Making a superfood smoothie bowl is not easy. It’s practically an art getting all of many ingredients through the blender and into the bowl with grace and style. You need a steady hand, a clear vision and all the right elements within hands reach (or on Amazon).
I’ve had lots of practice constructing my own smoothie bowls, but my creations pale in comparison to those made by my Finnish friend Anni (aka @anniskk). Anni is a Helsinki based food stylist, recipe maker and part owner of a Sakara Life-type monthly food delivery service called Date and Kale (how cute is that name?). Just checkout her Instagram and you will see why I’m raving about her talent. Her bowls are always perfect: colorful, containing a distinct pattern, cheerful and elaborate. I had to know how she makes these magical works of art.
I spoke with Anni last time she was in New York at one of my favorite locals places Chalait, and got some serious answers.
Can you share a recipe for one of your smoothie bowls?
I’d love to. My favorite at the moment is this plant protein packed mermaid smoothie bowl…
for the base:
1 large banana (leave a couple of slices for toppings)
1 ½ dl unflavored plant yogurt (soy, oat or your other favorite)
1 kiwi fruit, cut into chunks and frozen
1 ½ dl edamame beans, frozen
1 tsp spirulina powder
optional extras: fresh ginger and/or lemon
Blend it all up, pour into a bowl and play with the toppings!
Homemade muesli, banana, goji berries (I like black currants, sea buckthorn berries and raspberries at the moment), edible flowers, chia seeds, hemp hearts, coconut, bee pollen or whatever favorite sprinkles you have on hand!
What ingredients do you use for the base?
I always use one ripe banana and plant yogurt for the base (I prefer blending with plant yogurt than plant milk for a creamier texture). On top of that, I opt for something frozen. This can be berries, fruit or even edamame beans. Sometimes I also add fresh greens, beetroot or other veggies. Lastly, I add a teaspoon or two of some “booster.” Normally this would be a green powder or algae. Wheatgrass and spirulina are my favorites. For acai bowls, I use freeze dried acai powder.
What are some of the more “funky” ingredients you like to have on hand?
Edible flowers (for a daily luxury), all kinds of different toppings or sprinkles: cacao nibs, coconut, bee pollen, hemp hearts, chia seeds and flax seeds are my favorites.
Can you share some of your tips for styling the bowl?
Think of yourself as an artist and the smoothie is your canvas. Then just get creative. Think if you want to make a symmetrical pattern, circles, lines or something else. Use whatever funny toppings you can find from your kitchen (in this case, less is definitely not more). Don’t worry if it doesn’t turn out perfect for the first time or similar to someone else’s bowl! It’s your unique piece of art– that’s what you should be happy about.
How do you come up with your cute patterns?
Hmm this is a tricky question that I get asked quite often and I’m afraid I don’t have a real answer. I feel like the inspiration comes from so many different things. It can be just colors or patterns I see while walking in the city, scrolling through websites, art work, prints in clothing, cartoons and so on. I don’t really “plan” the patterns when I make them for the first time – normally I just start doing and if the result is something that I really like, it normally becomes my standard smoothie bowl pattern for a while until I come up with a new favorite one!
How do you make the perfect lines with the hemp seeds, flax seeds, etc.?
Oh I guess I just have a steady hand, hahah! I’m using just a normal teaspoon, no more magic or secret tricks for that, sorry!
What kind of bowl and spoon do you use? Does this matter?
It does matter, definitely. I like using simple white, round bowls from the Finnish brand Iittala. My smoothie bowls are so colourful that a white background makes them stand out best. I’ve been collecting all kinds of spoons from around the world while traveling for some years now. I love having unique spoons next to my bowls, as they remind me of past adventures.
What kind of lighting and camera do you use to photograph your bowl when it’s finished?
I only shoot food in natural light, using my small Olympus Pen (with in-built wifi). This way I get the photos from the camera to my phone in minutes.