I get sometimes asked by readers on how I take pictures and how I learned to take food photography. To sum it up, I’ve only been taking food pictures since January 2011 but I haven’t had any proper training or lessons on taking food pictures. What might also surprise you is I also haven’t read the camera manuals…
To help improve my photography skill, I recently started to read a food photography book called Food Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots by Nicole S. Young, but I’m a pretty slow reader that it’s taking me a long time to finish it. My husband who reads the manuals and photography books taught me the basics on how to take pictures in manual mode, but I learned a lot last summer when my blogger friend Xiaolu from 6 Bittersweets wrote a great post about food styling and photography.
When I read Xiaolu’s post, I was still pretty inexperienced on taking pictures with my DSLR and was eager to learn and improve my photography every possible way (and still am!). Her detailed post gave me a great starting point on the food photography journey. Not only did she generously shared her tips on the post, she also personally replied to me with my questions and help guided me to become a better photographer. To this date, I cannot thank her enough for her generous gesture and advice she gave me.
So you can imagine my delight when Xiaolu invited me to guest blog on her blog. I cannot express how thrilled I was and what it meant to me. Her blog has endless pictures of both delicious baked goods and savory dishes. Oh, if you live in D.C. area, she’s offering home-baked goods for sale, too. Please click HERE to read my guest postat her blog.
This past Saturday was a special day for young girls in Japan. Every March 3rd the Japanese celebrate The Doll Festival called Hinamatsuri. For the festival many families with daughters display colorful Hina Ningyo, a set of the traditional Emperor and Empress dolls dressed in kimono, and celebrate this day to pray for the girls’ growth and happiness. Chirashi Sushi is often cooked on this day as a part of feast.
I usually serve Chirashi Sushi in a bowl (see above), but this year I made it a little more special for my soon-to-be 4 year old daughter who loves anything pretty (who doesn’t?). I made a sushi cake out of Chirashi Sushi thanks to my Japanese mommy friend who gave me this idea, and with leftover ingredients I made Temari Sushi using thin egg crepes (see my other examples of Temari Sushi here).
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- 21 oz (600g) cooked Japanese premium short grain rice (2 cups uncooked rice)
- 1 packet Chirashi Sushi Mix (I used “Sushi Taro brand”)
- Sakura Denbu (pink colored seasoned shredded codfish)
- Thin Egg Crepe & Shredded Egg Crepe Garnish
- Handful of thinly sliced cucumber, cut in half
- 10-12 pieces of salmon sashimi
- 12 boiled shrimp
- ⅓-1/2 cup ikura (salmon roe)
- A couple of blanched snow pea, cut diagonally
- When rice is cooked, take out some rice into a small bowl, and mix with Sakura Denbu to make pink colored rice.
- Place the rest of rice into a large bowl and add one packet of Chirashi Sushi Mix while the rice is still hot. Fold everything together with the rice using a rice paddle. Gently slice through the rice to separate the grains. Cover with moist towel so it will not dry out.
- Make thin egg crepe & shredded egg crepe garnish. Save 1 egg crepe for Temari Sushi (to make 2 Temari Sushi) and cut into thin julienne strips.
- For Chirashi Sushi Cake, prepare a container of your choice (round/square, small/big). First place shredded egg crepe garnish on the bottom. Make sure there is no space between. Then add ½ inch layer of pink rice, then finally put Chirashi Sushi on top. Between rice and container, place the sliced cucumber around the bowl so when you flip upside down it will nicely decorate the bottom trim.
- Flip on a plate and decorate as you wish. To make sashimi rose, you overlap half a piece of sashimi with the next one and roll them up.
- For Temari Sushi, cut the thin egg crepe into half and place it on a sheet of plastic wrap. Put about 1-2 Tbsp. of Chirashi Sushi on top of the egg crepe and wrap it tightly. Keep it wrapped until you are ready to serve.
- When you are ready to serve, unwrap the Temari Sushi and place it on a plate. Garnish with snow pea, half of sliced shrimp, and ikura on top.
Now you must be ready to hear the winners of my WAFU® Japanese Vinaigrette Giveaway. As usual, I’m too nervous to pick the winners, so I asked my son to click the mouse to pick our winners for me. So the winners are:
Set 1: Original (Light) & Ginger Carrot
Set 2: Original (Light) & Wasabi Edamame
I hope you two will enjoy the dressing and I’ll be contacting you soon. Thank you everyone for participating this giveaway!