What I Eat in a Day in Melbourne as a Backpacker on a Budget #1

Now that I am travelling I want to show you what I eat as a (mostly) healthy, (mostly) vegan Backpacker on a budget in Australia!

I hope you are excited for some super easy, cheap and quick recipes and meals as I don’t want to spend too much time or money cooking (and I also don’t have the nicest kitchens in the hostels). But I still try to mostly eat homemade food as eating out is crazily expensive. If I do eat out, I like to go to cute little healthy cafés that offer vegan food and I’m okay spending more money there, rather than finding the cheapest takeaway pizza in town :D

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The prices

The first hostel I stayed in offered free tea, coffee, rice and pasta as well as free pancakes in the morning, so I tried to use that to save money.

Besides what I was thinking, the food in the supermarket isn’t that much more expensive than in Germany. Some things obviously are, especially produce that have to get shipped from far away. I tried to mostly shop my produce at the market (for example the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne) as they offer cheaper products that aren’t as fresh anymore or at the end of the day.

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Here is a list of the food I bought and how much I spend on them:
  • 12 tomatoes                                2 $         1,30 €                 market
  • 2 red bell peppers                     2 $         1,30 €                 market
  • 5 bananas                                   1 $         0,70 €                 market
  • Hummus                                     3 $         1,80€                  market
  • Salt                                               2 $         1,50 €                 Coles
  • Olive ciabatta                             4 $         2,50 €                Coles
  • Olive Hummus                          5 $          3 €                     Coles
  • Canned Kidney Beans           0,75$        0,50 €                Coles
  • Soy sauce                                    4 $         2,50 €                 Coles

Next time I definitely should buy my soy sauce as well as tofu for example at an Asian supermarket. They are very popular here (because there are also a lot of Asian people living in Australia) and it’s a lot cheaper there.

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Some prices look crazy at first, but 12$ are actually 7,50€ which is the same price as in Germany for the vegan B&J… but I’m for sure going to try all the flavours when my parents visit me :P

Day 1

This wasn’t actually my first day in Melbourne, but the first day that I took pictures of my food – just to clarify that!

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As I already said, my first hostel offered free pancakes with maple syrup every morning. I wasn’t really happy about that on one hand, because I planned on trying to eat completely vegan, but on the other hand, they were yummy, free and quick to eat before leaving the hostel to explore…

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At the market, I bought this amazing self-made hummus and 4 little loaves of bread (there is no English name for „Brötchen“! :D ) and I dipped two into the hummus for lunch.

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The first meal that I cooked at the hostel was this easy rice & veggie dish. I cooked rice with some salt, mixed the veggies under after the rice was nearly finished and added some veggie broth. That’s it! Not super great, but cheap, healthy and easy.

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Day 2

Another day I slept in until 10:30am and there were no more pancakes. I cooked rice with more water than usual and „overcooked“ it to make it very creamy and sticky rice/porridge texture. Then I added lots of cinnamon, mashed banana, apple, raisins and some nuts.

It might seem weird to try to save money on something inexpensive like oats, but as cheaper you eat on most days, as more often you can spend more money on going out! :D

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Because I had a late breakfast, I just had two oranges as a snack and ate dinner early.

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A combination I just recently discovered is pasta with a hummus sauce and veggies. That’s what happens when you are a backpacker: you can’t buy a large variety of food otherwise it will go bad and you have to use it up before you leave a place – so you have to get creative and buy food that works in many meals.

So I just cooked some free pasta from the hostel, mashed some kidney beans, chopped tomatoes, olive hummus, fresh baby spinach and veggie broth and heated it up.

Throwing different ingredients together and making it a delicious meal!

 

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Day 3

I was very lucky, that my AuPair family that I’m going to stay with in May came to visit Melbourne and we were able to meet each other.

And I was even more lucky, that we went to a café to have breakfast that probably has the best ever Avo smash toast in whole Australia! Only ate this one until now, but I can’t imagine that it can get any better (and my AuPair mom agrees in that and she has already eaten many Avo toasts!)

Sadly I forgot to ask for a vegan version as I was a bit nervous that morning, but it was so yummy and so much variety in one dish – lots of mashed avo, good bread, tomatoes, cucumber, balsamic vinegar, mozzarella cheese & poached egg.

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That day I got gifted Kombucha on the streets as a sample. It wasn’t really a great flavour, but in general, I really like Kombucha.

 

The amazing breakfast kept me full for long, so I had another early and big dinner. Leftover rice with veggies where I only added some pak choi and soy sauce as well as fresh capsicum on the side. As a dessert, I had some sweet rice with applesauce and raisins.


You can also always follow me on Instagram to see what I am up to, where I am, what I’m doing or what I eat! 


Another part of what I eat in Melbourne will follow soon! Including another great breakfast with my AuPair mom and way to much eating out as there are so many awesome vegan places here in Melbourne! :D

 

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Food Photography – Tips & Inspiration

Since I started my blog I really got into food photography. I fell in love with the process of cooking and baking, preparing, arranging, taking the picture at the end and of course: eating it afterwards.

Today I would like to share some inspiration, tips and things I learned through the process.

I am totally aware that I am not a pro at all, not even very good. I’m only a beginner trying my best, but I already learned a few things that I want to share with you. Maybe you want to start taking pretty pictures of your meals as well and sometimes it’s easier to learn from someone like me instead of someone that already has a lot of equipment, knowledge and practice and who can’t relate to the difficulties of a beginner.

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Equipment

My Camera. I shoot with a Sony Alpha 6000* a system camera that takes amazing pictures while being very small and light – perfect for my travels and everything I wanted. It captures the colours very beautifully and blurs the backround nicely.

My Lens. I still only have the 16-50 mm lens that came with my camera because it works very well for what I need and I didn’t want to spend more money. Maybe in the future but for now I have to work with what I got.

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The two pictures above are taken with my iPhone 6s

Phone. Your phone is also capable to take some great food pic’s. But I find that it isn’t possible to take good pictures in different angles – it just looks weird. But from above and 45° angle looks decent.

I don’t have anything else that I use for my food photography. No light, no tripod (that I use), no background/ underground. I only use what I can find at home: window light, wood floor, white table, kitchen cloth, cardigans, scarfs…

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I once bought this grey plate, but I’ve only used it once or twice because the colour doesn’t make the food look very good…
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But I always use the same plate in pink! Both from IKEA

Ceramic. I did invest in some beautiful plates and bowls cause I really enjoy cute pottery and it’s nice to switch and vary them with different colours and meals. I always find lovely ceramic at IKEA and it’s affordable too.

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Porridge

I think the easiest meal to style and photograph is porridge. Just mix some oats with hot water or plant milk and some extras (here are some porridge recipe inspirations if you need!). You can’t really make something wrong and it’s also super quick and without much effort.

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very liquidy porridge – on purpouse

Tip #1 Make your porridge pretty thick rather than too liquidy (put more plant milk in after taking the pictures when you want to eat) because that way your toppings won’t sink into the porridge. Unless that’s the look you go for obviously – can look very cool as well.

 

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I used a pullover and a sushi roll pad for the background

Nice Cream

…is pretty easy as well, but you have to be quick so that it doesn’t melt away and your toppings drown!

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Tip #2 Get creative with your toppings. It’s always so much fun to choose and cut the fruit and then carefully place it where you’d like it to go without making it look to perfect (most of the time – exact lines can look great too!). Then look for small grains/seeds to add. Maybe even some flowers to top it off? The variety makes food pictures often look super interesting and eye-catching. But don’t overdo it! Too much stuff can look very confusing and extreme. Of course, minimalistic styling can look amazing as well – just try out what you like best!

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simple and pretty- but nothing special

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Examples of toppings
  • fruit/veggies used in the meal or as an extra
  • seeds, nuts, granola, dried fruit, shredded coconut, chocolate drops
  • hearbs
  • leaves or flowers
  • cutlery
  • drizzled syrup

The green-yellow-blue colour palette.

Tip #3 Stick to a colour palette. Especially when you use a lot of different ingredients it can look unappealing when you have too many colours that don’t fit to each other well. I would say 2-3 colours are enough for most pictures. A colourful food styling can look lovely, but the colours have to work with each other well.

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I went for orange and green – just like the ingredients
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This is by far the prettiest bowl of oats I ever made. Simple but beautiful!

 

Tip #4 Leave the skin/ the greenery on. It might feel weird to put strawberries with their greens on your food – but it looks so pretty. Same with Mango, when you fold it over after cutting or cherries.

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Bright strong colours, but they harmony pretty well with each other so that it works fine. 

 

Tip #5 Stick to natural colours and stay away from bright colours (unless it’s the food itself of course). It just doesn’t fit well in my eyes.

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No need a lot of effort. Just some greens, veggies, a few sesame seeds and chopsticks on the side. 

 

Tip #6 Don’t overdo it with the styling. It’s in matters of taste, but I personally don’t like it when food pictures are loaded with too much food, ingredients, toppings etc. I’m more the basic and minimalistic kind.

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Tip #7 Movement or „just-about-to-eat“ pictures can bring your food photography to the next level. I’m just starting to experiment with it myself, but I love the look and it’s even more eye-catching than just a pretty bowl of oats or a stack of pancakes.

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Examples for movement in pictures
  • Cutlery digging into the bowl of oats, stabbing into a piece of pancake, rolling up some spaghetti or laying on the plate
  • pouring chocolate sauce or maple syrup over pancakes/waffles, pouring milk into a bowl of granola, coffee poured in a cup or smoothie in a jaw
  • hands holding the bowl of oats or the plate with pancakes into the frame, holding the cutlery or jaw
  • syrup, sauce, melting ice cream, berry jam dripping from pancakes or waffles

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Tip #8 Don’t just focus on the bowl/plate itself, the scenery is just as important. Of course, you can leave it very plain and basic to put the focus on the food, but most of the time some little details in the background are essential for great pictures.

Underground & Background

It looks super beautiful when you have many different varieties of wood floor, plain coloured floor, marble floor etc. but I just didn’t take the time and effort to make some square meters of under-/background myself. Here are some DIY tutorials on how to make them yourself (1 and 2). I am for sure going to do that when I’ll be back from my travels and start getting into food photography more again! It makes your pictures look much more professional and put together, but until then just look for different floors or tables in your home or…

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this picture is taken in my bed
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My grey cardigan as the underground

Use kitchen cloth, bed linen or clothes as an underground or detail in your picture. Kitchen clothes are obvious, but it can also look great to take foot pictures in your bed or use cardigans and scarfs as an extra.

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newspaper and a drink
Examples of details
  • kitchen cloth, blanket, clothes
  • cutlery
  • kitchen tools
  • fruits, veggies, ingredients (separate or in a small bowl)
  • seeds, nuts, granola scrattered
  • flowers, greens, leaves
  • drinks (tea, hot chocolate, smoothie, juice, coffee)
  • news paper
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baking tray 

 

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two plates on a grey t-shirt

 

Tip #9 Have two or three plates/bowls with the meal and not only one. Style them similar but not same so you have a bigger variety and more possibilities to picture them. For example one in the foreground, the other blurred in the back or both next to each other/ behind each other as if you would want to eat with another person sitting in front of you.

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Pancakes

Stacks of pancakes are a bit harder to capture because they tend to look crooked and the angle can be unflattering. But it’s so fun to style (and eat!) them so I love to experiment around and try different things.

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Got inspired to make bigger and thinner „Crêpes“ and roll them up on Instagram, so that’s what I did

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Putting banana between the pancakes or cutting pieces out – so many great ideas to incorporate into your own pictures.

Tip #11 Take the idea of a food picture you like and recreate it. I promise you it won’t look the same and copied in the end, but when you do this you start to look exactly at how it’s done. How the setting, food, toppings and details are arranged to make it look good in the end. You’ll learn and understand a lot in this process!

I really like to get my Inspiration from Pinterest – have a look at my food photography board!

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I hope you enjoyed this post! I really tried to show what I’ve already learned and I am super excited to experiment around more and get better! 

Do you like food photography? Are you hungry now? And do you take pictures of your meals as well?

What I Eat on a Hot Summer Day #19

Summer is the best time for fresh healthy food. So much variety, lots of garden produce and local produce, the prices are affordable and because of the heat you just want to eat fresh food.

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Right now I am soo addicted to watermelon. I could literally eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner and as a snack. I mean, what can I say – it’s sweet, fruity and so refreshing!

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In Portugal, I fell in love with grapefruit because they taste so sour-sweet and fresh.

Peaches, Nectarines, Mangoes and all kinds of Berries are some more favorites that I can’t get enough of! Fruit is all I crave at the moment and I can not understand how people do a keto or low carb diet and not eat fruit in summer. I would not be okay with that. I love fruit just way too much!

How about you? Do you eat lots of fruit at the moment or do you try to get away from all the fruit sugar? 

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The last few weeks after our trip to Portugal I tried to eat very clean, vegan and healthy because I didn’t eat that well on vacation (lots of white bread and cheese) and I did okay. Not as I hoped, but I ate out with friends a lot (basically all vegan at least) but still bread and cheese here and there and the last days I also craved chocolate every night… But I also tell myself that I won’t have access to a lot of the food I can eat now when I am in Australia cause I need to buy cheap – so I let myself have it all now :D

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My breakfast still looks pretty much the same: some porridge, lots of fruit and sometimes a bit vegan lupin mango yogurt. I often have an extra bowl of watermelon or other fruit on the side as well.

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Then for lunchtime, I sometimes have more fruit, a big salad with garden tomatoes and cucumbers or a wrap depending on how late I ate breakfast and how hungry I am. I really like to have cold food for lunch because at 36°C it’s just too much to cook something or eat warm food and wraps and salads are a great way to get some greens in as well!

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Now that we super many tomatoes from our garden we love to roast thick slices in a pan on both sides an then put it on a bread with hummus. Or you can also put some feta cheese on top and wait one more minute until it gets warm as well. Tastes freaking amazing and I can highly recommend making these hot tomatoes to top your bread.

Sometimes we have some tofu with it or some fresh cucumber and chives from the garden.

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As I already mentioned I craved chocolate after dinner and I let myself enjoy some vegan chocolate. It’s not healthy and clean at all, but I still want to be honest with you.

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Luckily I bought silken tofu today at the Asia market and now I can make my healthy vegan chocolate dessert mousse again to have something chocolaty but still healthy when I crave it.