So. We have just wrapped up the third Local is Lovely food photography and styling Pracshop™ and – please forgive the hyperbole to come – it was just as wonderful, inspiring and fun to host as the previous two (see here and here).
Our 15 students all brought so much to the table, in some cases literally (thank you Belinda for the lemons and lime and thank you Dougal for the spuds and horseradish) and together we spent two days sharing ideas, learning new things, cooking, eating and talking together. And it was, as our inimitable photography teacher Luisa Brimble would say, ‘freakin’ amazing’.
Also on the team was super stylist Stephanie Stamatis (aka Stephanie Somebody), assisted so ably by the lovely Ella Bendrups (both above). My Mum and co-host Annie Herron was just amazing in her role as a teacher (she spoke to us about really seeing every shot and the art of composition) and my friend, amazing cook and photographer Pip Farqhuarson (below) who worked so hard to help me produce three meals a day plus food to shoot for all 20 of us. Thank you Mum and Pip, I truly couldn’t have done any of this without you. Thanks also must go do my Dad, Henry Herron for maintaining such a beautiful olive grove for us to have lunch in and producing the delicious Kimbri olive oil for us to enjoy (which can be purchased right here if you so fancy).
I have a bit of a line-up of posts from this workshop to share, but thought it might be nice to kick off with a few photos and a recipe from lunch on the first day, when we decamped to the olive grove to put on a simple lunch of minestrone with bruschetta from the fire, rubbed with Dougal’s elephant garlic and drizzled with Kimbri olive oil. For dessert, there was a walnut and honey tart that featured nuts from Sally Smith’s Walnut Grove and Sally came along too to chat a little about their farm and this season’s harvest (which was, happily, abundant).
‘Magic pudding’ Minestrone
So-called because you really can just throw anything (within reason) into your soup pot, cook it long enough and with enough love and it will love you right back. Just start with a good base and your pot will take you where it needs to go…This is what we served everyone for lunch on day one of the last Local is Lovely food photography and styling Pracshop and it was perfect fuel for a cool day. A hale and hearty bowl of goodness that is patient, will wait for you and accommodate more if necessary too. This recipe serves 8-10
For the base;
2 brown onions, peeled and diced
2 carrots, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
4 bay leaves
2 tbsp thyme leaves 2 tbsp rosemary leaves 100g thick-cut bacon, cut into lardoons
6 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 x 800g tins chopped tomatoes
3 x cups chicken stock
2 x parmesan rinds (these are important, they give such great flavour!)
2 bunches kale, torn from the stems and shredded a little
2 cups cannellini beans, soaked overnight and cooked until tenderParmesan and olive oil, to serve
1 handful green beans, chopped into thirds
So to make your minestrone base, start by cooking off the onions, carrots and celery in plenty of good olive oil in a large saucepan on medium heat. Cook for five minutes or until soft and translucent then add the herbs, bacon and garlic. Cook for another five minutes, stirring often, then pour in the tomatoes, stock and parmesan rinds. Stir well, season to taste and bring to the boil.
Now you have your base you can mix things up a bit. For this lunch, just five minutes before serving, I added a couple of cups of pre-soaked and cooked cannellini beans to the hot soup, the green beans and two bunches of kale (shredded) then finished things off with some freshly grated parmesan and a drizzle of Kimbri olive oil. But you could instead add cavolo nero or spinach and perhaps a couple of handfuls of cooked small pasta shapes. A bit of chilli doesn’t go astray here either. In any case, as I said, just keep adding to it as numbers and need dictate. The base will happily take an extra can of tomatoes, a little more stock and/or more greens as and when you like.
For the bruschetta, we sliced sourdough fairly thinly and toasted it over the fire before rubbing (while still hot) with garlic and drizzling with olive oil.
Bookings are now open for our next two workshops (August 15/16 and September 9/10) and more info can be found here. x