I love food photography and I love food styling, the combination is one of the things that relaxes me the most, one of those in-the-zone activities that makes me forget all about time, gmail and to-do lists. At the moment I am able to do it only once a week – which is already a great perk as I have a preemie baby girl who is a year old and which makes the process even more special: I actually look forward to it all week long.
I pick out the ingredients ahead of time, prep the dish(es) and then transform our quite orderly apartment into a big creative mess with plates, backgrounds, linens and various props (anyone interested in the collection? Let me know, I can make a post on that) all over the place. It’s chaotic, it’s satisfying, it’s messy, it’s beautiful. I’m not one to spend hours arranging cupcakes with a measuring tape, that’s not my thing. However, even without that strict (nitpicking?) approach, I like to pay attention to colors, composition, props and the overall feel I want to convey. Creating a food photo is as much about what to include as it is about what to leave out – and this requires some thought and above all, that scarce resource we all seem to lack – time.
So no matter how much I love turning on some music or a podcast, setting up my tripod and clicking away, if I want this blog to work in the long run, I’ll have to simplify the process, at least part of the time. Hence the #nostyling series. These will be posts delivered straight from my kitchen – I’ll be shooting them as I cook (in my world, just like I mentioned on Instagram a while ago, cameras should be included in standard kitchen equipment) and perhaps even as we sit down to eat. Like reality TV but way better. And much tastier.
So, here we are – the first #nostyling post: pan-fried prawns. Again one of those no-fuss recipes, where the only catch is finding the freshest ingredients you can imagine. Basically, that’s the only demanding bit, the rest is as easy as pie. In this particular instance, it was my husband who did the difficult bit and went to the fish market. He got us a bag of the freshest prawns you can imagine, some green beans, fava beans and potatoes. A feat fit for a king. And queen, of course.
Without further ado, grab the best prawns you can (frozen won’t cut it in this case), shells on, some fragrant garlic and fresh parsley and you’re all set.
PAN-FRIED PRAWNS WITH GARLIC AND PARSLEY
Serves four as a starter
- 100 ml olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, pressed
- 4 teaspoons chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
- 500 g prawns, shell-on
- freshly ground black pepper and lemon wedges, to serve
Mix the olive oil, garlic, parsley and salt thoroughly and let the flavours infuse the oil.
Rinse and drain the prawns well. Preheat a grill pan on medium-high flame until very hot and sear the prawns for 2 minutes on each side The shells will get charred, but the meat inside won’t. The prawns should look like they were grilled over coals.
While the prawns are still hot, toss them with the olive oil mixture, making sure that they are coated all over. Let them rest in the oil mixture for a minute before serving.
Taste, adjust the seasoning if necessary and serve with lemon wedges.