Recipe: Chocolate & Pecan Spice Cake with Tahini Buttercream Icing & Sesame Praline

The recipe looks long, but it really isn't!

I have broken down all the stages to make it easier to prepare. Its such a quick cake to bake, and the tahini icing is simply next level! enjoy


PS. My perfectionist tendencies want to apologize for the rustic - ness of the cake, that is because I have a 5 year old helping, who insisted she do the lining of the cake tin. When you do it, I know it will be lovely and even and your cake will be smooth and look a lot less rustic :) 





Recipes: 5 ways with Tahini

Tahini And Muesli Breakfast Popsicles (vegetarian) 

I made a double batch of these and have kept them in the freezer, they are a great go to for a quick breakfast on the run in summer, or as a simple snack.


Tahini Nice Cream (vegan) 

I can't get over how absolutely delicious this "ice cream" is! With no dairy insight its completely vegan. It can be used as dessert, or in smoothies, or simply out the freezer container with a spoon. 

Serve the nice cream with tahini chocolate cookies from this post 

Smoked Hummus with Tahini (vegan) 

Smoking is fun, and adds a different dimension to food. You don't need any fancy equipment, simply a wok, some rice and tea leaves. If you don't have time, its not essential, just skip that step and process the plain chickpeas.

Serve with the flatbreads

Easy Yoghurt Flatbreads

Roast Cauliflower "Salad" with Green Goddess Dressing & Pumpkin Seed Dukka (vegan) 

Green Goddess Dressing ( vegan) 

Roast Cauliflower Salad 

The salad can be served as a accompaniment to the flatbreads and hummus, or as a salad on its own. Serve the dressing seperately.

Pumpkin Seed Dukka

The duke will keep for up to 3 month in an airtight container at room temperature. It is great sprinkled on roasted veggies, salads, soups, and of course smashed avocado on toast.


Food Styling: My 5 Tips For Getting Started As A Food Stylist

So you want to be a Food Stylist,
and you don’t know where to start ... 

Here are my 5 tips for getting started in the industry.

Firstly, the big number ONE, I can’t stress this strongly enough.

1. You need to learn to cook.

And cook well, confidently and quickly. Understand how ingredients respond to different situations. Learn cooking terminology and techniques. Learn to be comfortable and confident with different appliances, especially learn knife skills which will save you a lot of time in the future.Essentially food stylists cook for a living. Styling a pretty picture is simply put, the top of the iceberg, it’s the 10 -15% that you see, but the other 85-90% that you don’t see on the billboard or in the food magazine, involves prepping ( schlepping - see no.5) and cooking.  The more proficient you are at testing, developing and cooking recipes the more confident you will be and the more time you will have for the pretty part that everyone loves. Sign up for a course at a local college, and get a good understanding and knowledge of culinary skills and terms.of culinary, it will be best launching pad for your career into food styling!

2. Practice. 

Bake, cook and practice.Try new recipes, and techniques.  Bake on days when it’s humid and raining and see what happens, how does it affect your product. Can you make meringue? Have you tried different techniques, Swiss meringue, Italian meringue. Have you got a tried and tested recipe for hollandaise, do you know what to do if it splits and curdles?  Practice. Practice. Practice.

3. Stretch yourself.

This ties in with the first two, learning new kitchen skills, applying them in practice and then stretching yourself with both techniques and ingredients. Try different or unusual ingredients. Have you tried chicken feet, or grubs? Can you cook tripe? What about goat ?  Having at least a working knowledge of their preparation and taste will mean you're not thrown a curve ball when you're ask to style them. Having an open mind and being willing to experiment will set you in good stead.

4. Learn to improvise.

Food stylist must be able to think on their feet,  pull rabbits out of hats,  and solve problems quickly.
The more confident you are the quicker you will be able to respond in a crisis. You will often be required to multi-task, or drop everything and start on something else, being flexible and adaptable will make the job a lot less stressful.

5. Prepare yourself for the schlep.

There simply is no other way to say this. Food styling requires a lot of unglamorous work. When I brief my new assistants they are often amazed at the amount of work that goes into preparing for a job. From shopping for ingredients, often tracking down an ingredient can be worth of The Amazing Race status, to packing and unpacking equipment, lugging props and styling surfaces, and all this before even starting on the cooking or recipe testing.

Prepare yourself. And then go for it!  I'm here to cheer you on !

If you need resources please check out the resources section on the  website, and sign up for my monthly newsletter.



Travel: Blueberry Cafe, Natal Midlands

Today is Garden Day in South Africa, so I thought it appropriate to share these photos from my visit last month to BlueBerry Cafe in the Natal Midlands.

They have the most beautiful gardens, where they grow their own salads and veggies for the restaurant, but my favourite were the hanging baskets, and gorgeous displays inside the cafe!Talk about indoor plant goals!

I was on a sneaky break from the wellness centre I was staying at, in desperate need of coffee I ordered a large cappuccino, downed it like a women who hadn't had caffeine in 3 days and promptly ordered another. The staff and management were so warm, friendly and very obliging when I asked if I could take photos. ( and probably a little intrigued too )

Set on a hill overlooking the rolling fields of the Midlands, and part of the Netherwood Farm, the cafe has glass doors opening onto a lawn with stunning views across the fields to the Drakensberg Mountains in the distance.It was a sunny but very windy day, so the doors were closed and a big wood fire was lit in the spacious open plan restaurant, inviting me to snuggle up on one of the leather couches, with another coffee and a good book.

Tempted as I was to drink coffee and eat cake in front of the fire all day, I dragged myself away (the guilt of facing the stern receptionist at the wellness centre upon my return was motivation enough) and instead  had a lovely morning wandering around the gardens, and practising my photography.I didn't eat at the cafe either because of the aforementioned wellness centre, so I'm looking forward to stopping there again in December on our way down to the coast. I see from their website that Netherwood also have accommodation in self catering cottages on the farm, which is good to know for future retreats! then I won't have to sneak out for coffee-fueling.

Are you into gardening? I used to be, but somehow time just isn't allowing for it these days, so I enjoy getting out to other peoples gardens when I can., especially kitchen gardens.
For now I'm going to go show my rather neglected houseplants a little love and hopefully keep them alive a bit longer.

Happy Garden Day friends!

This is not a sponsored post.

For more details about Netherwood Farm and Blueberry Cafe this is their website, or click the links.

Photos: Taryne Jakobi 


Behind The Scenes: Professional Food Styling Workshop

The first week in October was a quite literally a dream come true for me as I hosted my first Professional Food Styling Course.

I had been dreaming and then planning the course for more than a year!

It was a lot, a lot, a lot of work! and SO worth every minute of the planning, and sweating, and panicking!

I could not have asked for more eager and enthusiastic participants, each on their own food styling journey; and all so interested, and interesting. I couldn't have wished for better company for the week.

On top of the fabulous attendees, we were all so blessed by the guest speakers, and guest photographers.

True Love Magazine 's Food Editor Tumi Sebopa spoke about her experience working with food stylists, and what an aspiring food stylist can expect when dealing with magazines and editorial commissions.
Photographer Natalie Shelton wore two hats, firstly that of our behind the scenes and editorial photographer ( you can see her lovely pics below) , and also as a former producer for award winning international photographers; she shared her experiences working on multi-million rand campaigns, and what beginner food stylists can expect when working with advertising agencies.

Roelene Prinsloo, our commercial photography expert was undoubtably the star attraction for many of our participants. Roelene is well known for her striking food photography, and has shot campaigns for Ocean Basket, Mugg and Bean, PotatoSA, and almost all of Tiger Brands products. It was such a honour to have her photograph not only with me as part of a commercial food styling demonstration, but each of the participants were given the opportunity to work with her and have Roelene shoot their food set ups, which they could then add to their own portfolios.

Our venue, Light Station Studio in Bryanston, could not have been more perfect! I wanted the attendees to have a very real experience of what working as a professional food stylist is like.
This includes the photographers we work with and also the space in which we work. A professional photographic studio can be an intimidating place for new comers to the industry. I specifically choose Light Station Studio as our venue because it offered not only the experience I was after for the participants , but also because the opportunity for the participants to fully take advantge of having not only expert photographers but the right space and environment for a professional shoot.

What an amazing week it was, I was amazed at how much I learnt from the participants, I left the course more inspired and motivated than I ever expected. It was such an incredible experience to be around a group of like-minded women, more than anything I was blown away by how women in particular can create community.
On the second day after an intensive morning demonstrating tips and tricks of an advertising shoot, the kitchen was pretty messy, it was time for me to tidy up and quickly get on with preparing the lunch before our afternoon session.. I popped to the loo first and when I returned to the studio, all the ladies had jumped in to help, and within 8 minutes, 8 minutes guys! The kitchen was cleared, cleaned, props packed away, and the lunch put out. No fuss, just straight forward no nonsense camaraderie.
It was a beautiful, beautiful thing to not only witness but be the recipient of.

I am busy planning the next workshop, so if you haven't signed up to my newsletter, jump aboard to be first to hear when the next courses are announced.


The first day was an intensive day of theory, learning, sharing and discussing all there is to know about running a Food Styling business, from quoting, to understanding briefs, to reconciling expenses.
Day 2 involved 2 shoots, one with commercial photographer Roelene Prinsloo, and one with editorial photographer Natalie Shelton
Demonstration of commercial styling for Milkshakes
Roelene setting up lights for our shoot

Light Station Studio in Bryanston was our fantastic studio space, with both an indoor studio for our commercial shoots and a lovely outdoor area for our lifestyle shoots.



Celebrating Spring! 5 ways with Ice Lollies


Lime & Coconut Popsicles

Lemon & Honey Yoghurt Popsicles with Pistachio Nuts

Alcohol Free G&T Popsicles with melon & mint

Lychee & Ginger Ice Lollies

Elderflower & Apple Ice Lollies

Recipes & Styling: Taryne Jakobi

Photography: Natale Shelton



5 ways with ice lollies

In case you're wondering ...

Have you ever wondered 

  • How to take your food styling to the next level, from ordinary to extra - ordinary?
  • What professional stylists do differently to food bloggers?
  • What equipment, supplies and tools a professional stylist actually uses?
  • What tricks and special techniques professional food stylists use to get the perfect shot ?
  • How to handle clients; from quoting, to booking, to invoicing ?
  • How to deal with the uncertainty in the food styling, and gain confidence in your skill and craft ?
  • How to forge a career path in professional food styling ?

If so, then read on! 

I wondered all these things to!

When I started in  food styling, I had no idea where to go, or who to approach for training, never mind guidance. I scoured magazines, and books, googled as much as I could, and learnt almost everything I know through the simple, but very difficult and lengthy process of trial and error.

It doesn’t have to be this way for you.

I have designed a course that teaches you everything I have spent 18 years learning and testing for myself. I can guide you and show you what works and what doesn’t work, what you need and don’t need to become a professional food stylist.

I want you to have what I never had.

I have created resources to teach you everything you need to know, whether it’s how to get started in the food styling industry, or how to expand your existing business, increase your market and take your business to the next level. I even have master class lessons if you need help with a specific food styling item such as how to style ice cream, or how to make the perfect burger for a billboard. You don't have to hustle or struggle anymore, I’ve got it all ready for you.

If it involves food styling, I’ve done it.  And this is why I know I can help you.

The course is perfect for you if you are: 

  • A student wishing to pursue a career in food styling.
  • An editorial or lifestyle food stylist wanting to learn about commercial food styling.
  • A food professional working for a company or food corporation and wanting to expand on your knowledge to style your own products.
  • A creative industry or hospitality industry professional looking to expand your knowledge of food styling.

And, if you're still wondering abut what you can expect on the course check out all the details here, or feel free to email me! 

I look forward to you joining the course.

Photography: Vanessa Lewis & Styling: Taryne Jakobi

Foodie highlights of Auckland in 24 hours.

In August my husband was invited to New Zealand for business, I felt obliged to accompany him,  I couldn't let him travel alone, that would be rude, so because I'm a good wife I dutifully went along! And because we are responsible parents we took Ms S along too.

We stayed in a pretty town called Cambridge, 2 hours south of Auckland.

I was fortunate enough to get to Auckland for a day and squeeze in a visit with friend, photographer and fellow foodie Vanessa Lewis. 
Vanessa and her family relocated to New Zealand 3 years ago. Refusing to be restricted or detered by the mercurial Auckland weather we did a whizz around tour, Vanessa showing me the foodie highlights of her new hometown. She has kindly written a guest blog post on the places she took us too, including this beautiful greenhouse where she snapped our pic. I have included links to all the places she mentions, and some of Vanessa photos from Auckland. The weather was nothing like photos on the day we visited, it was freezing cold, which simply means we will have to visit again to see Auckland in the sunshine!

I hope you will enjoy reading about our whirlwild trip, it was really fun.

Much love



" When your foodie mate visits you for only a day in Auckland, you’d better plan it very carefully, down to the minute in fact. There really is so much to see, eat and buy in Auckland when food is the main priority, followed by catching up and the emotional stuff which is always best done with coffee and cake.

I’m not a very emotional “girlie” girlfriend but can cry over the perfect cheese soufflé in a historic post office building with French accents and pretty decor.

Brilliant coffee is an Auckland thing, and something I also love so the right coffee stop is as important as good lunch and dinner reservations.

We met at the Domain Wintergardens around 11am, the perfect setting on a chilly morning, especially in the lush, warm Tropical Glasshouse. We could have spent hours there, but we were on a tight schedule, so after a look around the gardens we headed to our first foodie stop.

Little & Friday, a trendy and quirky cafe in New Market, has been voted to have the best filled donuts in Auckland. The parking situation in Auckland is a frustration, but its worth persevering to get a spot because the coffee is perfect and we love that they have sparkling water on tap and use fun animal toys as table numbers.

The glass cabinet filled with their mouth watering sweet treats was begging us, but we had lunch plans and this was a coffee stop. For a longer visit or the hungry I canrecommend the lemon and coconut cake, and my favorite, the raspberry friandes. For something savory their quiches are delicious!

On our way back to our car we popped in at L'atelier Du Fromage, A francophiles dream. A small deli & cafe filled with  French cheeses, wines and croissants. Even the staff are French.

Lunch continued the French theme. Augustus, a French Bistro in Ponsonby. Because. Twice Baked, 3 Cheese Soufflé - Parmesan, Gruyere, Comte.
Be still my cheese loving heart!

If the soufflé alone isn’t enough (what is wrong with you?) Then the building, restaurant, and decor are sure to win you over!

Augustus is in the original post office, a heritage listed site, and a gorgeous grand landmark in Ponsonby.

Crisp white linen tablecloths, lush greenery, monochrome tiles, marble and glass, the interior and decor is sophisticated and elegant without being stuffy.

We took advantage of the Auckland Restaurant month special, main course and a glass of wine, and almost ate in reverent silence.

If you can squeeze in more food, I recommend a cinnamon scroll and coffee/tea at Bestie, very appropriately named coffee shop in a cool location, the hip and happening St Kevins Arcade.

In the late afternoon we headed home, making sure to leave in time to avoid getting stuck in traffic so that we could enjoy a family evening and dinner. Home cooked organic chicken, gluten free cornbread and freshly picked green beans all from my favourite food shop Farro Fresh, followed by New Zealand's best chocolate Whittaker’s Chocolate for dessert.

In the morning we were in need of good coffee & croissants. Brittomart, is another lively and trendy food area in Auckland.  The bakery and restaurant Amano's is not only a popular breakfast / brunch spot , it has an extensive light meals and diner menu, but we were here for one thing only, the delicious pastries, so after getting a hit of caffeine, and indulging in a few carbs, who can say no to steel cut oats on a cold Auckland morning? we were off again.

With happy tummies and umbrellas in hand, we made our way to  Junk and Disorderly, a fabulous second store where  the items are carefully curated, and I really enjoy scratching around to find a great one of a kind pieces. We both pick up some great food styling props, and then sadly its almost time to say good bye.

Our last stop is for some travel food, for the road trip back to Cambridge. What better than a New Zealand classic, a meat and cheese pie! Meat pies are an iconic Kiwi staple, so you're likely to find them at every bakery and cafe. We pop into a nearby store and buy a few for lunch, rounding off our marathon 24 hours of food in Auckland.

If you ever visit Auckland, be sure to come hungry!

Kia Ora

Vanessa "

Vanessa Lewis, photographer Auckland New Zealand


Photo credit: Vanessa Lewis







Recipes: 5 Ways with ... PERSIMMON

I have fallen in love with these bright and beautiful little fruit. My fruit bowl looked so colourful and interesting, I was reluctant to take them out to start eating and cooking with them, but my disappointment soon turned to delight as the recipes I used them in worked out so well!I'm absolutely hooked on these cute little pumpkin shaped fruits, and although I'm still not entirely sure whether their pronunciation is purse-a-man, or per - simmon ? I'm off to the farmers market for a few more..

The galette recipe at the end is an absolute winner, so even if by the time you get around to this blog post, and persimmons are out of season you can substitute any other fruit.I love how Bon Appetit describe a galette,

"Galettes were invented to make amateur bakers feel like pros. The less perfect they are, the cooler they look. No trimming, no tucking, no crimping, no venting, and no soggy bottom. They’re also versatile: You can make a version of this year-round with the same amount of peak-season fruit."

Grilled Persimmon With Maple & Walnut Oats

Persimmon & Pomelo Breakfast Fruit Salad 

Persimmon & Kale Salad with Miso Orange Dressing

Persimmon Salsa


Persimmon & Buckwheat Galette



Styling & Photography: Taryne Jakobi Styling



Happy Women's Day !

To all the lovely women in South Africa, lady friends around the world, and the awesome men who love and support strong women, Happy Women's Day !

I thought I would embrace the spirit of the day by sharing a few photos from a personal shoot I did. It was awkward and I felt uncomfortable posing for the camera, I usually have my daughter with, and I realize how much I use her as a "prop" to hide behind in shoots.

So this shoot on my own stretched me, I felt vulnerable doing it and even more so now, sharing it. But, that's how we grow, isn't it? And if there is one thing I've learnt, its that the pain, the uncomfortable-ness, the awkwardness is all worth it in the end.I love looking back on my life and going, wow, that used to be such an issue for me, and it no longer is, or, wow, that used to really cause me angst and it no longer does, i worked throughout, I are through it, I learnt through it.

Happy Women's Day friends.


Thank you to Nestling Photography for the photos