Little Tables is my first cookbook where I am author, photographer and décor stylist, I enjoyed complete freedom to create a beautiful and functional cookbook with a difference. It was inspired by my daughter, Nina, who is featured on the front cover with her favourite breakfast at the time.
This book investigates and celebrates breakfast dishes, not only as morning meals, but also as comfort food and indulgences for any time of the day. Of course, one culture’s soul food is another’s exciting culinary adventure. Taking us from Jamaica to Jordan, Canada to China, these recipes are inspired by national food cultures and are not necessarily each country’s most popular meal. Rather, they have been chosen to create a varied recipe book: baked goods; eggy dishes; fish; rice and noodle bowls; five-minute breakfasts and weekend indulgences. There are 32 countries represented with two recipes per country. Countries include China, Cuba, Iceland, Israel, Jamaica, Jordan, Mexico, Peru, Russia and Vietnam among others. I love to photograph food and children, particularly my daughter Nina. For this project, I created little sets to represent kitchens or dining rooms using the same table angle, so the table becomes one long table running through the book – or through the world for that matter. It was challenging to tell three and four-year olds they had to wear unfamiliar clothing, not eat the food placed in front of them and not play with the carefully-placed toys on the table! However, it was most rewarding when they tried the “new” food after the shoot and loved it, looking at their mums and dads and asking if they could make it at home. Every child brought their own magic to the shoot, and they were all true superstars in my world. My team and family were amazing, sacrificing Saturday mornings with keen interest and support, thanks again to all of you!
I’m sharing some of my favourite visuals and recipes from Little Tables in this, my first blog post for The Sparrow’s Share – a place where I will be posting food and related visuals that inspire me as a food photographer and lover of all things pretty.
Little Tables – Anytime Breakfasts from around the World is published and available to purchase from Beatnik [www.beatnikpublishing.com]
“This book tells the unique stories of breakfasts of individual children around the world. It is so good and well written you feel close to them. It is a great book, with much empathy and understanding of world food cultures.”
Edouard Cointreau, President of the Jury – Gourmand World Cookbook Awards
Little tables won 2nd best in the world Breakfast Cookbook at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in May 2017.
Here are Nina and my recipes:
Breakfast Beans on Toast – Nina Lewis [recipe Brookdale Heavenly and Healthy]
Vegetarian / Serves 4
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 onion, finely chapped
- 3 ripe tomatoes, skinned and finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 Tbsp wholegrain mustard
- 410g (14.5oz) tin baked beans
- 410g (14.5oz) tin butter beans
- 3 Tbsp Italian parsley
- rye bread toast
In a saucepan, heat the olive oil then cook the garlic and onion until soft but not browned. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano and mustard and simmer for 5 – 10 minutes. Add beans, stirring until hot. Stir in parsley, season and serve on toast.
Black Sticky Rice with Coconut – Vanessa Lewis [recipe Michele Cranston]
Vegetarian, Gluten-free / Serves 4
- 200g (7oz) black rice
- 500ml water
- 70g (2.5oz) palm sugar, grated
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp salt
- 125ml coconut milk, plus extra for drizzling
- fresh desiccated coconut* (optional)
Soak the rice in plenty of cold water for 1 hour, then drain and rinse the rice well under cold, running water. Place the drained rice into a pan with 500ml of water and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low and cover and simmer for 30 – 35 minutes. Stir in the palm sugar, coconut milk, vanilla extract and salt. Mix well and simmer uncovered for another 10 – 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the rice to cool before serving. Drizzle extra coconut milk or coconut cream around the rice and serve with fresh desiccated coconut, if desired.
*Fresh or tinned lychees or mango could also be a refreshing option.
A BIG thank you to my friends who contributed to this book:
From left to right: Taryne Jakobi – Food stylist, Jodie Ennik – Fashion stylist, Amy Searll -Writer, Alek Daray – Hair stylist. Their breakfast recipes can be found in the book.