Curried Broccoli with Almonds

Broccoli florets tossed in a bit of oil, seasoned with salt, pepper and curry powder and roasted until tender, then sprinkled with a hint of lemon juice and toasted almonds  – a great side dish!Buy 512

We were snowed in last week for a day and I had to get creative with what I found in the fridge and the pantry. This dish is the result and, of course, I wouldn’t be posting it if it hadn’t turned out really tasty! Broccoli florets tossed in a bit of oil, seasoned with salt, pepper and curry powder and roasted until tender, then sprinkled with a hint of lemon juice and toasted almonds. Made a super side dish!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Curried Broccoli with Almonds
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients:
  • 1½ tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon curry powder
  • broccoli florets from 1 head of broccoli
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
  • a few drops of lemon juice
Instructions:
  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Mix oil, salt, pepper and curry powder together in a bowl.
  3. Toss the broccoli florets in the mix until evenly and well coated.
  4. Spread the florets onto a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and roast for 10 minutes.
  5. Take the baking sheet out and sprinkle the almonds over the broccoli.
  6. Return to the oven and roast for another 5 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle with lemon juice and serve.

Food Photography and Styling: Green usually has me running for the hills, it’s the most difficult color to photograph, in my opinion. Pairing it with a dark brown makes it a little easier in my experience so that’s what I did here. (Plus, a brown set worked well with the brown almonds). I tried to arrange the florets and almonds in a pretty but not too regular pattern and stuck a spoon into the plate to suggest action. As usual, I lit the set from the side with my Hensel Integra Pro Plus 500 strobe and my Hensel Ultra IV Softbox – 35×58″ (90x150cm)) and blocked the light in the top and bottom parts of the frame to create a spotlight on the dish.

 

Lens: I took this photo with my 105mm f2.8 NIKKOR macro lens. You can find the current version of this lens through the following link (I use an older version that is no longer being sold): AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED Lens.

Camera: I used my Nikon D600 to take this photo. You can find the current version of this camera through the following link: Nikon D610 DSLR Camera.

More Spice Train Posts:

Espresso Mascarpone Chocolate Bourbon Cake

Espresso mascarpone chocolate Bourbon cake - Moist, creamy and full of flavor. | TheSpiceTrain.comBuy 470

This is one of the most delicious and at the same time easiest cakes I’ve made in a while. It’s super-moist, creamy, and full of chocolate, Bourbon and espresso flavor. What more is there, really? The cake part here is the epicurious.com recipe for chocolate Bourbon bundt cake I posted earlier in the year and the frosting is a mascarpone cream that I flavored with vanilla and espresso. All around delicious!

5.0 from 3 reviews
Espresso Mascarpone Chocolate Bourbon Cake
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 4
Ingredients:
For the cake:
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more to dust the pans
  • ¾ cup brewed coffee or ½ teaspoon instant espresso powder and ¾ cup of water
  • ¼ cup Bourbon
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
For the frosting:
  • 1 cup mascarpone, softened
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1½ teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • roasted coffee beans as garnish (optional)
Instructions:
For the cake:
  1. Grease two 5-inch round pie cake pans (see notes), dust with cocoa powder and shake out the excess. Set aside.
  2. Head on over to epicurious.com for instructions as to how to make the batter.
  3. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans.
  4. Bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean (about 40 minutes).
For the frosting:
  1. Whip all ingredients together until stiff.
  2. Spread a layer of frosting between the two layers of cake and on top of the top layer.
  3. Garnish with roasted coffee beans (optional).
Notes:
If you're using two 9-inch cake pans, double all measurements.

Food Photography and Styling: I wanted the coffee beans to look like they were dancing around the surface of the cake in a circle so I spent some time adjusting their positions to that effect. A brown “tablecloth” (actually just a piece of fabric) ended up looking best as a surface, all of my rustic surfaces seemed to clash with the color of the cake. As usual, I lit the set from the side with my Hensel Integra Pro Plus 500 strobe and my Hensel Ultra IV Softbox – 35×58″ (90x150cm)) and blocked the light in the top and bottom parts of the frame to create a spotlight on the cake.

 

Lens: I took this photo with my 105mm f2.8 NIKKOR macro lens. You can find the current version of this lens through the following link (I use an older version that is no longer being sold): AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED Lens.

Camera: I used my Nikon D600 to take this photo. You can find the current version of this camera through the following link: Nikon D610 DSLR Camera.

More Spice Train Posts:

Espresso Chocolate Meringue Swirls

Espresso Chocolate Meringue Swirls - Delicious and very pretty meringue cookies flavored with espresso and baked with melted chocolate. Buy 510

No macarons today, instead I’ve got (admittedly loosely related) delightful espresso chocolate meringue swirls. I’ve been wanting to make these cuties ever since I first saw them on the beautiful Bakers Royale blog a while ago. The recipe is just a fairly straight forward meringue, which I chose to flavor with espresso powder in addition to vanilla, swirled with some melted chocolate and then baked. Surprisingly easy to make and I’d say also quite nice to look at. Enjoy!

Chocolate Espresso Meringue Swirls
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Ingredients:
  • 3 large eggs whites
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • 8 ounces chocolate, melted and cooled
Instructions:
  1. Hop on over to Bakers Royale for instructions and just add the espresso powder after the vanilla.

Food Photography and Styling: I liked all the nice curves in these cookies and arranged them on the saucer such that they directed the viewer’s eye around and around and that way kept it securely inside of the frame. I used my Hensel Integra Pro Plus 500 strobe and my Hensel Ultra IV Softbox – 35×58″ (90x150cm) to light the set from the side and shot at a wide aperture to give the set a pleasantly soft look. The background is a napkin that I hung onto the modified clothes rack I showed you last time. I kept the white balance very warm, almost creamy, which is perhaps not a very realistic look but one that I liked here. :)

 

Lens: I took this photo with my 105mm f2.8 NIKKOR macro lens. You can find the current version of this lens through the following link (I use an older version that is no longer being sold): AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED Lens.

Camera: I used my Nikon D600 to take this photo. You can find the current version of this camera through the following link: Nikon D610 DSLR Camera.

 

More Spice Train Posts:

Food Photography – Behind the Scenes | Lighting Through a Doorframe

Hello hello everyone! I’m going to do something different today and share a look behind the scenes with you. I’m hoping this post will be helpful for those of you who would like to simulate the look of a large softbox or a window with an artificial light source.

Below is the shot I’m going to talk about. What I did for this macaron photo is shine a light (I used a strobe) through a narrow, indoor doorframe. I use this technique now and then and find that it works well.

Salted Caramel Macarons

All right, let’s take a look at what went on behind the scenes. This is what the set looked like:

Food Photography Behind the Scenes-1 | TheSpiceTrain.com

All the behind-the-scenes photos are fairly dark because I keep the room dark so that I can only see the light of the strobe and can prepare my set accordingly. My camera is on a tripod and connected to my iMac with a long USB cable, I have Lightroom open and am shooting tethered.

I have a piece of white felt on the table, which helps make the fabric on top look soft and pillowy, a trick I learned from this fantastic book a few years ago: Food Styling for Photographers. On the felt is a napkin (the exact same one that is also hanging in the back as the background), on that napkin is another napkin, a piece of paper, the cookies and the milk bottle and glass. To the left of the macarons are two square styrofoam blocks that act as reflectors and fill in some of the shadows.

Here’s a slightly closer look:

Food Photography Behind the Scenes-2 | TheSpiceTrain.com

Behind the set is a napkin that is hanging from a clothes rack that I bought at Target a while ago. I asked Dan to cut down the vertical metal rods for me (they were about 6 feet tall originally) so that I could use this contraption as a movable background holder. I like to do that because I like the look of hanging fabric as a background but you could also pin fabric directly to the wall behind your set.

Now to the light. Here is another angle of the set:

Food Photography Behind the Scenes-3 | TheSpiceTrain.com

To diffuse the light I have a white curtain hanging on a tension rod in my indoor doorframe. (The frame leads into a fairly dark hallway). Behind the doorframe sits my strobe with its modeling light (see notes) turned on so that you can see it. No light modifiers of any sort are attached to the strobe. Too much light was spilling onto the background of the set (in other words onto the hanging napkin) so I clamped a piece of black cardboard onto the rack to block the light in that area of the set. The doorframe keeps the light contained and directional and the overall scene looks (at least to me) like light coming through a window. (In case anyone is interested in my camera settings, they were: ISO 100, f/3.2, 1/125 on my Nikon D600 with a 105mm macro lens).

I used to use this setup every day for a few months some time ago but it became a bit of a pain since the door I was lighting through was also the door through which I had to exit and enter the room. I eventually got tired of it and bought my large softbox (Hensel Ultra IV Softbox – 35×58″ (90x150cm)), which gives me very similar results. But, if you have a light and no large softbox, it’s an option!

Anyway, that’s really all there was to it! What do you think? Do you like the light? Does anyone else use this technique? Let me know, I can’t wait to hear read your thoughts! :)

Notes: What is a modeling light? I figure some of you may not be familiar with the concept of a modeling light so I’ll quickly explain what that is. So, a strobe unit actually houses two different light sources: 1) the flash that will fire very briefly and very brightly at the same time the shutter is released and 2) a “regular,” continuous light, which is called the modeling light. The flash is what illuminates the actual photo but the modeling light is what illuminates the scenes during setup, before the photo is taken. The modeling light’s purpose is to let the photographer see how the light from the flash will fall onto the set, where the highlights, shadows and reflections will be. Because of that the modeling light is a HUGE help in setting up the set, without it the photographer would literally and metaphorically be working in the dark.