Market Shots 2013
© Jeannie Gust 2013
I don’t know if anyone ever noticed all the food posts in this blog, but it seems I end up posting so much Red. Maybe because I just love photographing red food, mostly chillies and berries and red orange prawns and crabs… so yes, I tend to gravitate towards red food, either that or anything green like dishes garnished with jade-coloured spring onions, and yellow like oozing egg yolk or lemons.
To me colour in food and vibrancy, as well as showing its texture in 2D are so important, these elements make any dish or food ingredient life-like, unpretentious.
It is always my goal for most of my food pictures to let the viewer see food as if he can literally touch and hold it to put in his mouth, and taste. This is what I always aim for with my food photographs.
© Jeannie Gust 2013
All About The Unctuous EGG
A perfectly poached or soft-boiled egg, for me, is my idea of easy and comforting spoonful of luxurious heaven.
Oozy, runny and warm golden yolk, so creamy and velvety, easily coating anything that is dipped or dressed in it. The only word I could think of to best describe a perfect cooked egg is Unctuous - rich, lush, intense, delicate, soft, velvety.
They say that the hardest ingredient to cook is egg, and I believe this is true. In a matter of a second one can easily overcook an egg (unless you are indeed aiming for a very solid yolk that of an over hard or hard hard-boiled egg). Even world renowned, Michelin-starred chefs (e.g Heston Blumenthal, David Chang, Wylie Dufresne) become obsessed mastering the art, technique and methodology of egg cookery, they are even on a race with each other to invent the most clever, even scientific way of cooking eggs. Case in point, Heston Blumenthal's precise, scientific and molecular gastronomic approach here (video link).
I myself have a few secrets cooking scrambled, boiled and over-easy (which is never really turned over, but I will explain in a moment) eggs.
For my scrambled eggs:
I used to whisk-in a splash of milk (full fat) with eggs I scrambled, but I always found my scrambled eggs, after I turned off the heat and transferred it on the plate, to suddenly leech out water, which made my scrambled eggs a bit soupy in a way. I believe, it’s because the milk proteins in milk separates and the milk proteins and the protein in the eggs whites (albumin) coagulates together after heat is applied, and so the water from both the egg whites and milk (whey) gets separated from the coagulated proteins and leak out.
So here is my fool-proof and very tasty recipe for
Creamy Scrambled Eggs (Serves 1)
2 whole eggs
1 Tablespoon Crème fraîche (or substitute Sour Cream)
pinch of sea salt and a crack of fresh black pepper
1 teaspoon butter
- In a bowl, put eggs, Crème fraîche and salt and pepper. Whisk until well beaten.
- In a small skillet over low heat, melt butter. When butter is bubbly, add the egg mixture and gently stir until egg mixture starts to curdle, for soft scrambled eggs cook for 1 min. to 1 1/2 mins. maximum, for firmer almost knobly scrambled eggs, cook for 2 mins.
Crème fraîche has 30%- 45% butterfat, it is produced by adding bacterial culture to heavy cream (36% - 45% or more butterfat), an egg yolk contains approximately 4.5 grams of fat and makes up 1/3 of the weight of a whole egg, while egg white even though it makes up 2/3 of the weight of a whole egg, egg white contains nearly 92% of water. Milk contains more water than butterfat even in full fat milk.
Fat from creme fraiche and egg yolks overwhelm the amount of water present in egg whites, therefore it produces a creamier and denser scrambled eggs than scrambled eggs with 1 or 2 tablespoons of milk.
This just means, food and cooking are both complete science if you think about it.
Asian Soft Scrambled Eggs (Serves 1)
2 whole eggs
1 Tablespoon heavy cream
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
a crack of fresh black pepper
1 teaspoon flavourless oil (grape seed or canola oil)
4-6 drops of white truffle oil (this is intensely flavoured and very expensive oil, a few drops is really all it takes)
or if one is on a budget, just substitute the same amount of sesame seed oil.
- Mix first 4 ingredients and whisk until well beaten.
- In a small skillet over low heat, heat oil. When oil is decently hot but not (never smoking) gently stir-in the egg mixture.
- Cook for 1 minute no more. Transfer to a plate and dot drops of white truffle oil on top.
For my Over-Easy (but never turned over) Egg:
I am heavy handed and can never do a gentle soft toss or flip, so flipping over an egg in the skillet briefly and gently and cautiously flipping it back up after 3 seconds for over-easy egg is a horrible daunting task (I was never in the egg station) for me.
So what I do is heat a small skillet over low fire, add 1 Tablespoon of oil or butter (but I usually just use canola oil) while the egg gently cooks, I gently spoon hot fat over the yolk until it forms a thin white veil or blanket. The yolk is still oozy and runny inside but the top is cooked. Not very cheffy-like, but it is practical!!!
For my Boiled Egg:
I put 1 or 2 eggs in a small saucepan 2/3 full of water, I add approximately 2 teaspoons of white vinegar, I do this because if ever my eggs will crack in the boiling water while it is still in its liquid state, the vinegar which is straight forward an acid will help stop the raw egg white to ooze out by instantly coagulating the proteins in the egg white. So putting vinegar is in fact a preventive measure.
When the water boils, turn off heat and let egg/s stand inside the covered saucepan of hot water for 6 mins. if using a large- extra large egg add additional 2 minutes.
Semi Hard-Boiled Egg:
When the water boils, turn down heat to low and let the egg/s simmer for 2 mins. then remove from heat and let egg/s stand inside the covered saucepan of hot water for 4 mins.
When the water boils, turn down heat to low and let the egg/s simmer for 6 mins. then remove from heat and let egg/s stand inside the covered saucepan of hot water for 4 mins.
This method will not make the yolks develop green rings (iron sulfide coating) instead the yolk is firm and still a bit creamy and not overcooked.
For the Perfect Poached Egg:
Just follow Heston Blumenthal’s technique from the video link I provided earlier in this post… it’s brilliant!
To easily remove the shell of a semi-hard and hard-boiled egg, the second you remove the egg/s from the hot water, immediately shock the egg/s in an ice bath (a bowl of water with lots of ice).
When cracking a fresh egg, do not crack the egg with the rim of the bowl, the small broken shells tend to go inside where the bowl put an inward dent and pierced through the broken membrane, this is how you get small broken shells mixed in with the egg in the bowl. Instead, gently tap the egg on the counter or work surface, this creates large cracks and does not puncture the protective membrane of the egg.
Steamed Sunday Crabs
If you are a seafood lover and love crabs, then Sunday is the perfect day of the week to eat these crustaceans mainly because I believe that eating crabs require a good amount of one’s patience, even tenacity. You have to take time extracting every bit of delicate sweet meat inside every leg, both claws and body to appreciate and honour this fine sea creature and it is only at a leisurely pace that this is ever possible.
© Jeannie Gust 2013
Spaghetti and Spicy Meatballs
This is my very first proper food photo shoot after a few months of what seemed to be a very long hiatus. I am very happy that I finally got my food photography mojo back, very inspired to again cook simple but beautiful and scrumptious food and share the wonderful colours and texture of food through my photographs.
© Jeannie Gust 2013
Upside-Down Bacony Italian Meatloaf
This is my husband’s meatloaf masterpiece, I see it as a beautiful rustic bacon-enrobed brick of succulent spiced meat.
I love that my husband is indeed very capable in the kitchen, and I love the fact that even in the kitchen we are a solid team, meaning I can never and will never claim the kitchen as “my” turf in our home, but it will always be “our” place where he is as passionate as I am about cooking, baking and eating.
And although this meatloaf is my recipe, my wonderful husband did every single prep work, baking, picture taking, eating and raving about how “f”**ing awesome!” this is. And so this is my husband’s home cooking, and this meatloaf is nothing short of awesome.
restaurant. a small series of some sooc black and whites
I used to stand exactly at this spot (La Gondola kitchen) shove pasta orders on this counter and rung the bell or hover behind you (Chef Simon) while you were taking snaps of the new dishes we plated. Wasn’t that long ago, but those were good times I enjoyed… had a great and happy experience working in this kitchen.
Thank you, always! :)
(Asian) Ham Wraps
These tasty wraps are super simple, easy and even inexpensive (not to mention kinda healthy) to make as appetizer, snack or entree (if one eats a dozen) that I am utterly convinced this dish can even easily replace Cup Noodles (Ramen) in every college kid’s diet.
Simple really, all you need are Chinese pancakes or flour tortillas, fried matchstick slices of ham, julienned red and green bell peppers, scallions (spring onions), torn iceberg lettuce and hoisin sauce (if you are actually making it “Asian”) or your favourite store-bought bottle of barbecue sauce.
Fresh, salty, sweet and savoury, oh, and I did mentioned “kinda healthy”.
Chilli and Garlic Sauteed Prawns
I think this is the most easy yet most tasty dish to cook and eat with crunchy garlic bread.
All you do is saute crushed garlic and chilli flakes in butter (or olive oil) until garlic is soft and fragrant, then throw in shelled and deveined prawns and add a splash of dry white wine, season with salt and pepper. The minute prawns curl and turn orange (cooking time is only 3-5 minutes) remove from heat, sprinkle chopped chives or parsley, serve on crusty garlic bread, and apply to face.