Category Archives: food writing
The summer has been a busy one – rich with creative opportunities for me. A highlight of the past few weeks was shooting the images for the stunning online magazine, The Foodie Bugle. Alongside Silvana de Soissons, the visionary Editor/Publisher, I worked on making a set of photographs to illustrate the magazine over the coming seasons. I would like to share a small selection of these with you. Below is a portrait of Silvana – her artistry as a cook and stylist is supreme. She is a perfectionist; a curator of all things glorious, quirky or simply beautiful. Above all, she is one who nourishes, both with ideas and food. Rarely do I eat anything during a food shoot – I am concentrating too much on the photography or I just don’t feel like eating. This wasn’t the case on location in Silvana’s country farmhouse. I was fed from morning to evening, and the food was immensely delicious and simply impossible to resist!
Shall I tell you about the food? Above is the mid morning snack that Silvana set out for me: warm from the oven bread rolls, with home grown fruit jam and a drink of elderflower cordial. We had some exquisite Italian almond biscuits with our tea. And then on to some work. Look at these quails’ eggs, one of nature’s works of art.
Making these sparkling scarlett Prosecco cocktails was lots of fun. At least I abstained from drinking these, as tempting as they were.
I have never tasted a tomato soup quite so vibrant and intense as this. You’ll have to beg Silvana for the recipe. And a dish of chicken, marinated in herbs and baked in the oven with sweet garlic and silvery sage leaves. This is just a little glimpse of our day. There was more, much more.
I hope you will spend some time pouring over the wealth of food writing, photography and stories featured on the pages of The Foodie Bugle – these are always moments well spent! http://thefoodiebugle.com
I don’t think I am alone in finding the summer holidays have flashed past. Do you feel that too?
The September new year is underway, all back to school with shiny shoes and anticipation. I love this time of year – that zest for getting on with projects and the hint of Autumn around the corner – heightened by a tinge of wistfulness for the end of summer.
Thanks for visiting, please leave me a comment if you feel in the mood – I love to hear your thoughts. P
Glorious food, wonderful company, the breathtakingly beautiful Cotswold countryside and the ultra chic ambience that is Daylesford Organic? Yes it’s the perfect recipe for an amazing day out for a group of food writers, photographers and bloggers. I was lucky enough to join in on this recent lovely day, and came home brimming with inspiration and a sense of well being. Organised by the delightful and charming Silvana de Soissons (publisher of The Foodie Bugle), our day included an extensive tour of the farm shop, cafe, cookery school and gardens as well as cakes, pastries,and a superb lunch. Here are a few snaps I made on the day, I hope it gives you a flavour of the place. May I suggest that you visit The Foodie Bugle to read more about our day, as Silvana has written a wonderful account here.
Our day began with coffee and cakes in the cafe. This was tricky as I desperately wanted to be greedy and taste all the cakes but was too busy meeting and catching up with the rest of the gang. And it was lovely to chat with Rosie and Camilla from Daylesford. (Thanks again for looking after us so well.) Richard Smith, the farm manager chatted to us about the farming methods they are using at Daylesford, the seed stock and dairy breeds, all incredibly interesting. I’ll just have to go back soon to get some cakes!
Lunch was in the glasshouse overlooking the Chelsea award winning herb gardens. Bathed in early Spring sunshine, the setting is impeccable. But look at this magnificent spread of hams, salads, tarts. Delicicious eh? I keep thinking about those sausage rolls and I am going to try to make some as similar as possible later this week. I’ll post my recipe when I get it right!
The spa and garden shop are equally stylish. Calm, muted colours and a simple, natural mood. Lovely.
So there you have it. If you get a chance to visit the Cotswolds – and I really recommend that you do – don’t miss a stop at Daylesford. I’m sure most visitors to Extra-Relish love gorgeous food like I do, so I know you’ll enjoy it.
Daylesford Organic, Gloucestershire. www.daylesfordorganic.com
I am so excited about Spring. I’ve been out and about with my camera, and feeling much inspiration to cook, so lots of photographs and recipes coming soon. Px
Last week I had the pleasure of attending a wonderful event – A Literary Lunchtime -at the High and Ham festival. It was a ”conversation” with three fabulous ladies of the food publishing world, writer Claudia Roden, and publisher/writers Judith Jones and Jill Norman. Food writer Victoria Prever, who hosted the talk, got the ladies to reflect on their experiences and insights into the world of writing about food.
Judith Jones has years of experience of publishing some of the best ever food writers. She was the young editor who brought Julia Child’s first book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking into publication – her character appears in the recent film Julie and Julia. (See Judith’s wonderful blog here.) Judith made some comments on what makes a good cookery book and I have been reflecting on her thoughts while I am reading a new book by Laura Santini. Back to that thought in a moment…
I’ve always enjoyed reading Mrs Santini’s etiquette column in Waitrose Food Illustrated magazine because I love her spiky observations on modern manners and witty words of advice. I was delighted to receive an advance copy of her new cookery book Easy Tasty Italian (Publication 2nd October 2009). The gist of the book is how to “add some magic to your everyday food” so there is an emphasis on intense flavours and stylish little touches. Just like her column, it’s a great read, with her characteristic wit and panache.
The format of the book is a bit different from the standard, in the way it breaks down the sections and dishes. Laura puts a focus on to the intense flavours can transform simple dishes into something special. So she has an extensive section, with a detailed explanation, on the “fifth taste” called umami – an element found in foods like parmesan cheese, anchovies, marmite and miso. Other opening sections highlight basic techniques and preparations – sauces, butter, flavourings, elixirs and potions. These elements are then the building blocks that go into the recipes throughout the rest of the book. The book is peppered with amusing titles and quirky imagery – again a bit different from the many books with emphasis on “food porn” imagery. (I hate that term – must find a better one..) I like Laura Santini’s book a lot, and it is really packed with instruction and recipes. It is more of a book that you have to concentrate on rather than idly flip through for inspiration.
So back to Judith Jones’ comments on cookery writing. She said that a good book is one that empowers the reader – as I understood her, that gives the reader some knowledge that she can internalise, build on, and put to use the next time around. Not just a collection of recipes, but a deeper understanding of the process, akin to the practice and skill needed to develop any artistry. Sometimes that means longer or more complicated recipes, as opposed to the quick and easy. I believe Laura Santini does aim to give this background – this element of teaching – in her book. So actually, the reader has the job of learning these techniques and understanding flavours before they can really access the “easy” part in the title of the book. Great food for thought!