First Steps

Heard of ‘BrotZeit’ yet? Brünch has got a little sister :)

Have I introduced you to BrotZeit yet?

After a year of successful brünch events held all across London, I have recently launched a new mobile Berlin breakfast bar called ‘BrotZeit‘ – brünch’s little sister 🙂 The German phrase is a combination of ‘Brot’ meaning bread and ‘Zeit’ meaning time.

BrotZeit is based on the Berliner ‘Stulle’, which is Berlin slang for an open sandwich and an extremely popular breakfast, lunch and dinner snack. So popular there is even a Stulle or ‘Butterbrot’ (another word for it..) day in September every year! Berliners love their bread and their Stulle!

But what is it exactly!?

BrotZeit serves this moreish Berlin Kult snack but with a twist – healthy & wholesome toppings on thick slices of rustic sourdough bread from small local artisan bread bakeries of the likes of E5 Bakehouse, The Dusty Knuckle Bakery, Brickhouse Bread and Elephant Bakehouse.

Sometimes pictures say more than words…

I change my menu whenever I have a new idea. I try to source locally where possible so my menu is very seasonal.

In the past, my menu looked something like this

Thick Slices of Rustic Sourdough with

 Goats Cheese, Fresh Strawberries/Fresh Figs, Basli & Honey

Beetroot, Avocado, toasted Sesame & wild Thyme (vegan)

Butternut Squash, Feta Cheese, Pomegranate & Rosemary

 Home-made Almond Butter, Banana, Yoghurt & home-made Granola (vegan)

Home-made Hummus, sun-dried tomatoes, toasted seeds & Thyme (vegan)

For those with a sweet tooth, I also alternate between my brünch signature amaranth & chia granola with german quark, homemade banana bread with warm Nutella and toasted coconut, fresh Buckwheat waffles and Rote Grütze, a typical German dessert.

With BrotZeit I am bringing the mobile breakfast to life – colourful and vibrant, it is definitely an eye catcher wherever it goes.

Where can you find us? 

I am working with Morning Gloryville East London at their East London after parties at Number 90 in Hackney Wick from 11am until about 3pm whenever I can. For future dates, check out my Facebook page @bruench or Twitter @bruench_popup next dates on their website.

Exciting plans ahead! I am applying to trade at festivals this summer in the UK. There is definitely a lack of healthy food options, not to mention breakfast options at festivals, and I want to change that. It’s quite a lot of paper work but I am working through them as we speak. Fingers crossed. And perhaps will see each other for a dance or two and breakfast after soon 🙂 I will keep you posted.

If you have an event and would like to get BrotZeit involved, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line at bruench@gmail.com. Would love to hear from you.

Lots of brünchlove.

Noemi x

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Food Photography – some Tips and Tricks

Food Porn is definitely a ‘Thing’!

Instagram is thriving because we love looking at beautiful food pictures. It does not only create cravings but also presents a lifestyle – healthy food, convenient food, comfort food, etc. Great food photography makes people want to be part of the bigger picture. I mean is it really about the Chewy Sultana Cookies that Deliciously Ella makes? I doubt it. It is about her, her story and philosophy, her lifestyle that inspires people to live healthier lives. But to buy into a story like this, we want to see lovely pictures that help us visualise what we could have – and she does that pretty well.

My food photography is not the greatest (yet!) but I am working on it. 🙂 A year ago I treated myself to a really nice DSLR Sony camera, which I use a lot for my pictures. However, you don’t need heavy equipment anymore or spend a fortune on an excellent camera. Thanks to all those new Photo Editor Apps, ‘photoshopping’ has become pretty easy and made food photography a lot more accessible. But there is more to a good picture than changing the filter and adding some fake highlights.

I recently attended a workshop by Echo Food Sessions in collaboration with Grub Club , who invited professional photographer and Instagram enthusiast Isabelle to lead a workshop on how to do great food photography for your business using the simplest of tools – your phone and Instagram. The Grub Club has summarised some of her top tips:

Get Inspired

  • Browse through food magazines, blogs and Instagram feeds, and replicate things you like.
  • As well as your food, think about other ways you can tell the story of your business/brand – how about some pictures of your suppliers, your prep process, or people enjoying your food at an event?

Setting Up Your Shot

  • Try out different layers and textures in the background – everything from wooden chopping boards to slate, to fabric like tablecloths and napkins (make sure you iron them first).
  • Take pictures from directly above – stand on a chair, or even arrange your shoot on the floor so you can get a good angle.
  • Have plenty of natural light streaming through – daylight is the best setting for food photography.
  • Use props to offset the balance of your shot – e.g. a knife halfway on the plate, a sprig of mint in the background, a little glass with flowers in a corner.
  • Keep it simple – don’t overload the plate or surroundings: focus on the food and use a few striking props to enhance.

Using Instagram

  • Take pictures using your camera app, and upload them into Instagram afterwards – that way you can select the best ones, crop and edit to get the very best picture.
  • Don’t just use filters – use the wrench tool to adjust things like brightness and structure. Try Tilt Shift to focus different areas of the picture.
  • When choosing a filter, you can adjust the level of filter to apply by double clicking on the filter and sliding to adjust.
  • Add a location so your picture will appear on maps.
  • Use hashtags to describe your picture and engage others – Tagmoatic is a useful tool for generating hashtags.
  • Try the new layout tool for creating collages.

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Adding to the above, my advice is

  • Use small portions – you don’t need to take a picture of an entire serving size. A small portion of all the goodness you created is absolutely sufficient for a great picture.
  • Add ingredients into your picture -it is really nice for the other person looking at your picture to follow the story of your dish. What ingredients have you used, how have you prepared it?
  • Use colours in your food – make your dish stand out more by adding accents. Perhaps some pomegranate on white yoghurt and a mint leaf. Complimentary colours can create some striking optical effects.
  • Take your time & prepare in advance – block out an entire morning/afternoon (best when it is light) and get everything you need in advance. It takes a while until you get the perfect shot. I requires a lot of experimenting and trying out. You don’t want to realise afterwards that all your pictures are rubbish. Prepare and get all the props and ingredients in advance so you can focus on photographing, not wasting time on getting your bits and bobs together. Plus not being stressed by time pressure makes it an easier and more enjoyable process.

To see a few of my food photograpy, follow me on Instagram at FoodInbrixton and Bruench_popup

 

 

Preparing to launch brünch – when London meets Berlin for brunch

Wow! Time has gone by so quickly now! It is already almost February – LAUNCHING brünch is imminent! I am pretty nervous I must admit but so excited!! 😉 I have been super busy preparing everything in the run up to my first test runs on the 8th and 9th of February! There is a lot to think of but I am truly loving it. Organising, tasting and sourcing food, networking and meeting new people, discovering new venues, and and and…it feels nice to make my ideas reality! I thought I share with you what how I went about it.

On my to-do list were:

Menu design & testing
Pop Up venue search
Legal stuff
Decoration
Marketing Material

Menu design & testing

It took me at least two months to find a chef who shared my vision for Brünch. Carine from Inspiring Chefs put me in touch with Kirsty who also runs her own events catering business Eclectic Catering and who was a contestant of the Chanel 4 series The TasteKirsty and I got on straight away. We were both passionate about what we do and she loved my Berlin brunch idea and ethos. We met after our first meeting and we were full of ideas. One day, we started cooking and experimenting in her home kitchen. We are now meeting almost once a week to refine our ideas, think of presentation and where to source our ingredients from. With every pop up we are changing some of our suppliers to make each event unique. This will keep us and you on our toes! 🙂 I hope you will like what we come up with!

Pop Up Venue Search

In the beginning I was not quite sure how to get get the ball rolling. So I reached out to my foodie network. It did not take long until I was referred to Dan from London Pop Ups, who was super helpful and sent me lots of suggestions of what venues to contact. I also spoke to Jess and Liv from the GrubClub and the team at We are Pop Up and all were extremely helpful and friendly. Design my Night also showed interest and suddenly I had a good base to work with, which was very comforting.
From all the feedback I got, I prepared myself a list of venues that I wanted to visit. Since then I have been touring across London to meet with each and every one of them and oh my god! There is a real mix of stunning venues out there. It is very exciting to be working within different settings. I love the idea of collaborating and working together with different venues to make each event different from one another. Sometimes I just  walk into places that I like and turns out many are actually open for discussion straight away!
Here some impressions to get you excited! 😉

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Legal stuff

I think I am bored already…As Geoff at Caithness & Co (experienced with pop up insurances) said in one of his first sentence to me ‘the world of insurance is really not exciting at all and I will not bore you with all the details and keep it short,…’ loved it! Thanks Geoff for keeping it short and not giving me the full blown sales pitch! So in terms of legal stuff there were a few things that I had to get done asap. I had to get my Food Hygiene Training Level 2 Certificate in order to be allowed to prepare and sell food. I also had to get my Personal Licence training in order to be allowed to serve you boozy brünches. 🙂 Additionally, I had to get my head around what insurances I needed. As I said, Geoff was an absolute star and he explained everything to me and sorted it all out within a day. RESULT!

Let’s move on to something a bit more fun – Decoration!

What is the look and feel of brünch going to be? I wanted brünch to remind a bit of Berlin. For me Berlin design is somewhat raw and rustic but warm and homely at the same time. It is about creativity, fun and a edginess (is that a word? computer says yes!). I wanted to create something that you all will recognise and associate with brünch regardless of the venue. I had some cool ideas and I walked around markets, visited antique and vintage shops and I approached some maker friends of mine if they could help. I eventually got in touch with the REmakery, who I knew through my work at the Lambeth Food Partnership and Transition Town Brixon!  I absolutely love what they are doing and in return of some volunteering time, I was able to host a Makersday at their facilities. Some drinks, nibbles, music and a full day of DIY to build some of the decoration ideas I had in mind.

Curious? Come and see for yourself!

 

Last but not least Marketing Material

As time was running and the situation with my logo designer turned sour (don’t ask me!), I decided to design my website myself. I worked on it for about a month and changed the design of it almost weekly until I was finally happy. I really enjoyed playing around with it but I was so nervous to hit the ‘publish’ button. Was the content ok? Did I say what I wanted to say? Did it look alright?…My friends were amazing and looked at every version to give me feedback and here it is – published this morning! 🙂

The lovely pictures of my food on my website have been taken by Bill! Bill was an amazing help in the last phases of the branding process. Turns out he is not only a great bread baker, he also knows his way around websites, marketing and he is a fantastic photographer with a passion for food. One Sunday, I cooked and he took pictures. My food never looked so good!!

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If you want to get in touch with Bill regarding some photo shoots for your business, cook book or event, write an email to bill@justlikebread.co.uk.

Check it out! www.bruench.com 🙂 Ah yes, brünch is also on Twitter now @bruench_popup

 

 

Following your Passion – no one said it will be easy!

I was afraid to wake up one day and regretting not having tried, not having given it my best shot in realising my dream!

Everyone has dreams. Everyone has different dreams. Dreams can change over time… They give us a sense of direction, perhaps even a meaning in life to be very philosophical.

It took me about two years and a change in my personal life to build up the courage and leave my job to do what I wanted to do for a long time.  My dream has developed in response to me becoming more and more unhappy about where I was heading. I was getting very stressed all the time and I worked long hours in the office. That is not what I wanted. I could not see myself growing old in what I was doing anymore. I started to reassess my priorities and values and I came to the conclusion that I had to go my own way. And so far my journey has been incredible in so many ways. I honestly believe that it does not matter what age you are or what stage in your life you’re at! It is never too late to change course and do what you really want to do. We only live once.

Finding out what you are passionate about is not always that straight forward! For me, it is similar to falling in love. It cannot be forced but you feel it when you found i, you are willing to take risks and put your heart and soul into it.

Being able to set my own goals every day, play with new ideas and live my passion feels incredibly liberating. But building something of your own is also pretty hard work and can be quite a daunting prospect at the same time! No one said it would be easy. I learnt that it requires a lot of initiative, drive and positive mindset! The latter is the hardest in my opinion..Sometimes I wake up and think ‘what am I doing here? I can just about pay my rent, for the rest I am living off my savings and who knows if this is actually going to work?’

But when everything gets a bit too much and the dream seems to crumble because of self-doubt, I talk to people. I share my ideas and I share my worries. I guess my biggest worry is failure… especially knowing the statistics that about 50% of all small business start ups fail in the first couple of years. Well, that is great encouragement, isn’t it? But that is why I go on seminars, attend workshops, ask for help and advice from others who have gone or are going trough the same. It is good to hear that it is ok to be overwhelmed sometimes and to have doubts although you are doing something you love. It is also good to hear that it is ok to take a break from it once in a while. Those of you who know me well, know I work quite hard and I realise now that this is exactly why I fell out of love with what I was doing before. I burnt myself out! I am keen to not make the same mistake again but nurture my passion.  After all, if I cannot enjoy the journey, I will probably not like what I am creating either.

So when the sun is out, like today, I go for a stroll at Brockwell Park or Clapham Common and I realise how lucky I am. I feel I have grown more over the past two months, than I have over the past two years.

 

 

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Business Planning Workshop

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My fellow entrepreneurs at the CREATE programme

 

 

 

 

 

 

I encourage everyone who has found their passion and who has done their homework, to go for it and enjoy the journey. You cannot lose.

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I will soon let you know more about what I have been up to over the past three months, but I can say that much..2015 is going to be super exciting! I am working on a few really cool things and I look forward to sharing those with you in due course.

At this stage, I want to say a big thank you to everyone who believes in me, is part of my journey and let’s me be part of theirs. I am very grateful for all the support and advice I have received and am receiving.

Thank you x

 

 

 

 

Setting up your own business? Look around you!

Today I was part of a great meeting with the Board of Directors of the Lambeth Food Partnership where we aim at creating a more sustainable and healthy food culture in the borough I live in. There was so much energy and great ideas in the room!

I also facilitated a networking event last week hosted by Transition Town Brixton, called the Local Entrepreneur Forum – The Warm Up, where we strive at creating a new culture of Community Supported Local Enterprise. It is a great feeling to be part of a community that wants to help each other out and use the resources we have available within our community.

Working with those organisations has and is really influencing my own business ideas in so many ways! I am learning more and more about the food culture and community that surrounds me.

I am sharing this here to encourage anyone else, who is also considering to start up their own business now or in the future, to look around you and get involved with other related projects. Build a network, collaborate, support each other and share experiences! It is helping me enormously in what I want to do and I am sure it will help you too. Bring on 2015!

 

 

Brunch Survey

I am in the process of finalising my business plan for BreadBox – an all-day brunch concept with a Berlin twist. More information to be revealed soon.

By completing the 17 questions, you will help BreadBox to get a better understanding of what you like and dislike when going out for brunch. This survey is anonymous and all information provided by you will be kept confidentially and used for internal purposes only (i.e. concept and menu design, feasibility, etc)

LINK to BRUNCH SURVEY

We appreciate you are taking the time to complete this survey.

Thank you so much.

Warm regards,
BreadBox
(BreadBox will be re-branded and re-named shortly 🙂 )

We will be launching Brunch pop ups early next year. If you would like to keep up to date on future events and on our progress, please follow BreadBox on:

Twitter: @BreadBoxSW
Facebook: www.facebook.com/BreadBoxSW

New ideas in Autumn

Testing, experimenting, tasting…I have been pretty busy in the kitchen recently. I love getting up in the morning, having breakfast and thinking of new ideas of what to make next. Sometimes I wake up with a new idea straight away and it does not take long until I find myself on the market to get all ingredients I need. I often go to Brixton Market to get my fruit and veg and on Sundays I frequent Herne Hill’s City & Country Farmers’ Market or stroll through Brixton’s very own Farmers Market. In between, a pit stop at Federation Coffeea little D-Tour through Brockwell Park and I am ready!

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I realise that all my recent creations are scattered around Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – I know!! Who would have thought I am becoming a Social Media Warrior. Until a few months ago I did not even know how to send a Tweet and now I am all over it! And I am now on Instagram too!! I managed to find the upload button recently which is great progress.

Anyway, so I got some complaints from family and friends who are not on any of those social media sites. Hence, I thought I summarise all my creations to date here. Let me know what your thoughts are and what you would want to try most! 🙂

My very first opportunity to wow my audience came up this October. It was my first ‘Tasting and Sampling’ session in front of a panel of experts as part of the CREATE programme.

 

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Baked Duck Egg on Tomato Pepper Ragout with Sourdough Bread

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Goats Cheese Sandwich with Fresh Figs, Algarve Honey and Basil

 

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Coconut Quinoa Porridge with Caramelised Pineapple and Mixed Nuts

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Elevator Pitch – Presenting my Business Idea to a Penal of Experts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Following overwhelmingly positive response to my concept and dishes, I continued experimenting at home.

November arrived and my head was full of ideas and I had lots of energy! In the meantime I inquired about getting professional help from a photographer to take pictures of my food. Everyone I spoke to was very kind to offer me their services at their minimum day rate. But even that would have set me back around £1,000. I decided for the cheaper option – DIY! I have been interested in photography for some time now, which resulted in me buying a semi-professional DSLR camera last year. This is a perfect occasion to develop my photography ‘talents’ further. It’s not perfect but I am getting there!

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Butternut Squash Pancakes (no butter, reduced sugar), with Caramelised Apple, Pomegranate and Lyle’s Maple Syrup

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Diary free, butterless, reduced sugar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November is also the season for Beetroot! I absolutely love Beetroot. Those amazing roots are packed with powerful nutrients and have a distinctly sweet and earthy flavour. Just what you need to kick start your immune system. I pretty much tried all versions – cooked, roasted, grated, pureed, hot or cold as a soup or juice..anything goes.

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Hangover Breakfast! Fried Egg on Sourdough Bread with Roasted Beetroot Puree, Rocket Leaves and more Feta

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Golden Beets Feast

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The days have become shorter and colder now and I was longing for something that reminded me of cozy evenings in the winter. Kaiserschmarrn! I had Kaiserschmarrn up in the Alpes when I went skiing as a child! Whilst it is a popular dish in South Germany, it is actually an Austrian desert! It is named after emperor KaiserFranz Joseph I of Austria, who was very fond of this kind of fluffy shredded pancakes, which typically come with warm fruit compote. I served my Kaiserscharrn with warm Apfelmus and a Strawberry/Blueberry coulis! 🙂

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You can find me exploring the city as soon as I have a bit of time. I really enjoy cycling around town on the look out for new inspiration and brunch spots. This is when I fell in love with Banana Bread. I am not a big fan of Bananas but this was different. Almost every Brunch place I went to offered a toasted slice of this lovely treat with various accompaniments like espresso butter (BrickWood Coffe & Bread) or banana puree with salted chocolate crumbs (Salvation Jane).

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Brickwood Coffee & Bread – Clapham Common

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Salvation Jane – Off Old Street Roundabout

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I tweaked my Banana Bread recipe and made it healthier by replacing butter with Viridian 100% Organic Raw Virgin Coconut Oil. I also reduced the amount of refined sugar and added one extra ripe banana instead. I replaced some of the flour with coconut flakes and added some blueberries. Best eaten fresh out of the oven! Heaven! 🙂

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Coconut Banana Bread with Blueberries

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So easy to make, takes no longer than 15 minutes + baking time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November is also a month of birthdays! Five people in my immediate circle of friends have their birthdays within a space of two weeks! I debated with many of my German friends whether it is only me or some kind of German tradition that a good birthday always starts with a fabulous birthday table and birthday cake/breakfast in the morning. When I had to be at work at 8am, I would get up an hour earlier than usual just to not miss my birthday morning surprise! It’s just one of those things I get excited about…

To mark my flatmate’s birthday and surprise her in the morning, I made Cinnamon Buns for the very first time. I have been raving about them so much and what better way to wake up in the morning than with the smell of cinnamon!  Moist on the inside, crunchy on the outside. Some powder sugar (aka icing sugar) on top and …delicious! Best eaten warm with a hot cup of tea in Pjs ;p

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If you feel the winter blues is setting in, get cozy, treat yourself with something you like and share it with those you love! x

 

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