Food Styling Workshop at the Black Hen with Michelle Crawford

A girls road trip to Deloraine with Ellie & Sarah to the most magic place The Black Hen for a styling lunch with Michelle Crawford author of the book A Table in the Orchard & her own blog Hugo & Elisa.

Michelle gave us some tips, ideas & suggestions for styling and then it was time to play!

We were given produce & props; ready set style & shoot!!

Produce

propsI was drawn to the broad beans – Ellie & I got to work 🙂

Beans 2

And pomegranates props_1

Chillies & spicesChillies & spice

Here are some scenes other groups created

lemons

raddishes

produce_1

Very important now – Lunch – Julie from the Black Hen had prepared us an amazing feast, now we all helped to set & style the table.

table 2

 

table

table 3

table 4

Then the food

platter_1platter
Filo pastries salad

Let’s style some pears & some desserts

Pears

BiscuitsI was really happy with my tea & biscuits shot 🙂

And I took a picture os Ellie’s styled waffle too!

waffle

We had had such a wonderful time, learnt so much & also made some new friends.

We did a spot of shopping at the Black Hen shop before we left with our bags full, minds full of inspiration & bellies full of delicious food.

 

Recipe Testing -Red Capsicum Pithivier with Parmesan Pastry

Red Capsicum Pithivier with Parmesan Pastry recipe by Dani Valent

I was so happy to test this recipe & it was delicious too!! What’s not to like – you had me at parmesan puff pastry!! I decorated it with stars for the Christmas theme & I gave the recipe 5 stars so that is why there are 5 pastry stars on it!!

Quote from Dani Valent’s recipe – ‘A pithivier is a French puff pastry tart, traditionally made with sweet almond cream. This savoury interpretation still has sweetness from the slow-cooked onions and dried fruit. It’s a lovely dish to bring to a picnic, party or Christmas spread and can also be a tasty way to use up Christmas leftovers (see variation).Variation: Add a handful of diced leftover Christmas ham or turkey, If using turkey, replace the currants with dried cranberries. You can also make smaller individual tarts.’

I am definitely putting it on our Christmas menu this year. Also it was so awesome Dani was happy to use my photo in the Thermomix in Austraila‘s Thermomix newsletter they sent out to all their customers. The ironic thing is that I made the recipe using my old TM31 – the one that Dani Valent signed when she did her In the Mix 2 seminar in Hobart Aug 2014 – happy memories.

IMG_5802

017018004007009013

053

 

Prep Prop Style Shoot Workshop August 2015

I have been so excited about this workshop & got to pick up our stylist & photographer for the weekend JJ of 84th & 3rd from the airport on Friday night & drove her down to Mussel Boys on the Tasman peninsula where chef Eloise Emmett was preparing food for a wonderful weekend of food styling & photography.

Day 1: We started with styling morning tea 🙂 Apple crumble cake -recipe from Ellie’s the real food for kids cookbook.

Morning Tea PS

I made some dips in the Thermomix too 🙂

 

Lunch anyone?YUM!! You will never be hungry on a food styling workshop 😉

Lunch 2

My most favourite salad ever Ellie’s Octopus Salad!!

 

I was so happy I was able to use the Thermomix for the creme’ patisserie & ganache for the sponge cake. Ellie even used it to make the sponge cake.

 

My happy accident arty cake shot 🙂

 

The amount of drooling happening while all the cameras were shooting the cake being assembled was intense & amazing!!

 

Oh & then we had to eat it of course!! I think I am in foodie heaven!!

(I will be adding in more photos of our G&T’s & our delicious dinner later on)

Good Morning

Breakfast shoot 🙂

 

Yes I got to use the Thermomix again for JJ’s green smoothie recipe – find it on her blog – link below.

 

We had an excursion to a local oyster farm, we had a shucking lesson & tasting with some more amazing sparkling wine from Bream Creek Vineyard.

I was so happy with this shot I actually printed out for my exhibition for TAFE & titled it “Taste of the Sea”

 

JJ tasting the best oyster of her life 🙂 You can buy her ceramic versions of the oysters to use as a salt dish on The Decadent Pantry.

 

We finished off our amazing weekend with a picnic – as soon as we set it up outside it started to rain & we had to bring it indoors to shoot it. (I will upload pictures of this soon)

I had the best time on this weekend, I learnt so much about styling & shooting made some new friends & not to mention the endless feast of the most amazing food & beverages. Very happy memories made indeed & I want to Thank Ellie & JJ so much for organising & running the event.

See JJ’s blog post here & Ellie’s post here which includes the video of the “The Shuck Off” oyster shucking race 🙂

 

The Fat Duck – The Sequel

This is my review I put on the Fat Duck facebook page 5 Stars – “The best foodie experience of my life, I feel so lucky to have dined here twice, it was so awesome I cried multiple times, absolutely a feast for the senses – the only thing that could have made it better, would have been to meet Heston himself. The service was outstanding, with such genuine care & attention to detail, we felt so spoilt & privileged to spend these fun, magical hours with such wonderful friends xx.”

Yes Suzie & I were back again at the Fat Duck just about 1 month before they move back to the UK & revamp the space into Dinner by Heston. Some people may ask why would you go twice? We would say why wouldn’t you? The universe had given us 2 tickets to The Fat Duck & who were we to argue? (See the post on our previous visit here) Our other 2 friends who put into the ballot had decided to go once each so this time we had our 2 Fat Duck virgin friends with us Charlie & Rosey. We have all been so excited for months & the day had finally arrived.

(Also FYI – note be careful when texting Fat Duck as the predictive text can do some funny things!!)

Keeping up with tradition – we needed to have a photo in the foyer of our hotel at The Crowne Metropole before heading over to The Fat Duck.

We were greeted at the entrance by Rachel & she remembered Suzie & I and welcomed us back, it was fun watching the newbies entering the ramp toward the restaurant we didn’t say anything to spoil the surprise but one of the girls bag’s accidentally touched the screen & the door opened quite quickly! We noticed that there were so many more puzzle pieces on the wall since our last visit. Suzie & I couldn’t tell if we were more excited about everything this time because we knew what was coming & we could watch our friends experiencing things for the first time.

We were given the massive book with all the wines & options we all decided on matching wines except Suzie, who having learnt from last time decided to stick with gin or bubbles. We had around 6.5 hours of 16 courses & drinks ahead of us. A tough job but someone’s gotta do it hey?

We were served our first course aerated beetroot with horseradish cream, amazing texture & flavour, just perfect for preparing us for what was to come.

I almost wet myself with excitement seeing the liquid nitrogen cart make its way toward us, so great watching our waiter Calum make our aperitif you could choose which flavour you like vodka and lime sour, gin tonic or grapefruit and tequila. First he siphoned the mixture onto a spoon & then kept it moving in the liquid nitrogen bath. There was also a candle so the chosen flavour citrus zest was lit with candle to help infuse the flavour.

Nitro Poached Aperitifs

Each of us chose our flavour & we watched the reaction of Rosey & Charlie especially. This time I had a different flavour to last time trying the tequila & grapefruit.

We were instructed to put the whole thing in your mouth and then the cold “smoke” from the dry ice would come out your nostrils, it literally melted in your mouth. What a great way to awaken all the senses early on. This time around we noticed more things & asked different questions to last time appreciating everything just that little bit more.

Mustard ice cream with red cabbage soup was our next course, this looks like something achievable we could make at home, did I mention that they have 8 Thermomix in the kitchen?

394

Next our trio of “icy poles” I really loved the chicken liver pate one that looked like a golden Gaytime and the smoked salmon and the horseradish swirl and of course there was the one that look like the rocket ship that was the flavour of A waldorf salad.

407

We told the girls about our fun last time, one of our waiters Cameron (he was given the nickname Cambo by Suzie) gave us our “lollipops” and explained that you could either lick or suck them and of course we burst out laughing making him blush! So not only were we experiencing the amazing food all over again but also enjoying the reactions of our friends but we also were remembering our last time at The Fat Duck only a couple of months ago. Suzie & I seemed to take extra care to eat each thing really slowly & really soak up the flavours & atmosphere. 

Oh goodie gum drops our “Fat duck films” arrived on a bed of moss – Suzie & I looked at each other going OMG we are soooo excited but we didn’t spoil the surprise for the others. Next our plates arrives & I noticed they were slightly different than our previous time, served on a board. It has a truffle toast & marron cream. We were instructed to put the film into our mouth as our waiter poured a tea pot of water on to the moss container to make the cold smoke come out all over the table to us all, a true theatrical genius. I think I may be slightly addicted to liquid nitrogen & dry ice – WOW factor. The girls really enjoyed it too. The expression “savour the flavour” springs to mind. 

467

Smokey, crusty sourdough bread with butter & salt YUM!! And bonus the waiters came over with their table scrapers to clean up all the crumbs. And you could have extra bread & butter if you wanted it too!!

Snail porridge – was emotional as I watched Charlie taking her first tastes of the dish & tears welling up & she explained to me she had had a similar snail dish with her Dad. I’m a sympathetic cryer at the best of times – let’s just say it was a special memory created from Charlie’s memory as we savoured this vibrant green snail porridge dish with amazing flavour & texture. 

Roast Marron

Our next delicious course was Roast Marron with Shitake, Confit Kombu & Sea Lettuce, served with sake – so good!!

The Mad Hatters Tea Party is just so much fun! And our favourite waiter from last time Cambo just started his shift too 🙂 This time (no pun intended) I noticed you could hear the watches ticking in the case!! We were served our Mock Turtle Soup, Pocket Watch & Toast Sandwich (which included more truffles!!) So delicious & so much effort & thought put into every part of the dish.

My favourite dish was The Sound of the Sea, because of the memories I have of the sea, I just love being near the ocean & I love all the elements of this dish especially the seashells with iPods inside that play the sound of the ocean. This is such a magic part of the dish, it created a quiet calm space to experience the dish. As a child I used to love holding up a shell to my ear to hear the sound of the ocean. I have always felt most alive when at the beach or in or on the ocean 🙂 I felt so grateful to experience this dish for the 2nd time – I ate every piece slower than before, watching the smiles on my friend’s faces, we enjoyed the serenity that the sound of the sea brings. It was an absolute pleasure to have all the senses evoked in one dish, yes tears of joy welled in my eyes, as I remembered the last time I ate the dish with my friends too. (See my poem at the end of the post)

Salmon Poached in a Liquorice Gel: Endive, Vanilla Mayonnaise & Golden Trout Roe – The 2 Fat Duck Virgins got this delicious dish……..

 

And as a surprise for Suzie & I, we were served something different from last time Roast John Dory; Mushroom Carpaccio, Mussels, Jelly of Verjus.

 

Our last savoury dish was THE DUCK a new dish to the menu too – last time we had a lamb dish – this was a fun delicious dish with a few intriguing elements.

 

Hot & Iced Tea, this really messes with your mind 🙂

 

Surprise!! Another special dish for Suzie & I because it was our 2nd visit so we got the golden nest & “egg”- It’s proper name on the menu was Eggs in Verjus (c.1726), Verjus in Egg (c.2013). It really looked like an egg, but you could eat the whole thing!! It was a coconut panna cotta, a verjus egg yolk, and a multi-layered chocolate egg shell, we were so blown away & later saw the dish as a pressure test on MasterChef in 2016.

Our friends got the Boytrytis Cinerea dish that was the pressure test Billie won on MasterChef 2015. We had no idea just how difficult the dish was to prepare when we ate it! (nicknamed by Suzie the celebration of the balls – see the post for our previous visit)

It had started to get dark & we were about to tuck into The Not So Full English Breakfast – it started with Heston Cereal, including a puzzle piece for the puzzle mural on the wall behind us. The cereal was dried carrot & parsnip & was served with parsnip milk. Then Cambo came over again with the nitro “scrambled egg” ice cream station, they had filled eggs or made their own fat duck eggs with a magical custard filling & “cooked” it in front of us, it was served on brioche & topped with crispy pancetta. We also had an earl grey marmalade with a white chocolate lid YUM! Because we had run out of time for a tour of the kitchen 🙁  Cambo took my phone into the kitchen to get us some photos & selfies with the others. Notice the 2 Thermomix on the bench 🙂

There was a special order to eat the whisky wine gums. I won’t say who it was but someone dropped one of the gums while trying to eat it & then they couldn’t find where it went until we were finalising our bill at the end, it had stuck onto their clothing!! 🙂

No the last dish was here!! We didn’t want it to end, because we were having so much fun. The dish was called  “Like a Kid in a Sweet Shop” featuring eatable playing card & a couple of other chocolates. It also included a sealed copy of the menu.

Apparently there were a few people that got to attend the Fat Duck Melbourne pop up twice & only 1 person that went 3 times. 

Yes we were the last to leave again before the dinner service & saw the waiting staff ironing the tablecloths & resetting the tables. We said goodbye to our waiters & waitresses, it was like saying goodbye to friends. Another wonderful dream was over & it is something I will never forget, I just love how Heston delights in using people’s childhood memories to enhance a dish & now we will leave with our own special memories of delicious food enhanced by amazing friends. We call ourselves the Fat Duckers- don’t get those letters mixed up please! In one word it was AWESOME!! 

(We had to write our version of a Gilbert & George piece for our TAFE Art History class & I chose to write mine on the Sound of The Sea Experience at the Fat Duck)

May I describe to you with

words a special moment which began

on a Tuesday in

May of 2015 I had just been served

a beautiful delicious plate of art

accompanied by headphones coming

out of a shell, the calming sound of waves

brought a stillness that heightened all the senses

overwhelming peace & pure serenity

a rare suspension in time, I thank

you for being with me for these few

precious moments.

 

Kind regards, Arwen Genge 2015