Change can be good, right?  I’ve always thought change can be rejuvenating, and refreshing, and can offer a whole new perspective on things.  Hee, whenever I hear the word ‘perspective’ it makes me think of that scene with Anton Ego, the food critic, from Disney-Pixar’s Ratatouille when he asks for a dish of the freshest ‘perspective’, which is followed by the best scene in the whole movie.  If you haven’t seen it, you absolutely must.

Tangents aside, back to moving…our blog is moving! From now on you’ll be able to get all the same photos, insight into our photo shoots, and lots of foodie stuff on the blog page of our main site. Please join us there, sign up for the RSS feed if you like, and bring on positive change!

See you at the new digs.

~ jackie

Voting stops at noon today for The Best of 604: The Best of Metro Vancouver Online, and we’ve been nominated in the ‘Best Photo Site or Blog’ category so we need your vote!

Please vote for either Jackie Connelly Photography if you prefer to browse the photos on our website, or http://basilgazing.wordpress.com if you prefer our blog.

Voting is easy from here, and will only take you two seconds…that’s right, just two! Results are being announced tonight and I will definitely keep you all informed about who wins each category! Good luck to all of our fellow bloggers, and I will see you all tonight!

~ jackie

For this dose of creative vision, we begin the week with a favorite summer treat (or, a year round treat when you live 3 blocks from Mario’s Gelato like we do): strawberry ice cream. But don’t be fooled, this is not the edible kind. Well, technically it is edible, but I don’t think it would taste very good and I’m certain it would give you a week-long stomach ache. What you’re looking at here is fake ice cream, and it’s what is used most of the time when food photographers are shooting ice cream, unless it’s an ad for the product itself, then their job gets a whole lot harder as it has to be the real thing.

Vision here was simple, and fully inspired by the vintage green glass sundae dishes: old school ice cream parlour. Back-lit with natural light was a must to highlight the top of the scoop and shine through the glass dishes, and reflectors were needed to bounce that backlight onto the front of the set-up (one large white reflector camera left, another camera right, basically forming a 90 degree angle, with my camera poking in between). And selective focus was used to give the front dish prominence, and knock the second dish out of focus, becoming background interest. As you’ll see below, I tried out different things with the strawberry garnish and cookie props on the table surface, but settled on 2 round jelly-centered cookies with a strawberry fan for garnish.

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© 2008 Jackie Connelly

The beauty of the fake stuff is that (a) it doesn’t melt, (b) with the right scoop it ‘barks’ better than the real thing ~ I’ll get to that in a minute, and (c) it keeps in your cupboard forever.

Here is the recipe that I use for fake ice cream:

• 1/2 cup corn syrup (such as Karo or White Lily)

• 1/2 cup vegetable shortening (such as Crisco)

• lots and lots of icing sugar, at least a 1lb bag

*for colour: fruit (here I used frozen strawberries to get the little seeds in my final shot), cocoa or food colouring (just remember, a little goes a long way).

To make: First, in a mixer or with a hand blender (or even by hand) mix your corn syrup and vegetable shortening together. Then slowly add your icing sugar in small doses and continue stirring. You’ll know you’ve added enough icing sugar when the consistency is dry and fairly stiff, but too much will make it crumbly. You’ll know it’s just right because those cracks the scoop of ice cream gets when you scoop it out is called ‘barking’, and is key to making fake ice cream look great. Fill the contents of your bowl into sealed ziploc bags and stash in the freezer overnight. In the morning you should have a rather hard ziploc bag of fake ice cream. Stores well in fridge. * I will also suggest a stainless steel ice cream scoop with the release lever, I like mine made by Good Grips.

Have you got a different recipe? Did you use something else that worked well? Leave a comment and share it with everyone.

Happy scooping!

~ j

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Our travels through the city’s food world for Urban Diner continued over the past 2 weeks capturing Vancouver’s bartenders and their cocktails. Some of the tasty drinks (yes, I had to sample a few) were brand new, only to be found on cocktail programs as of this week, while others are tried and true. My editor, Paul, titled the column “The Rebirth of Cocktail Cool” and these bartenders didn’t disappoint.

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above (L to R): Nick Devine (Habit Lounge), Chris Brown (Beyond Restaurant), Lori Poppe (Voya in the Loden Hotel)

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above (L to R): Steve da Cruz and Justin Tisdall (Gastropod), Jordan Moore (Yew in the Four Seasons Hotel), Jim Shelton (Sanafir)

Some of the shots are above; you can see more photos and Part 1 of the column on Urban Diner here, and Part 2 here. And if you feel so inclined after trying one of the yummy beverages featured, head down to the according bar (being sure to say hello to the cocktail’s creator) and leave a comment below the column to tell everyone about it!

Happy drinking!

~ j

We first were introduced to Miss Rebecca Bollwitt aka Miss 604 through Simon’s theatrezine, and since entering the blogosphere it’s hard to not run into her. Prolific, I think is the appropriate term.  She (the smart cookie that she is) began a little voting contest on her blog called The Best of 604, and this year we are honored to be nominated. Honored, and excited…woo hoo!Thanks Rebecca, and thank you to Tiny Bites for our first nomination!

Both our website at www.jackieconnelly.com, and our blog have been nominated in the ‘Best Photo Site or Blog’ category, but we still need your vote to bring home the gold!

Here’s how to vote for us…if you would so kindly like to do so (pretty please?!):

1. go to the ‘Best Photo Site or Blog’ voting page of The Best of 604

2. click ‘Jackie Connelly Photography’ if you favour our website ~or~ ‘basil gazing’ if you favour our blog

3. Please get your vote in before December 10th, results are being announced December 11th.

That’s it!

Thank you for everyone’s support, and we’ll be sure to keep you posted on the December 11th results!

~ jackie

The Adelphia Group‘s Lux at Caprice (965 Granville, beside and attached to Caprice) is now open for business! Some friends and I attended the media opening on thursday night…our recommendation is that Lux is a great place to share some plates and enjoy a few cocktails with your hip, young (and young at heart) friends. We photographed the freshly renovated interior of Lux, their good looking menu created by Chef Brett Turner and several of Bar Manager Jack’s cocktails.

Some photos are included below to entice your tastebuds….enjoy!

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Also, in keeping with our promise to include vision and insight into our photoshoots, we’ll start here. As the shoot for Lux spanned more than one day, we had initially shot some of the menu items in a very simple fashion: white plate with white linen. This gave the food center focus with no visual competition, but it also lacked context. Simplicity at it’s utmost can work if you’re shooting for something that will cross medias and need to be more versatile, but after giving the overall feel of the photos more thought and agreeing that incorporating the elegant and funky restaurant interior would make the photos more sucessfully reflect the brand at hand, we were happy to shoot more frames with this in mind. The client had seen other photos that incorporated the restaurant features in with the food and beverage photos as we’ve done for many other of our restaurant clients, and asked us to shoot their food & beverage keeping this in mind. There was no shortage of elegant features to include this way, and with a shallow depth of field that suits food and beverage photography, including background interest items such as menus, cutlery & linen in some, and out of focus interiors such as one of their bold couches or stylish bar stools this was easily accomplished. The Adelphia Group wanted their photographs to reflect a luxurious and modern, sophisticated and trendy feel ~ they told us we did just that.

What do you think?

p.s A shout-out to Vancouver’s newest photographic transplant from Edmonton, Morgan, who lent her skills as Assistant to this shoot…thanks again Morgan!

~ j

Last week I had the pleasure of enjoying Christmas dinner a bit early. After I photographed it, that is. “How to Make Christmas Dinner” was the topic of the shoot, and Ginny Love was the chef. As PR for her new cookbook, Simply Love, we photographed every meal that one could make for your holiday feast and the steps to making it. And let me tell you, it was delicious! Thanks Ginny!

Visit Ginny’s website to read a bit about her cookbook, and head over to one of the many bookstores (listed on her website) to grab your copy.

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ingredients for Ginny's cranberry sauce

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it's almost ready...

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Ginny with the whole spread!

I thought I would continue an earlier post, divided up into part 1 and part 2, on recent books surrounding food issues that seem to be so very prevalent in our society, as there are some new interesting sounding books I’ve seen around. There was also a request from one of these earlier posts to include a short description of each book, so I’ll do that from now on too. Here goes…

•Food Security for the Faint of Heart written by Robin Wheeler, published by New Society Publishers, 2008. Wheeler, a BC resident, permaculture activist, author, teacher and founder of the Sustainable Living Arts School, writes about the trip to the grocery store we all so often take for granted. What would we do if there was no grocery store? Where would we get our food? She tries to empower her readers into re-gaining control over their food and where it comes from with chapters such as “Preserving garden food” and “Saving freezer food during a power outage”.

• The Omnivores’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals is written by Michael Pollan, published in 2007 by Penguin Press. Simply put, Pollan as a self-proclaimed omnivore, writes a narrative work in which he evaluates where his dinner could come from; specifically from fast-food/industrial, organic, or self-gathered.  Pollan also wrote In Defense of Food which I mentioned in part 1, and Botany of Desire in 2002.

• The End of Food: How the Food Industry is Destroying Our Food Supply and What You Can Do About It by Thomas F. Pawlick. I like the look of the table of contents of this book because though it starts off with chapters titled “The End of Food”, “Collateral Damage” and “The X Files” and a little tale about a tomato that won’t ripen and bounces like a red tennis ball, which all sounds pretty grim (necessary to read, but grim just the same) he follows these with chapters of solutions, called “Think Locally, Fight Locally”  and “Being Human”. I like it already. BONUS: there is an interesting interview of the author by Malcolm Jolley on Gremolata.

• Slow Food Nation by Carlo Petrini, with Forward by Alice Waters, published in 2007. Petrini has written a stack of other books on the slow food movement, is the founder and driving force of Slow Food and was recently acclaimed as a great innovator in Time Magazine’s list of European Heroes.  Slow Food Nation teaches it’s readers about the ways in which they can re-gain control of what they’re eating. BONUS: see a little youtube clip of Petrini.

And if you want to ponder the world of food in a different way, you can check out Food by John Knechtel, Editor, and Director of Alphabet City Media in Toronto, Canada. This book puts together a variety of both visual artist and writers examinations of food: healthy food, unhealthy food, new food, old food, food with emotional ties, food as it’s told from different peoples points of view. What a novel concept; this will most certainly be my next purchase. Knechtel has also edited books on the topics and appropriately titled Trash, Fuel and Suspect.

Happy reading!

~ j

What’s your Favourite Fridays has taken a couple of long weekend holidays…and it sincerely apologizes.

Back into the regular rhythym now though, and due to our recent gloomy and rainy weather we’ve been enjoying a variety of warm beverages. I am more of a dairy-free hot chocolate/any kind of tea person, while my other half can’t live without his twice-daily americanos. But what about this whole Matcha thing? I see matcha lattes everywhere, but they involve milk, and sadly this is what makes them off limits to me.  I noticed them first when we were in China in August, they love their matcha and their Starbucks over there and since ordering anything in mandarin beyond something we could point at was nearly impossible, ‘green tea’ got me 3 scoops of ground matcha powder with hot water. And, actually, it wasn’t half bad and I have since become hooked on it.

So, what’s your favourite soothing comfort drink?

A few evenings ago, we got together with some friends we hadn’t seen in while and ate for hours. About 5 hours to be exact. Funny how sitting down around a table, whether it be your table or someone else’s table, slathered in delicious food, eating and drinking for hours just makes such a perfect get together. Oh, and don’t forget about the wine. Wine helps too. Especially when it is served several bottles at a time.

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Our dear friends at Bistrot Bistro prepared yet another perfect meal amidst a chatter-filled atmosphere which we were certainly contributing to, if not driving. Warm, hearty food just seemed to keep arriving at our table, and more often than not by Chef Laurent himself. Certainly makes one feel welcome when the chef delivers your main course, doesn’t it? The melt-in-your mouth beef bourguignon is always my favourite there, and it didn’t disappoint. I tried something new to the menu this visit, a warm goat cheese gruyere tomato black olive tart, which, if you could eat goat cheese by the dainty, lady-like bucketfull like I can, would make you come back solely for this dish. And I can’t forget to tell you about the brussel sprouts: I have harsh childhood memories about being forced to eat brussel sprouts, as did a few others at the table that eve; of course they were cold and wilted after I had pushed them around on my plate for half an hour hoping that would make them appear less in quantity than I had originally been served, the taste by then resembling something close to paper towel. However, Laurent’s brussel sprouts made with molasses and tiny chunks of, what tastes like, bacon don’t remind me for even a split second of my childhood horrors; they’re amazing.

And isn’t gorging on desserts really the icing on the cake? If the cake was our dinner? Er…not that we ate cake for dinner…or that I ever eat cake for dinner. Oh, well I’m sure you get where I was going there. Specifically, we had the French sundae, Crepes Suzette for two, and the monkey waffle (too much wine actually made us have to ask what the monkey waffle was exactly…”waffles with chocolate and bananas” the patient server replies…ahhh, of course. And bring more wine with those monkey waffles! Right.

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Seriously though, gorging on food with friends is one of my favourite past times. And to our friends that not only served us but also dined with us that night, it was so good to see you all; let’s not let so long pass before we get together again

~ j

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