Category Archives: Eggs and Cheese

Photo Contests and Shooting What you Love

Eggs at the Versailles, FR market.

I entered this image in a food photography contest a few months back and was shortlisted as a finalist. The image was taken at the outdoor market in Versailles on my vacation last year. The vendor had crates and crates of eggs stacked on his table. The shadows of the eggs in the crates, the fine lines and symmetry of the crates caught my eye. And there goes the click. How this image versus the other mages I submitted made it to the finals I do not know.  We never know the minds of the judges. We can only wish that the image we submit somehow resonates with those judges. I entered another contest last year and scored very well with one judge – but one is not enough. The others had a different idea for the criteria for winning. Win or lose – doesn’t matter – what matters is being in the game – taking forward action and being confident in your own style and the value you bring to the table. No judge in a contest can take that away from you. Shoot what you love – and keep shooting it. Shoot, refine, shoot some more. Rinse and repeat. Even if you never enter a contest, this is the formula for excellent work. So go out and do excellent work.

So why do we enter photography contests? For me, it was all about validation. To know that the months of hard work and practice bring tangible results. To compete with professionals and amateurs on a global scale  – and wind up on the shortlist – this is a really great motivator to keep doing what I do.

Do any of you doubt  your talent and ability every now and then like I do? Sometimes the work of photography and art is isolated. Hold fast to your vision. The world needs it. Art matters – in history – and now more than ever. Your work enriches the world around us. Keep doing it – over and over and over again.

My agreement as a finalist was that I would not publish the image on any social media until the winners were announced on April 23. Although I did not place or win my category, “Cream of the Crop”, I was thrilled to be a finalist. It is so satisfying to do work that you love and get paid and recognized for it.

There were over 5000 entries and about 100 finalists in all categories. Each category had seven finalists and there was an overall winner. My image was on display in a five-day exhibition of the Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year 2013 at the Mall Galleries, London SW1 from Wednesday 24th – Sunday 28th April 2013.

Keep directing energy to the thing that you love and love will come back to you in ways you could never imagine.

Baked Ricotta with Roasted Pears

Dinner tonight. Baked ricotta (with lemon and oregano) and roasted pears with crispy sage leaves.

Baked-Ricotta-and-Pears

Mashed Potato Omelette

A few weeks ago I was in Brooklyn visiting my daughter and we had breakfast in a wonderful coffee shop restaurant. She had a mashed potato omelette and so of course I had to try it at home. Oh so yummy when the creamy mashed potatoes ooze out onto your fork. It’s also filled with some diced ham and topped with provolone cheese.

Mashed-Potato-Omelette

Salmon and Corn Fritters


Salmon and Corn Fritters
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
 
A delicious way to use summer corn goodness.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 5 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 fresh ears of corn (kernels removed)
  • 1-3 tbs fresh dill, chopped
  • Olive Oil
  • Skinless salmon filets
  • Watercress
  • lemon wedges
Instructions
  1. Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper.
  2. Cream the softened cream cheese and eggs together in a bowl. Whisk in the milk, then the flour mixture. Stir in the corn kernels and dill.
  3. Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Spoon about ¼ cup of the batter into the pan for each fritter. Cook 2-3 minutes on each side until cooked through and nicely browned. Keep warm in a low oven.
  4. When all of the fritters are done, add some olive oil to the pan. Cook the salmon filets about 3-4 minutes per side or until it flakes easily with a fork.
  5. Flake the salmon into large chunks. Top the corn fritters with the salmon. Dress with watercress sprigs and lemon wedges.

Recipe adapted from Donna Hay Magazine

Promenades Gourmandes – Paris Cooking School – The Cheese

 

Today’s post is about the cheese. This was our menu:

Cheese plate with a lovely bottle of Valdé Loire Souvingnon Tauraine

Petits Souffles de Christophie

Veal Paupiettes aux Herbes filled with spinach and mushroom

Saute of potato and celeriac

White Asparagus

Tarte aux Pommes Nougatine

Red wine (again from Valdé Loire, but I forgot to snap a picture of it – it was delicious though) and baguette

Cheese is an integral part of French cuisine. Each is made in its own region, with milk from certain pastures, then molded and ripened, and sent to a skilled fromager who then sells it to customers. It’s one of the few industries that defies automation. And so much for the better. Artisanal cheese purchased in a shop with expertise guidance – voilà. Cheesy goodness in all its glory.
On the day of our class, we visited the Fromager and Madame selected five cheeses based on their recommendation. We had Bannon – goat cheese wrapped in chestnut leaves, St. Maure de Touraine – goat cheese coated in wood ash, Coulommiers – a soft cow’s milk brie, Mimolette – an orange hard cheese and Comté – a yellow hard cow’s milk cheese. The cheese course was served with a white wine – a Valdé Loire Souvingnon Tauraine, and I savored. every. tiny. morsel.

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Promenades Gourmandes – Paris Cooking Class – The Cheese Souffle

 

Twice Baked Cheese Souffle

Now that the introductions were done, we all got down to the business of preparing our afternoon meal.

This was our menu:

Cheese plate with a lovely bottle of Valdé Loire Souvingnon Tauraine

Petits Souffles de Christophie

Veal Paupiettes aux Herbes filled with spinach and mushroom

Saute of potato and celeriac

White Asparagus

Tarte aux Pommes Nougatine

Red wine (again from Valdé Loire, but I forgot to snap a picture of it – it was delicious though) and baguette

First up – the souffles. These were not the traditional French souffle that rises and puffs in a hot oven. This one is baked twice and had a more dense and creamy texture. I’ve been experimenting with the traditional French souffle so look for a post soon – but first I have to work on my technique a bit. Instead of rising uniformly, the first one looked like an upside down mushroom. It’s a shame that I’ll have to eat so many practice specimens. But I digress. The souffles we made can be made a day ahead and popped back in the oven at serving time. They were very delicious and a good way to make a first course for a dinner party. The primary difference between these and a traditional souffle was in the cooking method. For a traditional souffle, the dish is cooked dry in a hot oven so that it puffs and rises. The souffles we made were cooked in a hot water bath similar to the method for custards or flan. This is what gave the souffles their dense and creamy texture. Everything else was pretty much the same.

First smear softened butter to coat the souffle molds. Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Make a béchamel sauce and incorporate the egg yolks and cheese. Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold into the béchamel/egg/cheese mixture, then bake. Once they are baked, remove from the oven to cool and then un-mold. Place the un-molded souffles  in a baking dish, pour over a very light cream sauce and place them back in the oven to warm and rise a little. Serve with chopped chives, parsley or other fresh herb you have on hand. Bon Appétit.

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