How to know exactly how many photos your brand needs

You’re about to plan a photo shoot,  and are ready to call a photographer o get your first brand photos. Or maybe you’ve set your eyes on a premium stock collection.

But will the photos you have asked be enough?

What should you ask your photographer to photograph?

How many photos will you need before you need a  new shoot or a new purchase?

How can you make sure you’re maximizing your investment, and won’t end up wishing you had asked for something different a month from now?

In today’s  video I’ll show you the system I use with my photography clients to make sure all their image needs are met- for at least a year.

Prefer to read? Here’s the transcript:

 

Images follow words, my friends. And they follow your projects, your goals and your business objectives.

In order to determine which photos you will need, here are the questions you need to ask yourself:

 

  1. Will I change my website? Re-brand? Upgrade my design? Create a video intro?

 

You need to know this in order to make sure that all your design needs are met. If you will be doing a major re-brand or re design, it’s a good idea to work with designer, brand stylist and photographer as a team, so each has the same vibe and feel.

Your design and branding, including branding collaterals and other printable material will also determine the size and resolution you will need, as well as the type of photos you require. As a minimum, you will need:

  • A great photo for your Header.
  • A great portrait for your about page
  • A variation of photos that you could use in your blog and to further illustrate other pages.

 

2. Am I at the center or my brand, or are my products? Do I  want to shift this?

Personal Brands are all the rage these days, but they’re not everybody’s piece of cake, or great for every business.

It is up to you to make your business based on YOU, to be the face of your business, or to make it more product/service based. I recently had a client, for example, who hired me because she was tired of having her face plastered everywhere on her site. She wanted to put the accent on her clients and what she could do for them instead. So we created a series of images with lifestyle scenes and flat lays showing her products and representing her services, and how her clients could use them. We photographed the printable worksheets of her lead magnet and those of her main offering, and created images with electronics where she could overlay blog posts, videos and other material, to keep her images up to date.  

3. What content will I create this year?

What topics will you write about? Where will you focus? How many blog posts, videos, social media posts are you planning to put out into the world?

The most effective photos speak the same language as your copy. So plan what you will be speaking about, so that you can find or commission photos that show the same topics and elicit the same feelings.

4. What free lead magnets will I create this year?

Again, think about topics, feelings and lifestyle, as well as practical issues such as design, and layout.

5. Which services do I want to promote? Has anything changed about my services that I want reflected in my photos?

Do you want to promote one to one services? Group programs? Live seminars? A conference? The type of photos you’ll need for each of these are different. If we want to convey personalized, one to one services, a photo of you leaning towards the viewer would be great, as would photos of hands in front of the computer, or working on your worksheets…whereas for group programs, seminars and conferences we would also need to convey the idea of community.

Same with your services. A change in the type and range of services you offer may require a re-evaluation of the photos used to represent the lifestyle and convey the feelings you want to elicit in your potential customers.

 

6. Which products will I be launching this year? With which frequency? Do these products have photos or do I need to take new updated ones? Are there new products? What is important for people to know at first glance about my products that I want the photos to reflect?

Knowing what you will be launching and when will allow you to make sure that you always have photos for your sales pages, social media and ads and that these images match the feeling of the products you’ll be launching.

And don’t worry if you haven’t finished creating those products. If you have an idea of what they will be about, and who they will target, I can photos photos for them.

Here’s how I did it with one of my clients, Andrea Hiltbrunner. We took a look at Andrea’s huge range of products, and her brand colors, and grouped them according to the chakra they helped activate. For example, some products helped her clients access their intuition, so we chose the colors of the third eye chakra, some products helped her customers feel empowered and make money, so we used to colors of the first and third chakra (red and gold). We divided products in the same way, using archetypal symbols.

For some core online products that were ready to be launched, we printed their worksheets, but for those that were still in development, we focused on the feeling we wanted to portray, where they landed in our chakra color chart, and used electronics and blank pages where Andrea’s designer could later overlay the worksheets and video snapshots of her course.

If you are planning to create a different range of products, talk to your photographer about them so she can shoot images you can later use to illustrate them, and don’t need to run around stock sites looking for extra images.

7. Where do I promote my business? Will I be adding new channels?

Which social media platform do you use? Which one gets you the most and best clients? Are you planning to add a new social media platform or simply deepen and grow your presence in the one you’re already mastering. How many times a day do I post on each?
Do you also advertise? Where? Facebook ads? Google ads? Blogs? Print media?

This is important for three reasons:

a- First, because you will need photos that can look great in the sizes and resolutions of each medium,

b- Second, because each social media platform has different audiences and what works in one, may not work in the other. Instagram audiences, for example, prefer more curated feeds, whereas “realness” and humor work very well on facebook.

c- Third, because the number of posts and the sizes you require will determine how many times you can repurpose a photo with crops, and color overlays.  One of my flat lays can be cropped into 30 different square images. With color blocks in two different brand colors and two different shapes,each image can shield 150 instagram posts. If you consider that with my Grow Plan, you get 15 high resolution images and 30 tutorials on how to repurpose your images,  what you are actually getting are  2250 social media posts, which allows you to post 6 times a day for a full year on social media, and not repeat visuals. Or 3 times a day for two years. Without counting photos you make take with your phone, or portraits or even graphics.

15 photos, then,  are not 15 photos. Well planned, they’re two years of peace of mind.

 

8- What do I want my clients to know about me?

 

The answer to this question will determine the type of photos we take. Whether we focus more on lifestyle images, corporate style ones, or on your products.

 

Here’s what you need to do: Choose 5 qualities you want to convey with your photos. The ones that make you different from others in your same field. Give these words to your photographer or use them as keywords during stock photography search.

9- What feelings do I want to convey with my photos?

What do you want your future customers and your fans to FEEL when they see your images? What do you want them to think?

Joy?

Relief?

Peace and Calm?

Intellectual stimulation?

Inspiration?

Creativity?

 

Choose 3 core desired feelings that you want your brand to convey and list them down.

 

Now let’s put all this together.

Let’s say in the next year you will:

Redesign your website

Start vlogging

Launch, twice,  2 existing products which have outdated photos (one is coaching/mentorship, the other is a group program at a medium price range)

Create a new product (a high end retreat or a conference/ a high priced group program)

You have 5 different lead magnets that use a combination of printables and video.

You will publish 52 blog posts, of which half will be video.

You want to show: leadership, excellence, approachability, spirituality, warmth

You want people to feel relaxed, empowered, and joyful when they see your photos.

You will post on instagram and facebook 3 times a day. You will also start using linkedin and need images for your youtube video thumbnails. You will promote using facebook and linkedin ads, and want photos that are printable because you are looking to get featured in the printed press.

Here’s how this translates into images:

You will need,at a minimum:

  • 3 o 5 different portraits. You will want a portrait for your about page and social media profile photos (make it the same), and a variety of other photos for other parts of your website (eg, contact page), and for media publications, as well as social media. These should include a photo of you leaning forward to represent listening to a coaching client, and a photo of you speaking on stage (to promote a retreat, or conference)

 

  • 5 different portrait orientation product/lifestyle photos that you can use for your lead magnets, social media and website illustration.

 

  • 10 flat lays that you can use for your website, and that you can crop for social media and to promote your content. 10x150=1150 /365= 4 photos a day. The Flat Lays will show  your different products (2 with the style of each of your products, and 4 in the general style of your brand, more towards the higher end style, with electronics, . They can also act as Header and floating backgrounds for your website.

 

  • Ideally, you would also add 3 to 10 lifestyle photos showing groups of people working together, listening (to you speaking) and detail shots of beautiful objects included in your brand (such as brand collaterals, gift packages etc, if you have a fully designed brand. If you don’t, you don’t need this).

 

  • GRAND TOTAL: 15 -25 product, flat lay & lifestyle images, + 5 portraits. 20 to 30 high quality, personalized, high resolution images can solve all your photography needs for a full year.

 

You can always add more images, and I would absolutely recommend getting professional retreat  or conference photos, as well as professional book photos, if you’re a published author. You can also, depending on your budget, shoot individual collections for each product. But with 20 to 30 great images, you are set. All the rest is the cherry on top.

 

If you liked this video and want more like it, subscribe to my channel and share it with your friends. Remember to download the checklist of questions that comes with this post on the link below, so you can go through all this before your next photoshoot.

 

If you’d like to work with me, book a free call over at marcelamacias.com/book-now so we discuss what all your needs.

 

Have a lovely day and I’ll see you soon with more videos to help you grow your business beyond your wildest dreams

 

PINK M

DISCOVER THE SOUL OF YOUR BRAND

Take the quiz to find your Branding Archetype

 

New beginnings

CONSTANT BEAUTIFUL CHANGE

 

18 months ago, my life changed, and this blog changed as a result of that.  18 months ago I moved from being a hobby blogger, documenting parts of my mothering journey with Luka and Zoe into the world of professional photography.

What once was a hobby, done in stolen hours for 4 years, became my work. Where I once was my only boss, I had clients.

I was catapulted into this new reality by a combination of luck, heap tons of passion and a mad will to transform our lives. And I began this journey at a very chaotic and confusing parenting time, when we had to pull out Luka and Zoe from school and start homeschooling them due to the stress caused by lack of integration and provision for their special needs in the previous institution.

My work was more than a way to make money during those months: It was my lifeline. My connection to creativity, service and beauty, yes. But also my connection to who I am, besides a mother.  When I look at the photos I took during those months, I see them as a symbol of rebirth.

My work changed and our lives changed with it.

It was sudden. It was exhausting at times. And it was beautiful.

I learned about myself, my relationship with money*, my emotional barriers to success and how to smash them*, how to shoot for conversions, how to understand my clients needs and provide for them, how to price my services* , how NOT to price my services. I made mistakes, I did things right. I grew. I changed.

Blogging about the same things I had been blogging seemed artificial- my life did not revolve anymore around crafts and parties and recipes for my kids. And because I don’t do fake and I didn’t know what new direction to take, I stopped blogging altogether. I went into a thinking cave while I reflected on what to do, but because time for reflection was scarce…months passed by, and then a year, and then more.

And then, I won a scholarship for B-school

When B-school opened for enrollment, back in February, I knew I had to apply for a scholarship. I felt in my heart that it was the right program for me, and it was exactly the right time to apply. Oh boy, it was.

During 8 weeks, I had the opportunity to completely rethink what I was doing and where I wanted to go with my business. To develop a long term vision, to analyze what was working and what not. What I had done right and loved doing. What was driving me crazy and had to let go of. What would help me build, not only a business I could love, but a life I could adore. 

And now it’s time to starting putting all that into action

So without further ado, let me walk you through some changes that are starting now.

NEW CONSULTING SERVICES

Up until now, working with me was only possible for those who could afford,  and were willing to invest in custom photography.

But there are times when you need direction about your visual presence. You need someone to ask questions about what type of photos suit your business objectives, what you should consider when planning your photography, or even how to make the most of your camera.  Courses and google only go so far.

So I am now offering 45 minute clarity sessions with me, where you can ask me anything about photography and visual content. Go ahead, pick my brain!

COMPLIMENTARY BONUSES TO MY PHOTOGRAPHIC SERVICES

Us, entrepreneurs and freelancers, are bombarded with information and in charge of a million things on a daily basis. We don’t just need to delegate some tasks: we also need strategy and clarity as to the next steps.

This is why, when you hire me as your photographer, I place great care in helping you define your visual voice, and developing a strategy for your photos to connect with your ideal customers and convert them into fans and revenue. And that’s not all. I also provide you with assistance and guidance on how to use the photos so that you can make the most of your investment. Heart-infused creativity + nerdy strategy + soulful inspiration: that’s what it’s all it about.

Craving more details? Go here.

A NEW ABOUT PAGE

Wanna get to know the girl behind the lens? Now you can get a glimpse at who I am, without reading a whole lot of blog posts.

Go here to read about what I believe in, what I love, and a few other curious things about me, myself and I.

It’s ok to be curious.

QUESTIONS GET ANSWERS

I have compiled a list of the most common questions I get about my services, my gear, my journey.

Wanna know what camera I use, whether you can pay with credit card and if consulting with me can help your business? Go here.

 

 

 

REVIEWED LEGAL TERMS

I am a lawyer who believes in “ayurvedic law”, a term I coined to mean law that prevents conflicts. In Spanish we say “reglas claras conservan la amistad” : clear rules maintain our friendship.

I value your trust and your privacy and I request the same from you. So I have updated this site’s legal terms and conditions my privacy policy and added a very important disclaimer on affiliate links.

Please read them, so our relationship can grow on firm basis and with clear understandings.

 A REVAMPED SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE

I took the time to really evaluate which social media outlets resonate with me, and where it would be easier and more fun for us to hang out together. I think about social media as an extension of my business, as the informal place where we get to meet and greet. Being a photographer and a very visual person, I chose instagram and pinterest as my main hangouts. And just when I thought that was going to be it, periscope arrived and it’s so much fun!

So here’s how it’ll work: follow me on instagram for a daily chit-chat. Follow me on pinterest for inspiration (extra bonus if you write me an email to marcela@marcelamacias.com and tell me what you need, so I can curate content for you). Follow me on periscope  at @celebr_girl for backstage passes to my studio, and quick tips on visual strategy.

Where do you hangout?

INSTAGRAM

PINTEREST

PERISCOPE

AND THERE’S MORE TO COME!

I told you B-school had created a revolution in my business! I’m working non-stop on some very cool new projects that I can’t wait to share with you. Projects that I’ve designed to ease your way into the Christmas season so that your business can make the most of it-and you can still bake cookies and sip some eggnog with the family.

So, if you are not a part of my community, make sure to hop on it now on the box below to be the first to know about what’s coming!

Now tell me, what have you been up?

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* Affiliate links (two of them lead to free opt-in material). Don’t like to click on affiliate links? Click here for a non affiliate alternative. Click here to learn about my affiliate link policy.

Celebrating Life is Messy Kitchen

COVER-LIMKI can’t even begin to explain how I feel today. If you could peek inside my heart, all you would see is sheer joy.

Today, Life is Messy Kitchen comes out into the World for all of you to see and enjoy. For all of you to cook with and play in the kitchen. Your kitchen: the real, beautifully messy place where you cook for your families. The place where you will make these recipes your own, cooking with your kids, your husband, your mum, your friends…your loved ones.

Life is Messy Kitchen is the first cookbook I photographed. The first job I had as a professional photographer. The first job in which I got to collaborate with an amazing team of professionals who put their heart and soul into bringing this book to life and making it not just a cookbook, but a work of art.

PicMonkey Collage4

 Life is Messy Kitchen is a work of love, and a tribute to messy lives, to things that don’t go according to plan, to tough moments and getting through to the other side. It’s a tribute to friendship and professionalism. A tribute to getting things done to the very best of our ability, no matter what. A tribute to getting back in our feet when life knocks us down, and a powerful statement about the huge power of dreams.

Life is Messy Kitchen is a work of art, because it has over 100 of Mayi Carles amazingly cute, melt-your-heart- funny illustrations, over 200 photographs taken by yours truly, and because it was designed and art directed by the sheer genius of Marbel Canseco who transformed it into a book you will most definitely want in your coffee table, into a book your kids will love, into a book that is bound to inspire you and that you will treasure for years to come.

This book is pure eye-candy and it makes my heart beat faster just knowing that I got to be a part of it.

PicMonkey Collage5

And Life is Messy Kitchen is an amazing cookbook. I should know, because I made each and every one of the 115 recipes it contains-many of them several times. The recipes, my friends are nutritious, beautiful and, most of all,delicious. As in seriously delicious. And they work. 

Because you know those books full of pretty photos but with recipes that are just impossible to make? The ones with  cakes that  flop, with cupcakes taste like cardboard and the ones where you can never get anything to look as in its pages? This is NOT one of those books.

Each of the Life is Messy Kitchen recipes was made in my family kitchen, styled in a way you may style them at home, without tricks that  would make them pretty but inedible, and photographed exclusively with natural light.

What you see is what you get.

And what you get is wonderful. I promise.

PicMonkey Collage6

The book comes in 3 versions :the digital pack, which includes the full pdf and an interactive guide, the print book (to be shipped in March), and the big bundle, which includes the digital pack, the print edition and an adorable coloring book that was Zoe’s delight when I was photographing it and even comes with bonus printable  cards and gift tags.

zoe coloring tea rexbis

 

zoe coloring tea rex_4bis

AND! AND! AND!  All versions include also super cute printable menu planners, grocery lists and recipe cardsillustrated and designed by Mayi herself, and access to a community of messy kitchen owners and recipe lovers, just like you and me :)

So, my dear friend, come celebrate with me!

-Visit http://www.lifeismessykitchen.com/, check the book’s preview (wiii) , tell me what you think (fingers crossed that you’ll like it)!

– Tell me your messy kitchen stories in the comments below!

– Follow the hashtag #lifeismessykitchen on twitter and instagram not to miss any of the launch party activities-it’s going to be fun, and there are going to be prizes!

– Promise me that you’ll join us for the Life is Messy Kitchen live call (subscribe below to be notified about the exact date and time!)

– If  you would like to see the “making of” of this book-well at least how the book was photographed- keep your eyes open because I’ll tell you all about it in my next post!

Have a beautiful Tuesday!

Thrive: my word for 2014

Choosing a word for the year is a powerful thing, a life altering experience that I can only recommend.

At the beginning of 2013, I wrote a blog post about how my word for 2012 (Integrate) helped me cope with the series of curve balls that the year threw at us, how it helped me become whole again after feeling that my brain, heart and soul had been shattered. You see, 2012 was the year when Luka and Zoe were assessed for Special Needs and were found to have developmental delays requiring Speech and Occupational therapy, as well as Sensory issues. 2012  was the year when and we had to learn not only how to help them but also how to deal with our own pain and confusion in the process and how to advocate effectively  for them before schools who were fearful and, thus, reluctant to  adapt as recommended by the children’s therapists. (It is both an irony and a lucky event that I have a postgraduate degree in Human Rights Law).

2012 went by and made us stronger. And even though we were still very much in survival mode when 2013 arrived, I was ready to move forward from the pain and welcome a new stage in our lives. I was tired of feeling sad and, so,  Forward was my word for last year, and forward I moved. Not because things were easier, but because when they were not, I was reminded by the mere whisper of my word that getting stuck in the bad was ultimately a choice: a choice I decided to reject. From old school, to new school, to homeschooling, from letting go of my old career to embracing a new one, from paralyzing fear to the courage to jump into the unknown with nothing but faith: every decision was marked by a deep desire to progress and let the past behind.

December came and I felt in me the need to release the old one, and chose another word. I knew I wanted to go one step further this time: I didn’t just want to move forward, I wanted the movement to be positive, I wanted to grow. This year, I wanted to go deeper, and put some thought into making my word a reality, and so I got Leonie Dawson’ s ” Create your Amazing Year” workbook and planner an,  one cold day of  January, I spent a morning at a cafe connecting to myself, dreaming and planning.

Dreaming…If you have been through a crisis of any kind you certainly know how difficult, almost impossible it seems to dream and how liberating it can be when we are finally able to do it again.  When I sat down at that cafe earlier this year and started planning 2014 and dreams and hopes started coming out of me, I felt reborn.

And in that moment I knew what my word for this year had to be:  Thrive

THRIVE

This year I want to wave a gracious goodbye to the past, without regrets or ill feelings of any kind. Forgiveness is, for that reason, a big part of my year.

This year I want to love deeply- and this includes learning to love myself, a task at which me and my inner self critic have always had a very hard time. For this reason, this year I am committing to self-care without shame or blame. I want kindness to be at the center of my relationship with me, for the first time in my life.

This year I want to prosper. For this reason, I am committed to working on my money blocks and on overcoming my scarcity mentality. I want to feel (not just know) the Universe as expansive and abundant.

This year I want to learn new things and to share what I learn.

This year, I want to flourish and help others do the same.

Why am I telling you this in May? Because I will turn 38 years old in 17 days. Because any day is a good day to start living with intention. Because it’s never too late to dream again.

What are YOUR dreams for 2014? What are you hoping to leave behind and what are you hoping to embrace in the next 7 months? 

Tell me in the comments below and let’s find a way, together, to make those wishes come true!

Banana walnut bread {gluten free, vegan, sugar free}

 

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 Today was a crazy day.

You know, those days when you plan to do this one thing and be finished by 10 am and then life gets in the way and suddenly it’s 10 pm and the one little thing is still lingering in your to do list and you could almost swear that it’s giving you the look and  saying ” Hey, weren’t you supposed to take care of me 12 hours ago?”

 Today was one of those days and this blog post is that one little thing.

 

 banana-walnut-breadblog

 

I had baked this banana bread early in the morning, and let it to cool down while I prepared my studio. I don’t know whether I had mentioned this before, but I have a mobile studio, that, due to lack of space, I set up here and there so it takes a while and a few trips back and forth to the kitchen until everything is quite like I like it. So today, I followed my routine and when  I was just getting ready to start shooting, the phone started ringing, someone knocked at the door, the cat jumped on the table, the kids had a fight…and a 15 minutes photo shoot took 2 hours.

It’s life, it happens.

I took the pictures. I downloaded them to my computer.I edited them.

And then my website crashed.

I called the host, I tried to access it a million times, I wrote the post in word, I checked again and again and again and nothing. Until 9pm.

 

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So, with a little bit of delay, and the patience to accept that which I cannot control, here’s the recipe!

Banana walnut bread

Ingredients: 3 tablespoons ground flax seeds, 9 tablespoons of water, 1/2 cup coconut oil, 1/4 cup vegetable milk (soy, almond, rice, oat-whichever is your favorite),  1/2 cup barley flour (or other gluten free flour), 1 tablespoon baking powder, 3 ripe bananas, 3/4 cup walnuts (coarsely chopped).

Preparation:

1)Pre-heat the oven to 180C-375 F. Grease a loaf pan and set aside.

2) Mix ground flaxseeds with water and set aside for a few minutes, to let them integrate

3) Mix seeds, oil and milk and whisk until smooth.

4) Sift flour and baking powder and add to the liquid ingredients.

5) Mash the bananas and add them to the rest of the preparation, together with the walnuts

6) Pour the dough into the loaf pan, smoothing the top with the back of a spoon, and place it in the oven for about 45 minutes (or until a stick comes out clean when inserted in the middle)

7) Remove the loaf from the oven, let it cool for 10 minutes, then invert into a wire rack for it to cool down completely.

Have you had crazy days like this? Let me know in the comments below!

 

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One more important thing before you go!

My friend Denise Duffield-Thomas of Lucky Bitch has just released a crazy mega bundle of her newest manifesting tools.

Denise is a money coach, and she is amazing. I bought her book, Get Rich Lucky Bitch last January and I had so many A-HA moments while reading it that I enrolled in her bootcamp too.

Her new bundle of products is absolutely great- and you know by now that I never recommend anything that I don’t absolutely love because I value your trust more than anything.

So, if you are interested, check the bundle out HERE * (Update: the bundle is not longer being offered, but you can still get these resources HERE, as well as her Lucky Bitch Money Bootcamp)

But hurry up because the sale ends midnight EST on Friday. Denise won’t be repeating this, so it’s a great chance to get a bargain!

PS: Denise also has some amazing FREE resources  that you can check out first:

The free resources require subscription (it’s totally worth it!). You can also check Denise’s blog HERE.
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*Yes, it’s an affiliate link

Coconut Machalebi {dairy free, egg free, wheat free}

 

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My husband and I joke that we are pretty much like the couple in Tina Fey’s movie, Date Night.If you have seen the movie (which is hilarious and I totally recommend), you know that Claire and her husband Phil like routine and go every week to the same local restaurant for a date. Then, one day, they decide to spice it up and go to a posh Manhattan restaurant (without reservation), take someone else’s table and then the movie turns into a funny thriller.In our case, the action part came a few years ago, when we both worked in peacekeeping, and now we have more or less settled into a routine that we love.

Where we are 100% like the Fosters is in our restaurant routine: once we find one that we love, we rarely change, we become regulars and end up knowing the waiter’s names. Every city we  go to, we fall in love with a couple of places and become loyal customers. Back in Abidjan, our hearts belonged to Nuit de Saigon (Vietnamese cuisine), Maroush (Lebanese cuisine), and Restaurant de la Paix (also Lebanese cuisine), in Belgrade we chose Kosava and Tribecca, in Florence, Ristorante Pinolo and Open View (overlooking the Arno)  in Barcelona, Ugarit (Sirian cuisine), and here in Cyprus, we love Karvounomageiremata, Sitio and the Syrian-Arab Friendship club. I’m sure there are plenty of other great places, but these are the ones we adore.

Did you notice a trend in the list above?

Yes, we love Middle Eastern cuisine and we always find a middle eastern restaurant wherever we go.  Hoummous, tabbouleh, fatayer, fattoush, falafel…you name it, we   have probably tried and most certainly loved it. But for some reason, before coming to live in Nicosia I had never tried Middle Eastern desserts (except Baklava, of course). Then one night, we were given a complimentary Machalebi with our mint tea and  I was smitten. The texture was so soft it almost melted in my mouth, and its sweet, rose flavour was utterly delicious.

The problem was that it was made with milk and cream- and as you know, I don’t eat dairy. So I came up with my own version.

 coconut-machalebi_3blog

 

I checked a couple of recipes, changed this, removed that, and ended up with this recipe: My coconut machalebi, made with equal parts coconut milk and coconut cream, lots of rose water and a little bit of sugar.

And the best part? It takes about 15 minutes to make so it’s ideal for those times when we don’t have loads of time, yet want to impress our guests with an unusual, exquisite dessert. It is also pretty allergy friendly because it doesn’t have dairy, eggs or wheat.

I chose coconut milk and cream because of their luscious texture, but if they are hard to find where you leave, just replace them by other non-dairy versions. In this occasion I used caster sugar so as not to affect the pearly white texture of the dessert, but if you prefer not to use refined sugar, you can use coconut sugar for a change. It will then be brownish in color, but still yummy.

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 Here’s the recipe:

Coconut Machalebi (serves 6)

Ingredients: 1 can (400 ml) coconut milk, 1 can (400 ml) coconut cream, 3/4 cup cornstarch, 1/3 cup caster sugar, 2 tablespoons rose water 4 tablespoons of pistachios, roughly chopped. For the rose syrup: 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup caster sugar, 2 tablespoons of rose water.

Preparation:

1) In a bowl, mix coconut milk and cornstarch until the latter dissolves. Set apart.

2) Put the coconut cream and sugar in a saucepan and bring it to the boil, then reduce heat to minimum and let it simmer until the sugar is completely dissolved, stirring constantly to prevent the sugar from caramelizing at the bottom.

3) Once the sugar has dissolved, add the coconut milk and cornstarch, and the rose water and let the preparation simmer until it starts to thicken, stirring with a whisk.

4) Once the preparation starts to thicken, remove from the heat and whisk vigorously to ensure a smooth, silky texture.This will also allow the preparation to cool down a little bit.

5) Pour the preparation into ramequins or small bowls, add a teaspoon of chopped pistachios, cover with foil and let chill in the refrigerator while you prepare the rose syrup.

6) Prepare the syrup: Put water and sugar in a saucepan and bring it to the boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add the rose water and let the syrup cool.

7) Remove the machalebi from the refrigerator, add 2 or 3 tablespoons of rose syrup to each ramequin and serve.

 coconut-machalebi_4blog

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