Food Styling

Quince Cook Up

Quinces B

Do you love quinces? I most certainly do, what’s not to love? The gorgeous deep ruby pink colour they turn into when cooked is just amazing – I always make quince paste, I absolutely love it with cheese. Last year I had to test a quince paste recipe & made it about 10 times I’m sure! I gave it away to friends mostly but did discover a batch only about a month ago that I had forgotten about in the fridge. For me I can’t bring myself to buy quinces, my neighbour has a tree & they are happy for me to use them. Last year one of  my customers gave me a massive bucket of them off her tree & another friend of a friend invited me to help myself to their tree. My Mum’s neighbour also has a huge tree & she is happy to share her produce with us too. So now I have my quince suppliers sorted I have to create & sample awesome quince recipes.

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The year before last I created quince curd with my friend Erica & quince relish that are amazing recipes even if I do say so myself. The relish served with homemade sausage rolls just lifts the whole dish to something really special. My friend Charlie recommends her quince jelly recipe.

 

Roasted quinces

 

Steamed quinces for a cake

 

So this year I had decided to boycott making quince paste & wanted to try some different quince recipes. I roasted some & ate them just like that with no sugar or anything YUM! I also tried an amazing recipe from the MasterChef at home cookbook for a quince crumble cake with ginger chilli syrup & basil cream. I would definitely make it again but may need to share it with someone – I was the only one in our household that ate it!

Thermomix poached quinces with ginger chilli & vanilla for the crumble cake.

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I made an amazing vanilla bean panna cotta with a quince syrup have a look on my instagram for the video of the wobble. – when I was trying to make the syrup I accidentally made a paste that I am going make into a Maggie Beer style swirled quince ice cream 😀

I also made Michelle Crawford’s Quince & Walnut cake.

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When I went to Ellies for the 2nd part of her cookbook photo shoot I stopped into sea soul studio to borrow some of her amazing ceramics & she also had some quinces to give away from her amazing garden. So that night at Ellies after all the seafood cooking was complete we made Ellie’s quince paste recipe so we could give Sarah some when I returned her ceramics. I can’t believe I hadn’t tried Ellie’s quince paste recipe before now you don’t need to peel or core the quinces – I wanted to use Fiona Hoskins recipe with a bit less sugar too. Ellie even said that making quince paste in the thermomix was one of the things that made her want to buy a Thermomix.

Some points to remember when making quince paste the timing will be very different depending on your quinces. They will have different pectin levels, I added lemons for this reason & the fact that they taste so good. You have to go by site waiting until the deep ruby colour is achieved.

So in the morning we still had more quinces so I decided to make another batch & we had run out of sugar so we decided to use honey from our “styling honeycomb” instead. It didn’t end up setting as well but it was very tasty.

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Of course when I got home I just had to make another batch of quince paste for myself & we actually used it for our studio photo shoot at TAFE. I also made herbed lavosh from the Devil of a Cookbook. We served the quince paste with King Island blue cheese covered in ash OMG it was such a good combo a new favourite for me. Also perfect with Bangor sparkling wine.

 

Ellie’s Seafood Everyday Cookbook Photoshoot & Taste Testing

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Yes Ellie & I did it again – another sunrise breakfast at the Tessellated Pavement, but more on that later.

What do you say when your chef friend asks you to come & cook, wash up & taste the food for her 2 day photo shoot for her Seafood Everyday Cookbook – YES PLEASE! (And as a bonus I actually got paid to do it too!! I told Ellie I would have done it for free because it was so much fun, not to mention absolutely delicious!)

Day 1: Sunday 1st May – Job 1 purchase some ingredients on the way down to Ellie’s place at Eaglehawk Neck. When I woke up bright & early there was the most amazing sunrise & then as I started to drive into the city I heard thunder, saw lightning & then it bucketed down with rain! I was hoping the light would still be ok for Ellie’s photos today. I had nothing to fear as when I arrived at Ellie’s at about 9.30am she had already started some of the prep – her dining table was covered with lots of crockery, cloths & cutlery. She had a table by the window set up with backgrounds reflectors & her camera on the tripod. She had already cooked a crayfish for a couple of the recipes later on in the day. I was asked to make & prep some of the recipes so Elli’e could just finish them off before taking her photos for the book & then I got to taste them all!! I was so busy trying to cook, eat & wash up (she doesn’t have a dishwasher) that I didn’t get a chance to take many of my own photos – I did get some quick shots on my iPhone before I consumed them, so I could use them on our designated instagram breaks throughout the day, to make all my friends super jealous!!

On the first day we completed 19 recipes – which included about 6 different styles of oysters YUM! I was in my element because I could use Ellie’s 2 Thermomix for certain elements of the recipes too. I learnt so many tips and ideas form Ellie over the 2 days. You won’t believe the first dish I had to prep was risotto (or otherwise know as “Hot Wet Rice” & yes we showed the Katering show video of the two Kate’s making risotto to Ellie’s hubby at the end of day 2 & we all had a good laugh).

I used the Thermomix for fresh pasta dough  & left it to rest, Ellie had already made the bread dough in the Thermie before I arrived & then I learnt how to shape it for a cob loaf & 2 baguettes – we let it proof again & then baked in the oven. It’ s a bit of a blur but I will try to remember everything the best I can – octopus salad with peas & feta was amazing! I also had another salad with fish, risotto & feta balls with octopus, salmon & bacon pancakes – so good!! I made Ellie’s awesome potato & sweet potato surprise bake. (I’m drooling in my mouth as i remember tasting all these amazing dishes). A cauliflower puree was another element for one of the dishes that was easy to make in the Thermomix, as well as onion jam & beetroot relish – Ellie wanted a grated texture for the beetroot relish & took great delight in the fact I had to use a grater to hand grate the beetroot by hand instead of using the Thermomix. I also made pastry in the Thermomix too.

Dish of the day was hard to choose but I have to say the crayfish topped with Thermomix hollandaise was so special, plus it looked amazing too!

Guess what we had for dinner that night? Yes leftovers!! I couldn’t believe I could fit anything in!! After dinner we looked at the days photos & they looked amazing they even made me hungry looking at them!! I rolled out the pasta dough & cooked it ready for 4 different pasta dishes we would shoot tomorrow. I also made the steamed Dill & Feta Omelette with Smoked Salmon recipe we were taking to the Tessellated Pavement in the morning for Ellie to get the cover photo for her cookbook. We had learnt a lot form our previous breakfast at the Tessellated Pavement, to take a little with us as possible. So we packed 1 picnic basket of things & worked out how we were going to style it. We had an early night so we would be fresh in the morning for our big photo shoot.

Day 2: Monday 2nd May, after I woke up multiple times in the early morning it was time to officially wake up at 5.45am. We had a quick cuppa & grabbed our food, Tasmanian sparkling wine & picnic basket of props to arrive at the Tessellated Pavement about 6.30, after setting up in one spot we moved to another spot so we could get more of the pavement into the shot. We got so many amazing photos, Ellie was quick to post a picture to instagram of our sunrise breakfast picnic hoping she could get over 100 likes. Check out Ellie’s Instagram account to have a look. We had the whole place to ourselves & after a few adjustments we had it just right to shoot away for about 1/2 an hour or so. It was so exciting, relaxing & peaceful. I could not wipe the smile off my face.

After packing up, I had to drink the wine in the glasses, because we couldn’t waste such good quality Tasmanian sparkling wine & Ellie couldn’t drink because she had to have her A game on for the rest of the days big photo shoot. Anyway just as I was downing the last of the wine in the glass a lady & her dog walked past, she smiled asking if we were celebrating?! After all it was only just after 7am on a Monday morning!! Too funny!

A very quick look at the mornings photos on the computer & Ellie confirmed she had got her cover photo – It looks amazing!!

Anyway back to work, first things first, more breakfast!! We hadn’t eaten the omelette we took to the morning shoot & had brought it back home with us so take some more photos with the most amazing breakfast you will ever have – Salmon rashers with French toast & maple syrup, so amazing!!

After breakfast was photographed & then eaten it was time to get onto the 13 more recipes for the day including all the mussel recipes. We also had Ellie’s 2 youngest children helping us today so I added child entertainer to my list of jobs, it was so much fun & we all wore our special aprons too! Yes I had the job of making sure the bottle of sparkling wine didn’t get wasted & so I had a matching wine to my seafood tasting today until just after lunchtime 🙂 I got to make a spicy seafood laksa & we made another crayfish recipe too, oh & some yummy squid pasta, just to mention a few of the days recipes.

The cooking, eating, washing up & photos continued for the rest of the day & we finished about 4pm. We had multiple instagram checking breaks as we saw Ellie’s likes for her photo sky rocket through the day. Then we all went for a walk to the beach which was just what we needed after 2 epic days.

I stayed for dinner to help Ellie & her family eat some of the days delicious leftovers – we had another mini leftover degustation for dinner as the fridge was very full!! I don’t think I will ever need to eat again – well maybe not till breakfast anyway!

Oh wow, I thought I was in heaven, having a 2 day seafood degustation with a total of 34 dishes, I feel so grateful to have been given this amazing experience. I loved hearing stories Ellie shared with me about her restaurant days where she was the chef & owner at the Mussel Boys in Tarana, quite a few of the recipes from her restaurant are in the cookbook too.  Also Ellie’s Instagram photo from the morning was shared by “Australia” on Instagram on got over 46,000 likes!!

Even if I had not had this awesome experience I would still be rushing out to buy this cookbook the recipes are amazing & the photos look sensational – much better than these ones I took on my iPhone 🙂 The Seafood Everyday Cookbook will hopefully be available to purchase in Dec 2016. Congrats Ellie on an outstandingly awesome job! I love your work! (I think I am still in a food coma)

 

 

Bangor Long Table Lunch

This was a foodie dream come true, especially for my friend & Chef Eloise Emmett see her blog post here. What a magical spot at Bangor with a glorious view & we say long table – yes it was a looooooong table – It don’t even think the person at the other end of the table would even hear you asking to pass the salt!

We got to help pick the last of the grapes – pinot noir (we found out later the wine won’t be ready till another 3 years from the grapes we picked today)

Matt gave us a lesson in grape picking before we could start – one of the main things was don’t cut yourself, we all managed to get that one right – It was also important not to pick any under ripe grapes at this will effect the wine in a negative way! No pressure at all!!

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the long table

So what about the food & the menu?The menu featured seafood & local produce of course. We started with mugs os creamy seafood chowder – this was good because it gave a bit more time to take more photos of the food on the table before everyone sat down & ate 🙂 And of course we had to have the Bangor oysters too – They are amazing! I think I sat in the right spot because the people around me either couldn’t eat them or didn’t like oysters!!

Oysters

One of my favourite Ellie salads – Greek salad with octopus!!

Octopus salad

 

Smoked salmon & potato salad

Potato & salmon salad

Quail salad

quail salad

Of course there was delicious Bangor Wine & we had a Seafood Lasagne too not to mention freshly baked bread & cheese plates.

For dessert we had chocolate profiteroles, apple & rhubarb crumble cake, brownies by Isobel & poached pears with a red wine syrup.

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And just like that our magical lunch was over & it was time to pack up! I am so grateful to have been a part of this wonderful day. I left full & happy, what wonderful bunch of people we met while picking grapes & eating a gourmet seafood feast!

 

Huon Valley Meat Co

Have you been to the coolest looking butcher in town? Huon Valley Meat Co have amazing top quality hormone free, grass feed meat. Sometimes it can be a challenge to style meat so we gave it go! It was the perfect day for it because someone had brought in their Thermomix from home for some recipe development – guess what was the star of this photo shoot? See my styling & photography buddy Ellie’s photos on her blog.

Fancy a seat while you are waiting.?

 

Maybe some inspiration or condiments ?

 

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counter wrap

 

How awesome is this slicer & chopping board?

 

How about some meat??

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Of course we had to buy some meat to take some home too for an awesome cook up, so much flavour & such good products, do yourself a favour & drop on in.

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Bacon