Are you an active online netizen, using the best and boldest today’s onliniverse has to offer? If so, you may already have come across Pinterest.com – the incredibly inspiring online community where people can “pin” pictures that they liked anywhere on the net. We’ve joined Pinterest.com just recently, and we were fairly pleased to see that many people have already pinned Ira’s images here and there, including some taken from this very blog. Which does deliver additional justification to what we do here.
The “dark side” of the food photography.
Like every other type of artistic activities, food photography lives from experimenting, finding new ways of expressing a set’s mood and trying to deliver the message in a creative way and manner. Many people who dedicate their lives to photographing food and/or lifestyle make a mistake thinking that food can only be photographed in bright light, well saturated and lit. Professionals, however, do know that sometimes (pretty often, indeed) shooting food required a fairly reverse approach.
Take a look at the pictures below. Here Ira demonstrates how mood is created in this set of Italian snacks, using dark environment and a reverse contrast of main objects against background. While this approach is anything but new, it takes time and practice to learn how to set up and shoot pictures like these. We do know that many people would like to learn that, so we’re definitely reserve this topic for Ira’s upcoming guide to food photography.
While you’re at starring at these pictures, take a closer look at the crackers on the left one. These are called “Ciappe” (means “roofing tile” in Lingurian), also known as “Lingurian bread”, and are in fact a really yummy alternative to “real” bread. Made with olive oil and rosemary, these things are also perfect as a snack when on the run. Add some cheese or pesto, and you have an ideal snack to cocktails or long drinks. Think of these as of Grissini but flatten. We did not bake these ourselves, so we won’t share a recipe of our own this time. If you look around on the web, you’ll find dozens of recipes. However, we really prefer to buy such things (preferably original ones a.k.a. imported from Italy). They also sell “Ciappe Diavola”, which come equipped with tiny pepperoni pieces hidden in the dough – spicy! If you ever come across Ciappe and buy some, make sure to protect them from heat, as they are made with no preservatives.
“..And the award goes to…”
…to the Sea Bream!.. No, this is not a new Hollywood diva of Norwegian heritage. It’s a fish. And the award is for “The Fish Of The Year”, because Ira has nominated this type of fish for this award (there has been some debating in this relation, as Jive would probably vote the same for at least two more fish types). Anyways, we would like to share visual evidence of how the award winner has been treated.
Want to have your own Fish Superstar for dinner? Here are some hints: use coarse-grained sea salt when preparing the fish. Rub the fish with the salt inside and outside. Put a couple of lemon slices inside and atop. Peel the lemon slices, so fish won’t taste bitter. Use your favorite herbs, although we find that thyme ans rosemary are the best ones in this case.
Thank you sea bream for being so delicious! Come back soon!
Tagliatelle that are not tagliatelle.
A few years ago, we started to see Italian fast-food restaurants popping up here and there in Germany. Well, “fast-food” isn’t probably the right term for these places. They’re barely fast (you can spend healthy 45 minutes waiting in line at the counter where they cook), but the food is above and beyond. The name of the restaurant company (or their brand) is “Vapiano”. You might have seen restaurants of this company in many places across Europe, as they are heavily pushing their franchise model right now. We really like them, also because of the rich choice of pasta offered there. The variety is big enough for anybody who’s new to all these pasta types to get lost in them.You think, you’ve finally learned how tagliatelle looks like, and then you suddenly discover that there is something called “linguini” that looks barely different (this is true for Jive but not for Ira who is generally a fan of Italian cuisine and does know a thing or two about all these pastas and such. – I&J)
Our point is, being used to such a variety of pasta types, we were surprised to learn that there is something like tagliolini in “pasta nera” version – basically, a narrower version of tagliatelle, but made with squid ink (no kidding). And there we go, cooking this not-so-traditionally-looking pasta, adding shrimps like in the recipe we’ve found. Take a look.
Although a little scary looking, this type of pasta turned out to be pretty delicious. For Ira, that is. Jive refused to give it a try. Sissy.
Poached pears with figs in bacon.
You didn’t think we’ll leave you with no recipe for today, did you? We won’t. This particular one is probably one of the weirdest recipes when you read it. but rest assured that the taste is well worth spending some time on it. This recipe is taken from the recent issue of “Meine Familie & ich Books”
For 4 servings:
4 small firm pears
200 ml white wine
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 3/4 ounces (50 grams) sugar
2 tbsp fig mustard
8 strips bacon
2 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tbsp maple syrup
salt and pepper
1 tbsp rosemary needles
Peel pears and cut them in halves, remove the insides, then boil in a pan with white wine and lemon juice and sugar. Simmer on low heat for 15 minutes. When done, let pears cool down in the broth. Heat the oven to 200C (390F). Wash the figs, cut in halves, oil the cut with mustard.
Join pear halves and fig halves, wrapping them in bacon in the middle and put in a casserole dish. Drizzle with butter and syrup, add salt and pepper and sprinkle with rosemary.
Bake for 15 minutes.