Having previously worked in hospitality for over a decade and also dated a chef for many years, had made me ponder getting in food photography quite a few times as I have learnt about cooking (techniques, presentation, taste!) from some very passionate and talented people.
So it was a great learning experience when we were given the task of choosing between two recipes to cook while also photographing the process and final product! To be honest, neither of them sounded very appealing to me at all, but between a Feta and Puy Lentil salad or Grilled Aubergines with Chickpea puree and Harissa I went for the latter as I thought that the recipe sounded a bit more challenging. Also I thought the colours of the aubergines and harrisa as well as the overall presentation possibilities of the dish would make for some lovely photographs.
Here is the recipe I had to follow:
Grilled Aubergine with Chick Pea Puree and Harissa
1x 400g tin chick peas drained
1 large aubergine (275 g)
1 sprig of fresh thyme
150 ml virgin olive oil
1 tbs chopped thyme leaves
225g /1 large diced peeled potato
2 tbs natural plain yogurt
3 large cloves of garlic, halved
1) Tip the chick peas into a pan and cover them with water or vegetable stock
2) Throw in the thyme sprig and bring to the boil
3) Add the diced potato and 2 of the garlic cloves. Salt and simmer for 15 min
4) Meanwhile slice the aubergine into 12 rounds, about 1 cm thick
5) Chop the 2 remaining garlic cloves and add to the oil with the thyme leaves
6) Brush the aubergine with the thyme and garlic oil and cook under a pre-heated hot grill for 7-8 minutes, brushing with more oil
as necessary and turning once. They are ready when tender and golden brown.
7) Remove the thyme sprig from the chick peas, drain them and mash with a potato masher. Stir in the butter and yogurt. Season with salt
Put 6 of the hot grilled aubergines slices on a warm serving dish, place a generous spoonful of chick pea puree on each. Spread the remaining slices with a thin layer of harissa, then place on top of the other to form 6 aubergine and chick pea sandwiches. Serve with an extra dollop of chick pea puree in the centre. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice over.
Sounds simple enough, but I will admit whilst I enjoy eating food, I am not the best cook, so I did have a friend on hand to help, which also made it a lot easier (and safer!) to take photos as I didn’t have to juggle my camera along with ingredients, knives etc.
Here are my final six images for this task: