vegetables

a simple pot of beans

August 25, 2011

As I start getting old in my years, I am starting to realize there are two things that you shouldn’t mess with. The first is your mother-in-law, and the second is a pot beans. I am not even going to go there with the first – I happen to have a great MIL, so no worries there. The pot of beans is a far more complex issue anyhow (not calling the MIL “simple” you understand) because it needs subtly, which as we all know mother-in-laws can never have (hi Nell!)…

Beans are a favorite of mine, not just because they go so darn well with pork. Oh, and lamb to that point too. Beans have the ability to soak up so much flavor from whatever they are cooked in, yet remain delicate and individually nuanced if you want them to be.

get more beans after the jump

Charcuterie

gluten free flatbreads – hot pepper lonzino and mizuna

June 21, 2011

It has taken us nearly a year to perfect this gluten free flatbread dough. The “we” part is my wife and I. For the last couple of years she has had to be gluten-free and that might well never change, so we decided to try and develop a fantastic pizza and flatbread gluten free dough. A regular weekly staple for us was making pizza from the basic “wheat, no knead” recipe that seems to be on every blog these days. We changed it a bit to use a mix of white and whole grain flours, but it was essentially the same. The only problem with it was gluten.

So when Danika first had to go gluten free, this was the one thing we had to make. We started with a recipe from a gluten free baking book. Our hopes were high. We bought the 4000 different flours required, the 20 different bizzare gums that I had never heard of before, and started to mix. We let it rise, then baked it. We wanted to like it. “hey this isn’t bad” I seem to remember muttering. But we knew different. It was bloody lousy. It was also a sodding pain in arse to work with.

Click to read more about this gluten free flatbreads

Charcuterie

the USDA approved basement..

June 10, 2011

It was about a year ago that I met David Pearlstein. He had a charcuterie blog back then, and was making some very decent looking (and tasting) product in his basement. He came over, we shared some of our cured meat (he makes the best duck proscuitto I have ever tasted) and chatted for a while about salty pig bits. Back then there was no mention of his great plans afoot.

About 6 months ago I checked his blog and saw a post on how he was converting his small home garage into a fully inspected, USDA approved meat processing facility, with the view to make awesome fresh sausage from local sustainable meats. Frankly, this didn’t surprise me much. David has spent more than a decade making fresh sausage, so it only seemed natural for him to make a business out of it. What did surprise me however was that he was going to do it legally from his garage. At the time I remember thinking that it will never work. That he would never get USDA approval for something like this. I mean, everything you hear about the USDA is that they are there to support big (BIG) business and giggle with a non-approving look at small artisan businesses.

click to read more about this meaty garage

vegetables

breakfast

May 16, 2011

“You need to eat more protein” said my naturopath, “preferably at breakfast” she added. Being honest, I wasn’t totally surprised. My breakfasts recently had been cereal mixed with nuts and apples, covered in yogurt (Grace Harbor Farms for the world!). Looks like there is less protein in yogurt than I figured.

To some readers of this blog, that might be a shock. Given that my world the last couple of years has revolved around cured meat, pig and fish. This might be a tall order to expect you to believe this, but I honestly don’t eat much meat. In fact, a lot of the stuff I cure I give away. So, with all this in mind I set about coming up with a few fast breakfasts that revolved around my number 1 favorite food.

Eggs.

Click to read more about my favorite breakfast

Charcuterie

homemade port and fennel pollen salami

May 3, 2011

If I was to get all swanky on ya, I would call this salami “finocchiona salami”, however whenever I use some authentic name I seem to get emails from twerps telling me that it isn’t in fact XYZ because of this this and this. So I am not going to.

To be a true finocchiona it should have both fennel pollen and fennel seed in. I doubt the port should be in there either. No doubt it also has to be made by a certain old man named Giovanni who lives in a hut in the back of Tuscany somewhere. You can only contact him by a secret bird call, and he will only make finocchiona salami when he has the exact breed of pig required and at the right time of year so that the one certain kind of natural mold will settle on said salami, which of course gives it is characteristic taste.

I am guessing only part of that is true..

Click to read more about making salami at home

photography

wrightfood photography manual – digital version!

April 21, 2011

OK folks, gonna make this one short and sweet. Lots and lots of people have asked for a digital version of the Wrightfood Food Photography manual that I have started selling last week to raise money for Japan.

The original hardback book is available through blurb for $44.44. With the profit that Blurb takes, this leaves $10 for Japan. I make nothing on this sale.

The digital version of this book is available through Tradebit, in both PDF and ePUB formats for $20 I know Tradebit might look a bit hokey, but it is a great German company that do secure digital content downloads and offer the most competitive pricing. Both the PDF format and ePUB format will give $14/sale to Japan – again I make nothing.

I personally would choose the PDF version. The formatting is much nicer, and the images are larger. ePUB has a lot of formatting restrictions, and image size restrictions that does hamper a book like this a bit. The content is still the same – I just think the PDF version is prettier to look at.

So, go buy it! Here is the info on the book again, if you cannot be arsed to look back at the last post:

I wrote a short book on food photography. It covers everything you need to know to get yourself taking great food photos in your house. Examples of how to use scrims, bounce cards, natural light, artificial light. Everything to get you going.

I wanted it to be more than that though. So, what I did was include a bunch of examples. On one full page you see the food photo I took and on the page next to it you get a detailed description of the setup, along with an illustration I did showing exactly how the scene was setup. Where the light was coming from. Where the bounces are. Where the camera is – AND WHY.

There are examples for both natural and artificial light. I talk about lenses, cameras, tripods all that good stuff. I even give advice on composition, scene setup and all that stuff.

By the time you finish this short book, I want you to be able to take really great shots of your awesome food at home. No studio stuff, just a camera and some light, and a few doodads that you can buy at an art supply store.

Sales update: so far the hardback book has sold 75 copies. That means $750 has been raised for Japan. That is awesome. You guys are brilliant, absolutely brilliant. I am hoping the digital versions of this book will help push this number much higher!

And one final thing.. I know that with this digital version it is easy to pirate and copy it for your friends. Since this book is entirely for charity, you frankly are a total scum bag if you think this is acceptable. It has nothing to do with how much work I put in to the thing, it has everything to do about raising money for people who desperately need our help.

food photography

wrightfood photography manual – help japan!

April 12, 2011

About three months ago Danika turned to me and suggested we do more for charity. That is something that you can never just say “meh..” to. So we got thinking. She is a very accomplished artist so we are planning on selling some of her works for charity. We also thought about setting up a large community vegetable garden to supply vegetables and fruits to lower income families, however that is a wee bit adventurous for both our time and wallets right now.

She then said “why don’t you make a book about food photography and sell it”. That was that. For the last two months in the evenings after work you would find me typing away, making illustrations and designing page layouts.

The book is done. It took longer than expected. Apparently that is how it goes with these things.

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vegetables

celery root remoulade

March 11, 2011

Some things are so classic, so perfectly right as they are that it seems like a total disgrace to “reinvent” them. There is a reason some dishes have been around for a long time, on and off restaurant menu’s, but always there. There is a tricky knife edge here though. You can fall one way in to classic stardom of a recipe – something so good, so simple that it should never be changed. A quick shake on the edge however and things can fall drastically apart. The dish can be flat, boring, dated.

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Charcuterie

Meat curing safety

February 24, 2011

Some of you might know that I am one of the judges for the rather large, rather viral #charcutpalooza challenge. I am in great company there I have to say, and the challenges are shaping up to be very interesting. Michael Ruhlman does a great job in his Charcuterie book to go in to some detail about the safety side of things when curing meat, but I figured I would add my thoughts on the whole safety side of things too.

When I started meat curing at home many years ago I promised my wife two things – If I thought it might dicey, I wouldn’t eat it. I would read up as much as possible on the safety of curing meats, the process and so on, so that I can guarantee my work is safe.

If done properly, with good technique, attention to detail, and the right environment curing meat is safe. Very safe. It has been done for centuries. People in the past have died from it so we don’t have to. Sounds harsh, but it is true. No need to make the mistakes that others less fortunate have. With that in mind, here is a list of safety facts that I have gathered along the way, to make sure what I do doesn’t make myself, or even worse other people sick.

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