I spent most of Saturday at the food photography workshop and it was full on, non-stop from the moment I arrived before 9am until it finished in early afternoon. I haven’t enjoyed myself so much in a long time. I was learning to do something I really enjoy – taking photos of food.
I was surprised that there were so many people there – and many were professional photographers wanting to know more about styling and shooting food. We all had so much in common.
Rich Johnston, a professional photographer in our local area was taking the course because he’s just started cooking and photographing his food and wanted to get some tips and tricks for droolworthy photos. He taught me so much about my camera in under 10 minutes that I’m going to get some private tutoring on my camera. He didn’t help just me – in this photo he’s helping Ranee from Rani’s Cuisine.
Yeah, I have my camera book but it’s like learning Photoshop, you can get things done in 2 seconds just by watching someone else do something. John would much prefer to use the book, that’s why he’s the geek and I’m the cook.
We photographed herbs on boards, tomatoes, watermelon, and heaps of desserts and we used heaps of props that Chris has brought with him. I looked at all the backdrops, wooden plank sets, dishes, cutting boards, cutlery, crockery sets and tablecloths, placemats, towels and more.
I can’t imagine how long it took to stuff all that in his car and bring it to the studio. His wife Ingrid looked after everyone so well and the class moved along with everyone getting an opportunity to get good shots.
Now I want to share an old recipe for you just so you’ll be able to recognize that my photos have gotten better. I made these stuffed mushies ages ago and the photos certainly look “first generation” foodie. That doesn’t take away one bit from how tasty they were and were perfect for Meat Free Monday. Australia is just catching up with our US Meatless Monday friends.
These came about because I made some mushroom stuffing for a pork tenderloin (haven’t bloggd that yet either!) and I had a bunch leftover. In my head that pork tenderloin must have been much bigger than it really was.
That’s how much was left over – too much to toss. I’d bought some nice portobello mushrooms for John’s breakast and thought they’d be great as stuffed “meat” for dinner. Turns out I was right for me. For him not so much. 3 minutes into dinner and he had some leftover pork tenderloin on his plate as well. “We shouldn’t waste this,” he said. What he meant was, “no meat???”
I started by making some fresh bread crumbs and then I melted some butter in a frying pan and tossed them in and stirred them around until they were all coated and ready for topping. I don’t know about you and I know I’m going to get scolded for this but I peel portobellos before using them. They have a nice pull-tab edge and once I take that off the mushrooms look beautiful. Yell at me, it’s all right. I know it’s brush them off and eat them and I have no problem doing that with most mushrooms. The ones that look like they’ve been around a while need peeling in my book. I removed the stems to make room for more stuffing.
I sprayed the oven pan with oil and placed the mushrooms in and topped them with the stuffing and popped them in the oven at 180C/350F for about 15 minutes. That gave them some time to get hot before putting the bread crumbs on top.
After 10 minutes I topped them with the buttered bread crumbs and baked until golden brown – another 20-30 minutes.
- 4 slices of bread processed into fine crumbs in food processor
- 2 tbs butter
- 1 lb. button mushrooms, wiped clean and chopped and the stems from the large mushrooms (I used the food processor)
- 1 tablespoon ricotta cheese
- ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tbs butter
- ¼ cup finely chopped onion
- 1 clove garlic finely minced
- 2 slices bacon, chopped into small pieces
- ½ tsp salt
- Black pepper to taste
- 2 tbs grated carrot
- 1 tbs olive oil
- ½ tsp mixed herbs
- 8 large portobello or field mushrooms, cleaned or peeled, stems removed
- In a frying pan, saute bacon pieces for a few minutes and then add the carrot and onions with a little bit of salt and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms and butter and cook on medium high heat for 2 minutes and then add the garlic and cook for a minute or so longer. Set aside to cool in a bowl.
- In the same frying pan melt 2 tbs butter and when it begins to foam add the bread crumbs and stir to coat. Do not let them turn brown - the oven will do that bit.
- To the bowl with the mushroom mixture add the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, remainder of the salt, some black pepper and the mixed herbs and stir to combine.
- With a pastry brush, spread oil over the top and bottom of the large mushrooms and place cavity side up in a greased baking pan. (I used spray oil but you could use baking paper)
- Divide the mushroom mixture between the mushrooms, piling it in the center.
- Place in oven for 10 minutes before topping with the buttered bread crumbs and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the crumbs are golden brown.
- Garnish with chopped parsley.
Do you have go-to meatless meals for your family?
Christine (Food Wine Travel) says
Sounds like you have been learning lots of wonderful tips about food photography, Maureen. The evidence is in your lovely pic of the watermelon salad!
Christine, I will admit and confess… that watermelon looked so good that I stuck my fingers in and took a piece. Then everyone else did the same thing. Fortunately I was the last one to photograph the watermelon or I’d have been in real trouble I suspect. 🙂
Sneh | Cook Republic says
I like the texture in your stuffing, especially the bacon … mmm. Glad you had a wonderful time learning about your camera! Food photography rocks, doesn’t it?
If I could but follow you around one day, one day only, while you shot food, I’d be in heaven. 🙂 I’m a huge admirer of your work. I’ll get better and you’re certainly one of my big influencers.
The Life of Clare says
Your photos are wonderful! I’d love to go to a photography workshop!
Laura (Tutti Dolci) says
I love stuffed mushrooms, a scrumptious appetizer!
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says
Great photos Maureen! And I’m drooling about these stuffed mushrooms-they look delicious 😀
That watermelon is totally drool-worthy Maureen, and you have indeed come a really long way. I love baked portobellos, and stuffed are even better!
Scrambled Megs says
Loving this post – looks like you’re going to have to give me some tips soon! The mushrooms look divine, my friend x
I would love to one day be able to take a course on food photography, but don’t see that happening… 🙁 Oh, well
in my humble opinion, brown food is the hardest to take photos of – and your stuffed mushrooms prove that you know what you’re doing!
Looking forward to your future posts and photos!
kristy @ the wicked noodle says
That first shot is gorgeous!! Sounds like you had a great time at the workshop. Love these stuffed mushrooms, too!
Kitchen Belleicious says
that filling is enough to make me want to scream, run wild and drive straight to the store to pick up the ingredients! Wow, they look amazing
I’ve always thought your photos were excellent, Maureen, but looking back at the early posts is a good way to compare progress. Also, taking this workshop to make your photos even better shows your commitment to exceptional food blogging — we eat with our eyes first! (I’m with ya in the “let me watch how you do that” camp, lol.) Portobellos with pull-tabs — love it! 🙂
I so wish I could do something like that, I am not a ‘read the book’ kind of person either, I am much more hands on. I won’t learn it unless I do it. Sounds like an awesome day.
I can’t wait for the next one 🙂
Stuffed mushrooms have always been my favorite snack! I am keeping your recipe to try!
I LOVE stuffed mushrooms. I haven’t made them in ages, but so yummy. Reminds me of my grandmother’s recipe.
The Café Sucré Farine says
Sounds like a fun and very helpful workshop! Love your mushrooms, I wouldn’t need meat with these!
I could so use a food photography workshop. Your photos are gorgeous! And those mushrooms are right up my alley.
Great looking shots and stuffed mushrooms!
I can’t wait to try your stuffed mushrooms recipe…it’s a keeper. We eat meatless quite often. I know, I know, I have to get to posting some of those! I am so jealous of the photo workshop. I can’t find one anywhere near me. I need it. Your photography is fabulous. Can’t wait to see the results of your new knowledge. The watermelon photo is gorgeous!
Looks delicious! I need to take a food photo class–I have noticed it is so much harder to photograph food than people/scenery!
Claire - Simply Sweet Justice says
“First generation foodie” – that just cracked me up. Every time I use my credit card, I am one mile closer to a ticket to Australia for a cooking and photo workshop with YOU! 😉 These mushrooms remind me of a recipe that my grandma makes at the holidays. Yum!
Stuffed mushrooms have always been a ‘weakness’ of mine: want to try these especially as I have not used grated carrot in the mix before: that would give both sweetness and a skight crunch methinks.
My mom used to make something similar but they never looked THIS good. 🙂
Claire @ Claire K Creations says
The watermelon is just beautiful. If you ever do another class please let me know. I’ll come up for the day for sure!
So funny… I have to come up with a mushroom recipe for something next week and I was designing a similar thing to this in my head. Yum!
Kari @ bite-sized thoughts says
It sounds like a fantastic day. I need a similar thing I think!
Choc Chip Uru says
Your classes are obviously to good effect my friend look at your gorgeous photos 🙂
Love the recipe too!
Choc Chip Uru
Hotly Spiced says
I adore stuffed mushrooms. What a great side dish (or meal). I agree that there’s so much to learn when it comes to photography and it can never hurt to do another course. This one sounds fantastic because it was so hands-on. Love your work! xx
seems you had a great time….Photographs are very nice.My favourite is watermelon picture…
Love these stuffed mushroom….
I liked that watermelon photo too – so much that I had to sneak a piece of the watermelon when we were finished.
Adrian (What the Heck is Filipino Food) says
I’d be interested in doing a photography workshop, especially in food. Your photos are already super though! Love what you’ve done with the mushrooms here.
Thanks Adrian! I learn something from every workshop I attend. By the time I’m 100 I’ll be good at it. 🙂
My brother made stuffed mushrooms for Thanksgiving this year, but I have to say I like the looks of yours better!
That photography class sounds awesome!
Looking good is important but it’s all in the taste. Close your eyes and bite. 🙂
Marina@Picnic at Marina says
Maureen, if any food deserves to be orgasmic, this is it (for me, at least): I love mushrooms! Guess what was for dinner last night? Mushrooms. Guess what I am having for lunch today? Mushrooms (not the same, different). Mushrooms are my meat. have you seen this pate I made some time ago? :http://www.picnicatmarina.com/2012/02/oscar-night-dinner-mushroom-pate.html
Your photography is improving, time (and money) on photo shops well spent. Makes me want to sign up for one myself, although I think I am not ready yet. What do you think?
That top photo is great. Fantastic light, very good use of shallow depth of field, nice composition. Plus it’s pretty, which is the most important thing! Your photography is already pretty good, but food photography is so challenging there’s always more one can learn — or relearn. And of course there’s the whole food styling thing, which is a whole different set of skills! Anyway, your baked stuffed mushrooms are also one nice dish. I often use mushrooms when I’m going meatless for their fantastic umami qualities. And I’ll often add soy sauce for the same reason. Nice recipe, really nice photos.
Thanks a lot, John and I take your comments very seriously – I adore your photography.
Ashley - Baker by Nature says
Your workshop looks like such a fun way to spend a day!!! And I love the idea of these stuffed mushrooms!!
I would happily attend a photography workshop every week if I could!
Judy@Savoring Today says
Love stuffed mushrooms, these look and sound amazing. I can relate to being amazed by all the props, linens, and dishes … it overwhelms me at times and it is starting to take over my closets! 😉 Sounds like you have a good day.
I had a chat with my friend Ros yesterday when she stopped by to photograph our dog and she worked with a food stylist who keeps her food styling gear in a shipping container and figures she’s got over $60,000 invested. Boggles the mind.
Mary Frances says
LOL – My husband hates our weekly meatless meals too! Lately I’ve been putting in just a taste of something – like a one quarter-inch slice of pancetta, (chopped) in a red sauce for pasta and that seems to satisfy him!
It’s amazing that a tiny bit of meat seems to make all the difference to them. 🙂
Suzanne Perazzini says
Yummy recipe. I wish we had enough people interested to attend a food photography class here in Auckland – it was tried recently but cancelled due to lack of interest. I would love to attend one. Lucky you!
I’m really surprised. This class was nearly overbooked. We’re in a relatively small area compared to Auckland. You’ll have to come to visit the Sunshine Coast, Suzanne!
Coffee and Crumpets says
The mushrooms look delicious Maureen! I love stuffing the portobellos and I too am tempted to peel mine. You can’t help it when that tab is just hanging there.
I bet you had great fun at the photo workshop. I just recently got in touch with an old friend from England. He is Australian and back in the day I had a bit of a crush on him. Come to find out he is a photographer out of Brisbane and did a lot of work in the Far East, of course I made him check out my photos on my blog 🙂 He was quite impressed.
Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking says
Oh wow this looks so interesting and so much fun. I bet you learned a lot. Those mushrooms look amazing!!
What a great workshop and what a treat to be able to work with a professional photographer! I bet you both learned a lot of each other. All of the photos are beautiful and you did a great making brown food look delicious. Not an easy task in my book. Great recipe! Wonderful pictures!
How fun to have gone the photo workshop. Your photos do look great and I was wondering before I read the post what happened to the mushroom photos when you did so well with the fruit above, lol! I hate for anyone to look at my old post when I first got started blogging because they are awful, but some of the best recipes are the first ones you post. Your mushrooms do look yummy and I laughed about getting the pork out to eat. My family doesn’t like to go meatless much but I do.
There isn’t a stuffed mushroom I don’t like. This recipe sounds fantastic. Must try.
The stuffed mushrooms look great Maureen…and how fun attending a food photography workshop, this is something that I would love to do as well.
Have a great week 🙂
Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen says
I, too, would have loved that photography workshop! I can see you’re learning so much already. It’s great to have someone on hand to point out how to work your camera. I’m looking forward to many more great shots.. and I love stuffed mushroom caps!!
Cass @foodmyfriend says
Lovely shot of those tomatoes. Yum! I am making stuffed mushrooms tonight 🙂 Not sure what I will stuff them with but thanks for the ideas!
I would love to do a food styling workshop… there is so much to learn!!! Love your images. I know you mushrooms would be amazing :)!!
I would love a food styling workshop too. I hope someone does one in the southeast Queensland area. I’d certainly drive for it.
My daughter and I were just talking about stuffed mushrooms, I will shars this recipe with her.
Yuri - chef Pandita says
Oh wow, love your pics! I could use a food photography workshop too. Your new blog is so beautiful, need to catch up on your posts 🙂 *pandahugs*
Christine @ Cooking Crusade says
A photography class would be so much fun!!
Mmm yum these look great for Meatless Mondays! I am crazy in love with mushrooms and would love to try this recipe 🙂
I simply love mushrooms, I can’t get enough of them so baked stuffed mushrooms are my idea of heaven! xo