Brochure Food

A while ago I was asked by my parents to design a brochure menu for their little Fish & Chips/Seafood shop. Can you imagine after 13 or so years of owning it we never had a brochure menu? Yikes. Of course with my newly found passion for food photography I took it incredibly seriously, possibly too seriously much to my parents chagrin. This was to be my first foray into commercial food photography. I had to keep things simple and in line with what their business was all about, namely to provide old-fashioned fish & chips, burgers and fresh seafood to the local community.

So definitely no hipster food styling here, no lifting the blacks, no casually placed herbs or cutlery. It was about presenting the produce in a clear, defined and delicious way. And ultimately to take photos which would in work in print (which is very different to an LCD screen), in a folded brochure. Honestly to my surprise the assignment proved to be much tougher than my usual food styling philosophy of “faking it ’till I make it”. It certainly made me appreciate even the simplest of commercial food photos these days. You know that photo of a delicious kebab at your local? A photographer possibly slaved hours over it.

Fresh Seafood

Fresh Seafood

Fresh Seafood

Calamari and chips

Grilled Salmon with Chips & Salad

Cheeseburger

7 Hour Lamb

We’re experiencing the last visages of winter down under and although occasionally the odd warm day is starting to appear more regularly, some days are still capable of chilling you to the bone. Sometimes I leave the oven on a low heat roasting away root vegetables like beetroots for hours, just to have an excuse to warm my kitchen/living room up a little bit. It’s an exercise in a luxurious waste of energy resulting in some thoroughly tasty veggies. You may look at a recipe named “7 hour lamb” and run away in fear of the time and energy needed to prepare and cook such a meal but in reality it’s actually just a prolonged heat solution for your household in winter resulting in a very simple, rustic and tasty dinner.

7 Hour Lamb

7 Hour Lamb

1.5-2kg lamb leg
handful of garlic cloves (peeled)
3 sprigs rosemary
4 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
salt & pepper
3 carrots
1 large brown onion
1 leek
3 medium parsnips
1 sweet potato
1 tablespoon oil
2 litres beef or chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine

Preheat  the oven to 125C/257F. Cut the excess fat and sinew off lamb and season liberally with salt and pepper

With a paring knife, make slits into the lamb and stuff in whole garlic cloves into the flesh

In a large dutch oven/cast iron pot, heat the oil and sear the lamb till brown on both sides. Add in the herbs, stock, white wine, bring to simmer, then place in oven for 4 hours

Roughly chop the vegetables into large chunks add them to the pot. Cook for another 3 hours until vegetables and lamb are almost falling apart.

Carefully fish the vegetables and lamb from the broth. Roughly tear the lamb meat apart. Reduce the stock by half and use to dress the lamb.

7 Hour Lamb

7 hour lamb

7 hour lamb

rosemary

Tunisian Lamb & Quince Stew

Winter has certainly arrived in Sydney and although it doesn’t get quite as cold as in certain parts of the world, it’s that time of the year when I’m definitely craving the warmth embrace of a hearty stew. And the following Tunisian Lamb & Quince stew really does the job and keeps you toasty with all of the beautiful North African spices and flavours.

Australia provides some of the best lamb in the world and a slow cooked lamb shoulder is just an absolute joy to eat. Quinces however are a much less used fruit, since you have to cook it to be edible, it’s an intimidating what the hell is that type thing in the market but in reality it’s just a giant fragrant sour astringent apple.

The following recipe is adapted from here, it makes quite a bit of stew but luckily it also freezes well so you’ll have enough stew to keep you going for many a winter day.

Tunisian Lamb and Quince Stew

spices

Tunisian Lamb & Quince Stew

(serves 6)

2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
6 medium cloves(peeled and smashed)
2 teaspoons dried chilli flakes
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
1.5 kg lamb shoulder (cut into cubes 3-4 cm)
Salt & Pepper
2 brown onions (roughly chopped)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cinnamon stick
pinch of saffron threads
1.5 litres chicken broth
2 large quinces (de-cored and cut into large chunks)
2 tablespoons honey

Toast the coriander and caraway seeds in a pan till fragrant. Then transfer to a mortar and pestle, crush and pound. Combine with the garlic, chilli flakes, paprika, cayenne pepper, 2 tablespoons salt and 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large bowl and marinate the cubed lamb in the mixture overnight in the fridge. Take the lamb out 45min before cooking to bring to room temperature.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot. Sear the lamb in batches until golden brown.

Remove the lamb and add in the onions, tomato paste, cinnamon stick, garlic from the marinade and saffron. Cook until the onions begin to caramelise and scrape off the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer the lamb back into the pot. Add the chicken stock and simmer covered for 1.5 hours.

Once the lamb is almost tender add in the quince and honey, season to taste with salt & pepper and then simmer for another hour covered or until quince is tender.

Tunisian Lamb and Quince Stew

Smoked Salmon Bagel

Apologies for not posting very much recently or this entire year actually. Life and work has seemingly got in the way of many things. Recently I’ve realised that I’ve been taking photos of everything else other than food, and my food blog list in Feedly has been much neglected. I guess I have to chalk it up to a bit of burnout really. Call it the late-20s, OMG, I’m almost 30 blues where finding the motivation even for what was an absolutely passionate hobby a few months ago is becoming increasingly like trying to find El Dorado.

Anyway, I have been indulging in more of the carefree and simple things in life… cream cheese, movies on the weekends and just daydreaming occasionally, which is a luxury I really can’t afford but probably keeps me sane. But here…enjoy this delicious, easy and simple breakfast. It’s hard to find good traditional bagels here in Australia, but I found a bagel stall at a local organic market and I just couldn’t resist getting one with ALL the seeds.

Bagel with smoked salmon and cream cheese

Smoked Salmon Bagel (For 1)

1 bagel
Cream Cheese (I used Philly)
2 teaspoons capers (drained)
few slices of good quality smoked salmon or gravlax
Cracked black pepper and salt flakes

Cut the bagel in half. Spread a thick layer of cream cheese, add salt and pepper to taste,  then layer the salmon, top with capers and the top half of the bagel. Cut in half! Consume.

Bagel with smoked salmon and cream cheese

Bagel with smoked salmon and cream cheese