I couldn’t have imagined a better way to finish my Australian book tour than this. Perfect weather, the unbelievably picturesque country setting of Mickey Robertson’s home at Glenmore House, a tabletop full of spectacular props, baskets of fresh produce and a group of 11 keen and creative people wanting to learn some Florentine recipes and practice their photography skills.
Luisa Brimble, right off the back of one of the Local is Lovely workshops, led the photography session, generously giving the group her best tips and tricks for styling, shooting manual in natural light and editing photographs. I cooked and led participants through recipes while they photographed the step by step processes of me and my wonderful friend and right-hand lady, Valeria Necchio, in action, making schiacciata all’uva and panzanella salad with tomatoes out of my mum’s garden.
We talked about making cookbooks, natural styling, editorial work and how we got into the business. Mickey kept us fueled with plenty of coffee, tea and rhubarb cake in the morning, then a colourful al fresco lunch in the hay shed with sorrel soup, caponata right out of the vegetable patch and a smashing cumquat ice cream.
Muscat grape schiacciata, almond biscotti and apple cake (all recipes from Florentine) saw us through the afternoon. I felt like I was someone’s nonna, insisting that everyone keep eating!
By the time everyone left the beauty and serenity of Glenmore House, they had new cookbooks in one hand, a full camera in the other and a few biscotti in their pockets (I insisted) and I was saying goodbye to new friends. And hopefully, like me, they learned something to take with them on their next creative adventure (or, at least, dinner party).