Profile cover photo
Profile photo
Rita Dolce

Post has attachment
Plum and Pecan Frangipane Galette

This recipe is pretty basic and it calls for a flaky buttery crust, a sweet and nutty frangipane filling and tangy colorful plums rosettes. To make things more interesting, I added a comforting touch of cardamom to the crust and spiced up the frangipane with some ginger. Moreover, instead of using almonds like it's customary with frangipane, I used pecans.
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
Baklava cheesecake
Una recita que combina 2 postres de 2 mundos, el resultado es irresistiblemente

Post has attachment
Baklava cheesecake

The baklava cheesecake is a winning fusion recipe in my book and it does justice to both recipes it is based on. It has all creaminess you would expect from any self-respecting cheesecake and all the nutty crunchiness of baklava. The sugar syrup with its fragrant orange and rose water notes helps of the dessert elements to come together happily!

Balava fillings are nut based. The most common ones are pine nuts, walnuts, almonds, cashews and pistachios. I could have used any of these for the recipe as they are all delicious, but I used pistachios because I like its subtle flavor and its lovely green color contrasts the cheesecake's pale yellow hues. If you don't like pistachios, you can use the nuts of your choice.

Post has attachment
Baklava cheesecake for fusion month

The baklava cheesecake is a winning fusion recipe in my book and it does justice to both recipes it is based on. It has all creaminess you would expect from any self-respecting cheesecake and all the nutty crunchiness of baklava. The sugar syrup with its fragrant orange and rose water notes helps of the dessert elements to come together happily!

Baklava fillings are nut based. The most common ones are pine nuts, walnuts, almonds, cashews and pistachios. I could have used any of these for the recipe as they are all delicious, but I used pistachios because I like its subtle flavor and its lovely green color contrasts the cheesecake's pale yellow hues. If you don't like pistachios, you can use the nuts of your choice.

There are few steps to make this baklava cheesecake; nothing too complicated but it needs a bit more of your time.

For the base (18cm springform pan) you need:
- 4 to 8 filo pastry sheets (depending on the size of the sheets)
- 50 g melted butter
First, brush each filo sheet with butter and lay in the greased springform.

You can simply stack the sheets on top of each other. Alternatively, you can fold each one into thirds, put the first layer in the middle, then put the other folded sheet on top to form a cross and cover the rest of the pan with more sheets.

You need to put enough pastry to cover the pan and have a strong base to hold the cheesecake filling. You can add more sheets if you like but keep it moderate. Don´t forget to brush each sheet generously with butter, then trim the excess edges but leave some hanging on the sides of the pan.

Bake in a preheated oven (180C) for about 15 min or until golden brown.

For the syrup:
- 150 g sugar
- 100 g water
- 1/2 cinnamon stick
- few drops of lemon juice
- 1 tsp orange blossom water
- 2 to 3 dried rose buds (optional)
- 1 tsp rose water
Combine sugar, water, cinnamon and rose buds, and simmer over a gentle heat. Once the sugar is melted and the mix bubbles, add the lemon juice and simmer for a couple of minutes. Turn off the heat and add the rose and orange blossom waters.

For the pistachio filling:
- 100 g chopped pistachios
- 30 g sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon (adjust to your taste)
- 15 g syrup
Mix everything together until you get a wet mixture and spread it over the baked and cooled filo pastry base and set aside.

For the cheesecake filling:
- 600 g cream cheese at room temperature
- 3 large eggs at room temperature
- 100 g sour cream or thick yogurt
- 120 g sugar
- 1 tbsp corn flour
- 1 tsp rose water
- 1 tsp orange blossom water
- dash of salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon (or to your liking)
- 15 g of syrup

In your mixer bowl, add the cheese and mix on a low speed with the paddle attachment for 2 to 3 minutes. Then add the sugar, the sour cream, cinnamon, salt, syrup, corn flour, rose and orange blossom water and mix again until well blended and no lumps are visible. Add the eggs one by one and keep mixing on a low speed and scrap the sides of the bowl from time to time.
When everything is combined, pour the batter over the filo and pistachio layer and bake in a preheated oven (150 to 160 C).

Usually it's customary to wrap the spring-form pan with aluminum foil and place it in another pan filled with warm water and then bake for the required time that is usually for a pan of this size one hour to one hour and a half (oven-dependent). This bain-marie method of cooking is needed to bake your cake at a gentler heat to avoid surface cracks.

What I do is different though. I put in the middle layer of the oven a pan and fill it with warm water then place the cheesecake pan over a cookie sheet and put both over the pan. This creates a steamy environment in my oven and allows the cheesecake to cook all the way through while retaining a smooth creamy texture and most importantly with no surface cracks whatsoever.

After one hour, turn off your oven, shake the tray, make sure the middle is still a bit wiggly and leave the oven door cracked open for another half an hour to an hour.

Let the cake cool completely before you put it in the fridge overnight.

Decorate to your liking. Slice the cheesecake, drizzle some syrup on top and enjoy!
Full blog post:


Post has attachment
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
Baklava Cheesecake, the Best of Two Worlds
It's been a while since I posted a recipe, that's why I wanted to come back with a dessert recipe that kind of justifies my absence.  The decision was prompted after Foodies + community on Google+  announced its theme of the month: food fusion.  I had a rec...
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
Orange and Vanilla Sugar Cookies

Cute and romantic sugar cookie perfumed with orange and vanilla for a mouth watering sensation. The cookies are delicious on their own, but if you fill them with jam you´ll get an amazing treat to enjoy with coffee or tea

#cookies #dessert
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
Hazelnut and Cinnamon Chocolate Coulant with a Caramel heart

This an easy dessert that is guaranteed to satisfy everyone, especially chocolate lovers.
Easy to make, chocolaty with an oozing caramel center and the beautiful flavors of cinnamon and hazelnuts

#chocolate #dessert
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
Foodies+ Food photography 101
Chapter 6: Processing, tips and tricks

Our Food Photography course comes to an end after more than 2 months of interactive, productive and creative fun! The previous five chapters tackled the basics of photography and the closing one will provide some simple information on processing that can enhance your picture along with useful tips and tricks that can support your food photography journey.

A. Processing:
After few years of trial and error and a lot of practice, I started taking pictures where little processing is needed. Truth be told, once you´re familiar with your camera settings and how to control the light source, the final picture will only need a few touches to get the result you´re seeking.
I will be concise here. I´m not in expert in photo-editing software and I cannot explain in one chapter what it takes others few months and even years to master. My use of photo-editing software, the likes of photoshop, is limited. I learned to use few editing tools after reading several guides and watching online tutorials. I will share with you some of the tools that I think are the most useful. The tools and the steps presented here are based on the software I use, which is Adobe Photoshop CS5:
• Vignette: is an effect that I often use to darken the edges of the picture. If you like moody or dark pictures, this is something you will love.
Once you open your picture with the software, you click on filter, then lens correction and after that you go to custom where you will find the “vignette”. You can control the intensity of the effect and play with the “darken midpoint” until you are happy with the result.
• Curves adjustment: you can find this tool in the panes on the right (default settings). You will find several quick tools here. Select the “curves” and keep the default setting (RGB). Place a dot on the curve (line) and drag it up to brighten the picture or down to darken it.
• Brightness and contrast: (same place, look for the sun icon) the name of this adjustment is self-explanatory. Moving the brightness slider to the right you will lighten your images and moving it to the left you will darken it. As for the contrast, move the slider to the left for brighter images and to the right for darker ones.
• Exposure: (+/- icon) it´s almost the same as the previous adjustment. While the brightness setting brightens or darkens the whole image, the exposure does the same but the difference is that it prioritizes the highlights. This adjustment has three settings, and I mainly use the exposure one, but sometimes I like to play with the offset slider too as it adds a nice touch.

B. Tips and tricks:
Let´s start with some tips:
• Practice: I´m not saying anything new here, it´s the key to improve in any field and food photography is no exception.
• Observe: check others’ pictures, analyze and study them. Figure out what you like and what you don´t.
• Inspiration: you can find it everywhere, whether in real life or online. Walks in nature always fuel my imagination. Pinterest and Instagram are my favorite online platforms for some virtual inspiration.
• Take many pictures: don´t settle with one click or 2, take 10, 20 or maybe more, and between all the clicks you will find your hero picture.
• Add a movement to your picture: dusting sugar, dripping chocolate or syrup, pouring liquid and more. This adds life and magic to your photography.
• A human touch: sometimes (and if possible) take pictures with a hand or a person, maybe cutting a cake, decorating a dish, grabbing a cookie…Again this will add more life and a cozy touch to pictures.
• Cooking backstage: if you have a blog, taking a picture of the preparation process is always interesting. You don´t have to show the whole process or all the ingredients, just a hint will be enough.
• Aftermath or during: after the backstage picture how about showing food being enjoyed by you, your family and friends. After all, preparing food to share it with loved ones is what’s really all about and it’s even better if you capture these joyful moments.
• Create your own style: this is very important, it´s perfectly normal to be inspired by the work of others but merely copying the same image will not get you far.
• Break the rules: yes, after all the rules we talked about, you´re allowed to break some of them from time to time.

C. Tricks:
• Stand in: food bloggers always complain about eating cold food. This is what happens after long sessions of photography. To avoid that, compose your image using a stand-in object such an empty dish with a towel or whatever you think is suitable. Compose your picture and put all the elements where you want them. Then place your food, take your picture and eat your dish warm.
• Photographing ice-cream: is a tricky task. That´s why it´s better to scoop your ice cream, and put it in the freezer again along with the serving bowl and have an extra one on stand-by if the first one starts to melt. The same is true for popsicles. Like with warm food, compose everything in advance and then finally place your food.
• Fresh fruits and vegetables: use the freshet ones as they add a vibrant splash of color. Drizzle some water over them for that extra fresh and inviting feeling.
• Oil and honey: are your best allies to add a beautiful shine to your roasted vegetables, poultry or meat. Moreover, honey or sugar syrup add a nice shine to cakes.
• The little bowl: sometimes when you place ingredients in a soup they sink to the bottom before you manage to take the picture. To prevent this, you can add a small bowl of soup inside the bigger one. The smaller bowl will need to be inverted with its bottom end covered by the soup. Then, you can place your garnish safely and it won’t sink to the bottom.
Smaller bowls are also useful if you don’t have sufficient volumes of food as they will help to “bulk up” that little quantity you have.

Of course, there are countless tips and tricks that every photographer has and I would love to know what are the ones you use the most.

D. Here are few pictures to illustrate some of the mentioned points:
Pic 1: Cranberry and rosemary pound cake: This picture using these camera settings, f/7.1, 1/13s, ISO 100 then edited with the following adjustments: vignette amount -75, Curves Output 135, input 120. Brightness 10. Exposure +0,30 offset 0.0088

Pic2: The same as the first picture, but without editing. You can notice that the colors here are not as vibrant as the previous one.

Pic3: Pecan, pear and cheddar pie A shot of the preparation. You can see most of the ingredients that went into the recipe.

Pic 4: Sourdough waffles with earl grey caramel sauce The picture is more dynamic with movement (sauce pouring) and human elements.

Pic 5: Hazelnut and caramel molten cake Another dynamic shot that shows the action of enjoying this warm and luscious cake while the caramel oozes from the gooey center

Pic 6: Red currants Picture of a fresh ingredient with beautiful droplets of water that add freshness and invite you to sample the food. The rule of third is somewhat broken as the object is rather centered but the result is very convincing.

Use the information provided from chapter 1 to 6 to create your ultimate image. Tell us how you chose your topic and how you implemented it.


6 Photos - View album

Post has attachment
Foodies+ Food photography 101

Chapter 5: Props

In the previous chapter, we went over some of the main tips and tricks of composition and styling where props play a crucial role.
Naturally, the choice of props and their styling is a matter of personal taste and preference. However, this chapter will offer some guidance to assist you in choosing objects and props that work better for your photos.

Let´s start with the basics and essentials:

• Background (what is placed behind your food items): the cheapest and most available ones are cardboards and fabrics (like a curtain). Pick neutral colors like white or black and remember to adjust the contrast to meet the desired effect.
• Backdrop (where your food is placed): you can really get creative with backdrops, as the options are endless. However, you need to pick carefully the perfect backdrop that best fits the story of your composition, the color of your food and the props you are using. It should be have a subtle elegance and beauty and it should help your food stand out and not steal its spotlight. Some of the backdrops you could use include marble slabs, warm wooden tables, linen table sheets, wooden boards (you can find many tutorials on making DIY wooden boards for food photography), textured metallic boards and much more.
• Neutral plates and bowls: you need some simple yet elegant dishes to serve your food. Pick simple and neutral colors that do not compete with the food you´re serving.
• Cutlery with a matt finish: it´s preferable to have few spoons, forks and knives with a dull finish to avoid any undesired light reflections.
• Linen or cotton napkins, dishcloths or other fabrics: they do add a nice touch to the style and composition of the photography. If you recall, we already talked about how you can use fabrics to add textures and layers, as they are the ideal, and quite often the cheapest option, to add more depth to your picture.

The list below represents some of the props I often use in addition to the basic ones explained previously:
• Beautiful cutting boards or wooden stands are some of my favorites. I have bought quite a few in the couple of years. You´ll appreciate the warm touch they add.
• Vintage and rustic cutlery and plates. I like their beautiful designs and the nostalgic feel they will give to any picture.
• Used and rustic looking baking sheets. They make an attractive background or backdrop.
• Rustic and vintage utensils such as cooling racks, graters, strainers, whisks, and scissors among others could be used to supplement your photo.

In addition to the widely recognized props that you often have to buy, Mother Nature provides ones that you can get, often for free, at any season:
• In autumn, you case use the wonderful trees leaves as they change color from bright green to warm yellow and fiery red. Nuts of all kinds, even wild ones, can be used to add a pronounced organic feel to your picture.
• In winter, you can use pinecones, nuts, pine tree branches, naked tree branches, spices and more. These are perfect to decorate your pictures, especially during Christmas time.
• In spring and summer, you have a bounty of flowers and fruits to choose from and to convey a fresh, light, and colorful feeling to your picture.
• Throughout the seasons, you can decorate with the ingredients you are using in your recipes and then just add some additional ones for more lively pictures.
The choice of props and any other object you use when you compose and style will always be a personal matter. Follow your instinct, use whatever you have on hand, and let your imagination do the rest.

Compose a picture featuring a recipe you like with the following elements:
• Background and backdrop
• At least 4 props
• At least one natural element (e.g.: flower, fruit, leaf, branch, cone,…).

Pic 1: Red currants and white chocolate pot de crème
Simple white ramequins displayed on a rustic tray. I used vintage spoons, chocolate, and red currants in addition to a vibrant flowering branch. The leaves, flower and the red currants add some vibrancy that goes well with the warm notes of the backdrop.

Pic 2: Panforte: an Italian Christmas dessert
The panforte is placed on a wooden board and the other props are some of the ingredients used in the recipe. The green tree branches and the white surface of the panforte (powdered sugar) provide the Christmassy feel that matches the theme of the recipe.

Pic 3: Avocado toast and fruits
Few props were needed, as the fruits were enough to style the picture. The linen fabric adds some needed texture and the vintage cutlery invite us to dig in.

Pic 4: Plum and frangipane galette
The galette is placed on a simple grey plate surrounded with mostly natural props, many of which were ingredients used in the recipe, along with some other elements such as a grater and a wooden cutting board. The backdrop is wooden as I felt it really complements the rustic feel of the galette.

Pic 5: Batbout or Moroccan bread
I went for a rather ¨naked¨ look here. The bread is stacked in a cast iron skillet and surrounded with earthy and simple colors. The burlap sack provides some texture and contrast.

Pic 6: Pear and pecan tarte
Fabrics, vintage knife along with natural props were my choice of props in this picture. The colors, the fruits and the natural props scattered throughout the picture, convey the autumnal feel of the recipe.



6 Photos - View album
Wait while more posts are being loaded