Back in January, I set one of the biggest challenges in my food photography journey. I encouraged myself to enter one of the most important food photography awards in the world; Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year.
It was the first time I had entered a photography contest of such magnitude. Even though this competition was open to both amateurs and professionals, I knew from last year's awards that many professional photographers with years of experience behind them would enter their best photographs.
''You lose nothing by trying'' I remind myself.
After almost a month having been fully focused on planning what I was going to shoot, creating the stories, seeking the prefect props and trying different recipes. I ended up feeling quite satisfied with the results and feeling fairly confident in believing that, at least one of the four images I finally entered, might be shortlisted.
But, I was wrong. It wasn't just one, but two of my images had been shortlisted in the Marks & Spencer Food Portraiture category. Gosh! I still cannot believe it!
Unfortunately, my shortlisted images didn't progress any further in this year's awards but for me, it's been a huge success having achieved two images shortlisted from over 7000 entries and from almost 60 countries around the world. Besides it has given even more motivation to keep working and challenging myself to pursue my photography goals.
Nevertheless, I wasn't only eager to announce this exiting news, but also to share with you the recipe behind this shot. Because if the judges have had the chance to try these Asian style meatballs in real live, I would have been guaranteed to win the Award!
400 g. beef mince
400 g. pork mince
1/3 cup almond flour
2 clove garlic, crushed
2 tablespoon finely grated ginger
2 teaspoon sesame seeds
2 teaspoon sesame oil
2 green onions (scallions), finely chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
Salt and black pepper
2 tablespoon olive oil
270 g soba noodles, cooked, to serve
baby purple radish sprouts and black sesame seeds, to serve
Sticky soy sauce
1/2 cup (125ml) soy sauce
1 tablespoon dashi powder
2 teaspoons sesame oil
3/4 cup (180ml) mirin (Japanese rice wine)
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup (90g) honey
Place the beef and pork mince, almond flour, garlic, sesame oil, sesame seeds, green onion, egg, salt and black pepper in a large bowl and mix using your hands, then roll into balls about the size of a golf ball.
Heat 2 tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan and fry the meatballs in 2 batches until brown all over.
Meanwhile the meatballs are cooking, make the sticky soy sauce. Add the soy sauce, dashi powder, sesame oil, mirin, vinegar and honey in a small bowl and mix to combine.
Pour the soy sauce mixture to the meatballs and carefully toss to coat them. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce is sticky.
Serve the meatballs with the noodles and sprinkle with the purple radish sprouts and sesame seeds.
Note. While these meatballs are made without breadcrumbs (I adapted the recipe from my Baked smoky meatballs), this recipe CONTAINS GLUTEN as mirin and dashi powder might contain wheat.