Three years ago, I started this little blog. To be honest, I had no clue, no agenda or mission statement, all I wanted was a spot to write about the food I cooked at home, the food that I loved. You see, as a kid, I wanted to either attend culinary school or learn editorial photography but life had other plans and I ended up as a molecular biologist studying physiology and biochemistry. The only goal, I had was to make this my space to learn and indulge in things I loved to do.
One of the questions, I get a lot is on food photography and I thought that this bloggiversary would be the perfect time to share my personal experience with you. Equipped with my point-and-shoot camera, I started to photograph the food I prepared at home to share in my posts. Most of those photographs are terrible, styling food would frustrate me, and my early photographs would not get accepted by the “food photography sharing” sites, even after I upgraded to a DSLR. At this point, I was ready to throw in the towel till I spoke to my dad (who used to be a professional photographer until he retired) who gave me probably, the most important advice I have received to date, “practice”. Practice made a huge difference in my work. For those of you who want to learn food photography or for that matter any type of photography, I can’t stress how important practicing is. Make mistakes in your photographs and learn from them, figure out what pleases you the most about a photograph you took and what doesn’t. Then retake the shot and see if you can change things, you are your own best teacher! Listen to what others say but also pay attention to your own instincts.
To celebrate three years, I’m sharing this dark chocolate ice cream recipe with you. It’s special because it’s infused with all sorts of walnut deliciousness in it. There’s walnut oil, a bit of walnut flour and some walnut bits that make this ice cream delicious. Walnut oil has the aromatic fragrance and flavors of freshly toasted walnuts, it really is amazing and really makes the walnut flavor pop in this recipe.
To thank you for all the support and love you have shown me and my work, I’m giving away one of my favorite kitchen appliances, a 2- Quart Frozen Yogurt-Sorbet-Ice Cream Maker courtesy of the super awesome folks at Cuisinart.
All you need to do is follow the instructions on the widget below. The giveaway will run from August 4th till August 10th, 2014 and is only open to legal residents of the United States (sorry due to shipping reasons). Good luck!
NOTE: THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED
chocolate walnut oil ice cream
yields: 1 quart
1 cup heavy cream
2 ounces dark chocolate chips (I used 63% cacao from Guittard)
1/2 cup (3 1/4 ounces) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (2 1/4 ounces) unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher sea-salt
2 cups whole milk + 4 tablespoons
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 generous tablespoons walnut flour
1/4 cup walnut oil (you could substitute a light flavorful fruity olive oil)
1/2 cup chopped raw walnuts, frozen (toasted can also be used)
1. Heat the heavy cream in a thick bottomed saucepan on medium-high until it just begins to simmer. Remove from stove and stir in the chocolate chips, brown sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Stir until the chocolate chips have completely melted. You might need to whisk the chocolate to combine the ingredients completely.
2. Make a slurry of the cornstarch with the four tablespoons of milk, keep aside. Place the saucepan with its contents back on the stove. Add the 2 cups of milk to the saucepan and whisk until combined. Heat the contents on medium high until the milk begins to boil and boil for 1 minute. Immediately, whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Whisk in the walnut flour. Boil for another 2 minutes, the mixture will thicken to a custard like consistency. Remove the saucepan from the stove.
3. Pour the contents of the saucepan into a clean gallon ziploc bag. Seal airtight and place the bag in an ice-cold water bath to cool or leave in the refrigerator to chill completely. Once the ice cream base has completely cooled, pour in the walnut oil and whisk a little. Refrigerate for another 10 minutes. Transfer the chilled ice cream to your prepared frozen canister of your ice cream maker. Churn for about 30 minutes until the ice cream has formed. Alternatively, follow the instructions given by your ice cream maker’s manufacturers.
4. Transfer half of the ice cream to an airtight freezer proof container. Sprinkle half of the walnuts over the ice cream and then layer with the rest of the ice cream. Sprinkle the remaining walnuts over the ice cream. Randomly swirl a silicone spatula or butter knife through the ice cream to distribute the walnut bits. Cover the surface of the ice cream with parchment paper and freeze for at least 4 hrs before serving. I like to garnish the ice cream scoops with a little extra walnuts right before serving.
Disclaimer: I did not receive any financial compensation from the participating sponsor in this giveaway. All opinions stated are my own.
that ice cream stand photo is stunning! chocolate walnut sounds delicious, perhaps the more sophisticated cousin of chocolate peanut butter? anyways, my favourite ice cream flavour is taro.
Congratulations on this milestone. And thank you for the great advice. I wish you every success.
One of my favorite ice cream flavor is toasted coconut.
YOU’RE A MOLECULAR BIOLOGIST?! that is the coolest thing ever.
someone once gave me the same advice that your dad gave you… it was that there basically is no secret to photography… you just have to do it a bunch!
these photos are so magnificent, nik! happy birthday to your blog!!
Happy blog birthday! This sounds like an absolutely divine ice cream.
And add a soucon of Frangelico over the top to complete the picture – unless of course you are lucky enough to have a bottle of Nocino- Italian walnut liqueur to hand.
Happy Bloganniversary and to many more!
This ice cream must taste divine. Stunning photography. I particularly love the first shot.
MMMM, I like vanilla, and chocolate, peach, lychee, strawberry and ……
happy bloggy birthday nik!! love this post…especially your dad’s advice. SO true!!
p.s. can you share some molecular biologist knowledge with us?? 🙂
I am a mechanical engineer and never thought in the wildest of my dreams that of all things food photography could entice me!!
How cool, its my 4th year blog anniv too. Beside practice, for me gazing at work of others has helped a lot – the angle, the light, the styling.
I love that last shot way too much and congratulations Nik. Your work is awesome. Keep it coming!
I have to say how cool it is that you manage to mix a bit of Indian flair into a lot of your recipes. It reminds me of how my mom cooks, with a little inspiration from her indian ancestry sinking into our food. Happy birthday to your blog!
Happy Blogiversary! What a wonderful way to celebrate! I adore walnut oil as well. Have you tried making ice cream with full-fat coconut milk?
Happy Blogiversary!! I’m loving the candle stick prop magic you have going on in these photos — so creative!! And walnut oil ice cream? Well, just…YES.
congratulations! I have always adored your photographs and this one is pretty amazing. i had no idea you are a molecular biologist, very neat Nik 🙂
I love this advice, Nik. It’s important to remind myself sometimes that when I’m frustrated it doesn’t mean I’m terrible and should throw in the towel, I just haven’t learned it yet. And learning takes practice.
My favorite ice cream of late mint toffee marshmallow from Ici – I could eat it every night.
Such a gorgeous post – the recipe and the photographs AND the story/writing. Congratulations on your blog-versary 🙂
Happy blog anniversary! I’ve been photographing any, all and everything for over 30 years now, and there are days where I still feel like a complete novice. It really does come down to practice.
I’m so excited, I have everything necessary to make this–Minus the walnut flour. What might you suggest as a substitution?
Oh, and my favorite flavor of ice cream (in spite of the various flavors and combos I’ve come up with myself) is a good old fashioned chocolate chip.
This is such a beautiful post in words and photos, Nik! And it just goes to show that your dad was right. Thank you so much for such a lovely post and for this delicious ice cream that I’m now craving. (Also, my parents are molecular biologists too! You folks are good people 😉 )
Congrats, Nik! Food blogging can be frustrating at times but it’s definitely worth the work (and the occasional heartbreak). I’m beyond embarrassed by my old food photos, yet they keep cropping up on Pinterest! Live & learn. 😀
Keep up the amazing photography! Your pics are unlike anyone else’s; they tell a story without overdoing it or succumbing to "trends." Brill!
My favourite ice cream flavour is Baskin Robbin’s lemon chiffon…even though no longer available, it holds an coneful of sentiment.
Happy blogoversary, Nik! What an inspirational post and the ice cream flavours sound so lovely. I am such a walnut fan! For some reason, I always assumed you are a trained chef but to find out that you are a molecular biologist just made you that much cooler!
When I was a kid, my favorite ice cream was peanut butter & chocolate. But the best ice cream I’ve eaten as an adult was an out-of-this-world banana sorbet in Florence, Italy. Haven’t had anything as good since!
Congratulations on four years!!! I am trying to improve upon my food photography so I am very appreciative of the advice you shared, Thank You!! My favorite ice cream flavor is definitely vanilla.
I’m so happy for you and this beautiful place you’ve made! You’re inspiring. Annnnddddd… I have everything in my pantry to make this ice cream 🙂
Happy, happy four years of blogging, Nik! You’ve created such a gorgeous space filled with flavorful recipes and stunning photography. On another note, I’m so into this ice cream! Walnuts+chocolate = a match made in heaven!
Yum icecream, my favourite flavour is peach for sure, sucker for white peaches!
Plain old chocolate. Never goes wrong!
beautiful blog. my favorite is spumoni