I am very pleased to introduce this post, as it represented a great challenge to me.
As you probably may have read here , I have recently decided to take part in my first contest ever.
The theme of the contest (held by the French website Culinographie) was «White and Gold Christmas», a theme which I didn't feel quite comfortable with...
When I work on a recipe, inspiration usually comes from a/some ingredient/s or a creative combination of them based on their sensory elements (taste, texture, smell..). Colours have a role, of course, but not at the starting point. Developing a recipe from assigned colours was the first challenge I had to face.
Talking about colours, I am in love with white. White is Space between shadows and colours. White is Light. And these are the elements I like to play with while I am shooting a photo.
As for Gold... that's hard to explain, but I've never quite liked it. It must have something to do with my catholic upbringing and all that baroque art I have been massively exposed to as a child, when I forcefully attended Mass...
Though I am not keen on gold, I knew from the beginning that passion fruit would have been among the ingredients: those sweet and sparkling golden beads would have brightened up the simplest dessert. And it had to be a dessert. I was pretty sure about it.
The first recipe I experimented with was some kind of 'Mini Pavlova with Passion Fruit' .
Unfortunately, it didn't actually turn out the way I had expected (you can learn more about this culinary failure here).
As a second and last attempt I tried out a 'Coconut milk pannacotta', a personal version of this recipe, which has always appealed to me. Passion fruit and agave syrup simply add a sweet and exotic note, plus a sparkling beam to this candid and immaculate white dessert.
As for the food styling, I was determined to convey a light, bright atmosphere that matched well with the light-ness of this recipe. And I was also concerned about keeping it simple, just as the dish the photos had to portray.
Inspiration came unexpectedly.
As I was decorating my house for Christmas with my daughter M., I found some tiny golden candles I had completely forgotten about. I loved the way they reflected light...and it immediately struck me...I thought I could play with it - Gold and Light - and style the recipe using these candles and some golden fabric to lighten up the elements of my composition.
I spent a couple of hours taking photos of the recipe with my camera and macro lens, merrily playing with the different options I could choose from...
The whole process (devising, making, styling the recipe, and shooting the final product) really challenged me at different levels. It was a great way of 'learning by doing', discovering new elements I'll play with in the future.
Thank you for hosting the contest and for the wonderful opportunity it has provided to bloggers. Thank you for the ecxellent work you are doing as creators and contributors of the food photography blog 'Culinographie'!
Best whishes for the New Year to everyone!
Ingredients for the pannacotta (serves 6):
full fat coconut milk: 350 ml
silk tofu: 100 gr
agave syrup: 2 + 1/2 tablespoons
vanilla bean: 1 - seeds scraped, pod reserved
agar agar: 2 teaspoons
unflavoured vegetable oil (optional)
Ingredients for the passion fruit coulis:
passion fruit: 12 - halved, pulp and juice scooped out
agave syrup: 4 tablespoons
Combine coconut milk and agave syrup in a saucepan over medium heat, add the vanilla pod.
Bring to boil and stir in agar agar.
Reduce to lower heat and let simmer for 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool down.
Remove vanilla pod and discard.
Liquify silk tofu in a food processor and stir in the vanilla seeds.
Whisk the liquified tofu into the cooled coconut milk mixture.
Divide mixture into 6 individual glass bowl or ramekins greased with vegetable oil (this will make it easier sliding the pannacotta out of the ramekins).
Let the pannacotta chill in the refrigerator for at least 3-4 hours.
While the pannacotta is chilling in the fridge, prepare the passion fruit coulis.
In a medium bowl combine the pulp and juice of passion fruit with the agave syrup. Reserve.
Remove the molds form the fridge.
Submerge the molds (bottom only) in a bowl of hot water, then remove from water and run a sharp knife along the edges of the pannacotta to loosen it from the ramekin.