Laura Bennington is a Gold Coast-based food blogger with a knack for nutrition and all things organic. She chats to bmag about her food artistry with jars, and what inspires her creations.
Tell bmag a little about your food philosophy:
Food is fuel to the body, so we need to make sure we are filling our machines with the best fuel, to keep us feeling as happy and healthy as possible. For me, this means hitting the farmers markets and local health store to buy fresh organic produce.
I love the liberation of being in the kitchen and making something from a few ingredients. I like to try new things and keep challenging myself in the kitchen – whether that’s a new smoothie flavour, a new crazy fruit jar or an experimental raw cheesecake.
Explain, from your perspective, the growing trend for food in jars?
I guess there’s a somewhat vintage feel to it; recreating something old and bringing it back to life with a new purpose. I like the practicality of using jars – not only is it a blank canvas to showcase some yummy food but then you can pop the lid on and take it for lunch. I have seen plenty of different jars in stores now, but for me, nothing compares to scrubbing out the old olive and pickle jars. It’s fun, free and a form of recycling!
What inspires your creations?
Whatever is in season! In summer, nearly everything I make has mango in it and in winter I can’t get enough of home-made banana bread or granola. Working with jars is inspiring as it becomes a glass room for what you’re preparing. My favourite part would be decorating the top of the jar with yummy snacks to tantalise the eyes and tastebuds.
What’s your favourite ingredient to work with?
My favourite ingredient is the wonderful banana. Bananas are high in potassium, fibre, iron, magnesium and vitamin B6. They make you more alert and contain tryptophan, which is converted to serotonin – making you feel happier!
There are so many ways to squeeze a super banana into your diet. Add one to your smoothie, slice one on top of yoghurt, make banana bread, or eat one right off the shelf.
Top 3 super-foods?
There are so many superfoods available that it’s hard to pick favourites.
The first would be cacao. This unprocessed raw bean has an incredibly high ORAC score (Oxygen radical absorbance capacity). This means it has crazy amounts of antioxidant activity, which we all know helps prevent cellular damage, protects our heart and keeps us looking young. It contains iron, copper, calcium, potassium and zinc. Did I mention it tastes like chocolate! It comes in different forms, but the easiest one to work with is cacao powder.
My second favourite would be the humble chia seed. If you want an extra boost of iron, calcium, vitamin C, potassium, and omega 3 just simply pop a table spoon into your morning yoghurt, smoothie, granola or even water. They are high in dietary fibre which makes you feel fuller for longer. Chia seeds are a prime example of little things making a big difference.
Finally, the acai berry is one of my all-time favourites. The taste has been described as wild berries with a hint of chocolate. The acai berry helps aid arthritis, weight loss, high cholesterol, detoxification and improves your overall health, due to their amazing source of antioxidants.
How has social media helped your journey and food identity?
Social media is an expressive tool for people to express all different things, but for me I like to hopefully inspire people into a healthier way of life. I use Instagram to show how simple and delicious it is to throw some fresh food together and have yourself looking and feeling better in no time.
I entered a competition with JT’s Coconut Essence not too long ago and won a $1000 prize pack – that was definitely a highlight for me.
Social media is also a chance to meet other people with the same interests, share recipes and really support each other, which has kept me motivated to keep going forward with my food.
At the moment I’m continuing to learn more about nutrition, as well as experimenting with different ingredients and recipes. I am quite content to keep living by the beach, spending my days with friends and family and staying as positive as I can. Who knows, there may be something in the pipeline later that involves my food and food styling, but for now I’m satisfied.
Keep up with Laura’s creations on Instagram @thatswhatshesays
Or try out her Bounty Smoothie recipe, using some of the super-foods mentioned like cacao and banana.