Tuesday, 6 April 2021

The Instagram Bag Review



I love food photography and have a huge obsession for collecting props such as plates, spoons, bowls, brass and pewter ware as well as terracotta homeware. For food styling, it is important to have different props to show off the foods you have prepared, this also includes making use of accessories napkins, pretty spoons, cutlery and backdrops. I make and paint all my own wooden boards for my food photography and food videos. However the wooden boards are heavy and not really portable, so I was looking for a solution of purchasing some portable backdrops that would be easy to store and stansport. Something that I could use for instagram flat lays too. My search led me to The Instagram Bag from Paper Bag Co.

What is The Instagram Bag?

The Instagram Bag is a special bag for those who have both a love of food and a passion for photography. The bag is a complete solution for a portable photography Kit.


What’s included in the bag?

The Stylish 12oz black canvas bag with internal pocket, mesh divider and zip closure. Together with tube of backdrops, reflectors, postcards it comes with, there is room plenty of room to hold extra items such as a camera, mini tripod, a notebook and pencil. The perfect on the go photography bag.


8 Postcard Set 

The handy postcards have lots of useful tips for photography.  Here is a rough synopsis of what's on the cards, which are really informative and packed with lots of handful hints and tips ofr capturing the perfect food photo.

  • Card 1 Frame and Grid- This gives you info about photo composition.
  • Card 2 Find good light- Great tips about lighting.
  • Card 3 Manipulate your light- This shows use f reflectors.
  • Card 4 Find the angle- Think about the best angle to photograph your dish.
  • Card 5 Odd numbers work- It is recommended that arrangements for food photography are set in odd numbers.
  • Card 6 The rule of thirds-Always position your subject for photography using the rule of thirds.
  • Card 7 In the background- Using a range of backgrounds to compliment the dish to enhance the photo layout.
  • Card 8 Edit your images better- Great tips about final editing of photos.


One set of Reflectors

I really liked the compactness of the reflectors which fold down into the zipped bag.



4 Photographic Backdrops 

The four backdrops included are really beautiful, in my kit there is a rust black metal, teal finish, marble and a stone finish. Each backdrop is unique and perfect for styling my food photos.
I have taken some photos using these amazing backdrops to show how beautiful they are and how they enhance the photograph.


The Green fenugreek really stood out on the rustic stone backdrop. I love how natural the back drop looked like stone, although it was paper.


The teal backdrop was perfect for styling and photographing the fresh garlic bulbs.


The fresh bunch of the radish with the green leaves looked great photographed on the marble backdrop. I loved the backdrop as it had a nice matt finish for photographing and did not cause reflections.


My most favorite backdrop is the rust tin finish. It was great to photograph the strawberries on it. They looked so amazing on the backdrop.


The photography backdrops included in the Instagram Bag are from Black Velvet, there is an enormous range of backdrops, so many to choose from their website. The Instagram Bag retails at £39.95 which includes postage and packing, You can purchase it from the paperbag co


#gifted -I was gifted the Instagram Bag, all the views and opinions expressed are my own.

Saturday, 13 February 2021

Garlicky Broccoli and Cauliflower Stir Fry

2020 has been the most challenging year for all of us with the continuous lockdowns and stay at home. It has been more and more difficult for our minds and bodies to adjust to being confined during these difficult times.To stay motivated and also making sure I get my work done I have a set daily schedule and a planner to help plan my day.

Many of us are working from home, where there are more distractions, and boredom affects us causing us to procrastinate. Our minds think of food and snacking becomes a regular habit. I too fell into this trap of reaching out for chocolate bars, crisps and biscuits. I knew this had to stop when my waistline was expanding at an alarming rate, so I was really excited to discover ZENB a new, organic, plant-based brand that produces really delicious on-the-go snacks, ZENB Veggie Sticks and ZENB Veggie Bites.




 ZENB Veggie Sticks are prepared using vegetables, as well as puffed brown rice, red quinoa and almonds to complement and enhance the simple flavour of the vegetables. They are made using as much of the whole vegetable as possible, including those parts that are often discarded such as the peel, seeds, stem and skin to raise awareness around issues of food waste. ZENB Veggie Sticks are plant-based, vegan, organic, gluten-free, a source of fibre, free from artificial flavours or preservatives. The tasty Veggie Sticks come in four delicious flavours, Pumpkin, Carrot, Beetroot and Red Pepper.



ZENB Veggie Bites are veggie-first snacks supplemented with an enticing blend of fruit, nuts and spices, to create five really tasty combinations; Carrot, Pineapple and Coriander, Pumpkin, Apple and Cacao Nib, Beetroot, Orange and Cacao Nib, Red Pepper, Tomato and Chilli and Sweet Potato and Mango and Cinnamon. They are super tasty and delicious and perfect for snacking on-the-go.



These vegan Veggie Bites come conveniently packaged in small resealable pouches and its vegan bars, Veggie Sticks are individually wrapped.This makes them convenient to slip into your bag or pocket as an on the go treat, ready for  when you get that snack craving. The snacks are also great to use as toppings, garnishes or stirred into soups and smoothies. Both these products are available exclusively from ZENB 

Working from home, I always make sure I try to stick to a 9-5 day, with time set out for regular breaks and lunch. At lunch time, weather permitting, I try to walk in the garden to get some fresh air and enjoy a picnic lunch.



Sometimes when it’s too cold or wet to go out, I rustle up a quick Garlicky Broccoli and Cauliflower stir fry and enjoy it with quinoa pilaf with a generous garnish of the ZENB Red Pepper and Ancho Chilli bites. You can check out the recipe below:



Yield:
2 Servings
Author: Nayna Kanabar
Garlicky Broccoli and Cauliflower Bites

Garlicky Broccoli and Cauliflower Stirfry

Crispy Garlicky Broccoli and Cauliflower florets stir fried with pine nuts, garlic slices in delicious Indo Chinese flavours.
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 10 MinTotal time: 20 Min

Ingredients

  • 200 g Broccoli Florets
  • 200 g Cauliflower Florets
  • 30 g Pine Nuts
  • 4 Cloves of garlic Cloves thinly sliced
  • 1 Tsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tsp Sriracha Sauce
  • 1/4 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Sunflower Oil
  • 1 Red Chilli thinly sliced
  • 1 Packet Red Pepper, Tomato and Ancho Chilli ZENB Bites

Instructions

  1. In a wok add the oil, once it's hot, add the garlic slices  and saute until they to turn golden brown.
  2. Add the broccoli and cauliflower bites and toss then in the wok for 3-4 minutes to crisp them up.
  3. Add the pine nuts, and toss them in the wok with the broccoli and cauliflower
  4. Add the soy sauce, sriracha sauce, salt and red chilli and toss to coat the broccoli and cauliflower florets.
  5. Transfer the stirfry to serving bowls and garnish with crumbled Tomato and Ancho Chilli ZENB Bites

Notes:

You can make this recipe by adding carrots, green beans or mushrooms.

Calories

555.20

Fat (grams)

36.39

Sat. Fat (grams)

7.31

Carbs (grams)

37.88

Fiber (grams)

10.01

Net carbs

27.87

Sugar (grams)

11.44

Protein (grams)

26.54

Sodium (milligrams)

1592.00

Cholesterol (grams)

51.98

The nutritional information provided is an approximation calculated by an online calculator. Please consult a professional dietitian for nutritional advice.

Did you make this recipe?
Tag @simplyf00d on instagram and hashtag it #cookwithsimplyf00d
 




Are you interested in trying these? ZENB Veggie Bites and Veggie Sticks can be ordered exclusively from ZENB and they are happy for all my readers and followers to receive a 10% discount by using the code: SIMPLYFOOD10

**collaborative post

 

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Monday, 1 February 2021

10 Top Tips on Writing a Cookbook to Make it Sell

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

So, you’re thinking about writing a cookbook? Then read on to learn more about how to write one that’s really going to sell:

Writing a best-selling cookbook – sounds like the dream, right? If you’re a whizz in the kitchen, then you’ll probably have thought about sharing your recipes with the world at some point.

 Writing a cookbook might seem like the first logical step on your way to becoming the next Gordon Ramsey or Nigella Lawson, but don’t go getting too ahead of yourself. There are countless cookbooks taking up space in bookstores up and down the country. So, if you’re going to write one, you’ll need to make it stand out from the crowd.

There are a number of different factors to consider if you want your cookbook to be a success. From general advice concerning the title, right down to the nitty gritty details like getting intellectual property rights advice, there’s a lot to consider. So, let’s take a look at the ten tips you need to know if you want your cookbook to sell.


10 Tips to Make Your Cookbook Sell

  

   1.   Define Your Audience

First thing’s first – who do you want your cookbook to be for? Are you writing it for busy working professions with very little spare time on their hands, or retirees with too much spare time on their hands? What about students looking to cook on a budget?

Defining your audience will be absolutely critical if you’re to make your cookbook a success. That way, you can write everything with a consistent tone, and base the recipes you include around the lives of those you’re writing for.

2.   Do Some Research

There’s no shortage of cookbooks out there, so why not get a flavour for the competition by doing a spot of research? By reading some other cookbooks, you’ll get a better idea as to the sort of approach you want to take for your own.

It should go without saying, but this doesn’t mean you should go copying other people’s work. Alongside the ethical element of it all, they’ll probably have some sort of intellectual property rights anyway. That said, there’s nothing wrong with taking a bit of inspiration!

3.   Carefully Consider the Title

Once you’ve got your target audience locked down, the next thing you’ll need to spend some time thinking about is what your cookbook is going to be called. The title is going to be the first thing that people read and, if it isn’t interesting, they’ll already be eyeing up something else.

There are a number of ways you can help to make your cookbook’s title stand out. That could include the use of play on words, using a quote or even a pun.

 


4   Find Your Niche 

You’ll need to think carefully about what your unique selling point is going to be. Granted, finding a niche isn’t always easy. The sheer number of cookbooks that have been published means that there’ll likely be a small element of crossover.

That said, there is always a way of putting a twist on well-established recipes to differentiate your cookbook and help you develop your own style. Some ideas for niches could include:

  • Dietary requirements recipes, like vegetarian food
  • Meals on a budget
  • 100 recipes made using [insert ingredient name here) 

5.   Have a Tone and Stick to It

Striking the right tone can make all the difference. You might want to maintain a casual, conversational style of writing, you may want your readers to find themselves laughing at every opportunity, or you could want to keep everything simple and straightforward.

There’s no right or wrong approach when it comes to tone. What is important is making sure that tone remains consistent throughout.

6.   Don’t Rush the Process

 You shouldn’t feel the need to rush through the process of writing a cookbook. If you do, chances are the quality of the finished product is going to take a hit, leaving you with disappointing sales.

 Take your time to carefully plan everything out from start to finish and make sure you’re happy with each part of the book before moving on to the next.

7.   Have an Easy-to-Follow Format

 If your readers are finding themselves getting lost in a maze of different recipes, then something has probably gone wrong somewhere down the line. Keeping your format simple and easy to follow is essential if you’re cookbook is to be success.

 Think about how you might group together different recipes and how one might lead on to another, instead of bouncing from one extreme to the other. The last thing you want is for your readers to put your cookbook down out of frustration.

8.   Look into Intellectual Property Rights

 If you’re really serious about creating a lasting brand image with the hopes of a flourishing cooking career, you may wish to research your intellectual property rights. When any new writer comes onto the scene, there’s always a chance that people will try to milk them for all their worth. So, be sure to read up on your rights so you can protect them after publication.

9.   Double and Triple Check Your Writing

Spelling mistakes are a no-go in any publication, so you’ll want to do your best to avoid them from plaguing your work.

That means proofreading everything you’ve written over and over. And, once you’ve finished proofing, you’ll need to work with your editor (if you’re using one) to fine-tune everything that’s already been put to paper. 

10.   Do Some Keyword Research

 This is for those who are considering digital publishing for their cookbook. Keyword research means that you look up the sorts of words and phrases people commonly search for when it comes to cookbooks, so that you can use them to promote your own.

 Use Google and Amazon’s search bar as a starting point. Type in a word and see what phrases come up as suggestions and think about how you might incorporate them into your book. Easy as that!


If like me you love cooking, entertaining teaching cookery then why not research and look into writing your own cookbook. I hope you found this article helpful. If there are any tips you have, please do share them in the comments below. I would love to read them all.

**collaborative post

Thursday, 28 January 2021

The Differences Between Cast Iron and Enamelled Cookware`



You may or may not know that cast iron cookware comes in two different kinds. First, you can find enamelled cast iron - which means that the cast iron has been coated with a melted layer of glass to protect it. Then there's the 'bare' cast iron, which you may have come across when looking at camping supplies.

If you are considering whether to buy one or the other, we'll look at the differences between the two. It all comes down to what you want to use your cookware for and how long you want it to last.

Let's get into it so that you know which one to choose for you and your cooking needs.



Price difference

In terms of the cost to buy, cast iron tends to be cheaper. This is because you aren't getting the added protective coating of melted glass.

If you are on a budget, then bare cast iron may be what's best for you.

How they react to the foods you make

If you make a lot of dishes with acidic foods such as spices or tomato-based sauces, you will want to use enameled cast iron. Any acidic foods will eat into the seasoning of your cast iron pan repeatedly and cause it to rust.

The enamel coating of heavy-duty cast iron cookware like this enamelled Dutch Oven will form a barrier that acidic foods cannot pass. Your pot will, therefore, not rust.

Added iron

Word has it that using bare cast iron will add a bit of iron to your food, whereas the enamelled cookware will keep the iron out. Having said that, seasoned cast iron won't add that much iron - but for some people, the small bit of extra iron is important, although the jury is out as to if you really get enough iron to make a difference to your health.

Durability

If seasoned properly and looked after (that is, keeping up the seasoning), bare cast iron can last for a very long time. There are cast iron pieces that have been around for literally hundreds of years.

Some people say that enamelled cast iron won't keep as long, but the fact is that you get what you pay for. The top brands of enamelled cookware last for quite a long time, whereas the cheaper brands might chip over time.

Non-stick or not

Bare cast iron pans, if seasoned properly, can be non-stick. Seasoning cast iron can take time and effort, and you need to do it the right way, but there are plenty of YouTube tutorials showing you how. Once your pan is seasoned, tricky foods like eggs or cheese toasties won't stick.

If non-stick is important to you, you may prefer bare cast iron. Enamel-coated cast iron pans require a coating of oil or butter to avoid food sticking to the bottom.

Versatility

The advantage here of bare cast iron is that you can use it for camping - directly over a fire - as well as on the stovetop or in the oven. The disadvantage is that you can only use cast iron for cooking food.

Enamelled pieces are best for stovetop or oven use. They are not meant for use over a campfire. The advantage is that enamelled pieces can be used to cook your food as well as marinate and store it in the refrigerator. So if you have any leftovers, you can simply pop the pan or Dutch oven in the fridge (take it out a bit beforehand when you want to reheat your food).





Attractiveness

The advantage of enamelled cast iron pieces is that they come in many beautiful colours, and they are so decorative that you can go from kitchen to table for serving your guests in style. Blue, orange, purple, green, yellow, white - you'll find pretty much any colour.

  • Enamelled cast iron pieces also add gorgeous accents of colour to your kitchen decoration scheme.
  • Bare cast iron pieces all look more or less the same.

Ease of cleaning

It is easier to clean enamelled cast iron cookware. You can leave a bit of water in the bottom of your enamelled cookware without worrying about rust. Once you wash it with soapy water, dry it thoroughly and put it away.

Bare cast iron pieces have to be cleaned immediately - scrape them with a cast iron brush rather than soapy water. Once you've cleaned your cast iron, it needs to be re seasoned by brushing it with oil, heating it on the stove, and then wiping it dry.

Cast iron pots and pans are a good investment in the kitchen as they are long lasting and great for all types of cooking.

**Collaborative Post

Wednesday, 27 January 2021

5 Tips for Going Vegan



January is Veganuary; many people have been following a vegetarian/vegan diet through the month. However we are almost at the end of the month so why revert back to being a non-vegetarian. So why not decide to go vegan? Well, it has never been easier than right now - there are more and more vegans worldwide every day. Therefore the demand for and supply of vegan products is also increasing. In 2017, the demand for meat-free food went up by an astounding 987%! So you're in good company.

How, though, does one go vegan? How can you make the transition as smooth as possible?

Let's look at the essential things to know for going vegan so that you can eat the way you want without spending too much time, money, or mental energy in the process.



1. Look at veganism as an adventure

Some people see going vegan as limiting themselves, as restricting what they can have. If you can see veganism as an adventure of exploration, you'll be more likely to enjoy the ride and stick with it.

One of my favourite things to do is walk through the produce aisle of the supermarket and challenge myself to try a new fruit or vegetable each week. This may take some planning initially, so allow yourself a bit of extra time to get accustomed to new recipes.

You'll be rewarded with astoundingly creative vegan recipes that you can easily find on the internet, such as Beetroot Paneer Curry, Easy Vegan Nachos, and more. 

2. Educate yourself

Going vegan doesn't mean you can skip protein, of course, and other essential vitamins and minerals. Look up key ingredients such as vitamin B12-enriched nutritional yeast and other foods that can provide you with protein.

If you are concerned about getting the right nutrients on a vegan diet, consult with your doctor. Many vegan products are vitamin-fortified, and so you don't necessarily need supplements.

Iron and calcium are plentiful in plant-based foods, and many dairy-free milks and tofu are calcium-enriched.

Tofu plays a key role here, as tofu is a healthy, low-fat protein option that is highly versatile as a meat substitute. There are many ways to prepare tofu to achieve delicious flavors and textures that won't have you missing meat. 



This is particularly true if you get yourself a tofu press like the ones at Tofubud that will quickly remove excess moisture so that your tofu soaks up the delicious flavors of marinades and juices instead. Why not try this delicious pea noodles and tofu stir fry.

A fundamental rule is to include a source of fats, protein, and carbs at each meal. Along with veggies, of course!

3. Go easy on yourself at the beginning

There are lots to learn when you go vegan, so while you are learning new recipes, there's nothing wrong with relying on the many packaged foods available. Vegan 'burgers', loaves, bacon substitutes, and other foods shouldn't be the staple of your diet, but they are great transition foods to quickly please your taste buds while you learn how to prepare vegan versions of your favorite foods. Vegan food does not mean more expense, check out 100+ Cheap food to buy to get an idea of how you can budget.

4. Create a repertoire of favorite dishes first

Start with a few simple dishes, and then build on that. Why not check out this vegan  Creamy vegan tomato soup .or this roasted aubergine curry and vegetable biriyani



For example, if you love cheesy sauces, find a recipe for a vegan alternative that you enjoy.

Think about breakfast, too. If you used to eat eggs, check out vegan breakfast alternatives such as savory breakfast skillets, oatmeal, avocado toast, or other options such as these mini vegan oat and apple muffins or this Vegan chocolate smoothie



You may want to start a Pinterest account with meal boards where you store vegan recipes that you come across to have them all in one place.

5. Learn how to adapt dishes to make them vegan-friendly

There are many tricks to adapting traditional dishes and ingredients to vegan versions that are also tasty and satisfying.

The more vegan recipes you become familiar with, the more you'll understand how to replace not just meat but cheese, butter, cream, and eggs.

Many people stop at substituting tofu cubes or tempeh for meat - but there are more creative ways to replace meat. Dehydrated and marinated mushrooms make an excellent  substitute too.. Shredded jackfruit is perfect for a pulled pork substitute and is now found in supermarkets, restaurants, and take-outs. Cashew cream may not taste exactly like dairy cream, but it comes pretty close!

Even baking bread or cakes is easy to do without eggs. For each egg required, substitute 1 tablespoon of chia seeds soaked in 3 or 4 tablespoons of water. Your baked goods will come out deliciously moist and even better tasting than with eggs!

These delicious lemon pistachio and mini bundt cakes are vegan and simply delectable.

Butter on toast is easily replaced with, sunflower spread, smashed avocado guacamole or coconut oil. Try them and see which you prefer.



If you find the transition to being vegan difficult and daunting, try changing to a vegetarian diet first then slow cut out dairy and other products gradually till your body starts to adjust. simplyfood is a vegetarian /Vegan blog do check over 900 recipes that will help you to create delicious and tasty recipes easily.

**Collaborative post

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