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

Cooler | Phalsa Berry Sharbat – ‘Blendit’ like Vikas Khanna #summer #cooler #inseason #kitchenaidindia

“The more you know, the more you can create. There’s no end to imagination in the kitchen.”
Julia Child

Phalsa ka Sharbat Phalsa Berry Sharbat … the much dreaded ‘loo‘ or hot summer winds, dry and dust laden, sweep across the plains of North India. Summer here becomes intolerable at times, with ‘fry eggs on the sidewalk‘ like temperatures threatening your very existence! Then along come some of the best fruit that nature has to offer … and life becomes worthwhile again! This Phalsa Berry Sharbat helps you survive…

Phalsa ka Sharbat With a slew of summer fruit now being offloaded by the truckloads, we could not have asked for more. Red, luscious, juicy cherries, mangoes falling off hand carts, watermelons piled sky high on roadsides, peaches just about beginning to surface, Indian java plums too. And then the phalsa berry, a beautiful, tangy, astringent much awaited native Indian berry!

Phalsa, Grewia asiatica Packed with vitamin C and antioxidants, this humble little berry, Grewia asiatica, brings alive childhood nostalgia. Back then, almost 40 years ago, the silent afternoon would be pierced by the shrill cry of the ‘phalsa wala‘. You’d find him with a wicker basket, topped with a very wet gunny bag which he gently peeled back to reveal the precious little berries. The very fragile and perishable phalsa would change hands for a few pennies. Washed gently and tossed in rock salt, we would hungrily suck them, trying to extract the most from the almost impoverished looking fruit.

Phalsa ka SharbatSometimes if we were lucky enough, we would be rewarded with phalsa ka sharbat! It was pain staking to make and a special treat. Life is a little easier now, with gadgets that make life in the kitchen a breeze. Just one sip of this amazing cooler, in colours that uplift the soul,  memories of a quintessential part of Indian summer comes alive! Sharbats or ‘fruit and flower based coolers‘ are the answer to the beat the heat!

Kitchenaid Blendappetit  with Vikas Khanna Hymns from the Soil This takes me to the launch of the KitchenAid Pro Line Cordless Hand Blender in association with Masterchef Vikas Khanna in Delhi. The launch is a part of multi city #Blendappetit Tour spanning across India starting from May 20, 2014. While, the cordless blender is a unique, first of its kind, versatile product, it comes with an ultimate experience of ‘anytime anywhere’ blending.

Kitchenaid Blendappetit  with Vikas Khanna Hymns from the Soil This new blender from Kitchenaid India is a magic machine, ergonomically designed, a thing of beauty. It comes equipped with a rechargeable 12V lithium ion battery which gives it the power to perform efficiently. The super blender can blend, mix, whisk, chop, froth, puree, shred and whip up anything in a flash.

Kitchenaid Blendappetit  with Vikas Khanna Hymns from the Soil The very sweet and charming Vikas {I was fortunate enough to shoot with him recently} blended a lip smacking good kiwi smoothie from his new book.  The chef was affable as ever; entertaining, engaging, humourous! He connected instantly with the expectant crowd and soon had the gathering mesmerised. Ripples of laughter flooded the studio in Gurgaon with Vikas holding court, spinning out one anecdote after another. Stories of his home, his mother & grandmother, his inspirations, his journey from cooking a Rs 20 meal in Punjab to a Rs 20 lakh meal for Obama … yet humble and grounded as ever, a philosopher at heart!Kitchenaid Blendappetit  with Vikas Khanna Hymns from the Soil The afternoon witnessed the launch of his book- .Hymns from the Soil, his first book on Indian vegetarian food and a tribute to Mother Earth. It is full of nostalgic tales of his childhood, and in many ways ‘our childhood’. The ‘mitti ki khushboo‘ or the smell of the wet soil, planting his own vegetable patch, the vegetable vendors with fresh vegetables, seasons that spelt fresh produce {unlike now when you almost get everything round the year} … a touching evocative connect with the soil of the land. The book is beautifully written, with stunning pictures and recipes that call your name.

Phalsa ka Sharbat With so much talk of the connect of the earth, including the shrill call of the vendor that pierced the afternoon silence then, it’s a good time to share this recipe. I make the Phalsa Berry Sharbat every year, changing the recipe as I evolve, always in panic like the berries might disappear or go out of fashion. The phalsa season is a short one here just through May and June. Juicing these in my Thermomix is a breeze … which is why I make this quite often.

Phalsa ka Sharbat 6Phalsa ka Sharbat Not sure if taste buds change as the years go by, or the flood of flavours available and sugar laden options in packaged juices snatch simple pleasure away. Maybe it’s the slightly astringent aftertaste, but unfortunately, this isn’t the kids favourite sharbat. The boy loves his aam panna or raw mango sharbat, the daughter her cranberry juice. Thankfully both also love the daily fresh watermelon juice & smoothies.

Phalsa ka SharbatThe Phalsa Berry Sharbat takes the summer heat away, refreshes the soul, gives you a generous dose of vitamin C and antioxidants … what more can you ask for in these ‘oven like’ months? Oh yes, and if it takes you on a trip down memory lane, that’s even better! I’m loving it!!

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

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Baking | Savoury Whole Wheat Hungarian Kalács … with chicken, walnuts & rocket. Delicious cheesy comfort food #wholegrain #comfortfood #breadart

“The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight…”
M.F.K. Fisher

Savoury Whole Wheat Hungarian Kalács 1Savoury Whole Wheat Hungarian Kalács … it was a few months ago that I discovered the magic of bread art! That was thanks to the Daring Bakers and I was led into this fascinating world. Until then, bread to me meant rustic, moorish, artisan breads. From then on, Hungarian Kalács became one of our firm favourites. Mine to bake, and ‘theirs’ to eat!

Savoury  Hungarian Kalács, Twisted Buns; Sweet Yeasted  Nutella, Marmalade & Almond Praline Skillet Bread... bread art with the Daring BakersGoing back to the bread art challenge {pictured above}, that was one of my most enriching experiences, and a most delicious one at that. Soon after making the vegetarian version of the Hungarian Kalács, I made a non vegetarian one too for the carnivores at home. In went chicken, walnuts, bell peppers and rocket! It’s taken me some time to share it, but here I am, better late than never!

Savoury Whole Wheat Hungarian Kalács That version was a plain all purpose flour and vegetarian one. These Savoury Whole Wheat Hungarian Kalács are part whole grain as the name suggests. I had to experiment with the dough given my shift to whole grains. The dough worked brilliantly and the bread was gone before we knew it.

Savoury Whole Wheat Hungarian Kalács  makingFew things to keep in mind. My dough was a little soft though very pliable. Every flour type absorbs liquid differently, so bear that in mind. It’s always better to add the last 1/4 cup a little at a time. Gloopy dough makes me weep!! Another thing worth considering is the weather. Hot summers mean really quick dough rising and often an unmanageable dough. Try and chill the dough slightly before use, and work quick. Try keep the dusting flour to a minimum as it takes away from the end product.

Savoury Whole Wheat Twisted Buns 3  I made some twisted buns too like I did with the vegetarian version. Any bread art is mesmerising. You can see more visuals on the Vegetarian Savoury  Hungarian Kalács & Twisted Buns. And oh yes, there is a divineSweet Yeasted  Nutella, Marmalade & Almond Praline Skillet Bread on that page too.Savoury Whole Wheat Twisted Buns 2Savoury Whole Wheat Hungarian Kalács are a nice meals in themselves, and a versatile recipe at that. Fill it as you like. Just remember not to over-stuff it as then it will not hold.I really like the idea of stuffed breads, and this is a fine example.

Savoury Whole Wheat Hungarian Kalács & Twisted BunsUse this dough and go vegetarian with it. I’d see cottage cheese, walnuts, jalapenos, olives, spinach or rocket, maybe sun dried tomatoes in my vegetarian version. Cheese of course, lots of it!!

Savoury Whole Wheat Twisted Buns 4Just writing about it makes my mouth water. I think I just might be headed off into the kitchen to make some dough! I love how nicely it comes together, and how easy it is to serve. Makes for great finger food too and a nice centre piece for the party table! Always nice to have an eye catching item of food which gives folk something more to talk about and devour! This bread, art and all, is one of those things!!

Stuffed  filled breads sweet, savoury, vegetarian

Other stuffed or filled breads on PAB {sweet/ savoury, vegetarian}

Povitica – Croatian Sweet Walnut Chocolate Bread
Savoury Cheese & Garlic Olive Oil Pull-Apart Bread {vegetarian}
French Fougasse with Roasted Red Bell Pepper & Garlic, Walnut & Mozarella
Millet & Whole Wheat French Fougasse … rustic bread with caramelised onions, walnuts, dehydrated tomatoes and mozzarella
Apple Cranberry Almond Olive Oil Pull-Apart Loaf & Popovers
Nutella, Walnut & Orange Rolls
Ricotta and Spinach Roulade
Sweet Orange, Roasted Strawberry & Chocolate Buttermilk Rolls

This post is headed for Bloggers Tuesday at Home Bakers Guild.

 

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

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