I think it was last week that I thought I’d made chowder and tweeted about it. Well, I think I simply replicated the flavour of the clam (and lobster) chowder I’d eaten while down in San Francisco and Anaheim, California but nonetheless I’d made something tasty and it was made again. As cooking is often less precise than baking, it took the second round for me to get down the measurements or at least a fair estimate so that I could share it here. As much as I am fond of those recipes that leave you to your imagination and being creative – in other words, recipes that serve more as guidelines – it’s always helpful to have some pointers so that – later on, if you feel like it – you can improvise and make it your own.
I tried my hand at doing a bit of food styling – at least, more than usual as I’ve lately been inspired by the Donna Hay magazine and Katie Quinn Davies of What Katie Ate. I did a set up with a bamboo cutting board (one of my birthday kitchen gadgets – a cutting board can be considered a gadget, right?) and I folded a striped blue dishtowel that I thought would compliment the bowl holding the stew. A spoon was added later. As for the stew itself, afterward I wished that I’d added a little extra colour to make it more interesting (even adding corn kernels would have added some of that extra something) but I don’t expect myself to hit all the marks of food styling on the first round.
This stew is very simple. While it’s thickened with cornstarch, most of the help comes from pureeing cauliflower – if you’ve made cauliflower soup before, you’ll then get the gist of it: pureeing until it’s a very smooth puree, ideally without any lumps. The flavour comes from the beef, which is stewed with onion and mushroom – enhanced if you use beef or chicken stock also – and is rounded off by a pat or two of butter. For a dairy-free and casein-free alternative to the butter, coconut milk would also work I’m sure. Continue reading
Sometimes, being a food blogger and cooking for one’s family at the same time is interesting. Sometimes I’ll get the urge to pick up the camera and take pictures as I go along making a meal – one that I didn’t even intend to take pictures of, let alone share here. Let’s just say that, sometimes, I can’t help but take pictures of food, or let alone unable to resist taking out my camera and just taking random shots. As I wrote in my anniversary post, my photography has improved greatly since those first days of blogging – what I didn’t write about is my somewhat fascination with cameras. Sometimes, I’ll close one eye and focus with the other eye, pretending as if seeing through a camera.
Remember also that I said that I hadn’t many photos (in my anniversary post) since I’d been playing with a camera with practically dead batteries? Not those ones, but some of the photos that I took, such as all the ones in this post, were done with my aunt’s Canon Powershot G9, which she kindly let me borrow and that she’s let me borrow in the past as well (this post for example). I love her camera. I’ve been thinking for a while that I could write reviews for cameras that I have used, like the one that I read on Just Hungry, which introduced me to and that made me interested in micro four-thirds cameras. Camera reviews can be confusing sometimes, with different people’s conflicted opinions (especially once you get on Amazon – cameras always have hundreds of reviews, often too many to read all at once), or there are things you want to know about it but that the review doesn’t cover, and I find it helpful when I read camera reviews written by food bloggers, with pros and cons in the interest of food photography and blogging. If you also think this is a good idea, let me know.
But back to how I’ll just pick up the camera at random and take pictures of food – this steak was one of those that I hadn’t planned to take pictures of, but somewhere between chopping onion and taking the steak out of the package and frying it, I thought, hey, why not? And this is the second part of taking pictures of meals that gets tricky, particularly when it wasn’t planned: your prep inevitably becomes longer because of taking breaks to take pictures, often multiple, and thus everyone who is waiting to eat waits even longer. It’s a skill to take quality pictures while on the go and get it all done within the same amount of time it would normally take you, sans camera. This is an exercise of discipline especially, if you’re like me, you start to get obsessed with the macro setting. Case in point –