a look at my new book….France 2014-18

This new book of mine contains a carefully selected set of pictures of places, people and food that have caught my attention over the past few years. The significance of the years cannot be missed. I am so grateful that I lived these years in this century and not the last.
The link below leads to a preview of the book and a link to the Blurb store where it is available for sale.


Posted in 2018, Digital photography, Landscapes, Photography, Still life, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

the importance of buying Basil

I’m just mad about Basil, but Basil’s not mad about me…..which is disappointing. It may be that I’m too demanding; too in Basil’s face. I want him with me all the time, and Jenny’s OK with that, by the way, but it’s a one way street. Much as I pamper and refresh him I have only to turn my back for a minute for the luxuriant, glossy leaved, Basil that accompanied me home to revert to a drear, drooping,  dullard completely devoid of taste. I have planted and potted Basil to no avail. The only reliable solution has been to pick up a fresh Basil whenever I see one……a sort of herbal Grinder. The thing with Basil is to use it fresh and to use lots of it. The Light Basil Sauce, from “The Provencal Cookbook” by Patricia Wells, is a wonderful example of how addictive is a hit of Basil……it’s served with a very good white bean soup which works very well in the warmth of this soft underbelly of summer.

Posted in 2018, beans, Cookery Writers, Cooking, Digital photography, food, Food and Photography, Food photographer, France, Humour, Olive oil, Patricia Wells, Pesto, Photography, Recipes, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Instagram……on my blog….


For the last 12 months, or so, my posts have appeared with ever diminishing regularity. I think this is because…..let me be more precise: the reason for this paucity of words is because, above all, I am a visual person and, as such, I have been successfully seduced by Instagram which has given me the freedom to publish my photographs and drawings without the addition of a small essay. Much as I enjoy writing there is no question that I am at my most content when creating pictures and, if possible, cooking at the same time.

From henceforth you will find a link to my Instagram feed by clicking on any of the 4 pictures displayed in the Instagram widget at the bottom of the right hand column of this page. I hope to see you on Instagram as well as here in WordPress.

Posted in 2018, Digital photography, Food and Photography, Food photographer, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , | 20 Comments

Photography and Instagram workshop in France

I’m running a photography and instagram workshop in the heart of the French countryside in October. The location is the Mervent Forest in the Sud Vendée with easy access from La Rochelle Airport or via train to Niort or La Rochelle. Contact me on roger.stowell@hotmail.fr and I’ll give you all the details. ….prices start from as low as £599….or go straight to the site where you will find all the prices and description of accomodation plus a Booking button..https://www.biginfrance.com/roger

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

A call for help….

My Instagram account has been hacked, which means that I have lost control of how the hackers may use my food pictures ( like the one above) and, worst of all, pictures of my family and grandchildren. I’d be grateful if any of my blog followers who may follow my Instagram account ( Roger Stowell) could put a comment on my most recent Instagram post saying that “This account has been hacked and Roger is no longer in control of the content”. I’m making this request as Instagram/Facebook have absolutely no interest in taking any steps to prevent hackers or in helping those who have been hacked.
Many thanks
Hopefully I’ll get going on some more food posts once I can get away from the sunny garden:)

Posted in 2018 | Tagged , | 39 Comments

seeing the light…….

This picture is as clear an illustration of the nature of digital photography as you’re likely to see. The digital photography to which I’m referring is not the one whose algorithms quickly produce the pleasing image that you see on your phone but that which deals with shooting RAW images and then taking that information, as one would in cooking with raw ingredients, and metamorphosing them into something new and wonderful. The ratatouille that I’m going to make from these ingredients will only be as good as the intuition, ability and skill at cooking that I bring to them and, hopefully, will make a dish that no instant packet food could ever replicate. Much of good cooking, as with photography, is the result of experience: of trial and error: and of the occasional Eureka moment that we all wish would happen on a more regular basis. There’s looking ….and then there’s seeing….I’ll be showing you the difference on my Photography Workshop* that we’ll be running in France at the beginning of October this year. I should mention that I’ll be only too happy to help you with your phone photography….they’ll be time for everything

We’ll be staying in a lovely house, with a pool, in the Mervent Forest and overlooking the lovey river Mere which sweeps through it. Plenty of time for walks and visits to bars and restaurants…..we’ll also be eating and drinking very well back at the ranch.

*clicking on the link takes you the BiginFrance website….wait for the turquoise panel at the top of screen to appear and click on Photography Courses.

Posted in 2018, Art photography, Digital photography, Food and Photography, Food photographer, France, French countryside, Landscapes, Photography, photography course, Photography holiday, Photoshop, Still life, Uncategorized, Vendee | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

October photography break in France…


My photography isn’t limited to food and cooking as previous posts might suggest. Much as I enjoy anything to do with good food and creating it, my real love is for image making and writing about it. This October I shall be running a photography workshop in the  corner of France in which I have lived for the last 20 years. The aim of the workshop is to share my enthusiasm for digital photography, to debunk a few myths and to stimulate people to advance a few steps deeper into the pleasures of the digital darkroom…….and to have a few ideas for you instagrams, of course.

The picture above is the cover of my new book*…..by clicking on this link http://www.blurb.com/books/8836465-france-2014-18   you can have a complete preview of the book which may give you some idea of the path along which I would hope to lead you.

Details of the dates, price, location of the workshop can be found on the following link which includes booking forms: https://www.biginfrance.com/roger

    • The price of the book is set by Blurb.com and is beyond my control and does not reflect my profit which is 10€.


Posted in 2018, Landscapes, Photography, photography course, Photography holiday, Photoshop, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

flour power….the rise and fall…

I remember buying a box of Fecule de Pomme de Terre many years ago. The very fact that I can remember this bears witness to the vagaries of an aging mind. I can’t remember if I’ve just put the kettle on downstairs but a tiny cream and green packet, bearing a name that at the time meant nothing to me, is absolutely clear in my mind….as is the little shop in Old Compton St, Roche Brothers, that, like the cream and green packet, is no longer with us. Since that day, in the 1970’s, I have used fecule de pomme de terre and other similar vegetable flours, which are wonderful thickening agents for gravy or good for making quick and simple soups in the manner of de Pomiane, on many occasions. For some reason I never used them for thickening sauces such as thick cheese sauce and always fell back on a basic roux. However, recently I have found the idea of making a sauce from a base of butter and flour to be less and less attractive: flour power has lost its charm for me and those attractive little boxes have long been relegated to the back of the cupboard.  The turning point was a cauliflower cheese which I have never particularly liked, along with macaroni cheese, because of the heavy flour based sauces. It occurred to me that warming creme fraiche in a pan, stirring good grated cheeses into the thick warm cream, pouring that mixture over the prepared cauliflower and cooking it until golden and bubbling was going to taste just fine: and it really did and does. This simple gratin of asparagus was made in an even simpler way and comes from the pages of Tender by Nigel Slater. A thick layer of seasoned creme fraiche was spooned over a pile of cooked, and still warm, asparagus spears followed by a generous grating of Parmesan cheese. The grill, without which there is no gratination, is not working in our oven so the dish was put into a hot oven until cream and cheese were both bubbling and as brown as an ill advised sun bather…with white patches.

Posted in 2018, asparagus, Baking, Cheese, Cooking, Cream, creme fraiche, Digital photography, food, Food and Photography, Food photographer, France, gratin, Humour, Memory, Parmesan, Photography, photography course, Photography holiday, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

What about us grils?

I love grils
don’t you mean girls
what about us grils…..

…this piece of remembered wisdom, scratched and biroed onto the lavatory wall of a Covent Garden bar, achieved a new and apposite meaning in our kitchen last night. Welsh rarebit was my intended dish for supper and I had spent time carefully melting chunks of comté, cantal and goat cheese in a pan with some milk, mustard and Lea & Perrins. The melted goodness had been transferred to a white bowl in which it would cool so that it could be spread thickly on toast before it went under the grill to bubble and singe its way to gloriousness. I had mentioned to Jenny earlier that I was intending to make Welsh rarebit for supper,  a plan which she fully endorsed, and it was her perspicacity that brought the project to its knees with the simple phrase “…I thought the grill was broken”. The fucking grill is indeed broken as, it appears from time to time, is my memory. So, leaving aside any lateral thinking which is my wont, I started to google “Ways to make Welsh rarebit without a grill?” to which question there is no answer save for the one that Jenny called out..”Have you thought of making a soufflé?”…….

In common parlance, soufflé is an abbreviation for ” a lot of trouble for very little return” which left me searching for a way of politely rejecting this very good suggestion when a chink of blinding light shone through the darkness of memory reminding me that I had once made a miraculously simple cheese soufflé and, if that blinding light could just hold steady for a while, I might remember where I found the recipe. The light held and I can now share with you the simplest and completely foolproof method for this dish.

Preheat oven to 200C
5 large eggs
250gms of mixed cheeses(I used comté,cantal), especially goat cheeses, at room temperature.
some chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, chervil, marjoram, thyme and/or chives
Mix in food processor, or mixer, the eggs, cheeses, herbs and salt and pepper. Pour into a gratin dish.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, until golden on top. Allow to cool 5 minutes and serve.

This recipe is adapted from Patricia Wells’ Goat Cheese Soufflé in “The Provence Cookbook”

Posted in 2018, Baking, Cheese, cheese soufflé, Cookery Writers, Digital photography, food, Food and Photography, Food photographer, France, Google, Herbs and Spices, Humour, Memory, Miracle, Patricia Wells, Photography, photography course, Photography holiday, Recipes, souffle, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Photography holiday in the Vendée for food lovers …..Oct 11-14

October is a good time to be in the Sud Vendée, a comparatively little known part of France, where I have been contentedly living for the last 20 years. The weather will be warm and nature will be starting to slip into its autumn wardrobe here in the heart of the Forest of Mervent where we will be based in a beautifully renovated villa. Come and enjoy a long weekend where you can enjoy good food and wine, visit local villages and their restaurants followed by leisurely walks in the surrounding forest and countryside whilst simultaneously moving forward your photography. All the details and booking forms can be found on the Big in France website.

la mere…

Posted in 2018, Autumn, Cooking, Digital photography, France, French countryside, Landscapes, Landscapes, Markets, Photography, photography course, Photography holiday, Photoshop, Still life, swimming pool, Uncategorized, Vendee, Wine | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments