Shooting “Homemade” took ten days at Anna’s joint in Freo. We road tested 97 recipes and can testify to their bold and glorious goodness. Along the way we had to contend with high winds blowing our set over as well as an occasional sense of, well, impending weight gain. Food stylist Ursula Nairn and assistant Michael Ziebarth were apparently subjected to more country music than is allowed under UN conventions on torture. Ursula in return introduced us to swear words we didn’t know existed and created a few on the spot when her existing collection of international curses was found wanting.
Anna’s giant puppy, Leroy, takes the cake (well, pasta) for audacity though; while we were all indoors congratulating ourselves on the Summer Cherry Tomato Pasta test shot an odd little chiming sound floated by on a breeze, turned out to be a resonant pasta bowl clinking as Leroy licked up the last of the sauce!
Dealing with Fremantle Press was a delight from start to finish. We’re particularly excited by the print quality in the book. We pushed the images in this one pretty hard in terms of contrast and we’re beside ourselves with the crunchy yet smooth result. (Oh, and before you ask… China). It was a rare opportunity to be making final selections whilst on the shoot and in many cases we were able to make close to final adjustments to the image files on set. And of course we were treated to the publisher swinging by with rough layouts as work progressed – all in all a very nice closed loop giving rise to (justified) smugness.
Anna’s genius is in evidence in the all the obvious places in her book; the dishes are as delicious as they look. Even though she loves a bold flavour there always seems to room on the palate for the delicate, crisp and piquant. As cooks though we love the recipe presentation. Anna edited the methods down to their concise, tasty bones. Each method sentence starts with a verb, doesn’t sound so revolutionary does it? Sure makes a difference when your kitchen is a’cookin’.
We’re fickle beans in this household, we struggle to settle on a favourite recipe. For sheer spectacularness you gotta give the Leek Tartin with Goat’s Curd & Smashed Olives a whirl.
If you already have “Homemade” share your favourites in the comments. If you don’t have it already – you simply are not living – buy it online at Fremantle Press’s site.