Recipes Workshops

‘Around Our Table’ – Montmartre workshop reflections and a pear cardamom cake

November 19, 2016
pear cardamom cake

This second workshop in Montmartre with Ophélie was another great day! It was focused on practising in a small space (in my own little flat) with an intimate group of six lovely and talented girls, Mathilde, Chloé, Jennifer, Nadia, Kate and Nathalie.

We talked photography, composition and props sourcing. We offered plenty opportunities for styling around the moody Autumn theme and had prepared enough food for us to indulge throughout the day: morning tea, three-course lunch and a yummy afternoon tea cake. We put our attendees to work, let them style in their own way, after all they were here to practice!

Once again the day just went by too quickly. I can now confess we went to bed early that night, totally drained but so pleased wih ourselves knowing they all had a great time too and appreciated all the effort we put in it! These are just some photos of this intense day, including a few behind the scenes ones!

See Ophélie’s lovely recap here (in French).

AOT morning tea


Ophélie and I spent again a lot of time in the kitchen to prepare everything, as we wanted to share home made dishes and cakes with our guests.

The morning started with a round table presentation and review of the food photography basics around morning tea. Then our group got on to working in pairs to explore and style in their own way.

At some point I had to finish prepping the savoury tart for our lunch whilst Ophélie made a quick styling demo around our autumn chutney with pumpkin in small Weck jars (which were to be taken home by our guests). The set could not be complete without some cheese, a folding knife by Opinel, nuts and a glass of wine!  

shooting mode


The table was set with simplicity with a selection of beautiful ceramic plates and cute little glasses supplied by nousparis and Opinel table knives. The individual menus and name tags were designed by the talented Mathilde Besly



Serving food provided other opportunities for our guests to take photos with us being models! We talked and exchanged about so many topics…




Mushroom mimolette and chestnuts tart

Photo credit to Ophélie

The beautiful bouquet was arranged by the talented florist Claire – Roses by Claire: the table looked amazing with these little extra branches!

aot workshop lunch table

flowers claire is blooming_AOT

We served afternoon tea with the fragrant Kashmir Tchai (6 spices) provided by Kusmi Tea together with a Montblanc style Eaton mess in Weck jars by mcm-emballages and a delicious pear cardamom layer cake with mascarpone cream with more beautiful plates by nousparis.

The actions of chocolate sauce pouring over the cake and slice cutting were shot from every angle whilst I was holding the black background! At last we devoured everything!


aot_workshop kusmi tea

eaton mess

We wrapped up the day with the last questions and our group left with a small bag of goodies for them to remember this day alongside their images. We cannot wait to do the next one and hope you can join us!




Pumpkin and coconut milk soup by Ophélie (in French)

Warm potato salad with beetroot, goat cheese and pomegranate prepared by Ophélie


Mushrooms, mimolette and pecan nuts tart made by me from the magazine Saveurs recipe (n° 223)

Preparation: 40 min / Rest: 1h / Cooking: 1h – Serves 8


For the crust
150g of chestnut flour
70g of buckwheat flour
50g of grated mimolette
120g butter
1 Tbsp. cumin seeds

For the filling
450g of seasonal mushrooms (ceps, chanterelles …)
300g of chestnuts (already cooked)
250g cream cheese
3 grated carrots
1 onion
80g mimolette
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. of chopped pecans
2 cloves garlic
8 sprigs of parsley
salt & pepper


1- Preheat the oven to 180 °C / 350°F

2- Prepare the crust: in a bowl, mix together flour, butter, 40g of grated mimolette, the cumin and 1 pinch of salt. Pour 2 tbsp of cold water, mix until you obtain a ball of dough. Spread it between 2 sheets of parchment paper, keep aside for 1 hour.

3- Peel and slice the onion and garlic, grate the carrots with the large grill. Clean the mushrooms, cut their feet full of soil. In a frying pan, brown the onion in oil. Add half the mushrooms, cook for 8 min and remove any water. Add the grated carrots, garlic and half of the chopped parsley. Salt and pepper. Cook for another 2 min.

4- Place the dough in a pie pan. Prick the bottom, cover with parchment paper and cooking weights. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.

5- In a bowl, mix the cream cheese with 200g of chopped chestnuts. Season. Remove the cooking weights, fill the tart base with the chestnut cheese mixture. Add the mushroom-carrots mixture. Bake for 30 min.

6- Fry the remaining chestnuts and mushrooms in olive oil. Add salt and pepper and the remaining chopped parsley. Garnish the pie, decorate with pecan nuts and mimolette shavings. Serve immediately when still warm!


Tea cakes


Pear cardamom layer cake with mascarpone cream

I have adapted Linda Lomelino’s original recipe as with Ophélie we are not big fan of butter cream in cakes…it is too heavy and not delicate enough…but it is our own tastes…It is best to make the sponge cake the day before as you do not want to spread the cream on a warm cake.

Serves 8-10 – Prep time : 20 min + 10 min – Baking time : 40-45 min


Sponge cake
1 1/2 cups (225 g) organic flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 cup (225 g) sugar
1/2 cup (125 ml) sunflower oil
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/3 cup sour cream or Greek yoghurt
2 peeled and grated pears, drained

Mascarpone cream
250g mascarpone
50g icing sugar
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
25cl liquid double cream

Chocolate glaze
100 g dark chocolate (70%), chopped
10cl liquid double cream
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp of sugar (or honey)



Sponge cake
1. Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F). Grease and flour two small cake pans (I have used 14 cm diam pans).
2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cardamom and sugar. Set aside.
3. In another bowl, whisk together the oil, egg, egg yolk and sour cream (or yoghurt).
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until smooth (or let your mixer do the job as I did). Add the grated pears.
5. Divide the batter between the two cake pans. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
6. Let cool for 15 minutes before removing the cakes from the pans to cool completely. Keep in a airtight container.

Mascarpone cream
1. Mix the mascarpone with the icing sugar and ground cardamom
2. Whip the cream separately and then fold into the mascarpone mix.

Putting everything together
1. If cakes are rounded on top, even out with a sharp serrated knife (or a cake cutter). Cut both cakes in half (you’ll end up with four layers). Put the first layer on a cake plate or a cake stand.
Spread the mascarpone cream on the first layer. Add the next layer and repeat until you’ve used up all four layers
2. Spread the rest of the cream all over the cake. If the cake feels unstable, put the cake in the fridge while you prepare the glaze.

Chocolate glaze
1. Melt the chocolate with the cream over a double boiler to avoid overheating. Add the butter and sugar. Stir until smooth.
2. Let glaze cool. If you find that the glaze is too thick to pour when cool, reheat it very carefully – just make sure it’s not warm when you pour it over the cake.
3. Pour glaze over the cake and spread it out with an offset spatula to make sure it runs down the sides.
4. Leave cake at room temperature for a few minutes before serving.


Matcha and lime madeleines (by Ophélie)

Banana and chocolate friands made by me based on Mayumi’s recipe here.






And of course, this would not have been possible without our most gracious sponsors. From tableware to beautiful flowers, cutlery to glassware and lovely menu design to tea, our sponsors were amazing! Thank you so much!

nousparis – tableware, cutlery and glassware
Opinel – table knives
Kusmi Tea – tea
Mcm emballages – glassware Weck
Rosesbyclaire – flowers
Mathilde Besly – menu design

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Judith A Denning May 25, 2017 at 6:56 am

    I wanted to make your chocolate and banana breads in the little pans for my girlfriends at our next coffee and I don’t know how to measure in grams so could you please let me know how to complete your awesome recipe please. Thank you ,Judy

    • Reply Sandrine May 25, 2017 at 4:17 pm

      Hi Judith, thank you for your comment. I have just updated the measurements for you. Hope that helps and you can make those nice tea cakes! Enjoy!

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.