A Pro-Food Blogger’s Eating And Food Styling Tips
It’s the classic of dilemma of the home cook: you’ve followed the recipe to a T, it tastes good, but it looks nothing like the photo you saw in the cookbook (or, lets face it, online).
How do instagram food stars do it? Well, we hit one up for some tips. Taline Gabrielian is a healthy recipe developer, food blogger, and now a cookbook author, with Hippie Lane – named after her popular blog – hitting bookstores earlier this year. She specialises in recipes that showcase fresh and wholesome ingredients. And, graciously, she’s even shared a couple of those recipes with us.
Taline says making a meal insta-worthy is “a result of careful styling, with colours, composition and plating given appropriate attention”.
Here are here top tips for foodie photos:
#1 Choose your subject carefully
Styled or not, some dishes are delicious to eat but don’t look good to the eye. Decide whether the dish is photogenic before going through the shooting process. It will save you time and disappointment.
#2 Try different angles
Some plates of food look better from above, from the side or from an angle. Take photos at various angles to begin, choose your favourite angle and resume from your favourite position to get the golden shot.
#3 Practice makes perfect
Practice shooting over and over and over! Photography and styling food is a skill that is learnt through practice. When shooting, compose your picture and take many different frames of the same dish. If you’re not satisfied, recompose your shot. Through trial and error, you will learn what works and what doesn’t.
And the drool-worthy recipes below are a good place to find some inspiration. Taline says the Green Goddess Bowl is one of her go-tos when she’s low on time. “My pesto is a nutritious and super quick 5-minute blend up and is so versatile. I usually have pre-cooked quinoa and green veg in the fridge, so it’s really a simple and delicious throw together.”
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5 Minute Mousse
“It astounds me how you can recreate your favourite desserts using simple wholefoods that just so happen to be nature’s superfoods. This chocolate mousse is a combination of heart-healthy avocado, cacao and dates, blended with mesquite powder, vanilla, rice malt syrup and your milk of choice.
Easy, quick and delicious.”
Serves 4. Vegan, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Reduced Saturated Fat, Nut Free.
4 small ripe avocados
4 medjool dates, pitted
55 g (2 oz/½ cup) raw cacao powder
125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) coconut milk
80 ml (2½ fl oz/¹⁄₃ cup) rice malt syrup
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
1 tablespoon mesquite powder
Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blitz
Pour into four serving glasses and enjoy.
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Green Goddess Bowls
“If you ask me what my regular meal looks like, this would be it. With its combination of all my favourite greens, this salad bowl has me hooked. My husband wonders when I’ll tire of it, but I’m truly the loyal and committed type when it comes to my favourites.
Almost too yummy to be healthy, and the ultimate brunch, here is the perfect green bowl, fit for a goddess.”
Serves 2. Vegan, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Reduced Saturated Fat.
15 g (½ oz/½ cup) shredded kale
6 broccolini stems
10 green beans
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra
1 heaped tablespoon Pesto (page 96)
300 g (10½ oz/1½ cups) cooked quinoa
juice of ½ lemon
45 g (1½ oz/1 cup) baby rocket (arugula) leaves
1 zucchini (courgette), shredded or spiralised
1 avocado, sliced
1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 tablespoon finely chopped spring onion (scallion)
a few basil leaves
pinch of Himalayan salt
pinch of freshly ground black pepper
2 lemon wedges
115 g (4 oz/¾ cup) pine nuts
2 garlic cloves, peeled
¾ cup basil leaves, loosely packed
25 g (1 oz/1 cup) rocket (arugula) leaves
½ teaspoon Himalayan salt, or to taste
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black
juice of 1 lemon
250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) mild-tasting olive
Fill a saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Have a bowl of iced water at the ready.
Add the kale to the boiling water and blanch for 30 seconds, then remove with tongs and refresh in the iced water, to stop it cooking further.
Add the broccolini to the boiling water. Leave to boil for 1 minute, or until just tender, then remove and add to the iced water.
Blanch the beans in the boiling water for 30 seconds, then remove and add to the iced water.
Drain the blanched vegetables, then chop the kale and beans and set aside.
Warm most of the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the pesto, spreading it over the pan. Stir in the kale. Add the remaining olive oil, then add the broccolini and beans, stirring briefly. Stir the quinoa and lemon juice through, then remove from the heat.
Divide the rocket and zucchini among two serving bowls. Drizzle with a little extra olive oil, then top with the pesto-tossed greens.
Top with the avocado, sunflower seeds, pepitas, spring onion and basil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper, add a lemon wedge to each bowl and enjoy.
Place the pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until large crumbs form.
Add the garlic, basil, rocket, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Pulse until just combined. Add the olive oil and process until smooth.
The pesto is best made just before serving, but will keep in the fridge fora day or two in an airtight container, covered with a layer of olive oil to stop the basil discolouring.