June 16, 2011

Beef Empanadas and Food Photography

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I was tempted to make beef empanadas when I saw Peter's Cheese Pies that photographed so lovely. Aren't you amazed that wonderful photos will trigger you to create dish? I always love Peter's photos, as I said time and time again, he is an inspiration.

Food photography has become a passion for me. It is like a message that I want to send across to the audience, the passion that I have, when I push the shutter button. There is an imagination, as well as an expression that I want you to understand. It is my language, for I am not so eloquent myself with words. Through my photos, I am hoping you do know me more. If you care, that is.

Having two homeschoolers and a baby, it is kind of hard for me to really produce good photos. I mean good photos as good photos, not a snapshot I often do these days. The photos that are prepared with every element and are styled to suit the theme with suitable props, careful lighting and perfect composition to produced optimal results. 

green tea creme brulee enjoying sweets2 bubur kacang hijau Kue/Kuih Bangkit/Bangket Kacang Lemon Cheesecake
mooncake Lunch Brigadeiros Lapis Legit Moscovis by ab2010 Raspberry Semifreddo

But no. Preparation for food photography takes time. You need time to do more careful planning on food and styling than you can imagine. I just can't do it in between schooling, nursing a baby, gardening and doing house chores (and, who says I am a wonderwoman?). I have to be happy with snapshots so far, although honestly, I am not satisfied. 

I sometimes feel a drawback. I feel I am not developing, nor improving. I am staying put. But, then I come to realize, that at least, I still can practice everyday.

Strawberry Sherbet and Lime Meltaway Strawberries Chicken Satay Schulten Plums Nutella Mochi Gluten-free Plums and Almond Slice Chicken Balls and Prawn Dim Sum-2  peacherines and peachcotts pears, goblet, and white grapes Sop Kaki Sapi IMG_2165 Peanut Butter Chocolate Slice

Having an iPhone is a bit of help to catch up with mood and a sense of art in photography, if I may call it. The specification might not meet the ones of digital cameras, but with a little imagination, the photos can be produced beautifully. It is handy and requires less time, less preparation.  

iPhone with Camera+ application is a perfect marriage. I have applied this application on food photography, and I think it is quite a satisfaction. You cannot be a 100% perfect, can you? For me, iPhone is a big advantage under the certain circumstances I am in.

late Summer peaches Hipstamatic 201-Together Hipstamatic 201-Gluten-Free Chocolate Chiffon Cake Slice and Coffee

Hipstamatic 201-ginger beer and gluten-free pineapple jam biscuits Hipstamatic 201-Gluten-Free Chocolate Chiffon Cake Bolkus Espresso-2

Hipstamatic is compatible enough to produce good food photos. Although, it may require much more time to change lens and film to suit your needs and mood, it is still a challenge to make it right. I am still doing trial and error with these lenses and films. As you can see the above photos, they tend to be quite dark. I did them without flash, but used natural light instead. 

Beef Empanadas 01

Anyway, I had a very small time when I tried to photograph these beef empanadas, using my old Canon 400D (I say old, because nowadays, I've been using it since 2007, and by now you are expected to upgrade to the highest specs a digital camera may offer, aren't you?). Just got few shots when my baby was woken up and demanded my ultimate attention ;)

I love using natural light. With a help of a small softbox to lighting on the dark side, I make a move. I put the softbox away from the table, so it will give softer light. I don't want it to be too bright. I also diffuse the light that comes through the window with an old white bed sheet. I don't use a white card this time because I thought it will reflect on the glasses. 

Choosing navy blue material as the background, I thought this fits well with the mood of the food and the current season we have. I do not fancy a lot of props outnumbered the primary elements as the point of interest. I quite like to work on Spanish theme, but I will need to do some proper props to achieve this desire, but for now, I have to use what I have got. 

Beef Empanadas 03

I was still not happy with the results. I want to make the background darker than that, to suit moody lighting that is framed in my mind. I know what I could do, but it means I have to do another set up, which means more time to be spent. And I don't have that extra time!  

It is not easy being a mother who has dreams or goals to achieve when children are the highest priority, I believe. However, it is a miracle while having them I still can do what I love in a limited time. 

Beef Empanadas 02

The recipe I used is beef empanadas on Dish Magazine, issued 2006. 

June 12, 2011

iPhoneography #25: Donna Hay's Chocolate Filled Doughnut Muffins

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Lovely 'doughnuts', enjoyed with a cup of coffee in a rainy chilly winter day. 

June 05, 2011

iPhoneography #24: Peanut Butter Chocolate Slice

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Slice

A slice of heaven, they say. 

June 01, 2011

Lemon Cheesecake

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Lemon Cheesecake

I am not really fond of cheesecakes, whatever forms they would be. Cream cheese has never been friendly to my digestion, so I avoid using it as much as I can. Although in some cases, like this Plum Chocolate Slice, Rosewater Cheesecake, or Chocolate Layer Cake, I would dare myself to eat a single thick slice. Sometimes, rules are made to be broken, aren't they?

Anyway, I haven't baked cheesecake, perhaps in twelve months, until KBB has given us a cheesy task to do this month. This time, it is not made of cream cheese, but of mascarpone and ricotta. 

I have never baked cheesecake out of ricotta, but sometimes I use the mixture of mascarpone and cream cheese, so I wasn't sure how they taste like. In the amidst of ongoing kitchen renovation, I take the challenge to bake Lemon Cheesecake, KBB's 23rd task.

The different thing about this cheesecake is the crust is not made from biscuits crumbs or sponge cake, but from assorted nuts.

I use 26cm round springform cake tin, instead of 23cm the recipe calls for. I forgot that I just tossed out my old cake tins and haven't bought the replacements. Lucky enough, I found that 26cm cake tin somewhere in the deepest cabinet. You really don't know what you've got before you rambling through deepest in, do you?

The process of crusting wasn't that easy for me. I should have put thicker layer of margarine for the nuts to stick together. But, never mind. Crust done. Next steps were done okay, too. So, yes. The result is much a thinner cheesecake. More like a tart rather than a cheesecake.

Lemon Cheesecake-2

Surprisingly, it tastes so good! I quite like the combination of dried fruits and spices in it. There is a slightly lemony flavour that shouts quietly in between the creaminess of ricotta and mascarpone. The crusts are also giving nutty flavour that envelopes the whole texture into one single deliciousness. Perfect for an espresso!

I might come back to this cheesecake one day. Perhaps bake it in individual cheesecake tins will be a great idea.

lemon cheesecake-3

Review: Saya sebetulnya ga begitu suka sama cheesecake, tapi menyicip cheesecake ini rasanya beda dan ga bikin eneg. Manisnya pas dan kombinasi dried fruits dengan coating kacang membuat cheesecake ini memiliki rasa yang unik.