This evening I attended a press conference for The Ultimate Battle for a Cure – the Breast Cancer Chef’s Challenge.
The host of the show will be Giada de Laurentiis, who has been touched by cancer in her own family: her brother died of melanoma at 30 years of age, and she lost her grandmother to ovarian cancer.
There are a few pieces I still have on my list of things that I want on my portfolio page. Chocolate truffles is one of those things. I researched pictures online, and wanted to do something that felt more like what I want to do – something that captures the sense of celebration that goes with having a really good truffle, even if it isn’t a special occasion.
The set had a number of elements in it that were only there for reflections and shadows.
Two lights in softboxes (just the modelling lights for my Sky Eagle flashes), three small cosmetic mirrors poking light in dark spots, gold foil wrapping paper, artificial tin ceiling tile, bottles filled with some lapsang souchong tea (nice amber tones) plus a bottle and some glasses from a Venetian set. Just for a few reflections. I ended up not using the silver lid in front, and switched to a red cardboard box. The two little name-card holders are stand-ins for the chocolates.
I tried two different lenses: a 70-200mm zoom, and my food workhorse, my 50mm macro. I ended up choosing a picture I took with the macro lens, because I didn’t like the compression and angle I used with the zoom.
Here is my picture.
I did some post work in Photoshop to clean up smudges, creases, fingerprints, crumbs and air bubbles on the chocolates.
Now I want to paint my walls a neutral gray instead of the deep avocado colour they are.
I’ve tried doing this dish a few times before, and just didn’t get there. First time, the potatoes were simply too big and the slices too thick. Second time, with smaller potatoes — slices still too thick, and the potatoes didn’t cook in the time it took the fish to cook.
Led me to the realizations:
- Use fingerling potatoes. They’re a more appropriate size to represent fish scales.
- Use the mandoline on a setting that looks ridiculously thin.
- Cook the potatoes half-way. If potatoes take 20 minutes to cook, and fish takes 10, well… duh.
So today I went to the St Lawrence Market and bought a bunch of fingerling potatoes from Phil’s and a fillet of sockeye salmon from Mike’s.
To start, I scaled the fillet and scored the skin after tossing it into a hot frying pan for 30 seconds (because I realized I hadn’t scored it! — amazingly, it scores much easier after a little heat has been applied to the skin).
It’s next weekend at the Better Living Centre, 25-27th of October. (more info)
Three things interest me when I’m at a food show: photogenic food, a great story, and things that taste awesome (not necessarily in that order).
Two of my favourite Canadian chefs, Michael Smith and Lynn Crawford, will be at the Food Network Celebrity Kitchen on Saturday. They champion creating real food, and use local food extensively (if not exclusively). Chef Michael’s just before the lunch hour, and Chef Lynn is just after it.
Some of the exhibitors on the floor I want to talk with include Barque Smokehouse, who are based in Roncesvalles village. I’m also looking forward to the booths of:
- Berbician Foods, who look like they have a delicious range of salamis and sausages.
- C is for Clean looks to have some promising natural-ingredient cleaners.
- Kobe Classic Beef — I’ve never tasted beef from Wagyu cattle. Maybe this will finally be my opportunity!
Hmm, looks like I’m really looking forward to some meat! Hope to see you there next weekend.
I’m always messing around with my paté recipe. Here’s what went into the batch I made yesterday.
The recipe follows. Continue reading
Tomorrow’s high is predicted to be 13C. Not bad. A bit cool for September, but not bad.
However, I just took a look at Environment Canada’s forecast — and the predicted low for Friday night is 4C.
I have to harvest my basil tomorrow. There is no choice.
The kale will live through it, no problem. I need to see if I have any baby squash (I don’t think so, given the way the weather’s been behaving) and harvest any plum tomatoes that are near ripening stage.
Bring your basil in!
I went to my allotment garden this morning to harvest and water. I knew that my garlic was ready to be harvested, but wasn’t sure how everything else was progressing (especially since I hadn’t been there in a week, and we hadn’t any rain).
Things… are progressing. I’m sure they’d flourish more if I visited more frequently and watered more. But they’re doing OK.
One of my spicy globe basils has flowers – I’m taking this as a sign to start harvesting, and to strip this one plant of its flowers.
If you follow my blog, you’ll know that I first met Dr. Cornel Ceapa at the Delicious Food Show two years ago, and that, although Chef Deborah Reid and I didn’t get to go on an expense-paid trip to Saint John, NB, to visit and experience all great things related to Acadian Sturgeon and Caviar, we did get a thank-you for entering, which was a whole bunch of caviar and sturgeon products to enjoy, which I photographed here.
Sometimes I do cook for myself! Shocking, isn’t it?
Tonight’s dinner required a fair amount of preparation and thought. I wanted to have grits. They have to soak. So I put them on this morning. I decided that the meat I’d have for dinner would be some short ribs I got at Witteveen’s when I hit the St. Lawrence Market yesterday. They needed to have some kind of a yummy marinade, so I used a sauce that Oliver and Melissa gave me last year (I hadn’t opened it yet!) and diluted it with a little Johnny Walker Red, and put the short ribs in a container to marinate for the day. Continue reading
I was sitting on my back deck, thinking about how much later spring is this year than last (last year was probably record-book early). My elderberry hasn’t started to leaf out, most bird species haven’t started arriving, and my daffs have only just begun to open.