Thursday, May 29, 2008

cooking class

we start the class off with a fritata that the chef created, plus a drink if you wish.

our wonderful work stations with gas range, awesome pans, really cool tools and knives to drool over.

my grilled mahi mahi. i must say, i was quite proud of my plating skills.

my christmas present to andre last year was a cooking class at calphalon culinary centre. after a rescheduling due to a business trip, we finally were able to take the 'fish 101' class.

despite the annoying nouveau riche type, name droppers (sorry but the class doesn't care that you shop at pusateri's, nor do we care that you had the most 'amazing red snapper in st. maarten last week') we had so much fun!

this was a hands on class and in 3 hours we created four delectable dishes:
Snapper Satays with Mango Dipping Sauce
Grilled Mahi Mahi with Soy
Pan-seared Salmon with Pesto Crust
Sole en Papillotte

we actually filleted the red snapper in the first dish (so much fun!) and created the pesto from scratch without using a blender. we learned about the sad fact that wild salmon is extremely rare in ontario, high-end knives get thicker closer to the handle and fresh fish is best purchased on a wednesday or thursday in toronto.

i even got a personal tutorial on chopping from the assistant instructor - always keep the tip of the knife on the cutting board and raise your elbow!

we came out of the class with enough food to last us for 2 days, plus new and exciting knowledge about fish. so. much. fun.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

overheard in toronto

ttc sketch: sept 14, 2007 last year i spent a good deal sketching people while riding public transit. i was never able to successfully sketch people from the front, so most of these are drawings of the backs of people's heads. i couldn't get over the uncomfortable eye contact i would get from people i would sketch from the front.

although many convos overheard on public transit can be nauseatingly annoying, sometimes you can hear some real gems. this is one great one i heard after 2 girls rollerblading hand in hand passed by:

frat boy that got a summer jobdowntown through his parent's connections #1: god i LOVE this city
frat boy that got a summer job in downtown through his parent's connections #2:ya! asian girls on rollerblades?
fbtgasjdthpc #1: ya that just makes my day.

i wish there were a toronto version of overheard in new york. i'd have so many submissions!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

teenage me meme

teenage me

my first ever meme: draw yourself as a teen that my BFF from high school introduced me to.

14 year old me was still quite insecure but hot headed. back then friendship drama was at it's peak and if i had access to a cellphone i'd be one of those people on public transit having the 'she said this and he said that, i can't believe it!' convos. i was really into japanese manga and was just realizing how much i loved art. sadly, despite trading BFF necklaces with several girls i didn't have any super close friends, other than my sisters.

17 year old me found two great girls to obsess over beatles and manga with, dream about being roomates in kitsilano, skip class at our university style high school (only meaning that teachers didn't care about attendance) and to draw and paint with.

i was lucky enough to go to a high school where we didn't have to deal with popularity cliques, school dances (no ticket sales meant that they got cancelled) and petty things like attendance records. the school spirit was so low in this high school that when i lied and said that they didn't keep track of honour roll my parents believed me.

it was nice to be in an environment where kids respected each other for being individuals instead of being worried about shallow things like the 'in' shoes. thanks to the lack of cliques, i made so many friends that in a more traditional high school setting would have been harder to do.

Monday, May 12, 2008

recent miscellany

henry vi, part i
i can't say that my introduction to shakespearean drama was particularly inspiring -- the productions i had seen at ubc were cheesy at best, with the en-masse death scene endings always eliciting unwanted chuckles from the audience. mostly i've stuck with shakespeare's well-known comedies for viewing in london: much ado about nothing, a midsummer night's dream, twelth night, etc etc.

so i have to say i was a bit skeptical walking into henry vi, part i (what, there are three parts???), one of a series of less-frequently performed historical plays put on this spring by the royal shakespeare company at the roundhouse. and.. amazing what good actors can do with simple dramatic lighting, a set of drums, gooey fake blood, and, well, good acting! the play was tense, absorbing and psychologically thrilling -- even scary in parts! a performance by the rsc is probably as professional as it comes -- the calibre of acting was really fantastic -- in fact, D had seen an rsc production of the same play many years ago with an as-yet undiscovered ralph fiennes in the title role. call me converted.

richmond to windsor bike ride
did i really survive this?? english springtime is finally here -- just in time for the annual 30 mile bike ride my ex-flatmate organizes. there were 15 of us in total, and, as expected, i was at the back of the pack the entire journey along the lovely river thames footpath -- dusty and narrow in some bits, with huge leafy trees providing shade, and cemented wide boulevards in other parts.

despite achy knees and slow progress (for me) it was a great way to see how the other half lives -- some of the houses flanking both sides of the river are amazing -- some with sprawling grounds (not just a garden, but grounds) -- which in these parts you probably either inherit or buy after winning the lottery.

true stories on more 4
channel 4 -- known for producing slightly alternative, sometimes blatantly biased, but always interesting and highly addictive -- programming has spawned many a channel aimed at various audiences, in addition to the original (home to happy-d's fave location, location, location): e4 for the "o.c." set; more 4 for the sometimes politically interested; and -- perhaps the most well-known across the pond -- film 4, sponsoring some truly excellent british films.

more 4 has been airing over the last several months a "true story" every week -- thought-provoking documentaries from around the world. two i've seen that are really worth finding, if you get a chance, are taking liberties (a doc about how our, and specifically british, civil freedoms have eroded over the past decade in the wake of the "age of terror"), and our daily bread (which, if not enough to turn you into a vegetarian, certainly makes you skip a few meals of meat and mass-produced veg sprayed with who-knows-what in preference for something organic). both were released awhile ago, so should be available on dvd.

photos: brighton pier before a storm; "high rocks", near tunbridge wells; a lovely wedding (on a rainy day)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

why i'm addicted to the internet - part deux

the sartorialist
i can't believe it took me so long to discover this blog. in september 2005, blog author scott schuman closed his boutique, left the hoity-toity haute couture world and picked up his camera to study street fashion in new york.

his photos are always perfectly lit and his compositions are so great. although it seems like he's travelling to a lot of exotic places these days, i still love his NYC shots the best. he has a way of making the uber-urban setting so warm. plus, this kind of street fashion photography is something that i wanted to do in canada...but of course, never put the idea into action.

love. love. love.

shine pet photography
awesome pet photography (sorry cat lovers, there are way more dog photos here). i can't get enough of her blog.

alone in kudamatsu
i've been following this blog since it's inception. if you start from the beginning, you can follow blogger and illustrator jeanette as she gets screwed by one of japan's biggest english language schools (that went bankrupt) as she slowly gets used to living in japan.

understandably, some of the posts get quite negative but she always has a great sense of humour and it's always a treat when she publishes her sketches.