The benefits of having a creative, lifestyle-loving friend who is also a superstar photographer? Getting to join forces in the comfort of my own home to create beautiful imagery and have the best time doing it. I first met the lovely Stacey Hatfield in 2016 when she was visiting from the UK. 18 months later, this talented lady is now living and working in Melbourne. During a visit to Brisbane, Stacey and I decided to spend a sunny, Spring day at my place. With no plans in place, I cooked a few dishes from the mystery box that is my pantry/fridge, while Stacey turned a corner of my backyard into an outdoor kitchen studio, capturing the perfect amount of natural light. Unlike any shoot I've done before, Stacey creates warm, authentic photography with her own artistic vibe. Her work tells a story and this collection has a consistent colour palette of blue, orange and purple hues which I absolutely love. I've included some of my favourite shots from the day, as well as recipe links for my 3 little creations. Special mention must go to my dog, Molly. She always manages to photo-bomb a shoot and I just love her for it.
FIRST UP: PICKLED BEETROOT, CHEVRE + WATERCRESS
I wasn't kidding when I said we hadn't planned how or what we were going to do during our shoot. I threw together whatever flavours I had in the house. First, a perfect little starter using homegrown beetroot and radishes from my Dad's veggie patch, some leftover goats cheese (chèvre) and some watercress from the fruit shop. While I was hustling ingredients, Stacey pulled together a backyard kitchen using furniture from around my house and many of my beloved pot plants. It was such a fun and natural process, and the result was pretty darn tasty! My pickling technique is perfect if you want 'ASAP' pickles. The peppery flavours from the cress and radish pair perfectly with the sweet-earthy beetroot and the creamy goats cheese. It's also effortlessly beautiful to plate! I could eat the whole lot on my own, but feel free to share if you wish. Find the recipe here.
NEXT: SPICE ROASTED CARRROT + PUMPKIN NOURISH BOWLS
'Nourish bowls' are a trending menu item at the moment, but these tasty little, throw-it-all-in dishes have been on my midweek meal agenda for some time. Wild rice that's been cooked in veggie stock creates the perfect base for oven-roasted carrots and pumpkin coated with a chunky-spice mix. Top it with some parsley yoghurt and some peppery nasturtiums, and you have yourself a delicious, nourishing bowl of yum. Find the recipe here.
SAVING THE BEST FOR LAST: no-bake mango + coconut cheesecake slice
A dear friend of mine had given me a stack of very ripe mangoes from their tree. After eating mango 17 different ways in short timeframe, this was definitely my favourite creation. When I think about it, the makeup of this dessert is actually a pretty good representation of me as a cook. Combining good for you and not-so-good for you, the base is somewhat healthy with no refined sugars or grains, the cheesecake layer is sweet and silky (made with all things cream and vanilla), and the mango jelly layer is nothing but mango, a little lemon for acidity and gelatine to make it set perfectly on top. Spend a little extra time making it look pretty with some whipped cream, slices of ripe strawberry and some violas from the garden - and you will have yourself a crowd pleasing, tropical treat! Find the recipe here.
Photography by Stacey Hatfield Photography