Ellie’s Seafood Everyday Cookbook Photoshoot & Taste Testing
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)