Almond Butter

M1

I have little restraint when it comes to food that I can convince myself is healthy. This includes dates, malt loaf and pistachio nuts. Oh and yoghurt-coated apricots. That’s just yoghurt and fruit, right? I recently realised I’ve been spending a small fortune on tiny jars of cashew nut butter, as I scoff down the calorie-dense paste by the spoonful, straight from the jar. I’ve toured round all the different nut butters, including the slightly bizarre apricot kernel butter, and decided that my top two are definitely almond and cashew. But the fact remains that to buy them is horrendously expensive. So I found a recipe and decided to have a bash at making some.

M2

Making my own almond butter wouldn’t be financially viable without Scoop Away, which is an amazing wholefood shop where you literally scoop everything into bags, which is then priced by weight. When I first discovered the shop, I went a bit over the top, buying lots of random things that I had never seen before, such as yoghurt coated honeycomb, in industrial quantities. Even now I visit the shop weekly, and have to reign myself in when faced with the yoghurt- coated section. So I scooped what seemed like a reasonable amount of almonds into a bag, later realising that I had bought over double the quantity needed for the nut butter, having lost all sense of proportion when scooping.

M3

Making almond butter is ludicrously simple. You need a powerful food processor to get the creamy consistency, and simply roast the nuts in the oven for a few minutes, then put them in the food processor and leave them to it. I was convinced that it wasn’t going to work at first, as I just had ground almonds whizzing round the processor bowl for the first ten minutes. But then, suddenly, the oil is released and the almond powder mushes together to form the butter. One of my favourite things to do with the butter (other than eat it straight from the jar) is to stuff pitted Medjool dates with a spoonful, then put them in the fridge to set. In my experience, it’s impossible to eat less than five of these in one sitting.

M4

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Food Photography Workshop

carrots

Recently, I have been thinking about doing food photography as an actual job, rather than just something to fiddle around with in my spare time. One day, I just happened to be on Instagram (as happens far too often..) and a post popped up by one of my favourite photographers, Marte Marie Forsberg, saying she is going to run two photography workshops. I scrolled down the information about the workshop, anticipating the inevitable disappointment when I find out it’s held in Norway, or some other far-flung exciting location that I have no means of getting to. However, as Marie has recently moved to a cottage in Shaftesbury, Dorset, I was in luck. A mere two hours’ drive through rolling green hills to get there.

grosvenor

I had slight trouble deciding which workshop to attend, one being about how to develop food photography into a career, and the other a more general introduction. So I ended up attending both, and have just arrived back from the second. They were both fantastic, well organised (thanks to Marie’s brilliant producer, Zoe Timmers), inspirational and we all learnt a hell of a lot. There were so many lovely touches: fresh flowers on display as we came in; pastries and hot chocolate to enjoy as Marie introduced herself and told us about her  journey. We then had several out and about assignments at local businesses, such as the Grosvenor Arms, a restaurant and hotel that produces some mighty fine pasta dishes.

scones

Then it was back to the cottage to snuggle up (with more hot chocolate) and review our shots. We all came from such a variety of backgrounds – existing photographers, food bloggers, food stylists, investment bankers, caterers. It was great to meet so many like-minded people, who were all so passionate about food, photography and combining the two. I left both the workshops feeling inspired, invigorated, and determined to give food photography a go as a career.

gold hill