I like to think my food photography and cooking skills have improved this past year. Being a non-profit hobby blog, I don’t set the shots up to make everything magazine quality, with diffusers and reflectors and such. My reflectors are often tissue boxes. Instead, my process goes like this: 1) find the cleanest spot with natural light. 2) Get rid of the cat hair. 3) Get the cats out of the room. 4) Work out the best way to carry a heap of stuff to the natural light spot without tripping over the cats. 5) Try and barricade the door because the cats have worked out how to bust through it at a fast run. 6) Try and keep the cats away from the food. 7) Hurry up and take the damn photos cos the family is waiting to eat.
I don’t always succeed at keeping the cats away.
And then there are those times when no styling or faffing around is necessary. You just grab the camera and take a food photo with flash.
THE TOFU CHEVRE ‘LOG’
Ah, logs. I followed the directions for this tofu chevre log. It was a nice log shape until about ten seconds after it entered the oven. And then when I took it out my son came in and said EWWW WOT IS THAT and I’m like eh, a tofu LOG. And he was like DIDN’T I TELL YOU LOG IS ANOTHER WORD FOR POO.
THE ‘HEALTHY’ JUICE PULP CAKE
When I make juices, I like to re-use the pulp wherever I can. This was my first experiment with juice pulp cake. I used pulp from apple, pears, carrots and beetroot here. I also completely screwed up and doubled the liquid ingredients by mistake.
I even made a little bridge from an icy pole stick. I wanted the bridge to span the Hollow Sea, the Abyss of Broken Dreams.
A cross section of this geological marvel.
SESAME ‘CRUSTED’ TOFU
Don’t you just love foods with a crumb? Or a crust? I love sesame crusted tofu. Everything is made better with a crumb of some kind. Right?!
I think that only applies when your crumbs are on the actual food.
THE PLUM CUSTARD CAKE
So one time I had this smart idea for using up a heap of plums. Why not use the semolina custard from my vegan galaktoboureko recipe in a pie! And make a healthy oil/fat free crust? The end result was plums on the bottom, goopy custard and a dry shitty crust.
PINEAPPLE INSIDE OUT DOWN CAKE
Because we all need a poorly risen pineapple upside down cake that sticks to the tin right when you’re about to serve it to visitors. That’s when you improvise and call it pineapple pudding, but you don’t really fool anyone. Completely salvageable with ice cream, so all is not lost.
BERRY BROKEN HEART CAKES
Baked moosh was a recurring theme this year. I followed a recipe for these berry heart shaped cakes. They didn’t rise and after half an hour they were just hot dough destined for the bin. What a waste of berries. Fortunately they were frozen berries, not the fresh berries that cost a million bucks a punnet.
GEOLOGIST’S DREAM ‘HEALTHY’ BANANA CAKE
You know those times when you secretly dream of being a geologist? And your secret dreaming comes out in your banana cake that you’ve tried to healthify? Look at the tell tale bottom layer of compacted moosh that somehow extends halfway up the cake. I can’t remember what the hell I did here. But that’s okay, because I don’t want to.
THE PUMPKIN PIE FRENCH TOAST THAT COULDN’T
Look at me! I’m oil free! No vegan butters either for frying but I REALLY want to try that pumpkin French toast recipe. I know! Let’s be all healthy and smug and use the PANINI PRESS!
TRUFFLES A LA POOP
What do you make your sibling when it’s their birthday? How about the chocolate truffle balls you both enjoyed as a kid? A packet of plain biscuits, dessicated coconut, cocoa powder and coconut condensed milk. Sounds good! Eeeexcept in this case you start mixing the stuff before realising you’re way waaay low on the coconut. So you try to be clever and add some coconut flakes before realising that’s a most rubbish move because the chewiness is awful. And the truffles lose their shape fast and flop when you take them out of the fridge.
THE PAPADUM CREPE
You know those times where you’re like, I really want a crepe with the crunchiness of a papadum! I’ll go and watch Prancercise videos on YouTube and forget all about my crepe in the pan! Works every time.
HEALTH HAZARD COCONUT FLOUR PANCAKES
Ah, coconut flour. I hate coconut flour. It’s one of those things that always makes my food turn out rubbish. Even though I love coconut. Here I am trying to create a gluten free coconut pancake recipe. These pancakes just fell everywhere and were burnt on the outside, mooshy wet on the inside. And I couldn’t swallow them so I had a coughing fit.
SPACE ALIEN MUFFIN
Could this be intelligent life that formed after the Big Bang (which was me dropping the tray of muffins when I took them out of the oven, scattering baked treats and lounging cats everywhere)? The intelligent life that spent its first two weeks wedged between the side of the oven wall and the bottom rack and treated us all to a game of What’s That Smell? every time we used the oven? It was only when I decided to actually bend my butt down Attenborough style and check what the hell was going on inside the oven that I made this discovery.
Let’s wrap this up with dessert. Because everyone loves baked apple guts.
May you all have a wonderful end to 2016 and an even better start to 2017! I’m sure I’ll see you back here same time next year with round 2 of my kitchen failures…