Thursday, January 20News Written in the Stars

{new work} TEA TIME ALCHEMY…

Carrot top tea served with carrot and date mini muffins with beetroot frosting. Teapot and tea warmer from Organic Merchant, plates, coasters and shell spoon made by hand by me.

Carrot top tea served with carrot and date mini muffins with beetroot frosting. Teapot and tea warmer from Organic Merchant, plates, coasters and shell spoon made by hand by me.

Letting them make their own teas with different ingredients, like little alchemists.

“Brewing potions from vegetables and herbs, it looks like witchcraft”

This shoot was for Happi Kids, shot this time last year, August 2020. The brief was “a winter tea party for kids, with 5 different themes” and “very little or no sugar, with gluten and dairy free options” and also “unisex, so that boys can get into the idea of enjoying tea time too”. Challenge accepted!

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“Don’t throw a bag into a cup of water and you’re done. We go into the kitchen together and then, just like the English, take the time for it: tea with lots of goodies. For example, on a rainy Sunday afternoon or when grandparents come to visit. There are four themes – which one do you choose?”

I do love using google translate! This is the opening paragraph. While living in Amsterdam, we realised the Dutch have their very own version of English, complete with its own rhythm and word scrambles. And I do feel google translate has captured it rather well in this translation!

The most incredible handmade tea set by Peacharoo, who made it especially for me for this shoot. Complete with mini teapot, cups, saucers, spoons and milk jugs, all with the most wonderful glazes.

The most incredible handmade tea set by Peacharoo, who made it especially for me for this shoot. Complete with mini teapot, cups, saucers, spoons and milk jugs, all with the most wonderful glazes.

While on the Patreon collective in December last year I posted the whole story as well as a PDF of all the recipes – because they are all delicious and easy, and so great to make with kids, especially now if you’re needing some inspiration while we stay-at-home – here I’m going to share some behind-the-scenes stories for you. First of all as I mentioned in the caption above, I commissioned Peacharoo to make this mini tea set for the shoot, it was such a joy to play with on set, and reminded me of the joyful days working with Peach on commercial shoots a decade ago when I was an interior stylist, and she was an art director. It was always so much fun working with her, my favourite art director for sure.

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Props galore, all made by hand: pink pin cushion made by my great grandmother, Vera, tea set by Peacharoo, spoons by Erins Window and the little My Hearts Wanders dish by Paper Boat Press. On the right, shell spoons made by me using found beach shells, twigs and copper wire.

Props galore, all made by hand: pink pin cushion made by my great grandmother, Vera, tea set by Peacharoo, spoons by Erins Window and the little My Hearts Wanders dish by Paper Boat Press. On the right, shell spoons made by me using found beach shells, twigs and copper wire.

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This was ‘high tea for all’ so I made it rustic and earthy, using rocks as platters and some plates and cups hand formed by Laly and I over the years. Featured here are chestnut cookies dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt – these were absolutely delicious, the recipe is on Patreon. The black bean brownies have become a staple at our house ever since my friend Penny introduced them to me, so I had to include these in the story. And one of my all-time favourite treats, since living in Rovereto, Italy as a teenager and having them straight from the street stall in a newspaper cone every Winter – castagne… roast chestnuts with sea salt.

All props are handmade, found nature, and vintage. Twigs and feathers are a must on all my shoots.

All props are handmade, found nature, and vintage. Twigs and feathers are a must on all my shoots.

Mini Matcha Donuts! Ceramic platter made by me, dishes by Peacharoo, whisk from Organic Merchant.

Mini Matcha Donuts! Ceramic platter made by me, dishes by Peacharoo, whisk from Organic Merchant.

Mini Matcha Ceremony, anyone? How fun to create this for a little tea party! Laly and her friends taste test all the recipes for me so I know how they go with younger tastebuds and these too were a hit, more than I thought they would be! I topped them with a pistachio yoghurt icing.

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Making beauty and mess in my old studio in Balmain. August 2020

Making beauty and mess in my old studio in Balmain. August 2020

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This shot was epic. The concept was “three ingredient cookies” and it needed to be in one photograph. I was the only one on set – recipe testing, baking, styling, photographing, and art directing. This capture tested my multi-tasking and organisational skills to the max.

For this I made Tahini, Honey and Oat Cookies, Cocoa, banana & peanut butter fudge cookies, and Pumpkin cookies with cream cheese filling. All recipes are on my Patreon collective, dated December 21, 2020.

Winter White Tea Party

Winter White Tea Party

I have saved my favourite to last – the Winter White Tea Party for Two. Do you recognise the background? Who knew this vintage chair I picked up at Rozelle Markets 6 years ago would get so much attention!

On the menu for the winter white tea party…

Wild Blueberry and “White Chocolate” Bark

White Chocolate popcorn

Snow Drops

Milky Chai

White Tea

A big thank you to all the makers and creators who have contributed to these feature stories over the years and are inspirations in my every day. I feel like there is just never enough gratitude expressed and communicated, so I won’t hesitate to keep sharing the love. I have more visual stories to catch up with you here. This one, as it turned out, was the last shoot in my Balmain studio, before we relocated to our new home up north, and my new studio.

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For the recipes and more about shoot production, head over the the wandering hearts collective on Patreon. Pia xx