Bruschetta with Arugula Pesto – Donna Hay Styling and Photography Challenge #6

bruschetta arugula pesto 6

After participating in the last month’s DHSPC, I was looking forward to see what challenge would Simon get for us this month. The idea of recreating someone’s work is not easy specially when that person is best at what they do. It is intimidating and definitely challenging but there is always a lot of learning involved in the process.

I am sure we all have our own comfort zone when it comes to photography. Some like a dark tone and some prefer it light and soft. We all have our own choice of angles, setup and we like to stick to those.

Bruschetta with Arugula Pesto – Donna Hay Styling and Photography Challenge #6 1

Well, this challenge helps you do the opposite. I had to get out of the zone, step out of my comfort area and try something new.

This month Simone chose a simple and delicious Bruschetta recipe styled by Donna Hay and photographed by Con Poulos from the cookbook ‘Seasons’. I loved the casual mood in the photo with the chair in the background. The styling was neat, keeping the entire focus on that plate with the light falling from the right.

The setup looked easy until I started working on it.

Bruschetta with Arugula Pesto – Donna Hay Styling and Photography Challenge #6 2

Interpreting that piece of art was so difficult! To start with, I didn’t have the right props. I kept changing the angles, tried different plates and yet I couldn’t capture what I was hoping to. I kept clicking non-stop and what you see below is the best I could pick from the lot.

Succeeded?  No, not even close!  Happy ? Yes, I tried.

Click here to know more about the challenge that happens every month.

Bruschetta with Arugula Pesto – Donna Hay Styling and Photography Challenge #6 3

Talking about the dish, it’s one yummy Bruschetta that we had for dinner with some soup on the side.

Just when I thought we had enough pesto in the last few weeks, here I was making pesto once again. But this time, it was with arugula. These spiky leaves have a lovely peppery flavor and since I chose to use smaller arugula, it had a milder taste and was less bitter.

Bruschetta with Arugula Pesto – Donna Hay Styling and Photography Challenge #6 4

I had to make very slight changes to the original recipe to suit our taste buds and also because I ran out of few ingredients. This was the first time I tried arugula pesto and for sure, I am going to make this more often.

Recipe from Donna Hay Magazine as seen on Jungle Frog Cooking

Bruschetta with Arugula Pesto – Donna Hay Styling and Photography Challenge #6 5

bruschetta arugula pesto 4 1

Bruschetta with Arugula Pesto – Donna Hay Styling and Photography Challenge #6


  • 4 slices of bread
  • 1 clove garlic, cut in half
  • extra-virgin olive oil to drizzle on the bread
  • few slices of fresh mozzarella
  • 8 slices of pancetta
  • black pepper, coarsely ground
  • chili flakes, optional

for the arugula pesto 

  • 1 cup fresh arugula
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 4 walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • pinch of salt


  1. Put all the ingredients for arugula pesto in a food processor and mix it to make a smooth pesto. I kept a little chunky texture for the pesto as that's how we like it.
  2. Place the bread on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and broil it on high for 4 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, heat a pan and cook the pancetta for about few seconds on each side to make it crispy.
  4. Once the bread comes out of the oven, rub garlic on the hot bread.
  5. Spread some pesto on the bread. Place 2 slices of mozzarella and two pieces of pancetta on top.
  6. Sprinkle some chili flakes and enjoy!

Bruschetta with Arugula Pesto – Donna Hay Styling and Photography Challenge #6 6

Did you enjoy this Bruschetta with Arugula Pesto – Donna Hay Styling and Photography Challenge #6? Share your creation by tagging @playfulcooking on Instagram with the #playfulcooking and I will re-share in my story!

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Comments are closed.

  • Anita Menon
    Anita Menon
    February 25, 2012 at 8:25 PM

    Kankana, I loved your styling and photo more than the original.. 😀

  • Grishma @ZaikaZabardast
    Grishma @ZaikaZabardast
    February 25, 2012 at 8:28 PM

    aaahhh actually I was waiting for this post of yours since you made pesto last in your last post. Love the setup and picture. Good job grl!

    • Kankana Saxena
      Kankana Saxena
      February 27, 2012 at 9:44 AM

      Well looks like I am pesto high this month 🙂

  • Amrita (Beetle's Kitchen Escapades)
    Amrita (Beetle's Kitchen Escapades)
    February 25, 2012 at 8:28 PM

    OMG! Seriously gorgeous pictures! And this bruschetta looks delightful! It’s got bacon (or that’s what it looks like in your photos so that’s what I’m going to sub with :D) AND pesto, I can’t ask for anything more!

  • sreelu
    February 25, 2012 at 8:43 PM

    Kankana ,lovely shots you come very close to the original

  • Alyssa
    February 25, 2012 at 9:08 PM

    I think you did a wonderful job recreating her photo. The bruschetta looks delicious too!

  • Reem | Simply Reem
    Reem | Simply Reem
    February 25, 2012 at 9:13 PM

    Beautiful Kankana!!!
    this looks absolutely wonderful, you really captured the image…

    I was planning to participate in this one but this month was all tied up for me…n Will hopefully do the next month challenge…

    • Kankana Saxena
      Kankana Saxena
      February 27, 2012 at 9:45 AM

      You should Reem. It’s a great way to learn 🙂

  • Kiran @
    Kiran @
    February 25, 2012 at 9:42 PM

    The efforts and results counts more than anything else. Love the way you’ve made the photo, yours. Of course with the guidance from Donna. But it was yours truly at the end 🙂


  • pavithra
    February 25, 2012 at 10:06 PM

    Awesome Kankana.. really loved the way u captured. Very beautiful dear.

  • Nash at plateful
    Nash at plateful
    February 26, 2012 at 12:19 AM

    Girl, your shot of arugula leaves and the pesto is simply stunning!!

  • Priyanka
    February 26, 2012 at 12:46 AM

    Great work sis, you have captured the shot beautifully. You are genius….love u and ur work 🙂

  • Shabs
    February 26, 2012 at 1:23 AM

    Beautiful pics , just love them Kankana 😀 .

  • Rosa
    February 26, 2012 at 2:12 AM

    A lovely bruschetta! Great pictures, well done.



  • sayantani
    February 26, 2012 at 4:08 AM

    your pictures are so beautiful Kankana. i first go through the whole post just to see them.

  • Spandana
    February 26, 2012 at 4:40 AM

    The pictures are very beautiful kankana… they came very close to the original!!
    Pesto looks great!!

  • Angie@Angie's Recipes
    [email protected]'s Recipes
    February 26, 2012 at 5:12 AM

    Love arugula and pesto made with them must be lovely.

  • Anu
    February 26, 2012 at 6:22 AM

    Nice shots. Lovely pesto sauce

  • Nandita
    February 26, 2012 at 6:43 AM

    Stunning shot and an equally stunning recipe. Loved every bit of the post 🙂

  • Rose ( Magpie's Recipes)
    Rose ( Magpie's Recipes)
    February 26, 2012 at 11:18 AM

    Whaow! I think you came really close Kankana! LOVELY your pics are! My fave is the one of the leaves in the bowl.

  • Simone
    February 26, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    Yes! You made it again this month… Love your take on the challenge and I agree that it was more difficult then it looked at first glance.. 😉 Those props of mine where wrong too and completely refused to get into the right angle… But regardless of the original your photos are just lovely!

    • Kankana Saxena
      Kankana Saxena
      February 27, 2012 at 9:46 AM

      Thanks Simone 🙂 It was fun working on it and I am already looking forward to what you bring next month!

  • Eha
    February 26, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    Arugula and walnuts in a pesto: must try soonest! Such a simple recipe too. And the photography is absolutely superb 🙂 !

  • Tiffany
    February 26, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    Stunning photos as usual! 😀

  • Jean (Lemons and Anchovies)
    Jean (Lemons and Anchovies)
    February 26, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    I think your version is beautiful, too, and I love the pesto. 🙂

  • Kiri W.
    Kiri W.
    February 26, 2012 at 8:28 PM

    Looks incredibly delicious, and I am so impressed with these challenges! I wish I could come even close!

  • Richa@HobbyandMore
    [email protected]
    February 26, 2012 at 9:20 PM

    love that pitcher filled with the pesto best. i cant figure composition if it is right in front of me.. I am happy with being able to take some decent pictures right now!:)

  • mjskit
    February 26, 2012 at 9:32 PM

    Your photographs are beautiful and your bruschetta looks delicious! I would definitely add the pepper flakes! Love the arugula pesto.

  • Sara{OneTribeGourmet}
    February 26, 2012 at 9:58 PM

    Great recipe and awesome shots! well done!

  • nipponnin
    February 26, 2012 at 10:35 PM

    The color of the pesto is amazing. I wonder how the taste like. I must try it.

  • Liren
    February 26, 2012 at 11:06 PM

    Shh, don’t tell, but I prefer your shot to the original 😉

  • Jenn
    February 26, 2012 at 11:47 PM

    Lovely interpretation! and I love your top down view with the beautiful rings of pancetta!

    • Kankana Saxena
      Kankana Saxena
      February 27, 2012 at 9:47 AM

      Thanks Jenn. That coming from you means a lot to me 🙂

  • easyfoodsmith
    February 26, 2012 at 11:59 PM

    The pesto looks great and the pic is amazing. I agree with Liren, your shot is definitely looking superior than the original 🙂

  • Deeps @ Naughty Curry
    Deeps @ Naughty Curry
    February 27, 2012 at 12:30 AM

    ur pic is so much crisper… well i am no judge but to my untarined eyes urs looks fantastic! im in love wth that pic of the bowl full of arugula

  • Tes
    February 27, 2012 at 2:49 AM

    Wow those shots are stunning 🙂

  • Jeanette
    February 27, 2012 at 3:41 AM

    What a fun challenge – it is difficult to replicate Donna Hay’s Styling and Photography to be sure, but I think you did a fabulous job.

  • Purabi naha
    Purabi naha
    February 27, 2012 at 6:38 AM

    Congrats on Top 9. I don’t have words to say, Kankana! This looks stunning and scrumptious!

  • Sandra's Easy Cooking
    Sandra's Easy Cooking
    February 27, 2012 at 7:42 AM

    I think you nailed this one too! What a great recipe and photos are mouthwatering! Yummy Kankana!!!

  • sally
    February 27, 2012 at 12:35 PM

    Beautiful photos! I like your version better than the original photo.

  • Karen
    February 27, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    Beautiful shots…I think your styling is just gorgeous!
    Love arugula pesto…have been making it when I go crazy buying too much arugula. It’s so good on so many things!

  • Lori Lynn
    Lori Lynn
    February 27, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    I vote for your version. The pesto is brighter and the pancetta has more texture.
    Love the little pot of pesto shot.
    Congrats on T-9!

  • Kitchen Belleicious
    Kitchen Belleicious
    February 27, 2012 at 2:08 PM

    I have never seen better pictures before anywhere of anything! You have such an amazing talent- I am so impressed and in awe

    • Kankana Saxena
      Kankana Saxena
      February 27, 2012 at 8:20 PM

      Thanks a lot dear. You are too kind to say that 🙂

  • Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking
    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking
    February 27, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    Stunning food styling! All of these images are just lovely.

  • Nicole
    February 27, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    You did such a lovely job with this challenge. Great texture in the pancetta.

  • Tadka Pasta
    Tadka Pasta
    February 27, 2012 at 4:32 PM

    Beautiful! Loved all the pictures, Kankana! The styling is wonderful, the arugula looks so fresh and the pesto is vibrant!

  • Jessica
    February 27, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    This is absolutely beautiful!! I love every single one of the photos. Don’t be too hard on yourself. I really do think you have an eye for art and photography!

  • Divya Yadava
    Divya Yadava
    February 27, 2012 at 7:02 PM

    Lovely photos Kankana! So fresh and vibrant. I’m going to have to try this challenge one of these days!

  • Asmita
    February 27, 2012 at 7:04 PM

    This looks divine! Love brushetta and pancetta, both. As always, the photos are amazing!

  • Sanjeeta kk
    Sanjeeta kk
    February 27, 2012 at 7:57 PM

    Oh..I love the wonderful bright green color of your pesto! And belated happy anniversary, Kankana.

    • Kankana Saxena
      Kankana Saxena
      February 27, 2012 at 8:17 PM

      Thanks S for your wish 🙂

  • Kala
    February 27, 2012 at 9:27 PM

    This is exactly the kind of dish I love. Your photos have made me so hungry for bruschetta with pancetta and pesto!

  • Farwin @ Loveandotherspices
    Farwin @ Loveandotherspices
    February 27, 2012 at 9:54 PM

    Love the photo with the pesto ! And your version of the photos are wonderful.I’ve been wanting to participate for sometime but lack of props holds me back.

  • Nami | Just One Cookbook
    Nami | Just One Cookbook
    February 27, 2012 at 11:47 PM

    I admire you for keep challenging to improve your photography. I’d be intimidated to even give this kind of challenge a try (honestly). I’ll be so stressed that I won’t even feel excited like you do! Great job on the photograph. I really like how you did it. And the bruschetta with arugula pesto with pancetta! Oh my, YUMMY!!!!

  • Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb
    Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb
    February 28, 2012 at 1:26 AM

    Hi Kankana!

    dont be intimidated, everybody started small. I think so u did a great job. your pics captured my eyes! =)

    I love arugula pesto, in fact I had posted a reipe on my blog about it. Its such a unique pesto type. I gotta try yours with bruschetta one day. Siriously delicious!

    thanks for sharing your experience.

  • Jayasri
    February 28, 2012 at 1:53 AM

    Wow, beautiful photography, loved the pesto in the jar, so vibrant and colourful and inviting, I came here seeing it in foodbuzz top 9, enjoyed your photography and want to make that pesto :),I have made pesto with different ones this is interesting recipe, is arugula called rocket here in UK, I need to check that out, so I can try this pesto.., I don’t have a good camera, I take mine from my iphone!, someday I would learn photograph from all you bloggers 🙂

  • nisha
    February 28, 2012 at 3:47 AM

    supa like all the pics,,in fact i like ure way better than the mag 😉
    And this is such an easy snak kinda dish, perfect 2 serve as appetizers at parties as well. Must try making argula pesto sometime

  • Marsha @ The Harried Cook
    Marsha @ The Harried Cook
    February 28, 2012 at 5:01 AM

    Wow! Kankana.. This post blew me away! I love your styling and the photographs! I think I can honestly say it is as good as the original! And I love the recipe too… Sounds really tasty! Thanks for sharing! And great job… you are really talented!

  • Joanne
    February 28, 2012 at 5:08 AM

    These photos are gorgeous! I especially love the bowl with the arugula.

  • Ira Rodrigues
    Ira Rodrigues
    February 28, 2012 at 6:02 AM

    well done on the photograph, I love it!

  • rebecca
    February 28, 2012 at 6:51 AM

    love this adore bruschetta 🙂

  • mustardseed
    February 28, 2012 at 6:54 AM

    Beautiful photographs! I love how green and fresh the pesto looks.

  • Krithi
    February 28, 2012 at 8:11 AM

    Superb clicks Kankana…. Great going!!

  • sonia
    February 28, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    Hi Kankana,

    The bruschetta and pesto are awesome combo and urs is looking amazing. I am sure it must be delicious to the core and cant wait to try some for me on the weekend….! Have a good week ahead. Cheers, Sonia

  • Sukanya
    February 28, 2012 at 5:58 PM

    I think you did a fantastic job, loved your every shot, crisp and it looks so vibrant and fresh. argula pesto !!! will try it next time.

  • wok with ray
    wok with ray
    February 28, 2012 at 8:01 PM

    Well done on the recipe and the photos! I love the pesto. Thanks for sharing, Kankana.

  • Juliana
    February 29, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    Great pictures Kankana…arugula pesto, pancetta and mozzarella cheese, yum!
    Hope you are having a fabulous week 🙂

  • Ally
    February 29, 2012 at 3:22 PM

    My, my, that pesto be lookin’ SO GOOD!

  • maha
    March 1, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    nice space vth yumm n tasty recipes.n this looks just awesome…..perfectly done……

  • Vimitha
    March 3, 2012 at 4:15 AM

    Looks so delicious and perfect clicks Kankana… Gorgeous…

  • torviewtoronto and createwithmom
    torviewtoronto and createwithmom
    March 3, 2012 at 7:11 AM

    lovely pictures Kankana looks fabulous 🙂

  • Athena
    March 3, 2012 at 8:49 AM

    Great job, Kankana! I hope to get back into the DH challenges, they’re definitely good for pushing you out of your comfort zone.

  • Lannie
    March 4, 2012 at 4:45 PM

    wow such beautiful pictures, i could just lick the screen!

  • Ananda Rajashekar
    Ananda Rajashekar
    March 5, 2012 at 9:21 AM

    No No seriously i’m have become fan of your styling girl, beautiful and colorful!!

  • Fahad Khan (@PharaohKhan)
    Fahad Khan (@PharaohKhan)
    March 6, 2012 at 4:16 PM

    I do admire the delicate,yet bright flavors of pesto.I had a ‘Veg Burger With Pesto And Mushrooms’ quite some long time back now,and have not yet forgotten its delicious taste.
    Going to note down/bookmark your recipe!:-)
    Thank you for sharing; The photographs are beautiful,as always!:-)

  • Kaytee
    March 14, 2012 at 8:41 AM

    your photography and styling is absolutely lovely!

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