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Birthday Cake

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For my birthday back in January Reid gave me an amazing cookbook from one of my favorite chocolate makers ever, the Mast Brothers. So I thought it only fitting that for his birthday this year I should bake one of the cake recipes from their cookbook for his birthday cake. There are so many delicious one to choose from and I decided on the Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting– a classic. Now, my baking skills did not turn out a cake quite as pretty as the one pictured in the cookbook, but man did it taste delicious… all the more reason to try out some more recipes in the future!

Weeping Cherry Tree

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Since my husband and I have been married, we have moved around quite a bit… three cities and five different apartments but I think our most recent flat is my favorite place we have lived yet. We live on a little back street behind some beautiful homes and we get to have access to a beautifully manicured garden that is in front of these homes. This little tree always catches my eyes during spring time with its bounty of pink blooms weighing down its branches. I believe this tree is called a weeping cherry tree (but I’m not 100% about that) and on this particular day I happened to walk by the front garden while taking our dog out for a walk just as the sun was setting. I remembered that I had a few frames left on a roll of film back in the flat so I ran back quickly, grabbed the Rollei and got these frames before the light went over the horizon.

Mushroom Risotto

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Risotto is such a delicious and comforting dish and also really easy to change it up in easy ways by just adding new ingredients. One of my favorite ways to make it (a little bit due to nostalgia of our first year of marriage when I made this all of the time) is to add in a mix of dried and fresh mushrooms. I whipped this up one weekend after a visit to the farmer’s market in Marylebone and paying a visit to the mushroom stand. I tend to go a little off the cuff when it comes to cooking, so some amounts might not be exact, but just sort of go with it…

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup Arborio rice ( or a handful per person)
  • one small onion diced
  •  olive oil
  • handful of dried mushrooms (I like to use a mixture but any variety will do)
  • handful of fresh mushrooms, cleaned and hand torn (I like to use shitake or porcini)
  • one glass of white wine
  • 1 Litre chicken stock
  • 2 large handfuls of freshly grated parmigiano cheese (try to get the best quality you can as I think this makes a big difference)
  • salt & pepper

Method:

Start out by heating up some water to almost boiling, remove from heat and soak the dried mushrooms in this water and set aside. Heat chicken stock in a sauce pan to keep warm. Meanwhile, heat a couple of glugs of olive oil in a medium sized pan over medium heat and add the onion, cook until translucent (about 4 minutes). Add in fresh mushrooms and arborio rice and cook for a minute or two until the rice becomes a little glossy. Add in white wine to rice and stir until fully absorbed. By this point you can drain the soaking mushrooms but reserve the water and give the mushrooms a little chop or two. I like to alternate adding in a cup of chicken stock or a cup of the reserved mushroom soaking water to the rice, always stirring until fully absorbed. Continue to do this until the rice is at the doneness that you prefer (I like for it to be a little al dente). Remove from heat, add in the drained mushrooms and most of parmigiano and stir. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve with a sprinkle of parmigiano on top and enjoy with a glass of wine!

*shot on a Contax 645 with Kodak Portra 400*

Garden Rose

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A vase of fresh flowers is one of the easiest ways to brighten up your home. It can be the cloudiest of days (and let’s face it, we have a lot of those in London) but adding just a little bit of color can change the entire mood of a room instantly. I used to not pay attention to the differences between a rose and daisy but after photographing so many weddings and seeing all of the beautiful blooms, I quickly caught on to my favorites. Enter the garden rose- the ones above are specifically the Ecuadorian garden rose and I picked them up the other day after walking by my local flower shop and saw them through the window. These flowers look as if they are overflowing with petals and in a way they seem more feminine and delicate than a typical rose. I’ve never run across them in a shop before so I had to bring some home and find a place for them to brighten up a corner of our flat.

*shot on a Rollei SL66 with Kodak Portra 800*

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