Happy St. Paddy’s Day!
This month marks 6 years since I created this blog, and 5 years since I began using a DSLR camera and started learning photography (Ok, actually I got my first DSLR about 6 months before that as a wedding gift, but it literally took me several months to figure out how to turn it on and take a picture that didn’t result in a solid black rectangle rather than an image – so I decided it’s better to start counting from when I actually took photos). It’s kinda crazy to think that I’ve been doing this for the better part of a decade now, but it’s been extremely rewarding. I’ve come a long way (at least I like to think so), and am really excited for where the future will take me.
I love seeing how I have progressed, but one of the most surprising things I have found is that I love actually getting away from the big camera from time to time and just using my iPod – I’m too cheap for a fancy iPhone with a fancy mobile plan, so the iPod seems to be a great compromise to get all of the fun of an iPhone without a big expensive monthly payment – yeah I need wifi around to do a lot of things, but it’s quite amazing just how infrequently I find myself disconnected from the world – home, coffee shops, the train station, heck even the center of town has internet. When I’m traveling or touring around, I find a mobile camera is just a lot of fun.
However, I’ve been rather slow to use it for food. Traveling around it is super handy, but for food I often like the more thought out process of holding the DSLR, picking my settings and judiciously finding my focus. That said, thanks to being on Instagram and VSCOcam, I’ve learned quite a lot from my fellow colleagues about how to handle food with a mobile device. And really, all the same principles apply, you need to think about light, composition and your angle, you just don’t have same level of control on DOF or specific exposure settings.
My friend Brian recently did a post with a lot of great tips for iphoneography, and the biggest take away for me was that for food, overhead shots work the best. I’ve tried some tableside shots and yeah, they are tough composition wise – essentially because the iPhone has a relatively wide lens, and that lends to some wonky proportions if you aren’t careful – overhead definitely works better! After 5 years of studying photography, I have found using a mobile device a lot of fun – especially because it is such a different tool than I have worked with before, and it’s always fun to have a new challenge
Speaking of challenges, did you know that Simone’s Food Styling and Photography Challenge is back up and running again?! Her first challenge of 2014 was the subject of raw food, and this month’s challenge is… you guessed it…. mobile devices! I wanted to cook something special for St. Paddy’s this weekend anyways – both my husband and I have a lot of Irish heritage, and we enjoy celebrating our roots.
We had a rather humorous attempt at making an authentic Irish recipe this week - we decided to make these honey and oat biscuits, and convert them to gluten free. Since all the ingredients were in weights, we thought it’d be smooth sailing, but once my husband put them in the oven, they fell and spread out like flat cookies. And only then did it dawn on us – of course! In UK/Irish lingo, biscuits are not the flakey alternative to dinner rolls that we originally imagined, but they really are meant to be cookies, haha. Turns out a 1:1 substitution by weight with an all-purpose GF flour mix and subbing in vegetable shortening for half of the butter amount makes some really awesome gluten free cookies. After that embarrassing baking fail, I decided rather than trying out colcannon, corned beef, or soda bread, that this weekend we should take a more creative spin on another ingredient that Ireland is also famous for – smoked salmon.
Smoked salmon is a big favorite in our home, and to do something a bit different, we made some buckwheat scallion pancakes, filling them with some smoked salmon (I had the fortune of finding Irish smoked salmon here, yay!), avocado, and arugula. The pancakes were really simple to put together, and I’ve always loved the combination of salmon and avocado together. The arugula adds just a little peppery spice, and all together they made for quite a nice lunch. Enjoy!
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks
- 200 g buckwheat flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 150 mL coconut milk
- 1 cup water
- 6 eggs
- 1/3 cup chopped scallions
- coconut oil, for cooking
- Combine the buckwheat flour, salt, and sesame seeds in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together coconut milk, water, eggs, and scallions. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients, using a whisk to stir them together until the liquid is smooth and free of lumps. Let sit for at least 30 minutes (the original recipe says only 5 minutes, but uses rice flour, which absorbs liquid much faster than buckwheat - by making the substitution to buckwheat flour, one needs to increase the time the batter sits).
- Batter should be runny like for making crêpes. If not, then add in more water or coconut milk as necessary. Heat a 9" stainless skillet on medium heat with about a tablespoon of coconut oil. Scoop about 1/4 cup of batter at a time onto the pan, swirling it around so that the batter covers the entire bottom surface of the pan. Wait about 30 seconds or until the batter is mostly set, and then use a large spatula to flip and cook about 30 seconds more on the other side before sliding off on a plate. Add coconut oil to the pan as necessary. I find I can usually get 2-3 pancakes done before needing to add more oil.
- Fill with your favorite ingredients - for me, I really enjoyed Irish smoked salmon, sliced avocado, and arugula.