A months back, I co-hosted my first food photography and styling workshop with another Hobart girl, Bec Wiggins. We had such a wonderful time sharing our knowledge around food photography and styling with the 11 attendees – teaching the basics of shooting in manual, how to work with light, and also how to take and edit photos using a smart phone. We then allowed for a practical component so that attendees could style and shoot their own scenes. There was a lot of content to get through, and though we juggled things around a little in our second workshop, we decided that it would work better by separating the workshops into two – a longer class focusing on food photography and styling with a manual DSLR camera, and another shorter class for those wanting to learn how to take better lifestyle photos on using their phones.
Through the months of discussing and planning, we tossed around a whole bunch of ideas, and after much discussion decided to launch The Island Gatherings as a platform to host other workshops, and eventually other events such as retreats. We have loved the sharing of ideas, knowledge and skills which came about after our first two workshops and wanted to extend that. We have also decided to host an Instameet – something neither of us have been to before but thought might be a bit of fun! – in a few weeks time to be able to meet more like-minded people in a less formal setting.
The name was chosen as we wanted something to encompass the different styles of offerings – workshops, retreats, Instameets – but to also pay homage to our beautiful location which influences so much of what we do.
If you are in Tasmania – or plan on coming down for a holiday any time in the next few months, be sure to check out our scheduled gatherings over the next few months. Upcoming gatherings will be announced via our Instagram, Facebook and email which you can sign up for via the website.
And now to the recipe – this is something I whipped up for our second workshop. I didn’t want to give guests something that I hadn’t tried first so I decided to use a muffin recipe out of one of my cookbooks instead. I trawled through my cookbooks to find two recipes I thought sounded good, but once I started cooking I ended up tweaking and tweaking until I had something that bared barely any resemblance to either recipe I started out with – perhaps not the greatest idea, but luckily they turned out perfectly and were met with rave reviews.
The flavour combination I went with was actually quite simple – it was inspired by ingredients we had already decided to use in our styling for that day. A local honey company Wellington Apiary had gifted us with some produce and props, and we also had some local walnuts and a branch off the tree in Bec’s backyard. The addition of thyme was purely because I decided they needed a little something extra and I had some thyme in the garden. I have been loving pairing herbs with sweets lately and I was quietly confident these flavours would go together well, which they did.
I also tweaked the batter to make it gluten and dairy free as we hadn’t asked for dietary requirements and I wanted to ensure as many people as possible would be able to enjoy them. These have since been made again at our house after numerous requests, a definite winner!
- 1 cup brown rice flour
- ¾ cup almond meal
- ½ cup dessicated coconut
- 1 tsp bicarb soda
- ⅓ cup raw honey
- 3 eggs
- ¾ cup full fat coconut milk
- ½ cup coconut oil
- ⅓ cups roughly chopped walnuts, plus extra to decorate
- 1 Tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped, plus extra to decorate
- Preheat oven to 160 C || 320 F
- Melt the coconut oil and honey by placing their jars in a tub of hot water for a few minutes.
- Add the measured amounts to a bowls and whisk in the coconut milk and eggs.
- Add the flour, meal, coconut and bicarb soda in a separate bowl and mix well to combine.
- Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry, stirring as you go with a wooden spoon or spatula. Mix until well combined and smooth.
- Stir through the walnuts and thyme.
- Evenly distribute amongst 10 muffin cases or 12 cupcake cases (or lined pans). Sprinkle with extra nuts and thyme to decorate.
- Cook 20 mins or until golden on top and a skewer comes out clean. Makes 10 muffins or 12 large cupcakes.