Au revoir l’été bonjour automne

It is now officially fall, in fact it has been fall for over a week. It is that time of year when I reluctantly bid adieu to summer, which has felt strangely short this year – perhaps because time sometimes feels like it flies by,while at other times cause sheer agony in the length of each second. Don’t mistake this for the depression that millions feel when the weather is about to turn bleak and dark, I look forward to fall and winter just as much, just not so much the transition periods. I reminisce about summer because I am cherishing some of its best work as I type. I chanced upon some lovely ripe yellow peaches, the last of summers’ bounty for the year and decided to combine it with my new found love for greek yoghurt – which I am not ashamed to say has begun to substitute sour cream and sometimes even mayo. I did decide early on this year that health will take precedence in decision making and I’d like to think that, that switch is a product of that decision. I have made some healthy choices through the year, key word being some. In fact I even braved the darned dentist and got some extractions done. Now back to the peaches, surely its fun to eat the peaches just as it is with yoghurt, but it is fall after all, so poaching it with some spices couldn’t be all that bad an idea. It is a bit nippy outside, some warm spice poached peaches over a honey vanilla greek yoghurt base is just the best of both seasons. The spices evoking a gentle trigger to remind me that the holidays aren’t too far off, that mulled wine , pumpkin pie and cider are just a few weeks away. On those toasty thoughts….

POACHED PEACHES 1

POACHED PEACHES 2

POACHED PEACHES 3

I seem to be obsessed with the concept of symmetry in my photography and I need to break the mould soon….Everything is in pairs…oh dear lord! I feared that my OCD would bubble over into other facets of my life but wow, this is rather disconcerting. So here is a promise – the next food blog post/picture will NOT have anything to do with symmetry, I will come up with compositions that are more fluid. All shots were shot with natural light, no reflectors and everything you see are things most of us already own.  As for the recipe – this was really off the cuff – poached in water, sugar, cinnamon, cloves and a wee bit of all spice and the sauce is just a gentle mixture of greek yoghurt, vanilla and honey! Proportions are completely taste based on this one so have fun – one can’t really screw this up! You could poach this in some gorgeous Riesling, if your intentions are to make this a bit more sophisticated sounding.

As usual, all pictures and everything on this blog are copyright of the Photopportunist/Shruthi Venkatasubramanian. DO NOT copy or reuse or download or print without my explicit written permission.

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Au revoir l’été bonjour automne

Playing with food is not a bad thing!

Fall is inching ever so closely, that when I look out my window I can see some orange and red leaves peeking back at me. Soon it will be cold, and everyone will talk about layering and jackets and bundling up by the fire – and before you know it, the holidays will be upon us! Its almost that time of year when one tends  to think about comfort food. But I am clutching on to summer’s coat tails and wringing it of its very last bounty. Oh, don’t get me wrong – I prefer the cold over the heat but summer gives me one thing in plenty that I adore the most – fresh strawberries! Like carrots, I hate cooking strawberries. The sweet but tart red stippled fruit doused with a generous dip of my version of fromage blanc with mascarpone, is the simplest manna one can construct within a matter of minutes. It almost gives me the feeling of enjoying a day of tennis on the lawns of wimbledon. A version of Strawberries & Cream, so wrong for you and just so right. Its like that seductively attractive guy you know is bad for you but you just can’t seem to keep your hands  to yourself.

So here is the “recipe” ( a rather unusual thing for a blog focused more on photography) –

1 pint of strawberries hulled

1  8oz container of mascarpone

zest of one lemon

2-3 tbsp of heavy cream/whole milk (whichever you prefer)

2 tbsps of honey or 1 tbsp of confectioner’s sugar ( add more if you want it sweeter)

1 tsp vanilla extract ( not essence)

Mix ingredient 2-5 in a bowl to a consistency where you can dip a strawberry into ( add more milk if required). Tastes better if the dip is a little colder than room temperature, Dip strawberries & enjoy.

But coming back to comfort food and the upcoming change in season, I foresee a lot of experimentation with soup. One of the few things I will list as comfort food is a no-nonsense chicken soup that my mother used to make for us. Nothing like the sometimes insipid to taste, chicken noodle soup. Heck no! This was a spicy concoction that could clear a sinus. It was spicy and warmed up every thing it touched and even our dog used to love it and drink it piping hot. She always used the giblets, some of our Indian spices, a good heap of garlic and chopped up coriander and that was all the flavor that this clear broth required along with salt & pepper. From the smell to the taste, this rather uncomplicated soup was a giant hug that relieved us of congestion and cold.

Speaking of spices, I was wondering about photographing some Indian spices that we use often and was doing some research online to see what compositions had already been done. Symmetrical compositions with wooden spoons or bowls, all whole spices in a row, powders in a heap at a market were all that I could find. Also in all my previous food photos, I saw an element of symmetry and pattern and I wanted to break the mold. Spices are a cook’s palette and that sentence got me thinking. There is some symmetry in this too, but just as a subtle reference. Let me know what you think.

 

I will also be writing a piece on food photography for a magazine I edit so I needed a cliched but fun shot that was simple and could take some text on it, so I shot this…

 

 

All of these photos were shot using natural light, near an open window on a slightly overcast day. I used a diffuser to even out the light hitting the food and to get softer shadows.  The only post processing done on these pictures are for contrast and a slight amount of color saturation.

As usual all photos and material on this blog are copyright of the author. Please DO NOT reuse anything from this blog without the author’s explicit permission. If you are interested in working with me or want to buy a print, please leave me a message.

Playing with food is not a bad thing!