Recipe source: Blogtastic Food
After a long walk on a rainy day in London probably everyone would craving for a warming soup. I used this opportunity and prepared the recipe of Nicolas Hortense from Blogtastic Food. We already had a collaboration when he invited me to create a new dish with his pulled pork recipe... you can see the result of this challenge here.
I love his blog because it's not just about great recipes, but professional food photography as well. It's easy to follow how Nicolas develops his food styling and photography skills from time to time. After you see those mouthwatering pictures, I'm sure you will go straight to the kitchen to prepare your new favourites.
Probably you noticed that I've started to send some questions to my friends who take part in these recipe exchanges because nothing is better than knowing each other a bit better. Their answers are so unexpected and interesting for me too. You can read the mini-interview with Nicolas right now...
When did you start Blogtastic Food and what is your overall experience about blogging?
I started Blogtastic Food in July 2015. I would say my overall experience has been phenomenal, and I think that I have just enjoyed the progression. The progression as a cook, as a writer, recipe developer, food photographer, the traffic that comes to the blog, my blogging knowledge. Ever since I started blogging it has just been super satisfying to progress in all these fields.
Why did you decide to take part in a culinary course and how did this knowledge influence your cooking style?
Cooking was a hobby for a while before I started the course, but the culinary course turned the hobby into a passion. And it taught me the fundamentals of not just how to cook food but cook it well. To understand when something is undercooked or overcooked, and to understand the importance of it and just how much of a difference it makes.
What is your favourite dish from the traditional cuisine of your country?
My background is Mauritius -an island on the East of Madagascar-. And there is a dessert biscuit called Napolitaine. To be honest, it doesn't look like a big deal when you first see it, but as soon as you take a bite you end up making a mess because of how crumbly the shortbread is. It is one of those dishes where you can't understand how they have made it so good but it just is. Although I am determined to find out.
What are your cooking inspirations? A famous chef, family heritage or an old cookbook…?
Jamie Oliver is the person who actually got me experimenting in the kitchen, so he is a big deal to me. But my inspiration comes from wanting to get people in the kitchen and to just give cooking a go. I believe it is an important life skill because I think that too many of us have become reliant, and unappreciative of food.
You gave me some great tips about food photography. What advice would you give to a beginner who just started this hobby?
Natural lighting is probably the most important tip I can give. I also think it is important to have a plan, meaning have an idea of what you want your food to look like before you take your shots. Think about the composition, the garnish, the type of props you would like to use etc. It is much more effective to have a clear decisive goal, rather than just snapping shots blindly. And lastly, just focus on making each shot better than the last.
The soup itself is so easy to prepare but you can find a short video in the post of Nicolas to see the basic steps.
I always have some real stock for these types of dishes, risotto and sauces. I highly recommend to you as well to try and make some at home instead of using stock cubes.
Till you wait for the cauliflower and leek to be roasted, you can heat the stock with fresh herbs. When the veggies are ready, the taste of the herbs is normally infused very well into the stock too. Just put everything into a blender -except the herbs from the stock- together with the milk and mint, then mix it to get a smooth and creamy texture. Bring the mixture to boiling point... it's almost ready!
Before serving, freshly prepare the croutons and chop the basil -I've used fresh thyme instead- and enjoy a bowlful of hot soup, light up some candles and enjoy the cosiness of an autumn evening!