It was in March 2011 when I first uploaded a post on my blog. The post had only a header i.e. the dish name, body copy and no pictures. After visiting the webpages of a few fellow bloggers I realised that only sharing a tried tested recipe does not suffice. One is supposed to share a few pictures so that the readers can have a dekho at what the dish should appear like. So I started using my point and shoot camera to take pictures of the various dishes that I was sharing and began uploading pictures…no editing, whatsoever.
Next lesson that I learnt was that your pictures need to be well composed and presented (styling as it is called) to make the dish look desirable/ tempting. Fair enough. So I purchased a digital camera in 2012 besides investing in a macro lens. A long journey of learning photography began, most of it frustrating since there was no one to help and it was more of self–learning, by trial and error. I started with shooting at automatic mode and after a few years, shifted to manual mode. A few years back I started looking for help on internet and found some articles which were helpful in understanding the various modes and settings of a camera.
For the pictures to get accepted on Foodgawker and Tastespotting and other such platforms, I began editing my pictures on basic Picassa (back then) and in 2019, I switched to using my phone to edit my pictures (please don’t judge me!). So it is just basic editing that the phone allows – some tweaking of colour or shade, adding vignette sometimes or adding a bit of brightness to the picture. I asked a couple of blogger friends what they were using for editing their photographs since their pictures had a sharp look with bright natural colours simply popping out, from the frame. However, even after nine years, I have yet to begin editing my photographs using a proper software.
I still have not bought or used an editing software and I am still use my phone to edit my pictures. The perfectionist in me does sometimes wonder “do I really need to buy a software?” The pictures are decent enough although they do lack the quality…I mean you will see glares on the glass or bottles (as in this picture) or the colours not being so bright or popping out of the frame and some pictures ‘having too much light’ or rather having no balance of light. Yet I keep telling myself that they are not bad at all to paste on my blog page. Actually the thing that has been holding me back is the fact that there have been several times, in the past, when I have not been able to blog for months at a stretch. And I saw no point in investing in a software where I would have to make an annual payment of 10K–20K (Indian currency) and then I do not even end up using it. This always keeps me in two contentious thoughts.
I had a tough time editing for this post besides another one, which I will be sharing later (stuffed bitter gourd), when I did re-consider my decision on whether it was time to buy an editing software. Till the time I make up mind (or rather procrastinate), phone editing it is 😀
Sharing a small batch of raw green mango and tomato chutney I made the other day using the Indian five spice which includes using equal amounts of cumin seeds, nigella seeds, fennel seeds, mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds. The spice mix when dropped in hot oil, gives a beautiful heady aroma and makes curries and chutneys taste amazing. Do try it 🙂
2 tsp Mustard Oil (use any neutral oil if you do not have mustard oil)
3 Dry Whole Red Chillies
½ tsp Panch Phoran (Indian 5-spice)
A pinch of Hing (Asafoetida), optional
250 gm ripe & plump Tomatoes, finely chopped
150 gm shredded Raw Green Mangoes (1 cup tightly packed)
1/3 tsp Salt
¼ tsp Kala Namak / Black Salt
A pinch of Haldi (Turmeric Powder)
1/3 tsp Degi Mirch / Paprika
¼ tsp Amchur (Dry Mango Powder), optional
1¼ C scrapped Jaggery / Gur (160 gm approx.)
Smoke the mustard oil in a saucepan and switch off the heat. Allow the oil to cool down a bit and then again switch on the heat and add dry whole red chilies (I usually deseed them since mine are very hot) and sauté them for a few seconds or till they turn dark in colour.
Keep the heat at medium. Add panch phoran and allow it to crackle. Then add hing and sauté for a few seconds. Add tomatoes and sauté them for a minute on high heat.
Then add mangoes and sauté for half a minute. Reduce heat to minimum and cook the contents for approximately 8 – 10 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent them catching at the bottom.
Now add both the salts, turmeric, degi mirch and saute for 10–15 seconds and add scrapped jaggery. The contents will release water. Keep cooking for another two to three minutes, stirring frequently.
And now stir in the amchur. And your chutney is ready!
Cool the chutney and store in a sterilized bottle. Keep refrigerated. It keeps well for a week to ten days.
Note – The mangoes I used were super sour and I needed to add this much amount of jaggery. I recommend that you begin by adding three fourth cup of scrapped jaggery and add more only if required (tasting the chutney after the first addition)
Note – My mother-in-law adds half a teaspoon of garam masala but I have never added it since I feel panch phoran does the justice to the flavour profile. Feel free to add if you like to.
Thanks for your visit and see you soon again with another exciting recipe.