on Molly’s incredibly good blog. Thanks!
Luisa’s tapas scene was an exercise in colour and light – I snuck away from my station for a minute to take a quick pick which I’m sorry to say is a touch blurry but please check out the #localislovelyworkshop hashtag for some really beautiful takes on this set up.
And the bread and butter station with Pip and I was all about stretchy, lovely sourdough, fresh butter and truffles. I’m going to save the pics from this scene for a separate post coming later in this week!
Ginger molasses cake
One of the many things I love about this cake is that it seems to just get better and better (and better) with a few days age. So I made this early on in the piece then wrapped it tightly in paper and foil before unwrapping and icing for morning tea on our first day. It was heaven, dark, spicy and just perfect with a strong coffee.
1 cup (185g) plain flour,
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg, grated
A few good grinds of black pepper
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 tablespoons milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Preheat oven to 180C and grease and line a loaf tin. Sift the flour and spices into a mixing bowl and combine the milk and bicarb soda in a small bowl and set aside. Now place the molasses and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until the butter has melted completely and you have a dark caramel situation. Stir this into the flour mixture, then add in the egg and finally the bicarb soda and milk. Mix with a wooden spoon until well combined then spoon into your prepared loaf tin. Smooth over the top and bake for 45 minutes or until cake is firm to the touch in the centre and beginning to pull away from the sides of the tin.
Let cool in the tin for five minutes before turning out to a rack to cool completely. At this point you can wrap and store your cake or ice with the glaze below.
Mix together a cup of icing sugar and fresh lemon juice until you have a nice thick consistency, grate in a little fresh lemon zest and drizzle over the cake.
Jane @ Shady Baker says
LOVE everything about this Sophie. I am not sure when…perhaps when my children are at boarding school?? But, I am coming to one of your gatherings, one of these days. In the meantime I think I will have to try that Ginger Molasses cake xx
Oh Jane we’ll make it work somehow! I’d just love to collaborate with you down the track. Sx
Melanie Hall says
The special combination of amazing hospitality and talent makes your workshops so very special…I’m definitely coming back in 2017!
Thanks Mel. Love to see you again next year x
Absolutely stunning images, looks like an amazing working!
Thanks Shellie, it was a great couple of days, Sophie x
Jody Yeh says
Beautiful photos ! Everything looks so good…I will definitely be trying these recipes. I can feel the cozyness of this kitchen through these beautiful images.
Thanks so much Jody!
This all looks fabulous – photos, food and the location! What a beautiful place you live in. Hopefully one day I will be able to head up your way to join in.
Everything looks absolutely beautiful and sinfully delicious…my daughter, my friends and I keep on wondering on that delicate white cloud on top of each of those pretty little vanilla cakes with rhubarb buttercream. Is it cotton candy?
Hi Gaby, thanks so much for your comment! And that white cloud you mention is Persian fairy floss, isn’t it gorgeous! Cheers, Sophie
Constanza Latorre says
I wish I had found your blog before I left Australia!!! I always dreamt of having a food blog, and finally started it now that we moved to Chile to our own little farm. I am documenting the process, but I wish I knew all the tips and tricks to get such amazing photos. Hopefully we will be spending some holidays back in Sydney next year, I hope I can coincide with a work shop. I also hoped that your recipes had the print link which makes them so much more easy to store in the computer for later use. I always save everything in PDF, and although I have a separate folder for LisL, I still struggle as I have everything in pages, and whenever I share a recipe I forget to change the format!! Anyway, I love your blog, it’s been an inspiration. I’ll be on the lookout for the dates on next year workshops…
Hello! What a fantastic workshop. Is there a recipe for the mini vanilla cakes with rhubarb butter cream?? Thanks.
Eden Passante says
Gorgeous! Love the beautiful color of these! Almost too pretty to eat!