Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Much awaited Food Blogger Connect 2011

I was looking forward to this year’s FBC for many reasons..one important being reunion with my plate2page buddy Simone. I was also super excited about the photography workshop with Béa from La Tartine Gourmande and the Video Recipe Worshop with the gorgeous Anjum Anand.  So stay tuned for more posts on my 3 day foodie roller-coaster ride to London.
My journey was a bit of crusade: with London in the middle of riots, most of us were a bit concerned about the venue & travel. Tweets/Facebook updates kept us going and I dragged my hubby along for more support {very dreamy me – thought he was going to rescue me if rioting starts near FBC ;-)}. We decided to take the train to London and when the train finally arrived, they refused to let us in as they were short of first class carriages and hence no space :).  Frustrated we waited for our next train and just then the board said ‘London Euston 11.20 train cancelled’. Now I had a mind of going and punching yelling at the man behind the counter, but he reassured that there will be a train and we will get our first class seats and it will take us to London. Sigh of relief.
Train arrived on time, checked into the hotel, all dolled up and ready to meet everyone at FBC.
I guess I was one of the first ones to arrive @ Hempel, was a bit nervous but it soon eased by the  big smiles & hugs of Beth & Sarka. So, Friday kicked-off with meet & greet over canapés, good Lebanese wine from Chateau Ksara to wash it down and SpanishOlives to snack on.
 Simone from JungleFrog
The sessions started soon, with bottomless Firefly and more SpanishOlives. We had some very insightful sessions from Jaden from SteamyKitchen, Mayssam from WillTravelForFood and skype session with Babette from BakeSpace. Skype sessions were a bit difficult to follow and some sessions were not possible to continue. I personally couldn’t make a thing of the sessions ‘What Does it Take to be a Kick-Ass Food & Restaurant Critic’ by Harden Bros or the The Writing Business-Magazines by Tim Hayward & Alex Mead. Some were really difficult to follow as the speakers were quite fast. But then again it’s my opinion and I understand that FBC targets bigger audience. Cocktail dinner started soon afterwards but unfortunately being a vegetarian I had very little choice, especially with mushroom allergy and the only dish being Mushroom Risotto L.

Next day was a bit of a mix up of sessions, with Nando from CucaBrazuca.com going first as Jaden was unwell and Fiona Beckett’s session on Writing Style Workshop next. Once again  I loved Nando’s session (gowd he can make you laugh-that Nigeando pic was hilarious) and found somewhat lost with the next session as compared to the writing style sessions in Plate2page. I found the later more hands on and insightful, but I do understand that Plate2page was more of a workshop and FBC is not. Before I was put to a permanent slumber it was lunch time and good food pepped & fueled me up for my much awaited session of FBC: photography workshop with Bea. Her photography and food styling have been a big inspiration to me and I was super excited at the thought of learning from her.
London sometimes surprises you; the dull cloudy day suddenly was bright and sunny for our session outside. Bea first patiently listened to our expectations from the workshop and showed us everything right from how she plates up, styles and photographs food. We got to work in groups and got to chose between cheese & fruits. We had to style and photograph using the lovely props that Sarka got for us, but I wish the session was bit longer so that we could review the group work. I felt it just stopped abruptly. 
After tea break lovely Jaden was all set to tell us how to build community and traffic and shared her experiences and the mistakes she learnt from.  Her energy and enthusiasm is absolutely contagious.
...stay tuned for part 2...More to come but here's the sneak peak..
Béa from La Tartine Gourmande @ Workshop
Anjum Anand's Cooking Demo

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Forever Nigella #7 Iced Dream Round-Up

I absolutely loved hosting this month's #Forevernigella 7 for Sarah and can't get enough of the new blogs I am now so hooked to!
The entries below are my personal favorites:

Creme Caramel Flan by Aveen
London Cheesecake by Lucy

  1. Eton Mess by Mardi
  2. Lemon Meringue Fool by Jo
  3. Purple Gooseberry and Elderflower Crumble Ice-cream by Dominic
  4. Cheesecake Ice-cream with Strawberry Sauce by Liz
  5. Bourbon Mint Ice-Cream with Chocolate and Meringue Nuggets by Solange
  6. Chopped Fruit Salad by Janice
  7. Chestnut Meringue by Choclette
  8. Ice-cream Sundae by Renatka
  9. Chocolate Cake by Kate
  10. Cheesecake Ice-cream by Lauren
  11. Girdlebuster Pie by Michael
  12. Margarita Ice-cream by Lo
  13. Cheesecake Ice-cream Sandwiches by Elizabeth
  14. Chocolate Cherry Kirsch Mousse by Laura

Forever Nigella #8 is hosted by Helen of Fuss Free Flavours and the theme is Picnic Pleasure..So get your picnic baskets out and head over to her lovely blog for more details!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Simple Vegetable Stew/Soup for the ever-expanding-waistline

One big disadvantage being a food blogger, is controlling what you eat! Most of the time the leftovers from cake/dessert shoot goes straight into my tum and in-turn an extra inch on my waist. The horror struck when I could no longer fit into my beloved Calvin Klien jeans..now how horrible is that? With FBC11 just round the corner, a strict diet plan of low carbs is on the menu everyday, for a quick fix to get back in shape. Here's one such chunky vegetable stew/soup I make without any potatoes or pasta but you could add them if you are looking for a complete meal. This soup is great with a little pesto/pistou drizzled on top and a slice of rustic bread (if you not on low carb)!
I am off to FBC11 next weekend and hopefully will get back with loads of photos and inside scoop.
Vegetable Stew/Soup
Fennel 1
Celerey 1
Carrot 1
Courgettes 1
Red Pepper 1
Puy lentils 1 can
Bay leaf 1
Thyme few strands
Squash 1
Garlic 2 cloves
Tomatoes 4
Clear Vegetable stock 1 litre
Pour some olive oil in a saucepan and saute the garlic. Next saute the celery, peppers and fennel. Toss in the other vegetables and tomatoes. Stir to coat in oil. Pour the stock, add the herbs and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Serve hot with pesto drizzled on top.

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