Hello and Welcome to the second and final episode of my blog Anniversary Feature, Behind the Scenes of Pepper Delight!! Hope you all enjoyed reading the first part “A Year as a Food Blogger“, and today I am going to share with you a sneak peak of all the fun that goes behind each and every post…!!
I am sure many of you may have wondered what a food blogger does all day. Well if you ever had that question in mind, then this post is just what you have been looking for. Let me walk you through all the fun, craziness and the yumminess behind the scenes of my blogging life.
Recipe Ideation & Development
One of the common questions my friends put out to me is what type of recipes I prefer to post and where do I get my recipe ideas from. Ideas are there everywhere; sometimes it’s from a casual talk with friends/family, or an inspiration after trying out a new dish at a restaurant, or books, magazines, cookery shows, etc. My husband and me are ardent foodies with no boundaries; we love to try new cuisines, understand the flavour and spices, and recreate the memories in our own style at the comfort of our kitchen.
With Pepper Delight I try to focus on recipes with seasonal produce, seafood, meat, chicken, drinks, cakes and desserts. Healthy recipes are one of my main targets for this year and I look forward to include more salads, soups, & smoothies, and of course traditional variants of Indian/Kerala recipes from my hometown. I also prefer to have recipes with a cooking time of 30 minutes or less, keeping it simple and delicious.
To finalize a dish for an upcoming post, a lot of factors play in. It may be a dish I recently tried at a restaurant, or one for an upcoming festival, or even from the many ideas which come across you. Once that’s figured out, we start searching for the best restaurant nearby to try it out, especially if it’s a dish we haven’t tasted at all. At times I even do try the same dish at multiple restaurants, to cross reference the taste and ensure that I get to try an authentic version of it unlike the local customized ones.
Once my dish is finalized, comes the recipe preparation. At this point, it would be more of a draft version as I would be looking to get the basic dish, portions, and the recipe right, giving it my own variations & style.
Now let’s move to my favorite part of the recipe development, and that’s Shopping…! What I love about shopping is, being able to visit different authentic country stores in search of their local ingredients, and learn more about their produces, vegetables, food products, desserts, etc. Once back home from shopping, it’s time to put on my apron and head to the kitchen. If it’s a new dish I’m cooking, I usually start with a trial run and end up experimenting it a couple of times until it’s up to my satisfaction.
Food Styling and Photography
Once my dish is ready, the next critical phase is styling and the photo shoot. Food Styling & Food Photography are two areas where I cannot predict the time required as sometimes things work out pretty well and I get to wrap up quickly, but mostly it’s a time consuming process and at times it takes more than that required to cook the dish. Styling is usually a trial and error, it’s a combination of the right props, lighting, and how finally everything turns out to look like. I try different styles by arranging the props, sometimes I pen down my ideas a day before the shoot which helps me to stay planned and wrap up the shoot easily. I’ve had days where I used my entire plates and bowls for getting a single shoot right, but the real pain begins when you start cleaning them, I hate cleaning…!!!
Coming to the details of food styling, vinyl tiles and chart papers are the most common backdrops I use for my photos. I also love the depth and volume which parchment paper, kitchen towels, paper bags and wooden cutting boards give, to make a perfect picture.
Understanding your food and its details help you find the right props to compliment your photos, like the fillers/garnishes used depending on your meal time (for e.g. it’s ideal to use milk/coffee on the side for a breakfast shoot)
One of the best advises I received was from my photographer friend Arjun, who told me to “get inspiration from others and try creating your own style”. That’s true; I love to spend time on Instagram and Pinterest seeing the beautiful photos people post all around the world. Talking about my photography, I don’t have an elaborate kitchen or a studio to shoot, but I do live in a beautiful apartment with plenty of natural light. Shooting a photo usually takes more time than cooking, I click many different angles, taking tons of pictures a day, and at the end of it I am down to the best 3 to 5 photos.
Ingredient photography is one of my favorite, especially shooting with raw ingredients. They define the depth of your picture / dish, and take a viewer through the visual experience of the recipe and its preparation. I am still a novice at step-by-step recipe photos, so I try to make the best out of my ingredient photos giving it everything I have to make it memorable. And I must say I am pretty happy of the improvements I have been able to make over the year.
Post and Share
So now my pictures are ready and my recipe is written down, it’s time to pen the content and the story, edit the photos, and finally post. My post uploads on the blog and the shares across other social networks happen usually at midnight. I love to wake up and see the likes and comments the first thing next morning, and that makes my day…!!
Usually I utilize the day after my recipe post to review, approve and reply to comments, check emails, submit the post to Tastespotting, Foodgawker, Tastologie, etc. As a blogger it is also important to encourage and promote your fellow mates of the Food Blogger’s community; I do spend time on Instagram, Pinterest, and feeds on similar media, pinning, liking, commenting, and giving back to the community.
So that’s it, A peek into the life of a food blogger….!!! Happy Blogging…!
Follow me on Instagram, try out the recipes and tag #pepperdelightblog to all your pictures of Pepper Delight recipes you prepare.