A Morning with Arne & Claudia from FoodViewBerlin.com (with Breakfast in a Jar recipe!)
In recent years, Berlin has become a hot spot for urban gardening. Known as schrebergarten, or allotment gardens, city dwellers grow their own crops in community gardens to promote sustainability. During my trip to Berlin, I had the chance to catch up with Arne & Claudia who blogs at http://foodviewberlin.com (it’s written in English, by the way) and they have kindly let me into their friend’s schrebergarten to have breakfast and chat about photography, recipe inspiration, and food blogging.
Arne & Claudia are freelance creatives who do professional film making and photography. FoodViewBerlin.com is their hobby where they share inspiration for their vegan and vegetarian crossover recipes. But they are rising stars in the food blogging world — their work has been featured on sites, and they have recently won Bes for “Best English-Language Food Blog” and “Best Recipe Blog” at Food Blog Award 2015.
If you’re like us, you’ll be drawn into their world by the incredible photography and quirky recipes, and stay because of their warmth and wit. Read on as the couple shares the secret to their food blogging, and recipe for Banana & Cashew Cream with Red Quinoa on Date & Walnut Crumbs, topped with Caramelized Fruit.
Even though they live right in the middle of the city, a natural and healthy cuisine made up of fresh and unprocessed seasonal ingredients is very important to them. They love fresh vegetables from the farmer’s market, and autumn raspberries or other veggies that they grow on their balcony or gain from harvesting wild. Of course, there are some sprouts, microgreens, and fresh herbs on the window sill as well, and so home-made basics from hot & fruity chutney to creamy spelled & almond milk and homemade spice blends.
Arne and Claudia started out quite differently. At first, Arne just wanted to do urban photography. He considered himself more like a photographer, not a cook. But their culinary habits so changed over the years. They started this journey as two vegetarians, and since a while, Arne turned vegan. So now, they cook and do the food shootings together.
Claudia shared, “The recipe we won for the award is a good example. We wanted to do something for a picnic package, like homemade lemonade and delicious vegan sandwiches. But we don’t want to call it vegan sandwiches. We just wanted to create a sandwich with ingredients that are in season. For example, the broad beans, carrots are in season during that time. Arne said let’s do the sandwich in a sandwich bag, and I said let’s put the sandwich bag into a basket. So one idea leads to another. So we exchange ideas, it is a mutual process. It’s always fun to develop that idea.”
The couple increasingly love to create delish recipes did serve bothsides: vegan treats without substitutes are most tasty by itself. They love a colorful and manifold cuisine, and they regularly crave for raw food and whole-grain treats. For our breakfast that day, Arne and Claudia bought some ingredients from the market, picked a few apples from the garden and prepared breakfast in a jar filled with quinoa and banana cream, served with homemade green smoothie.
They started out first shooting the ingredients in its raw form in the garden, shooting Arne picking the apples and him attempting to crack the walnuts. Natural light is important to them when it comes to food photography. They usually shoot next to a large window or will bring the dishes outside to photograph them. In this case, they are lucky to have such a romantic garden to work with.
Simple plates, cutlery, etc. and raw ingredients make great extra props. Claudia and Arne usually think about the ingredients that they are using and what colors will go best with them. Of course, since they are making something fruity and light for breakfast, they’d be more likely to go with a cleaner brighter background. Using a Canon 5D Mark ii with Canon 50mm F1.8 lens, the photos give a very nice bokeh.
“It’s teamwork, it’s about finding a mutual image language.” – Claudia
As bloggers, the couple love to push boundaries. When reading their posts, you feel as if the two of you are chatting in a corner, sharing a drink. They have the ability to make their digital home feel cozy. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that they comes up with mind-boggingly awesome recipes — and has incredible photography skills.
When asked about their process when taking a photo, Arne explained, “Sometimes the color and personality of the food will really click with specific props or lighting. Other times, we will wiggle with the setting, or create a story for why that walnuts is cracked. SI’d say I generally prefer to do more with less, and execute styling that makes sense.”
FoodViewBerlin.com updates once a week, as the couple try to shoot recipes during weekends so that it can be used for the next few weeks. They work with seasonal ingredients most of the time, so they try to publish the post as soon as they can. Arne said, “We do stock photography and we were told they need Christmas images in July for their magazines, which is quite fun! It was really hot out here like Singapore, we were sweating but trying to create the Christmas mood.”
Thankfully, we aren’t sweating as we chat and have breakfast in the garden as it was already autumn in Berlin. Even though I seldom have vegan meals in Singapore, I am learning to appreciate vegan after coming here. It may be a turn-off to some of you but trust me, it’s really tasty! As I listened to the rooster calling and smell the light apple aroma in the air, I am thankful for this good life and blessed with friends from all over the globe. 🙂
- 100 g dates, pitted
- 75 g walnuts
- 1 tbsp. maple syrup
- 1 tsp. cinnamon powder
- 1 big banana
- 150 g cashew nuts* + 1 tbsp.
- juice of 2 small organic lemons and zest of 1
- 75 g red quinoa
- a splash of maple syrup
- 1 big apple, cleaned and cored
- 2 plums, cleaned, halved, and pitted
- 4 blackberries, cleaned
- 1 tbsp. of honey
- 4 jars of 290 ml each
- 2 handsfull of mache, cleaned and washed (or any other green lettuce that you prefer)
- 2 bananas
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 big apple, cleaned and cored
- fresh ginger to taste (recommendation is to start with 1 slice and then add more, if you like)
- Prepare the quinoa first: Bring to a boil with the double amount of water, reduce the heat, close the lid and simmer for about 15 minutes or until done but not too soft. Add a splash of maple syrup and fold in well.
- For the crumbs layer, put dates and walnuts in a food chopper and chop (not too much, pieces of nuts and dates should still be visible). Season with cinnamon and fold in the maple syrup. Fill in the jars as a bottom layer.
- For the cashew & banana cream, put cashew nuts, lemon juice and water in the blender or in a dish that you use with your hand-held blender. If you soaked the nuts over-nigt, you will be fine with 75 ml, if you didn’t you will need a little more, about 100-125 ml. Now mash finely until you get a smooth cream. Add the banana (make sure that you use a fully ripened fruit) and mash again until everything is well combined. Fold in lemon zest and quinoa and fill the cream into the jars as a second layer on top of the date & walnut crumbs. Put into the fridge while you prepare the topping and the smoothie.
- For the smoothies, put all ingredients into a blender along with 500 ml of water (or add a little more, depending on which consistency you like best in your smoothie) and blend finely. You might want to add a little more ginger or lemon juice or banana if you like your smoothie a little more hot or citrus-like or sweet, that’s totally up to you.
- For the cream topping, chop the remaining tbsp. of cashews and roast in an ungreased pan until they start to smell nicely. Put aside. Slice the apple (you will need four slices), and in the same pan, carefully heat up the honey. When it starts to bubble gently, put the apple slices and the plum halves in the honey and caramelize (about 1-2 minutes on each side). Take the jars off the fridge and decorate each with an apple slize, a plum half and a blackberry on top, finally sprinkle with the toasted cashews. Enjoy along with the smoothies!
- If you soak cashew nuts over-night in cold water, the result will be more creamy