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Archive for February 2011

Dark Chocolate Filigrees | Kitchener/Waterloo Food Photographer

Thursday, February 24, 2011

OK, so I don't think it will be long before you all realize I have quite the sweet-tooth! Definitely get it from Dad and am proud to say that our love of chocolate, cheesecakes, brownies, and desserts in every other form is only one of the many things that make us a formidable father/daughter duo!

SO, I thought I would try my hand at chocolate filigrees today - they're one of those "particular" dessert embellishments that I would normally never have bothered to create but not only are they delicious, they are super easy to long as you can get past the whole tempering-your-chocolate thing first.

Tempering Chocolate:
Apparently, melted chocolate is uber-particular when it comes to how high you heat/melt it and what it looks like once it's cooled. If you'd like to know why chocolate needs to be tempered I'll refer you to its wiki-entry. This would be a much longer blog post if I tried to explain (and I most certainly wouldn't do a good job of that). I will, however, tell you how to temper chocolate!

1) Begin by creating a dbl boiler with a small stainless steel pot and small steel mixing bowl (make sure the mixing bowl will sit nicely on top of the pot - without touching the water below). There are various ways to create a dbl boiler but the above was my method.
2) Melt about 2/3s of your chocolate in the steel mixing bowl. Now, here's where the tempering comes in and I have two recipe methods to share with you - one is very particular and one is pretty frank. Recipe #1 states that the chocolate should reach a temperature of 200F and then be cooled to 85F. Recipe #2 (and one of Martha Stewart's, go figure) says that you should simply heat the chocolate and cool it slightly (before cooling, add the rest of your chocolate and stir until completely melted). Being as I didn't have a candy thermo. I opted for Ms. Stewart's less-fussy method. What's kind of cool too is that once your chocolate is tempered, you can store it for up to a year and only have to melt it a little to use it again.

3) You are now ready to pipe your filigrees!!!
So! Before piping the chocolate all over the place, I drew a few shapes onto a piece of white paper and taped a sheet of parchment paper overtop. Once I filled my piping bag with chocolate (finally got the significance of closing off the end of the bag with an elastic - yeah, I had chocolate running down my arm), I simply traced my shapes onto the parchment paper - here you want to be sure your shapes are at least 1/4 inch thick so they are less likely to break apart. Once I drew my shapes I placed my parchment paper onto a cookie sheet and stuck it in the fridge - my filigrees were ready in 10 minutes!
I really didn't have a dessert to stick them in so the following images aren't as creative as I'm sure they could have been but I cannot WAIT to throw them on my next bowl of ice cream (or cupcake, or cheesecake, etc). Here's something gorgeous Ms. Martha's kitchen whipped up:

I hope you enjoy!
As you can see, the filigrees were thoroughly enjoyed by little lady.
CD Listened to While Baking: No music today but I got to chat with my awesome neighbour, Rachael.
Ingredients Bought @: Sobeys Grocery
Images Captured With: Canon 7D, 50mm lens, 100mm macro lens and natural light.

Dark Chocolate-covered Peanut Brittle | Kitchener/Waterloo Food Photographer

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Today, I thought I would make peanut brittle (just to see if I could) and it turned out lovely! The recipe was much easier than I thought it would be and I would encourage everyone to make it for the hosts of the next party they go to! The recipe is below:

Chocolate-covered Peanut Brittle

1 c. white sugar
1/2 c. light corn syrup
1/4 water
1 tsp. pure vanilla

1 c. peanuts (I bought salted ones)

2 tbsp. softened butter
1 tsp. baking soda

4 squares of dark chocolate, melted

1) Grease your cookie tray!
2) Over medium heat and in a stainless-steel pot, mix sugar, corn syrup and water together until sugar dissolves. Bring to boil.
3) Once mixture is boiling, add peanuts and stir well. Continue boiling and stir occasionally.
4) After about 10 mins of boiling, drop a small amt of the mixture into a glass of cold water - if the mixture turns rigid and stringy, your brittle is ready.
5) Pour brittle onto greased cookie tray and spread around with a fork (if you have to - my brittle poured evenly into the pan I used).
6) Once your brittle has hardened slightly, spread melted chocolate over its top. Allow to cool completely (I stuck my brittle in the freezer - after sticking it outside and having to fight off a squirrel).
7) Once the brittle is completely cool/hard, break into pieces.

I hope you enjoy the recipe and accompanying pics!
CD Listened to While Baking: iTunes Playlist (feat. Cee-lo Green, Katy Perry, Britney Spears, Kate Nash and the Scissor Sisters)
Ingredients from: Sobeys Grocery
Images Captured with: Canon 7D, 50mm lens, 100mm macro lens and all natural light

Put on a Happy Face | Bre-Creative + Hullabaloo Session | Kitchener/Waterloo Event Photographer

Monday, February 21, 2011

OK, so I probably had the best time EVER shooting a portrait sesh and it's all thanks to these guys! The Girls and I had a great time together and we even had Balooberry doing the Pee-Wee Herman dance!

Both Hullabaloo and Bre-Creative are available to organize and entertain at Children's parties! If you would like to book with them, here is a great quote from their website that does a very good job summing up their work:

We arrive an hour before the party starts and decorate. And decorate. And decorate. As the children arrive, we keep them busy with a craft, cheek art, costume accessories, etc. Then it's time for games! We work around your
preferences for having a meal, gift unwrapping, etc, and ensure the children
are always occupied. As the children leave, we make sure they take home their
craft, loot bag, thank you bookmark and prize(s). (Everyone gets a prize!)

Yeah, they're pretty awesome :P.

Below I've posted a few shots from the evening and hope you all enjoy!

CD Listened to During Sesh: My Best Friend is You by Kate Nash
Images Captured with: Canon 7D, 50mm lens, 18-55mm Wide angle lens, Studio Lighting + White Paper Backdrop
Sites to Flock to: Hullabaloo and Bre-Creative

KWAG Family Day | Kitchener Lifestyle Event Photographer

Happy Family Day everyone! We spent an awesome afternoon up at the KW Art Gallery here in Kitchener and had an absolute blast!!! The Girls bee-lined for the arts and crafts (tables were set up in each gallery and kids could create a lovely piece of art, mimicking the style of art surrounding them). Next, we took in a colourful exhibit by Robert Linsley titled A Geomorphic Fantasy. The Girls and a few friends had a blast piecing together vibrant, squiggly shapes to create their own "islands."

Food was generously donated by the wonderful Steph Tanner from Little Mushroom Catering and no sooner had she placed her edible art on the table, it was gone! Thanks again Steph for having lunch with us beforehand. We were quite the lucky household to be able to gorge on homemade samosas - she whipped them up before my eyes and they were delish!

Enjoy the photos! We had an amazing afternoon. By the way, the KWAG holds free Family activities every Sunday - we hope to see you there often!!!

Maternity + Newborn Portrait Session Special | Kitchener/Waterloo Maternity and Newborn Photographer

Saturday, February 19, 2011

* 1+ hours with photographer Kate L. Emerson
* Full copyright + ownership of all images taken
* Gentle re-touching (skin smoothing, blemish-removal etc)
* One DVD with approximately 25+ images (all images will be in colour as well as B&W)
* One 8x10 print and Eight wall-sized prints, as well as 25% off future prints with Novella

Those who book their session during the week of March 13th to 18th (March Break) will receive an extra $30 off their session!

Please contact Kate at 519.886.6720 or via email at for more info.

Novella is on the Twitters | Kitchener/Waterloo Lifestyle Photographer

Novella Photography is now on Twitter after a long discussion with my lovely friend (and twitter-holic) Steph Tanner of Little Mushroom Catering. If you have an account you can check out @novellaphoto for special promos and events!

Chocolate Pecan Macaroons | Kitchener/Waterloo Food Photographer

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Yup, I made these. Completely proud of myself and not ashamed to boast, I thought making these delicate little desserts would be a flop - and I love that I was wrong! The super-easy recipe is as follows:

Chocolate Pecan Macaroons
(I would like to note that I've adapted the recipe from Redbook)

1 1/4 c. confectioners sugar
2/3 c. ground pecans
1 1/2 tbsp. cocoa powder
3 large egg whites
2 tbsp. fine white sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

a little bit of whipped chocolate icing (by Betty Crocker)

1) Mix together confectioners sugar, ground pecans and cocoa. Set aside.
2) In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Add fine white sugar. Beat again until firm peaks form. Add vanilla until blended.
3) In 3 additions, add dry mixture (c sugar, pecans + cocoa) to egg mixture, stirring until very well blended.
4) Spoon mixture into a piping bag and place 2" wide dollops of batter onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Allow dollops to air dry for about 30 minutes.
5) Set oven to 300 degrees. Bake dollops for approximately 15 minutes or until firm to the touch. Allow to cool.
6) Spread a little amount of whipped chocolate icing onto one flat side of the macaroon dollop and sandwich with another.

* These macaroons can be kept in a sealed container for about 3 days. This recipe makes about 15-20 macaroons - YUM!
CD listened to while baking: No CD today but I did listen to CBC Radio out of Toronto.
Food Purchased at: Baking aisle at Sobeys on Weber/Bridgeport.
Images Captured with: Canon 7D, 50mm lens, 100mm lens, and all natural light.

Colour Inspiration | Kitchener/Waterloo Lifestyle Photographer

I first became obsessed with colour in the mid-late 1980s, having been very much inspired and influenced by my colour-saturated Saturday morning cartoons - She-Ra, My Little Pony, Lady Lovelilocks and Rainbow Brite, are the particular instigators. Not only were the characters dressed vibrantly, but they were even colour-coordinated!

Now, as I create/style my food shots, I'm constantly aware of which colours to incorporate into an image and have even begun using a trusty colour wheel to help me create the most visually appealing shot.

I've stumbled upon some great colour blogs and thought I would share their links:

And here are some great food blogs/sites by photographers who really know what they're doing when selecting colour: (my absolute fave! this guy's one heck of an inspiration for an aspiring food photographer)

I hope you enjoy all of the colour and yummy food pics!

New Business Cards are Here!!! | Kitchener/Waterloo Food Photographer

BIG thanks to Steph for bringing over my new business cards! These are the first step in helping establish Novella as a major food photography and styling studio for local businesses!

I always order my little 3x3 cards from Willow Paperworks and they do such a fantastic job of printing and shipping (usually 3-4 days to print and 1 day to ship). Love it!

These particular gems have been printed on Willow's standard Silk paper and are super lovely and very sturdy.

A little thank you to Anabelle and her little hands in the shot above. She's home from school today (boo, colds!) and helping her Mom with her work :). She really wanted for me to take a picture of her snack - what a little healthy magoo - pineapple juice, a banana and organic blueberries!

Jennifer + Adam | Kitchener/Waterloo Wedding Photographer

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

This past Fall I had the most amazing time capturing my beautiful bride and groom (featured below). The wedding was very relaxed but so elegant and so beautiful that it made me think this is what a perfect wedding looks like and this is the best possible way to spend an evening with family and friends.

We began the wedding with a lively photo shoot at Castle Kilbride, in Baden, and worked with the beautiful Fall colouring of the building, a few spindly leafless trees, and natural, indirect light to create a warm and romantic feel in the images.
The ceremony, performed at Rebel Creek Golf Course, was immediately followed by great beer and big laughs in the lounge. At this point, my focus turned to capturing candid moments between my wedding couple and family and friends. With this kind of *freedom* I was able to snap quite a few great candids!
Following drinks, dinner and speeches took place in Rebel Creek's beautifully decorated banquet room. The colour palette was a mixture of black and cream and 5x7 framed photos of Jennifer, Adam and their children rested under elegant twig and vase centrepieces.
Here are just a few more images from the evening.

Pre-Wedding Images Taken @: Castle Kilbride, Baden
Ceremony + Reception held @: Rebel Creek Golf Course, Baden
Images Captured with: Canon 7D

Winter Bits | Kitchener / Waterloo Lifestyle Photographer

Monday, February 7, 2011

Madeleine and I were playing outside and I just couldn't pass up taking a few clicks of the beautiful yellows and burnt oranges in our front yard. Also, who doesn't love to photograph dead roses?!

Colour Inspiration | Kitchener/Waterloo Photographer

Market Food | Kitchener/Waterloo Food Photographer

I happened to stumble upon a few great market photos from last Summer in St. Jacobs. Armed with my *ancient* Canon Rebel xT, Husband and daughters, we set out on the Market Train that runs from the Uptown Waterloo Station and through to St Jacobs! We're very excited to visit again this Summer!

Below are a few FOOD images taken from our trip:

Images Taken @: St. Jacob's Farmers Market
Images Captured with: Canon Rebel xT, 50mm lens + all natural lighting