Photography Styling Challenge #4: Morning

β€œLet me wake up next to you, have coffee in the morning and wander through the city with your hand in mine, and I’ll be happy for the rest of my little life.”

― Charlotte Eriksson, Empty Roads & Broken Bottles

This month’s theme of Mornings has got me nostalgic and in a very small way stopped my morning mania and forced me to smell my coffee.

That one elusive cup of brew that I crave to have in peace but so impishly eludes me. That one cup of caffeine which starts on the kitchen platform, moves to the dining table, gets carried to the room, is left on the dresser, a sip less every time it moves. And finally when its cold and dry, a little run in the microwave and back in the comfortable clasp of my fingers, standing in my balcony and sipping in content only to find that not much of it is left.

The challenge refreshed those beautiful lost mornings when my house was smaller, the husband less busy and life not very complicated. Things were simpler, we had less, enjoyed more and a simple coffee made our day – usually, mostly.

I miss those morning moments. Sharing a hot cuppa along with little tit bits of juicy news was adequate to pull us through the day’s daunting tasks. Sigh! But its not the same anymore. In a rush to excel, to fly, to run, I’ve left behind some of life’s simple pleasures.

In an effort to recreate some magic. Lost magic. I set up my room in my idea of an ideal morning. The way I would quintessentially enjoy my morning cup of coffee… where there is no haste or celerity. Where peace reigns and my morning would once again be elementary, uncomplicated and facile. Oh! how I wish.

Shooting this theme was a huge learning experience and of course a whole lot of fun. I did have glitches and hiccups during the styling, shoots and with the props, but four repeated mornings and some close to 120 shots later, I think I have chosen some decent clicks for you. But you know how it is, when you have so many to choose from, its really difficult to pick the right one.

I went experimental and shot half of them in black and white. The results were encouraging and helped me focus on a lot of topics like lighting and placement of props.

To see more pictures, please click here.

To know more about this challenge, click here.

Perfect Mornings

Perfect Mornings

A closer view

A closer view

One of my favorite shots

One in black and white

My most favorite shot

My most favorite shot

Please do check the other wonderful entires to this challenge:

Redesigned By M
redlovinpixie
At The Corner Of Happy And Harried
Inge Kathleen Photography
Pies And Puggles
A Woven Life
City Girl Searching
The Delicious World Of Chefette Spicy

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Dark Double Chocolate Walnut Brownies

Dark Double chocolate walnut brownie served with warm milk

Dark Double chocolate walnut brownie served with warm milk

I like to cook, but it doesn’t mean I eat all that I have experimented in the kitchen. So, I tend to distribute all the goodies among family, friends and neighbors.
But we are Indians. We are taught not to take stuff, and if we do, we have to reciprocate in a similar manner. As products of this culturally strong country it is imbibed in us to return favors, especially food favors.

Decadent and dense

Decadent and dense

Now what happens is, all those boxes that I send over, comes back loaded with more food.. glorious food! You can imagine my plight. My umpteen refusals and explanations falls on deaf ears. They willingly accept and smilingly give back more. Sigh!

Whipped up a brown storm

Whipped up a brown storm

Now, a very exciting recipe was on the card, a dark double chocolate walnut brownie! While I sieved/mixed/baked, I thought of all the smiles I was going to bring on little expectant faces! But then the thought of the returned boxes haunted my vision. Then is when I went smart.
This time, I carefully packed the treat in disposable containers. Ingenious eh?

Brownies and Milk

Brownies and Milk

Well.. not so much. Favors, you package them in tupperware or in aluminium foil, are favors. They have to be returned come what may. My bad.

dense bite

dense bite

Multiple compliments on the awesomeness of the brownie was combined with what became my lunch and dinner for next couple of days. Just 15 minutes of toil and I was exempt from cooking next few meals. Yea… people are that sweet around me.

Hello Kitty eyes the treat

Hello Kitty eyes the treat

I’ve made brownies before. But I tried a new formula, where coffee and dark chocolate thrown in, take these little eggless brownie to another level altogether. Dense, chewy, gooey, this little joy is best enjoyed in my place with a generous drizzle of chocolate sauce and a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream! DE-LISH!

Dark chocolate and coffee in it!

Dark chocolate and coffee in it!

The original recipe is a triple chocolate one. But I ran short of vanilla chocolate chips and made do with only dark chocolate, coffee and walnuts. So double chocolate it is.

Dark choco chips, walnuts and brownies

Dark choco chips, walnuts and brownies

The Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup maida/all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar, I actually used a little bit more than 1/3 cup.
  • Baking powder 1 tsp
  • Baking soda 1/4 tsp
  • 1/4 cup Dark chocolate chopped into pieces or dark chocolate chips
  • Instant coffee powder 1 tbsp
  • 2-3 tbsp chopped toasted walnuts
  • Warm Milk 1/3 cup
  • Curd 1/2 cup, whisk it before using
  • melted butter, 1/4 cup. Original calls for oil, but oil makes my cakes smell.. so I tend to avoid oil.
  • Vanilla essence 1/4 tsp
  • YEP, they are eggless too!!

Method

Preheat oven to 150 C. Dissolve the instant coffee powder in 1/3 cup of milk. Stir and set aside.
In a big mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients except the chocolate chips. Mix well. Now, make a well in the center of the dry mixture. Add the coffee, curd, vanilla and butter.
Using a hand whisk, gently mix the ingredients until well combined. Make sure the wet ingredients are incorporated into the dry ingredients. Don’t over mix the batter. Requirement is of dense gooey brownies, not a well risen cake!
Now, pour half of the batter into a parchment paper lined tray and evenly spread it out using a spatula making sure that it covers the whole pan. Gently tap the pan onto the counter. Sprinkle 1/2 of the chocolate chips. Evenly.
Now, add the remaining dark chocolate bits to the remaining batter and pour over. Gently even using a spatula even the surface out. Place the tray into the preheated oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Once done, let it cool completely before you cut them into neat squares! Enjoy warm with a glass of milk.

Note: if you notice the brownies I’ve made, they have risen a little. I mixed the batter a bit more than required. Hence, you make sure to beat the batter just so much as to incorporate the contents properly.

Fresh out of the oven

Fresh out of the oven

Note: Its always better to line your tray with parchment paper before pouring the batter in. It’s cleaner, neater and you have no hassle of brownie ends clinging on to the aluminium.

Sinful Indulgence

Sinful Indulgence

Note: Try adding vanilla chocolate chips too to the batter, thus making it a “Triple chocolate Brownie“. Havent tried it, but am sure it would transport me to another realm.

Double Chocolate Wonder

Double Chocolate Wonder

Note: If you’re not a nut fan( πŸ™‚ ), skip the walnuts. I had kids removing the highly nutritious nut and gobbling up the chocolate bit. Milee sulked for a whole 10 minutes when she saw I threw in walnuts, but then later she had more than her share, when I removed the spoilers for her.

Bundle of joy

Bundle of joy

Note: All in all this recipe took 1 hour to make. Just 15 minutes to get the batter ready, 30-35 minutes to bake and after it was out of the oven, we lost track of time..:)

Try stopping with one...

Try stopping with one…

In case you are wondering of my abnegation of chocolates and sweets. Mere mortal me, tried hard. Then gave up the giving up of life’s simple pleasures. I do indulge, but just a wee bit. One tiny amazing dense chocolaty brownie piece is all that I ever need to feel the fullness of Life.