Yay! it’s finally here… Ten days too late but an awesome challenge for the 10th installment of Donna Hay Styling and Photography Challenge. Wow… can’t believe it is number 10 already! I had so much fun in the process and I hope you guys learned a thing or two in the proces. I know I did! This challenge came about a bit late as I was very busy and swamped with work, in between painting the new studio and doing the floor too. And thank heavens that is finished now, although it is still a mess and still empty but the boring bits are done. It’s moving on to the fun parts now! This beautiful photo (above) is from Donna Hay magazine number 62 from april/may of 2012 and the photograph is from Chris Court, Styling by Steve Pearce. DEADLINE AUGUST 31st!
Above you see my version of this delicious recipe of mushroom dumplings with a very tasty broth. My biggest issue was with finding the correct background. I think it is in the original with old aluminium or some sort of steel. Running out of time I bought a new piece of aluminium and hoped I could get it distressed. Well, that only happens when you don’t want it to! I had hoped I could get it to be damaged but man, this was one hardy bit of metal. Maybe putting it outside for a couple of weeks will give it the desired look but for now it is way too new as you can see and that in a large part determines the atmosphere of the shot. It was also the first time I was shooting in my new studio and trust me when I see that it takes a while to get used to a new lighting situation so that was a bit challenging as well.
In the ‘making of’ shots you can see the mess still in the studio! Haha… Taken quickly with my Iphone but I think it shows the setup more or less. The light is coming from behind right and the light in my new studio with missing curtains is a bit too light for this shot. it had to be a bit more moody but I thought I’ll go with this for now. I didn’t want to have you wait any longer!
I think I will leave my background outside for a while now that I have done the challenge. The recipe itself is easy, but replicating the mood and the right setting is tricky I think. It also didn’t exactly fit my own style which in a way is the whole purpose of the challenge right? To work outside of your own comfort zone and to learn something new! I learned that I do love an iron background…Just gotta get it to look right (read;old)
The filling is quite delicious and mmm, you will love it! The recipe uses galangal or laos. If you cannot find that ginger would be ok to use as a substitute. I will mention the possible substitutes for some of the asian ingredients as well in the recipe. But if you cannot find something feel free to use another ingredient you think might work.
Because I was so late with posting and because I will be away too from next week till the end of the month I think it is only fair to have this challenge run until the end of August. So you have 1,5 months to complete the challenge. That would almost be enough time to distress a piece of metal…!
For completeness, here are the rules for the Challenge. Above all I hope you have fun with this new recipe and I look forward to seeing all the awesome entries!
- 4 cups chicken stock (1 liter)
- 2 cups water (500 ml)
- 10 cm ginger (peeled and sliced)
- 3 cloves garlic (lightly crushed)
- 50g dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon chinese rice wine (Shaoxing)
- 1 tablespoon caster sugar
- 100g fresh shiitake mushrooms
- micro herbs (thinly sliced red chilli and chilli oil to serve)
- Mushroom and galangal dumplings
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil
- 400g mixed asian mushrooms
- 2 cm galangal (peeled and finely grated)
- 1 red chili (chopped)
- 3 cloves garlic (crushed)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon chinese black vinegar (Chinkiang)
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- ¼ cup coriander (chopped, cilantro)
- 24 wonton wrappers
- To make the mushroom and galangal dumplings, heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan over high heat. Add the mushroom, galangal, chili and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the soy, vinegar and oyster sauce and cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir through the coriander. Set aside to cool completely.
- Place the wonton wrappers on a clean bench top dusted with rice flour and brush the edges of the wrappers with water. Place 2 teaspoons of the mushroom mixture into the center of each wonton wrapper and bring each corner together to form a pyramid shape. Cover and set aside.
- Place the stock, water, ginger, garlic, dried shiitake mushrooms, rice wine and sugar in a saucepan over high heat and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. Strain the broth and return to the saucepan. Increase the heat to medium, add the dumplings and fresh shiitake mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes or until wontons are transparant. Top with microherbs and chili and serve with chili oil. Serves 4-6
- Some of the ingredients in this recipe might be a little harder to find if you do not have an Asian store nearby. Some of the substitutes you could use are:
- Galangal – you can use ginger here
- Shaoxing rice wine – sherry is a reasonable substitute
- Chinese black vinegar – a mild balsamic might be a good substitute here although it is not entirely the same. If you do not have balsamic, try a regular good vinegar
- Dried Shiitake mushrooms – these might be hard to find too although the dried mushrooms are quite essential for the taste of the broth. Try another type of dried mushroom you can find
- Once a month (on the 3rd of the month) I will give you a recipe plus the accompanying photo out of the Donna Hay magazine. I will try to make it seasonal but can’t promise anything.
- You have that same month to produce your post. You can post it any day you like just as long as you finish it before the end of that month at the latest.
- You have to produce that recipe, alterations to the recipe are allowed to make sure any dietary restrictions are met. But only minor changes!
- You have to cook and STYLE the recipe trying to replicate the photo as best as you can. If you think you can do a better job then the original photo, by all means feel free to make your own changes to the styling.
- Shoot the dish and then write a blog post about it. It would be great to add notes on how you took the photo and how you styled the dish, so that other people can learn too.
- Link back to this months blog post about the challenge and link back to the Donna Hay Challenge page here
- Leave a message on the post that is up here for that month, saying that you completed the challenge and link to the post on your site so others can find it too.
- If you want to use the original photo in your blog post as well as the recipe be sure to link back to the Donna Hay website plus the photographers website. They will both always be mentioned in the monthly challenge posts.
Each month a winner will be picked who will be featured in the Hall of Fame page. If you like you can add a badge to your site saying that you are taking part in this competition. The badge is featured below and should link back to this page.
Above all this challenge is about having fun styling and photographing a dish by taking Donna Hay as our great example. You can join all months or whenever you feel like joining in. Using an example of the great photographers that Donna works with, I always find that it is a good learning experience to see how did they light the scene, where does the light come from and how did they manage to make it look so beautiful. Try and analyze all of that and then come up with your own version.