Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pastry and Roses and Coffee oh my!

Last week I attended the New Zealand Food Bloggers Conference held in Wellington. The main reason I wanted to go was to learn more about blogging (duh!) as well as up skill in a number of areas. Earlier this year the amazing team at the New Zealand Food Bloggers Association sent out a list of mini master classes to choose from and I was giddy from the get go! The conference was set over two days where we listened to speakers, taste tested delicious goodies and (most excitingly) attended mini master classes.

The very talented Viviene Perenyi of At Down Under took us through a food photography course where I learned some great tips. We split up into groups and photographed fruit, although I was a little biased and decided the lemons were the prettiest!

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Viviene teaches us about food photography

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My bowl of fruit photo

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My favourite photo

Next we had the lovely Alessandra Zecchini (she created Sweet NZ!) to teach us how to make fondant roses in a simple way. I did feel like a bit of a cheat being there but I hadn't used those techniques before so I definitely learned something new PLUS I had lots of fun and isn't that what it's all about?!

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Alessandra takes us through fondant flower making

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Yay! Pettinice fondant, that's what I use too!

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Alessandra's creations

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My fondant rose creations

On day two the head Patisserie tutor, Sebastien Lambert at Le Cordon Bleu Academy (where we were lucky enough to have our whole conference) took us through a pastry course. He showed us how to make pastry, roll it out and press it into a tart tin all while winning over our hearts. This was SO good for me, I have never worked with pastry before so I was trying to take in as much as possible. There was a little bit of pressure on as I had THE Julie Le Clerc opposite me (who is the loveliest by the way!) but I think my tart looked okay in the end. I'm super excited to try making something with pastry now. Oh and I forgot to mention how adorable Sebastien was with his legit French accent, though it was hard for me not to laugh as he is the splitting image of my husbands best friend!

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Getting ready for the pastry course

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Getting excited about the pastry course

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This is Sebastien, isn't he a cutie!

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Showing us how he squashes the pastry to mix it together (a pastry revelation!)

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Showing us how to throw flour (which I still can't do)

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Sebastien explains that you should prick the pastry with a fork and
THEN turn it over

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Tadaa! My pastry creation! (not bad for my first time huh?)

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The lovely Julie poses for a photo with her pastry case

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The whole gang!

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Say Pastry - "Pastry!"

Lastly Steve Barrett of Peoples Coffee offered a coffee tasting complete with a chocolate macaron (probably made by Sebastien) to accompany the delicious coffee. He explained the difference between espresso and filter coffee and the importance of fresh coffee beans with the right ratio to water. I am not usually a black coffee drinker, it's usually "blonde with one leg" as they say (milk and sugar). But that is pretty much a swear word to Steve and once I tried this amazing coffee made correctly there was no need to add anything! I could taste berries, peaches and all sorts! It was a revelation of some sort for me! Steve was so generous in giving our entire conference a packet of Peoples Coffee to take home, I'm so excited I get to share delicious fresh coffee with Mr S!

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Steve talks to us about good coffee

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Smelling the difference between whole beans and ground beans
Mmmm the smell of fresh coffee!

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Filter coffee at its finest

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Filter coffee with a finer filter than we'd had before

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Nothing beats a macaron with some great coffee!

So there we have it! Technically from now on my photos should be better, my roses should look neater, my pastry should taste tastier and my coffee should be fresher! No one's perfect though! We'll just wait and see how I go. First things first, I'm "taste testing" some more People's Cofee! Stay tuned for the last of my series of blog posts from the conference, hopefully you're not sick of my photos yet!

16 comments :

  1. These photos are great! I SO wish I could have been there on Saturday now. Next year...

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    1. Hello Lucy!
      Thank you so much! Yes Saturday was fun, both days were though! Can't wait for next year either!

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  3. Oh my goodness, this looks so fun! Loooove the pic of you in the apron, super cute! xx

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    1. Hi Emma!
      You'll have to join us next year! I'm sure you'll love it!

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  4. So great to read all about your workshops and see the photographs. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn so much. I'm still taking it all in and yet to find the time to do my post.

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    1. Thank you! It was such a great time wasn't it? I have to say, I think me doing all these blog posts was more of a procrastination technique to be honest! Every time I sit down at the computer to study I end up blogging or editing photos! I'm getting onto it now though!

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  5. Lovely pictures! It was nice meeting you - hope you got everything on the flight home!

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    1. Thank you! Was lovely to meet you too! Yes I managed to sneakily get it all on alright, good thing I didn't win one of those cheese maker sets! Haha!

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  6. The I loved the pastry class and the coffee tasting, and I was really sorry to miss Viviane's class as i had to get ready for the sugar roses' class. Super cool photos (not sure about the one of me though... now I understand why I never talk when I pose for a photo :-), and thank you so much for coming to the sugar roses class :-). Ciao and see you at the next conference, if not before!!

    Alessandra

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    1. Hello Alessandra!
      Thank you for your kind words. Though I think your photo looks LOVELY! ...next time I'll ask you to pose though!
      Thanks for the awesome class, I really enjoyed it and learned heaps too!
      I would like to organise something for us Auckland food bloggers to meet up so hopefully will see you much sooner than next years conference!

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  7. Loving this post Lydia and fantastic photo! :-)

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    1. Hey Shirleen! Thanks so much! I still can't get over how many photos I took! Only a few made the cut though!

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  8. Great photos & love reading about all the mini classes I didn't get too! Must get round to my write ups!

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    1. Hi Mairi,
      Thank you so much, you're too sweet! Yes I can't wait to read yours, then I too get to see what went on in the other classes!

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  9. Great write up Lydia and you have captured some great images. I think everyone had a crush on Sebastien.

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