August 31, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — ros @ 7:37 am

Every now and again, when work is slow, I'll read some of the web pages devoted to food photography to see what I can learn. I've been making some progress. Compare my first photos to the ones on this page and you'll see what I mean. Most of these sites talk about colour, lighting, beackground, depth of focus and so on. What most of them don't mention is that there are some foods that really are not photogenic. Nothing will make them look pretty.

The worst culprits for this are large pieces of stewed meat, like the oxtail I had for dinner last night. First I tried some close ups.

braised oxtail 

That didn't really help since oxtail isn't the prettiest meat to look at. Then I tried a some distance shots. This was the best one.

Braised oxtail with barley

But no matter how many bits of greenery I threw at it, the oxtail just wouldn't look pretty. At least in this one you can see how rich and winey the sauce was.

Originally the oxtail was supposed to be served with a pearl barley “risotto” with just carrots and leeks. But after inspecting the 300g of tail, I noticed there wasn't very much meat  so I decided to add some red lentils and bacon to the barley mixture.

I stewed the oxtail in some red wine (Hardy's cab-shiraz which is on a half price offer at Tesco at the time of writing) along with carrot, celeriac, mushrooms onion and parsnip. I added a fair bit of rosemary too. The sauce was really rich and tasty and all the vegetables had taken on the flavours of the wine. The meat needed long slow cooking so I left the hob on its minimum setting and just had the stew steaming ( but not simmering) for a little over 3 hours.  

It was an interesting meal to eat. Oxtail is very fatty, which is probably why it is so nice. I could feel my arteries clogging up with every mouthful. At the same time, the pearl barley and lentil combination was loaded with protein and fibre. It actually tasted like it was really good for you but, unlike bran based food, it tasted good too!

I'm not sure if I'll get oxtail again soon. It was very nice, but you pay a lot for a small amount of meat, even if it is on special offer. I really loved the barley and lentils. I think it would make a fantastic vegetarian meal if the bacon was left out. I'll definitely be using it to accompany other stews.

1 Comment »

  1. in Brazil we cook the oxtail with watercress to make the delicious dish called “rabada”

    Comment by Rodrigo — May 8, 2007 @ 9:44 pm

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