THE CURATED TABLE RETREAT - TUSCANY , SEPTEMBER 2019 HOW THE RETREAT UNFOLDED

I’m so exited to share my favourite images of the Tuscan storytelling and photography retreat co-hosted with Silvia Bifaro in my house/atelier set in the charming village of Vagli Sotto last September.

My aim is to take you on this inspirational journey with us and the four incredible women who were there to nourish creativity, become inspired afresh and connect with themselves through others and the natural beauty around them.

The curated table visual storytelling and photography retreat. Tuscany September 2019 by Catia Lemmi and Silvia BIfaro
The curated table visual storytelling and photography retreat. Tuscany September 2019 by Catia Lemmi and Silvia BIfaro

I really want these photos to speak for themselves, but first of all here’s a brief overview on how this retreat came to life. When Silvia visited me in Tuscany last year for couple of days, our first intention was to spend time with our families and explore the beautiful area and small towns nearby. Plans had to re-adjust quickly as we immediately found ourselves choosing props from my grandma’s heritage, moving furnitures around, styling breakfast, photographing and enjoying the process of creating scenes anew. We even put together a summer gathering on the terrace for a group of local friends and cooked all the day in the kitchen ( in between breastfeeding my baby and playing with our kids).! It was inevitable not to think about the richness of this experience and the deep connection we felt, both on a personal and creative level.

The curated table visual storytelling and photography retreat. Tuscany September 2019 by Catia Lemmi and Silvia BIfaro

I’ve always wanted to host a creative retreat and I knew Silvia was the right creative partner with whom I could embark on this journey. We both love making fresh food from scratch, gathering around intentionally curated tables, creating comfort around us to connect, open up to our inner thoughts and visions, and help people living the life they deserve. This is the story of our retreat…..it comes from a place of love and passion.

The curated table visual storytelling and photography retreat. Tuscany September 2019 by Catia Lemmi and Silvia BIfaro

There were afternoon teas with homemade tuscan cakes freshly baked by us (…and a wonderful chestnut cake kindly baked my dad). Nourishing suppers over effortlessly styled tables with seasonal fruits and fresh herbs . Evenings on the terrace in front of the fireplace wrapped up in holly blankets and plenty of opportunities to share joys and sorrow of life .….

And of course lots of exploration of the process of visual story telling both from the photography and the styling perspectives, and of our attendees’ unique stories and style. We were also joined by the talented Italian artist and photographer Valentina Solfrini who brought the retreat on a precious creative level, sharing her insight into the art of light and colouring.

The curated table visual storytelling and photography retreat. Tuscany September 2019 by Catia Lemmi and Silvia BIfaro
The curated table visual storytelling and photography retreat. Tuscany September 2019 by Catia Lemmi and Silvia BIfaro

We all felt at home as a family, the family we wish to belong to…. intentionally supportive and free from judgment. Talking about family, this retreat has been possible, before anyone else, thanks to the most generous and loving woman I had the fortune to meet in my life, my dearest grandmother Caterina.

Even if she is no longer here, she is always with me and even closer when I am in her house in Vagli Sotto, where my heart is truly alive. Everything you see in these pictures, the beautiful props, textiles, and the house itself talks about her.

The curated table visual storytelling and photography retreat. Tuscany September 2019 by Catia Lemmi and Silvia BIfaro
The curated table visual storytelling and photography retreat. Tuscany September 2019 by Catia Lemmi and Silvia BIfaro
 
The Curated Table retreat - Tuscany 2019. We all felt at home as a family, the family we wish to belong to…. intentionally supportive and free from judgment.  Talking about family, this retreat has been possible, before anyone else, thanks to the most generous and loving woman I had the fortune to meet in my life, my dearest grandmother Caterina.

It's my hope that those who joined us on this retreat will walk away with clarity on their path, inspiring memories to fuel their creativity, fresh eyes for seeing the world, and lasting relationships.

The curated table visual storytelling and photography retreat. Tuscany September 2019 by Catia Lemmi and Silvia BIfaro

THANK YOU TO THE PARTICIPANTS: Dunja, Denise, Ivana and Marika. I can’t wait to see how your creative journey will unfold.

Silvia THANK YOU! It was such an honour to stand by your side to deliver our first retreat. I always learn so much from you!

Valentina THANK YOU! You are such a talented artist and source of endless inspiration.

And if you couldn't make it with us this year, the good news is that we are already planning our next retreat for next year in the summer!

Catia xx

HOW TO THROW AN ALFRESCO DINNER FOR YOUR FRIENDS in less than 1 hour

Summer season is around the corner and what’s the best way to celebrate but with a relaxed and uncomplicated al fresco dinner with your friends?

Al fresco entertaining should be as easy and effortless as possible and fun to put together during the week after work and weekend.

My recommended recipes come together in less than 1 hour, so you won't spend the day cooking for your friends—you'll spend those precious hours actually enjoying their company. Also, this menu hits on a lot of the same flavors, which helps keep the shopping list to a minimum. Accompany this menu with a bottle of Sardinian Vermentino or freshly made mint lemonade to wash it all down.

Ready to open the door of your home, enjoy your garden or you city terrace in the company of your besties?

Lets start then!

Read More

YOUR MASTERCLASS : how the day unfolded

Beautiful things happen when people work together to deliver something meaningful and close to their hearth.

When Silvia from salvialimone approached me at the end of the summer in 2018 and asked me if I would be interested in co-hosting a masterclass on visual branding and social media with her and Antonella from Pinterestclinic, I could not be more excited. The three of us realised quickly that we wanted to create a masterclass focusing on our students’s professional development and to offer a comprehensive class packed with practical learning opportunities according to their individual learning needs.

These shots of our masterclass in London were held at the ex-industrial venue of Merci Marie in the heart of Dalston, are a good documentation on how the day unfolded and a good preview of what might be coming next. This masterclass was a blend of unique experiences from learning technical skills, strategic approach to business to relationships, insightful and creative inspiration. It was an honour to co- host this class with two very talented women and with our creative students and I am so looking forward to doing more of this in the future. xx

Branding session with Silvia and Catia

Visual branding & strategies

Silvia and I co-facilitated group discussions alternated with 1:1 exercises. We helped our students to explore the core values of their creative business and how strategically bring to life their brand’s personality based on authentic values meaningful to them and their brand.Whilst working on these important aspects of branding, I kept reminding myself and our students to look into what really matters and to listen to their inner wise voice to guide them through their creative journey.

focaccia/artichokes

Styling & Photography

We shared styling principles/ photography fundamentals with our students and techniques we rely on when creating a visual story. Students were given plenty of opportunities to style and create their visual story. The light on the day was just perfect. This is the final result of one of our student’s styling & photography. . Isn’t it beautiful?

Gathering

When we thought about the masterclass, Silvia and I wanted to explore each aspects of putting together a small gathering from sourcing tableware, ceramics, flowers, and bring to the table seasonal food cooked by us for our students . We cooked in the charming kitchen of Merci Marie and styled a convivial rustic table set with Ayse’s ceramics. Sitting together and sharing a meal gave us all an opportunity to deepen our conversation and get to know each other.

ravioli:spinach:ricotta

Menu

The menu was a joy to put together as well as the table and the gift for our students sponsored by Belazu.

The outstanding Mediterranean ingredients from Belazu opened our meal with Bruschetta with artichokes truffle pate’ and rose harissa followed by Violetto Artichokes on lettuce leaf with picked green strawberries.

As main, we indulged over handmade spinach and ricotta ravioli with brown butter and balsamic pearls. I will write the recipe in the next post.

We ended the meal with Silvia’s chestnut and coffee cake which was simply delicious and special.

Editing & Pinterest fundamentals

After lunch, we dived into the technical aspects of Lighroom to edit pictures our students took in the morning. Silvia shared her insightful expertise on how to create a consistent and visually appealing images based on our students brand values and in line with their colour palette and mood.

Antonella shared her extensive experience as Pinterest Consultant and helped our students to understand how Pinterest could improve small business when used appropriately and strategically. From how, what, when to pin and must have boards according to each student’s profile, this was an eye opener session which wrapped up nicely all the work done throughout the day.

We are planning to bring this masterclass in Italy!

Stay tuned. I can’t wait to reveal more…..

Catia xx

Year 2018, Gratitude and Orange Cinnamon rolls

2018 has been a very creative year, full of surprises, new friendships, creative collaborations and new discovered passions. The year in which I called myself stylist and used the powerful tool of photography to convey my passion for food, lifestyle and interiors. The year where I felt completely at ease with my multi-faceted personality. A full year of vitality despite encountering inevitable hiccups, at times upsetting, which are part of life.

cinnamon buns breakfast in bed
orange buns


I have many things to be grateful for and many people to thank for trusting me, getting to know me, and their unconditional encouragement this year. Silvia , Antonella, Monika, Hanna, Jeremy, Valentina, the Table magazine team and foremost my eternal companion Niko always ready to inspire, share and support.

2019 will start with a creative masterclass on visual branding and social media strategies on January 27th in London. I am also working on a big project with food at its core and I can’t wait to tell you more about it!

In the mean time, I hope you have enjoyed the holiday season with all its bustle, peace and lights and I wish you all a beautiful year ahead full of love, health and fun!

For this doughy and fluffy orange rolls scroll down to get the recipe

ENJOY xx

orange cinnamon cake
2018 has been a very creative year, full of surprises and creative collaborations.

ORNAGE AND CINNAMON ROLLS

**INGREDIENTS **

2 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 and 1/4 teaspoons baking yeast

3/4 cup almond milk

3 Tablespoons vegan butter

1 orange (zest and juice)

**Filling **

3 Tablespoons vegan butter

1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup granulated sugar

orange zest of one orange

Orange

**Icing**

1 cup confectioners' sugar

2 tablespoons of one orange

Make the dough: In a large bowl, toss the flour, the sugar, salt, and yeast together. Set aside.

Heat the almond milk for one minute in a small pan . Stir in the orange juice and orange zest.

Combine with the flour mixture and stir until it forms a soft dough.

On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for 1/2 minutes. Place in a lightly greased bowl and let rest for about 10 minutes.

Fill the rolls: roll the dough out in a 14x8 inch rectangle. Spread the softened butter on top. Mix together the cinnamon, sugar, and remaining orange zest. Sprinkle it all over the dough. Roll up the dough tightly. Cut into 10-12 even rolls and arrange in a lightly greased 9-inch round cake pan or pie dish.

Loosely cover the rolls with aluminum foil and allow to rise in a warm, draft-free environment for 60-90 minutes.

After the rolls have doubled in size, preheat the oven to 190°C. Bake for 25-30 minutes until lightly browned. Cover the rolls with aluminum foil after 15 minutes to avoid over-browning on top.

Make the glaze: Whisk the confectioners' sugar and orange juice together until smooth. Drizzle or spread over warm rolls.

Source: https://www.catialemmi.com/blog/2019/1/5/year-2018-gratitude-and-orange-buns

The perfect Christmas pasta dish

Squid ink tagliatelle with porcini mushrooms. Food always tastes better when it’s shared and Christmas food is not certainly an exception!  I thought to share one of my favourite recipe for Christmas, which will bring out the intense flavour and texture of mushrooms on your table.  For this recipe,  I used dried porcini mushrooms picked by my parents in Tuscany and black squid ink tagliatelle to elevate the experience of this dish.

Food always tastes better when it’s shared and Christmas food is not certainly an exception!

I thought to share one of my favourite recipe for Christmas, which will bring out the intense flavour and texture of mushrooms on your table. For this recipe, I used dried porcini mushrooms hand picked by my parents in Tuscany in autumn and black squid ink tagliatelle to elevate the experience of this dish.

Squid Ink Tagliatelle with porcini mushrooms. Food always tastes better when it’s shared and Christmas food is not certainly an exception!  I thought to share one of my favourite recipe for Christmas, which will bring out the intense flavour and texture of mushrooms on your table.  For this recipe,  I used dried porcini mushrooms picked by my parents in Tuscany and black squid ink tagliatelle to elevate the experience of this dish.

When dried, porcini mushrooms retain their flavour very well and in fact intensify in flavour. You can find dried porcini mushrooms across the UK at your local supermarket or speciality food online store.

If you would like to end your Christmas meal with brown tones and distinct flavours, I would suggest the delicious vegan caramelised walnuts and chestnut cake with coffee liqueur made by my dear friend Silvia from Salvialimone. We tested both recipes together with the hope of bringing something special on your Christmas table.

Squid Ink Tagliatelle with porcini mushrooms. Food always tastes better when it’s shared and Christmas food is not certainly an exception!  I thought to share one of my favourite recipe for Christmas, which will bring out the intense flavour and texture of mushrooms on your table.  For this recipe,  I used dried porcini mushrooms picked by my parents in Tuscany and black squid ink tagliatelle to elevate the experience of this dish.
The perfect Christmas pasta dish

INGREDIENTS - Serves 4

60 gr dried porcini mushrooms

1 Onion, peeled and finely chopped

4 Tbs Olive Oil

2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

1 glass Red Wine

Grated Parmesan Cheese
Parmesan, grated

Salt and black pepper

6 walnuts

450g dried long squid ink pasta (Tagliatelle)

METHOD

Place the dried porcini in a bowl, cover it with hot water, and allow them to soften for about twenty minutes. Then drain, reserving the liquid.

In a large frying pan, heat the oil. Add the onion and garlic and fry for a few minutes. Add the porcini and cook for another minute to combine the flavours. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes, or until the mushrooms have released their water and are tender. Add a little of the porcini liquid and let it all bubble for 3-4 minute to reduce. Add the red wine and let it bubble for another 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, put a large pan of well-salted water on to boil in preparation for cooking the pasta until al dente. Drain and toss with the mushrooms sauce. Divide between bowls and serve, passing around grated parmesan cheese and add a sprinkle of black pepper and crashed walnuts for those who want it.

Source: https://www.catialemmi.com/blog/2018/12/10/the-perfect-christmas-pasta-dish

YOUR MASTERCLASS: VISUAL BRANDING AND SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGIES

LONDON 27th January 2019

Join us in London on this incredible masterclass designed with YOU, your creative business and your passion in mind.

Stylist  Catia Lemmi  - Photographer  Silvia Bifaro      YOUR Masterclass: Visual Branding and Social Media strategies   This is a unique learning experience designed to bring your creative business to the next level due to the comprehensive and relevant topic covered: Styling & Photography, Visual Branding, Pinterest and Social Media.  This masterclass is open to individuals with a range of backgrounds and creative business although we believe that small brands, entrepreneurs and people who work in the food industry as food bloggers will find this class extremely beneficial.  Seat are limited to 4 as every person will work on stretching individual learning needs and will be given plenty of support and constructive feedbacks throughout the day.   The Day   The day will start at 9am and end at 5pm.  Under the guidance of Silvia and Catia, you will explore food photography, styling and branding. Silvia will also focus on how to approach and grow your Instagram.  With the extensive guidance of Antonella you will explore everything about Pinterest, including SEO and how to grow your audience on your blog. There will be plenty of hands-on time to master and implement relevant adjustments to your Pinterest profile.   Before the Masterclass   Prior to the masterclass, we will review your portfolio and social media accounts ( Instagram & Pinterest) in order to understand your visual brand and understand your current work. This will also help us to identify improvements strategies according to your unique needs and come up with suggestions for the next step in bettering your brand. On the day of masterclass, you will master and implement improvements strategies and leave empowered and confident to make further adjustments.   After the Masterclass   You will also be offered two follow up of 30 minutes via Skype with Silvia and Antonella within 8 weeks of the masterclass to evaluate your progress based on your personal objectives discussed during the masterclass.  Finally, you will receive a unique tailored Lightroom preset which reflects your brand identity. This will help you to start your new photography journey with more confidence.   Programme of the day:    Styling & Photography .  • camera settings made easy and why they matter when you tell a visual story • correct use of light for your brand aesthetic • what makes a distinguishable style standing out  • choosing the right props and backgrounds to reflect each unique story and your brand  • styling techniques • what is storytelling and how to choose a relevant story which reflects your unique brand.   Visual Branding   • how to define your brand and your target audience • how to deliver a photography that is authentic, unique and yet reflects the right trends for your specific segment • strategies and experiences as professional photographers and stylists working for brand and magazines • our tips on how to find your unique and special voice • Instagram tips and strategies.   Pinterest and social media  • how to set up your Pinterest business profile from scratch, without feeling overwhelmed • Pinterest vitals and technical do’s and don’ts to make sure your pins stand out  • techniques to grow your social medias with Pinterest, in less then 10 minutes a day • how to map out a strategic way to double grow your audience and generate ongoing, high quality traffic to your site • how to create a full social media system, to up-level your brand position and fully leverage your online presence    Who we are    Antonella  is a Pinterest Coach, mentor and creator of  Pinterest Clinic.  Antonella has worked for agencies such as Hello Society and New York Times Company.    Silvia  is the creator behind  SalviaLimone . She is a well establishes photographer and former fashion designer. Her career as photographer started many years ago In Italy as assistant photographer for Marieclaire Maison Italia and other interior magazines.   Catia , creator of  Pastalab Tuscany , is a food + interior stylist based in London. She also works successfully as Clinical Psychologist. Catia and Silvia often team together to work for magazines and photography projects. One of their latest project, has been featured on  Table Magazine .     Price & Venue    Fees: £620 (£250 to reserve your space). Part of the proceeds will be donated  to 1%ForThePlanet   Where: atelier in East London  When: Sunday 27th of January 2019     What you need to bring:   Your camera, memory cards and charged batteries  Your laptop or phone with Lightroom   installed (and chargers)  a notebook if you rely on pen and paper    Get in touch:   If you would like to attend but you are unsure this master class is for you, please feel free to contact Silvia to book a 15 minutes  free consultation  or Antonella  here   Warmly,  Catia xx

Stylist Catia Lemmi - Photographer Silvia Bifaro

YOUR Masterclass: Visual Branding and Social Media strategies

This is a unique learning experience designed to bring your creative business to the next level due to the comprehensive and relevant topic covered: Styling & Photography, Visual Branding, Pinterest and Social Media.

This masterclass is open to individuals with a range of backgrounds and creative business although we believe that small brands, entrepreneurs and people who work in the food industry as food bloggers will find this class extremely beneficial.

Seat are limited to 4 as every person will work on stretching individual learning needs and will be given plenty of support and constructive feedbacks throughout the day.

The Day

The day will start at 9am and end at 5pm.

Under the guidance of Silvia and Catia, you will explore food photography, styling and branding. Silvia will also focus on how to approach and grow your Instagram.

With the extensive guidance of Antonella you will explore everything about Pinterest, including SEO and how to grow your audience on your blog. There will be plenty of hands-on time to master and implement relevant adjustments to your Pinterest profile.

Before the Masterclass

Prior to the masterclass, we will review your portfolio and social media accounts ( Instagram & Pinterest) in order to understand your visual brand and understand your current work. This will also help us to identify improvements strategies according to your unique needs and come up with suggestions for the next step in bettering your brand. On the day of masterclass, you will master and implement improvements strategies and leave empowered and confident to make further adjustments.

After the Masterclass

You will also be offered two follow up of 30 minutes via Skype with Silvia and Antonella within 8 weeks of the masterclass to evaluate your progress based on your personal objectives discussed during the masterclass.

Finally, you will receive a unique tailored Lightroom preset which reflects your brand identity. This will help you to start your new photography journey with more confidence.

Programme of the day:

Styling & Photography.

• camera settings made easy and why they matter when you tell a visual story
• correct use of light for your brand aesthetic
• what makes a distinguishable style standing out
• choosing the right props and backgrounds to reflect each unique story and your brand
• styling techniques
• what is storytelling and how to choose a relevant story which reflects your unique brand.

Visual Branding

• how to define your brand and your target audience
• how to deliver a photography that is authentic, unique and yet reflects the right trends for your specific segment
• strategies and experiences as professional photographers and stylists working for brand and magazines
• our tips on how to find your unique and special voice
• Instagram tips and strategies.

Pinterest and social media
• how to set up your Pinterest business profile from scratch, without feeling overwhelmed
• Pinterest vitals and technical do’s and don’ts to make sure your pins stand out
• techniques to grow your social medias with Pinterest, in less then 10 minutes a day
• how to map out a strategic way to double grow your audience and generate ongoing, high quality traffic to your site
• how to create a full social media system, to up-level your brand position and fully leverage your online presence

Who we are

Antonella is a Pinterest Coach, mentor and creator of Pinterest Clinic. Antonella has worked for agencies such as Hello Society and New York Times Company.


Silvia is the creator behind SalviaLimone. She is a well establishes photographer and former fashion designer. Her career as photographer started many years ago In Italy as assistant photographer for Marieclaire Maison Italia and other interior magazines.

Catia, creator of Pastalab Tuscany, is a food + interior stylist based in London. She also works successfully as Clinical Psychologist. Catia and Silvia often team together to work for magazines and photography projects. One of their latest project, has been featured on Table Magazine.

Price & Venue


Fees: £620 (£250 to reserve your space). Part of the proceeds will be donated to 1%ForThePlanet

Where: atelier in East London

When: Sunday 27th of January 2019

What you need to bring:

Your camera, memory cards and charged batteries

Your laptop or phone with Lightroom installed (and chargers)

a notebook if you rely on pen and paper

Get in touch:

If you would like to attend but you are unsure this master class is for you, please feel free to contact Silvia to book a 15 minutes free consultation or Antonella here

Warmly,

Catia xx

Tagliatelle.JPG

Your lunch will be freshly cooked and served by us

Catia xx

Winter Panzanella

Is not secret that one of my favorite things in life is to share food with friends and family. Sitting around a simple and beautiful table graced with honest food and uncomplicated styling is also another favourite thing. I am a firm believer that beautiful things happen when we sit around a table together, listen to each other views and share experiences from a stance of openess and curiosity.

When Silvia Salvia Limone called me a couple of weeks ago on a Sunday night and asked me if I would be up for an impromptu cooking with her at her place the following day, I simply could not decline the invitation. I knew that all my favourite things would be parting together. We cooked this hearty vegetarian panzanella, baked a crunchy spinach pull apart bread, styled, photographed the food, enjoyed the meal and worked on deadlines and future projects! I thought to share this humble yet tasty winter tuscan recipe with you and I hope it will inspire!

Winter Panzanella

Winter Panzanella

Winter Panzanella

Winter Panzanella

INGREDIENTS

600g dried haricot beans ( or cannellini or borlotti beans)

2 large potatoes

1 savoy cabbage, finely sliced

1 leek

1 zucchino

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 litre vegetable stock

Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Stale bread, for serving

For the soffritto

8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

4 celery sticks, finely chopped

2 carrots, finely chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

METHOD

Soak the beans overnight in cold water. Rinse and drain the beans, set them aside.

Meanwhile, cook the soffritto in a large saucepan. Heat the olive oil and gently fry the celery, carrot, onion and garlic for about 5 minutes.

Add the haricot beans, potatoes, cabbage, leek and zucchini to the soffritto. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Add the stock and bring to the boil, then simmer for 25 minutes or until the beans are tender.

Season with more salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serve drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and stale bread.

If you ever try this recipe, please feel free to write a line below. I would love to hear from you!