Whether you serve a homemade or a bakery bread, how you serve it could make a statement at a party or a picnic. I love the idea of wrapping pieces. There is no special skills necessary to assemble your own pile. And the best thing is that these are made with supplies you should always have at home.
I visited “Saveurs & Tentations” trade-show recently in Montreal and I was mesmerized by Mia Bureau’s food carving creations. She really brings table decoration to a brand new level. Mia’s business, Éphémère is specialized in food carving installations for events, but she also gives workshops at her studio and at other venues.
I was so enthralled by what I saw that I started gathering information about this traditional Asian skill. Did you know that fruit and vegetable carving originated in Thailand during the floating lantern festival about 700 years ago? During that festival which happens every year during the full moon of December they thank the soul of water by decorating floating lanterns. The fruits and vegetable carved lanterns were so popular that it started a trend in the country.
We now find stunning fruits and vegetable carvings at high end hotels throughout Asia. You can even hire a fruit carver, like Mia, to create unique table ornaments for special events or weddings, even in North America, but be prepared to splurge because carving takes a lot of time. For example, to carve a watermelon, it can take up to 80 hours of work. You can see Mia in action by watching a few videos (the CTV interview is in English and the other ones are in French). Mia’s skills are recognized around the world as she won some international awards.
If you are into craft and would like to learn fruit carving, some cooking schools and some carving artists are giving classes. You can also learn by watching videos on You Tube or by buying books specialized in Fruit and vegetables carvings starting with these two books:
With the Holiday so close, we are all looking for easy and delicious recipes to cook for dinner. I found three recipes on the February 2011 issue of Style at Home.
Lemony fish cakes by Donna Hay can be make with flaked salmon or trout. Serve them fish cakes with mayonnaise or a lightly sweet tartare sauce. Prepare a peppery green salad, serve a soup first and you are all set for a meal that all the family will enjoy.
The garlic and chili chicken couscous is the type of meal I often serve at home. I like the taste and the convenience of grilled chicken breasts and couscous. This reminds me that her lemon grilled chicken with almond couscous was the first Donna Hay’s recipe I ever made). The only fresh ingredients that won’t be in your pantry are the chicken breasts, 2 zucchinis and fresh parsley.
I plan to make the caper and crisp pancetta served with baby spinach. It is almost a mix between a pasta dish and salad.
+ Recipes: Style at Home – February 2011 issue
+ Lemony fish cakes photo: William Meppem
+ Other photos: Con Poulos
I love this idea from Josée Di Stasio, a very popular cookbook author, television host and chef in Quebec. She explained in the French edition of Chatelaine how to make your own frosted rosemary sprigs. You can use the frosted rosemary in your centerpiece or to decorate a serving plate.
Add a few drops of water to an egg white. Lightly whip it. Cover the rosemary sprig with the egg white mixture using your hands or a brush. Turn each sprig on a plate filled with sugar until it is fully covered. Let it dry on a cookie pan. To prolong their shelf life, put them on the fridge before usage.
If you like to decorate your plate like a Chef, you need good tools. Sure, you can use plain plastic bottles but they are not as stylish and fun as DECOPEN. It is as easy as to write or draw with a pen. DECOPEN lets you put the finishing touch on food from appetizers to the dessert. Simply fill your favorite sweet and savory sauces and work your magic. There is a model that comes with 4 nozzles to give you more options on how to decorate food or plate your dishes.
It will make an awesome Christmas gift or hostess gift. For anyone interested, a green 4-nozzle DECOPEN is on my wish list. Watch the video to see how easy it is to use.
The fall issue of Sweet Paul Magazine inspired to cook with their tasty mushroom recipes and seasonal soups. Thanksgiving is about comfort food and family-style dinner. The fall 2010 issue reflects that concept in a styling but easy to do way.
Appetizers and Soups
The Chevre and Honey open-faced sandwich would make a great appetizer.
As you can see, the food stylists elevated simple recipes with nice food presentation. And for the most part, the plating is something that we can easily do at home with some skills and beautiful tableware. Have a look a the digital magazine, it may help you plan your Thanksgiving menu.
One last thing, the role is reversed. I usually tell you where to find the coolest things. This time, I hope you can tell me. I felt in love with the black dishes and bowls that are used through the magazine. But I found no clues on the magazine about who makes it. If you know the answer, I want to know.
By the way, the Holiday issue of Sweet Paul Magazine is scheduled to be out by November 15th.
These orange-banana smoothie pops will be great for a summer brunch. You can improvise with your favorite fruit combinations. These fruit pops deliver a twist on a popular drink.
No need for popsicle molds to make stylish ice pops, simply grab a set of individual baking molds. The cannele mold pop create the best effects. I suggest that you get a silicone canelé mold because it will be easier to remove your popsicles when they are ready to eat. By the way, the right spelling for canelé is one n, not two.
It is not everyday that I see stunning caviar pictures like those photographed by Kate Harrison for the wedding of a Russian bride. Flavored vodka shooters were served on an ice bar with an assortment of caviar. Lilly and John’s wedding had fun activities.
You can read on Snippet & Ink that:
The ceremony took place on the balcony overlooking San Francisco, after which guests were able to explore the penthouse, playing pool in the billiard room, nibbling on hors d’oeuvres in the living room, and dancing in the dining room.
That sounds wonderful. The decor billiard room is something else; it’s Persian inspired. You can admire more photos on Snippet & Ink.
When you cook at home, you do not have a team of sous-chefs to help you plate an elaborate dish. Therefore, I am always on a hunt for these small details that add a Wow factor. The latest work of Matt Armendariz goes in that direction.
See how cutting a square tart at angles makes all the difference. It could be used on a pizza or a fruit tart. Or you can cut your fennel with a tiny bit of stems and elegantly lay down a fennel and red grapefruit salad on a plate.
Take advantage of freshly harvested vegetables to serve light appetizers. Scoop the seeds and drain your cucumber slices for at least 30 minutes if they replace the traditional crostini. When you scoop the seeds, be careful to leave a thin layer at the bottom of the cucumber slices.
It is probably the sense of comfort that emerges from the wooden tray platters that captures our senses. But whatever is the reason, I know that I have a hard time to resist to pictures like those. Take the party platter of the JME collection. Or how appetizing is the roast pork shoulder served with a garlicky cilantro sauce and grilled summer vegetables? You can find this recipe by chef Peter Hoffman of NY restaurant Savoy on Saveur.com. It was first published on page 113 of Saveur, June-July 2010 issue.
Jen of Simply Photo captured one of the most delightful cheese and pate platters. She photographed it when she ate at Cafe, the restaurant of the Terrain at Styer’s of Glen Mills, PA. You can buy online their artisan bark boards, in a small or a large format.
We finally did it! I was long due for a new camera. I dreamt of a flash since my house does not receive a lot of natural light. Plus, I often take food pictures when I am cooking dinner. I never developed the reflex to make actual shooting session, probably because I did not have the proper equipment. I do not aim to become a professional photographer. I simply want to create pictures that look great for my blog.
With the trip to Japan, it seems like the right time to upgrade. My husband got his new lenses and I got my flash. I want something that is fairly easy to use and not too heavy. This is why we opt for the Nikon D5000 with a SB-600 flash. When we got home, we found out that the camera has a Food scene setting.
I took this picture to test the food setting while I cooked dinner last night. I am glad that I see a definitive improvement. The colors are more vivid that what I used to get with my old camera.
But there is a lot more that I need to learn to produce stunning food pictures.
Styling and photography is the ultimate frontier. I know that I am not alone who would like to improve their skills. To get you started, explore the tips and techniques provided on