Feeling the Love on Valentines

Its one of those commercial days that we all love or…. dread. I suppose if you are 15 and still at school there is always the pressure on from all your classmates as to whether you actually received a card.

Well I say, on Valentines Day, we should learn to love what we have, who we have in our lives regardless of the relationship we have with them and send a little love out there to all that are perhaps feeling lonely. 

So sing along with me...Love is in the air everywhere you look around….

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got any of those clementines left over?

Most people buy them over the Christmas holidays, I always buy a few boxes, but by the time january comes and they start to look a little disheveled I squeeze them for juice before they go bad.

But did you know you can also make a last ditch dual use of the skins once you have squeezed the juice out?

Yes you can. Place all the skins in a saucepan (make sure to wash the whole orange before squeezing if you want to try this) cover the skins with water, just enough to cover them. Then put them on the stove, bring to the boil and then leave to simmer for about 90 mins to 2 hours. Keep an eye on the pan to make sure it does not boil dry, if water looks low, boil the kettle and top up the water.

First of all your home will smell amazing, I did my first batch with a stick of cinnamon to clear the air in my house. Afterwards I removed the cinnamon stick, then when the skins had cooled I put the skins in the blender. Once pureed I added some sugar to taste and put the puree back on the stove for about 20 minutes on low.
What you will have is an amazingly tangy and zesty orange purée. Boiling the skins for a long time will get rid of the bitter taste often associated with orange skins.

I used mine in yogurt, but you can also use this purée on chicken or in a cake mixture, in fact the possibilities are endless.

Once you try it you will never throw away orange or lemon skins again. You can do this with any citrus fruit that is slightly old, don't use fresh citrus fruits (except for clementines and limes) as the pith will be too thick and the purée will be more on the bitter side.

 

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Seasons greetings

Its that time of year again… Christmas. Regardless of your culture or beliefs, if you live in a western society everyone gets caught up in the Christmas fever. I don't think its so much about religion anymore but more about having a few days off to eat foods you don't generally eat and be with the friends and family that mean the most to you.

And what is better than a good excuse to kick back and relax and have that extra cookie or piece of cake. Whatever your traditions or beliefs, I wish everyone peace, happiness and love for the holidays and may the coming new year be filled with good intentions and the will to embrace another year.

Thank you to everyone that worked with me this year, I am truly grateful for all the support and I hope you will continue to visit and enjoy my work in 2014.

Eat, drink and be merry...

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Oreos go Belgian...

I was walking through a store the other day and was struck by the packaging of these Belgian chocolate covered oreo cookies. Being originally from the UK the cookies and milk didn't really figure much in my childhood, it was more builders tea and custard creams (old habits die hard so its still my favourite today). Anyway felt compelled to photograph these in two different ways. Now that the first snow has fallen in Montreal, there will be no shooting in the lovely open light of my garden so its into the studio and time to get creative with light indoors. 

Not a custard cream in sight so I am off to get the kettle on and observe a temporary British-American snack of tea and belgian oreos.

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Pretty Pumpkins

Happy autumn everyone., the clocks have gone back, the cold weather is here. Hallowe'en just passed with fun, laughter and pumpkin pie.

Pumpkins come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, colours and textures. I think they make for wonderful colour in my kitchen for the time that they live in my fruit bowl. Of course they make for nice photography too. I have already chopped and baked the very large one that I bought for halloween and now there are just the small ones that remain. What will I cook with them? Soup and muffins most likely… 

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Getting artsy with veggies

Whilst making the most of my city garden, the nice light that encompasses it during the day and the unusually warm days this October, I decided to do something a little different with some of the autumn vegetables, one of my fellow creatives has remarked that this image has an almost illustration feel...

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Is autumn really here?

Its warm outside, bordering on humid in fact, I don't really want to accept that the summer is over. The wind softly brushes the trees and there is this delightful rustling noise of the leaves flying into the air. They finally succumbed to letting go of their branch. Their season is over, they glow for one last time, showing off briefly a new colour. Then they dutifully fall a mere few feet to their final resting place.

Luckily for a handful their time is not up yet. These ones saved by me with one last task in hand, to be today's photography prop. 

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Van Oranje

Yes I may well be a Brit, with that good old London accent of mine, but... actually I also grew up and went to school in Holland, Eindhoven to be specific as this is where my mother originates from. But where is this all leading you ask yourself, well... how many people actually know that it was because of the Dutch that the good old carrot was genetically modified to the colour orange, for what is thought to be purely political reasons.

In the 17th century, Dutch growers are thought to have cultivated orange carrots as a tribute to William of Orange – who led the the struggle for Dutch independence – and the color stuck. A thousand years of purple, yellow and white carrots were wiped out in an instant.

Well this weekend was carrot juicing time but I thought why just stick with my heritage inspired orange carrots, lets throw a few of the original coloured ones into the mix. They seem indeed to be making a come back, which makes for fantastic photography props.

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Continually inspired by light in my house

Its the late afternoon sun at this time of year that is always the best in my opinion. I really believe that Montreal is, in general, a sunny city. I had some thai salad herb that I have no clue of its name given to me and some random weeds from the alley and they made for a lovely bunch of nature in my second floor spare room, nicely wrapped in the september sun, so naturally I couldn't resist abandoning all the food images for a few floral snaps. 

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A little appetizer....

So it was a little bit of a food fest at the weekend, here are some of the images that I shot, I am still in the processing stage as well as the cooking stage. The apple & rhubarb crumble was delicious, devoured with a friend who made the custard. Today is plum day... 

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Fall and food

Even in my last ditch attempt at summer photo inspiration my images seem to have that 'Fall' or Autumn (as a Brit I would say) feel to them. Not so much a winter fan but I do like the colours of Fall. This weekend I will start to bake and of course photograph the results. After a fantastic weekend doing outdoor portraits I am inspired to create compotes and pies and capture them in the garden in the last of the summer sun. 

Time to get the oven and the kettle on. I see wholesome soups, warm deserts and hot wine in my future... 

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Cooking with Isabelle

Isabelle Boivin has many talents, as well as being a successful realtor in Montreal, she is also an amazing cook. She recently started a Facebook page called 'Cuisinez avec Isabelle' and last weekend she invited some friends over to enjoy wine, experience cooking with her and to have a wonderful meal at the end. I can say that everyone was having a great time and I was very pleased to be there to photograph the first of which I imagine will be many of Isabelle's Sunday cooking classes. Here is a sneak preview of some images I took of the dessert (my favourite part of any meal of course). More images on my FB page to follow.

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Summer Pfurr

My most photographed subject is without a doubt my very own ginger moggy Barney. I have had him since 4 weeks old, he is now 5 and handsome as ever. I find it quite therapeutic and mesmerizing to photograph cats because they really are a rule to themselves. In 2011 I began photographing voluntarily for a local cat rescue called Mimi's Rescue Cats. I made a very good friend called Maria Teresa, who together with her friend Madelaine single handedly ran their cat shelter without any funding. Sadly they had to close but the cats are still well looked after and I still contribute to their Facebook page as well as photograph any cats that are looking for forever homes. Recently I had a trip down memory lane whilst photographing a couple of little ginger kittens, it was just like my gorgeous Barney all over again. If you would like to see more of my feline photos as well as my increasing canine ones too please visit www.pfurr.com and if you are interested in fostering or adopting any of Mimi's rescue's please go to their facebook page www.facebook.com/mimisrescuecats

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Pride 2013

Had a fantastic day at Pride Montreal 2013 yesterday. The sun was shining, it was a typical hot summer's day. So many people out along Rene Levesque waving the rainbow flag. Quite emotional during the one minutes silence for all those who have been taken by AIDS. I am very proud to be a British Canadian living in a city where we can openly celebrate all different types of diversity, free on the street, with an attitude of fun, peace and open spirit.   I took over 800 shots and will be posting them soon in my events page.

 

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