Food Photography at The Cook’s Digest

A food blog can live or die on the quality of the photographs. A blogger could invent the most creative, heavenly meal on the planet, but an out of focus, badly lit shot won’t entice readers in. So I’ve used some simple tricks, low-cost lighting and free software to improve picture quality.

Below are my top five tips on on how we get our pictures looking as good as the food tastes.

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New And Improved Pizza Dough Recipe

I’m a sucker for great pizza! So many different combinations of toppings and sauces, whether it’s steak and mushroom with BBQ sauce or a vegetarian pizza with passata. Endless possibilities. Yet my tried and tested pizza dough recipe has remained the same … could that be improved?

Yep, it could. And it has been. I tried one of Ken Forkish’s pizza dough recipes, this has upped the quality for our homemade pizzas. It’s easy to manipulate, not too thin and perfect elasticity. The pizza has more texture and flavour, is slightly chewy with just the right level of crispness. And it’s just as simple to make as ever …

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Ultra Crispy Chicken Legs

I’ve been working in Switzerland for most of this week, and whilst it’s been a lot of fun and hard work combined, very little time to do anything constructive with a new recipe. So instead, a simple lunch of ultra crispy chicken legs.

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Smoke Your Own Cheese

A local supermarket used to sell one of my favourite cheeses, oak-smoked Wensleydale. It was utterly delicious, and a regular purchase. Then one day it disappeared from the cheese counter, and a response from their HQ confirmed it was no longer stocked. Sad face.

But they continued to sell normal Wensleydale. And I do have a smoking device …

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Inverted Dutch Oven Bread

A while ago I published an article for home-baked crusty artisan bread. The loaves produced since have been consistently great, yet I aspired to have better fissures, as well as rise. However scoring the dough was proving quite tricky.

I recently found the ideal solution … I just needed to turn things, literally, upside down …

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Crusty Artisan Bread

I’ve been successfully baking bread for some time using a minimal knead method. However I recently switched to an even better way of bread making that produces a tastier loaf with a looser crumb and wonderful crust … and also looks fantastic. The trick? A casserole dish.

Up your home bread making with this simple recipe for delicious, crusty artisan bread.

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Over The Top Smoked Chili

Every once in a while, an inspirational idea comes along that both simple and ingenious. Thus was the case with Over the Top Smoked Chili, conceived by Dawn and Johnny Barnes back in 2016. Once tasted, you’ll probably never go back to normal chili again. We haven’t.

Find out how to make a truly game changing dish with this simple technique.
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Cooking Food To Temperature

During the first year of this blog, I picked up many valuable culinary tips, tricks and techniques from a plethora sources, both digital and real world. This led to significant improvements in our approach to home cooking.

The change that had the biggest positive impact was to cook food to temperature (rather than elapsed, fixed time). This has drastically transformed the quality of our entire home dining experience, as well as being a new avenue of “food adventure” to immerse myself in.
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Maxing Out a Minimax Big Green Egg

“Roast chicken in the Egg is great, but I miss having gravy” said my wife. This was indeed the case … spatchcock chicken cooked in our smaller Big Green Egg makes for a great dinner, however fresh gravy wasn’t feasible. Anther challenge was cooking something big on the lower level.

After pondering this, I came up with a simple solution, a Minimax Rig 2.0. I just needed to cannibalise three of my wife’s meat skewers.
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Umami Smash Burgers

Burgers cooking on the BBQ are ubiquitous with warm, sunny summer days. Yet they can quickly become repetitive and ordinary. How to make them … well, less ordinary?

Through chance experiment we discovered that chestnut mushrooms, Dizzy Pig Red Eye Express rub and a little butter combine to exhibit an umami-like taste. Very left field and unexpected. So we used those ingredients in crafting some truly outstanding smash burgers.

Make these distinctive, delicious and very different burgers yourself with this simple recipe.

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Spring Cleaning The Big Green Egg

As with a conventional oven, over time a Big Green Egg gets gunked up with fat, grease and other undesirable detritus. When the ceramics glisten with black, fatty deposits and there’s an aroma of fat as the Egg warms up, it’s time for a clean.

Not with Mr. Muscle though. I restored the Egg by performing a controlled clean burn. The result was an Egg nearly back to the state it was when purchased.
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Experiences With Sous Vide Cooking

I enjoy experimenting with kitchen gadgets. For Christmas, I was gifted a “Sous Vide Supreme” to add to the culinary arsenal. After a few sous vide meals, it’s clear this was a perfect present. Meat is moist and evenly cooked throughout. Vegetables taste fresh and vibrant. Every time.

Find out about sous vide cooking and what I’ve been doing with it in this blog post.

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