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Posts Tagged ‘food’

I love these little babies.

Surprisingly, this has been the first time I’ve ever made them myself.

 

While preparing these Chocolate Lava Cakes I learned that they are super-fun to make.

They are also surprising. That is what you find out when you dig into them.

And, with the generous amount of chocolate they contain, I’m sure they are just super seductive.

That all makes them the perfect dessert choice for Valentine’s Day, don’t you think?

 

Now, let me invite you to my kitchen and show you how I prepared my version of these adorable sweet cakes…

 
 

Here’s what we need.

Couldn’t be simpler.

 
 

1. First, preheat the oven to 400 °F (200 °C).

 

2. Butter 4 ramekins.

I’ve used 6-ounce (180 ml) ramekins.

 

3. Then dust the ramekins with some confectioners’ sugar.

 
 

4. Now we need the eggs, sugar, coffee and salt.

 
 

5. Throw them all into one bowl and mix them for about 2 minutes.

 
 

6. Break the chocolate into pieces. Place the butter and chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl.

 
 

7. Microwave on high in 20-second increments, stirring after each, until melted.

Let cool slightly.

And be strong!

 
 

8. Add the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Whisk to combine.

 
 

9. Then add the flour, and whisk just until combined (do not overmix).

 
 

10. Pour the batter into prepared ramekins.

I only have two, so I had to bake in two batches.

 
 

11. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet.

 
 

12. And bake for about 11 minutes.

 
 

13. These babies were baked for about 14 minutes.

Too long.

 

Although nice and tasty, they weren’t that ‘molten’ in the center.

 
 

I baked the second batch for only 10 minutes.

 
 

That was much better.

I really like the moist center.

 
 

Aah, I love this game.

 

But, if I had another chance, which I think I am going to give myself soon, I’d try baking these for exactly 11 minutes.

11 minutes would make them absolutely perfect.

 

Enjoy, dear friends!

 

(This recipe makes 4 cakes and was loosely based on Molten Mocha Cakes from http://www.delish.com.)

 

 

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I love it when fall strikes and days get colder.

The reason why I love this time of year so much might have something to do with the fact that I suddenly have all the good reasons to indulge myself with sweet mulled wine or hot chocolate.

The best hot beverages ever!

Oh, how I love them!

They are true soul soothers!

 

The following recipe is just delicious.

The taste vastly depends on the kind of chocolate you use. So get the one you really like.

Also, there are different types of chocolate when it comes to its fat content. So remember – the higher the fat content, the more creamy and rich your hot chocolate will be.

So let’s experiment!
 
 

These are the ingredients you will need.

Just this few.
 
 

1. To prepare your own soothing drink, first break the chocolate into smaller chunks.

 

2. Place the chocolate chunks into a heatproof bowl.
 
 

3. Add the sugar.
 
 

4. Add the milk.
 
 

5. And place the bowl over a pot of boiling and steaming water.

 

6. Stir until the chocolate melts. Then keep stirring until the mixture gets hot, almost boiling.
 
 

7. Pour the chocolate into two cups and garnish with a dollop of whipped cream and some grated chocolate or a dusting of cocoa powder, if desired.
 
 

And in case someone comes and steals your chocolate shamelessly be really thankful that this recipe yields two mugs.

Enjoy, dear friends!

(This lovely recipe was adapted from Joyofbaking.com.)
 

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As I promised before in the post about my cameras, here I am with a couple of words about my lenses.

First of all, I love my lenses.

Very much.

Second of all, I just love them.

 

These are the names of the babies (from left to right): Canon 50mm F 1.8, Tamron Macro 60 mm F 2, Canon 18-55mm (which came as a kit lens with my Canon Rebel T2i camera).

I use the first one (Canon 50mm) to shoot food.

The Tamron 60 mm is great for food too, but since it is a macro lens I use it quite often outside to shoot flowers, bugs or other cute tiny things.

To capture wider angles, I use the Canon 18-55 (the kit lens).

 

Now let me show you and compare a few interesting features that these lenses possess.

 

1. Comparison with the Same Settings

Each of these shots was taken with a different lens. To make the comparison most accurate I kept the same settings for each shot. All pictures were taken at 5.6 aperture and they are not edited at all.

Though that last thing was a bit hard to digest.

I find these images pretty similar in their appearance. Maybe just the last one is a little colder in colors (has more blue tones in it) than the other two.

But there’s more to compare…
 
 

2. Lowering the Aperture (Blurry Background)

Well, who doesn’t like a nice blurry background.

That really injects the magic into the pictures, doesn’t it?

The part of the lens which provides for the blurriness of the picture is called the aperture (if you are not that familiar with this term you can find a little more about it here).

I love to use low aperture settings, especially for the food shots.

The kit lens that came with the camera (Canon 18-55mm) has the lowest aperture number of 5.6 (the second picture of this post shows you the result).

But I knew that there was a whole new world of possibilities when you go lower than 5.6.

So there came a moment in my life when I felt that I couldn’t go a day longer without a proper low aperture lens. That was when I got these two:

This picture was taken with the Canon 50mm at its lowest aperture – F 1.8.

See the blurry background? And how little portion of the picture is actually in focus? So that is caused by the low 1.8 aperture setting.

Again, this picture could really benefit from some vigorous Photoshop treatment, but this post is not about that.
 
 

This is a shot taken with the Tamron 60mm at 2.0 aperture (which is its lowest aperture number).

I like the blurriness of the background a lot.

In this aspect, these two lenses produce very similar results.

 

Also, these two lenses are prime, which means that you cannot zoom in or zoom out. In other words, they have fixed focal length. But that thing is perfectly all right – it makes you move a little more and stretch your body quite often which, I guess, is a nice health supporting benefit.

 

If the low aperture setting had been the only feature that I wanted for my pictures I would only have acquired the Canon 50mm lens. That one was much cheaper than the Tamron 60mm.

But I also needed Tamron. Have a look why…
 
 

3. Getting Closer to the Subject

This is closest that the Canon 50mm allows you to get to the subject.

If you go closer, the lens cannot focus anymore.

 
 

This is how close the Tamron 60mm allows you to get.

Amazing detail!

I often use this feature when taking pictures in my kitchen – spices, sugar or cake structure, that all looks perfectly detailed.

I love it!

 

So these are my beloved lenses.

I hope this information helped you.

At least a little.
 
 

… and psst, don’t tell this to my boyfriend

There’s also this cutie!

It’s the Canon 75-300mm telephoto zoom lens.

I frequently steal this one from my boyfriend to capture…
 
 

… squirrels …
 
 

… or baby orangutans, or basically anything that happens to be far away from me.

I think I love this lens much more than my boyfriend does and I also use it way more often.

So who really has the moral right to own it, I ask?

I think it’s me, I answer.

Definitely, it’s me!
 
 

It fills the last free space in my camera bag perfectly, anyway.
 

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Right now I am preparing a yummy recipe that I’ll be posting here tomorrow. Meanwhile I have something else you might want to see.

 
Over the past few months some of you asked me how this or that photo had been taken. Your questions gave me an idea that you might find interesting to see how several of my sets looked like. I myself love this kind of information and seek it eagerly wherever possible.

So, from now on, if I find the photo set that I’ve created interesting in a certain way I’ll show it to you.

If it helps at least one of you then my mission was worth it.

 

The picture above is by far not perfect or exquisite or anything. But what I find interesting about it is the lighting. You might be wondering how on earth that set was lit and whether I used artificial lights or not. And how I dare own photography lighting without letting you know.
 
 

So, this is what the set looked like.

I don’t use lights since I don’t own photography lights.

But what I own is my home-made silver reflector (you can find its heart-touching story here). And then I have one window. And then I have some white paper that I duct taped to the wall and to my kitchen countertop. And that’s it!

Very, very simple.
 
 

This is the job that my camera did.

Well, she was really trying.

I still love her dearly.

And yes, I refer to my camera as her. It’s my best friend after all. Actually, I might start calling her Amelie.
 
 

And this is how Photoshop helped.

Needless to say, I love Photoshop.

I might start calling it Fred.

 

See you soon!

Love,

Petra
 

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Textiles are food’s best friend.

That is the reason why textiles are my best friend, too.

Whether they are tablecloths, table mats, kitchen towels, napkins or just spare pieces of fabric, I love them all.

Dearly.

Well, welcome to the universe of my addictions.

This is one of many.

Many, many.

 

As with any other obsession, buying colorful textiles is completely out of my control and I see no end to this activity.

The only thing I need is MORE!

 
 

This week, I was ‘lucky’ enough to stumble upon these cuties in Tesco.

I immediately saw perfect props for my photographs in them.
 
 

They were being sold as color-matching sets of two under the official name ‘Tea Towels’.

 

There was a blue set – this could work perfectly in pictures with biscuits or bread.
 
 

Then there was this olive-green set.

I love it.

It could help salads of any kind stand out.

Pasta salads included.
 
 

A red set.

What a color!

Hypnotizing!

It’s delivering a very brave statement.

When I look at it my brain keeps screaming ‘RED’ for the next five minutes.
 
 

And then I grabbed this brown set, too.

Can you see the top towel?

There are prints of cakes and steaming cups of coffee on it.

Well, how was I supposed to not buy it?

How?

How could that be done, I ask?
 
 

Have I already told you how much I love them?

Can’t wait to use them all.
 

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The early fall is truly magical.

These days I love to revel in all the pleasant impressions that this time of year evokes in me.

I love the calm… as if everything is coming to rest after all the hard work.

I’m excited when I see first signs of the glitter party that nature is going to throw soon.

Also, I love to go for long walks and enjoy the nice and warm days.

And if I didn’t sleep so late I’d definitely enjoy the crisp and cool mornings.

Hm, you can’t have everything, I guess.

 

But most of all, I enjoy the fruits of this season.

Like apples, for example.

In my world, there’s nothing more wonderful than the smell of apples and cinnamon coming out of the oven.

That’s why I end up making all sorts of apple-cinnamon creations these days each year – Apple Crisp being one of my favorite.

Yum!
 
 

The ingredients are simple and economical.

And that’s great.

 

Now I invite you to have a look at what crazy stuff was going on in my kitchen…
 

1. First, I preheated the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
 
2. I placed all the ‘topping’ ingredients into one bowl – namely the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, butter, salt, oats and walnuts.
 
Okay, maybe it wasn’t that crazy.
 
 

3. Using a fork, I combined them all just until this crumbly mixture had formed and no large pieces of butter were visible.

The topping is finished.

Easy!
 
 

4. Then I grabbed six medium apples.

These are Golden Delicious.

Also Empire, Gala, or Braeburn are especially good in this recipe.
 
 


5. I peeled, washed, cored and sliced them.
 
 

6. And then I cut the slices into 1 inch (2.5 cm) chunks.
 
 

7. To make the filling, I placed the apples, the lemon zest (I used dried lemon zest) and the sugar in a larger bowl…
 
 

8. …and tossed it to combine.

Mmmm… can you smell that?

Instant home!
 
 

9. I am brushing a dish with vegetable oil here.

Instead, you can butter the dish or just spray it with some cooking spray.

Also, although I used a slightly larger dish, I recommend to use a 9 inch (23 cm) deep dish pie plate or an 8 x 8 x 2 inch (20 x 20 x 5 cm) baking dish.

 
 

10. Fill the dish with the fragrant apple filling.

 
 

11. And, using your fingertips, spread the topping evenly over the apples.
 
 

12. Pop it in the oven and bake for about 30-40 minutes, or until bubbly and the topping is golden brown.

 
 

13. Remove from the oven, place on the cooling rack and let cool for about 30 minutes.

Then dig into it with a spoon and check whether everything is all right.
 
 

And if everything is perfectly all right, and it definitely will be, proceed to another step – fill a bowl with some more spoonfuls of this flavorful, juicy and crispy wonder.

Add a nice, fat scoop of vanilla ice-cream.

Or two.

Or four.
 
 

And have a great time!
 

If, by any chance, you end up with some leftovers, refrigerate them and reheat them before serving.
 
 

Enjoy!

 

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Cute Napkin Fold

I like food.

Would you guess that?

And I like all the things that have something to do with food.

Big or small.

Napkins included.

A restaurant, for example, always wins my heart, if it serves their food with a napkin folded in some special, adorable way.

The thought that someone has put their effort into this playful activity of pure aesthetic character only to make me feel better about their place is just charming to me.

And bizarre.

But still charming.

And you know what?

It gave me an idea.

If this small piece of paper or fabric has such a perfect impact on me then it definitely has to make my guests feel fine and welcome when they visit.

So I learned this fold…

The only thing I need now are some guests.

That seems to be quite crucial in the whole project…
 
 

1. Sure, I’m going to show you how to make it. You know that I never keep things I’ve learned secret. Somehow I’m not capable of that. It could break my brain, I’m afraid.

First, lay the napkin face-down in front of you.
 
 

2. Fold the napkin in half and orient the open end toward you.
 
 

3. Fold the napkin into quarters.
 
 

4. Then orient the napkin so the open corner is facing away and to the left.

(That hand of mine looks like from some creepy horror movie. I am really sorry for that! And there’s more creepiness to come – so stay tuned.)
 
 

5. Fold the top-most layer of napkin in half diagonally and press it down.
 
 

6. Turn the napkin over…

(Creepy, just as I promised.)
 
 

… so that the open corner is now facing away and to the right.
 
 

7. Fold the right-side back about 1/3 of the way and press it down.
 
 

8. Fold the left-side back also about 1/3 of the way and press.
 
 

And here we go.

Enjoy, dear friends.
 

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