“Food photos are never just about food. They’re equally about people, landscapes, capturing moments, and a sense of place.”
Penny De Los Santos

Dulce de leche bundt cake There’s something about food photography that makes the heart skip a beat. It’s a truly rewarding experience, a visual delight, an instant connect. The immense sea of talent that food blogs now offer hits the ball out of the park. It fills me with pleasure to have the privilege of hosting this months DMBLGiT, a food photography contest, on PAB.

DalsDMBLGiT – short for Does My Blog Look Good in This, is a community run food photography contest that was established in 2005, 10 years ago. It’s a one of its kind contest that is hosted by different food bloggers every month and is judged by outstanding food photographers who love DMBLGiT. I still remember the shock at picking up a badge many years ago while timidly blogging in my little corner of the world. That was a post in November 2008. It’s really been a while…

dmblgit_blue dec2008 In 2014, Neel @ LFP “acquired” this food photography contest from Andrew who was running this contest for several years. I’ve known Neel for several years, and was thrilled to catch up with him in Bangalore last year at the IFBM. He has done more for food photography than anyone can imagine to ‘capture’ food in frame! DMBLGiT was relaunched last month … and the announcement filled me with nostalgia. It was but natural that he would revive DMBLGiT some day!bundts 800 It’s a simple contest. Photographs are reviewed by a panel of judges, who score them in three categories: edibility, aesthetics, and originality. The host {me in this case} then compiles the scores to determine the winners. I have invited 3 food photographers I admire to be part of the panel this month.Mulberry fro yoThere is the very talented Bulgarian born Sophia Terra-Ziva from Sydney whos work I hugely admire. She has a very clear perspective, plays with colours beautifully and has won several food photography awards. Her frames tell a compelling tale, her energy amazes!

Our second judge is the sweet and uber talented Ludmila Slokoski, coincidentally again from Bulgaria and based in Sophia. She is the author of one of Bulgaria’s most popular food blogs Salted Lemons which reflects her love for the tastes and colors of great food. The last two years Ludmila has been working as the editor-in-chief and photographer of BBC GoodFood Bulgaria magazine.

… and last but not the least, our third judge is Neel who really needs no introduction as he is the force behind resurrecting this beautiful DMBLGiT concept! Neel is also the star {with his better half G} who has successfully run Learn Food Photography for the past so many years. From an old Russian 35 mm film camera, Zenit, to plugging in his memory card, Neel, the hobbyist photographer and professional engineer, is living a dream life!

 Food Styling @ PABThe specific things the judges will be looking for are as follows:

Aesthetics: composition, food styling, lighting, focus, etc.
Edibility: “does the photo make us want to dive in and eat the food?”
Originality: the photograph that catches our attention and makes us want to say “wow!”, displaying something we might not have seen before.
Overall Winner: top overall scores in all three categories combined.

Vine tomatoes with LFP There are three overall winners for photographs with the highest point totals in all three categories combined, and one winner in each of the three individual categories. So… ready to participate? To participate simply email me your best photograph you took in Mar ’15 using the submission instructions below.

How to Participate – Photo Submission Requirements

  1. Send your photos at an attachment to dmblgit[at]learnfoodphotography[dot]com with Subject “DMBLGiT April 2015″
  2. Include this information in your photo submission
    1. Your full name
    2. Your blog name and URL
    3. Title of your photograph
    4. URL to blogpost where submitted photo is posted
    5. Agreement from you agreeing to let us display your photo on host website, and DMBLGiT contest gallery. We won’t use your photo for any other purpose outside DMBLGiT.
  3. Important: File format needs to be jpeg format and longest size should be no longer than 500 pixels. This means for horizontal or landscape format max 500 px width and for vertical or portrait format max 500 px height.
  4. Photo must not have any text.

General DMBLGiT Contest Rules

  1. Only one entry per person. One photograph. No diptychs.

  2. This photo should be taken and posted in the month of Mar 2015.

  3. This goes without saying but well … you must have taken this photograph and should have copyrights to this photo.

  4. Entries must be received by Apr 20th at midnight I.S.T (Indian Standard Time) using all requirements described in the photo requirements section.

Food Styling @ PABDon’t miss a post
Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

“Yield to temptation; it may not pass your way again”
Lazarus Long

  I really shouldn’t have stopped by. The minute I saw Jamie’s post title in my reader I was mesmerised but I knew I had to stay away. Yet, I reached there in a hypnotic trance following the strings of my heart! How they tugged, and not without reason. There she had posted the most gorgeous lattice crust Mixed Berry Pie, a pie I have long wished to try, but have never had the courage to.

But when someone so close to you makes and blogs about the most perfect looking pie under the sun, you know it’s more than safe to head out to the kitchen and take a stab at it. The hot weather here is not very pie crust friendly, and most certainly not pastry rolling friendly either; but I had THAT pie on my mind! I was prepared for lattice failure because at 40C+ I know that pastry and pastry strips don’t hold up well.  Take a look, I tried to do a lattice, didn’t succeeed a 100% well, but managed a patchy job, which was good enough for a first time.

I loved everything about the pie. First it had fruit in it, which as most of you know is my first love in baked desserts. You can use a mix of seasonal mixed berries, or even customise it to your tastes with berries of your choice. The pie crust is full of gorgeous goodness, and very very forgiving. It holds up well with good old patchwork, which I resorted to to a large extent as the pastry wasn’t doing too well in the heat. In the end, as you can see for yourself, it held the pie together beautifully.

For a step by step tutorial on pie crust making, do stop by at  Jamie’s post here, as she is quite the pastry queen! She’s had extensive experience in pastry making and can toss together a mean pie in minutes! {She and I are also partners in our blog dedicated to macarons @ MacTweets! have you been there yet? Do stop by and feel free to join a whole bunch of macpassionate folk find feet once a month!}

The verdict on the pie for me was out before I even sliced it. In my mind I thought, “If it looks and smells  this good coming out of the oven, it’s gonna taste even better!” Wasn’t far from it. It was divine in every bite. The fruit all firmed up beautifully, and had the perfect consistency. Mr PAB gave it a high five, and called it a quality dessert … well he did get a second slice for that!! I was bursting with pride, and when I tweeted it out to Jamie, so was she!! You could try making it for Mother’s day, trimmed with heart cut outs or flowers! She’ll  L♥VE  it!!

It was everything good, even it had a cup of butter in the crust. Well no butter in the filling, made up for that and it balanced beautifully! I reduced an egg in the pie crust because pastry making experience in hot weather has made me wiser. Maybe next time, if I make it in hot weather, I ‘ll use just the yolk. That might give me a firmer dough. I think you can even get the whole pie together, and chill it in advance, baking it later if you need to. Might just work out to be a good dessert to make in advance. Oh, and I have to say, it tasted very nice cold too!

Adapted minimally from Jamie @ Lifes A Feast

6 cups (ie one filled glass measuring cup) mixed berries, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup vanilla sugar, or granulated
1/3 cup flour
Juice of 1 lime
*I used 2 cups fresh, seasonal pitted black cherries, 1/2 cup stoned plums, 1 cup frozen strawberries. You can use blackberries, blueberries, raspberries or currants too.
Sweet Pastry Pie Crust {Double crust}
2 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup vanilla sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, chilled, cut into cubes
1 egg, lightly beaten with a fork
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Method for filling:
Toss the sugar, flour, cinnamon and zest together in a small bowl and stir to combine. Place all of the fruit in a large bowl and, using your hands, toss with the flour/sugar mixture until all of the fruit is coated with the dry ingredients.
Method for pie crust:
Combine flour and sugar in the bowl of the food processor. Add chilled butter & whiz till breadcrumb like mixture forms,.
With a fork, vigorously stir in the lightly beaten egg until all the dry ingredients are moistened and a dough starts to pull together and form a ball.
Scrape up the dough together, re-flour the surface lightly and work very briefly and quickly until you have a smooth, homogeneous dough. If the dough is a bit too soft or sticky for you, refrigerate it for 10 or 15 minutes until it can be easily rolled out without sticking to your rolling pin.
Cut the dough in two pieces, one half slightly larger than the other (this larger part will be the bottom crust). On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough for the bottom crust until you have a circle about an inch (2 cm) wider all around than the bottom of the pie plate. Carefully roll up the dough around the rolling pin and lift and transfer to your pie dish, unrolling into the dish. Gently lift up the dough all around, sliding and pressing the dough down into the dish so as avoid stretching or breaking the dough. If the dough splits, no worry, it can simply be stuck and pressed together again.
Using a knife or your rolling pin lying flat on top of the pie dish, cut off all excess dough hanging over the edges. Repress the sides of the dough back into the (crimped) sides of the pie dish.
Pour the prepared fruit filling into the pie dish and push the fruit around until evenly distributed and filling any gaps.
Preheat the oven to 190°C.
On your floured work surface, roll out the remaining dough into a circle the size of your pie plate or slightly larger. Cut into even strips of any width. Form a lattice over the fruit filling. Using every other strip from the cut circle of dough, space them evenly across the top of the pie, leaving the edges hanging loosely over the edge of the pie.
Trim the edges of the dough strips and press (flour your fingers if they stick to the dough) the strips into the dough of the bottom crust. If you like, use any leftover dough to make decorative shapes for the top (I made hearts). ‘Glue‘ these shapes of dough onto the crust with a bit of milk. Gently and lightly brush the crust lattice with milk.
Bake in the preheated oven for 40-50 minutes, until the crust is golden and cooked, and the fruit is bubbling. If any part of the crust begins to brown too fast – the edges of mine began browning well before the center, simply cover with strips of aluminum foil.
Carefully remove from the oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack. The filling will firm up perfectly when cooled to room temperature.
Serve plain, with unsweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
♥ Thank you for stopping by ♥

On another note, my good friend Sid, the Chef at Large, asked if I’d like to host a giveaway on my blog for my local readers! YES please! So here we are. On offer is a delicious dinner for 2 at the Empress of China, Intercontinental Eros at Nehru Place, to be used anytime in the month of May. Do leave a comment on this post telling me what your fave Chinese joint in the NCR is! Will pick a winner on Tuesday!

Don’t miss a post
“Marge, it’s 3 AM. Shouldn’t you be baking?”
Homer Simpson

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge. We’re back again & with another great challenge. It’s the Daring Bakers time of the month again, & this time it’s CHEESECAKE!! What caught my attention about this month’s challenge was the announcement : April 2009 Challenge – Time to get creative! The real challenge this month is to take this basic recipe and play with it. Make it unique. Make a showstopper of a dessert. Add flavor, sauces, decorations – dress it up and show it off. I tried!!For this month’s challenge, Jenny has picked a basic cheesecake recipe, courtesy of her friend Abbey T., who has tweaked and played with this recipe. She has made many variations, and anyone who knows Abbey, knows to ask her to bring a cheesecake!
Was surprisingly quick on the challenge this month; surprised myself too. Actually had these beautiful mulberries that the fellow who works for me brought home one evening. We chomped some, then some more, but there were far too many. Mulberries, one of a clutch of Indian berries, are a sign of Spring, but have a very SHORT shelf life. They just drop off the tree once ripe, making a royal mess of the place. They are beautifully coloured, & are plump & juicy.Checked the Daring Bakers forum that morning, & saw the challenge. Yippee, time to put the mulberries to some productive use! Followed the recipe as is, except for the cream cheese, used curd cheese instead, & got a wonderful cheesecake, though not as rich & creamy as the original would have been. I used a blend of digestive biscuits & almonds in the biscuit base.I flavoured the batter with concentrated mulberry syrup. The syrup was quite difficult to make coz the berries don’t let go of their stalks easily. I macerated the berries for an hour with sugar & then pushed them through a sieve. Phew … tough work. In the end though, they didn’t lend a huge outstanding kick of flavour, just a gentle mild berry flavouring.
The cheesecake itself was easy to bake, with a set of clear cut instructions from the host. You can find the recipe for ‘Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake’ here @ The water bath ensures that the cake doesn’t crack on top while baking. I lined the inside of my tin with double foil too to ensure that no water seeped in. It didn’t, but resulted in an uneven side, so I covered the sides with slivered almonds to get rid of the flaw. My base got a bit soggy; suspect that was because of the mulberry syrup … The recipe itself – a WINNER!!!I did the top with a mirror glaze coz I remembered seeing a really old DB post at Meeta’s @ WFLH for a Strawberry Mirror Cake. More than anything else, I thought it just added to the finish & general appearance of the cheesecake, & gave me a chance to experiment. I love the contrast the ‘mirrored’ look offers. All in all, it was a fun challenge … & I did procrastinate typing out the post. I was so excited that I completed the challenge well in time, yet kept postponing putting my words down. Here I am, on D day, editing pictures & typing madly. Sigh…
Thanks a million Jenny, for such a fun & creative challenge, and for making ‘Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake’ famous, & very popular indeed!

Check out what delightful creations the rest of our Daring Bakers have been serving up this month here.

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