Thursday, July 6, 2017

vegan chocolate mousse (with aquafaba) - a food photography documentary

Recently I used a can of chickpeas and decided to try out a recipe I found that uses aquafaba (chickpea water) as the basis for a vegan chocolate mousse. I did not quite believe that whipping the liquid chickpea was cooked in will create foam. I was on a quest to be a myth buster! I continued my struggle with photography as I attempted to document the process.  Since writing in March about Barb's (@keepingwiththetimes) inspiring blog post on showing up more for success, I have worked hard to step up my game on photography. But it really does not come easy for me. 

The recipe called for whipping 1 cup of the chickpea liquid for about 15 minutes until it reaches stiff peak. I could not believe it but it actually happened. And it sure took a while. At this time, I wanted to capture the whipping of the aquafaba (chickpea water) into fluffy white clouds, the melting of the chocolate into syrup and the freshest raspberries in my first shot.  After some 30 shots of slight variations, I finally settled on this one. I was dying to move on at this point. Frustration level high😆 I had issues with styling, size proportions and my fluffing cloud deflating as I was taking too long to set up with different arrangements. 

The best thing to do when I'm frustrated is to walk away. Which I did and continued with the recipe. I folded the chocolate syrup with the foam in a separate container, then carefully scooped the "mousse" into ramekins. The mousse needs firming so all 4 ramekins went in the fridge. While I waited, I  thought I will try a different way of capturing the prep work involved.  I already cleaned up a bit so there was no fluffy foamy goodness to show. Only the chocolate syrup and raspberries were left and there they go on the backdrop. And the roses. Somehow the flowers always end up center stage in my shots. Is this food photography or floral photography?  I digress... The scene looked naked so I added the napkin. Kind of interesting. But no food shown really. So it's a still life 😄 The appearance of the chocolate syrup is kind of messed up but i don't know how to fix it.  

Finally, let me introduce you to my Vegan Chocolate Mousse, with aquafaba. The bohemian side of me came out with my last shot. What I find most interesting is that through my many errors, my style is emerging.  Slowly. Sometimes grudgingly. But it starts to surface and maybe one day will fully reveal itself. I am really enjoying the discovery process.

I am now a believer that aquafaba can in fact turn into foam. The texture, of course, is not the same as a mousse. And I can see why vegans will want this to be part of their repertoire. I froze a couple of them and liked them a lot frozen.  I am happy to make some in the future as a frosty of sorts.

Monday, June 12, 2017

without change, there would be no butterflies

Without change, there would be no butterflies.
Motivational quotes inspire me. I often wondered why. Mere words. Often simple. Yet resonate so strongly, calling out to me and pulling at my heart strings. It could be a line spoken by actors in a movie scene. It could be quotes I find while researching a subject. Or a short passage in a book.

It must be my inate desire to do better. To be more than mere mortals. An aspect of me that is like a shy child hiding behind the grownups, yearing to be noticed.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

must dos at tongariro national park, new zealand

Mt Tongariro, Mt Ngauruhoe, Mt Ruapehu. Magestic peaks in Tongariro National Park on the beautiful North Island, New Zealand. Whether you are a Lord of Ring fan or not, visiting Mt Doom is a must. What are other must dos in the area?

Saturday, April 1, 2017

velvety herb scrambled eggs

Eggs, eggs, eggs. Each year as Easter approaches, I find myself buying a lot of eggs for coloring. Easter eggs in all shades of the rainbow are fun and festive. I just could not resist coloring them and displaying them throughout this season. Yes. We eat a lot of eggs as a result using all kinds of recipes calling for eggs.

Monday, March 27, 2017

massaman curry

Cooking for two and cooking for 2+ is so very different. Now that my son is home this week, I find myself buying bigger packages of meat, extra vegetables and taking out bigger pans for sauteeing. The fridge is totally packed for just 2 days of meals!! Breakfast, lunch, dinner. You don't get to 6 feet with an empty stomach right? The stove is always hot and the sink always has dishes in it. It's a good kind of busy.

Cooking clean at home is easy. I can be selective of the ingredients and adjust the amount of oil. Tonight we are eating well with Massaman Curry Chicken.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

the perfect 1 day itinerary: south beach, miami beach, Florida

Our Florida adventure took us to South Beach, Miami Beach last month. It is a place to see and be seen. And there were lots to see. Here is an outline of some of the interesting sights and sounds for your 1 day in South Beach.

Start the morning on Ocean Drive. In addition to fitness gurus warming up along the beach, there are plenty of coffee shops and watering holes to quench your thirst while people watching. Join the walking tour for an intro to Art Deco, Mediterranean Revival and Miami Modern from the Art Deco Welcome Center.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

fragrant blooms, tea sandwiches ... Philadelphia Flower Show

If you live in the Northeast, you would have heard of the Philadelphia Flower Show. This is where many escape after several months of blustering cold. I just came across these pictures from the show that I took a couple of years back. They absolutely do not do justice for the phenomenal set up that takes up the entire convention hall in Philadelphia. But I decided to post them any way to give you a glympse of what the fuss is all about.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

swimming with manatees

OK. OK. I lied. We did not get to swim with manatees. The swimming area was closed on the day of our visit. However we did get up close and personal with them at Blue Spring State Park in Orange City, Florida.

What are manatees anyway, you ask. Adorable, with a stubby nose, manatees are peaceful marine mammals that graze mainly on water plants. They often swim upstream to warm Florida spring waters during the winter. We have only seen them in Florida. But supposedly they are also found in the Caribbean and parts of South America. Some eighty plus manatees were sighted on the day of our visit.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

a citrus note ... cheesecake and monster trucks

I made all things citrus today. My son visited us earlier in the week.  In lieu of taking him to famous Orlando sites, I requested that he accompany us to what Orlando was known before Walt Disney bought land here, a U-Pick Citrus Grove! Mind you, he is over 6', almost 30 and is no longer into childish endeavors. Oh the things my family puts up with me and my sense of adventure.

Florida Citrus

When we first moved to Florida, I looked for a place that sells locally grown oranges. Sadly, there aren't many orange groves operating any more. With more and more developments being built, many citrus farmers have moved out of central Florida; with large profits from the sale of their land.

Friday, December 16, 2016

10 dos and don'ts with photobooks

Whenever poinsettias appear in the store windows, I know it is time to start work on my family photo book. Creating a family album each year has become a ritual. It enables me to relive all the fond memories and ensures that all the highlights of the year are captured. I fumbled and stumbled with my first "production" many years back but have since gotten much better at it. Today I am sharing some of the dos and dont's that I learned along the way.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

garden verses. 2016

If I were better at memorizing, I would have studied to be a master gardener. Now, I mostly seek out gardens wherever I venture. Though my personal favorite would be an English cottage garden or one that is Italian inspired, my travels this year took me to a far different style.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

the perfect 1 day itinerary: rotorua, new zealand

"Your nose will guide you to Rotorua", I was told. Indeed! Within 5 miles of down town, the distinct flavor of active thermal activity dominates the air. Famous for its spas, this town has now developed into a major adventure sports capital. We opted for milder offers of this wondrous place.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Grey /grā/

During a girls lunch out, I casually mentioned that I plan to stop coloring my hair after I retire. My friends gasped. Some laughed. One later pleaded for me not to. "It is so unbecoming", she exclaimed. "And you'll look 10 years older!". That was a threat. Ha. But only to those who are vain. Am I?