Food, Photography and Lifestyle Blog

Archive for May, 2010

WTF? Gardening update


Went to a garden store to sort myself out to save my own time…….Hong Kong has hit summer since 2 days and this costs me now with my full on nursery 2 times per day watering each time roughly 35 minutes as the seedlings are still small and we dont want to kill any because of an avalanche of water.

Sir, how about this model, its imported from Germany (i start to get very worried, about my wallet!) anyway I listen….Sir you see it oscilates and also you can set it up for a square or a round or even an oval garden….so I ask my garden is diamond shaped, can it hanlde that? erh…..long silence…..and a weird smile to let me know she doesnt like my question.

I ask what it costs, she tells me HK$ 800

after recovering….I ask a few simple but to the point questions, dont you have a model that doesnt oscilate but just simply swings, one without a computer chip, and one that is preferably made in china? I think it should be possible to get this for lets say less then HK$ 200, after all all it does is deliver water, whats more simple then that, right?

I’ll illustrate what I am looking for and the only thing I can find:

Simple cheap ass swaying sprinkler that works no matter what and does just what I want it to do, deliver simple water. should cost no more then HK$ 200 but sadly unavailable anywhere i look.

right you can see the queen of queens the ultimate watering tool for yuppies and bankers, at a whopping 800 HK$ a unit all it does is deliver water, its made totally out of plastic which easily breaks and comes with non removeable nozzles, so once something gets clogged you will have to buy a new one, or I guess send it back to Germany for servicing……I am surprised it doesnt come with a USB connection and  a wireless router built in!

Anyway the plants are only doing so so, and I think the constant humid and rainy season is to blame…..lucky yesterday summer weather started and I have also added some fertilizer to help kick start the foilage growth. I hope I did not overdo it with the fertilizer as that can also kill plants.

With about 100 plants potted and not much experience doing this……I start to feel quite some pressure and am eager to see some more growth on the foilage so they stop being so tiny and sensitive……for example tomorrow I am off, so no one will monitor them and with temperatures of 30+ degrees……I wonder what will I see wednesday morning. I am also still undecided about whether to stake my tomato plants or let them grow up some tomato thread suspended from above….anyone with any opinions on this? for the Cucumbers & squashes I will have some metal grating to let them grow up against.

anyway for now I just bought something like this so I can rain water instead of inundate plants with water and dislodge everything each day.

Luckily its made in China, cheap as  water, and does just what I want, deliver water…..just a shame that I still have to stand behind it though…..oh well gues I’ll have to go buy a garden chair as well now.

Ciao

Farmer Marco

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Panorama’s and other no brainers


With the emphasis on No Brainers, because today I set out from work on time thinking to be just in time to catch twilight……..off course it would never occur to me that my camera bag had been laying the whole day in a freezing room, and that the outside temperature was 30 degrees and humidity must have been about 90 % …..so you get it all? I took my cam out of the bag and thought to go to work……..but……i had to wait 45 minutes to let it dry up again as the condensation was almost, just not yet, nearly dripping down!

Man oh man could I hit myself on the head with that Brick someone gave me! I have always said to myself in HK with summer heat, always let your camera adjust before unpacking or opening anything.

Anyway the result was that twilight was over and thus i had no other chance then just wait and see for 8 oclock for the light show, but what a boring feat that is man, I dont understand all the tourists come to look at some lightbulbs shining across a harbour! If you havent seen it yet, take my advice, dont waste your time on it, by al means come and see HK’s skyline, but dont stay waiting for the 8 o’clock show, it’s a joke.

anyway here some images of the event and one image at last to show how funny things can be when your practicing and it goes all wrong…sometimes that’s just worth saving

If you wish to see the images in larger size feel free to visit my flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/marcoveringa/


Food Photo Festival…..here we come?


Annette Abstoss send this to me from Spain…..now I am thinking of trying to go for a week break away, followed maybe by a stop over back home….who shows me the money? I so wish to go to this……a week of Tarragona, doing what I like etc …..will set up a piggy bank tomorrow!

Perhaps see you there?

Ciao

– FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE –

Announcing the first international FOODPHOTO FESTIVAL, Tarragona

The best Food Photographers from all over the world will meet in Tarragona for exhibitions, workshops and networking.

The best Food Photographers from all over the world will meet for the very first time in a branch meeting with food stylists, editors, agents, advertising agencies, and art directors. Networking will be made possible in a relaxed atmosphere of the “Tinglado 4”, workshops in the “Refugio 2” and photography exhibitions will be spread over patios and unique exhibition spaces in the center and harbour of Tarragona in the beginning of October. The evening movie screenings and the award ceremony of the “FoodPhoto of the year” will take place in the open-air location of the “Camp de Mart”.

In short:

20 Exhibitions of worldwide known Food Photographers
4 days of networking of the professionals
4 days of workshops
4 evenings of movie screenings
Award ceremony
Educational Week

Tarragona, Spain – 17 May 2010

During the last decade, Spain has become a trailblazer in the world of haute cuisine. It has experienced an explosion of successes with its celebrated chefs, acclaimed restaurants and culinary innovations. Is it any wonder that the first international food photography exhibit – the FOODPHOTO Festival – will be held in Tarragona, Spain this coming October 2010?

These unique photography exhibitions, free and open to the public, will take place over a period of three weeks, in locations throughout Tarragona. In addition, there will be a four-day Professional Conference, culminating in the awarding of FoodPhoto of the Year.

Why a FoodPhoto Festival?

“If you can shoot food, you can shoot anything.” (shutterbug.com). Professionals consider food photography one of the most difficult specialties to master. The field generates more publications, greater sales and a larger audience then any other discipline. Yet in spite of this, names of the photographers remain mostly unknown. Jamie Oliver’s cookbooks are sold throughout the world, in many languages.  But who shoots his pictures? The FoodPhoto festival will help bring these people into the forefront!

Who will participate in the FoodPhoto Festival?

Professional photographers and food stylists, of course, will be in attendance. But there will also be agents, editors, publishers, advertising agencies, art directors and professionals from the vast gastronomic sector. These people will be coming together to combine their skills, display their work and most of all – to share their passion with others.

HYPERLINK “http://www.foodphotofestival.org/index.php/exhibitions.html”Exhibition Dates:  From 30 September – 17 October 2010
HYPERLINK “http://www.foodphotofestival.org/index.php/exhibitions.html”http://www.foodphotofestival.org/index.php/exhibitions.html
The FoodPhoto Festival will run from 30 September to 17 October. Venues will be scattered throughout Tarragona – from its exquisite city center to its beautiful harbor. The final selection of exhibitors will be released in June.

Professional Week:  HYPERLINK “http://www.foodphotofestival.org/index.php/professional_week.html”30 September – 3 October 2010

During the FoodPhoto Festival’s Professional Week,  food photography professionals from all over the world will join together. These four days will provide a rare opportunity for people to meet others in their field; facilitate an interchange of experiences; discuss trends; discover new products and find partners for the realization of new projects.  Specialized workshops will be organized.

The Networking Center will be open and accessible to accredited visitors.

On the evenings of Thursday, September 30 – Saturday, October 2, movie screenings will be shown, highlighting the work of the photographers who are nominated for the FoodPhoto Festival awards.

FoodPhoto of the Year

An international jury will meet in Tarragona and select the FoodPhoto of the Year. The award ceremony, the culmination of this exciting show,  will take place on Saturday night, October 2.

Educational Week: 4 October – 8 October

From 4 – 8 October, guided tours and special workshops directed towards those studying in the field will be organized.

Location: Tarragona, Spain

This glorious city – with its Roman and Medieval ruins, historical city center, gorgeous beaches and magnificent harbor – will provide a perfect setting for the first annual FoodPhoto Festival. The city is proud to be the host for the festival and looks forward to welcoming visitors from all over the world.

About the Organizers:

The organizers are photographer Gunter Beer and Events Organizer Manon Straver. Combined, they have several decades of experience in their respective fields. They have assembled a talented team of experts to produce this festival. They are very pleased to count with the collaboration of the Tarragona counsel of Tourism to realize the festival.
For more information:
FoodPhoto Festival organization:
Manon Straver (+34 651513300)
Gunter Beer (+34 607228294)

HYPERLINK “mailto:OCT2010@foodphotofestival.org”OCT2010@foodphotofestival.org
HYPERLINK “http://www.foodphotofestival.org/”www.foodphotofestival.org


Food Poisoning, probably not caused by your last meal!


Being in Hong Kong, the city of panic, Doctors tell their clients often that they suffer from food poisoning, and whilst that may be the case (how can you tell just from listening to a set of symptoms) it is most likely not caused by your last meal which is so often misunderstood. So here for those who are unsure a list of causes and incubation periods for a disease to develop. Think of this next time you tell your Chef he has poisoned you.

If you suffer with food poisoning it could have come from something you ate several hours ago or even many days ago SO not necessarily your last meal.

Which Bacteria are Responsible for Food-borne Illness?

Some bacteria cause more serious illness than others, but only a few are responsible for the majority of cases. Below is information regarding nine prominent bacteria.

Campylobacter jejuni

Found: intestinal tracts of animals and birds, raw milk, untreated water, and sewage sludge.

Transmission: contaminated water, raw milk, and raw or under-cooked meat, poultry, or shellfish.

Symptoms: fever, headache, and muscle pain followed by diarrhea (sometimes bloody), abdominal pain and nausea that appear 2 to 5 days after eating; may last 7 to 10 days.

Clostridium botulinum

Found: widely distributed in nature: in soil and water, on plants, and in intestinal tracts of animals and fish. Grows only in little or no oxygen.

Transmission: bacteria produce a toxin that causes illness. Improperly canned foods, garlic in oil, and vacuum-packaged and tightly wrapped food.

Symptoms: toxin affects the nervous system. Symptoms usually appear within 18 to 36 hours, but can sometimes appear within as few as 4 hours or as many as 8 days after eating; double vision, droopy eyelids, trouble speaking and swallowing, and difficulty breathing. Fatal in 3 to 10 days if not treated.

Clostridium perfringens

Found: soil, dust, sewage, and intestinal tracts of animals and humans. Grows only in little or no oxygen.

Transmission: called “the cafeteria germ” because many outbreaks result from food left for long periods in steam tables or at room temperature. Bacteria destroyed by cooking, but some toxin-producing spores may survive.

Symptoms: diarrhea and gas pains may appear 8 to 24 hours after eating; usually last about 1 day, but less severe symptoms may persist for 1 to 2 weeks.

Escherichia coli O157:H7

Found: intestinal tracts of some mammals, raw milk, unchlorinated water; one of several strains of E. coli that can cause human illness.

Transmission: contaminated water, raw milk, raw or rare ground beef, unpasteurized apple juice or cider, uncooked fruits and vegetables; person-to-person.

Symptoms: diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, and malaise; can begin 2 to 5 days after food is eaten, lasting about 8 days. Some, especially the very young, have developed Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) that causes acute kidney failure. A similar illness, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP), may occur in older adults.

Salmonella (over 1600 types)

Found: intestinal tract and feces of animals; Salmonella enteritidis in raw eggs.

Transmission: raw or undercooked eggs, poultry, and meat; raw milk and dairy products; seafood.

Symptoms: stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea, chills, fever, and headache usually appear 6 to 48 hours after eating; may last 1 to 2 days.

Streptococcus A

Found: noses, throats, pus, sputum, blood, and stools of humans.

Transmission: people-to-food from poor hygiene, ill food handlers, or improper food handling; outbreaks from raw milk, ice cream, eggs, lobster, salads, custard, and pudding allowed to stand at room temperature for several hours between preparation and eating.

Symptoms: sore throat, painful swallowing, tonsillitis, high fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, malaise; occurs 1 to 3 days after eating, lasting a few days to about a week.

Listeria monocytogenes

Found: intestinal tracts of humans and animals, milk, soil, leaf vegetables, and processed foods; can grow slowly at refrigerator temperatures.

Transmission: soft cheese, raw milk, improperly processed ice cream, raw leafy vegetables, meat, and poultry. Illness caused by bacteria that do not produce toxin.

Symptoms: fever, chills, headache, backache, sometimes abdominal pain and diarrhea; 12 hours to 3 weeks after ingestion; may later develop more serious illness (meningitis or spontaneous abortion in pregnant women); sometimes just fatigue.

Shigella (over 30 types)

Found: human intestinal tract; rarely found in other animals.

Transmission: person-to-person by fecal-oral route; fecal contamination of food and water. Most outbreaks result from food, especially salads, prepared and handled by workers using poor personal hygiene.

Symptoms: disease referred to as “shigellosis” or bacillary dysentery. Diarrhea containing blood and mucus, fever, abdominal cramps, chills, vomiting; 12 to 50 hours from ingestion of bacteria; can last a few days to 2 weeks. Sometimes, no symptoms seen.

Staphylococcus aureus

Found: on humans (skin, infected cuts, pimples, noses, and throats).

Transmission: people-to-food through improper handling. Multiply rapidly at room temperature to produce a toxin that causes illness.

Symptoms: severe nausea, abdominal cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea occur 1 to 6 hours after eating; recovery within 2 to 3 days—longer if severe dehydration occurs.


Hong Kong Strobist Group Night Time Outing May 27th 7 PM


Organizer Ekmai from the HKSG organizes a night time outing, I will post all details below, but to join you need to sign up on meetup, its free of charge and only takes a minute.

WE ALSO LOOKING FOR 5-6 MODELS SO IF YOU FANCY SOME NICE PORTRAITS WITH hk SKYLINE OR BUILDINGS AS A BACKGROUND, PLS LET ME KNOW!!

Here is the link, and below all details: http://www.meetup.com/Hong-Kong-Strobist-Group/calendar/13420826/

“Ekmai says”: This month I thought it would be fun to try getting some cool night shots with the bright lights of Hong Kong as colourful backdrops and using strobes to perfectly light the subjects.

Two options we could do for this are
a) businesspeople shots with Central making the perfect backdrop (using each other as models)
b) edgy/fashion/portrait (see Jun’s photo that we use as the club logo above left) (bring and share your models)

To make the most of the night you will need to bring a tripod as well as light stands, umbrellas and colour correction gels.
Also, the HK-Land guards in Central can be a pain, so we will be in groups of 3 as usual – one shooting, and the other two holding the strobes in the busy Central districts so we wont attract too much attention.

If anyone has any friends who can model for us, or if the models on HK Strobist want to model for us, please let me know. Ideally, we need 5 models. If not, we will need to pose for each other so suggest the guys wear a shirt and tie and women skirt and blouse.

Location

Central
(The big open area opposite Cheung Kong Centre, infront of the pool)
Hong Kong


A Little food shoot with Waltraud!


Waltraud, a very humble lady, talking about very simple cakes, not much decoration etc……but ha ha haha……did she get me, she bakes the tastiest cakes I have tasted in years! and they are lovely decorated as well…what a surprise when I arrived to shoot these lovely cakes.

I only had a chance to taste the cakes after I got home and she gave me a Doggie Bag of all to taste…..man was I enjoying, my picky wife even said she loved it…..so next time if you need a cake, and you want to impress, think about asking Waltraud to bake for you, she does this from her home in which she has a mini bakery established, you wont find any automated processes or any cake looking twice the same, as everything is hand crafted and she use only the best ingredients.

If you need her contacts, give me a buzz!


Garden Update — Snail Snail, go away come again another day!


So here you have it, my vegetables will have to be not so organic as our garden seems to be overloaded with snails, 3 pots are completely eaten, and the rest have been used as starters for tomorrow’s banquet it seems.

Tomato plant half eaten

Tomato plant half eaten

So yes I have now used pesticide, be it only 1/10th of the recommended dose, and I sprayed most of it on the planks and outer part of the pots which is the way the slugs must reach there, unless they are Ninja slugs and leap through the sky to them, so most of the plant hasn’t really been touched by the pesticide…..because I really would like to have healthy veggies and not poisoned stuff! This also means that the copper plates I placed on top the soil doesn’t help at all, its supposed to scare away slugs and snails, but well luckily they only cost HK$ 10 for a pack of 8. so there you go that was a waste.

I think I am going to put everything high of the ground on tables until the plants become to big as soon as my bird cage is ready, here is a picture of the garden with the seedlings kept under the green tent and the frame ready for being covered by nets for the bigger plants, a door will be made in it and the thing can be enlarged by placing more frames next to each other, cheap and cheerful.

Garden area

Garden area

View from above, wouldnt say this is right next to a busy road

View from above, wouldnt say this is right next to a busy road

Right hand side of the picture here above you can just see the edge of some concrete steps which are under repair now, and will most likely become a big potted herb garden over time, straight ahead there are already 3 big pots of mint growing and ready to go onto the steps.

anyway that far for the update!

oops, just managed to finally order some more seeds, so on the way are now also:

Green Zuchinni, Lemon Balm, Basil, Thyme, Lemon Thyme, Chives, Chervil, Lavender, Marjoram, Mint, Black Italian eggplant, asian eggplant, white baby eggplant, cucumbers, pickling gherkins, patty pan squash to name a few.

Until later, Ciao