food photography

LOCAL CONNECTIONS HALIFAX : Summer 2016

I'm thrilled to be on board with LOCAL CONNECTIONS HALIFAX as their 'Resident Food Photographer, Stylist and Blogger'. Each issue I'll be styling, photographing and writing about one incredible Nova Scotia food/drink product/ingredient. The current issue features a variety of locally made sausage (YUM) with the late summer issue coming soon!

To view the entire article, click here.

 

Overnight Crockpot Apple Butter

Overnight Crockpot Apple Butter

5 large apples, peeled, chopped

1 C dark brown sugar

juice from half a lemon

2 Tbsp water

1.5 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp sea salt

0.5 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

- in a large bowl toss chopped apples with brown sugar, lemon juice and water to coat - place in crockpot and cook on low overnight

- the next morning, stir in pumpkin pie spice, sea salt, cinnamon and vanilla - cook 2 hours more with lid slightly ajar to allow steam to escape - jar and eat*

* I love apple butter dolloped on homemade granola, on pancakes or French toast, on ice cream, on cake, on toast or by itself with a spoon.

Food Film #3 : JC's Sage and Pancetta Wrapped Shrimp

Sean and our very good friend JC met years ago when they both worked in the kitchen of il Mercato on Spring Garden Road (the old location). At the time, JC was the youngest chef to run a Bertossi kitchen - just 22 years old. 

Years later, after Sean and I were engaged, we knew, without a doubt, who we wanted to ask to be Sean's best man at our wedding. 

Sean and JC at our wedding - photo credit : Mike Tompkins

The first time I met JC, I felt as if we'd already been friends for years. He has a personality that feels like a warm hug, plus, he's super smart and knows a lot of stuff about stuff. He and I bonded over our passion for being creative in the kitchen and I often receive random texts like:

'$2 8oz side order of Canadian back bacon at the market, produced by a local farmer and fried up fresh this morning. Singing to me. And I don't mean that round ham lookin' shit either. Long, leggy, crisp and chewy, glorious back bacon. Maybe it'll actually make it past the line up next week.'

'Molasses cookies, root beer fudge, fresh honey comb, garlic jelly, fresh cheese, artisan sausage, zucchini relish, ammolite necklaces... It's market day in Lethbridge!'

'Friend of ours is flying in for the night tomorrow on her way through town (she's a relaxed vegetarian). To my inquiry "Dinner plans yet? Spag garlic? Shrimp? Lemon, capers, arugula?" I get back "No! OMG YES! ALL OF IT!" Lol, had to share the love. Hope you guys had a great week!'

You can see why I absolutely adore him. In fact, there simply isn't enough space on this blog to tell you how awesome he is.

A few years ago, JC moved to Edmonton (insert sad face here), and when he comes home to visit, he always stays with us. The last time he was home he said, 'Hey guys, I've been making this super easy little appetizer for friends out West and they go nuts for it. Wanna try it?'. We've been making JC's Sage and Pancetta Wrapped Shrimp for every cocktail / dinner party we've hosted ever since.

JC's Sage and Pancetta Wrapped Shrimp

24 shrimp, thawed, patted dry with paper towel

24 leaves fresh sage

24 pieces thinly sliced pancetta

- lay one sage leaf on each shrimp  - wrap each shrimp with one piece of pancetta - grill until pancetta is crispy

If you watch the video posted at the top, you'll see that Sean likes to gently stretch out each shrimp before wrapping. Also, between the sage and the pancetta, the shrimp have a ton of flavour so we never serve them with dip - they're always one of the first things to go!

Enjoy :)

Food Film #2 : Nanny Jean Coleman's Banana Bread

Nanny Jean Coleman's Banana Bread - food photography : food styling from Kelly Neil on Vimeo.

My friend Patrick gave my his Nanny's recipe for Banana Bread a couple of years ago and it's still the best I've ever had, so I thought it would be the perfect choice for my second food film. I'm teaching myself how to make these films, and I see things in this one that I would do differently next time, but that's what learning is right? I can live with it. A huge thank you to Padde for permission to share!

Nanny Jean Coleman's Banana Bread (aka The Best Banana Bread Ever Recipe!!!)

1/2 C butter, room temperature + 1/4 C for greasing pan

1/2 C white sugar

1/2 C brown sugar, packed

2 eggs, room temperature

1 1/2 C flour, sifted

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

3 very ripe bananas, mashed

1/2 cup sour cream (I use Greek yogurt if I don't have sour cream on hand)

1 Tbsp vanilla

1/2 C dark chocolate chips, tossed lightly in flour (optional)

- Preheat oven to 350°F

- Butter loaf pan w/ 1/4 c butter, lightly flour (I like to use a piece of crumpled up Reynold's Wax Paper to butter my loaf and cake pans - it's what my Mum taught me to do many years ago!)

- In stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 10 minutes on medium speed

- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well until combined

- Sift the dry ingredients together and combine with butter mixture - blend well

- Add the bananas, sour cream, and vanilla - mix well

- Add floured chocolate chips, if desired

- Bake 50-60 minutes - I test with a toothpick at 50 minutes and then continue to check every 3 minutes  until toothpick comes out clean - mine takes about 60 minutes

Enjoy!