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Archive for June, 2011

June 23 today, I live in the future, that is: I am ahead of about 12 hours from the rest of the planet, pretty cool! Hum, something to consider when I meet my deadline for the drop off of my photo book on July 31.

Chausson au thon is something I can whip out of nowhere, so easy to do actually because it is made with ingredients already sitting somewhere in my pantry or in my fridge.

So in my freezer: I remove a small package of already made pâte brisée that I had previously made for something else.

In my pantry: I grab a can of tune, small one

In my fridge: I have some leftover 35% fat cream and some animal fat. Seeing part of a small white onion there, I grabbed it too. My Hong Kong Chili Pepper jam will be served alongside with some Dijon mustard.

In my spice rack: I grab black pepper, salt and rosemary dry herb.

So here is the know how:

Cut up the onion and pan fry with the animal fat until the onion has turned golden in color. Add the drained can of tuna, stir well. Add about ½ cup of cream and the spices. Stir well, taste and adjust to your liking. Set aside.

Roll out the dough, cut into perfect circle, the size you want your chaussons to be. Drop about one tablespoon of the tuna mix at one end of the circle and fold the other half over, forming a half moon. Pinch it using a fork. Do the rest until you have run out of fillings. Brush the top of each chausson with one egg yolk, bake at 375F, for about 25 minutes or until it reach a nice golden brown. Serve hot.

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SoFoBoMo 2009, 2010, 2011

I am completely shooting in the dark here.

Explain please?

Well, here in China, where I live in the Liaoning region, North east of the country, certain internet sites are blocked and I do not have access to them. Not wanted to get into details again, but my SoFoBoMo site on the net is completely blocked so I am shooting in the dark here, as to know what to produce for this year SoFoBoMo contest.

I can give the link on my blog but I can not have access to it. Thanks to some friends of mine and my many travels during the time of producing the book, it will be on line by deadline but I don’t have a clue for the time been, of the maximum capacity I am allowed to download to the existing site of SoFoBoMo 2011, so I will go by the rules of last year and I shall take it from there when I am back to USA planet in July.

Notebook of a soapmaker on a budget was my first book done with SoFoBoMo, back in 2009. Boy, did I ever struggle to get this ‘enormous’ book on line. The file was too big to download and I had to convert the book into a PDF file before doing anything to it. Autodidact as I am, it was a very intense 5 hours of last minute work to get it done in time, which I did.

The other thing I did with this first book was to take the task too big for a first book. You see, I decided, since I was already a soapmaker, to do a book of photos on my handmade soaps. So I embarked on a journey of producing 35 different kinds of soap in my kitchen, each day producing a new one, documenting about it and taking pictures of it, for 31 consecutive days. At the beginning of this project, everything was going wonderfully fine, producing soaps and enjoying the challenge of taking photos of the freshly made soap, but time went faster than the drying of my soap and I ended up by having to produce 4 different kinds of soap at the end of my last week, in order to leave me enough time to put the book together, and send the finish product to the site. It was very hard to meet the deadline and I was not very proud of the final book but … I did it with my chin up!

Spain sings to me was my SoFoBoMo 2010 project. Since we were visiting Spain at the same time that the contest was taking place, I decided to do the book on Spain. I planned this one very well in advance, doing a draft book as a practice, and all, to be ready to produce and to download in time, once we got back home. It went like a charm. I had a new camera and gears, knew what not to do as mistakes and up, I took around 1,200 photos during my entire trip. This wonderful book came out well before the dead line and I am still very proud of this one.

Postcards to me was my second book done for SoFoBoMo 2010. I was on a roll and decided to make another photo book, but just on postcards that I have sent to myself during my trip to Spain. This book is more a collection for me than anything else, just a fun way to produce and to keep memories at bay.

Sweets for the heart was my third book I did for SoFoBoMo 2010. I had time on my hand and I was enjoying my new camera so much that anything I would feel for it, I would take a photo. Since during that time, I went home (because I have a real home somewhere…), the opportunity to go back to my hometown gave me an open window, to shoot and to re-live memories forgotten. Those photos are for me, they represent part of ‘who’ I am, the reason of the title ‘Sweets for the heart’.

SoFoBoMo 2011 is not yet in production but the ‘blue print’ of it is done in my head. I will put the link here once ‘Amazing China’ is done. I am looking forward to it, I am ready!

SoFoBoMo site here (it is not too late to take the pledge and do it for 2011!)

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SoFoBoMo 2011

Already 3hpm here in China: why is time flying back so fast?

Especially now that I am suffering jetlag from my 10 days trip to ‘back home’ taken last week, without any planning but only 24 hours in advance, with a 28 hours of travelling? Come to think of it, why am I even complaining here? I was fed and kept warm the entire trip so it was ok, right?

SoFoBoMo 2011 is just around the corner for me, starting July 01.

I am taking a less stressful approach this year because I seem to have developed a good grip on my photo skills (yep, sure, I have decided to burn all the books related to how to take pictures and I am just pushing the ‘press button’ from now on…) and my objectives in doing this photo book in 30 days.

I keep on repeating myself, what a great challenge to do, producing a photo book of 35 pictures in 30 days. ‘Amazing China’ will see the light of days on July 31 this year, while I will be travelling between 4 countries and enjoying every minute of this wonderful SoFoBoMo project.

So for the first part, it will be shooting photos here in China, between July 01 and July 15. Somebody was asking me the other day : ‘For your photo book, are you going somewhere in China, to take pictures?’ My reply : ‘Why? I am somewhere right this minute. Surprising how we need to visit something in order to take photos of it. Look around, up and down and you will have a ton of photos to take.’ But that person was not listening to me anymore… she was looking around and not seeing any thing interesting enough to take photo of it… sad…

Second part, I will be traveling for a few days, between airports on the planet, with my iPad2, and thinking… about the book.

Third, from July 20 to about July 30, the book will be put together: producing, erasing, producing again, editing and finally published on line here, under my name or course, for all eyes to see.

Then lastly, the beach will be calling my name for the rest of the sanity left in me, until August 15 or so, when I pack everything and get back into my Amazing China!

We should all have crazy project like this one, this is what would keep any living soul, on the edge of its own seat, won’t you say?

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Not knowing exactly what name I could give to this bread, ‘everything but the kitchen sinks ‘bread’ came up to my mind, as I was making this wonderful aroma bread yesterday.

The main recipe is here and basically what I did was to replace the water part by using the ‘fond de cuisine’ liquid. It is so easy to make homemade bread, once we get the main recipe working for us.

I did not have enough olive oil to make the bread so I used animal fat that I keep handy in my fridge all the time.

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