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?