cucina gnocchi

I often get asked for food photography tips, and I’ve been meaning to put together a post on what I’ve learned that might be helpful. And so here I am, actually doing it. I have no recipe today, but – To celebrate my birthday I’m giving away a Canon EOS Rebel SL1. Canon Canada supplied me with a Rebel SL1 and lenses to try out myself, as well as one to give away to one of you! And just in time – my old camera was dying a slow death. Photos are obviously a big part of what I do – food is so visual, and blogs tend to be reflections of ourselves, our personalities showing through our photographs. I shoot for my blogs as well as my cookbooks, and take photos to accompany articles in newspapers and magazines – my cameras are well used (and abused). I’ve been working as a food stylist for print and TV for years (those posters at Jugo Juice?Continue reading

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(Black & Blue, Vancouver) Thursday was a busy day – 14 hours away from the hotel, back near 11pm, and an early start today to catch our flight with time for a coffee and muffin at JJ Bean on the way to the train. And trying to minimize stops to photograph leaves at my feet. We started the day yesterday with a trip to Granville Island – on the Aquabus, just because we could – and ate pumpkin spice doughnuts from Lee’s. Then we headed out to Global in Burnaby for the noon news, and the job was made easy thanks to a wonderful food stylist named Darlene who had everything ready to go when we arrived, and cleaned up afterward when we left. So indulgent. Thanks Darlene.

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I fell asleep getting this up last night – what a fun day. That tree? One of my favourites in the world. It’s in Stanley Park, by the rowing club. If I lived in Vancouver I’d come sit under it every day. Vancouver is stunning in the fall – all the brilliant colours we don’t get in Calgary. W and I spent half our time stopping to wow over enormous maple leaves, adding bigger and bigger specimens to the bundle in my hand. We started the day early with a segment on BT Vancouver – you can watch it here. Then we headed to the Whitecap offices in Gastown to do a couple phone interviews. Fog!

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A shy woman and her daughter approached my friend’s ravaged house yesterday afternoon as a dozen muddy volunteers hauled its contents out of slimy, clay-like mud and water. “Are you the homeowner?” they asked him, “we made you some soup.” It was frozen and labeled. There is so much destruction, but so much more awesome. There are pop up food stands on practically every corner in the worst areas of Calgary – Mission, Rideau/Roxboro, Sunnyside, Elbow Park (where my sister lives), Inglewood (my ‘hood, which was spared from overflow from the river, but not from muck coming up through old pipes) and Bowness – where Mike has been every day helping our friends haul the wrecked contents of their house out onto the street. Including a 48 track recording studio they had built in the basement, and tons of instruments and music memorabilia. (Stuff from the Clash! A Rickenbacker signed by Lemmy!)

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Hi friends. Just wanted to pop in quick and let you know all is well – we in Ramsay are luckily safe, our house behind the biggest berm in Calgary – Scotsmans’ Hill. We’re surrounded by evacuated areas – the Stampede grounds, Inglewood (who has now been let back in) and downtown, which is still a mess. I’m trying to help out as much as I can… so am keeping this brief and will report back soon with news and photos. Meanwhile, I’ll share a little bit of awesome that happened here this weekend. Yay whomever tweets for the Calgary City Police. This city -and everyone in it- is making me proud.

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I’m out tonight, hanging out at the new SAIT Downtown Campus with some of the most interesting people contributing to Calgary’s food scene – and chefs Paul, Michael, Andrew and Darren are cooking. Ron Finley came to speak – he’s a guerrilla gardener, a planter of food forests in abandoned lots, along curbs and traffic medians in south central LA. I got the chance to hang out and chat with him at the end of the evening, after scribbling notes on scraps of paper as he spoke. (Highlights: “Growing your own food is like printing your own money.” “The soil is my canvas.” “If you ain’t a gardener, you ain’t a gangsta.” “Just grow some shit.”) Since I didn’t cook, I thought I’d share his TED Talk – it makes for good bedtime watching for anyone eager to get into the back yard and start digging.

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The calendar tells me it’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow – I wouldn’t believe it, but it tends to be righter than me – which requires parents to produce heart-shaped foods for their offspring. If this sounds like you, here’s a tip: you can cut soft pitas with scissors into hearts to make heart shaped pizzas. In other news, my mother in law is back home from the hospital, her broken right arm in a sling. (She’s OK with me sharing this news, and in fact would love for me to share my iphone photos of her epic purply-black bruise with friends far and wide, but that’s not exactly food blog fodder.) She’s right-handed, of course, which means learning to do everything with her left, including eating, and there won’t be much cooking for awhile. So my dinnertime decision making has come to factor in what can do double duty as future meals for her, too. I roasted a pork loin for dinner one night, then slicedContinue reading

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Happy January, friends. There’s only forty-five minutes left in the first day of January, and I’m still somewhat in shock that it’s actually here. It has taken 24 hours for me to realize it’s midnight, and we haven’t even managed to round up the decorations and put the tree away yet. I don’t have a recipe, nor insight into something interesting to cook today – I did make a puffed apple pancake at about noon, and as I dig up the link I noticed that the last time I made it was January 1, 2012 – ha! Really, I just wanted to pop in and say hi. And thank you. Thanks. I’d go back and cull some gastronomical highlights for you, perhaps wax poetic about the best of the past 12 months, but the truth is I’d rather look ahead. 2012 wasn’t my favourite year, if I’m being honest here. Yes, there was plenty to be happy and thankful for, but much I can’t waitContinue reading

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fog

(Clamming on Cox Bay beach, Tofino.) Summer vacations are supposed to be all about sand and flip-flops, carefree days with ice cream and fish tacos, berry picking and reading books, but sometimes fog settles in on the sunniest places – literally and metaphorically – and this summer has been shadowed by some unhappy distractions, extra work and -as W puts it- a bad flu in my nose. (It seems head colds have become a summertime tradition for me as soon as I come within the vicinity of a beach, and I must ensure my pockets are jammed full of Kleenex at all times.) So hopefully you’ll be in that happy, hammocky place, and won’t mind if I call a bit of a time out here, to catch up with myself and some sleep, and regain my voice and appetite. I’m sure it will be soon – as you know I have a hard time staying out of the kitchen. (But good news! I’ve been doingContinue reading

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