I have this ambivalent feeling when it comes to christmas… I just totally love the season; I love the fairy lights, the warmth indoors and the cold outdoors, I get all sentimental and all of a sudden have the urge to go read trash novels, that I really never read normally..:)
But then when it comes to the actual days of christmas… I am not sure; it always seems to be a bit of a disappointment don’t you think? First we have to decide which family to go to, his or mine. It’s never a real fight as we kind of found a good ‘mode’ when it comes to visiting the family.
The tradition that we have developed over the years is that we have friends over on one day and we visit one of our families the other day. So last year we went to mine, so that means that this year it’s his… It actually sounds awful doesn’t it? To be honest; I do think that most people feel the same way about christmas. Or at least a lot of people do. Somehow part of christmas can very quickly feel like an obligation rather then the joy it is supposed to be.. Anyway, to make our lives a little easier we had decided to cater for the family this christmas, so we actually get to spend both days in our own home for a change.
The only disadvantage being; we have to cook for two days. Now we decided to make it easy by choosing similar recipes for both days. Meaning that we have to eat the same things for two days, but at least it is more convenient as a lot of the dishes can be prepared up front and we can just eat one thing the first day and pick another the next. It’s not as if there is not going to be any choices since we are making a buffet style dinner.
To make a long story short; the ricotta from yesterday was quite good. I ate the salmon first and that was soooo good that the ricotta felt a bit like a disappointment at first but it wasn’t really. Quite tasty, bit salty due to the humus but really a satisfying little snack.
This salmon though….. pure heaven!
The green stuff you see lying around the salmon is actually rocketsalad-oil which is soo simple to make and yet so delicious.
It is a combination between smoked salmon and salmon filet, creme fraiche and lemon juice and really not much more then that. So this is going to be our actual starter before the buffet. I wanted to make something that looks good and you can serve on a plate and is easy to make upfront.
I did try to plate one before but that is the only thing you really have to do at the last moment as it just starts to look a little less fresh. it still tastes fantastic but it looks better freshly plated. I used a ring to press the mixture in. Works perfectly and the color of the oil complements the dish very well.
Again; there was an original photo ofcourse, so that is at the bottom after the recipe!
Salmon tartar with arugula oil
- 25 gr arugola (rocketsalad)
- 200 ml olive oil
- 2x250 gr salmon filet
- 3x100 gr smoked salmon
- 1 lemon
- 200ml creme fraiche
- 15 gr chive, finely chopped
- Remove the tickets stems from the arugola and put it in the kitchenmachine. While the machine is turning add the oil slowly.
- Put the oil away for about an hour at roomtemperature, add salt afterward to taste.
- Chop the salmonfilet and smoked salmon in cubes. Makes 8 thin slices from the lemon and squeeze the rest. Mix both salmon types with lemonjuice, creme fraiche and about 3/4 of the chives. Cover and keep refrigerated untill you use it.
- Put the from on a plate and fill with 1/8 of the salmon mixture. With the back of a spoon press it firmly. Remove the ring. Put a slice of lemon on the salmon and some strings of the chives. Drip the arugola-oil around the salmon and serve.
Original photo with the recipe
Ok, I have to confess this wasn’t really a challenge I had set myself upfront, since we were merely trying out new recipes for Christmas buffet…
We are having people over for both days this year, which means a lot of cooking is involved! Instead of making more of the same we figured we try some new recipes, so I had been browsing the net for small sized amuse recipes and came up with a few good ones. So today we bought all the necessary ingredients and started cooking together.
Obviously the original recipes had a photo on it as well and since I couldn’t resist taking photos this afternoon I figured I could post the “before and after” as well for these ones. As you can probably tell I have not tried to replicate the original version, but merely gave it a new twist.
I haven’t tasted the final results yet, as we are planning on having it for dinner along with some of the other dishes we made (yes and photographed, so more to come here!).
I did ofcourse taste the various ingredients while I was seasoning the ricotta and I think it is going to be very tasty.
We also made some filled eggs but for some reason the filling was too liquid so didn’t really stay in the egg and certainly didn’t look very good. Not sure if we will keep that in the menu as I just thought they were a bit too plain.
For tomorrow I will show you the results of the salmontartar with rocketoil, although the light sort of left and I had left my tripod in the studio, so these are all done handheld. While the light was still quite good when I was doing the first dish by the time I was ending with the salmon it was getting darker and not so good… It’ll have to do!
Herbal ricotta with crispy parma ham
- 6 slices of coppa di parma (we used prosciutto di parma. Not sure if that is the same actually)
- 1 tbsp of fresh basil, chopped finely
- 1 tbsp of fresh parsley
- 1 tbsp of lemon juice
- 125 gr ricotta
- 8 tbsp of humus
- Fry the slices of coppa di parma in a dry anti stick frying pan at medium high fire.
- Add basil, parsley and lemon juice through the ricotta and add salt and pepper to taste. Use 8 small glasses to put one tablespoon of humus on each glass and divide the herbal ricotta over the glasses. Crumble the ham and stick the pieces in the ricotta.
I had such wild plans to shoot lots of great food, but then I did not know that I would be so busy this time of year! You know how it goes right, you think you have lots of spare time, to do some fun shooting of your own, but then person one calls and books a shoot, person two calls and books a shoot and before you know it… time has left the building!
In the meantime we are getting soooo close to christmas and we are planning to make a lovely buffet with great snacks and food, that we had also planned to test before the actual party. But guess what… time is running out there too!
So I apologize for not being able to live up to my own challenge, but I DO promise to make up for it in the very near future…!
So a golden oldie, to keep you entertained…:)
Well…. here it is; my first attempt to replicate the original photo from the Delicious…. As you can very clearly see I did not have the same props, as I could not find them on short notice. So the glasses where a little taller which had a result on the layers and the plates where also not the same (bigger and different color). So that all had an effect on the end-result obviously.
If you compare the original photo with mine I am not too unhappy with the endresult…:) The original does not have that slightly blue cast which the scan has for some reason. Not sure why that happened..
The taste of this (rather heavy) dessert is fantastic! Not something you want to eat after a heavy meal though… The chocolate that I used is quite bitter as I used a cacao content of more then 70%. I can’t remember wether it was 80 or 85%… I might try a little less cacao content for next time, although it does go quite well. I was a bit worried that it would get too sweet, but it didn’t due to the chocolate and the fact that you really don’t use much sugar anyway in the recipe…
I am sure you are now all dying to try this recipe as well so here are the details!
- 350 gr chocolate brownies of good quality (I am not sure why you would need 350 gr as I only used about 150 gr for the 6 smaller ones. Could be different for the larger version)
- 60 ml kahlua or different kind of coffee liquer
- 275 gr dark chocolate of good quality, in pieces
- 3 eggyolks
- 1,5 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp maizena
- 600 ml whipping cream
- 150 gr white chocolate, in pieces
- 30 gr walnuts, roasted and coarsely chopped
- Make chunks of the brownies and spread them over the bottom of the bowl of over the 6 smaller bowls. The large bowl needs to be 1,5 ltr content, the smaller ones 250 ml.
- Sprinkle with kahlua and leave to set.
- Put the pieces of dark chocolate in a heatresistant bowl above a pan with softly boiling water. Make sure the water does not touch the bowl!
- Leave to melt and stir the chocolate untill smooth.
- Take the bowl of the pan and spoon by spoon add 225 ml hot boiling water so you will get a thick chocolate sauce (don't add more then one tablespoon at a time, as otherwise the chocolate will start to split and become grainy)
- Pour the sauce over the brownies and put the bowl(s) for 2 hours in the fridge.
- Whisk the eggyolks, sugar and maizena to a thick and light creamy mixture.
- Heat 300 ml of the cream in a pan at middlehigh fire untill it is almost cooking. While stirring add this to the egg-mixture. Put the custard back into the pan and heat for about 2-3 minutes untill it starts to bind. Don't let it boil.
- Put 100 gr of the white chocolate in a heat-resistant pan. Pour the custard over it and stir untill the chocolate is melted. Leave to cool completely and pour over the bowls with the brownies and chocolate. Put back in the fridge for another 2 hours.
- Put the remaining 50 gr of white chocolate together with the walnuts in a kitchenmachine and chop them finely with the pulse button.
- Whisk the remaining cream to soft peaks and spoon in the walnut-mixture.
- Put it on top of the trifle and let it rest in the fridge for at least another 2 hours. Garnish with chocolate curls if you want.
I did struggle with making the chocolate curls and ended up with shavings. I think it was too cold after I had melted it; I am not sure… Anyone has any good tips for making proper curls?
A while ago I was asked to go to a basic-workshop to learn about decorating cakes. I have done that on a couple of occassions and I do like it once in a while although I also have to confess that I am not the kind of girl who spends hours and hours to perfect the little thing that needs to go on top of the cake. I am more a “the quicker the better” person when it comes to decorating cakes!
But I had said yes to the workshop which was last saturday and above you can view the result of the marzipan roses we had to make. To be quite honest; the workshop was fun but not really very difficult when you have made a few cakes yourself already. We first had to do lines with icing, which is really not that difficult once you get the hang of it and the same goes for the marzipan roses.
Ofcourse I am quite proud of my own roses; I think that I did get the hang of it quite quickly…
The photos are taken with my compact so not the best of quality but it’s the thought that counts!
The photos with person are from Nicky…
Here she is working with the icing.
For next week we have to make a cake which we are then going to decorate. I think it’s great timing since it’s Tom’s birthday next week as well, so that means we have a lovely cake to eat already! I am not entirely sure if he is going to like the pink roses that are going to be featured on top, but hey; it’s the thought (and taste) that counts right?
For my ‘challenge’ I have already picked the first dish. It’s going to be a chocolate trifle… The original photograph is from Ben Dearnley and was featured in the Delicious of november. I thought it would be a nice start although I first have to see if I will be able to manage…! More to follow soon; I haven’t planned the date yet when I will be making it but I think possibly wednesday and then on to photograph it on thursday (it has to be cooled for quite a while first)
I am not sure I have the right glasses either, so it might include some shopping first! Stay tuned for more news soon!
Photography: Ben Dearnley, Styling: David Morgan. From Delicious november 2008
Whoohoo!!! It’s official; I had the first photoshoot in my new studio. Oke, it doesn’t account for much but still it is more shooting then I have done lately anyway, so I am glad it all went reasonably ok. I always have to get my bearings when I am in a new studio. The light is different and I wanted to use the studioflashes for this particular shot. Just because I have to get better in lighting particular scenes.
I bought a couple of cookies at the supermarket, so no, I did not make those myself unfortunately. It’s a simple cookie with some marzipan decoration on top. Quite tasty but not really home made. I do have the option to cook in the studio. Which is much much better then it was in the previous studio.
I have set myself also a new challenge which should keep me occupied for most of the winter anyway. One of my favorite cooking magazines is Delicious. Now one of the reasons I love it so much is – ofcourse – the food photography, so what I want to do in the coming months is try and recreate one dish each week which I then try to photograph in exactly the same style as is done in the magazine. Reason is that I want to be able to recreate certain lighting effects. I struggle with that quite a bit; up till now I have done mostly daylight and that all works fine. But sometimes you see – especially this time of year – beautifully darkly lit atmospheric photos. I want to be able to recreate those.
So what I will do in the coming weeks is that I will pick a recipe with fabulous photo and I will make the dish and then do two things; one is to scan the original so you can see how it was supposed to be. Then style the shot in the magazine way first and then do a second shot in a different styling.
Not sure how big of a challenge it is going to be… It might be virtually impossible for me to do, but I will definitely give it a good go!
So come back here in a week or so to view the results! I can’t wait to start on it!!