I have been quite busy lately. As well as working almost full time in the café, I have started an internship with a food magazine in Bristol two days a week. This doesn’t leave much time for coming up with unique and interesting recipes for my blog. So this recipe is willfully and unashamedly ripped out of a cookbook, with only a few minor alterations. Thanks, Nigella.
Poor Nigella, she’s got such bad press lately. Cocaine or no cocaine, I still think she’s fantastic. A brilliant food writer and presenter, she has managed to amass a net worth of around fifteen million. I have found lots of her recipes, like this one, that I make again and again. It uses ingredients that I could pilfer entirely from the freezer and store cupboard. She does simple, unfussy cooking remarkably well, and with apparent effortlessness.
My lack of time also equates to a lack of daylight to shoot in, given that the inky-black winter evenings are drawing in. So this was a good opportunity to experiment with using artificial light, rather than daylight. Ultimately, I think daylight is always going to be most flattering for photographing food, but it’s interesting to try artificial light. I used an ordinary desk lamp, the dust brushed off from the loft, as the main light source. I placed a diffuser between the lamp and the food, to even out the light, and stop too many shadows forming. This set up threw a dark and moody light on the scene, which helped to convey an evening setting.
There is something quite frustrating about trying to take a photograph of your food at dinner time, when all you want to do is scoff it down. But I think it also makes you concentrate harder on what it actually is that makes you want to eat it, and try an capture that in the photos.
Adapted from ‘Kitchen’ by Nigella Lawson
2 chunks of salmon fillet
120g white basmati rice
100g leafy greens (I used sprout tops)
For the sweet and sour sauce:
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
1 tbsp mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine)
juice of ½ lime
3 tsp fish sauce
2 tsp pickled ginger, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp water
First, put the rice on to cook. Put in a pan and cover with boiling water. Simmer for 5 minutes, then strain, reserving some of the cooking water in the pan. Suspend the rice in the colander over the pan and cover it with a lid, leaving the heat on, so it gently steams.
Then get a frying pan very hot and fry the salmon fillets for about 3 minutes on each side, until there is still some pink flesh left. When the salmon is almost done cooking, put the greens over the rice and cover with a lid, so they steam too. Then mix all the sauce ingredients together in a bowl. Put the rice on a plate and top with the greens and salmon, then pour over the sauce.