Food Styling & Photography Masterclass

Food, Photography

Hi everyone,

Last Saturday (17th) I was lucky enough to attend a masterclass in food styling & photography run by the Guardian. After a bit of a shock alarm (not used to an early wake-up call on the weekends) I got up and headed to the swanky Guardian offices at Kings Cross.

After a cuppa, we made a start. We all introduced ourselves – lots of professional photographers, beginners & all levels in between but we all had one thing in common though I think, which was enthusiasm. We were then introduced to the lovely ladies running the masterclass – Jill Mead; Photographer & Rosie Reynolds; Food Stylist. They made everyone feel so very welcome. I learnt lots of tips in the talks they gave us & it was so lovely to hear them talk so passionately about their subjects.

Figs.jpg

We then had a practical demonstration, where I picked up some tips on lighting & a bit about the best lenses to use. I now want a macro lens so I better get saving those pennies. I also did however, feel that I knew quite a lot of what was being spoken about which was great for my confidence as I don’t always believe in myself. All my practising and constant research is obviously working!

After lunch (which was fabulous, I had mushroom stroganoff, salad & chocolate cake) we started to take our own photos. We bought along a selection of our own props and were provided with some scones, fruit & veg, jam etc. I didn’t really feel like my practical session was on my side that day, I took a few photos but I think the most valuable part of the day for me was the talks in the morning and in fact sharing my knowledge & ideas with others & looking at others work & finding out about what they do. I wasn’t at all disappointed that my practical inspiration wasn’t on my side that day, as I gained so much!

I am looking forward to going on a shoot with Jill at some point in the near future.

For lots more foodie pics & to see what I get up to follow my Instagram –  @mariablackstone or Twitter.

A girl with an appetite for all things creative,

Maria x

Spiced Rhubarb Compote

Food, Photography, Uncategorized

It’s that time of year again where gorgeous pink rhubarb is in season. I love roasting it and revealing its beautiful vibrant pink colour oozing with sweet juices infused with clementine, vanilla and spices.

I stumbled upon this recipe which I adapted from Waitrose when I was creating work for one of my final year projects at university. I created large arrangements from a recipes ingredients. The series is entitled Don’t Play With Your Food’ and depict a recipe’s ingredients arranged in a way to express the beauty of natural foods – their different colours, shapes, textures and characters. The other recipes I chose were Lentil Curry, Summer Fruits with a Lime, Mint & Vanilla Syrup, a Blood Orange & Beetroot Salad, and a Pistachio & Pomegranate cake. You can view the series here. The series stems from my passion for food and cooking. The images highlight that food is fun and enjoyable and aims to encourage people to think about the food that they eat in a similar way.

I adapted the recipe slightly – using some signiture spice from Waitrose, that was left over from Christmas. I substituted the cinnamon stick and star anise for a teaspoon of this.

Ingredients – see the original recipe here

  • 1 pack of rhubarb – cut into 5-6cm sticks
  • 2 clementines – one peeled, both cut into 1 cm slices
  • 1 vanilla pod – split lengthways with the seeds scraped out
  • 60g light soft brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp Waitrose signature spice (or you can use a mix of cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg etc)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200*c or 180*c fan.
  2. In a roasting dish, add the rhubarb, clementine slices, sugar, vanilla (seeds & pod).
  3. Cover the roasting dish with tinfoil and roast in the oven for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven, add the maple syrup and return to the oven, this time uncovered and roast for a further ten minutes until the rhubarb has softened slightly and it’s perfectly pink surrounded by the cooking juices.
  5. Leave to cool and then enjoy!

This is perfect served for breakfast on top of yoghurt, the vivid pink rhubarb and its juices bleeding into the bleak white of the yoghurt. I tend to blend my rhubarb with a stick blender as my mum and I prefer the smooth consistency. For a dessert idea swirl some rhubarb through natural yoghurt or whipped cream and serve with meringue. It’s simply delicious.

Happy Tuesday!

A girl with an appetite for all things creative,

Maria x

Sarah’s Broccoli, Chilli & Lemon Pasta

Food, Photography, Recipes

Hello lovely readers,

First of all I’d like to thank everyone for their kind responses to last weeks post. I am aiming to be more open and honest on this blog, and just be me, as that’s what it’s all about right? This was the first time I received so many comments from people that actually know me in person, and it was so lovely to know that I have your support and to all the graduates out their, knowing we are in the same boat is tough, and like Daisy said, it’s like being in the middle of a stormy ocean, which is on fire haha but I promise you if we stick it out we will get to where we want to be! So thank you, I’m more positive this week and know that good things will come.

A quote springs to mind of a card I have siting in a frame in my room that my best friend Ally gave me, it says “She waited patiently until happiness surrounded her and good luck lay in piles at her feet. Help yourself she said kindly, good things come to those who wait.”

Last weekend as you know I decided to go and visit my friend Daisy in Nottingham, and I had a lovely time. It was just what I needed to get away from the stress, clear my head and come back to London fighting. It was certainly filled with food & alcohol, so this weeks recipe is a lighter one. On the saturday, we went for lunch at The Pudding Pantry, and then out for dinner to Annie’s a burger joint, then out for cocktails. Sunday we went to the Nottingham Food Festival at Wollaton.We were extremely lucky with the weather and saw John Whaite, and Lisa Faulkner do a cookery demonstration, ate lots of lovely food including BBQ slow cooked brisket, pulled pork, mac and cheese, and churros, washed down with some Pimm’s! This week I have been applying for jobs & internships, keeping fit to burn off all those calories and keeping positive.

As promised, this weeks recipe is inspired by one of my close friends, Sarah. Through university, particularly in our third year we shared a love of healthy, tasty and experimental dishes. I taught her a few things, as did she, and we also learnt that you can’t make icing for chocolate protein cookies from hot chocolate powder, out of date margarine, milk and water. It doesn’t work, don’t even try it. Ha! Sarah is one of those people who has such a positive outlook on life, really wants the best for herself, and others. She really drives me, and understands my ambitions and helps me to be the best I can. She constantly shares these posts to her friends and circles, and for that I am extremely grateful, so without further ado, here is the recipe…

Recipe Card Final

To keep up to date with my foodie adventures and the occasional selfie please follow my instagram @mariablackstone and for pointless tweets follow me on twitter @mariablackstone (obviously extremely original on the user name front).

I hope you like this recipe, its light and fairly healthy with the half fat creme fraiche, and brown pasta. I couldn’t resist a bit of naughty bacon, plus it looks nice. It makes a change from my love of everything indulgent, and I sure do need it after the weekend I’ve had. If you have any ideas for future recipes, please do drop me a message! I am off out to Prezzo’s tonight for dinner with the girls and will then be back on my job applications at full speed!

Speak to you all next week,

A girl with an appetite for all things creative,

Maria x

Rhubarb & Clementine Compote

Food, Photography

This is my fourth image for one of my third year university projects. I plan on creating more in future but for now am focussing on other projects.

This image was inspired by a really beautiful rhubarb compote from the waitress magazine, which I cooked with the left over ingredients after my shoot. I personally don’t like the texture of rhubarb, so I blended the compote and served it with yoghurt and muesli, or ate it straight from the fridge with a spoon. I love it this way it’s so delicious. don’t forget, you can put the left over vanilla pod in some caster sugar. Just give it a rinse and pop it in a jar of sugar to flavour it.

Rhubarb

Hope you like it, see my website for more of my photography work.

www.mariablackstone.co.uk

A girl with an appetite for all things creative,
Maria x

Blood Orange & Beetroot Salad

Food, Photography

This is the third in a growing photography series inspired by recipes, which I then deconstruct, arrange and photograph. This particular image was inspired by an Abel & Cole recipe for a beautiful blood orange and beetroot salad. Blood oranges are beautiful at this time of year. I made the recipe, with a few of my own additions to use up left overs (roast chicken and chorizo, avocado etc) and can say it was super tasty indeed.

Blood Orange & Beetroot

See my website for further information on this series, and my other work.

www.mariablackstone.co.uk and don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’d like to purchase any prints.

A girl with an appetite for all things creative,
Maria x

Summer Fruits, with a mint, lime and vanilla syrup.

Food, Photography

Here is the second image in a growing series to accompany the Lentil Curry I posted about at the end of January. This image was inspired by a Jamie Oliver recipe, which I adapted slightly. I plan on creating my own version, and serving it with a homemade vanilla ice-cream, and a pecan praline. Again, I will test this and post up the results for you to try soon.

I will continue to post these images as I create them. I am currently trying to juggle keeping this blog, applying for graduate jobs and producing my university work.

Fruit Salad

My photography work and more information on this series will be updated on my new website http://www.mariablackstone.co.uk and please get in touch if you would like to purchase prints.

A girl with an appetite for all things creative,
Maria x

Lentil Curry

Food, Photography

This is the first image in a growing series for one of my third year university briefs. Following on from my Borough Market images, I decided to develop this project further and add more of a concept behind my images as this what my initial images were lacking. I decided to take my love and passion for researching food, and creating recipes and deconstruct them and photograph its ingredients. This first image was inspired by a lentil curry I made. I still need to test this recipe so will post it up once I have done so. (I was slightly tired of curry after I cooked it and then dealt with more ingredients the next day, ha ha!)

Here is the final image, I plan on producing more, and taking this concept further, I really enjoyed creating it, although it took a long time.

I hope you like it, let me know what you think.

This and my other photographic work is up on my new website , and I am happy to sell prints, just get in touch.

www.mariablackstone.co.uk

Lentil Curry

Stay tuned for the next image.

A girl with an appetite for all things creative,
Maria x