Still catching up with 2012 jobs, so the “MoBro” is still lurking on my top lip in the pictures. Here’s some behind the scene shots of us shooting a recipe video for a Christmas web campaign. Eagle eyed camera geeks will notice that we’re using a Canon C300, so although the final movie was only used on the web it was delivered at full broadcast quality. Chef Col provided all the food direction, recipe styling and hand acting. Jess did a fantastic job of post production and sound recording (all “in-house”) while still finding time to act out the roll of “responsible adult” with plenty of head shaking and tutting when Colin and myself started messing around.
I’ve now finally taken delivery of the new Canon EOS-1D C, so expect to see plenty of movies in 2013.
Merry Christmas everyone. Here we go, one of my favorite Christmas pictures from this year. I shot this back in May for the front cover of a food service brochure. Alison Huw supplied and cooked the cake in huge quantities. It smelled gorgeous (probably the whisky) so here’s the recipe too, courtesy of Alison.
Whisky Christmas Star Cake
800g mixed dried fruit
50g glacé cherries, rinsed, dried and cut in half
50g mixed candied peel
4 tablespoons Whisky
225g unsalted butter, softened
225g soft brown sugar
4 large free range eggs
225g plain flour
1 tsp mixed spice
50g whole blanched almonds
1 dessertspoon black treacle
1 Clementine, zest and juice
For the caramel star
- Prepare the cake tin. You will need either a 20cm round cake tin, an 18cm square tin or a star shaped tin. Grease and line with greaseproof paper and tie a band of brown paper round the outside for extra protection.
- Place the dried fruit in a large bowl and mix in the whisky. Cover the bowl and leave the fruit to absorb the whisky for a good 12 hours.
- Pre-heat the oven to 140C/gas mark 1.
- Beat the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy.
- Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and then add to the creamed mixture a little at a time. Keep the whisk running until all the egg mixture is incorporated.
- Fold in the sifted flour and spices.
- Now add the whisky soaked fruit, nuts, treacle and citrus zest and juice.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared tin and spread out evenly.
- Bake the cake on the lowest shelf of the oven for at least 4 ½ hours. The cake can take at least another ½ to ¾ hour longer.
- Allow the cake to cool in the tin for an hour then transfer to a cooling rack.
- When completely cold, wrap in greaseproof paper and store in an airtight tin.
- Feed the cake with extra whisky at weekly intervals by piecing all over with a darning needle and spooning teaspoonfuls of whisky through the holes.
For a star shaped cake
Use a star template to cut the cake, marzipan and fondant icing.
You could use a star shaped tin if you like but take care that the points don’t burn during cooking.
- Place the sugar and water in a heavy pan. Stir over a low heat until the sugar dissolves.
- Do not stir.
- Swirl the pan once or twice so that the syrup colours evenly.
- Heat the sugar to 145C (use a sugar thermometer) or drop a teaspoonful into iced water. When the sugar forms a hard ball remove from the heat and plunge the base of the saucepan into iced water to prevent further cooking,
- Place an oiled star shaped cutter on to waxed paper and fill with caramel. Alternatively use the caramel to spin star shapes.
Yes, I know it’s a while off Pancake Day but we tend to work at least six months ahead of the standard Gregorian calendar, so this job is actually last minute. Here’s some samples from a last week’s shoot for Clark’s Maple syrup. These are all Pancake day recipe suggestions using Clark’s delicious Canadian Maple Syrup. All the styling and recipe development courtesy of Alison Huw. Sorry, no actions pictures of the day as I was fighting off a bad attack of the nasty Norovirus and one set of pictures was enough to deal with!
Yes, he’s been back. Masterbrewer, beer sommelier, entrepreneur but most importantly my mate, Tom Newman from Celt Experience brewery has been back in the studio. Tom has decided that he wants his beers to be displayed and portrayed as “Urban”. So, out with any ideas of traditional imagery from now on it’s “Steam Punk” all the way. After a lot of beer we decided to shoot everything on industrial backgrounds and a 2m x 1m sheet of mild steel was ordered. As soon as it was delivered to the brewery Tom’s crew set about it with acid, beer and plenty of salt water, and within a week it was a convincing relic of the industrial revolution and ready to be shipped to the studio.
As soon as we had it in the studio we quickly vacuumed up any loose rust and then set about polishing it with olive oil. I think the result is lovely, even “urban”. The sheet of steel is now in the basement waiting for Tom’s next big idea, in the mean time I’ll be making myself busy re-cycling all the left overs (as you can see in the pictures, I started the re-cycling almost immediately)!
Breakfast, the most important meal of the day. Well I’m not sure about that, but last week I had a whole two days of breakfasts in the studio. Along with Nerys Howell we shot a whole range of hotel styled breakfasts, from budget bacon sandwiches to top end five star silver service full english. Of course, I ate it all – including the porridge, which was a revelation. I have to admit to being mildly disappointed, as it was delicious. After avoiding it for over 40 years I’d rather hoped it would taste as bad as I remembered when growing up. Although, it’s lovely taste still won’t eradicate the memory of the radioactive Ready Brek kids hanging around wet bus stops looking as if they had Saturday jobs mopping the floors in Sizewell B.
The outstanding phrase of the job was “Aye up, thy’s not as green as thy’s cabbage”. None of us are sure what it meant, but the client from Lancashire keep saying it, and as long she was happy then we were. Here’s a brief selection of the images along with even more pictures of me filling my face.
Yesterday was fun. I was asked by a client to produce a set of images for their new (top end) own brand food service brochure. However, on this occasion the client wanted the “look & feel” of the images to reflect the industry sector and if possible show the products in a set of environments and scenarios where food was being served.
I was fortunate to have Nerys Howell with me for the day, who not only styled each shot to perfection but also found the time to clear out and re-organise the kitchen cupboards. For the first picture we constructed a “kitchen pass” with a chef sending out the perfect burger, which of course I ate afterwards. In fact I ate most it including the sticky toffee pudding with madagascan vanilla custard, delicious.