Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Food Photography Tips

 Find out my top food photography tips.  With tips surrounding equipment, food composition, photography props and more, this post is for those new to food blogging and food photography as well as those looking to up their photography skills a little. 

Food Photography Tips for those new to blogging or looking to up their food photography game.game.a

The importance of food photography in the foodie world can't be underestimated, it's a quick visual way to 'sell' a recipe at a glance.  The image needs to entice.  It needs to tempt.  It needs to draw people in.    

Since starting my food blog over 3 years ago my food photography images have transformed.  In the early days my photography skills were frankly non-existent with images that I was embarrassed by and were uploaded as a mere thumbnail.  I now take images which are clear, inviting and even seductive, and am proud to put my name to them. 

I'm the first to admit that there is always something new to learn, so although I'm usually happy with my images, which are (mostly) accepted by FoodGawker (if you're not familiar with FoodGawker it's notoriously difficult to have work accepted by them to feature on their site) I realise that there are many people out there who are far more talented than myself.  My tips on food photography that I'm sharing below are mainly aimed at those new to the world of food blogging as well as those looking to up their game a little.

My top 10 food photography tips at a glance (though keep reading for more detail!):

  1. Invest in a DSLR, if possible;
  2. Practice, aim to come off the auto setting, and learn how to read the camera's histogram;
  3. Use a tripod;
  4. Turn off the flash, room lights and make the most of the natural day light.  Be prepared to take your pictures earlier in the day during the winter months;
  5. Play around with the composition, and aim to use the most suitable aspect for what you're photographing;
  6. Collect photography props to add interest and context to your images;
  7. Make use of what you have around you.  If you don't have a reflector, for instance, use a piece of plain white paper instead;
  8. Pay attention to detail;
  9. Take more photographs than the two or three you actually need.  I regularly have far more than a hundred from a basic shoot.  
  10. Check the images before dismantling the composition and eating the food! 

Photography Equipment.

Without doubt my food photography game wouldn't be where it is now if we hadn't invested in our camera and a few other pieces of equipment. 

Cherry and Almond Fudge taken using my old compact camera Chocolate and Chestnut Meringue Sandwiches taken using my DSLR using the auto setting.

Investing in our camera took me from this Cherry and Almond Fudge (on the left, which I've now re-shot) to these Chocolate and Chestnut Meringue Sandwiches over night!  As you can see the composition is very similar, but the upgrade from my compact camera that I had been using for some time to an entry level DSLR made a significant difference in a very short space of time.

Don't get me wrong, I didn't suddenly know how to use it, far from it given that I spent the initial few months working on the auto setting.  But investing in a camera and realising what I could potentially achieve with it was what I needed to ignite my creativity so far as my food photography is concerned.


Saturday, 14 July 2018

Strawberry Cupcakes

These Strawberry Cupcakes are super pretty.  The small strawberry cakes are pack with strawberry yumminess from the freeze dried strawberries in the sponge cake, the strawberry jam hiding in the centre of the cake, to the fresh strawberries used as the crowning glory to the homemade strawberry buttercream frosting.  They're perfect for those who love this popular summer red berry. 

How to make Strawberry Cupcakes finished with a homemade strawberry frosting

With the Wimbledon finals being held this weekend what better fruit to use in a bake than the humble and ever popular strawberry.

I'm sure we'd all agree that strawberries are great served simply with some cream, or ice cream, but when summer fruits bring a fantastic pop of colour, amazing flavour, and wonderful aroma it'd be churlish not to use them in a strawberry recipe too, just like our very yummy Strawberry and Basil Upside Down Cake.

Strawberry and basil upsidedown cake

Our strawberry cupcakes are packed with strawberry yumminess.  We're talking freeze dried strawberries in the cake batter, a hidden pocket of strawberry jam in their centre, a swirl strawberry frosting made with fresh strawberries, and of course the crowning glory is a fresh strawberry.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Lime Curd Meringue Cupcakes

Inspired by the classic lemon meringue pie, our Lime Curd Meringue Cupcakes are equally delicious.  A homemade lime curd fills the centre of the cupcakes which are then topped with an Italian Meringue before they're briefly toasted to give a tempting colour to the meringue frosting.

Italian Meringue topped Cupcakes filled with Lime Curd

Let me tell you that our Lime Curd Meringue Cupcakes are a real winner.   I mean, they are so yummy that you should make them right away (or at least save the recipe ready for the weekend 😀).

A beautifully sharp lime curd fills each cake which balances so well against the marshmallow-y soft and sweet Italian meringue.  The meringue creates a tempting eye catching swirl of yumminess.  In fact it's reminiscent of a lemon meringue pie, but better if that's at all possible!

I mean, just look at how tempting they are as the lime curd slowly oozes out of the cupcake once it's bitten into!

Lime Meringue Cupcakes


Sunday, 1 July 2018

Baking Crumbs - July 2018

Welcome to July's #BakingCrumbs linky!  This is the place for bloggers to share their baking recipes, and non-bloggers to find new ideas to whet their appetite.  This post contains a full round up of June's bakes where I also highlight what I tried from the recipes linked up!   

With the wonderful warm dry weather that we've been having here in the UK,  it's pretty unsurprising that last month's Baking Crumbs saw numerous bakes shared which made the most of summer berries and other flavours, like elderflower and Pimms, associated with long summer days.  And for those of you who can never get enough of chocolate (I often count myself in that category) we have 4 yummy chocolatey treats just for you, as well as loads of oter inspiration too!

So, as always, if you're tempted by any of the recipes in the round up below simply click on the recipe title in green to find out more, you can also check out bakes linked up this month by clicking on the thumbnail images found towards the bottom of the post.  And for those of you curious to learn what we re-created in the Only Crumbs Remain kitchen from all of the bakes linked up last month do keep reading and all will be revealed!

Cakes that include alcohol!


Cakes that include alcohol

  • I think the continued gorgeous weather that we've been enjoying here in the UK definitely calls for Kat's Pimms Cake to be made this weekend, I mean how amazing does it look!  It definitely screams of summer! 
  • Sometimes you just have to kick back a little with a G&T in one hand a slice of Louise's Gin & Tonic Drizzle Cake in the other hand!

Recipes which include Blueberries.

recipes which include blueberries
  • Resembling a doughnut (or is that donut?), Jo's Sweet Blueberry Buns with a Lemon Glaze is a traditional Polish recipe, called Jagodzianki.  It certainly looks like a treat not to miss, I'll be giving them a try once the local bilberries (wild blueberries) have ripened in the coming weeks.
  • I'm just loving the swirl of jam rippling through the centre of Cat's Blueberry Lemon Swirl Loaf Cake, which she also included over the crust too.  It's definitely a great mid-week treat.
  • Jo's American style Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze are a little bit different to the circular scones we're familiar with  here in the UK, but to me they sound heavenly packed with masses of blueberries and finished with a zingy lemon glaze.     

2 Recipes to make with Fresh Strawberries.

Recipes to make with fresh strawberries

Recipes which use Elderflower Cordial.

Recipes which use elderflower cordial
  • To mark the royal wedding back in May Anca made an Elderflower & Lemon Cake which sounds glorious sandwiched with a lemon creme pat and finished with an Italian meringue icing as well as edible flowers.
  • Nickki's Vanilla, Lemon, Elderflower & Strawberry Cake looks the perfect cake now that summer has arrived.  It's made with 2 layers of vanilla & lemon sponge, filled with sliced strawberries and an elderflower buttercream. 

4 Yummy Chocolate Recipes.

Yummy Chocolate Recipes
(Clockwise from top left)
  • I love the name Puddle Cookies - it just evokes wonderful thoughts of yummy soft cookies and these Chocolate Expresso Puddle Cookies from Kate are certainly no exception.  Being gluten free, dairy free and a great recipe for using up egg whites they definitely look to be the sort of cookie everyone needs in their repertoire. 
  • Macarons.  Yum!  Chocolate Macarons.  Double yum!  Honey Chocolate Ganache.  Triple yum!  Check out Choclette's Chocolate Macaroon with Honeyed Chocolate Ganache recipe and learn her top tip for preventing ganache from splitting!
  • Our easy to make Double Chocolate Cookies certainly aren't shy on chocolate with the whopping 360g of real chocolate in them!
  • How decedent do these Raw Chocolate Snack Squares look from Rebecca at Glutarama - and yet they're jam-packed with loads of healthy fruit, nuts & seeds!

Snacks which use Maple Syrup.


Snacks which use maple syrup
  • How about trying Jhul's Maple & Walnut Biscotti, a twice baked Italian biscuit, to accompany your favourite pot of coffee!   
  • Did you know that triangle flapjacks are dangerous?  Don't believe me, then check out Kate's back story to her Chewy Apricot, Apple, Cinnamon & Maple Flapjacks - just remember they're for eating - not throwing! And honestly, when a flapjack looks this good who's going to be throwing them anyway!   

Biscuits with a Twist.


Alternative biscuit recipes
  • I'm really loving the sound of Anca's Ghraiba, a Tunisian biscuit which is really easy to make with a mixture of gram flour (chickpea flour) and plain wheat flour.  Being similar to shortbread I can imagine that they'd melt in the mouth beautifully.
  • We all know how much fun it is to make a Gingerbread House over the Christmas period ... so why not make a Super Cute Beach Hut Cookie House over the summer break like these Amanda made over at Icing Insight.

Illusion Cake Inspiration.


Illusion Cake inspiration

  • Is it a lolly or is it a cake?  I've said it before and I'll say it again, Amanda is such a talented cake decorator - plus she's always more than happy to share her 'tricks of the trade' like with her Seriously Cool Fab Ice Lolly Cake Tutorial.
  • Can you believe this Hipster Af Avocado Toast Cake is actually cake!  I know, Amanda is just egg-cellent!  I know sorry, lol ... though if you want more egg puns do pop over to Amanda's tutorial where she tells us this is cake is perfect for the new cake decorator to try.

4 Must Try Bakes.


Recipes to try
(Clockwise from top left)
  • Our Coconut & Lime Cupcake recipe uses the tropical flavour combination to yummy effect... though don't blame me if you find yourself singing Harry Nilssons's 'Coconut' all day 😁
  • If you're torn between making cake or crumble, how about combining the two with Rebecca's Rhubarb & Ginger Crumble Cake which also happens to be vegan and gluten free.  Just pass the custard!
  • I'm a huge fan of Meringue Kisses, they look amazing topping cakes or sandwiched together with a yummy frosting or ganache, but the thing which always gets me is the kink to the top of the kiss - seriously cute. 
  • Packed with apple, grated carrot and cranberries, Johanna's Apple Carrot Muffins, which are vegan and free of refined sugars, look to be a great freezer standby for when the munchies hit!

2 Vegan Savoury Recipes.


Vegan Savoury Recipes
  • Definitely worth pinning ready for some cooler weather are Nico's Perfectly Crispy Vegan Mayo Roast Potatoes.  They look the business having a crispy outside and fluffy on the inside!  Pass me a fork will you!
  • Can you believe that Nico's Meaty BBQ Seitan 'Ribs' are actually suitable for vegans!  With the lovely warm weather we've been enjoying of late here in the UK, they'd be a great choice for some alfresco dining.

What we recreated in the Only Crumbs Remain kitchen this month...

American Style Blueberry Scones with a Lemon Glaze

Like every month, the recipes linked up to June's #BakingCrumbs linky proved tantalising to say the least with so many amazing summer bakes, not forgetting those with chocolate yumminess, nor the enticing roast potatoes from Nico at YumSome which will definitely be made once the weather cools down a degree or ten.

The bake we chose to try was Jo's American Style Blueberry Scones with a Lemon Glaze.  Now, I must admit that I'm not normally a huge fan of traditional scones that we see here in the UK, (I think it's probably because they're served with cream which I'm not a huge fan of - though I must admit that the ones hubby and I had EVERYDAY whilst on honeymoon at the The Drunken Duck Inn, in the Lake District, were quite something!)  so I was quite interested to see (or rather taste) if I preferred them.   

Jo's American styled scones were made ultra tempting with the oodles of blueberries packed into them.  A few of those blueberries oozed their juice a little during the bake creating a scrummy 'jammy' syrup which intensified the blueberry flavour even further.  Being fairly small the oven didn't need to be on long (an important consideration in this hot weather!).  The scones were a doddle to make and had a wonderful delicate crumb which were super light and deliciously fruity, though I must admit that I chose to up the lemony-ness with a little lemon zest added to the scone dough.  Both my Mum & Mr E (Dad's trying to be good and doing really well) weren't the only ones to enjoy them - I have been loving these fruit packed American scones!      

You can find a yummy range of recipes over at Jo's blog,  Jo's Kitchen Larder.

Now onto July's #BakingCrumbs Linky. 


If you've got a bake to share, join in with #BakingCrumbs!

Baking Crumbs is for all of those sweet and savoury bakes, where there's the potential for crumbs! Pies and pastries, cookies and flapjacks, cakes and cupcakes, brownies, meringues........