food

Happi Health photoshoot: vitamin boost...

 Vitamin B6: Coconut & Red Quinoa porridge with nuts, seeds & edible flowers

Vitamin B6: Coconut & Red Quinoa porridge with nuts, seeds & edible flowers

Here are some of photographs I produced for Happinez, for a story on how to boost your vitamin intake with certain foods, in the special edition called Happi Health that was published in The Netherlands a couple of months ago. It’s been years since I worked with food - I used to work regularly as a food stylist for magazines, catalogues and books around the world, sometimes styling the food myself, other times working with wonderful cooks & stylists like my dear friend Yvette van Boven, as well as Michele Cranston and Emma Knowles, and photographers Petrina Tinslay and Jeroen van der Spek were among my favourites.

I had forgotten how much I love working with food until this shoot. As I got creating, I was thinking, why haven’t I done this for so long? To be honest, I think it was because of the over-abundance of cookbooks, food magazines, food shows… it felt to me like there was enough already, and that it feeds that consumer energy, that need to fill up ‘the void’ in us with so. much. Also, there is so much incredible talent out there already, I felt like it was well and truly covered.

But I have a genuine love of eating well, sharing my love of nourishment with my daughter and her friends, and enjoying a beautiful meal with my friends and partner (we are often talking about food, as the French do!) I’m not an entertainer - I am not that friend who always has a fridge full of everything and can whip up something amazing any time of day or night. I’m not always in the kitchen. It’s more that it’s one of the mediums of creative expression for me - like painting is for some.

So having said all that, I do absolutely love shooting delicious food! Focusing on taste, texture, colour and nourishment. It’s why I am so looking forward to co-hosting the kids tasting workshop in a couple of weeks!

This shoot reignited that passion within me. With this story, it was the first time I’d photographed, cooked, and styled at the same time - I’ll just say this, it was bloody challenging to do all roles. A little bit nuts really, in hindsight. But the challenging aspects did not take away the joy! My studio was in full swing- every part of it was in use, the kitchen was abuzz - the oven on, the blender going, chopping boards and utensils in action. The walls were lined with canvas backdrops and wooden tabletops. There was music. There was mess. It was beautiful chaotic order - just the way I love to work.

I thought you might like to see the shots in their entirety, and to share with you some of the recipes I created to be able to get the full benefits of each vitamin I was asked to represent…

 Vitamin K: roasted purple-skinned sweet potato with Japanese natto beans

Vitamin K: roasted purple-skinned sweet potato with Japanese natto beans

 Folic Acid: roasted dark leafy greens & sprouts with sesame oil & micro herbs

Folic Acid: roasted dark leafy greens & sprouts with sesame oil & micro herbs

 Vitamin E: avocodo topped with seeds, wheatgerm oil and edible flowers. Vitamin B12: homemade nori chips

Vitamin E: avocodo topped with seeds, wheatgerm oil and edible flowers. Vitamin B12: homemade nori chips

 Vitamin A: roast carrot, pumpkin & sweet potato soup topped with micro herbs

Vitamin A: roast carrot, pumpkin & sweet potato soup topped with micro herbs

 Vitamin D: delicious sun beams - soak them in! Vitamin C: grapefruit slices.

Vitamin D: delicious sun beams - soak them in! Vitamin C: grapefruit slices.

Here are the recipes for the roasted sweet potato dish and the red quinoa. Everything else is pretty self-explanatory (if not let me know and I’ll happily answer questions in comments)…

Roasted purple-skinned sweet potato with Japanese natto beans…

Cut a purple-skinned sweet potato in half lengthways and roast in the oven with an oil of your choosing (olive, coconut, whatever you like!), with a little salt. Top with warmed baby spinach leaves and natto beans which you can get in asian grocery stores. The texture is a little unusual - its very sticky, but don’t be put off, as with the combination of the sweet potato and the spinach, it’s delicious and so very good for you! Garnish with micro herbs (which are also full of nutrients).

Coconut & Red Quinoa porridge with nuts, seeds & edible flowers…

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rinsed red quinoa

  • 1 cup coconut milk (or milk of choice)

  • 1 cup filtered water

  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • maple syrup (depending on your sweetness needs, but for me it was about 2 tablespoons)

  • pistachios, pecans, whatever nuts you have on hand, activated and if desired, slightly roasted or warmed.

  • edible flowers if you have them

  • shredded coconut for garnish

Directions

  1. In a saucepan, bring quinoa, milk, water, salt, and cinnamon to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer for around 15 minutes, until liquid is absorbed,

  2. Turn off heat and let stand covered 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

  3. Transfer to serving bowls. Top with the nuts, petals and shredded or toasted coconut.

With love,

Pia xx

Sweet Nourishment: a tasting workshop for kids...

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A few months ago, I was having a chat with my daughter Laly about the amount of sugar in snack foods, and what she calls “treats”. She loves to snack, and I’m fine with that as long as the snacks are nourishing. We got talking about why there is so much sugar in these packaged snack foods, and what the difference is between a nourishing treat and one that is, well, the complete opposite.

It’s a hard concept to explain to a 6 year old! That’s when I got an idea: Children (and us too!) learn so much through experience, so I suggested we make time on a weekend to create a nourishing treat tasting platter and she was so excited, she began brainstorming about all the foods we could put together! It went from being a ‘boring’ conversation to planning a visual feast!

Soon after, I attended one of my friend Emma’s events, which was in collaboration with a beautiful new local waterside café called The Galley. Emma is a renown naturopath with a passion for food. The Galley team was celebrating their arrival into the neighbourhood and wanted to share some of the wonderful dishes they offer on the menu, their focus being on fresh, seasonal ingredients. It was a beautiful sampling experience, with Emma sharing her incredible knowledge and passion for nutritious, delicious food, introducing us through our senses to the 5 best foods for cleansing during the spring season.

That’s when the next idea struck me: in collaboration with Emma, we could share the nourishing treat tasting with other children, creating a fun, interactive workshop! She loved the idea, and within an hour discussion we had nutted (perfect pun!) out the details. So here there are!

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If you have a child between 6-10 years old and live in the Inner West of Sydney or beyond, and want to empower your child to make healthy eating choices, we would love you to join us!

It will be on Saturday November 24, from 3-4:30pm at Emma’s beautiful clinic, Studio You, in Balmain. 

In between Halloween and Christmas, this is a great time to teach them what it means to nourish their mind & body through food, and to learn the difference between healthy sweets and damaging ones. They will be sampling all sorts of delicious treats, and you will both come away with your senses filled, empowered and ready to enjoy the approaching festive season in a nourishing way!

 You’ll find all the details here, please click to find out more and place your booking.

Here’s a little more info about Emma & I:

Emma Sutherland - Founder and director of Studio You, an integrated clinic supporting kids to thrive and grow into healthy adults. With over 15 years clinical experience working with families, Emma is a wealth of knowledge and inspiration. Emma is mum to 6 year old Sophia.

Pia Jane Bijkerk - As well as being a published author and photographer, Pia has worked as a food stylist for publications around the world, focusing on taste, colour, texture and nourishment. Her passion is to connect people to their creativity and intuition through her work. She loves working with children, creating interactive workshops that ignite creativity through play. Pia is mum to 6 year old Laly. 

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I LOVE creating interactive, intuitive workshops for kids, and I can’t wait to host this one with Emma. Hope to see you there! Let us know if you have any questions.

With Love,

Pia xx