PATHfinder guide: ART-photography

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The subject of photography as a possible art form rewards thought. So so many pictures have been taken. So many times three-dimensional reality has been reduced to two dimensions. What does it all come to? Is it just desire, and hope, or dream triggering muscular responses and brain synapses; or can photographic images authored by humans sometimes result in art? Art is a filtration, order from chaos. A Jackson Pollock painting of the exceptional kind is, believe it or not; an example of order from chaos. Chaos is infinite. What didn’t he include? Filtration. Order from chaos. Art.

A characteristic of art is that it rewards more than once. A rereading, or a reviewing, or a relistening rewards again. And again. And again. And ten years later, again. A seemingly bottomless well you fall down, tumbling and spinning and reaching out to grasp the changing reality of the experience. Don’t worry, it is a smiling thing and you will be happy for the falling and the tumbling and the spinning. My personal epiphany of this fact was the novel Moby Dick by Herman Melville. Every rereading has presented me with a different aspect of a work of art. Has a beautiful woman ever been looked at just once?

Are great, exceptional photographic images like this; or are most of them in the one-and-done category? If the best picture you have taken and/or the best picture you have ever seen is in the one-and-done category than it is not art. Not a deal breaker, you will still have fun with your camera; but an important definition.

You see this all the time in photo gallery shows. One look and people keep walking. Easy to blame the ignorant viewer but remember, these are the people who came to the show. Maybe it is not all their fault if a picture does not make them stop, and stare, and look, and ponder; and then restare and relook and reponder. Maybe a better way to think of these gallery goers is that they are searchers. Searching for the image that will compel them to stop. Searching unknowingly or subconsciously for art. The pretty girl in the singles bars knows what she is doing. She is a searcher. She is searching for the man experience that will make her eyes dilate and her heart race. She is looking for the male work of art.

Do people look at your photographs twice? Three times? Four times? Do they remember your photographs and think about your photographs when they are no longer standing in front of them? Do they look at your photographs from different angles, or distances, or different light sources? Maybe that should be a part of the big photography equation: to ask yourself how many times viewers are going to relook at your picture before you take the picture. If you do not take the picture are you going to remember it tomorrow or is it already forgotten? Well, if it is already forgotten, maybe it was not worthy in the first place.

Michelangelo’s sculpture Pieta was not a walk-on-by or one-and-done when he completed it and he knew it. He had the certainty of an artist completing a masterpiece. Do any of your pictures give you that feeling of certainty? Yes, delusion counts. I know it sounds silly or charitable, but at least you are on the right track. If you have taken five hundred pictures and you cannot offer up one example of what I am talking about maybe it is time to ask yourself what you are doing.

Daniel Tammet in his book Thinking in Numbers says: “I am reminded of Nabokov’s view that we can never read a book: we can only reread it. “A good reader, a major reader, and active and creative reader,” says Nabokov, “is a rereader.” Initial readings, he explains are always laborious, a “process of learning in terms of space and time what the book is about, this stands between us and artistic appreciation.”

In other words, the first time someone sees one of your photographs all they can do is register its existence. It’s too soon for finessing the experience. Rods and cones are too busy sending information to the brain to be registered as data. It is only on the reviewing, and the looking again, and the repeated gaze that the viewer can recognize how you have filtered order from chaos, created art. But the first interruption of the viewers reality state has to be compelling enough to make someone look again, and again, and again. This may only happen in a second or a part of a second, but the repetition has to be there for the picture to receive the attention that it maybe deserves. With a beautiful woman it is called art. The older man calls it seduction. How about your photos? Are they seducing? Should you be thinking more about art?

Are you walking around the Kingdom with a camera in your pocket or hanging around your neck? Are you looking for details, themes, novelty, the pretty girl’s smile? I see stories in Thailand to be a story-a-day place. But what of photography? How come I am not lugging a camera around if I am so smart and clever and alert and so sensitive to my environment? Simple. For me, I know my limits. I can see or feel a story easily, not so easily a picture. It has taken me a long time to accept the fact that pictures can sometimes be art. It will probably take forever for me to delude myself that I can recognize two-dimensional art (pictures). If you can see pictures-as-art where I can not see pictures-as-art: I respect your abilities. I wish I could mine the Kingdom for photographic art.

An ex-pat Internet friend of mine sends me with regularity pictures of meals-food-place settings-eating as a marker of civilization. His use of the camera

to mark civilizations slog out of the muck and the mire to brighter, happier days is inspirational. Almost art. Beyond what I can do. The argument could be made that he is getting more out of the Thai experience than I am getting out of the Thai experience.

Today he sent me a food-place setting picture from Pai with middle ground of crops and plantings–background of mountains and sky. The foreground was the table and place setting with a nice vase full of wild flowers. Art? No, not quite. Very close and in my opinion maybe his best work. But the distance between almost art and photography in the Kingdom as art is a great gap for the spark to jump. I wish I could do what he can do. I wish I could mine the Kingdom for photographic art.

You can see on our web-site “Thai-Retreats” galleries from Thailand-based photographers who are specialists in “ART-photography”.

Switch to our section  “THAI ART-photography” to learn more.

VIRTUAL TEA TRIP

VIRTUAL TEA TRIP
There are thousands of different tea varieties out there, with many unique teas found only in certain parts of the world. Yet, despite the seemingly endless range of teas available, they all originate from one plant – Camellia sinensis. It is the different ways in which the tea leaves are harvested and processed that creates the various tea types.
Although one could spend a lifetime tasting and studying all these different teas, and in fact some Tea Masters do, all of the teas can be divide into a few types: white, green, yellow, oolong, pu erh, black and herbal.
 
The quality and character of the tea, not unlike wine, is also affected by altitude it is grown at, the climate and annual weather, the seasonality of the region it is grown at and the type soil. Although tea plants are very adaptable, allowing it to grow in many different locations, better quality teas tend to be grown at higher altitudes and also prefer a humid climate with some seasonality.
 
In terms of actual tea manufacturing, the main term to remember is oxidation, which is a chemical reaction that involves oxygen, and in case of tea, also enzymes. It is responsible for the darkening of the tea leaves, which in turn results in different flavours of the finished product. It is the same process that makes an apple turn brown when you take a bite out of it. Depending on the tea type, oxidation might be encouraged by bruising the leaves or actively avoided.
 
WHITE TEA
The term ‘white tea’ derives from the tiny silver-white hairs that can be found on the delicate, unopened leaf buds. It is traditionally made using that just little bud, but certain varieties also add one or two of the youngest leaves. It is an unoxidized type of tea with a fairly straight forward manufacturing process. The bud (and the young leaves) are picked with care, to avoid damaging the leaves, which could start oxidation. The tea is then left to dry, ideally directly in the sun, but special drying rooms are also used.
The infusion is very light, usually ranging in very pale yellows and greens hues, with a subtle and delicate flavour. It is very rich in antioxidants and a cup of white tea contains the least of caffeine out of all the tea types. Surf to the “WHITE TEA section” on GEE SÈN
GREEN TEA
Green tea, another type of unoxidiZed tea, dates back to Ancient China and it is the first type of tea to be ever manufactured. Over the centuries it has spread to other countries, but the best varieties of green tea traditionally come from China and Japan. Like with white tea, no chemical changes take place within the leaf. Although green tea will be sometimes left to wither to reduce its water content, oxidation is mainly avoided through the use of heat which kills the enzymes. Steaming (Japan) and pan-firing (China) are the two main methods, each producing a tea with a different character. The leaves then undergo an alternating set of rolling and firing, which both dries and forms the leaf. Sometimes the rolling is done by hand, creating distinct shapes, such as the pine needle resembling Lung Ching or the little pellets of China Gunpowder.
Finally, the tea leaves are dried until the water content reaches 5-6%. Surf to the “ GREEN TEA section ” on GEE SÈN
 
YELLOW TEA
Yellow teas are an expensive Chinese speciality and they tend to be amid the rarest of teas. They are produced in a very similar way as green tea, with the difference that there is an additional step added of post-enzymatic oxidation. First, the enzymes are destroyed with pan-firing. Then the leaves are warmed with light firing and stored under special mats or damp cloths for a few hours, steaming the tea in the process. This is repeated until the desired look and aroma is achieved. The resulting tea leaves have a distinct yellow-green colour. The infusion is similarly yellow-green and pale, lacking some of the grassy flavours so typical of green teas and instead offering a more mellow and sweet cup. Oolong teas, sometimes also known as blue teas, are partially oxidized teas, with the most known varieties originating from Taiwan and China. The name ‘oolong’ derives from the Chinese term ‘black dragon teas’.
 
These teas are greatly appreciated by tea connoisseurs, due to their complex character and often distinct fruity, nutty and even floral flavours and aromas. Oolongs are somewhere between green and black teas and as such they often exhibit the delightful freshness of green teas and the enticing maturity of fully oxidized teas. The names of the more traditional varieties are often very poetic, for example Iron Goddess of Mercy (Tie Guan Yin) or Big Red Robe (Da Hong Pao). Although the manufacturing process does in many ways resemble that of a black tea, oolong’s preparation requires great attention to both temperatures and timing of the various stages. Additionally, the whole process is not entirely linear, with certain steps repeated many times until the right level of oxidation is reached.
 
The general production cycle consists of picking the leaves and letting them wither to reduce the water content. The oxidation process is initialized by rolling the leaves in special baskets, causing just the edges of the leaves to bruise. The enzymes are then killed off with quick firing. Leaf rolling and shaping and then final drying comes ends the cycle. Although the range of oxidation can vary from few percent to nearly 90%, the typical oolong will have a 70% level of oxidation. Surf to the “ YELLOW TEA section ”
on GEE SÈN
 
Pu Erh
Pu erh is the only type of tea to actually undergo microbial fermentation. This highly prized tea was first produced in the Yunnan province and remained an exclusive Chinese speciality for many centuries, due to the region’s unique climate and soil type.
It was also this tea that the Chinese labelled black, whereas the tea type invented in mid-17th century for the European market, was called red tea. The discrepancy resulted from the fact that Westerners labelled the tea types based on the leaf colour, whereas China and surrounding countries based the names on infusion colour. Pu erh teas are characterized by the distinct earthy, woody if not slightly ‘mouldy’ flavours and aromas. These post-fermented teas often prove to be a bit of an acquired taste. They are considered to have special health benefits, which lends into their growing popularity in the West. They are predominantly believed to aid with digestion, high cholesterol and might even help shed a few extra pounds.
 
There are two types of pu erh teas – raw and ripe, the latter often being more appealing to the typical Western pallet. The raw pu erhs are the traditional ones and more expensive of the two, due to the long aging process, sometimes selling for thousands of pounds. To create a raw pu erh the leaves are withered and pan-fired to kill off the enzymes. This is followed by a rolling and kneading stage, after which the leaves are steamed and left to mature for up to a year. During this period, the water content in the leaves and oxygen in the air begin the fermentation process. The leaves are eventually pressed into cakes and aged for up to 50 years in controlled conditions. The longer the tea is left to mature, the smoother and less bitter its flavour becomes. The ripe or cooked pu erh was invented in the 70s, in order to replicate the distinct flavour of the post-fermented teas but in a shorter production cycle. The leaves are picked and withered and then mixed with water that contains bacterial cultures taken from long aged raw pu erhs. The leaves are then piled for up to 40 days, occasionally stirred to spread the heat and bacteria evenly through the heap. Some ageing takes place at the end to kill off the fermentation, resulting in earthy and mellow teas, that unfortunately lack the extraordinary complexity of raw pu erhs. Surf to the “ Pu Erh section ” on GEE SÈN
 
BLACK TEA
Black teas are the most oxidised of all tea types and because of that also tend to have the strongest flavours. It is most likely the most popular tea type in the world, apart from certain countries such as China. Unlike the less oxisides teas, it has a relatively long shelf life, allowing the compressed bricks of tea to travel across the world and become an important part of trade for many countries. Its production method varies vastly from country to country, but these can be divided into two main categories – orthodox and more modern CTC. Countries such as China, India and Sri Lanka and also Taiwan prefer the orthodox method, which is more time and labour consuming, but results in higher quality tea. After plucking, the leaves are left to wither to reduce the water content. This is followed by a bruising phase, where the leaves are rolled and pressed, which in turn starts the oxidation process.
 
A short cycle of sieving and further rolling can also take place, until the leaves are left to oxidised for a short period of time. Eventually the leaves are fired to end the oxidation and dried. The ‘Cut, Tea and Curl’ method, or CTC for short, is used primarily employed in the tea bag industry as it involves tearing off the leaves into very small parts, which produce a strong cup with a short brew due to the increased surface area. Surf to the “ BLACK TEA section ” on GEE SÈN
 
HERBAL TEA & FRUIT TEA
Initially introduced in the 1950s, on the back of the growing popularity of teabags, CTC involves similar stages to the orthodox method, with the difference that instead of rolling and pressing, the leaves are machine chopped. Herbals, including rooibos, and fruit teas encompass a very wide variety of teas that do not contain the tea leaf and as such have no caffeine content. They can be drunk throughout the day and are a great alternative for anyone who’s looking to avoid caffeine.
 
Herbal teas can be generally divided into two main categories – mono herbs such as chamomile flowers or peppermint and more complex blends of various herbs and spices, which in the case of Camellia’s Tea House, are designed to aid with specific health ailments. Fruits tea consists mostly of an array of dried fruits, from sweet to more tangy, which also work great as iced teas. Surf to the “ HERBAL TEA section ” on GEE SÈN, or Surf to the “ FRUIT TEA section ” on GEE SÈN

KeWa-E-oven recipe; Salmon with cauliflower and kale

Salmon-with-cauliflower-and-kale

Fresh and delicious with a Nordic touch

Treat yourself to a healthy meal made with simple and delicious nordic ingredients. In this recipe Salmon, a great source of omega-3, is cooked sous-vide with steam to preserve all vitamins and minerals. It is then paired with both cauliflower and vitamin-rich kale to make a fresh and delicious dish.

Ingredients

  1. 140 g of salmon fillet
  2. 500 g of cauliflower
  3. 1 liter of veggie soup stock
  4. 500 g of soy milk
  5. 100 g of apple vinegar
  6. 1 pack of kale  
  7. 50 g of olive oil
  8. Salt, brown sugar

 

Step 1

Split the cauliflower into pieces. Cut the very tip of the truss and set aside, make a couscous-like blend of it. Choose few the very best pieces and slice them thinly with a slicer.

Step 2

Put the fish into a sous vide bag and vacuum it with the Electrolux vacuum sealer.

Step 3

Cook the cauliflower in a saucepan on induction until half ready. Drain the water, add soy milk and cook until done. Put the cauliflower into the Electrolux MasterPiece blender, add a little milk from the cabbage boil and puree at a maximum speed for 3 minutes. Add the melted butter and puree once again for 3 minutes. If necessary, add some milk to get the desired consistency. Salt to taste.

Step 4

Set the “Electrolux CombiSteamPro” oven to Low temperature cooking mode (51 degrees Celcius). Place the sous vide bags with salmon in the oven for 25 minutes.

Thanks to vacuum packaging and low temperature the fish will keep its stunning taste and get incredibly delicate texture.

Step 5

Take a small bowl and mix vinegar and water, salt and sugar, and a little grape seed oil. Pour this vinegar pickle on the finely sliced cauliflower and mix well. When the fish is cooked, remove it from the bag and pat dry on a towel. For serving, place a spoonful of the puree on a plate with the salmon on top. Decorate with pickled cauliflower, a leaf of kale and cauliflower couscous

KeWa-QR

QRpedia is een op het mobiel internet gebaseerd systeem dat gebruikmaakt van QR-code om Wikipedia-artikelen te leveren aan gebruikers in hun voorkeurstaal. QR-codes die direct kunnen worden gelinkt aan iedere Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) kunnen eenvoudig worden gegenereerd, maar het QRpedia-systeem voegt meer functionaliteit toe. Het is sinds 2011 in gebruik bij instellingen, waaronder musea in het Verenigd Koninkrijk, de Verenigde Staten en Spanje. De broncode van het project is vrij herbruikbaar onder de MIT-licentie.

PROCES

Wanneer een gebruiker een QR-code van QRpedia scant op zijn of haar mobiele apparaat, decodeert het apparaat de QR-code naar een Uniform Resource Locator (URL), met gebruikmaking van de domeinnaam “qrwp.org”, en waarvan het pad (laatste deel) de titel is van een Wikipedia-artikel, en stuurt een verzoek voor het artikel in de URL van de QRpedia-webserver. Het zendt ook de taalinstelling van het apparaat mee.

De QRpedia-server gebruikt dan de API van Wikipedia om te bepalen of er een versie van het opgegeven Wikipedia-artikel is in de taal die gebruikt wordt door het apparaat. Zo ja, dan zendt deze het artikel terug in een mobiel-vriendelijk formaat. Als er geen versie van het artikel beschikbaar in de gewenste taal, voert de QRpedia-server een zoekopdracht uit naar de titel van het artikel op Wikipedia in de desbetreffende taal, en geeft de resultaten.

Op deze manier kan een QR-code hetzelfde artikel in vele talen leveren, zelfs als de instelling (in dit voorbeeld het museum) niet in staat is om zijn eigen vertalingen te maken. QRpedia houdt ook gebruiksstatistieken bij.

QRpedia werd bedacht door Roger Bamkin, voorzitter van Wikimedia UK, en Terence Eden, een mobiel-internetconsultant. Het werd op 9 april 2011 onthuld bij het Backstage Pass-gebeuren bij het Derby Museum, onderdeel van de GLAM/Derby-samenwerking tussen het Derby Museum and Art Gallery en Wikipedia. De projectnaam is een portmanteau die de initialen “QR” (Quick Response) van de QR-code en “pedia” van Wikipedia

TOEPASSINGEN

Hoewel het systeem van start ging in het Verenigd Koninkrijk, kan QRpedia worden gebruikt op elke locatie waar de telefoon van de gebruiker een dataverbinding heeft. Sinds september 2011 is het in gebruik bij:

De in Bangkok (Thailand) gevestigde https://asean-retreat.org is thans doende met het ontwikkelen van een QR-systeem voor de ASEAN landen

KeWa-QR (EN)

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QRpedia is a mobile-based system that uses QR code to deliver Wikipedia articles to users in their preferred language. QR codes that can be directly linked to any Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) can be easily generated, but the QRpedia system adds more functionality. It has been in use at institutions since 2011, including museums in the United Kingdom, the United States and Spain. The source code of the project can be freely re-used under the MIT license.

Technical PROCESS

When a user scans a QR-code of QRpedia on his or her mobile device, the device decodes the QR code to a Uniform Resource Locator (URL), using the domain name “qrwp.org”, and whose path (last part) is the title of a Wikipedia article, and sends a request for the article in the URL of the QRpedia web server. It also transmits the language setting of the device.

The QRpedia server then uses the Wikipedia API to determine whether there is a version of the specified Wikipedia article in the language used by the device. If so, it will return the article in a mobile-friendly format.

If there is no version of the article available in the desired language, the QRpedia server performs a search for the title of the article on Wikipedia in the appropriate language, and returns the results.

In this way a QR code can deliver the same article in many languages, even if the institution (in this example the museum) is unable to make its own translations. QRpedia also keeps usage statistics.

QRpedia was conceived by Roger Bamkin, chairman of Wikimedia UK, and Terence Eden, a mobile internet consultant. It was unveiled on 9 April 2011 at the Backstage Pass event at the Derby Museum, part of the GLAM / Derby collaboration between the Derby Museum and Art Gallery and Wikipedia. The project name is a portmanteau that has the initials “QR” (Quick Response) of the QR code and “pedia” of the name “Wikipedia”.

APPLICATIONS

Although the system started in the United Kingdom, QRpedia can be used at any location where the user’s telephone has a data connection. Since September 2011 it is in use at:

  1. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis in Indianapolis, Verenigde Staten
  2. Derby Museum and Art Gallery in Derby, England
  3. Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona, Spain
  4. The National Archives in Londen, England
  5. Museum für Hamburgische Geschichte in Hamburg, Germany

The https://asean-retreat.org established in Bangkok (Thailand) has now started to develop a QR system that is aimed at the ASEAN countries and can be used, among other things, by shopping malls, shopping centers and all kinds of types. of meetings (eg exhibitions, museums and for educational purposes such as schools, universities etcetera.) The development of the KeWaSAN system is a ‘start-up’, it will take a few years before the system is operational. KeWaSAN will start with only pilot projects in Thailand, at a later stage it will be rolled out across other ASEAN countries.

The challenging problem for https://asean-retreat.org is mainly that virtually all ASEAN countries (at least most of them) use their own unique ‘script’ that is very different from that in Europe and America. Almost completely on both continents the “Roman script” is used and the use of the “English Language” as a communication medium is practically everywhere; it’s not so within the ASEAN countries.

Data is a critical asset for companies

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by Hans Blok Tuesday, 20 November 2018

What is NAS (Network Attached Storage) and Why is NAS Important for Small Businesses?

nas-synology-background-2002x660Data is a critical asset for companies

Without access to their data, companies may not provide their customers with the expected level of service. Poor customer service, loss of sales or team collaboration problems are all examples of what can happen when  information is not available.

Each of these issues contribute to lack of efficiency and potential loss of income if customers cannot wait for a data outage to be corrected. Additionally, when it comes to data storage, small businesses find themselves faced with other storage-related needs such as:

  • Lower cost options
  • Ease of operation (many small businesses do not have IT staff)
  • Ease of data backup (and it’s always accessible when you need it)
  • Growth capability

NAS devices are rapidly becoming popular with enterprise and small businesses in many industries as an effective, scalable, low-cost storage solution. IronWolf Pro hard drives are designed for NAS systems.

What is NAS?

An NAS device is a storage device connected to a network that allows storage and retrieval of data from a central location for authorised network users and varied clients. NAS devices are flexible and scale out, meaning that as you need additional storage, you can add to what you have. NAS is like having a private cloud in the office. It’s faster, less expensive and provides all the benefits of a public cloud on site, giving you complete control.

NAS systems are perfect for SMBs.

  • Simple to operate, a dedicated IT professional is often not required
  • Lower cost
  • Easy data backup, so it’s always accessible when you need it
  • Good at centralizing data storage in a safe, reliable way

With a NAS, data is continually accessible, making it easy for employees to collaborate, respond to customers in a timely fashion, and promptly follow up on sales or other issues because information is in one place. Because NAS is like a private cloud, data may be accessed remotely using a network connection, meaning employees can work anywhere, anytime.

Scattered storage arrangements will not work for SMBs.

  • Out-of-sync data
  • Reliability and accessibility issues if storage goes down
  • Delays in responding to customer service requests or sales queries

The Right Drive for NAS

Built for network-attached storage servers, Seagate IronWolf Pro drives are the best choice for NAS applications and are developed in close co-ordination with leading NAS partners such as Synology, QNAP, Netgear, Drobo and others to provide the best experience possible.

IronWolf Pro drives have the following features:

  • AgileArrayTM firmware for RAID optimisation and 24×7 use
  • RV sensors built into the hard drive to mitigate vibration in multi-bay NAS
  • IronWolf Health Management for drive monitoring is built into compatible NAS operating systems
  • Includes 2-year data recovery service and 5-year limited warranty
  • Built for multi-user environments by providing high workload rates for  heavy data transfer networks

NAS is growing in popularity. And with good reasons. NAS servers allow access to company data 24×7, and using the right hard drive will provide the best experience possible. IronWolf Pro-equipped NAS servers help provide tremendous competitive advantages, increase levels of customer service, and extend the collaborative reach across any project, at any company. In many cases, the only limit to the usefulness of having a NAS solution in your business may be not having one at all!

Related Products

IronWolf NAS Hard Drives

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Vlaanderen is het ware Bourgondië

GENTSE-WATERZOOI-1-1024x820Vlaanderens culinaire rijkdom wordt Bourgondisch genoemd. In werkelijkheid hebben de Bourgondiërs hun gevoel voor smaak en kwaliteit van de Vlamingen afgekeken.

De kip is mals, heerlijk hartig naast de prei, de wortel, de bleekselderij in de met ei gebonden roomsaus, en over alles groent geurige gehakte peterselie. Jazeker, dit is de Gentse waterzooi, en waar kun je die beter eten dan aan de waterkant van de Leie, waar ooit de handelsschepen aanlegden die de stad haar rijkdom bezorgden? Nu glijden er rondvaartbootjes tussen de rijk bebloemde kaden. Wij  hebben er vanochtend ook een zonnige tocht mee gemaakt, vanuit het centrum tot aan de resten van de Prinsenhof, waar in het jaar 1500 keizer Karel V geboren werd en waar hij later residentie hield. Zou hij een gerecht als waterzooi gegeten hebben?

De culinaire rijkdom van Vlaanderen wordt dikwijls in verband gebracht met het oude Bourgondische hertogdom waar het deel van uitmaakte, en waarvan keizer Karel de Habsburgse erfgenaam was. Daar is veel voor te zeggen. Maar eigenlijk kunnen we het beter omdraaien: de Bourgondische keuken is eerder Vlaams dan omgekeerd. Vlaanderen was in de veertiende en vijftiende eeuw het rijke deel van het hertogdom en de hertogen verbleven dan ook juist hier, in Mechelen, Lille, Gent en Brugge.

Suiker en sop

De keuken van die tijd was duidelijk anders dan die van nu. Hartig en zoet werden niet gescheiden; er was geen dessert aan het einde van de maaltijd, althans geen opeenhoping van zoetigheid. Gangen waren er al evenmin. Of nee, ik zeg het fout. Gangen waren er wel degelijk, maar bestonden elk uit een grote variëteit aan schotels – zoiets als een buffet of een rijsttafel. Gerechten een voor een serveren is iets wat pas in de loop van de negentiende eeuw in zwang kwam. De oude Bourgondiërs – die dus dikwijls Vlamingen waren – snoepten van allerlei smaken door elkaar, en zoals gezegd: hartig en zoet stonden tegelijk op tafel.

Zoet kwam van fruit, honing of de toen nog bijzonder dure suiker, die uit verre landen rond de Middellandse Zee werd geïmporteerd. Suiker en specerijen werden aan het hof met gulle hand over hartige gerechten gestrooid, niet omdat men de smaak van twijfelachtig vlees wilde verhullen (wie anders dan de hertog kon zich het allerbeste, meest verse vlees veroorloven?), maar om de rijkdom te tonen.

Eten we middeleeuws als we in Brugge of Mechelen aan de waterzooi gaan, aan de stoverij met bier, de paling in ’t groen? Nou en of. Dit soort bereidingen kunnen we bijna ongewijzigd in middeleeuwse kookboeken terugvinden, ook al wilde men toen graag zaken toevoegen als kaneel, foelie en gedroogde gember, iets waarvoor we nu minder warmlopen (hoewel, wellicht moeten we het eens proberen?). Vlees en vis werden langzaam gegaard in geurige bouillon en dan dikwijls op een snee brood geserveerd. Die snede heette aanvankelijk de ‘sop’, een naam die later overging op de nattigheid waarin hij lag.

Franse invloed

De glorietijd van Vlaanderen eindigde in de Tachtigjarige Oorlog, toen de Republiek der Zeven Verenigde Nederlanden zich losmaakte. De Zuidelijke Nederlanden bleven onder Spaans-Habsburgs gezag en de welvaart verplaatste zich naar het noorden. Niet dat dat voor de culinaire opvattingen veel uitmaakte. Vanaf de zeventiende eeuw groeide de Franse invloed op alle culturele aangelegenheden, de keuken en de tafelmanieren incluis. Het Franse hof was het schitterendste van Europa. Daar werden de nieuwe smaken en kooktechnieken ontwikkeld, daar wist men hoe de burger, maar eerst nog de aristocraat, moest epateren.

In 1651 verscheen Le cuisinier françois van François de la Varenne, een toonaangevend werk dat vijftig jaar later vertaald werd uitgegeven als De geoeffende en ervaren keuken-meester, of de verstandige kok. Hierin werd voor het eerst saus gebonden met een ‘roux’ van bloem en vet. Fijne groenten als doperwtjes, asperges en artisjokken kwamen op tafel. En toen begon de zoetigheid op te schuiven naar het einde van de maaltijd. Vanuit Frankrijk kwamen in de eeuwen daarna de belangrijke nieuwigheden, zoals mayonaise en bearnaise, soufflés en bladerdeeg, waarmee onder andere de bouchée à la reine wordt gemaakt, nog altijd een gewaardeerd hapje in België.

De Spaanse Nederlanden werden in 1714 Oostenrijks, maar ook dat is niet terug te vinden in de keuken. In de negentiende eeuw was België eventjes onderdeel van Nederland, maar al in 1830 werd het een zelfstandige staat. De Franse haute cuisine regeerde in heel Europa en de Vlamingen lustten er wel pap van. Een rumsteak bearnaise? Komt u maar door. Tournedos Rossini dan, belegd met ganzenlever en overgoten met madeirasaus met truffel? Smakelijk! Deze exquise Parijse bereidingen gaven de toon aan.

Mosselen met friet

Onder die elitaire oppervlakte bleven de oude recepten bestaan, bij de gewone mensen thuis. Konijn met pruimen bijvoorbeeld, middeleeuws door het combineren van zout en zoet. Paling in ’t groen met handenvol verse groene kruiden. Bloedworst, die hier ‘zwarte pens’ heet. En er kwamen nieuwe dingen bij. Aardappelen bijvoorbeeld. Na hun ontdekking in het verre Amerika werden ze aanvankelijk alleen als veevoer gebruikt. Hongersnoden en veranderende opvattingen zorgden er echter voor dat in de loop van de achttiende eeuw de patatten ook de mensenmonden in gingen, eerst bij de arme boeren, later ook bij de burgerij.

Het frituren van reepjes aardappel is iets waarvan de oorsprong onduidelijk is. De Fransen claimen de uitvinding, maar waren het misschien toch de Belgen? Populair werd deze nieuwigheid pas aan het eind van de negentiende eeuw, toen de kosten van vet naar democratische waarden begonnen te dalen. In diezelfde tijd begonnen Vlamingen (en Nederlanders) hun stoverijen met aardappelen te stampen, met de ‘stoemp’ als resultaat.

En daar zitten we dan, dit keer aan de Meir in Antwerpen, achter mosselen met friet en daarbij een bolleke De Koninck – bier is immers de vloeibare trots van Vlaanderen. Die mosselen zijn de bovenstebeste uit Zeeland: de jumbo’s of imperials waar de Belgen grif voor betalen (de kleintjes gaan naar Nederland). De frietjes zijn gebakken in ossenwit, het vet dat er die kenmerkende Belgische smaak aan geeft. Straks nog een dame blanche toe, of een pêche melba? Klassieke Franse gerechten, maar hier kun je ze nog vinden; smaak en kwaliteit zijn het allerbelangrijkst. In Vlaanderen heerst nu eenmaal een andere attitude ten aanzien van eten. Men praat erover, men trekt gemakkelijker de portemonnee. Een erfenis van die oude Bourgondiërs? Welnee, die zijn hier de kunst komen afkijken, zoals ik al zei. Net zoals wij nu doen.

Van Onno Kleyn en zijn dochter, culinair historica Charlotte Kleyn, verscheen onlangs Luilekkerland – 400 jaar koken in Nederland (Amsterdam University Press).

Street Photography Tips Every Photographer Needs to Know (31)

BANGKOK STREET PHOTOGRAPHY – KRUNG THEP BY DAY [F.ZUIKO 38MM F1.8] by “My favourite Lens”

On the surface, street photography can seem like a simple practice: go out, wait for those lucky, incredible moments, and take the shot. But in reality, “street” is one of the most difficult forms of photography to pull off.

You often need to wait for a very long time for those spectacular moments to occur, and when they do appear, you can miss the moment or ruin the shot. Still, getting great street photos is not impossible. Read on for seven street photography tips which will make everything much easier, both technically and conceptually.

Practising these tips will help you roll the dice with much better odds.

  1. Raise Your ISO Street scenes move lightning quick. Some of the best moments will appear and disappear in front of you in an instant. To offset this, you have to set your camera to be able to catch these fast-moving scenes. The most important setting is your shutter speed. The shutter speed I prefer to use is 1/250th of a second, which will guarantee that your subjects will be sharp. At night you can go slower, to 1/160th or 1/125 in order to let in more light, but slower than that will introduce motion blur.
  2. Secondly, I prefer to use a smaller aperture (when possible) so that I get more depth of field in the image. This is a personal preference, of course. I prefer it because there’s less of a chance to screw up your images. If you miss the focus on your main subject slightly, a larger depth of field will minimise the chances of that ruining the photo. If you have multiple interesting subjects entering your scene at different depths or if you have a great subject and a great background, a smaller aperture will allow you to get them all as sharp as possible. But unless you are shooting in direct sunlight, the only way to use a fast shutter speed and a small aperture is to raise your ISO.

Ultra Soft and Moist Banana Chiffon Cake

Writes about her “Ultra Soft and Moist Banana Chiffon Cake”

I have a chiffon cake theory!

You may agree or disagree with me…

Based on many different chiffon cakes that I have baked at herehereherehere and especially this banana chiffon cake recipe, I realised something! The chiffon cakes that I baked without adding cream of tartar, baking powder or any cake raising agents are the BEST being so moist, tender and cottony soft!!!

Really? Despite the fact that the cream of tartar and baking powder will make chiffon cakes looking tall, fluffy, impressive, structurally stable and easier to bake and handle, these cake-rising ingredients tend to make the cakes structurally stiffer and kill their ultimate softness! Hence, in my opinion, chiffon cakes with cream of tartar and baking powder are good but they are NOT as ultimately good as those that are made with NO cake raising agents!!!

Convinced? Here, I have an ULTIMATE banana chiffon cake recipe to share. With NO cream of tartar, I have to say that this is the BEST banana chiffon cake that I have baked so far!!! It is tall, fluffy, impressive, very very very moist and very very very ultra soft!!! Trust me… I have never taste any chiffon cakes that are softer and moister than this. This is truly the ultimate!!! Best of all, it contains no sourish cream of tartar aftertaste. So delicious and banana-y that you don’t even need to add aromatic spices like cinnamon or vanilla to boost its flavours.

Must try!!! Must try!!! And I hope that you will be convinced that my chiffon cake theory is right!!!

Finally… This is the ultimate banana chiffon cake that I’m after! My husband and son can clearly tasted its ultimacy and told me the same too!!!

In order to bake this tall and ultra soft chiffon cake, you can fill 90% of your chiffon cake pan with the cake batter and with no worries!!! This chiffon cake will rise above the rim of your pan and won’t create any mess with dripping cake batter or exploding cake top.

However, without the addition of cream of tartar or any raising agents, the cake will shrink but only slightly to the exact size of the pan after cooling.

After baking…
The cake will rise above the rim of the pan but will shrink to the exact size of the pan after cooling.
Still looking good!
This is how the cake looks after it is completely cooled.

Want to bake this cake? I have a few tips to share…

One: The most important, Egg White Mixture!
The success of this chiffon cake is highly depending on the egg white mixture used because there is no other chemical agents used to stabilise the cake structure.

To make sure that the egg white mixture is whipped into its best form, it is essential to beat egg whites in the lowest speed at the beginning for at least 10 mins to stabilise the mixture. Then, increase the beating speed to medium. Please be aware… To avoid large bubbles forming, do not use high beating speed. To avoid the meringue from being too dry and stiff, do not over-beat the mixture. Stop beating immediately when stiff peaks form.

Two: Please handle me with care!
Without the cream of tartar, please be aware this cake is very cottony soft and can be very fragile to cut and handle!

Thus, please do not unmould the cake by pressing it!!! To unmould, please use a blunt thin plastic spatula or knife to run along the cake’s edges and gently push the cake out from the pan.

Three: The cake has to be baked for at least 65 mins!!!
Due to its high moisture content, this cake has to be baked for at least 65 mins. If the top of the cake turns brown too quickly, cover the top loosely with a foil after 30-40 mins of baking and continue to bake it until it is thoroughly cooked. Please be aware that uncooked cake will shrink very badly to form patches of doughy area!!! Ewww… And over-cooked cake will be too dry. Therefore, I would say 65 to 75 mins of baking is the best.

Four: This banana cake is so good on its own!
Believe me or not! It’s true that this cake is mostly naturally sweetened by lots of banana and the minimal 75g sugar added is essentially adequate enough to whip up a decent meringue! So please do not reduce the amount of sugar any further as the sweetness of this cake is just right.

As mentioned earlier, I reckon that the addition of the aromatic cinnamon or vanilla is absolutely not required in this recipe! However, if you think that you want to add these ingredients into your cake, please feel free to do so. I wouldn’t because I just want to taste nothing but only the banana in this cake. Now who want to sing the minions’ banana song? Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-nana LOL!

Update on 5/10/2017: I have one more important tip to mention!!! It’s ok to have some cracks on this cake!!! Please do not bake this cake with too low oven temperature or a tray of boiling water. Detailed explanation is at here.
Too complicated?
Nay!!! Watch my one-minute video and see how I baked this cake. It is a typical way of baking chiffon cake but just without the addition of cream of tartar. That’s all! If you follow my recipe to the tee, I’m sure that you won’t go wrong…

See how soft is this cake…

Now, what do you think about my chiffon cake theory?

Agree? Disagree? Agree to disagree? LOL!

Why not try baking this cake? And see what I mean…

After baking this ultra soft banana chiffon cake, I feel like I have gained some sort of cake enlightenment!!! LOL! Thus, if you like this ultimate ultra soft banana chiffon cake, I have a lot more of my newly-derived ultra soft chiffon cake recipes to share in the near future and so please stay tune! You can follow me at either my Facebook at here or here or my Instagram @zoebakeforhappykids.

Before proceeding to the recipe, I like to mention something…

It’s time again that I need a break!!! I just did my 5th marathon and my timing is 03:52:59. Just seconds faster than my previous run but I felt so much better this time because I was running in a steady pace. Too old already… So no need to chiong (meaning dash in Singlish)… LOL!

Hence, I won’t be running, baking and blogging for the next 2 weeks as we are going to Singapore and Japan for our holiday. If you wish to “come along” with us to see what we will do at Singapore and Osaka, please follow me at my Instagram @zoebakeforhappykids

Bye baking and blogging and I will see you again in 2-3 weeks time 🙂 

Happy that I have completed 5 marathons!

Here’s the recipe that is mostly adapted from here.

IMPORTANT: Please use the exact weight and make sure that all ingredients are at room temperature.

Makes one tall and perfect 8-inch (20 cm) chiffon cake

For the egg yolks mixture:
360g ripe bananas, peeled and this is the weight without the skins
75g egg yolks (about 4-5)
55g neutral tasting vegetable oil
60g milk
120g cake flour with 8% protein
1/4 tsp salt

For the egg white mixture:
240g egg whites (about 7-8)
75g caster sugar

Preheat oven to 170°C/330ºF.

For the egg yolk mixture:
Use a handheld blender or a small food processor to process the bananas into smooth purée. Set aside.

Using a hand whisk, combine egg yolks, oil, milk and bananas in a large mixing bowl until well combined. Sift in cake flour and salt and whisk gently until the batter is smooth and combined.

For the egg white mixture:
Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites in the lowest speed for at least 10 mins to stabilise the mixture. Increase beating speed to medium (not too high to avoid large bubbles forming). While beating, add sugar gradually and continue to beat until stiff peaks form and the meringue should be smooth with very tiny bubbles. Do not over-beat the mixture.

Using a hand whisk or a spatula, gently fold in the egg whites to the egg yolks mixture in 3-4 batches. It is ok to mix the 1st batch of egg white more vigorously into the egg yolk mixture but the subsequent portions must be folded in very gently. Make sure that most of the white is not visible after folding.

Pour batter into an un-greased 20 cm chiffon tube pan. Use a spatula or spoon to distribute the batter evenly in the pan. Give the pan a gentle tap and bake at 170°C/330ºF for 10 mins. Reduce temperature to 160°C/320ºF and bake for 55-65 mins or until it is thoroughly cooked. Total baking time has to be at least 65 mins. If the top of the cake turns brown too quickly after 30-40 mins of baking, cover the cake top loosely with a foil and continue to bake until it is thoroughly cooked.
Remove from oven and invert the cake immediately to cool on a wire rack. Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan before removing it from the pan. The cake is fragile and so it is easier to slice with a serrated knife. Enjoy!

Store any uneaten in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. This cake will stay super ultra moist and soft for many days until they are all gone!

Happy BakingPlease support me and like me at Facebook… 

BAKING with tropical FRUITS

K+K-FRONT-pic-600w-fruit-01

It is my pleasure tot reproduce within this website some recipes towards “baking with tropical Fruits”. I will divide these into ‘categories’ and each ‘categorie’ will be spit into ‘tags’. Using the ‘categories-link’ and the ‘tab-links’ you can search for the recipes and download each recipe freely.

The categories will be;

  1. cakes
  2. cupcakes and little bakes
  3. cheese-cakes
  4. cookies & biscuits
  5. pies & tarts
  6. puddings & soufflés

As introduction first this about tropical fruits in general;

Everywhere you go in Thailand, you will be met with plenty of fruit stands in almost every corner. The bright colors and shapes of these exotic fruits will attract your attention and call you to stop in your tracks and take a moment to divulge your senses in their sweet aroma and delicious flavors. Thailand is blessed with a hot tropical climate and fertile plains – which make for the perfect land and environment to grow just about any kind of fruit available to man. When you find yourself in Thailand, you must never leave your vacation without trying these 12 exotic fruits:

  1. MANGOSTEEN Mangosteen is called “Mang-Kut” in Thai and considered to be the Queen of Fruits. It is known for its “cooling” effect compared to other Thai popular fruits that have a “heating” effect on the body. The husk or rind is a leathery purple shell and once opened, 4-8 segments of seeds covered in an edible white texture are revealed.
  2. RAMBUTAN Called “NgoR” in Thai, this golf-sized, tiny red fruit is covered with “Velcro” hairs and when cracked open by squeezing it between your palms, reveals a seed covered with a white and translucent texture. You eat the fruit by chewing off the white texture off the seed, giving you a sweet and cool flavor with a mildly acidic taste. The best rambutans in Thailand come from the Surat Thani province where they were first planted in 1926.
  3. POMELO Pomelo is known as “Som-o” in Thailand and it’s a large and heavy citrus fruit that can be as large as a basketball. The rind is thick and leathery and once opened, reveals several segments that are grouped together. These can either be sweet or bitter and are best eaten fresh with salt or spicy dip.
  4. DURIAN Durian is one of the most popular tropical fruits in the world, mainly due to its sweet or foul aroma – depending on who you ask. They say that you either love or hate the fruit as it has a powerful smell and flavor. Westerners particularly are aghast at the fruit’s aroma which can be smelled from yards away. However, Thais love the fruit’s smell and taste, which has a custard, creamy, smooth texture. Durian or known as “Turian” in Thailand, is a popular aphrodisiac as it has an uncanny ability to increase the body’s temperature.
  5. ROSE APPLE Known as Chom-Poo in Thailand, Rose Apple resembles a small red apple but bell-shaped. It is similar in texture to apple but sweeter and most commonly eaten raw with salt or mixed in a spicy salad.
  6. LICHEE The Thais call this fruit “Lihjee” and it’s bright red and has the size of a golf ball, but instead of dimples on the latter, features pimples on the rind. It looks like a rambutan without the hairs or a plump and dry strawberry.
    Once opened, it reveals a white texture that covers a single seed. Lychee is only available for a few months each year but are easily canned and made into a popular fruit shake flavor.
  7. BANANA The most popular varieties of bananas in Thailand are the Gluay Hom and the Gluay Khai. They are available all year-round and are best eaten ripe. Fried banana and dried banana chips are popular afternoon snacks, and banana leaves are popular to use when wrapping fish or chicken for grilling.
  8. COCONUT One of the most nutritious fruits in Thailand, coconuts are available all year round and are known well for their refreshing water. The meat can be mixed with coconut water or eaten separately. Coconut milk is made when the meat is grated and mixed with water. Coconut oil is also popular for frying food, for cosmetics, medicine, and even bio-fuel. A lot of dishes are also made with coconut milk, which is a staple in many Southern Thai foods.
  9. GUAVA Guava or “Falang” in Thai is best eaten unripened. Guavas are seldom found in Thailand and make them a rare commodity. They are best eaten raw with salt and provides a refreshing and filling snack.
  10. MANGO Mango is a staple in many Southeast Asian countries and is exceptionally sweet-flavored in Thailand. When unripened, they have a sour flavor that’s best eaten with salt or spices.
  11. DRAGON FRUIT This interesting- looking fruit known as “Gao Mung Gorn” in Thailand is called Dragonfruit because its rind resembles that of a dragon’s exteriors. It grows off the long arms of a cactus plant and when opened, reveals a fuschia colored texture packed with black seeds. The fruit looks and tastes like a mild or sugar-free strawberry.
  12. JACK FRUIT Known as “Khanoon” in Thailand, jackfruit is available from January to May every year. It’s the size of a large watermelon and can weigh around 80 pounds. The fruit contains dozens of large seeds with a yellow sheath and the taste is similar to that of a pineapple but less juicy. In fact, the flavor of the popular chewing gum called Juicy Fruit is said to mimic the flavor of this fruit.There are many other fruits you can find in Thailand including pineapple, watermelon, papaya, pomegranate, passion fruit, and so much more. And they make for the perfect afternoon snacks amidst the hot and tropical climate. Get yourself some coconut juice and mango, head over to the beach, and have the perfect tropical paradise afternoon snack. Fruits are not only refreshing but healthy too!