Sunday, September 14, 2014

365 Days of photography - August, 2014

#365DaysOfPhotography, SimiJoisPhotography, #FoodPhotography, #photography
Finally got to do the the 365 day post for the month of August. August was one busy month for me. I had a few photography assignments that were due plus we had a hectic social calendar, one thing or the other every weekend. Not that am complaining, I really enjoyed it, but am limited by time. One thing I cannot compromise on is my sleep, I need my seven hours, else am one grumpy soul. :)

I can’t believe that summer is officially over, at least in this part of the world. Am going to miss my summer routine so much, long walks, watering my garden, going out to coffee with friends, farmers markets, ohh the list is endless. This year we had an extremely short summer, before I blinked it’s gone. This post is really my tribute to summer. I have been planing forever to carry a camera to farmer’s market and every week I tell myself the next…..well the rate at which the temperatures are dropping I do not think there will be any next. I really hope to get a few shot at least, maybe next week. For now it’s mostly roses. I think am short by a few photographs this month, I promise to make it up in the next month. Thanks guys for all the support and appreciation for my work, that really keeps me going. I have not been able to do photography tips, but I have and will try and respond to any queries, like I always do on FB or via email. Thanks again! 


June 

#365DaysOfPhotography, SimiJoisPhotography, #FoodPhotography, #photography

#365DaysOfPhotography, SimiJoisPhotography, #FoodPhotography, #photography
#365DaysOfPhotography, SimiJoisPhotography, #FoodPhotography, #photography

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Summer coolers : Watermelon n’ wine sangria or Virgin watermelon ginger ale


#WatermelonSangria, #WatermelonGingerAle, #SummerCooler, # WaterMelonDrink, #Recipe

As I rolled out of bed, I peeked outside though the windows, something I always do, even before I began to chase light as a photographer. I love this time of the day as the dawn is breaking and light brings to life everything around it. 

After my morning rituals, I sat down, I saw the watermelon by the kitchen door, screaming for my  attention, there was no way I could fit this huge thing into the refrigerator. It was way to early for my favorite watermelon sangria. I juiced half the melon  and made some watermelon ginger ale. Left the other half to make the sangria.  I finally sat down, looked outside to see the most glorious light, playing hide and seek between the clouds. I threw my flip-flops by the door and walked into the grass as it kissed my feet, the grass was still wet from the heavy dew or maybe it rained last night, whatever it was, it felt so good. I saw a few amber leaves on the grass, fall is right around the corner, I thought to myself. 

Fall is the most magical time of the year, the light has a golden hue, everything seems like it’s drenched in a light film of gleaming gold, almost surreal. As I turned around with my thoughts, I saw the most beautiful light falling through the tress, it was a bit cloudy so the light was perfectly diffused and it gleamed on the grass. The photographer in me was restless to capture. I laid down the scarf I was wearing, got some books I was skimming through the night before and styled my drink with some fresh mint from the garden. I saw through the viewfinder, the light embracing the drink…I press the shutter, took a deep breath, that moment felt more real than my existence. 

#WatermelonSangria, #WatermelonGingerAle, #SummerCooler, # WaterMelonDrink, #Recipe

#WatermelonSangria, #WatermelonGingerAle, #SummerCooler, # WaterMelonDrink, #Recipe

Of everything I cook and bake,  cocktails are my all time favorite,  not because of the intoxication factor ( I hardly drink). More so because I feel like an alchemist, something mystic about colored liquids in beautiful glistering glasses. The possibilities are endless.

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Monday, September 8, 2014

Wild Black Rice n’ Pumpkin Masala

Browsing through the grain section of the grocery store, my eyes fell on long shiny black rice, that was labeled wild rice. I was drawn to it like an artist is drawn to paint. I felt it with my hands, it was slippery and shiny and had extremely long grains, for a minute it looked too perfect, as though it was pieces of ebony that were hand polished. It made it’s way home with me and it lay on the pantry shelf for weeks. I was beginning to get skeptical, even thou I cook brown rice but my true love is pure white basmati:long aromatic grains of rice. A girl who likes her rice pure white, has here in her hand deep black shiny rice. Being attracted to black shiny long grains is one thing, eating it is another.

I took the plunge and put out some water to boil. Waited for 20 minutes, it smelled nothing like white rice. Very, very strong nutty aroma, and when I say strong, I mean really very strong. Something, told me this was not for me, with lot of inner courage I tasted the almost raw rice that was boiling away on the gas stove, I loved the crunch. First there was a crunch then a bit soft…. The aroma of the rice boiling in the water, grew on me, but definitely not my favorite. The taste: I really liked. It sat on the gas stove for 40 minutes, and barely cooked. Out came the pressure cooker and in went the rice - 3 whistles later there was nutty, aroma-less black rice. It’s has a strong flavor, so for me it is definitely not the main ingredient in the dish.  It really pairs well with pumpkin and together they can make a great tasting side. One cups makes almost two and a half cups, so keep that in mind when you cook it. 

#BlackWildRice #PumpkinNWildRice #Recipe #MasalaWildRice
#BlackWildRice #PumpkinNWildRice #Recipe #MasalaWildRice

#BlackWildRice #PumpkinNWildRice #Recipe #MasalaWildRice

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Bursting with flavor - homemade marinara sauce

I have always imagined life on a farm to be very romantic.  Fresh air, fresh food and large expanse of lush green. When I think of a farm I think of kids playing in open fields, clothes hanging on a clothes line…a farmer on his tractor and it’s always bright sunshine. I know my vision is more fiction than factual, life on a farm is not as easy as it looks, but this is my vision that I don’t want to spoil it. A simple life with none of the complexities that we urban dwellers face. 

My farm (read garden) is a super tiny space,  full of flowers but not much of veggies, some herbs. Even with the limited things I grow, I feel there is nothing that gives me more pleasure then a fresh tomato or a fresh leaf of basil from my yard. It’s just a feeling of fulfillment, hard to describe. Cooking with that, elevates it to a whole new level. Am a die hard romantic at heart and food for me is like romance, it is art. It’s not just a recipe. Food brings people together like nothing else does, it engages all your senses and it’s an experience. Even the most practical souls among us would have had cravings, it’s not just a requirement of  your taste buds it’s more. It’s memories, it’s a romantic connection. I am not great with words but I hope my images have captured what my words can’t describe. 

It will be hard for me to go back to the branded marinara sauce after I have made this from scratch. This was a small batch, I might make a large batch and bottle it. I know some of you asked me (on fb) about shelf life, when I posted the pic of the process yesterday. So if you want to can these and save them, here are the canning instructions . On its own, please refrigerate after 24 hrs of making it, should be good for 10-15 days. Its just four ingredients. 


#HomeMadeMarinaraSauce #MarinaraSauceRecipe #SimiJoisPhotography #DeliciousMarinaraSauce
#HomeMadeMarinaraSauce #MarinaraSauceRecipe #SimiJoisPhotography #DeliciousMarinaraSauce

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Indian Rice Pudding/kheer, I was almost going to sell my camera.

If I have anyone to blame it is my friend Sophia. She started my obsession for rice-pudding, last week she shot an amazing (read bold) image of rice pudding. We started talking about rice pudding and realized there is so much common between our cultures and the symbolic meaning of rice, “ we also use rice as a symbol in our tradition (Bulgaria and Greece) and especially on weddings - symbolizes the pure virgin bride that is fertile to bear lots of healthy children and continue the generations of the family…” Rice in India is a symbol of Brahma, the creator and when you think of Brahma you think of purity and white, the use of rice in wedding as a symbol of prosperity and abundance is not new in our culture. 

We had Ilva join us in our madness. I don’t think I even need to introduce Ilva, she’s an amazing photographer and a great friend. She has taught me how to librate my art, not everything you see needs a critique ( I usually get over critical about my work) - enjoy what you create. That’s what I have learnt from her. …Three girls from three different cultures living in different countries as Ilva puts it, “We are all three expats, Sophia is Bulgarian but lives in Australia, Simi is Indian but lives in USA and I’m as you know Swedish and live in Italy” Three different rice pudding, a recipe that has been passed on to all of us. A thread that binds all humanity food and love. I hope you do enjoy our pudding as much as we enjoyed creating it. 

Sophia
Ilva





#RiceKheer, #IndianRicePudding, #RicePudding, #PuddingRecipe #FoodPhotography
 This post was a cause of a lot of heart burn, ( not from the rice pudding) I visualized the raw rice image as a white on white …little did I know what I was asking for. I would get a yellow overcast or a magenta refection and it was not pure white. Finally, after hours of reading on white balance and experimenting, I got the final image the way I visualized it. See the triptych and you will know what I am talking about. 

Who says white has no color, it’s one of the hardest things I have ever photographed. But loved the outcome. The thought of selling my camera did cross my mind when I was struggling to make this happen. 
#RiceKheer, #IndianRicePudding, #RicePudding, #PuddingRecipe #FoodPhotography

You think things would have ended well with the white on white. Not really! It just got worse. I usually visualize my images a day before I shoot, but I think I was thinking am too good for that, watch what happened, I propped all the stuff, took pictures, re- arranged, took pictures, changed prop took pictures, changed direction of light took pictures, changed the complete color palette, took pictures….nothing worked. They were all dull, lifeless lack luster images. By now I had at least a hundred horrible pictures,  since I cannot share hundred here, here are some better ones that were epic fail. (Click more to view). The last image of the first row, was not that bad and I thought it had hope and thankfully am able to post it. It took me eight hours to shoot this post. Was it worth it, every second of it. 
#RiceKheer, #IndianRicePudding, #RicePudding, #PuddingRecipe #FoodPhotography
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