Challenged myself this past week with looking at light in food photography. Fell in love with chiaroscuro and Scandinavian/Mystic Light styles that are so in voque now. Mood is conveyed with darker colors and light concentrated to draw the eye. Painterly effects reminiscent of Vermeer and Caravaggio are imitated, bringing back memories of my time in Europe and going to the great museums in Amsterdam, Paris, and Athens. Lifetimes ago! I was 20 years old. Those were the times of traveling Europe for $5 a day, for real. I went with $100 and stayed in Athens and London for 7 months, working as a waitress and an au pair. Those warm summer nights, sitting below the acropolis, woozy with ouzo and grilled octopus are long gone. But, here in Upper Black Eddy, we can summon up a bit of the Mediterranean breezes with some French cheese, homemade crackers, and kumquat chutney.
- 10 ounces kumquats, thinly sliced, about 3 cups
- 1 lemon, very thinly sliced and coarsely chopped
- ½ cup dried currants
- 1 cup raw or demerra sugar
- ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice, from 2 oranges
- 2 tablespoons minced crystallized ginger
- 3 bay leaves, fresh or dried
- 1-3"piece cinnamon stick
- 3 star anise
- 3 blades mace
- Place all of the ingredients in a heavy, wide pan.
- Heat over medium heat, simmering gently for 30 minutes.
- Stir frequently.to prevent burning.
- Remove from heat. Serve at room temperature.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Remove the cinnamon stick, bay leaves, and star anise before serving.
Not to whine, or anything, but this food photography stuff is extremely difficult. Picture deer in the headlights, now that I’ve gone around telling everyone that I’m writing a cookbook and doing my own photography. It’s time to buckle down and get serious. However, my high expectations may be difficult to attain. Yes, I’ve heard, you just have to show up. That’s a bit naive – exactly how I was a year ago when I started to learn photography. There are so many elements to these photos, requiring the skill sets of a photographer, food stylist, prop stylist, and photo editor. Silly, old me. My brain is ready to explode, unable to hold anymore information.
This chutney should shake my brain back into place. The other latest thing is meditation. It’s really getting a good rap. Health and brain vitality. Improved sleep. Sign me up. If I could just keep my mind from wandering… how much sugar did I put in the chutney???