To all ye who want to paint with light ...

I should have started this blog many moons ago as I started experiencing the joys of rediscovering the art of photography. But as the saying goes - it's better late, than never!
So, here I am, in the hopes of recording what I learn as I progress from ignorance to enlightenment; about what my eyes can see that my camera can capture; and, what my mind imagines and my camera paints with its capabilities.

Please feel free to add any comments and share your wisdom (tips or tricks) that you have picked up along the way.

And do check out my How-To and Birding pages as well.


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Holidays without cookies?! Nah!  Only double-chocolate will do!



I haven't blogged (serious & passionately) in like a million years!  I thought I wouldn't be able to log in to this old blog again.  I do have a new blog now that I'm doing professional photography, but I would definitely like to keep this for my food and other random wacky moments.  But if you're interested in my portrait photography, please visit http://shuttertripperphotography.wordpress.com/.  And you're very welcome to follow and "like" my photography page on Facebook as well: http://www.facebook.com/ShutterTripperPhotography. I regularly post updates on my photo shoots and I'll soon be starting some contests and other interesting activities. 

Anyway, back to the job on hand.  I have been working super hard to get my business established while working a 9 to 5 job and having other domestic responsibilities.  I didn't think a lot about setting up my business till I actually started.  Man, oh man, is it ever tough!  

But I have to be honest - I'm loving every moment of it as I shape it with my own pudgy hands, and give it the look and feel I can identify with.:)  

And my new website is now up and running and starting to look close to how I wanted it: www.shutter-tripper-photography.com. If you happen to visit, please let me know what you think. :)

Amongst all this madness over the past 3 months, I have been missing meals (mostly eating them, since I have to provide for a hungry teenager all the time), missing sleep, missing blogging, but most of all, I've been missing catching up with friends, but I have such a great bunch of those, I know they understand and are super supportive despite my recent lapses! I couldn't do it without their support and constant encouragement!  

Blogging used to be a great way for me to vent, rant, rave and ramble.  I had been bottling it all up.  And finally, after months and months of hibernation, I broke out my bakeware again, and fired up my oven, just so I could blog about my second greatest passion - cooking!  

What good are the holidays without some chocolate rush? So, here's killing two birds with one stone - baking some chocolatey treats, and blogging the recipe for all those who want to try it! They turned out delicious.  In hindsight, it would have been nicer if I'd added some chopped nuts. :-S

Double-Chocolate Cookies





Ingredients:

3/4 cup butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk/dark chocolate chips
3/4 cup white chocolate chips














Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 375 deg F (190 deg C).
  2. In a large bowl, beat butter and both the sugars till light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in eggs and vanilla until creamy.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking soda and salt; add to butter mixture slowly.
  5. Add chocolate chips and mix. 
  6. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. 
  7. Bake 8 - 10 mins. or until lightly browned.  
  8. Let cool slightly and remove to wire rack.  Cool completely before storing. 
  9. Makes about 3 dozen large-ish cookies.

I would love to hear from all of you and although I don't promise to start blogging here as regularly as I would like to, I will definitely be passing by now and again.  


Wishing you all a Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and a wonderfully happy, healthy and peaceful 2013!  

Sunday, April 29, 2012

My travel article published

I have been a little bit lazy about blogging regularly, to the extent that I forgot to share the last article that was published.

Remember the trip I took last summer to Charlevoix?  Well, I had finally decided to write it up and send it for publication to the website that had published my blueberry trifle recipe.

So here is the first part of my story on Charlevoix.  And if you're planning to visit this region, you must definitely read this.  Stay tuned for the sequel, which should be ready shortly.

Please share the article if you like it and for that, I'd like to thank you in advance. :)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Foggy Memories

The memories do seem foggy now.  I had completely missed posting these images earlier.

It was a few weekends ago and the fog was dense and long-lasting.  I remember waking up and seeing all this fog outside my window.  And despite being under the weather myself, I couldn't let the mist just roll past me and slip through my fingers without my recording it.

As my friends rightly point out, no matter how much I complain about not feeling up to doing anything, if I find a photo op, I will forget all my woes, grab my camera and be up for some shooting.  I say, my friends know me well!  :)

Here are the images from that day:

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Foggy Day 1

Foggy Day 2

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Methi Dal (Yellow Pigeon Peas with Fresh Fenugreek Leaves)

Methi (fenugreek), whether used as a herb or a spice adds a wonderful flavour to Indian cuisine.  However, there are other uses for Methi and you might want to check the Wikipedia for this.

Methi, in its fresh form can be used to make side dishes like Aloo Methi (potatoes with fenugreek), Methi ka Paratha (Indian flat bread with fenugreek), Methi Pulao (rice with fenugreek) - you name it!

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I had been getting a little bit bored with my dal recipes, so when I happened to come across this one I thought it might be a great idea to give it a try.  This recipe isn't mine.  Purna Chowdhury, a very accomplished culinary enthusiast, was really kind to share this recipe with some of us.  If you want to find more of her fantastic recipes, please go ahead and check her out on Facebook.

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If you are interested, you might ask her to add you to the foodie group I found this recipe in.  She has a fantastic repertoire of different types of cuisine, and if you're nice and make a request for a specific recipe, she might pull it out of her hat just for you!

Additionally, there are hundreds of other foodies sharing their recipes (me included ;-)), so this should be incentive enough to go join the group.  But do remember - to get some, you need to give some.  Only fair, right?!  So, share your favourite recipes and get some from the others.

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The dal turned out fabulous and I might try this in future with spinach to replace the methi.  And to add a note, I served this daal with a squish of lime over hot and fluffy basmati rice with Aloo Methi on the side (another friend's recipe, but I didn't have the time to take any pictures).

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To prepare your fresh Methi, my friend Swati told me that you should first pluck the leaves from the stalks, making sure you don't include the stalk, and then wash the leaves thoroughly.  Once you've cleaned the leaves of the sand and grit, soak in cold, saline water for about 20 minutes.  When ready, wring the water out of the leaves and chop them up roughly and you're good to go.  Thanks for the tip, Swati! :)

You will need:
Toor Daal (yellow pigeon peas): 250 gm (cooked with a little salt and turmeric)
Two cups of fresh Methi (fenugreek) leaves/two small blocks of frozen Methi
Whole cinnamon and cloves: 1 tsp
Grated garlic: 1 tsp

Grated ginger: 1tsp
Tomatoes: 2-3
Cinnamon powder: 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder: 1tsp
Fresh coriander, chopped: 1/2 cup

Vegetable oil: 1 tbsp
Ghee: 1 tsp (optional)Salt to taste
Method:

  1. Add the oil to the pan and add all the whole spices. 
  2. Add garlic, ginger; saute for half a minute on low heat.
  3. Add the chopped methi, tomatoes and salt; let it turn to a gravy.
  4. Add the cinnamon and coriander powders and stir till the mix is consistent. 
  5. Add the daal and stir well; cook for another 5 minutes or so till well blended.
  6. Add a teaspoon of ghee (optional) and serve garnished with coriander.
Happy smacking-your-lips! :)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Peanut Butter & White Chocolate Chip Cookies with Orange Zest

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This was my first attempt at making peanut butter cookies.  I adapted the recipe from here, but as always, tweaked the recipe quite a bit.  I made it into a peanut butter and white chocolate cookie with an orange twist.

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The recipe was easy, but I found that I needed to add at least a cup of milk to the dough to get it to the right consistency.  The cookies turned out a little bit dense, but on storing them overnight, a lot of the moistness returned.  Anyone that likes peanut butter cookies would really enjoy these, but I think I might move on to different cookies the next time around.

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You will need:
3/4 cup (170 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (105 grams) light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (185 grams) peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
  • 2 cups (260 grams) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts or 1/2 cup white chocolate chips (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest (optional)
  • 1 cup cold milk (if required)


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Method
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F  and place rack in the centre of the oven. 
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy (about 2 - 3 minutes). You could use an electric mixer for this, but I used a hand mixer.
  4. Beat in the peanut butter. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat to combine. 
  5. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. 
  6. Add to the peanut butter mixture and beat until incorporated. Fold in the chopped peanuts if using, if using, the white chocolate chips and the orange zest. (If the batter is too dry at this point, add milk a few teaspoons at a time. Alternately, if the batter is too soft, keep in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before forming into balls.)
  7. Roll the batter into 1 inch (2.5 cm) balls. 
  8. Transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheet, placing about 2 inches (5 cm) apart. Then, using the tines of the fork that has been dipped in white granulated sugar, make a crisscross pattern.
  9. Bake the cookies for about 10 to12 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly browned around the edges. 
  10. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Can be stored at room temperature, in an airtight container, for about a week. Freeze for longer storage.

Makes about 40 cookies.

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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Monday, February 20, 2012

New post on my birding blog - Hyacinth Macaws

Some images from my recent trip to the Montreal Biodome.  I absolutely fell in love with these birds!

http://shinydewdrop-birdwatching.blogspot.com/2012/02/hyacinth-macaws.html

Enjoy!