Thursday, January 9, 2014

Taking the temperature - trivia

Don't underestimate the little things. They'll get you in the end.

I need to sort out the lighting in our not-so-new-anymore apartment. Above The Lovely Island, at which we eat many of our meals, is a row of track lights - LED's - which give off a cool daylight temperature. On either side of those, in the high long room, are regular lightbulbs behind their regular shades (with fans, which are currently on low to circulate the expensive warm air that lurks near the ceiling). Those give off warm light. And under the countertop in the kitchen, cold LED lights again, that we installed.

But I wasn't thinking of colour temperatures in photos when I did that.


The two temperatures, warm and cool, play havoc with photographs. Everything looks so...cold. Blue. And everything in the background looks  Terrible. Who woulda thunk that the el cheapo light in the stove's vent in the old apartment could actually provide more atmospheric lighting!?

Once longer days roll round I can shoot more actual daylight food stuff, but till then this is a dark place, and I need artificial lights. And I have to take decent food pictures. I don't want to fake daylight because I like the domestic glow of warmer light. I have to re-think the LED's. And we have a stunning light fixture- huge, spherical, fluffy -  from Ikea that I'd love to install over same Island, but it would involve removing the overhead track lights.

There. Lighting. Just needed to get that out. It's been depressing me. It was a rough weekend. All the demons climbed out and sat on top of me, and I nearly went under. On Monday, miraculously, they were gone.

Supper last night was not depressing. Bagna cauda (see September's menu in The Book). I chopped up two whole heads of garlic, threw in an entire jar of anchovies, mixed with good extra virgin olive oil (no, not our neighbour's - I'm eking his out), cooked it all till the salted fishes had melted, and dipped into it vegetables, including the fat bamboo shoot acquired in Chinatown.

It was delicious. The shoot, I mean With an elusive taste from long ago that I can't pin down. The texture was like just-cooked artichoke hearts. I learned that they do have to be cooked, or they can be toxic. I blanched them in two changes of water and we are fine.

I want to get some more.

With the bagna cauda were bread rolls fresh from the oven and the leftovers of the previous night's prosecco, when we had our upstairs neighbour over to dinner, to help us eat polar vortex-beating borscht.

In other domestic news: a double sided draft stopper (who knew?) arrived via Amazon last night and is installed in the vestibule to dull the Arctic blast outside our front door. Woolly slippers are on their way (and thank you very much for everyone's suggestions!). I am sure no one will approve of my slippers, but at least I won't have to wear these anymore...

Yes, those are my feet. I bought these slippers as a joke for the Frenchman years ago, and he has carried them around loyally ever since. I have been living in them for week. Unironicallly.

I told you the cold was serious.

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