Wednesday, December 15, 2010

new website coming:

i am so excited to announce that i have my own official photography website. kind of. it is still currently being developed (slowly. so slowly), but you can check it out here:

i will be sure to inform you when it is fully functional and not just a page that tells you that i'm not quite there yet.

also, if you haven't noticed, i just put up a new header for this blog. i had another idea to stencil out 'my food obsessions' and use flour to form the letters. but when i was mostly done with that idea, and photographing it on the kitchen table, my sister walks in and informs me that it doesn't look like flour, it looks like i'm cutting another substance on my kitchen table. a white, powdery substance. i love how naive i am sometimes. :)

p.s. i've been eating lots of sandwiches lately. i bought a sourdough loaf from a bread affair, (can get it at whole foods or meinhardt in vancouver) and it makes AMAZING sandwich bread. or just amazing bread for eating plain with butter. the sandwich above is made up of: fried zucchini, sauteed mushrooms, mayo, wholegrain mustard, lettuce.

another great sandwich is with meatballs, pickles and mushrooms with wholegrain mustard. yummy. anyone have any great or unusual sandwich fillings they like to use?

jamie's food revolution: broccoli and pesto pasta

i used my first recipe out of the jamie oliver book i got for my birthday: jamie's food revolution

the recipe: broccoli and pesto tagliatelle. except i used fresh fettucine from a local italian deli, not tagliatelle. i recommend fresh pasta: tastes better, cooks quicker.

the recipe calls for pesto. we had some in our freezer that we made up in the summer, but if you don't have any pesto on hand, you can follow jamie's pest recipe here.

what you need:
- 1 large potato or a few small ones
- 1 head of broccoli
- fresh basil
- 1 lb pasta (jamie calls for dried tagliatelle)
- 1/4 cup + pesto (i used a bit more than 1/3 cup)
- 3 ounces roughly of parmesan cheese - freshly grated

what to do:
- wash & peel potato(s); shave thinly using either a peeler or the back of your grater that has that one blade you never know what to use for (until now. potatoes)
- cut the broccoli florets off; peel the stalk, then slice up thinly
- pick off your basil leaves, rinse, chop up roughly
- bring to boil a large pot of salted water, add your pasta & broccoli stalks
- 2 minutes before pasta is cooked (see your pasta instructions), add potato slices and rest of the broccoli
- once pasta is cooked, drain everything, and keep some of the cooking water aside. return pasta etc to pot
- add to pot half of the basil leaves, pesto, and half the parmesan
- stir it up, adding some of the cooking water to thin it up if the sauce is thick
- taste it and add more seasoning (pesto or salt & pepper) to taste
- serve with fresh basil and parmesan on top


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

40 homemade gift ideas

it's that time of year again: christmas time. don't know about you, but my budget is tight this year, which means... homemade gifts! it also means that i am a couple months behind on planning, but there's still 2.5 weeks left to figure something out. :) those of you expecting gifts from me, keep your expectations low so i can exceed them.

want that homemade gift to say 'i made this with SO MUCH LOVE and lots of thought' and not also say 'it took me 2 minutes to put this together'? make something from the kitchen, and package it in style:

like this peppermint hot fudge sauce, a gift idea from the kitchn's 40 homemade gifts guide (photo also from the kitchn)

Monday, December 6, 2010

birthday dinner (part 2 of my birthday)

part 2 of my birthday:

birthday dinner cooking

birthday wine, birthday bread, birthday flowers

birthday dinner (fish, yummy roasted veggies, bread)

birthday cupcakes

birthday fun?

birthday jamie oliver :) (my first ever jamie oliver book. SO excited)

birthday camera bag (from here )

birthday aftermath

part 2 of my birthday day was just as lovely as part 1. i am very blessed. now i have a whole year to give back all the love i've received this year. maybe jamie oliver can help me. :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

little surprises

so far, my birthday has been full of little surprises:

i walked into my room last night and there was a beautiful painting on my bed. one that i'd been wanting to buy for a while from andrea armstrong. i stood there for a couple minutes in a state of pleasant shock. i went to thank her (she was half asleep already),

then back in my room i realised there was also a box of truffles sitting on my desk. my 2nd favorite kind. (for some reasons whole foods isn't carrying my first favorite kind anymore. the caramel truffles of that brand)

i woke up this morning to a beautiful loaf of bread on the kitchen counter. it happened to be from my favorite bakery - a bread affair.

we made french toast with it. mmm....

a few hours later and i find my favorite kind of chips just lying on my bed with a food magazine.

i walk into the kitchen this afternoon and find a small chocolate mousse cake, dying to be eaten.

and to top it all off, my boyfriend came by with a bouquet of flowers and a poem.

it's been a lovely birthday so far.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

raw canvas

"eat. drink. make art."

that is exactly what raw canvas is.

raw canvas is a tapas lounge, wine bar, and art studio in the beautiful yaletown in vancouver. though i haven't yet enjoyed the tapas or the art studio, i've enjoyed the wine there while watching my friends steel audrey perform. its a cozy venue for a music performance.

raw canvas has a pretty narrow space, but it is beautiful, with gorgeous (probably antique) furniture, patterned wallpaper, wooden tables, and art everywhere. its got a wine bar at the side, a couple long wooden tables, and a few smaller tables in the middle, and a large, open room at the back filled with canvases. if you want to paint while enjoying a glass of wine & making new friends (or coming with old ones), you just buy a canvas, and it comes with the paint, brushes, and smocks you need. you don't even have to clean-up. all their paints are made locally on granville island, where they refill paint with a zero waste system. what a great idea.

you can see more of my raw canvas photos here.
i also took some photos last month for steel audrey's upcoming movember show: vive la moustache! check out the photos we came up with!

raw canvas
1046 hamilton street
mon-fri: 4pm til late
sat-sun: 1pm til late
Raw Canvas on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

hot harira soup for my cold body & soul

i realise that there are colder places on this earth at the moment (i'm truly sorry for you, calgarians), but i am not liking the ghastly cold vancouver weather right now. AT ALL. i leave my house bundled up with all the warmest clothes i have, i look ridiculous, and i STILL freeze my butt off. well, my toes, mostly.

sooo... i've been staying inside a lot. and i made a huge pot of hot, comforting soup yesterday to warm my cold, bitter soul. moroccan harira soup. it seems that this soup is traditionally made with lamb, but i used chicken instead. i mostly followed this recipe, at but originally from gourmet magazine issue march 1994.

i tweaked a few things to make it even better:

  • chicken (i used 1 thigh, because i am poor. you can use however much chicken you can afford)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups water (i probably added a couple more cups onto that)
  • 4 blanched tomatoes, de-peeled & chopped up (or a can or 2 of diced or pureed tomatoes)
  • 1/4 or 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp coriander (optional)
  • 1 large or 2 medium onions, chopped fine
  • 14-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup raw long-grain rice
  • 1 & 1/2 cup lentils
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (optional. i didn't have any)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • in a large pot, bring chicken, broth, water, 1/2 a cinnamon stick & 2 cloves of garlic to a boil. simmer for 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. remove chicken & let cool. remove cinnamon stick & discard.
  • while pot is simmering, saute chopped onions, garlic & spices (mustard & coriander) in a separate pan on low to moderate heat. about 5-10 minutes.
  • add to large pot onion mixture, tomatoes, rice, lentils, & chickpeas
  • close lid & simmer for 30 minutes, covered.
  • remove bones & skin from chicken & shred/chop up chicken.
  • stir chicken into soup; add salt & pepper to taste. simmer for another 10 minutes or so.
  • add half of the chopped parsley (& cilantro if using).
  • serve soup hot and garnish with the rest of the parsley.
  • enjoy with toasted bread or fresh, warm biscuits (recipe to follow)
i made my mom's biscuit recipe. super quick & easy!

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 Tbls baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter/shortening
  • 3/4 cup milk/milk substitute
  • heat oven to 450F (225C)
  • whisk flour, salt & baking powder in a bowl.
  • blend in butter with hands or pastry cutter until mixture looks like fine crumbs
  • stir in milk, only until flour is all moistened. do not beat!
  • transfer dough to floured surface & knead about 10 times.
  • roll or pat dough until about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thick.
  • cut out shapes & put on baking sheet.
  • bake 10-12 minutes.
  • serve with honey-butter. (1 part honey to 1 part soft butter)

now that i'm done typing out the recipe, i remember that i've already posted the recipe here, back in 2008. oops!

Monday, November 22, 2010

eastside culture crawl

attention vancouver folk:

east vancouver's annual east side culture crawl is happening upon us this weekend: november 26 - 5 to 10pm, november 27 & 28 - 11am to 6pm. this year, my very own sister is opening up her studio for all to peruse & discover amazingness. the crawl is a free 3-day tour of sorts, where artists (painters, sculptors, photographers, woodworkers, screenprinters, etc etc) open up their studios to the public and the public has a chance to not only see hundreds (390 this year i believe) of artists' works, but behind the scenes as well. if you've never been, you really should go this year! the perimeters are main street to victoria drive and from first avenue north to the waterfront. andrea's studio is on victoria & powell, and its right across from a jjbean, so its the perfect spot to go & grab a hot americano or latte while you tour.

(illustration by andrea armstrong)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

"neiner neiner weiner"


best road-trip discovery EVER. found this gem somewhere in the lovely state of washington on my way to shoot a wedding last year.

a new diner in my hood: the red wagon

there's a new diner in my neighbourhood that my sister & i have wanted to check out ever since we saw it on the corner of hastings and garden a few weeks ago. the red wagon restaurant.

we finally got to try it out last week. being the breakfast-loving person that i am, we decided to check out their breakfast. it was a rainy weekday, and its a new restaurant, so i wasn't surprised that the cafe was pretty quiet when we got in. it's a really great space, with lots of seating, and 2 walls of windows streaming in natural light.

the breakfast menu looked great - i was eyeing the 'trucker's breakfast,' something like 2 eggs, 2 buttermilk pancakes, 2 bacon, toast... but i wasn't sure if i was hungry enough to finish it. i ended up ordering a spinach & mushroom benny, and my sister got the goat cheese & basil frittata. both of our plates came with home-fries (fried potato chunks). the potatoes had really good flavor, but they could have been a little crispier, and there were just so many that i was sick of potatoes after eating. the hollandaise sauce on my eggs benedict was pretty tasty - it was light and not too rich. our server informed me that the chef makes the sauce himself. the poached eggs were a little under-cooked, however. i like my yolks runny, but when the egg white is runny, i get a little grossed out and the runny texture of the egg white distracts from the other flavors on my plate.

after i'd eaten, though i felt full from the potatoes, i felt slightly dissatisfied. maybe my hopes had been set too high in the first place (a new breakfast joint so close to my house!), but i felt like i wasn't getting my money's worth from the meal. the breakfast menu prices are a little higher than typical diner style, the average plate was around $10 before tax. though the prices seemed pretty similar to the prices of another breakfast diner in the neighbourhood that i like, the quality of the food i ate didn't really make up for the price. it was good, but it wasn't great.

however, i'll still give it another shot. the service was great, i really like the idea of this place, and i do want to support local business. i've also only tried one meal, and that's not really enough to warrant a balanced review of the place. other reviews i've read seem to focus on red wagon's lunch menu, so i'll go back for lunch sometime.

but don't just take my word on it. read other reviews, here & here and/or go check it out yourself!

The Red Wagon on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 15, 2010

sick day

i had an omelet today. oh.. but no, not this one. this one's a couple weeks old.

i was sick today (& yesterday & the day before), so the task of actually cooking food was more than enough to wear me out, i didn't need an added burden of lugging the weight of my heavy new camera around. i spent the day watching pride & prejudice (a&e with colin firth) and getting up from my couch to make hot water for my hot water bottle, make tea (4+ pots), and use the bathroom (i drank 4+ pots of tea plus many glasses of water). hopefully tomorrow i will feel up for the task of being productive.

oh yeah. my sister commented that i post a lot about eggs. (like here & here) yeah... i like eggs.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

the sandwich & its glory

sandwiches are glorious inventions. so many, many options. and so easy (not too easy - a good sandwich requires a little bit of time & effort).

this particular sandwich consisted of organic turkey deli meat, alfalfa sprouts, fresh basil leaves, chorizo, pickles, mayo, & wholegrain mustard. my favorite accessory to add to a sandwich is a slice of mango. especially when smushed together with turkey, spinach, and ranch dressing. you should try it next time you want an amazing sandwich.

my new napkin friend:
found at rags & dishes - discounted kitchen linens etc on main street
i heart napkins.

alfalfa sprouts - what did i do before i knew who you were?