After leaving the corporate world to pursue studies in digital media, Alana Dimou of Sydney food blog alanabread found an unexpected hobby in photographing the weird and wonderful dishes that poured from her kitchen.
We chat to Alana about a decadent dinner party menu, food GIFs that tease, and conquering what you're most afraid of.
alanabread recently celebrated its first birthday. How is your life greater since having hatched your blog?
I was once absolutely terrified of: 1) cooking for people, and; 2) taking photos – despite my vague interest in both. These were two things that evoked self-consciousness to the point of paranoia! Naturally, the only way to address this was to shine an enormous spotlight on my insecurities by throwing it all up online for the world to see. Forcing myself to start a food blog, and not giving up on it for one whole year, has boosted my kitchen confidence, improved my photography, and provided a great reference for recipes, because I normally forget or lose the scraps of paper I write my notes on. Food photography has even made up a lot of my university portfolio, and for my final, end-of-degree project, I’m shooting and designing my own cookbook. Basically, having a food blog has snowballed into some tremendous opportunities that will hopefully trickle into paid work one day.
Which of your recipes would you suggest for a decadent dinner party with one's nearest and dearest?
I’m going to present a very disjointed menu because I’m basically choosing my three favourite dishes on my blog! For entrée, I’d go with my two leek and two garlic soup. Main would be some lamb tagine pizzas to share, and, for dessert, it has to be my mango cheesecake with chocolate and ginger.
You create some pretty tantalising food GIFs. Do you consciously tease your food-loving audience?
"No! That’s just me showing off with a tripod, really. Those GIFs are mostly outtakes or after thoughts as I’m packing up my shoot. I’ve found using food as a subject creates a very strange niche of photography. One frame needs to be an advertisement; if the photo doesn’t scream “EAT ME” then it may not be so successful. I suppose, in a way, I do try my best to entice my audience with a few photos, because if it doesn’t look amazing, the chances of them trying my recipes won’t be so good.
For all your elaborate creations, what’s something super simple you love to eat at home?
Cucumber dressed in salt and vinegar (I’m half Cypriot; sometimes the Greek genetics can’t help but seep through). Cottage cheese on rice crackers. Toast with ricotta and honey, because my dad used to eat it all the time. When I’m stressed, it’s all about Nutella on a piece of white bread. If I have a little more time, I’ll opt for Vegemite and avocado on toast. If you hadn’t noticed, I’m a huge fan of carbs plus a condiment!
Tell us one of your earliest, fondest food memories.
I took a lot of things for granted as a kid; there was always an abundance of spectacular food and barbecues within my family. One dish that absolutely stands out would have to be my Teta’s vanilla and chocolate marble cake. I’ve been eating it for as long as I can remember. She’d prepare it in a bundt tin and I used to smash it up and pretend it was multi-coloured sand as a five your old. It’s a humble cake but crazy good (it has so much butter) and is definitely a recipe I’ll be keeping close to my heart.
Follow Alana Bread on Twitter