Event | Food Styling Workshop at Indian Food Bloggers Meet, Bangalore 2014 – ‘food-o-graphy’

… where food tells your story!

THEMEDo moods, colours, stories, ingredients, seasons, connects, props and everything in between paint your daily canvas?  They do for me, an obsessed baker and cook, a ‘locavore’ by design, who enjoys getting food to the table with seasonal ingredients and local produce. Phalsa ka Sharbat Give me an ingredient, offer me an idea … that’s enough for the magic to begin! Thoughts flow, the lens focuses and I begin to dream!

Phalsa ka SharbatWriting my food blog since Aug 2007 made me move from just baking, to baking and taking pictures. Then came the abundant inspiration from the magical internet. Styling the food for the lens became second nature; stuff my dreams are made up of.Amaranth Oat Walnut Ginger Cookies I want to tell my story, and most of the time it is through pictures with some words to tie the post together! I am seldom lost for inspiration as seasons, colours, ingredients, people all inspire me. When I hit a road block, you will probably find me at Pinterest.

Mango Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta I devour cookbooks for meals. I am fascinated as I turn pages of my favourite authors … Ottolenghi, Donna Hay to name a couple. They inspire me. I dream food, FOOD in pictures actually. Vibrant, rich, colourful, moody, picturesque … then wake up with thoughts of how to capture my dreams.Coffee Shortbread Cookies I am also an obessive prop collector, hardly a secret from those who know me. I’ve been one for years, even before I began food styling. Vintage and rustic props make my DNA! So when Aparna asked if I might be interested in doing a Food Styling workshop at the IFBM in August, I said YES PLEASE!

Hazelnuts and kumquatsFood styling is something I love, and something I find engaging. The good thing…the more you see, the more you share, the more you learn. Creativity is very individual, and for me, it exposes a part of me in every frame. Moody more often than never, I sometimes step across to the lighter side too … whatever tells my story!

Roasted bell peppersHomemade evaporated milk for Tres LechesSo hope to see you at the Indian Food Bloggers Meet at Bangalore for a little ‘ food-o-graphy

Summary of the Food Styling Workshop – Every food story is unique, rich and worth a share. Through the lens, I’m here to discuss how to capture the story behind your food. Connecting the ‘dots’ or rather crumbs, let’s try and see how we can slowly develop our trademark style!'food-o-graphy' by Deeba Rajpal. A Food Styling workshop at the Indian Food Bloggers Meet 2014

Will discuss basic planning, building a frame, setting the mood, using props to tell your story.

PAB food stylingHope to see you there! Would love to hear your thoughts, suggestions, thinks you might like included etc. Look forward to catching up with you!

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

Food for thought | What’s the one kitchen appliance you couldn’t live without?

“I put the kitch into kitchen.”
Nigella Lawson

Kitchen appliancesI have a confession to make: I love baking. Bit of an understatement? I love doing things from scratch and pushing my own boundaries to get creative in the kitchen. A recent post I did for the Home Bakers Guild got me thinking. There I talked about my passion for baking and the ingredients I enjoy using. Today my mind went a step further … What’s the one kitchen appliance you couldn’t live without?

Baking ingredientsThose who know me know that I don’t have a sweet tooth. My joy lies more in the making than in the devouring. Without my kitchen and my favourite kitchen utensils, would I be able to create the same great food? Would I find baking therapeutic? The answer’s probably no. AmulPerhaps I’ve grown so used to working with them I take my beloved kitchen appliances for granted, and a  tribute to my favourite and much-loved cooking tools is never too late! Do you have favourites? Other than my heavy duty machines, these are 2 things I often turn to on a daily basis. Irish Creme Chocolate Cakes with an Irish Creme Caramel Sauce

 Sieve

One of the most popular kitchen appliances, some people only use a sieve when they need to strain vegetables, rice or pasta. However, for a baker like me, a sieve can make all the difference between a bad cake and a good cake. Actually I think it holds the key to macarons too. Think sieve, think airy, light and dreamy!

Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry CremeLearning that I had to sieve flour to make cakes that not only looked good, but also had a light and fluffy consistency whilst tasting great was probably one of the first lessons I ever learned in the kitchen. Have you ever had a cake that hasn’t had some of the ingredients sieved? I’ve made the mistake once, and I can safely say it’s not very nice! Coffee Chocolate Mascarpone Layered Cake It’s better to play safe … and bake yummy!! Did I forget to add that a sieve is also handy for a quick dusting of icing sugar or cocoa powder to finish off a cake? That’s why I love my sieve.

Hand Mixer

Swedish Prinsesstårta, princess cupcakes Years ago, I used to mix my cake mixture by hand. In the beginning it was kinda fun, had the promise of stronger and leaner arms, but it was very tiring. The lean arms didn’t happen of course!!

Oven Roasted Plum & Almond Cakes Julia Child 500My first hand mixer arrived as a birthday present from my husband who heard me whine quite a bit about the woes of hand mixing and elbow grease issues! It changed the way I have baked since that day. In my early years of baking, this was one good piece of advice I handed out to new bakers especially in India. It makes mixing ingredients together so much easier, quicker and it’s a lot more fun to do too!

Hyatt Chef Maurizio Masterclass I remember the Italian chef at a Masterclass at the Hyatt whipping up egg whites to stiff peaks in seconds with a HUGE bowl and a balloon whisk. I just gaped. Tried to emulate him, and can safely say I was back to the hand mixer really soon. One press of the button and it’s like magic!

Food photographsYou can see how much these mean to me, two appliances that I couldn’t live without. If I didn’t have them in my kitchen, then I truly believe that baking wouldn’t have been the cake walk it currently is!! So, which kitchen appliances can’t you live without? Do you have favourites?

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

No Bake | Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits … these had me smitten! #springlove #vegetarian #meatlessmonday #glutenfree

“Eating is really one of your indoor sports. You play three times a day, and it’s well worth while to make the game as pleasant as possible.”
Dorothy Draper
Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits
Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits … could there be a better way to welcome spring and summer in our part of the world? I think not! The day I saw these on Betacyanin via Foodgawker I was smitten. Sofias blog is a new discovery and matches very closely to what I like doing with food. I HAD to do the parfaits ASAP!

Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits Did I tell you I was absolutely smitten? I certainly was. I love the idea of a parfait going savoury. Make ahead, healthy, balanced, infinite options and a load of fun!

Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits
I soaked the chickpeas that very night and had them cooked the next morning. Warm freshly cooked chickpeas tossed in EVOO, some minced garlic, a squeeze of lime, some fresh herbs is like diving into a bowl of heaven! I have a love love relationship with chickpeas! What about you?Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits
 I also have a love love relationship with savoury food, bring on the garlic and life gets even better. It might surprise you as PAB is rather full of sweet stuff. That is what I like to make, but savoury is what I like to eat. I don’t have a sweet tooth at all! My family does!!
Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits
Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits The parfaits were fun. Layering and individual servings are something I adore doing. You can pretty much paint your own palette here. I made a few changes. Olives in brine for one because I like the saltiness they add. homegrown tomatoesCherry tomatoes because my few plants are now hanging with fruit which is slowly ripening. Those above were the very first three! Spring ♥!!Spring herbs veggies fruits
It’s a constant battle though as little Coco has taken a shine to tomatoes. Animal instinct kicks in here. She sniffs out the nice, ripe, juicy ones and devours them with great aplomb. Much to my horror, the first time she ‘discovered‘ them, the garden was strewn with half eaten green tomatoes; the ones she had obviously rejected!
Coco
This was not why I grew tomatoes. I waited impatiently for them to ripen. So had the lad. For the two of us, it’s an early morning ritual to ‘check them out‘!How would she know any better, the little thief. She isn’t as innocent as she looks; but she is so darned charming!

Playing with light 2The battle of tomatoes has begun! I quickly harvest the ripe fruit and she looks on, hoping old butterfingers will drop one!! I have a few yellow cherry tomatoes that I salvaged 3 days ago, and some deep red beefy ones. Tomato ♥!

Home grown tomatoes
I have plenty of photographs of these beauties but I like this one quite  abit. I love the play of light and all thanks goes to NeelLearn Food Photography for organising a 30 day challenge on his fabulous blog. Have you been to LFP yet? Playing with light You must stop by if you are struggling to improve your food photographs, or want to explore the technicalities at a comfortable level. We’re into week 3 of our challenge and it’s a great community of folk from across the globe. So far we’ve covered angles, DOF, light, playing with light, white balance, diffusers, bouncers, backgrounds and are currently on props.

Learning food photography... lightThese Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits were made the day I was experimenting with light.  It’s amazing how much you can learn if you join a challenge. Such fun! All the herbs, flowers and leaves I had gathered became an inspiration for my parfaits.

Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits The little jars are actually like an announcement of spring. Full of fresh herbs, fresh produce, light flavours and beautiful pairing. My herbs are flourishing too so I couldn’t have made this discovery at a better time.

Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits 6
Infinite possibilities are dancing merrily in my head. I am thinking fruit parfaits, watermelon feta and mint parfaits, mango pistachio parfaits! I think you can layer any salad you like in little mason jars, recycled jam/sauce jars, or serving glasses.
Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits
I now do these as a make ahead salad for Mr PABs lunchbox to take to work. The dieting diva enjoyed it as well. It’s nice coz the raisins at the bottom take all the released juices and plump up nicely. You could always use dried cranberries instead! And of course you could always toss everything together in one big bowl,  but it might not be that much fun!

Strawberry, Kiwi, Basil Parfaits

My post is a little delayed because all this parfait talk inspired me to make some fruit parfaits for the kids after school snack!  I made Strawberry, Kiwi, Basil Parfaits! Parfaits are always fun. They are a nice make ahead snack, salad or even a simple dessert. Refreshing, colourful, delicious & FUN!
 Strawberry, Kiwi, Basil Parfaits
Tell me dear reader what you would include in a parfait? What would your ultimate savoury parfait have? And a sweet version?  Try and cover as many food groups as you can … nuts, fruits, veggies, herbs, spices, beans, chickpeas, quark, ricotta, mascarpone, granola. Play with colours and seasonal produce. Just make sure you enjoy what you do because that is what matters most!

Recipe: Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits 
your picture

Summary: I love the idea of a parfait going savoury. Make ahead, healthy, balanced, infinite options and a load of fun!  This one covers all the food groups, and deliciously so – fruits, nuts, dairy, pulses, herbs … you get ‘em all in a jar!

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 1- 1.5 cup cooked chickpeas tossed in evoo, garlic, fresh coriander
  • 2-3 small cucumbers, grated, squeezed
  • 2 cup homemade yogurt, hung for about 3-4 hours
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp ranch buttermilk dressing {or a dash of lime juice, garlic and finely chopped green chili}
  • handful chopped mint
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • olives, cherry tomatoes, pistachios
  • lightly toasted walnuts and more mint, for garnish

Method:

  1. Whisk the hung curd with buttermilk seasoning until smooth. Alternatively, add minced garlic, a dash of lime juice, green chilies and salt and mix until smooth.
  2. Begin layering…
  3. Starting with the raisins, followed by chickpeas, grated cucumbers, and yogurt, layer each of the ingredients, divided between jars. Top with olives and cherry tomatoes, chopped walnuts, slivered pistachios and a few mint leaves. Chill well until ready to serve.
  4. Alternatively, if you’re not into the layering thing, you can just mix it all together and store accordingly.
  5. Sofias note: It’s really important to draw most of the juice out of the cucumbers, otherwise the end result will be swimming in cucumber juice. Once the cukes are grated, use your hands to squeeze out as much juice as you can. Drink it, it’s really refreshing! Set aside in a strainer to let any remaining liquid drain.

Don’t miss a post
Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

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