Monday, 9 March 2009

Taking some proper food pics (spiced fish soup & duck with chutney )

As you may have noticed my camera is rubbish and i'm certainly no photographer. Hence the snaps on this site vary widely - from woeful (mine) to pretty good (not mine!).

But! I'm lucky enough to have a few friends who know one end of a camera from the other. So i sometimes get them over and exchange food for photos (works a treat - everyone's happy).

Here's few recent snaps taken by Ben Broomfield - who's a proper quality freelance photographer sort of thing (see his site here:

I did a couple of work-in-progress recipes of mine: spiced fish soup with baby fennel, and then duck breast and confit with a pear and saffron chutney and accompanying veggies.

Below are a sample of the snaps (pretty good i think you'll agree) along with a rough overview of the recipes.

Spiced fish soup:

So, for enough soup for 2, i used a small-medium sized seabass - would have prefered 2 red mullet (i am mad for mullet!) but couldn't get any (it was a monday).

Ok, so, i filleted the bass, then took the neatest 1/3 of each fillet, trimmed it up and set it aside. The rest i skinned and chopped in few large pieces.

Then in a pan i sweated some diced fennel, onion, carrot and celery with a bay leaf and some parsley & coriander stalks (if you have). Then added pince of saffron strands, pinch of cayenne pepper and some seasoning...

Next a couple of large glasses of decent white wine with i let boil down. Added 3 or 4 large good tomatoes which i'd roughly chopped and put in the seabass skinned off cuts.

Just covered with water and simmered for 15 mins.

Pour it all (minus the bay leaf) in to a blender and whizzed up well. Push it well through a sieve and then return to pan, reduce a bit, taste, adjust seasoning, dash of cream, nob of butter, squeeze of lemon etc.

I then gathered some green garnishy things ...a few micro herbs - fennel or coriander cress would be perfect but i could nae find them that day (fennel or dill fronds would work well too here).

I braised a couple of baby fennel in some stock (or use butter and little salted water) until tender.

Finally I quickly pan fried the neat bass portions, plus a couple of scallops each...

...and presented all, plus a drizzle of olive oil, in a wide bowl - like this:

and this:

Next was a work in progress duck dish...

It was spiced duck breast, with confit duck leg (which was cooked in a low oven covered in duck fat, salt and spices - for about 2hrs).

I served it with some green beans - dressed with toasted hazelnuts & hazelnut oil, and a warm potato-coriander-spring onion salad.

As an extra I made a little duck sauce over the breast - just browned duck bones with little veggies and stock, reduced until rich and dark.

Oh and in the middle i put some of my favourite (favourite - as in being additiced to) pear and saffron chutney - i will definitely put a recipe for this up it's features in quite a few of my recipes.

A final aerial snap from Ben before we tucked in.

Thanks Ben!

1 comment:

Matt Harrington said...

Now, those are good photos! I can almost taste the Scallops....Matt