Wrapping Up 2015 With a Spicy Cocktail

Spicy Beer Bloody Mary

With only one day left of 2015, it's time to wrap up and say goodbye to what has been an amazing year. It usually takes me days to write a blog post, so I will keep this one really short as I would love to get it finished today.

2015 has been quite a spectacular year,  filled with everything I could have ever wished for; friends reunion, new friendships, amazing people, exciting travel destinations, great work opportunities, and just when I thought it couldn't get any better, I became an aunt to the cutest niece in the world. Some of the work-related highlights of this year include shooting another 12 issues of Gurmet magazine in Prague, teaching a food photography and styling workshop with Jo and Olia or travelling to Jerusalem to photograph Taste of Waldorf Astoria. I'm grateful for everything this year has brought and taught me and I'm really excited for the next one.

So here's to 2016, a new year full of new exciting opportunities, friendships, travel destinations, challenges and more.

2016, I'm ready for you.

To give a toast, my friend Jo and I decided to do a little cocktail photoshoot, which seemed like a crazy idea at the time (just before Christmas and both of us being insanely busy) but we managed to create two drinks, perfect for the end of the year party. It was so much fun shooting these cocktails and playing with beutiful props from West Elm. I shared my Spicy Beer Bloody Mary here or head over to Jo's blog for the elderflower gin & tonic recipe.


Spicy Beer Bloody Mary
Spicy Beer Bloody Mary Cheese board Cheese board Gin Elderflower Tonic Gin Elderflower Tonic

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Spicy Beer Bloody Mary

Spicy Beer Bloody Mary 
Serves 2

4 large ice cubes
1 lime
1 tbsp Maldon salt
130 ml tomato juice
a dash of Worcestershire sauce
4 dashes Tabasco (1-2 for a milder taste)
330 ml Mexican beer
freshly ground black pepper
olives

Method
Put Maldon salt in a small bowl or plate. Rub rims of two glasses with a wedge of lime and dip each glass in the salt.
Drop two large ice cubes in a cocktail shaker, add tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, a pinch of freshly ground black pepper, a table spoon of lime juice and beer. Give it a stir and strain into two glasses filled with ice.
Garnish with two olives and a pinch of black pepper.


Many thanks to West Elm for providing glasses & barware for this photoshoot. 



Crayfish Season in Finland

Finland_Crayfish-2207

Summer is the time for crayfish parties in Finland (and Sweden). There are many ways to enjoy crayfish during the season which begins on 21 July. You can either attend a special crayfish festival at some of popular island restaurants, buy frozen crayfish at a supermarket or visit a friend's summer cottage, fill a few traps with fish, go on a lake to place your traps and hope there will be some crayfish when you come back to pick them up in the morning. Then you go through the whole process of counting your catch, letting little ones go, cleaning the rest, boiling, marinating and finally, eating!

I chose the last option and spent a weekend with our Finnish friends at their summer cottage. There was not too much to count though as we only caught 12. Luckily, there was a basket filled with nettle and crayfish waiting for unlucky beginner, left by our friend's father.  Thanks to him we could have experienced this lovely tradition.

Finland_Crayfish-2202 Finland_Crayfish-2205  Finland_Crayfish-2231
Finland_Crayfish-2262 Finland_Crayfish-2307 Finland_Crayfish-2341
Finland_Crayfish-2397
Finland_Crayfish-2400 Finland_Crayfish-2430
Finland_Crayfish-2485Finland_Crayfish-2450-2
Finland_Crayfish-2464 Finland_Crayfish-2484 Finland_Crayfish-2505
Finland_Crayfish-2472-2 Finland_Crayfish-2515 Finland_Crayfish-2527
Finland_Crayfish-2587


Finnish Blueberry Pie

Finnish Blueberry Pie | Sarka Babicka Photography

I returned from a holiday in Finland last week and all I can think of is a blueberry pie. It's been about five years since we were last in Finland but it felt like a year ago. That's what happens when you meet great friends again. It all comes back to you instantly, so many memories of all the great times we shared. Those are the best holidays. I came back relaxed and well rested.

I'm a big fan of simple and delicious recipes. Many Finnish recipes are just like that. All you need to make a perfect meal are a few fresh, seasonal ingredients. Blueberry season has only started when we arrived at out friend's summer cottage but the forest floor was already covered in a beautiful blue carpet. It's hard to get wild forrest blueberries when you live in London so I usually go a bit nuts when I can pick these sweet blue jewels. Wild blueberries are the real deal unlike the commercially grown ones. They taste so much better!
I usually prefer all fruit raw, but when life gives you liters of blueberries you have to make a pie. I obviously had to ask my friend to share her recipe. It's the simplest and most delicious blueberry pie I've ever had.

Blueberries | Sarka Babicka Photography Blueberries and GLD, Finland | Sarka Babicka Photography
English Toy Terrier, Finland | Sarka Babicka Photography Finland | Sarka Babicka Photography

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Finnish Blueberry Pie
Serves about 8

Ingredients

For the dough
100g unsalted butter, melted
1 eggs
75g sugar
180g plain flour
1tsp baking powder

For the filling
1 egg
200ml soured cream
75g sugar
blueberries


Method
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Grease a 20-23cm/8-9inch pie tin or pan. In a medium bowl, mix together sugar and egg, add the melted butter and stir well until combined. In another bowl, mix flour and baking powder and add it to the butter mixture. Stir together to form a soft dough. Pat the dough evenly over the bottom and sides of the pan. Add a lot of blueberries on top to fill the pan.
In a mixing bowl, combine sour cream, egg and sugar and pour over the blueberries. Bake for about 30 minutes. Let the pie cool down before slicing.







Open Skies Magazine Dishoom Feature

Dishoom King's Cross Open Skies Magazine Emirate's Airlines

Back in April I photographed a food feature for Open Skies (Emirates Inflight Magazine). I didn't have to think too long when I was asked to suggest a restaurant for the feature. Dishoom at King's Cross is one of my all time favourite places to eat in London. I love the airy, industrial interior and drool-worthy menu which is nothing like a stereotypical curry house dishes. Chef's special Nihari is a lamb-on-the-bone stew beautifully spiced with meat so tender that it melts in your mouth.

Dishoom King's Cross Dishoom King's Cross Dishoom King's Cross Dishoom King's Cross Dishoom King's Cross Dishoom King's Cross Dishoom King's Cross Dishoom King's Cross
Open Skies Magazine Open Skies Magazine

London Food & Lifestyle Photography Workshop in Pictures

Food & Lifestyle Photography Workshop

What started as a vague conversation over the most delicious Korean fried chicken, ended as a great day spent with a group of lovely and creative people. I still remember the afternoon when Jo and I were licking our greasy fingers and discussing the possibility of doing a photography workshop together. Only about a week later the planning process had started. We teamed up with super sweet and talented food stylist & writer Olia Hercules (she's just published her first cookbook Mamushka) for our intimate one-day hands on food photography & styling workshop. Being on the same page from the very beginning, we had envisioned a creative and inspiring day for a small group of food and photography enthusiasts.

Fast forward a few months, on the last Sunday in May, we were unpacking boxes of food and props at Lyle's in Shoreditch (the light in there leaves me in awe every time I visit), waiting for our workshop participants to arrive. To start the day off we covered some basics of composition, lighting, colour theory, working with props, mobile photography and food styling before it was time for our attendees to have a go and put theory into practice during three practice sessions.

Food & Lifestyle Photography Workshop
London Food & Lifestyle Photography Workshop London Food & Lifestyle Photography Workshop London Food & Lifestyle Photography Workshop Food & Lifestyle Photography Workshop
Food & Lifestyle Photography Workshop Food & Lifestyle Photography Workshop Food & Lifestyle Photography WorkshopLondon Food & Lifestyle Photography Workshop Food & Lifestyle Photography WorkshopFood & Lifestyle Photography Workshop Food & Lifestyle Photography Workshop Food & Lifestyle Photography Workshop London_food_photography-workshop-63 London_food_photography-workshop-67
Salad photos by Joanna Yee

Food & Lifestyle Photography Workshop
Food & Lifestyle Photography WorkshopLondon Food & Lifestyle Photography Workshop
Photo by Joanna Yee

Food & Lifestyle Photography WorkshopFood & Lifestyle Photography Workshop Food & Lifestyle Photography Workshop Food & Lifestyle Photography Workshop Food & Lifestyle Photography Workshop Food & Lifestyle Photography Workshop Food & Lifestyle Photography WorkshopLondon Food & Lifestyle Photography Workshop
London Food & Lifestyle Photography Workshop London Food & Lifestyle Photography Workshop Charlotte Hu Photography
Photo by Charlotte Hu


Big thanks go out to our generous sponsors, specifically Natoora for the most beautiful produce that we all swooned over and West Elm London for gorgeous props. We all stayed well hydrated during the day thanks to Good Beans cold brew coffee, Innocent Coconut Water and Joe's Tea. A small healthy bites were supplied by 100% Natural Foods brownies and Cereal Lovers granola. And as we all know, wine makes every event better, so even this workshop wouldn't be the same without good bubbles and wine from Campo Viejo

London Food & Lifestyle Photography Workshop
Olia and Jo checking the #sjphotoworskhop hashtag on Instagram. :)

Here's what our workshop attendee's say about their experience.
Natural Kitchen Adventures
Skillet & Shutterbug
The Little Plantation

Oh and Jo created a short video, have a look!


Food Lifestyle Photography workshop from Joanna Yee on Vimeo.