Category: Food

A Swedish Food Styling Lesson with IKEA

Ikea table spread serving ware

In this age of social media and social sharing, it seems we can’t say we’ve truly enjoyed a meal without having shared it with our Instagram community or Facebook friends, taking perfect shots of our plates in the hope of capturing the moment and enticing the senses of others.  As a blogger, I am a totally guilty party on this front, so I was really delighted to be invited along to my local IKEA store here in Belfast to learn some top tips on styling and photographing food and kitchen wares for that perfect Instagrammable shot.  As a homes and interiors blogger, I haven’t worked with foodie styling that much in the past, however with IKEA’s gorgeous new Summer 2017 dining and kitchenware ranges in-store, I was excited to get to use their products whilst creating some Insta-worthy shots.

Local stylist and all-round Instagram guru, Eve Brannon, was on hand during the evening helping us create a Swedish ‘smorgasbord’, which is essentially sharing plates of tapas-style food which is enjoyed by family and friends together around the table, everyone helping themselves in true feel-good ‘hygge’ fashion. Eve showed us how to style the various ingredients on our own individual smorgasbords, all the while imparting some invaluable tips on how to make our culinary creations totally and deliciously ‘Instagram-able’, using food and serving ware which can all be bought in-store.

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Recipe: Chocolate Muscovado Banana Cake

Bananas in our household are in constant demand.  What better healthy, filling snack to give the kids or chop into yogurt or muesli for an easy breakfast.  Sometimes, however, we buy a stash of the yellow lovelies expecting them to be gobbled up quickly as ever, but then they seem to morph themselves overnight from a perfect state of sunny ripeness to a blackened, pungent unidentifiable object which festers in the bottom of the fruit bowl, suddenly unloved and unwanted.  That is, until I discovered this amazing recipe by the wonderfully creative cook, Nigel Slater, which is just perfect for using up this overripe fruit.

It’s not your average banana loaf, rather it sits halfway between a bread and a cake; good enough spread with butter alongside a cup of tea at breakfast time, even better with a strong black coffee in the afternoon, thanks to the indulgent chunks of dark chocolate marbled through it.  I love the deep caramel flavour imparted by the muscovado sugar, but go darker for a more treacly taste.

You’ve got to try it, it’s so easy and tastes so darn good!

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Styling: Plate – Ikea (similar here) / Placemat – similar here / Knife – vintage

You will need:

  • Plain flour: 250g
  • Baking powder: 2 tsp
  • Butter, softened: 125g
  • Muscovado sugar: 235g
  • Ripe bananas: 400g (peeled weight)
  • Vanilla extract: 1 tsp
  • Eggs: 2 large
  • Dark chocolate: 100g
  • 1 loaf tin, approx 24cm x 12cm x 7cm deep, lined with baking paper

Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas 4.  Sift the flour and baking powder together.

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until it is light and fluffy.

Lightly mash the bananas in a bowl with a fork (you don’t want too mushy a mixture), then stir in the vanilla extract.  Beat the eggs lightly with a fork then add to the creamed butter mixture.  Introduce a spoonful of flour if the mixture begins to curdle.

Chop the chocolate into small chunks and fold them and the bananas into the butter and sugar mixture.  Gently fold in the flour and baking powder.  Transfer the mixture into the prepared baking tin and bake for 50 mins – 1 hour.  Check the cake is ready by inserting a metal skewer into the centre – if it comes out clean the cake is done.  If there is any sign of wet cake mixture, return to the oven for a few more minutes, covering the surface with foil if necessary to prevent further browning.

Leave the cake to cool in its tin for 15 minutes or so, then loosen the sides with a rounded knife and carefully lift it out of its tin and onto a cooling rack for a little longer, before removing the baking paper.  Serve in thick slices with a mug of something hot.

Enjoy the weekend!

K x

Recipe taken from Nigel Slater: The kitchen diaries part ii

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Recipe: Almond & Chocolate Oat Granola

I love baking, especially over the weekend when life is a little slower paced and blissfully free from the rigidity of routine.  Being a self-confessed foodie and coming from a family of foodies, the weekend’s meal plan has always been of great importance to me!  I like to make something a little different from the norm for breakfast or I’ll cook with my other half on a Saturday evening.  It’s a good time for us to chat about the week ahead and enjoy a glass of wine while we’re at it.

From time to time I may share a recipe or two on the blog, but I will also take the opportunity to display my baked wares in some of my favourite tableware and any new pieces I pick up along the way. Where possible, the source of any items used for food styling will be noted. (more…)

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