From Rome to Byron Bay, Moeko has been sharing wanderlust inducing snaps on her instagram account, @mmmoky. Not only does she have a spirit for travel, but she also has an eye for delicious smoothie bowls and plant-based eats. We caught up with her to talk about the Aussie plant-based community, where she gets her recipe inspiration from, and her tips for making tasty dishes no matter where you are in the world!
Your Instagram feed features some really beautiful shots of plant-based meals! Where do you find inspiration for food styling and recipes? And how did you get started doing this?
Thank you so much! I fell in love with food styling and photography as I started sharing my first kitchen experiments with vegan food on Instagram around five years ago, hence that is where I mostly find inspiration. I also love watching recipe videos on youtube and follow a few food blogs.
It seems like it takes a lot of planning and dedication to balancing a creative life with travel. Can you give us a picture into your average week?
It does take a lot of effort, in fact I’m not going to lie… my life here in Australia during this year abroad is far from perfect and I don’t have it all figured out! Some days it feels like I’m top of it all, others I feel completely lost. What usually helps me be more focused and productive is having a mindful morning routine where I will do yoga, meditate, read, have a nourishing breakfast and journal.
My weeks are pretty much always different at this stage so I’m afraid I can’t really answer the question, but I’d say something that I consistently do every week is document my life and express my creativity in one way or another.
Your photography has a gorgeous feel to it! Can you tell us a bit more about what goes on behind creating your posts? What camera are you currently using, how do you make sure lighting is perfect, and is there anyone else that helps you out behind the scenes of your Instagram account or website?
Thanks again, I really appreciate the compliment! I work on my own and I use my beloved Sony a7ii, but I believe the best camera is the one you already have – even your smartphone can be. I only used my iPhone throughout my first years of blogging! Natural lighting is key when it comes to creating beautiful imagery.
My best tip for lighting and food photography is shooting near a big bright window early in the morning when shadows are not too strong, unless that’s the look you’re going for.
You’ve been sharing your local Byron Bay discoveries on your Instagram account, and it seems like such a beautiful part of the world to live in! Where are your favourite places to go for a feed?
Byron Bay really is a gem and I’m glad I was able to spend a good chunk of my time here. My favourites have to be the Byron Bay General Store for their smoothie bowls and mind-blowing vegan waffles, Combi for their vegan toastie and veggie bowl and last but least, Orgasmic for the best falafel pocket ever.
Coming from Rome to Melbourne, and then to Byron Bay, we can imagine you’ve experienced some interesting ways of approaching healthy living. How would you describe the plant based Instagram community here in Australia?
The vegan community in Australia is so huge, which is honestly one of the reasons why I was so excited to come here in the first place. It’s big, diverse, and gives me so much faith for a better, happier, more conscious world. I’ve never met as many vegans in real life as I did here, both in Melbourne and Byron, through Instagram, meet-ups and various events. It feels great to meet like-minded people and to be part of such a compassionate group of people. It’s something I’ve experienced it in Italy too, but on a much smaller scale.
If someone has never had a plant based meal before, what would be your favourite tip for making tasty dishes at home?
My suggestion would be to find inspiration on vegan food pages on the gram, food blogs and cookbooks and spend a lot of time experimenting in the kitchen, which is what I did when I transitioned to a vegan diet! If they love meat, cheese and other animal products, there’s plenty of incredibly realistic and tasty alternatives out there that can satisfy those cravings nowadays. Although I find that dishes that don’t traditionally include animal products in the first place are always a huge hit among non-vegans, like curries and some middle-eastern foods like falafels and hummus!
As a photographer, you get to explore some gorgeous locations, like waterfalls in the Northern Rivers of New South Wales! When it comes to packing snacks for your day trips, what are your go-to’s for nourishing and filling foods?
You can’t go wrong with some juicy ripe mangoes and peaches – messy but delicious. Another weakness of mine is tortilla chips, definitely not as healthy but it doesn’t hurt every now and then! That’s what I snacked on last time I went chasing waterfalls with my friends.
Now that the weather is warming up, what would you dream beach picnic include?
Plenty of fruit, salads, crudités and crackers to pair with a variety of different dips. I have a sweet tooth so there would definitely be some chocolates, treats and some vegan ice cream too!
We love hearing about how people enjoy their Cocobella. What are your favourite ways to use Cocobella coconut water or coconut yoghurt?
I absolutely love your coconut water in smoothies or on its own as a refreshing drink, whereas coconut yoghurt is perfect on top of a yummy stack of vegan pancakes!
When it comes to grocery shopping, what would be five items that are always in your trolley? And what is something we would never ever see in your trolley?
As of late I’ve become obsessed with roasted pumpkin and kale so I buy them every time I go food shopping! I also always get chickpeas, bananas and some kind of nut butter or tahini. I guess it’s pretty obvious as I’m vegan, but you’ll never see animal products in my trolley.
A great thing about social media is the people you meet and the idea you can discover! Which Instagram accounts are your top 3 for foodie inspiration?
I couldn’t agree more, Instagram has played a huge part in making me feel like part of a beautiful and inspiring community. It’s pretty hard to only choose three accounts, but I’ll try my best!
Gaz from @avantgardevegan makes me the most drool-worthy vegan food you could imagine, I’m in love with his youtube recipe videos. @izyhossack from Top with Cinnamon has always been my top food photography inspiration since I started blogging. Lastly, Magda from @oatmeal_stories shares some of the dreamiest shots of simple, delicious vegan recipes.
We’re excited to see where you’ll be going next – do you have any plans you can share with us?
I’ll be doing my first Aussie road trip from Byron Bay up to Fraser Island during the last week of September, which I’m incredibly excited about! After that I’ll check out the vegan scene and meet up with some friends in Sydney for a few days. Finally, I’ll spend my last month in Australia in Melbourne, before I head back home to Rome.
Thanks for chatting with us, Moeko!
Get the recipe for her Blueberry Overnight Oats here.