I had something completely different planned for this week but had disastrous results with the recipe - twice! Luckily I had a backup - this odd looking vegetable called Celeriac. Apparently it is also known as Turnip- Rooted Celery, Celery Root or Knob Celery - who knew?
It is, in fact, a variety of celery from the family of carrots and is cultivated for its edible stem or hypoctyl and shoots. The leaves and stem grow above ground and are similar in appearance to celery so, whilst it is treated as a root vegetable, technically it isn’t. Underneath the knobbly surface, the flesh is smooth and white, similar to the potato, with a subtle celery flavour which is slightly nutty.
Celeriac originated in the Mediterranean and is popular in Northern and Eastern Europe where is it treated as a winter root vegetable. It is available all the year round but at its best from September to April.
High in antioxidants and nutrients associated with health benefits, celeriac is a bit of a powerhouse. It is packed with fibre and the Vitamins B6, C and K. We already know that Vitamin C is beneficial to our heart health and Vitamin K is important for bone health and blood clotting but Vitamin B6 is essential for brain development in children and brain function in people of all ages. Celeriac is also a source of the minerals phosphorus, potassium and manganese and it is low in calories and fat.
There are many recipes which include celeriac as an ingredient. I have used it in mash as a replacement for potato - this goes really well with a rich beef or venison casserole. The French have a classic recipe Celeriac Remoulade - similar to coleslaw. It can be eaten raw in a salad, or cooked in soups and stews. It an also be baked or roasted and, as already mentioned, boiled and mashed.
Today I have chosen a soup from Olive Magazine:
Celeriac Soup with Chorizo & Rosemary
This is very easy to prepare - it takes around 30 minutes from start to finish. The soup is smooth and creamy and the crispy chorizo adds texture and warmth from the paprika. Rosemary is the perfect herb to complement all of the flavours.
So how do I go about making this weird vegetable look sexy? Those that I picked up from a local farm shop looked like aliens from Dr Who!
I decided on a rustic approach using wood and hessian as props - they complement the earthiness of the dish.
It is important as a Professional Food Photographer to demonstrate shooting from different angles. My favourite angle is from overhead but it is also a good idea to shoot sideways on from a 45 degree angle and this can work well for something like a soup, provided there is some interest such as a garnish. I have included both here today.
As usual I have worked in natural light but this can cause problems with highlights in shiny surfaces such as cutlery - I battled with this today, particularly with the overhead shot. Diffusing the light helps but sometimes it is difficult to soften the light evenly and I just have to persevere until I get what I want. In a studio environment the light can be controlled to a much more precise degree.
This brings me to the end of this post. I have a busy week ahead and some interesting prospects on the horizon.
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Until next week.