• Holiday tea and cake | totallybydesign.com

    Tea and a cake break – for the holidays

    This is for any of the weary souls during the holiday season, tea and cake is good for you. If you light a candle because the days are already oh-so-short, and if you bake the cake yourself, it becomes this slow living ritual that unlocks the creativity, connect you with the person next to you, and allows you to take a deep breath.Holiday tea and cake | totallybydesign.comHoliday tea and cake | totallybydesign.comHoliday tea and cake | totallybydesign.comHoliday tea and cake | totallybydesign.com

    I see this recipe every time I rummage through my “best of” folder. I keep here all my Mom’s recipes she has been sending me in letters for years, those dictated to me we while I visit, those copied from fabulous 1960 and 70 Polish cookbooks. This particular one, I know very well from experience…We call it a “TV cake” or “placek-torcik telewizyjny” in Polish, for the simple reason that we used to eat it while watching movies together as a family, still warm, not because the recipe comes from a TV show! There is also a canned peach version, but apple was usually easier, considering the orchard surrounding my childhood home.

    For the table decor, I did not venture any further than neighboring street and an empty house waiting for remodel, but covered to the roof with vines with orange berries. Added some dried Thai basil sprigs (still very fragrant!), and few dried rose petals from my “May Flowers” rose, and done.  The making of a small afternoon ritual…

    Holiday tea and cake | totallybydesign.comHoliday tea and cake | totallybydesign.com

  • Bowl and flour | totallybydesign.com

    Food styling and photography with Marte Marie Forsberg

    Back in November, I did a very brave and uncharacteristically rush and spontaneous decision. I bought, within minutes of seeing it going live, a spot in Marte Marie Forsberg’s “Flowers and Food Visual Storytelling” photography retreat. I remember somewhat frantically emailing Marie “where is it exactly”, having barely ventured outside of London in my UK travels. If you are like me, and follow Marte Marie on her Instagram for a couple of years now, you know the story of the thatched cottage, the rolling hills, the moody pubs…Traveling there seems like stepping into the mysterious fairytale though, bit like boarding the train in Harry Potter movie. Luckily, Marte Marie responded reassuringly right away. It was just two hours train journey out of London, in Dorset. Just enough to have a cup of tea and catch up on letter writing. I can handle that. Fast forward few months and last week I joined a very small group of like-minded women to photograph cake and flowers. Welcome to part one: food photography.

    Wabi-sabi flowers | totallybydesign.com

    The props and our very own model, lovely Heather of Wonky Cakes magically appeared. The colors and the mood were perfect!

    Cake making | totallybydesign.comBowl and flour | totallybydesign.comwhite cake frosting | totallybydesign.comtin can | totallybydesign.comwhite chocolate sliver | totallybydesignWhite chocolate cake | totallybydesign.comGold Leaf cake | totallybydesign.com

    After a lunch break and walk over to Gold Hill to get some fresh air, we returned to the table. By now the cake was sliced, the clotted cream tea was poured, the scones were brought in. With mouths full we had to stop asking, as least for now, “Marte Marie – what is the ISO here?”

    cake slices | totallybydesign.com

    Next time: flowers arranging and Alice in Wonderland afternoon tea in a secret location…