Grilled Chicken with Butterbean and Spinach Purée

Chicken and Spinach

It’s been a while since I’ve put a post on here, I know. There have been several things that all happened in a concentrated period recently that led to me feeling not quite at the top of my game. Up until now, the thought of getting it together to make myself a lunch that was anywhere near photograph-worthy, let alone actually photograph it and write about it, seemed a daunting task. But now I’m feeling a bit more myself, I decided to intentionally carve out some time to make a blog post.

Spinach puree

That time came today, a rainy Saturday, where I suddenly found myself with little on the agenda other than some household chores. The idea for lunch came in part from a recipe in Nigel Slater’s most recent cookbook (Kitchen Diaries III), a book so evocative in its descriptions that it sets me off on wild cooking fantasies. I adapted a recipe for grilled lamb steaks with cannellini bean and spinach puree, as I had a hankering for griddled chicken.

Chicken on Plate

I do a lot of food photography for work, but doing photography that is just for me always feels like exercising a different muscle. There’s a lot more freedom involved in taking photographs that don’t have a specific brief, and it’s completely up to me the direction in which they take. I always feel I’m more able to take risks and experiment with composition and angles, and the outcome usually surprises me. I found a day spend gently pottering in the kitchen, then arranging bits of material, deciding on which plate to use (a lengthy process) and photographing the dish, bought a sense of much needed restoration.

chicken From top

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Vegessential: Beetroot Falafel

falafel arrangement

One of the many good things about this collaboration is working with someone who knows the perils of trying to fit a food blog around a full time job. I’ve been doing lots of food photography for my new job (more on that in a later post), meaning that I’m finding it difficult to summon the energy to also do it in my spare time. Paris and I decided to fit in our next Vegessential session one evening after work. We were both knackered, and were seriously contemplating not bothering, but we ploughed on. It was then that we realised that there being two of us makes the whole process much easier.

beetroot

One of the many up-sides of doing a post together is you’ve got someone to help you make all the decisions. It made me realise the sheer amount of decisions involved – about ingredients, quantities, cooking methods, camera angles and styling. It’s great to have someone to offer their opinion on the exact placement of a piece of torn pitta, or an errant pomegranate seed. In fact, we spent the majority of the time precisely arranging the pomegranate seeds to look artfully scattered.

falafel

Armed with our trusty beetroot once again, we set about making beetroot falafel. I’ve never had this before, but Paris has, and assured me that it’s delicious. It was. Basically, you just whack everything in a food processor and whizz briefly until it comes together, then roll into balls and fry. We seriously contemplated leaving them raw, as we had to restrain ourselves from eating all of the mix before it was fried. But in the end went for a shallow fry in sunflower oil, until the outside edges began to crisp up. The real winning ingredient was the dates, giving the falafel a sweetness that complemented the beetroot really well. Have a look at Paris’ post on Avocado Please here.

hand

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