I have always had a thing for photography. I even used to go around Jordan taking pictures when I was younger. Jordan is a beautiful country with so many stunning places to photograph. I always thought the country is very photogenic and a dream for photographers, because of its rich culture and also the pieces of its history scattered all over the place. You can carry your camera and head to the markets, even the streets, the old town and of course the numerous historical sites that are gorgeous! A photographer will never be disappointed there!
Silent as they may appear, pictures tell clear and loud stories. Every click is a story! Photography is a beautiful hobby.
I also love to draw. I have always been drawn to facial portraits and landscapes, so whenever I drew I drew people, especially those who are older and have defining lines of experience all over their faces. Funny because even in photography, before I became interested in taking food photographs I was always taking close ups of faces. Always focused on the faces that I found interesting, the ones you feel tell a story. Interesting, that to me, those faces were always the old and wrinkled ones. I love faces that have strong expressions, strong lines, because I traced each I would find myself thinking of the experiences this person must have had in their lives to build these lines and expressions. (the lines of experience). Then there was the landscapes. I was always on the look out for landscapes that evoke a narrative of sorts. A frame that is full, vibrant, alive, expresive… Those were always the things I would look for. I guess I can say that photography has always been a hobby of mine!
But, I can never claim that I am a master photographer. With me, it is always a case of hit or miss. I know I have the eye for what I want, but whether or not I manage to get that focus or concept in the frame is debatable! That never stopped me though, I still always managed to go out and shoot. My photos either worked fantastically or they flopped majorly. But those photos were mine, that hike, that connection and that memory was mine, and so I clicked and whatever came out was mine too. Each frame always meant something. I had never taken a photo that I desperately needed to be picturesque, magazine quality, and so they were all perfect, to me!
Up until I started with food photography!
That story is very different. Photographing food is hard, as there is a million things that come to play and determine the outcome (perhaps also because it never came naturally to me to take pictures of food as did faces or landscapes!!). From the light, to the styling, to the actual condition of the food… it is all important to get right! Because food either looks good and makes you hungry, or it can (because of lighting issues) look terrible and put you off! And I am a long way from mastering all these things! Cooking and understanding food is one thing, but taking a good photo of that food is a totally different story! Just because the food tastes phenomenal, looks beautiful, does not necessarily mean it is photogenic!! It is totally the work of the photographer to bring out the beauty within that food. Kind of like a green model, whose new to the scene, if the photographer and art directors are really good they can ease her into bringing out her beauty and capturing the right shot!
I have a fabulous relationship with my food, but I am more like a mother than a photographer, I send my food to ‘Time-Out’, when it does not cooperate!! lol
Ironically, it is only with food photography that I desperately need the photo to be great. I mean, I need that photo to tell you how good the food is, in order for you to try it! In a blog, photography is a main element that needs to be as good as the actual food. Actually, I have seen, many times, photos of food that were in fact so much better than the taste of that pictured recipe! But it is one of those things where to most “who cares about the literature when the illustration does all the work”!! So I have been working on those skills (don’t judge! Still work in progress) and have been frustrated in miles, and happy in baby steps, but hopefully getting there 🙂 One major leap I have made though, is changing the mode of my camera from fully automatic to fully manual! Yes, I have taken the plunge in the deep, but to my surprise, I discovered that automatic was actually the obstacle standing in my way. I have noticed that all my photos have improved tremendously, just by changing that setting! I still miss many times, especially that at my house, there is very poor light and lots of harsh shadows from all the high rise buildings. But hey, I can say that I am doing way better on that front!!
I have chosen to share this story with you here, because the day I changed my life to manual, was the very day I made these delicious beetroot wafers that I am sharing with you in this post. These were my first manual food photos 🙂
Beetroot wafers are seriously amazing! They are snappy, crunchy, with loads of reddish to maroonish earth tones, and are on the sweeter side of tastes. They are paper thin, so can be used as base, or stacked with filling, used for dipping, as topping to deserts, or to simply brighten up a food and bring in warm colours for an otherwise dull and cold picture! They can even be crushed up and used to top a dessert, a soup, or even a salad. They can give you a crunch to your salad, to your cupcake frosting or be used in the making of cheesecake bases!! Beetroots are super foods that are very good for you as well! So if that is not amazing I don’t know what is!
When it comes to preparing food and presentation we tend to take the easy way out! But with these wafers you open doors that are not so common, and unleash a delicious creativity that is worthy of notice (especially on the online food photography trend these days).
These wafers are a perfect base for canapes. Instead of the old fashioned blinis, bread slices… go for beetroot wafers. They add a new layer to the flavour, look good and less common. Make them in mini squares and top them with Ceviche, Smoked Salmon, Cream and Caviar, Confit de canard…etc. even the simple tomato bruschetta will be transformed over a wafer! You can also top these mini wafer bases with rolled mini cheese balls (any flavour).
Not only for canapes, as you can use these wafers instead of breads, crisps or sticks to serve with dips. Beetroot wafers go very well with a Hummus dip, eggplant caviar, 7 layer Mexican dip…etc. You do not even have to make them in mini squares or rounds, you can simply make a large sheet and break it into pieces for dipping. There really is no limit to their use, so this is one recipe worth having and perfecting as you will be using it lots once you get the hang of it. Like with anything great, this requires a bit of extra work, and some practice to perfect, but nothing overly complicated or difficult. Just a matter of getting the hang of it.
Before jumping into the recipe, it is worth noting that you are not limited to beetroots in this preparation, as any root vegetable will work, and each type will lend you its own flavour and colour. Like carrots, will produce a beautiful light and vibrant orange wafer, with its own flavour. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnip… and one of my most favourite ones is horseradish! Yes! Think horseradish wafers topped with Tuna or Salmon Sashimi to name a couple!!
There are a million ways to include texture, flavour and colour in your food. Everybody has a go to addition for either purpose of those, what is yours? How do you add an instant pop of colour, texture or flavour to an otherwise flat dish? Is there a trick that no one knows that you found and use regularly, come’on sharing is great and we won’t tell :-0