Hello!!! I’m back after a month long hiatus! Yes, yes. There’s lots that happened over the last month and I’m quite ecstatic about one very encouraging milestone! I dropped the kilos and have reached my ideal two digit number!! Yaa..y! I’m all set to drop another four, so that once the rigorous regime is tapered down gradually, even if I do put back some, I can still maintain my ideal weight! Phew..I feel so much more light! So that was one big moment. But wait..here’s the funny bit. My Mother says, (oh! welcome back, mommy), Food Photography seems to be injurious to my wieght control not for any other reason but the food that is prepared to be shot need to be also consumed instead of being trashed. That definitely is not happening! And from my little expedition, I seem to be photographing more of desserts and flour based items!! DANGER!! To whom?? My palette craves and so does my heart..be it a for a mug of cake or a lemon curd tart!
Another very motivating news! I don’t know if I initially mentioned anything about a home office makeover project I was wanting to begin with! Well, if I didn’t earlier, I just did now! Heheh! The biggest hurdle was to have a lot of junk trashed out. And after months and weeks trying to find some one to bring a vehicle to have it cleared out…it got done!!!!!!!!!!! That was a double treat for me on 29th..just to close a slow starting month! And how does August begin?? August begins with my image on the calendar! Yes, yes..I finally have my few minutes of fame.
After a few hectic days of being out in the sun on work, added to early mornings of intensive workout sessions at the gym, I finally got some much required rest last Sunday. Earlier in the week, mother and daughter decided to bake but as the week progressed daughter was expecting to do a 7 day week, but a small change in one of her client’s schedule gave her a day off. Without much on the mind, after waking up in the morning, and starting out a bit lazily, I suddenly thought of doing some baking. After so many days of hesitation and procrastination of wanting to try my hand out a basic pie crust dough..I pushed myself to just go ahead! And go ahead I did! When I was told that my mother already had a file from her baking course..stacked some where in a book shelf that needed more dusting than any other part of the house..I jumped up and grabbed it, dust et all..to see what treasures hid in between those yellowing pages. And VOILA! There was everything I always used to surf for on the internet. Basic Pie Crusts, baked and chilled. Pie Fillings..including the very lemony lemon curd, profiteroles, choux pastry for eclairs and basic puff pastry and various fillings for the same..I didn’t just find a whole file of recipes from a baking course. I found a a master skill that was not being tapped, a skill of a mother that was buried once children and husband became utmost priority!! A gush of nostalgia hit me. All those days, when we had an endless supply of bread, cakes, pies and desserts…all kind of Indian savory snacks and accompaniments such as the wonderful array of chutneys..innumerable bottles of ketchup, even more in number juices and jams..it all was made by my mom! And then..life became more complicated. Two of her children grew up and started having issues that needed to be sorted. Husband’s career and occupation demanded more of her time in attending to his social obligations. Gradually, she buried her own self..skills and dreams to nurture those of her family. Mom!! I’m so proud to be your daughter. I don’t know, if you will be as proud of me.
If a piece of pie can evoke such sentiments..I challenge myself to make a dish a day or a week from that file and at least give back to her a bit of what she has done for all of us. Endless arguments of starting a bakery/ or taking culinary classes has now given me a reason to learn on my own and at least prep to own a small diner. Be it a small simple one..it will be my mother’s one dream come true. Of spreading her hospitality to a greater number of people.
At the time, I started enjoying baking (desserts to begin with), I never thought, perhaps one day along with my passion for photography..it might be a calling of some sort to reach a wider audience and to be able to giving back to my mother all that she has done for us so unconditionally.
So, recipe no:1 starts! Lemon Curd Tarts!
I waited quite patiently, when I set my eyes on this beautiful lemon growing in our garden, to include it in a dessert, rather than just in a salad. I’ve always had a taste for a bit of tanginess in most of my food..be it in any cuisine. I absolutely love a fresh cold glass of lemonade and my all-time favorite has to be lemon sorbet. When I started hearing about Lemon Chiffon Cakes and Lemon Muffins..I used to drool over countless images over the net but never took to making any. Finally, I tried these Muffins, I simply wanted more! Lime or lemon..I must have it in any form, shape, color or taste!
At the time, I decided to test out the Lemon Curd Tart Recipe, this lemon had turned ripe yellow and was picked. Perfect! Everything was freshly, home made and baked. All the required ingredients were also readily available. And thus, a very satisfying journey began.
There’s not much here to talk about setups..but more of experience and the whole sentiment attached to it. It was a bright sunny day..the power was steady and constant and there was nothing to stop me from being indulgent.
The basic pie base came out to the Tee. The only glitch that I made was to not prick it. The center of one did not rise and it formed a very nice cave. But even though the center of the others did rise.. there was no change in its lovely flaky flavor. The curd was also of just the right consistency. Not too thin nor too thick. Once, it set together in the fridge..it was a treat like no other! I already miss them so much but am confident I can repeat a batch with the same great taste.
Exposure Program: Manual, Exposure Mode: Manual, Shutter Speed: 0.5 secs, Aperture: f/5.6, ISO: 100, Focal Length: 50mm, Metering: Matrix, Lens: Nikkor 50mm, f/1.8, Camera: Nikon D90
Once, it came out of the fridge I tried my hand at a bit of styling. But to show that styling and perspective can make a lot of difference, this is the immediate shot I took at first.
For the next image, all I did was to place two of these tarts on an upside down black tray to give it a bit of a height and definition from the background. This setup I placed out in open shade. And took the shot just under the 90 degree angle which we spoke about in our previous post here. After importing the RAW file into Adobe, all I then needed to finish the image was to slightly bump up the blacks which brought about some saturation and vibrancy to the lemon curd colors. That’s it. Here’s the finalized image, which is one of my favorite ones from the series.
Exposure Program: Manual, Exposure Mode: Manual, Shutter Speed: 1/30 secs, Aperture: f/5.6, ISO: 400, Focal Length: 50mm, Metering: Spot, Lens: Nikkor 50mm, f/1.8, Camera: Nikon D90
Notice how the powdered sugar is getting soaked into the curd. Aah..blame it all on the moisture in the air. I had to really play fast here. Here’s what one calls a diptych of two more images from the series. All it means is it a series of two images that tell a story. If it has three, then it’s called a triptych. Hopefully I’ll continue with my baking/cookery escapades a little more this month than last. Especially from ‘The File’. Until then, here’s another version I experimented a bit with the layout and presentation. Many thanks for stopping by. Do tell me, which one you liked best! Cheers! and have a fabulous month.