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Thursday
Aug212014

put an egg on it : polenta edition

I have a home studio (ok, well, I call it a studio, but it's really a bedroom upstairs in our house. I figure, because there's no bed in it, it's technically NOT a bedroom and therefore I can call it whatever I damn well please).

The thing I love most about my studio?

IT'S. ALL. MINE.

It's a space that belongs to me - no one else ever comes in (well, sometimes Sean, but usually it's just to say hi because I've been in front of my computer for hours and he misses me). A space where I have my computer, my photography gear, my food styling props, surfaces and linens and some artwork that I love. It's a space where I brainstorm - a space where I create. Sometimes though, I need a change of view, and that's usually when I head downstairs and take over the kitchen table.

I spread out my scraps of handwritten inspiration/ideas, my laptop, pens, notebook and iPhone and I start to work for the day - catching up on emails, Facebook, Twitter, editing pictures. I make one cup of coffee, then another, and before I know it, it's late morning and I'm SO HUNGRY.

You would think that, because of what I do, I would eat an incredible breakfast every morning. But I don't. I get so wrapped up in work that I often forget to eat. It's only when I notice the gnawing and growling of my stomach that I stop and get up from what I'm doing.

When those hollow 'I've had too much coffee and now my belly is angry' feelings set in, I need something comforting, something warm to make it shut the hell up. I could easily have a bowl of cereal, maybe scramble a couple of eggs, but what I really love for breakfast is polenta.

To me, polenta is like the lovechild of mashed potatoes and cornbread (now TELL me that doesn't sound good to you). It's thick, creamy, buttery, cheesy comfort food that sticks to your insides and subsides the screeching hunger pangs. It's fast and easy to make (if you do it my way - which - let's get real, any Italian would laugh/curse at me for even suggesting), you can really add anything you want to flavour it, and then you top it off with a perfectly fried egg like a little golden crown jewel. Best part? You can eat polenta for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Polenta's pretty flexible you see.

Seriously.

You should try it.

Polenta with Fresh Sage and a Fried Egg (serves one person)

1/2 C water

1/3 C milk

1/4 C polenta (you can look for Italian polenta or you can just use regular cornmeal)

1/4 small onion, chopped (I like onion in my polenta)

1/4 tsp salt

dollop of butter + more to fry your egg in

small handful of grated Parmigiano (aka Parmesan but you can use any cheese you want. Brie or goat cheese are both really good)

3-4 fresh sage leaves, torn (use any herbs or spices you like - sometimes I like to add a bit of smoked paprika)

1 egg

- in a microwave safe dish, stir together water, milk, polenta and onion (it's here that you can either add your herbs/spices OR you can do what I've done in the picture above and sprinkle your herbs on at the end). In one minute intervals, microwave polenta until thick and creamy, stirring well after each minute (mine takes 3 minutes total) - add butter and 3/4 of cheese to polenta and mix well to combine - spoon polenta out onto a plate or into a bowl

- fry an egg in butter to your liking - place egg on top of polenta - sprinkle with torn herbs and remaining cheese

- eat

Monday
Aug182014

SEASON - summer 2014

For the last three weeks, I've been taking an amazing online workshop called 'Food Photography Narratives' with Gina Weathersby, aka www.gretchalina.com, via The Bloom Forum. The course focused on natural light, simple styling and storytelling and was an absolute joy to be a part of. I went from posting one or two beauty shots on my blog to learning and understanding how to create a food narrative from start to finish. My final assignment was to create my own original food narrative (which can be found in the next blog post below - Raspberry Thyme Scones). I knew I wanted to use the theme 'al fresco' since that's the Halifax Food Bloggers August blog post theme, and at the same time, I was inspired by the colour combination of pink and dark green. I shot film for about six years before I switched completely to digital, so last night for fun, while I was editing my shots, I started playing around with settings in Lightroom to give my photos an old school film vibe. For continuity, I used my settings throughout my entire narrative. The bonus assignment of the workshop was to create a digital magazine using Issuu so I spent this morning doing just that. I've had the concept for SEASON in my head for about a year now and now I finally have the confidence and the know-how to bring it to fruition. If you ever have the chance to learn from Gina - I urge you to do so!!

Sunday
Aug172014

Raspberry Thyme Scones

Raspberry Thyme Scones (makes approximately 12 x 60g scones)

2 1/4 C flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves, stems removed

1/2 C Greek yogurt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 C butter

3/4 C sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla + 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped

1/2 - 1 C fresh raspberries

1 egg + coarse sugar for garnish

- preheat 350º

- in a bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, salt and thyme leaves together - set aside

- in another bowl, mix Greek yogurt and baking soda together - set aside

- combine butter, sugar, one egg and vanilla in mixer - beat until light and fluffy - add flour mixture to butter and mix until just combined - add Greek yogurt in and mix until just combined

- portion dough into 60g balls - roll between hands with pieces of raspberry - use as much or as little raspberry as you like - lay out 8 dough portions on a parchment lined baking sheet - flatten each scone lightly with fingertips - in a small bowl, beat second egg with a fork - brush tops of scones liberally with beaten egg - sprinkle each scone generously with coarse sugar - bake 15-17 minutes, until bottoms are golden