Thursday, 17 July 2014

In Love With VSCO



I have been using VSCO for about a year now, and I almost never have the need to use another editing app. With about a gazillion different filters to buy and choose from and easy to use tools, it would almost be a sin for you to upload an average photo - whether you're shooting with a smart phone or a DSLR. 

Here are my three top tips for photography with VSCO:

CHOOSE YOUR PROPORTIONS


For the past 6 months, I have chosen to shoot landscape and crop my photo's to a proportion of 4:3. I keep all my shots to this layout and crop, so that my feed looks neat and aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Keep consistency with your photos.

PICK A FILTER


VSCO gives you a bunch of free filters, but when you venture into the store, your editing options are expanded even more. Choose a couple filters that correlate to one another and stick to  one filter "theme" with your photos to create an overall aesthetic. For example, currently I am choosing filters that have minimal fade effect with strong blue and pink tones. My favourite filters for this sort of look are "07", "F2" and "A5".

Don't fear though, it's never to late to change your "look". Stick to it for a while and then try something completely new. I get bored so easily, so I have to change mine every few months.

DON'T OVER-EDIT


Please. Default to simplicity. Don't try add purple highlights, or hectic contrast - unless you have a very specific creative brief you are trying to fulfill. But when it comes to your everyday, lifestyle shots - keep it clean, simple and realistic.


Visit the VSCO website for a more detailed insight into their brand and their product. Here are a few of my iPhonography shots, edited with "O7" filter.









Tuesday, 1 July 2014

A Taste of One Ingredient

This past Friday, I had the privilege of attending a One Ingredient event by Chef Matt Manning. Don't you just love it when the reality of something far exceeds the expectation? I had expected an enjoyable dinner with a few cooking tips, but what I received was an incredible experience of a delicious 4-course menu, a chance to cook and plate up my own food and a seemingly endless supply of wine paired with an opportunity to make new friends.




Did I mention that I felt like I was on Masterchef? Well, now I can go ahead and tick that off the bucketlist.

If I have not managed to convince you yet, let me go into all the delicious details.

So firstly, the reason it's called "One Ingredient", is because every event is themed around one specific ingredient that is used throughout all the dishes of the evening. The workshop I attended was a parsnip-themed menu, and I know you are wondering how the hell parsnip can be used in dessert (cause that's what I was wondering), but Matt manages to pull it off! The food is also paired with various wines, and at this event we had the pleasure of enjoying bubbly and wine from Groote Post Vineyards.



The evening starts off with two canapés paired with a few glasses of light pink champagne.

: smoked mackerel, spiced parsnip mayo and parsnip crisp on a cracker

: a shot of honey-roasted parsnip soup



Review : Both canapés were delicious but my favourite was the soup. It was so creamy and had me begging for more - in fact, our whole table commented that if the soup had been the main course they wouldn't have minded one bit!








Next up were the starters, and this is where things became really fun! We all made our way into the kitchen, where Matt gave a short demonstration and tutorial on how to cook the starters. We then positioned ourselves in pairs at our cooking stations where we made our own starters and plated them up Masterchef style. Here's a peek at my creation which was paired with a smooth white wine:

: Pan-seared scallop, curried parsnip puree, confit chicken wing, braised parsnip with apple and watercress garnish. 


Review: The combination of flavours and textures in this dish was heavenly - the sweetness of the apple, the creaminess of the puree, the tangy scallop, the mouth-watering chicken and the soft parsnip. Oh my word, I just want to use an endless supply of adjectives to describe how much I enjoyed this meal.



The same process was followed with our mains and by this time the wine was flowing and we were all thoroughly enjoying trying out our cooking skills. I don't think anyone left that room not secretly believing that they could be the next Gordon Ramsay.

Mains were paired with a red wine this time - my favourite kind of wine!

: 90 degree-cooked lamb loin, parsnip mash, prune puree, braised lamb neck, roasted root vegetables, parsnip crisp and lamb crackling.

Review: So much lamb, so much goodness and who doesn't like a good crackling?! This dish was a little more complex to prepare and plate, but the effort was worth it because it tasted great - the parsnip mash was my favourite aspect of the meal.





And now, the course we have all been waiting for: DESSERT. For this dish, we got to sit back, relax and indulge in good conversation ( and more wine) while Matt served us all taste explosion.

: Parsnip sponge , clementine, walnut brittle, caramel and smoked parsnip custard.


Review: The parsnip custard was the biggest and tastiest suprise in my opinion. The smoky flavour and creamy texture paired with the sweetness of the caramel, the softness of the sponge and the crunchiness of the brittle won me over. I would go so far as to say, the best dessert I have had. It was served with an amazing and rare dessert wine that really brought out the flavours of the dish. I think we all fell in love with that course.



                                                              {Image: Francois Pistorius}


In fact, I fell in love with this event. By far, one of the most innovative, educational, fun and yummy experiences I have taken part in.

If you have never heard of these innovative cooking workshops then I suggest you clear up your Friday night and book a place at the next one immediately.

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You can book for the next event here: http://matt-manning.com/bookings/

or follow One Ingredient on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OneIngredientPage

or even on Twitter: @MattManningChef