I’d be the first to admit that “pretty” food and, by extension, taking “pretty” pictures of food are not my forte. I have neither the patience nor the ability for either and, whilst I admire those who do, I’ve made peace with my own limitations.
I can spend hours looking at perfectly crafted images on Pinterest but, after some ill-advised forays into the world of food styling in my early posts, I’ve definitely embraced a slightly more minimal approach when it comes to my own photography style (although I feel vaguely ridiculous and a total imposter to even claim to have one).
Over the last few weeks, I’ve fallen back in love with instagram. I think one of the things that appeals most to me about is is the realness and immediacy of (most of) the photographs that people post. I love those quick iphone snaps of meals and tables, with blurry hands and splatters of food that is actually being eaten (a random selection of some favourites, primarily based on who had posted most recently when I was writing this; there are far too many accounts that I love to be able to name them all).
I often end up liking the pictures I take with my iphone far more than those that I take with my fancy, big girl camera (and, rather depressingly, I often find that they’re pinned from the sidebar more often than the “proper” images in the post). They may not be as technically precise but, somehow, or maybe as a result, they seem more alive.
All of which is really just my way of saying that if I was a better food photographer, you’d probably get better pictures (like this or this or this) of what are, I think, the prettiest little things I’ve ever made. But I’m not, and I’m all about keeping it real these days, so instead you get pictures on baking trays and parchment paper and whatever plate I happened to put them on before we ate them.
You could use any fruit for these really - I love the colour that blackberries bring though and that very dark pink. These are quite nice when eaten as is but would also form the basis of an excellent pavlova with some fresh blackberries, a bit of lemon curd and some whipped cream. This makes more blackberry syrup than you need but it's so delicious, you might just want to drink it.
- 200g (1 cup) blackberries
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 egg whites
- 110g (1/2 cup) sugar
- To make the blackberry sauce, preheat the oven to 170C/325F. Place the blackberries in a small oven dish and coat with the honey and balsamic vinegar. Roast for about 30 minutes until soft to the touch. Allow to cool before pureeing in a food processor.
- To make the meringues, preheat the oven to 140C/275F and line a baking tray with non stick paper. In a clean bowl (metal for choice), beat the egg whites with an electric whisk until stiff peaks start to form. Gradually add the sugar, continuing to beat, until the meringue is smooth and glossy.
- Gently spoon the the meringue mixture into six equal rounds, trying not to squish it too much. Take a teaspoon of blackberry puree and swirl it through the meringue until you get a pretty pattern. Put them into the oven for about 30 minutes until firm to the touch. Turn the oven off and leave the meringues in the oven until the oven has cooled completely (this is the key to a chewy interior of your meringue!)
- Store in an airtight container - they'll last a couple of days but may start to go a bit floppy towards the end of that.