My Big Gourmet Garden Aussie Adventure Day 2

The alarm woke me on Wednesday at 8am. It was the first time I'd used an alarm in years as my thoughtful kids always ensure I'm awake by 6am. Just as well I used the alarm as I'd only managed to fall asleep at 6am. 8am Noosa time is 11pm UK time, so as far as my body was concerned it was bed time. I had the weird moving feeling from the day before, but the excitement of the day ahead, outweighed the extreme tiredness.

Food bloggers always have time to take a photo of their breakfast. Even if they're running late.

I grabbed a coffee and almond friand (typical Aussie cake - very good) on the way to the minibus Gourmet Garden had hired to transport us around. On the minibus I met the other Aussie bloggers and Alberto, the Spanish Gourmet Garden Blogger Ambassador (the Spanish version of me, in a Gourmet Garden sense) and the only male blogger. He had brought his lovely girlfriend Patricia with him to Australia.

In case you're wondering who I was hanging out with, here's a list of all the other bloggers and their blogs. Everyone was from Australia, with exception of myself and Alberto:

We were taken to the amazing Freestyle Escape outdoor kitchen for a day of cooking, eating, workshops and fun. The weather was stunning. Martin from Freestyle Escape showed us around and introduced us to some unusual herbs and spices. My favourite was wasabi parsley.

Views of Freestyle: outside oven, herb garden, dining table and 'loo with a view' with one glass wall.

I also got to meet Brylee from Gourmet Garden who I've been chatting on the phone to since January but never seen in person. She is the brains behind most of the Gourmet Garden marketing and an amazing lady. It only felt right to give her a very big hug as a way of introduction!

Brylee tells us all about Gourmet Garden, and what a place to do it.

Brylee gave us a talk about the manufacturing side of Gourmet Garden herbs & spices. There are 6 organic farmers who grow the herbs & spices in Australia. The herbs are cut at the optimum time for preserving their essential oils, which give the herb it's colour, smell and taste. The herbs arive at the Gourmet Garden factory within 8 hours where they are washed, chopped, preserved using traditional methods, packed into tubes and distributed worldwide.

Cooking with Kim: Finished dishes, Amanda S & Me (top right), Alberto & Patricia (bottom left) and dessert.

Kim McCosker, famous for her 4 Ingredients recipes supervised us as we cooked lunch. Every dish was hers and contained, you guessed it, up to 4 ingredients. I was in charge of the carrot, celery and walnut salad. Everything we ate was delicious, but dessert, which was an incredible 'raw' chocolate mouse made from avocado, banana, cacao (or cocoa) powder and maple syrup really stole the show. Amanda from Cooking for Busy Mums kindly blogged the recipe which I encourage you to try. The chicken and corn soup was also deliclous and I was really happy to see that Carolyn from Desire Empire had posted it on her blog.

Cooking with Kim: Kim in the pink (top left), Margun and Tam (top right), Amanda V, Jay & Lorraine (bottom left).

We were also lucky enough to hear some pretty inspirational people. Mum of Jody Allen started Stay at Home Mum just 18 months ago but already has over 138,000 likes on her Facebook page. She now employs 27 people, (mostly mums and grandmas) who help run her website. Her sucess is nothing short of phenomenal.

One of my fave bloggers Lorraine Elliot AKA Not Quite Nigella. This might be my best photo ever.

Blogger Lorraine Elliot from Not Quite Nigella is somewhat a bloggy hero of mine so I was really excited to meet her. Her blog is incredible - fantastic recipes and beautiful photos - it's a work of art. Despite being hugely successful she's very humble and down to earth. Her first book is out next year (Penguin) and she spoke candidly about how that came about. Actually love her more now I have met her.

Using a box wrapped in foil to create soft light is just one of Jacki's brilliant food styling tips.

Food stylist JackiPassmore gave us a crash course in food styling and photography which was great. Hopefully you will see an improvement in my pictures as a result. Last speaker of the day was by Edmund Pelgun from Traffika. Bloggers are one of a few groups of people who get excited talking about SEO.

Bloggers doing what bloggers do best - photographing their dinner.

After a shop and a stroll back in Noosa, dinner at Gaston with some of my new blogger buddies was the perfect way to end the day. I sat next to lovely ladies Carolyn and Amanda S. We'd only just met that day but we sure had a lot to talk about.

Here's a little video to round up day two. I realise I sound slightly stalker-escalling people I have just met my buddies. I can assure you by the end of the trip they were and hopefully I didn't scare them too much!

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