Caramel Custard
“For me, the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity.”
Henri Cartier-Bresson

A post about Caramel Custard, Mother’s Day and Sunday Stills! Also of high key photography. The recent trip down into the heart of South India opened up a new dimension to how I wanted to style and shoot food. Karaikudi meant loads more prop shopping, tons of enamelware included. Strange how it started off a domino effect. My downright dark and moody side opened up to a new love, a new light I have never chased so passionately! Kumquat LemonadeKumquat LemonadeLove for light food props, then love for white frames, and eventually a fascination with high key photography. Light tones, pastels, loads of whites, brighter hues, sometimes edging on overexposed. The technical sense still abysmal though! I am still experimenting, still trying to build a level of patience…Kumquat lemonadeThat was a drastic change from what I have always enjoyed shooting, dark, moody frames. Moody is still my first love, shadows, darkness, deep blacks, blocking light, all reflective of my personality, and definitely of my favourite colour, black!Wholewheat Apple Walnut Cheddar Thyme Hand Pies

Pomegranate Mojitos


Buckwheat Oat Walnut Chippers GF Caught between yin and yang, swinging between two extremes, my sweet friend Simi asked if I wanted to join her and Dolphia for Sunday Stills. Sunday Stills meant experimenting with testing new levels of photography. That basically meant different experiments with light and techniques, new ways to push our comfort levels. While she is a workhorse, with loads of planning and in-depth research, something that reflects in her stunning styling and images, I am quite the opposite.Caramel Custard 1000 3Often impatient, no time for research, technically pretty incompetent {read pathetic}, yet we share two things. Love for food styling and photography, and food props. We are the queens of procrastination too. Oh yes, and we share a single day between birthdays, Scorpions to the core we are!

pink flowers pink flowers

High key photographySo here we go this Sunday. With my #SundayStills, thanks to this hugely inspiring lady, I share with you a little of what I’ve been shooting lately {I have to admit I am also shooting low key, dark images on the side}. Also here for you a recipe for a Caramel Custard that I did for Kitchen Aid. I did another version soon after, the Caramel Flan. Caramel FlanHopefully someday that recipe too will see light of day! While I have baked the custard, you can always steam it the old fashioned way like my Mum used to do. 10-15 minutes in the pressure cooker, placed on a trivet submerged in water, lid on, no cap.

Pink Flowers, Mother's DayHave a great Sunday, and of course, Happy Mother’s Day!

And before I forget, grateful thanks to Manidipa for the include in her post this morning – 20 Top Female Food Bloggers of India: Mother’s Day Special

Caramel Custard
Print Recipe
My version of the quintessential ‘Caramel Custard’ that showed up on our frugal dessert table quite often when we were young. This one is slightly more luxurious than the wobbly one we had as kids from the armed forces. It's baked, not steamed, though if you are making one large pudding, steaming it in the pressure cooker is a breeze. Quick too!
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
45 minutes 3-4 hours
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
45 minutes 3-4 hours
Caramel Custard
Print Recipe
My version of the quintessential ‘Caramel Custard’ that showed up on our frugal dessert table quite often when we were young. This one is slightly more luxurious than the wobbly one we had as kids from the armed forces. It's baked, not steamed, though if you are making one large pudding, steaming it in the pressure cooker is a breeze. Quick too!
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
45 minutes 3-4 hours
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
45 minutes 3-4 hours
Servings: people
For the Caramel
  1. Keep 4 X 8oz ramekins ready and place sugar and water in a heavy bottom saucepan, and stir over medium heat until sugar melts.
  2. Increase heat to high, and allow to bubble away without stirring, until it reaches a deep amber colour. {This is the crucial part because the caramel can burn. Also please take extreme caution as caramel is very hot}.
  3. Take off heat immediately, and pour into ramekins, turning gently to coat bottoms. Allow to stand for 5 minutes, while you make the custard.
For the Caramel Custard
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C
  2. Heat milk, cream and shell of vanilla bean in a pan over low heat until slight bubbles form on the edges. Take off heat.
  3. Place the eggs, scraped vanilla and sugar in bowl of stand mixer. Whisk on speed 2 for 2 minutes until sugar is almost dissolved.
  4. Reduce speed to lowest, put the splatter screen, and gently pour in the vanilla infused milk, whisking continuously for 30 seconds.
  5. Strain the custard into a jug/saucepan, and then pour into the prepared ramekins.
  6. Place ramekins in a 9′ X 9″ square pan. Gently pour in water into the tray to come up half around the ramekins. – –
  7. Bake for about 45 minutes until the custard begins to set, a bit wobbly in the middle.
  8. Allow to cool, then chill covered for a few hours, preferably overnight.
  9. To serve, run a butter knife gently around the tip to loosen it, place a platter over the ramekin, turn over swiftly, and then shake to release. Top with toasted walnuts if desired.
Share this Recipe

“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

“Skills are never taught, they are acquired. I can give you a camera, but can’t feed your vision.”
Raghu Rai

World Photography Day
Mumbai, Aug 19th, 2013

It was Aug 19th, 2013. I landed in Mumbai early that morning armed with my camera. Shot the above as I was driven to the hotel. Google was celebrating World Photography Day in Mumbai, the city of dreams. Shantaram’s Mumbai for me, the book that brought the city virtually alive for me. It played out like a film in my head as I read the book. Then came Slumdog Millionaire. It offered the world this bustling city frame by frame, captured to take your breath away! The Mumbaikers, the colours, the light, the smells of Mumbai … all fascinating! All this has one common thread. IMAGES.

World Photography DayMy world is dominated by the moments that I capture. I have a million pictures that I love to look at, share, tag, and use on the blog. I’m no different from most of us. Cameras and mobiles have resulted in photography enthusiasts like never before. An active social networking community means that we like to share the pictures we capture. We need to curate too, organise them. That’s just where is where Google steps in.

World Photography DayGoogle celebrated World Photography Day in Mumbai with an event at the Race Course at Mahaluxmi. It was  a day when professional photographers and photo enthusiasts were invited to  step into Googles dynamic world of photo sharing. Google invited photographers to embrace technology with its easy to use features.

“Google+ offers plethora of advanced features for budding and professional photographers to add effects, edit, and improve the quality of their photos. It provides a powerful platform for photographers to showcase their work, receive suggestions, and network with other photographers with similar interests.”

World Photography Day I have been using Google images in my G+ account for a while. My first real insight into Google’s world was when I was invited for Google Day in September last year. AMAZING GOOGLE were my thoughts that day. I hadn’t realised how dynamic, how responsive, how brilliant Google was. There are subtle changes that I notice as I use this platform increasingly. Non invasive, good helpful features that attempt to make life easier.

Mumbai, Aug 19th, 2013

For a world now obsessed with images and social networking, cameras and mobiles rule the world. The whole worlds clicking, and Google’s here to simplify things! Being the dynamic and proactive company that it is, Google has worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make G+ image friendly.

ITC Grand, Parel, Mumbai
Mumbai, Aug 19th, 2013

They chose to celebrate World Photography Day in a big way. I was privileged to be invited. They flew me down, hosted me at the beautiful ITC Grand Central, assigned me a chauffeur driven car for the day … everything taken care of like magic. {Photography is everywhere; above adorning the walls of the hotel room}.

World Photography Day The event was hosted at the beautiful Tote on the Turf. An inspiring array of photo exhibits was on display, each celebrating India and photography…. with G+ of course. After a brief welcome, the stage was handed over to one of India’s best known photographers and photojournalists, the celebrated Padma Shri Raghu Rai, for the keynote session. {I have included some of his stunning B & W photographs below}Raghu Rai's IndiaRaghu Rai’s India is inspirational. Full of characterNo one has shot India like he has; extensively and evocatively. At the event, Raghu Rai spoke about the evolution of photography over the decades. Also about how creativity is pushing new boundaries with the easy to use technology available on hand. {The shots below are ones I took on a recent visit to Lucknow. I love the emotional connect and vibrancy that India offers}

Lucknow, India
Lucknow, March 2013

If your mind is not connected to what you are shooting then you are not a good photographer” Raghu Rai went on to explain. You need to connect with your inner self, your maker to try and ‘capture the moment’. Of that moment he says ” A photograph has picked up a fact of life, and that fact will live forever‘. He held the audience captivatedwith his stories, ending with how dangerously fascinating Google was for him.

World Photography Day From there, Sandeep Menon, Director, Marketing, Google India took over. “The advent of technology has brought easy-to-use, advanced photography tools within reach of all photography enthusiasts. Recognizing the evolving needs of photographers, Google is focused on providing useful photo-editing tools and services to help people share the special moments that matter.

Mumbai, Aug 19th, 2013

Sandeep Menon went on to demonstrate salient features that Google has silently built into it’s photo sharing sites. With features like auto back up, auto-enhance, auto highlight and auto awesome, g+ promises to make your picture better automagically!

Mumbai, Aug 19th, 2013

As Raghu Rai said,  “The world of photography has seen a paradigm shift over the past decade. It has moved away from isolated dark rooms to highly interactive social platforms.” With increased awareness and interest in photography, travel etc, and the growing popularity of such platforms, g+ fits in easily.

World Photography DayIt leverages the power of technology to capture and curate photographs, helps address common bottlenecks like skin tone enhancing, denoising, local contrast. In a nutshell, Google offers intelligent photo editing on the go! These are all available free at g+.

World Photography Day Also interesting was the animated gif composition where image series can be merged to make an animation. Auto awesome! Take a look at my gif below; it’s quite animated yet could have been better!! This is my first attempt to stitch a strip!

IMG_0841-1-MOTIONThe event wrapped up with an interactive panel discussion with celebrated photojournalists and photographers which included Sooni Taraporevala, Sumit Sen, Mulchand Dedhia and Ketaki Sheth. Thank you Google for having me over! 

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

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