Minimalism: When Less Needs More

(Note: Before you even begin reading this, please be warned that this is possibly my lengthiest post. I will not share and food or cocktail recipes nor will I share lighting information. What you will read here are some random thoughts that have been running around in my head since my last few shoots.)

Family Shoot-3
Family shoots, portfolio portraits, and minimalist food photos: A summary of my photography in the first three weeks of 2016.

Hello, 2016! Happy new year to everyone taking the time to read this entry, my first for the year. The first two weeks of January have been exciting, to say the least. In the first three weekends of the year, I’ve already had the chance to shoot a variety of subjects ranging from family portraits to food shots for a restaurant menu to a more conceptual coffee shoot, all of which have their own set of quirks.

What surprised me though was my new found appreciation for shooting food on a purely white background, something that I didn’t think of highly prior to shooting the restaurant menu and coffee. I know that my little disclaimer on not thinking highly of this genre of food photography might seem a bit douche-y but please do let me explain. My initial foray into food photography was focused mainly on one thing: Mimic what I see in food magazines and learn to improve on these or put my own twist to it. This, in hindsight, wasn’t really the best mindset to have with most food magazines showing photos that are, more often than not, rustic.

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Carbonara: The pasta that’s quick to prepare but is sure to satisfy!

Carbonara-1 (Resized)

I’ve been craving for a good carbonara ever since this video of some Italian restaurant started making its rounds in my Facebook feed. Since it was just my dad and my younger brother here at home for a few weeks, I decided to cook up a batch for a midweek dinner! I already had them block off one weeknight for this and tonight finally arrived! So here’s the basic recipe that I used for the pasta. These are pretty rough estimates but this is the closest I’ve gone to actually measuring my ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 300g Spaghetti
  • 120g Freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 Whole eggs
  • 1 Egg yolk
  • 6 strips Streaky bacon
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Procedure

  1. Cook the bacon strips over medium heat to preferred doneness. Once cooked, cut into pieces. Leave the oil warm on the pan.
  2. Combine the eggs, yolk, parmesan cheese, and black pepper in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
  3. Boil your pasta up until a minute before indicated cooking time.
  4. Transfer the pasta into the pan with the bacon fat and toss it around in the oil.
  5. While the pasta and pan are still warm but not piping hot, add in the egg, cheese, and black pepper mixture.
  6. Add in your cut bacon and enjoy!

This recipe is just right for three people and is perfect with a little freshly toasted garlic bread. If you want a very quick recap of the procedure, do check out my 15 second recipe video over at Vimeo. Just click on the link below!

Recipe video link: To follow

Comfortable is the new Uncomfortable

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Family Christmas Party-1

11 months ago, I found myself in a creative rut of sorts. All my portraits, whenever I did decide to shoot them, had the help of some additional light. I also had a go to lighting set up that I would find myself using for most of these portraits which got me questioning whether I had become a one-dimensional portrait photographer. I was bitten by the strobist bug. And it hit me hard. I’m Kip. And I’m a strobist. (Now whoever reads this responds with this: “Hi, Kip.”)

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Spicy Negroni

Spicy Negroni-1 (Resized)

Gave the classic cocktail a little spicy twist. I added a chili “liqueur” made of 50% chili syrup and 50% vodka. This added a very subtle sweetness and just a little bit of heat to the drink, something that I think can make the Negroni a more palatable cocktail to first time drinkers.

  • 40ml Luxardo Bitters
  • 40ml Martini Rosso
  • 30ml Bombay Sapphire
  • 20ml Chili liqueur

Asakusa Home of Tempura: Crispy, tasty, and not one bit greasy

The entrance to Asakusa. They are located behind at the Grove in Libis, right behind the building with Sunrise Buckets and Starbucks.
The entrance to Asakusa. They are located behind at the Grove in Libis, right behind the building with Sunrise Buckets and Starbucks.

The Japanese food of late here in Manila has been dominated by every restaurant doing signature sushi rolls and, more recently, deep-fried breaded cuts of pork and seafood that we all lovingly know as katsu. It was a pleasure to find out that a new Japanese restaurant that specializes in tempura had opened over at the Grove, which is a quick 20 minute drive from the house.

Now I have always had a soft spot for tempura. When I was a kid, my parents knew that the only way to make me eat whenever I would get sick would be to bring me to Kamirori over in Katipunan to get me an order of ebi tempura. If we were lucky, we’d drop by the video rental shop next door and rent ourselves a laser disc copy of either Top Gun or Mighty Ducks. So yes, sick times were good times when I was a kid.

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Keeping it simple: Indian mango-infused vodka on the rocks

Infused vodka. Ice. Simple.
Infused vodka. Ice. Simple.

Decided to keep things really simple for today’s “cocktail” and, honestly, it really can’t get any simpler than this. I’ll be sharing the ingredients for the vodkas as well after the jump so do check that out too!

  • 70ml Indian mango infused vodka
  • 20ml Chili “liqueur”
  • Orange twist

One key thing that I’ve learned when adding orange/lemon twists to drinks is the importance of using the freshest fruits that you can get your hands on for the simple reason that fresh fruit zest will give you more essential oils. I’ve had trouble with some of the oranges that I’ve used for previous drinks in that they don’t really give out that much oil.

Top with some orange zest for a bright, citrusy finish.
Top with some orange zest for a bright, citrusy finish.

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Aligue (Crab fat) Pasta

Because crab fat doesn't have to taste too sinful.
Because crab fat doesn’t have to taste too sinful.

Back in the kitchen and back writing here in the blog! The past few weeks have seen me playing around with a new format specially for Instagram for sharing the recipes that I make at home. You can check the last three videos out over on Instagram (IG: kipaguirre)! So far, I’ve done a basic risotto recipe, ginger syrup, and, for today, a crab fat pasta.

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