Tag Archives: Photography



Now to be honest, AJ is someone I have been admiring on instagram for a while. She is honest and transparent in her posts; she goes deep when sharing her inner musings. Her personal style comes across in her photography and writing and it transcends faith, introspection, and authentic glee for life and community!

AJ is originally from Calgary, but moved to Toronto in the last year to pursue her dreams & study culinary, food styling and photography. This month’s Women’s day blog series has been mostly Q&A’s so to switch it up, I asked her to share a little insight about her journey since moving to Toronto.


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We chose to feature AJ because of her incredible eye for photographs. Too often I read her creative projects, like #40conversations project, and they articulate thoughts that resonate so well, I can only imagine that they would be point of reflection for many of our readers.

Just like…

A photo posted by Alexa Fernando (@ajfernando) on Mar 9, 2015 at 1:56pm PDT

“Okay, I’ll show you what I mean. On one end is what we know and on another end is what we don’t know. In the middle there’s this grey area. That’s where ideas come from and where you’ll find the building blocks required for innovation.” – Omar, MD/PhD, Day 17 Have you ever been in those situations where someone’s explaining something and you’re nodding your head in agreement but you actually don’t get it because it’s nowhere near your field? Next time that happens, don’t be afraid to admit your ignorance and just ask. Omar is in the business of text mining and to help me understand better he grabs a sheet of napkin and draws on it while explaining his point. It was a nice gesture because as a creative, having that visual was all I needed to get it. People are willing to put an extra effort, sharing what they know, as long as you are willing to learn as well. So meet them halfway! There is that grey area after all.


“If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” Since I missed a conversation on Day 19, thought I’d share another one from a different day. I saw this quote scribbled on Aya’s notebook and started our conversation by reading it out loud to her. It really resonated with me cause although I had just started my project (I was on Day 5) I knew already that it would be something that I would want to do for the rest of my life. Those life/inspirational quotes you post may get redundant to some but don’t let that hold you back from sharing. The little things you do matter. Somewhere out there it might just be that push that someone needs in their day or that simple reminder that he/she is doing okay. #40conversationsproject #lessonsfrompeople To coincide with this post, I’ve left some prints with handwritten quotes at @650cafe. Just say hi to Stef (maybe start a conversation with him!) and mention my name/instagram and he’ll let you choose from the set.


“I think one of the biggest realizations I’ve had since moving to Toronto is that the world does not revolve around me. There are far greater things at work and if I want to make a difference especially in a city like Toronto then I have to stand on my own feet and make it happen. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that I should stand out—I only need to stand up. After all, I am just a [small] piece of the entire picture. We all have a part to play and who I am as an individual is made up of all the people around me. Whether we know each other or not, I’ve learned that each person that I encounter has a significant role and influence in my life: I am because you are.” – ALEXA


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Thanks for reading, are you liking the series guys? If you enjoyed this please comment below or share it! Do let us know if you are liking what you see.

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Jo is a freelance food, travel, and lifestyle photographer. She takes us on journeys to exotic places and tells compelling stories through her photographs at ‘CandidsbyJo’.

We met a year ago at the Food Bloggers Connect conference in London.  I watched her stealthily capture moments throughout the weekend One particular thing stood out; her ability to warm up to anyone and engage them. Jo has a bubbly, warm, and up-beat personality.

We chose to feature Jo not only because her photos are damn-nice, but we can identify with her strength.  It’s exciting, crazy, and breath-taking to move across the pond, re-acculturate, and find your feet while chasing your dreams.  As part of her feature, she’s given us a taste of her travels at a cheese producer in Portugal.



Where are you from originally and what is your educational background?

I grew up in Boston also I got my undergrad and post grad degrees in Communications & Business there.

Why London, if you weren’t in London where would you be?

I was in a three year long distance relationship with a Brit and realized one of us has to cross the pond. I made the leap and am really glad I did! if I weren’t in London I’d love to work in New Zealand for a year.

How did you transition into food & travel photography?

I started a personal project in 2012 where I took a photo each day for a whole year. My end goal was improve my photography but the project also led me down an unexpected path towards specifically food & travel. I haven’t looked back since!

What have been a few things that you can attribute your growth in the industry to; is it practice, networks, training, assisting?

Practice is definitely key, especially for people like me who learn through trial and error. Once I started shooting often enough I began to pay attention to light and how to work with it for a style specific to me. Networking in person and on social media has been helpful in raising awareness of my work too.

How has your creativity evolved?

Once I started becoming comfortable with my style (which took a long time) it was really easy to expand from there. I gradually evolved from beautiful bright food photos to ones that incorporates a darker tone and shadows.

What can you suggest to empower other women out there?

As women, we are often the ones who hold ourselves back.  I think it’s necessary to recognise that pattern when it happens and push through it. It’s helpful to have a good support system both personally and professionally.

You say you know the secret of making a mean Old Fashioned?

Muddle really well! 🙂

Last one, what’s your favourite place to eat in London? (you can give us five, it’s hard to pick)

My list is continually changing since there are so many wonderful options in London! I’m a big fan of Restaurant Story, Duck & Waffle, Kanada-ya, Sushi Tetsu and Dishoom. They have all been consistently wonderful.


Thanks for reading, If you enjoyed this please comment below or share it! Sharing is caring.

Queijo-Serra-da-Estrela-cheese-production-photo-3 Queijo-Serra-da-Estrela-cheese-photo

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Dublin, Love me Says food, Photography

A REVIEW – Plenty More, Ottolenghi

Until recent years, I was not a believer in cookbooks because why pay for a book when one can scour the internet for free recipes?  Well, now that I have you gasping – fear not!  I’m not that person anymore.  A year ago, we bought Polpo & Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem book.  I now own all four Ottolenghi’s books.



Plenty More builds on the vibrant veggie recipes of its prequel, Plenty.  I’ve read heard Ottolenghi speak and read his articles a few times; he writes a weekly column on vegetarian recipes in the Guardian.  He isn’t vegetarian, but felt that vegetables should not be limiting.  Unlike Jerusalem, these recipes don’t follow a specific ethnic cuisine. They draw from many flavours and interesting ingredients.  The layout of the book is very intriguing, chapters are categorised by cooking method – tossed, steamed, blanched, braised, grilled, roasted… and baked! I tried to do a variety of them.

I like that the flavours are asian, indian, middle-eastern in inspiration, but don’t commit to any of them! Ottolenghi is creative in substituting traditional ingredients with others, like who woulda though – courgette ‘baba ganoush’ or steaming aubergine with sesame and spring onion.


Lentil with Hardboiled egg

This is one of my favourites in the book, also one of the simplest.  There was a fantastic balance of flavours and textures.  The bite of fresh red onion & herby coriander, contrasted with the heartiness of the lentil & earthy warm spice… Mmmm. I don’t know what my obsession is, but I love saying “there isn’t enough ACID,” in any dish we eat.  This dish has great acid to brighten the spice and tahini, it even brings out the sweetness in my coffee this morning. It was mentioned in the book that you can have the dish for breakfast or dinner. – I couldn’t think of a better breakfast.

I would say this is a 8.5/10. (if breakfast was only this good everyday! Satisfying)


Mixed Vegetables & Yoghurt with Green chili Oil 

A very similar recipe to a few of the other books.  In Jerusalem there is a roasted veg salad with a yogurt sauce that is quite similar.  This is a crowd pleaser, tastes great and flavours are amazing.  Yogurt and roast veggies are fantastic.  The extra heat from the green chili is adds to the dish.

I would say this is a 8/10. (solid results, dependable as a healthy good compliment to a meal)



Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomello & Star Anise 

Attempted this recipe a few times, once with ruby grapefruit, which has a slightly more pronounced grapefruit flavour compared to the pomello.  Pomello can be drier or juicy depending on your selection skills.  This recipe wasn’t a favourite of ours. I was drawn to the asian influence of the ingredients (star anise, pomello, ) spicy & sweet.  It is exactly what you expect it to be, slightly odd with the brainy bitterness of the brussel sprouts, fresh citrus and a bit of sweet syrup with a christmasy sharpness.

I would say this is a 6/10. (consider the effort of obtaining the exotic ingredients and having it taste just, ok)

Sprouting Broccoli & Edamame Salad with curry leaves and coconut

I must’ve made this recipe three times, to ensure consistency.  I believe it has to do with my husband’s aversion to curry leaves – I also did not attempt the recipe omitting it. The first time, I used desiccated coconut and second shaved fresh pieces of coconut into the dish.  It was lacking a depth of flavour that we were hoping for.  The curry leaves give it a very distinct taste.

I would say this is a 6/10. (slightly bitter, but overall it is definitely do-able. )


We got on a bit of a roll, here are the recipes I attempted: 

Steamed Aubergine with Sesame and Spring Onion

Sprouting Broccoli & Edamame Salad with curry leaves and coconut

Sprouting Broccoli with Sweet Tahini

Alphonso Mango & Curried Chickpea Salad

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomello & Star Anise

Mixed Vegetables & Yoghurt with Green chili Oil

Crushed Puy Lentils with Tahini & Cumin



Overall a great read and a beautiful book. It has stunning photos, but Jerusalem remains our favourite. – Have you tried any of the Ottolenghi books? Don’t be shy, let me know what you think!


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Where to go for ‘cultural’ food in Dublin

So many complain (or give out) about the quality and authenticity of ethnic food here in Dublin.  Fridays for the following month are going to be devoted to ethnic foods I love, because variety is the spice of life!


I won’t say we have the best offering of multicultural food, but what I can do is hopefully get you excited to try something new.  I think there is a certain curiosity because so many of us travel abroad and explore different cultures. We start off at Zaika, one of my faves!


Zaika’s actually an Indian take away.  Yes, I know, please judge me.  My best Indian friend swears by their lamb biryani – Spiced and hot with cardamom, clove, star anise, and coriander it’s also served with yoghurt.
As I sit here waiting for my order, my ears are ‘massaged’ with the top 40 pop countdown, Justin Bieber (the biebz himself). I smell the spices wafting towards me and have counted the number of Indian people that walk into the shop – because that’s always a good measure, we are 3/4, not bad right?


Lamb biryani and chickpea curry (chana masala) with naan. The other day I saw someone order a spinach dish (palak/ paal paneer), something I’m going back for! The Naan is fresh made in the tandoori when you order and yes, they also do delivery.
It isn’t highlighting Irish food per se, but what it is doing is bringing diversity to the market. A little fact here, that 58% of Irish shoppers in a 2013 survey said they looked at the origin label when shopping for food. – ok bit of a tangent, just saying, not all food we buy is local.


Source: Bord Bia

Source: Bord Bia


Youseff, the cook generously agreed to share a bit of his skill with me. So look back to some additional posts on our cook session! (yea, kind of nerdy and really love Indian food)

I’d love to hear what gets you excited about food in Dublin. Don’t forget to comment below.
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Camerino Bakery, Dublin

[SHORT, Quick Lovin’ ]

Service: fab smiles & take-away

Likelihood to return: 4/5 

Food/Coffee: Food 4/5, Coffee 4/5.

Chillness: 4 chill chairs!

Highlights: one of the few places in the city where you will find Roasted Brown coffee & fresh baked bread in-house


North of the river, most of the places I frequent gravitate around a 1 km-radius of Capel street. Shameful, I know.   Sushi, Indian, Brother Hubbard, and now Camerino’s!  A cafe that started as a bakery, but now has a new face on Capel street.
You need to go check this place out, and here’s why:
They do coffee.  (I don’t mention that unless it’s worth mentioning)
Daily lunch offerings are wholesome, filling, and homey.  But really now, a place that does sweet treats and makes sandwiches from their own fresh house-made bread.  Caryna and Julie are the lovely mainstays, you are always greeted with a smile that will warm your heart.  The display window is filled with pretty cakes, and shelves stocked with Canadian maple syrup. Caryna has an amazing way of making people feel right at home.
You may recognise Caryna’s face from the similarly delicious Caryna’s Cakes, who supplies cakes to a cafes in the Dublin area.  It boasts an award-winning Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Brownie!  Cakes can also be made to order, cycling cakes, ninja turtles, all can be a special ordered.
Camerino-1931 Camerino-2002 Camerino-1999
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NEW Year, What’s NEW?

“happy new year!” … are we still saying that?

I heard somebody at the airport ask the same question when I was traveling. He asked the the guy on the other line, is it too late to still be saying this? – it’s only…. 13th of January. Well I think it’s never too late since I haven’t seen any of you yet this year but, I have been meaning to say lots and lots of things. 

You know, New Years is a season of expectation and anticipation, sometimes almost too much anticipation.  Like I get it, it’s a reset where we can evaluate how we’ve done in the past year and set new goals, but it seems as though there’s this looming expectation for us all to do everything that we haven’t done in the last year or years of our lives ALL at once and achieve it, ALL!

We decide to kick every bad habit that we have, lock the liquor cabinet (or have ‘dry January’), hit the gym, eat better, be better people, be more successful, hope for better things, start the things that we have always said we would but haven’t, and pretty much everything else that we can think of – or maybe that’s just me. If you’re thinking what I’m thinking, that sounds hugely daunting!

Downfall of a New Year

No, forget all the S.M. a R.T. goals but even the smartest goals won’t help me feel positive about that.

nobody talks about about (OH my goodness), what if you wake up on the other side of the new year, and it’s JANUARY. it’s grim and grey. and it’s the coldest time of the year in most places (not Australia). You don’t feel like setting any goals or tackling the mountain of things that you haven’t done.

I was really encouraged after coffee with food-friend, Vincci. (cecinestpasunfoodblog.com). It made the new year seem more achievable!

It’s more difficult to break bad habits, than it is to form new healthy ones.  Recently, we’ve been talking about culture and society in food at school, and this involves knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours.  What this means is just because we know something is good for us doesn’t mean it changes how we think about it or behave. For instance we know that eating healthy & drinking less, and getting active is better for us, but so many other things in our environment or daily lives get in the way of that happening.

Before you know it, you’re at the till in tesco/superstore after work, and you’re crumbling to the temptation of one little bit of mars bar ;P Is it not easier to form new habits? You don’t have to go cold turkey and never touch a drink again! Just focus on moving towards a new little thing, like eating one more serving of veg a day, or maybe just ONE beer this week 😉

Get a buddy for motivation!

My point: new years resolutions are frustrating when we don’t stick to them. December doesn’t have to be the month to live it up and detox later.  Maybe a constant dose of sanity and fun along the way and we don’t have to put so much pressure on in January.

Tell me,  what you have all signed on for and committed to this January?  

this is what I did on new years!

this is what I did on new years!

…. P.S. I should also show you how we (ATE) rang in the new year, right??

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Dublin, Love me Says food, Recipe

Butter beans Reinvented – Recipe

butterbeans reinvented



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Dublin, Love me Says food, Love Travel, Photo-it

Sunsets in Ireland

a single photo from this past weekend, because that’s all I have so far!

I can’t tell you how excited I am to finally be seeing this surreal scenic country we have been living in for about two years now.

This last weekend I travelled 4 hours to Connemara to visit the very special Dillisk Project.  I have been wanting to get out for way too long.

this is just the beginning…




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Dublin, Love me Says food

Create & Synthesise –

Cooking is a moral process, transferring raw material from ‘nature’ to the state of ‘culture’, and thereby taming and domesticating it… Food is therefore ‘civilised’ by cooking, not simply at the level of practice but at the level of imagination
(Lupton 1996, 2)

In my masters studies they’re looking for analysis & synthesis.

One thing I can do is analyse, but synthesis seems somewhat of an intangible art form!  I find it challenging to do so or maybe I ‘m not totally comfortable sharing. How does one define ‘synthesise’ – it means to form new ideas and create.

After a bit of critical analysis, I realised, Hey! I do really like building things and creating projects. So as a result i think I might just start sharing more; more recipes, more ideas…  I didn’t feel equipped to share my cooking, because I’m not trained in culinary nor do I work in a professional kitchen. I just spend a lot of time in our home kitchen.  Your tv time is like my hang-out time in the kitchen. We don’t even own a tv anymore.

One thing a friend, and life coach& psychologist told me has stuck with me, she said ‘you identify the moments when you’re creative by knowing when you’re working away and time just passes – without you noticing.’ These are times when you are at your creative best, what’s your creative best? – I wasn’t sure of the answer, but well I think it’s food.  It’s cooking, discussing, reading about, photographing, and analysing food!

So this is a very lengthy introduction to the recipes that will start appearing on the site periodically.

well, go’wwan what’s yours?

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Dublin, Love me Says food, Photography

Japanese Collab Dublin – Manatsu


A month or so ago, we had the pleasure of taking-in (by this I mean consuming) a project bringing so many of our creative & food community together in Dublin. Manatsu, meaning spring-summer,  was a beautifully assembled 12-course dinner, or ramen-lunch.

Junko & Robyn, our new friends, worked tirelessly all night to serve up these local ingredients in Japanese flavours.  So you’ll see the charred broad bean with kelp salt, but tricky-tricky doesn’t it remind of edamame?

The fabulous Orlaith Ross hosted the evening, gliding us from course to course and many of the courses were paired with a japanese tea or complementing beverage.  My favourite being the cold-brew Hojicha & the second harvest Sencha.  Japanese theme was woven throughout the evening from the calligraphy to the performance of Japanese instruments.  Hunt & Gather gals, created an space that was absolutely stunning.  Hanging garden included!

manatsu mosaic-1 manatsu mosaic-2

The menu:

[1] mugi-cha roasted barley tea with wood sorrel syrup

[2] charred broad beans with kelp-salt

[3] chilled noodle with channel wrack seaweed

[4] simmered marrow with duck dumpling, strangely homey, reminding me of my mom’s soup and very satisfying

[5] grilled erengi mushroom with shiso pesto

[6] kakuni slow cooked pork belly

[7] deep fried summer veggies

[8] pressed sushi with trout & egg kohlrabi pickle, this is Ireland for-ya!

[9] home-fermented miso with grilled aubergine and ginger

[10] tomato jelly with gooseberry, a refreshing & cool clean course to bring us to dessert

the meal culminated in a summer fruit salad & rose petal tea & matcha castella cake. so photogenic!





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