Well! It’s been a little while since I did an actual recipe type food post, hasn’t it? I thought it was about time to remedy that
Rhubarb season is here! Yay!
Rhubarb has always been one of my favourite baking fruits but, as I’ve gotten older, I like it even more. While I still definitely have a sweet tooth, I can’t gulp sugar down endlessly like I could as a kid. A little tart zing is refreshing and welcome.
Rhubarb is usually the first item to be harvested out of my garden every year. I don’t think I’ve ever actually purchased the stuff. If you live on the west coast of Canada, this is something you should have in your back garden. It’s effortless to grow, reappears every year like clock work, doesn’t need weeding or watering or even a whisper of encouragement. And, if you’re not careful, it can spread like a weed.
It’s also easy to freeze if you grow more of it than you can use up while it’s in season. Chop it up (remember, the leaves are toxic so get rid of them first!), pop it in a freezer bag and it’s ready to add to muffins, crumbles, sauces, pies, whatever you can think of.
This isn’t an original crumble idea but it is easily my favourite and so easy to make. And I’m so pleased because the strawberries were u-picked last year from a local farm, the blueberries were from a huge flat I purchased from another local farm last summer and the rhubarb is mine!
Oh and as an aside, do you want to hear about the glamorous world of food photography in a little home kitchen? Of course you do!!
The photo at the top almost didn’t happen. After a weekend of watching Penny De Los Santos on Creative Live with her team of stylists to help her out, (the woman is brilliant, by the way) this is how I did it in my kitchen:
Imagine me, perched on a dining room chair, the tray with the crumble on it sitting dangerously on the edge of the table, close to the window, my foot on the dining room table, balancing my reflector against my knee while looking down on the whole scene with my camera to my eye… the reflector slipped, slid down, hit the tray with the crumble on it, pushing it off the table and I have no idea how I managed to move this fast but I leapt down, grabbed the tray and crumble just before it crashed to the floor.
Everyone and everything remained intact!
- 3 cups of chopped rhubarb (minus the toxic leaves)
- 1 cup fresh or frozen sliced strawberries
- 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
- ¾ cup packed brown sugar
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- ½ cup quick cooking or regular oats
- ⅓ cup stick butter
- ¾ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¾ tsp ground nutmeg
- preheat oven to 375F
- grease the sides and bottom of a 8x8x2 pan
- spread rhubarb and berries evenly in the pan
- mix the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl until they resemble coarse crumbs (I find using my fingers works best)
- bake for 30 minutes or until topping is golden and fruit is bubbling
Food Photography Tips
All these images were taken with my new Canon 5D MKll and 100mm macro lens. The only post processing I did was in LR and consisted of small changes to contrast, sharpening and a tiny bit of split toning on the image of the cut up fruit.
Image 1: f5.6, 100mm, 1/125, ISO 4000, exposure compensation +1/3
The new 100mm lens is taking a lot of getting used to and I’m still not happy with any of the photos I’ve taken with it. No fault of the lens, just the person operating it. I’m finding it hard to get my DOF and focus right. I still feel that I was too shallow here. I had two photographs of this scene – the other was a much tighter shot, which composition wise, I preferred much more. However, my Depth of Field was way too shallow and the crumble itself was out of focus. More practice is in order!
Image 2: f4.5, 100mm, 1/50, ISO 400, exposure compensation -2/3
Again, the macro lens. I don’t seem to be able to nail the focus. And it lets in so much light it’s crazy. That’s probably also a result of having a full frame sensor now as opposed to a small frame. So I stepped this down a couple of notches (lowered the exposure).
Image 3: f4.5, 100mm, 1/320, ISO400, exposure compensation -2/3
Getting better. Still think the focus could have been sharper but I’m happy with the DOF and the composition. This is a slightly different setup for me and it’s so nice to be able to use the great outdoors as a studio again!
Image 4: f4.5, 100mm, 1/60, ISO1000, exposure compensation +1/3
Still with the focus! But otherwise, I’m relatively happy with the composition and the colours. This new camera really seems to saturate the colour, which I personally love.