Sunday, January 6, 2013

Roast, Simmer & Bake: A Taste Odyssey

My wife, Anisha, has been wanting to get back into writing and I've been thinking of starting another photography project since completing my lighting project a year or so ago. This has resulted in Roast, Simmer and Bake - a project based on food with a written component and lots of food photographs (including lighting setups). We'll be uploading a new post once a week. Anisha will do all the writing while I will add the photographs and the technical lighting details. 

Here's the introduction. Check back in a couple  of days for the first post!

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Roast, Simmer & Bake: A Taste Odyssey

More info and lighting setups inside.
We have been talking about doing this for a long time. The dawn of 2013, which, as with any new year, brings with it newly-minted resolutions seems as auspicious a time as any to start. So here we are – two people with a passion for cooking good food, one with a knack for photography, the other with a love for writing and both with very large appetites – committing to our first foodie project.

So what will it look like? This will be a project 26 – once a week, for 26 weeks, we will cook, photograph, write about and eat a different dish. The catch is that we need to cook our way through the alphabet, making a dish the name of which begins with each letter and it has to be a dish that we have never made before. We have called it an odyssey because the idea is to cook dishes from all sorts of cuisines and inspired by different places around the globe. It will be a cooking/photography/writing project – and hopefully we will get the balance, like seasoning, just right.

For this project, we will concentrate on savoury dishes. As neither of us are blessed with metabolisms that can chew through anything and convert it into a six-pack, after the customary over-indulging during the holiday period, we thought we’d better try to get healthy again (though we should state at the outset that we do not promise that all, or even most, of these dishes will necessarily receive a health-food fanatic’s tick of approval – but we start with the best of intentions). If this project is a success, it will be followed by another in a similar vein, but with desserts. You will agree, it is the logical way to do things – we will get thin, before gracefully expanding. The promise of cooking 26 new desserts is so thrilling, it is enough of an incentive to get through the savoury stuff… but we are getting ahead of ourselves.

Excited as we are by this project, we are the first to admit that it will not be without its challenges. In a perfect world, we would have an abundance of time, few other commitments and an enormous kitchen. In our real world, we both often work long and unpredictable hours, weekends are crammed with social engagements and sporting activities and our kitchen is a bit cramped. Cooking our way through the alphabet will not always be easy (incidentally, and in advance, if anyone can think of a dish beginning with ‘X’, please let us know!).

Despite all of this, we think that the fact that we have been discussing this project for almost half a year must mean that we are both committed to making it happen. And we think that there are some great positives to this project – it is something we can do together; it allows both of us to spend time on things we love doing; it poses a challenges, giving Dev another genre of photography to master, and me an incentive to start writing again; and finally, it is a reason for us to pore over our library of cookbooks and extend our repertoire. While it may be safe to say that no-one can accuse me of being an armchair-cook, too often, I find myself going back to tried and tested recipes while other deliciousness remains on the page, never making it to the plate – this project will, we hope, change that.

Wish us luck!

Lighting Info
Lighting info - Roast, Simmer & Bake: A Taste Odyssey

This was a basic two light setup. The main light was a Canon 580 EX II fired into a reflective umbrella at 1/64.

The key light was a Canon 430 EX II fired at 1/64th from camera left.

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