Oh no, not another restaurant profile! I’m in the process of moving house and have therefore been eating everybody else’s food rather than lovingly preparing my own heartfelt and meaningful dishes before a mighty tripod. My insatiable appetite for posting #new #original #content cannot be subdued however so here are some photos for Matt Moran and Peter Sullivan’s latest venture, North Bondi Fish, taken in December last year just before their official opening (celeb chef power-up). If you see these images floating around anywhere think of me. Think of me fondly (or not).
Here’s a real feel of the day: Who am I? What am I? How does life? If I visit the new Black Star Pastry without posting photos, did I ever really take photos at all?? Are you there, klout?
Commissioned by Broadsheet, you can read/see more about it here!
Imagine telling our famished ancestors that some people these days create plates of food just to improve their SEO. “Oh, this isn’t a plate, it’s an enamelware prop“. “Can I eat yet?”, “no! I need to take a photo!”
I’m not one for profound reflection but if 2013 has taught me anything it’s that of the fine art (and dark art) of the facade.
I write in my about section that the “true value of food as a homely and generous act” is perhaps being lost amongst 1) the desire to articulate every single thing we cook, and 2) the need to document every single thing we eat. Articulation takes time whereas hot food on a plate has a considerably short shelf life as we collect our thoughts and adjust the settings in our cameras.
We’re shrouded in duplicate information of the hottest new Sydney spots and are bombarded with images of staged food. Occasionally people who make food at home for themselves/friends/family choose not to live in the delicious moment and instead place a board behind their dinner, delicately locate a fork at a whimsical angle and take a photo. Sometimes if the food goes cold it goes into the bin.
I’ve been guilty of this myself, though less so than I used to, so I understand, but I find the whole “recipe blogging” process irritating if it becomes a wasteful act.
Cutlery shopping is now “prop sourcing”, whipping up something new is now “recipe developing” and I feel the whole scene is becoming too self important with a disregard of spontaneity and generosity which, with food, is really important.
So my faux-revalation for the coming year is; keep it real and drop the act and facade of stylised food. Once in a while ditch the props, don’t worry if your photo isn’t perfect and relish in the now of documenting how things look rather than how you’d like them to look as you’re sharing them. Don’t listen to what you’ve heard, using flash can be awesome (Vice, are you listening?? I’m cool. Somebody’s even throwing up their rude finger in one of these photos). By all means go snap happy, just don’t berate your friends for eating a dish you generously prepared for them because you need to style it with a different spoon. Hands look better in food photos anyway and honest images speak volumes alongside the constantly artificial and staged.
SO! Here are some crostini I prepared for NYE (sans toasting, no time and too much effort); wine poached pears with a holy trinity of cheese and rosemary poached apricots with ricotta. They’re not heaps beautiful of typically photoworthy but that’s ok! My friends enjoyed them and that’s all that matters. Someone even shouted “ALANA ARE YOU BLOGGING?!” from the balcony as some flash spilled from the kitchen, and that’s ok too, because I was only “blogging” for a few seconds. Happy 2014.
For the poached rosemary apricots
Collect some generous sprigs of rosemary for your backyard (or local store). Dissolve a cup of sugar in four cups of water in a pan over a stove and allow the rosemary to infuse. Meanwhile halve the apricots and remove the pips. Simmer in the rosemary syrup for around 5 minutes and transfer to a baking dish with a slotted spoon. Sprinkle with some caster sugar and place under a hot grill until tops are burnished. Meanwhile, reduce the poaching liquid and you’ll have a nice rosemary syrup to use for drinks and other things. Assemble by spreading ricotta on some sliced baguette, then an apricot half, then some fresh rosemary leaves.
For the wine poached pears and cheese
Dissolve three quarters of a cup of sugar in some nasty red wine you have floating around the house in a saucepan and add three sliced pears to simmer. Once tender (15ish minutes), remove with a slotted spoon and allow to cool. Combine 150g of cream cheese, 200g of feta and 80g of stinky stilton into a holy trinity cheesy spread (these are approximate measurements, add to taste). Assemble by spreading stinky goodness on bread then adoring with a couple of pieces of sliced pear.
I am only just warming to the disposition of walking around with a camera slung over my shoulder with purpose and confidence, however, when placed in a room full of fellow camera-wielders I begin to feel a little nervous, like ants are crawling in and around my headspace telling me to put the darn thing down. “The human-to-camera ratio all up in here is way out of balance, it’s almost 1:1! You’re part of the problem! Somebody will call you out as a blogger or shamelessly take a photo of your arse again! Photos-of-people-taking-photos-of-food-dot-tumblr-dot-com!! Stahp!“, etc etc.
Regardless, I took some photos in an act of peer-pressure on the day and had forgotten about them until now. Here are some casual moments from my nook at Good Food Month’s at The cook, the stylist the photographers… and the breakfast event in October. I won free tickets, cheers Good Food.
I promised myself I would avoid another “clip show” like post, however, my kitchen is being renovated therefore I have no means of cooking outside of a microwave and I wish to #post some #content. I’ve found myself taking less and less food photos these days, which is cool, a good photographer should be a Jack of Many Trades so it’s nice to learn-by-doing taking photos of nice spaces and friendly heads. The word “food” still hangs in the header of this humble website however so I’ve collected most food-related photos from good times recently at Broadsheet Sydney.
Although I don’t have any life-changing advice, my one take away from the past few months is simple (and a bit horrible); there is no greater feel than walking straight to the front of the mammoth line at Mamak in Haymarket. Sorry about that everyone. I’ve never felt more important in my entire life.
Black Star Pastry, Newtown
Simon Said Providores
Nomad Restaurant, Surry Hills
The Cow and The Moon, Enmore
Miss Peaches Soul Food Kitchen, Newtown
The Clubhouse, Rosebery
Earl’s Juke Joint, Enmore
In The Annex, Forest Lodge
Hello Sailor, Darlinghurst
Suzy Spoon’s Vegetarian Butcher, Newtown
Kitchen by Mike, Rosebery
The Henson, Marrickville
The Dip, Sydney CBD
Mamak Village, Glebe
Bourke Street Bakery, Marrickville
Belle Fleur Fine Chocolates, Stanmore
Gelato Messina, Bondi
Soda Pony, Enmore
Mamak, Sydney CBD
Upstairs at The Bank, Newtown
The Cook House, Randwick
Noble Canteen, Sydney CBD
Little Mule, Stanmore
Bread and Circus, Alexandria
Hollywood and Vine, Surry Hills
The Counter, Petersham
A Vinous Nomad in Surry Hills
In The Club
Gelato Messina Opens By The Sea
A Better Birthday Cake By Hartsyard
A Day in the Life of Belle Fleur Chocolates
Hiding Out In The Annex
A Farmhouse in a Factory
Tags: belle fleur, black star pasyt, bread and circus, broadsheet, cow and the moon, darlinghurst, enmore, gelato messina, glebe, hartsyard, hello sailor, hollywood and vine, kitchen by mike, little mule, mamak, miss peaches, newtown, nomad, ombretta, rosebery, soda pony, surry hills, suzy spoon, sydney cbd, the bank, the clubhouse, the cook house, the counter, the dip, the henson
The art of collection has always been a theme of #expression I’ve enjoyed well before I had any interest in dabbling in the creative arts. My dad has albums upon albums of photos, a documented history of friends and family beginning from 30+ years ago, and growing up around these stacks of collections is what most likely sparked my fascination with trawling gold-digging through large quantities of thoughtful images.
When somebody takes many photos in similar circumstances certain patterns begin to emerge. Or, more specifically, when I take photos of anything food related, small streams of similarities begin to surface and, with enough time, they eventually evolve into repetitive themes and creating interesting collections. Like my analogue dad, I have folders and folders of photos but instead of being stored in dusty and distinguished photo albums mine are sprawled on my messy drive filed under “Photo patterns / Collections”. At the the faintest hint of repetition I’ll immediately file it away, in a new little folder, hoping one day to have collected a coherent series of images taken over an extended period of time… slowly maturing, fermenting, like a fine wine or stinky cheese. Even as a teenager with a hobbyist holga (don’t hate, appreciate) I’d often capture interesting signs or familiar scenes for collection. Like Pokémon. If I ever see a coffee being poured, or a dog sitting patiently outside of a cafe, my heart irrationally skips a beat and I zoom in real close like a horrendous creep. It’s an unfortunate habit.
What I’m trying to say is that I’ve taken more than one photo of baristas pouring coffees and, when viewed all at once, it’s kinda nice. Instead of a Lately on Broadsheet style series I thought I’d instead post some images from a recurring theme we’re all well familiar with. Same but different. I think it’s kinda cool. Or maybe I’m just trying to justify my digital hoarding (I struggle to delete outtake photos at the best of times). So although I take photos to document, I will forever love taking photos to collect… which I appreciate is all very serious for just a bunch of coffee pours.
EDIT 4/2/14: I’m adding more now that I’ve become entirely conscious of this potential collection.
Kitchen by Mike, Rosebery
The Pig and Pastry, Petersham
Little Mule, Stanmore
Shenkin Kitchen, Enmore
Bread and Circus, Alexandria
The Counter, Petersham
212 Blu, Newtown
John Montagu, Woolloomooloo
Daisy’s Milkbar, Petersham
Ruby’s Diner, Waverley
Short Black Panther, Mortdale
Affogato Shack, Newtown
Brewtown Newtown, Newtown
Single Origin Roasters, Surry Hills
Tags: 212 blu, affogato shack, barista, bread and circus, brewtown newtown, broadsheet, cafe, coffe, daisy's milkbar, john montagu, kitchen by mike, lemonia, little mule, ruby's diner, shenkin kitchen, short black panther, single origin roasters, the counter, the pig and pastry
I do not have a clever anecdote, relevant life story or poignant statement in relation to this cake, instead I can offer a few simple home truths. It was my friend Felicia’s birthday yesterday, she’s a pastry chef and therefore deserved a spectacle more thoughtful and curious than the usual birthday fare; rich chocolate cake, malty and salty ganache, crunchy crumbs and chewy, charred marshmallow. Sound legit? Well. This cake ended up so intense it made the aperture blades in my brand new lens seize up (no joke, I’m now spending my day off tomorrow visiting the camera service centre). This s’mores cake literally forced my camera into a food coma just by looking at it.
The directions, dare I say gospel, according to Momofuku’s class act via Bonappetit were followed to a tee however their signature naked-cake style was abandoned in lieu of my penchant for a good chocolate drip cake. It was kept messy all ’round since successfully hiding behind the guise of rustic when in actual fact I lack kitchen finesse is my greatest aesthetic flaw trait. If you enjoy your sweet treats tall and gooey this might just be the cake for you, a Momofuku recipe with a heavy-handed twist.
S’mores Cake (by Momofuku / Christina Tosi via Bon Appetit)
3/4 cup milk powder
1/2 cup flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons corn flour
3/4 teaspoon sea salt flakes
80g butter, melted
12 tablespoons Ovaltine mix
80g white chocolate, melted
1 1/3 cups Ovaltine mix
120g dark chocolate (I used Lindt 70%)
1 teaspoon molasses
Pinch of sea salt flakes
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup glucose / corn syrup
1/4 cup sugar
60g dark chocolate
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup dutch-process cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
170g butter, room temperature
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons glucose / corn syrup
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
3 tablespoons Ovaltine mix
2x packets mini marshmallows (sorry didn’t make note of the grams!)
1. Preheat oven to 130°C. Combine milk powder, flour, sugar, corn flour and salt in medium bowl; toss to mix evenly. Add melted butter and stir with fork until clusters form. Spread mixture evenly onto baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bake until crumbs are dry and crumbly but still pale, about 10-15 minutes. Once cool toss in a bowl with Ovaltine mix and white chocolate. Toss until completely coated and allow to dry.
1. Place Ovaltine, chocolate, molasses and salt in a bowl and set aside. Combine cream, corn syrup, and sugar in bowl and microwave until everything has dissolved. Pour cream mixture over chocolate mixture and let stand for 1 minute, then stir until smooth. Whisk until sauce is glossy. Set aside.
1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Coat three 8-inch cake pans with nonstick spray. Line bottom of each pan with parchment round and coat parchment with nonstick spray. Place chocolate in small bowl and microwave in 15-second intervals just until melted, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
2. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt into medium bowl. Combine butter, sugar, and glucose in large bowl and beat on medium-high speed until fluffy and pale, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl and add eggs. Beat to incorporate then increase speed to medium-high and beat until mixture is fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add melted chocolate and beat briefly until blended. Add buttermilk, oil, and vanilla and beat until pale brown, about 2 minutes. Add dry ingredients and beat on low speed just until blended. Divide batter among pans.
3. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 20-30 minutes. Cool completely in pans on racks.
1. Stir milk and Ovaltine in small bowl.
1. Rewarm sauce until just pourable. Spoon a couple of tablespoons of it in the centre of your cake board and place the first chocolate cake round on top (this is to ensure it stays put). Brush over a few tablespoons of the malt soak, cover with some chocolate sauce, just under a third of it (allowing some to ooze over the edge if you feel so inclined), add a third of the malt crumbs and a quarter of the mini marshmallows. Torch the layer of marshmallows lightly for that charred, s’morsey feel. Add a little drizzle of chocolate sauce and add the second cake round. Repeat adding malt soak, chocolate sauce, crumbs marshmallows, torching and more sauce. Add the third cake round. This time top the cake with more sauce then the remainder of the marshmallows. Torch those bad boys then sprinkle with the remainder of the milk crumbs and drizzle the rest of the chocolate sauce on top (a word of advice: if it begins to do the leaning tower of Pisa thing, don’t sweat it; it’s rustic and beautiful). Add birthday candles and you’re all set.
I once worked at a restaurant on a street neighbouring The Pie Tin in Newtown. Each morning my boss would ask me to order her coffee from “the nice new place just behind us” and each morning I would saunter through the back street to The Pie Tin, unbeknownst to what seasonal delights laid within. In my morning haze I’d yawn, order her piccolo latte and saunter back to work to begin a day of exciting administrative duties.
Months later our paths crossed a little more directly (and later in the day, thankfully) as I was was working on a Pie’s in Sydney feature which was all very fun and exciting. I received a call from them a while later and, long story short; when The Pie Tin ask you to take some photos for them you heed their call. HEED IT. The food here is slow cooked, ingredients are respected, rustic sensibilities are retained and, as cliché as it sounds a lot of love goes into their pies… it’s all good. Really good. The idea of seasonality is well past a novelty in Sydney these days so for an establishment to consistently pour out plates and plates of comforting food in line with what’s in season rather than what’s on trend, well, it’s no wonder why they’re so successful. If you’re in need of a little pick-me-up I’d recommend a visit; instead of an assumed exercise in #cryeating you’ll be graced with a plate of comfort food so delicious and heartwarming you’ll feel more content than ever on your way out (I know from experience and as you know I am the #cryeating master).
But! You didn’t come here to read about what I have to say, I mentioned photos earlier so here they are, some of which have been popping up on their Facebook page. If you’re reading this chances are you’ve already visited this holy grail of pies, but if not, you won’t be needing much convincing after a quick scroll south (all compliments to the chefs, not the photographer!).
PS. If you enjoy my #pieporn feel free to vote for me in the Pedestrian Blogster Awards (so shameless)!