Wednesday, July 18, 2012

布丁 (Custard Pudding) [followup]

By the way, this is what store bought custard pudding looks like:
 in original packaging

out on a plate

This was from 7-Eleven in Taiwan and can be found all over the country (both the 7-Elevens and the pudding). They even give you a tiny spoon when you buy it so you can eat it straight from the container.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

布丁 (Custard Pudding)

Custard pudding is an extremely popular desert in Japan and Taiwan (and maybe more places that I haven't been to). You can find it at literally any convenience store or grocery store. In fact, they often have rows and rows of different pudding brands at relatively low prices. In the US however, it's much harder to come by, but that gives us a reason to try to make it ourselves ^_^
So here are my first two attempts at making custard pudding  (a.k.a. flan or crème caramel or 布丁).
I used the recipe with from Cooking with Dog (watch the video for detailed instructions). The general steps are...

Caramelize sugar as such:

Butter the molds/cups for the pudding so it doesn't stick later:

Pour the caramel into the cups:
ran out of caramel for the last cup

Mix sugar, milk and eggs together, sieve and pour into the cups:

And cook in a pan with water for 20-30 minutes:

So my first 2 attempts had mixed results.. the first batch basically exploded when I poured it out of the cup.

Even though it literally liquified when I dumped it out of the cup, it tasted great! It was sweet, but not overly sweet and had a soft texture (at least the parts that didn't liquify).
The second batch actually looked a little better, sort of. Unfortunately I burned the caramel a little giving it a sweet yet charred tasted. It was interesting to say the least.

Anyway, I guess this is ok for the first two attempts. Maybe once I get better at it and experiment around I will post an updated blog post with the results.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Tips for Photographing Fireworks

This post is a little late for this year's July 4th fireworks, but in case you want to be prepared for next year, here are some tips for photographing fireworks.
  1. Set your camera on a tripod.
  2. Focus on a distant object (or focus on the first few fireworks) and then turn-off auto-focus.
  3. Set your aperture to f/10-16 (varies depending on brightness and distance of the fireworks).
  4. Set the shutter for 2 or 3 seconds.
  5. Alternatively, I set my camera to bulb and use a remote. With the remote, I manually hold the shutter for 2 or 3 seconds depending on how many fireworks are going off.
  6. Optimally, you should be perpendicular to the wind so the smoke moves out of the way. Unfortunately, winds may be hard to predict or may shift during the fireworks show.

When photographing fireworks in a large city such as New York City or Washington, D.C. there may be many fireworks going off at once. Sometimes, the next fireworks are going off before the previous ones have even cleared. Anyway, the biggest part is practice! Take these tips and try photographing fireworks a few times and you will get the hang of it!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Independence Day

Creating a blog for the first time in many, many years. Even though I labeled this as a food and travel blog, it'll probably be a variety of things including photography. Anyway, let's start this off with a bang since it's (or was) Independence Day here.

I went into sweltering Washington, DC for the fireworks. After the first metro train I was on broke down in a shower of sparks and the smell of battery acid everywhere, I finally made it in at 8:45, 25 mins before the start. Unfortunately, this year's fireworks were not as impressive as previous years.  There was less variety in the fireworks, and they didn't seem to fly as high up as before.

Not to mention, a number of fireworks exploded while still on the ground (as shown in the photo). Looks like there was a batch of defective rockets.