Thursday, August 23, 2012

Let's Cook Healthy Together Photo Contest. (Part 3)

Have you been thinking about what to cook for the Health Promotion Board’s Let’s Cook Healthy Together Photo Contest? 

If you are running out of ideas of what to cook, you might be glad to know that HPB has an iOS App on the Apple App Store that has been customised for Singaporeans.

Delicious Recipes by Singapore Chefs on the AppStore

Healthy Chef App by Health Promotion Board Healthy Chef App by Health Promotion Board
Do a search for “Healthy Chef” and you will find the app as shown on the top left corner of the screen captured above. (At the same time, download iDAT from HPB too!)

If you are wondering if these recipes are any good, HPB has gotten some famous Singapore Chefs (Eg Chef Yen Koh, Chef Garibaldi, Chef Eric Teo, Chef Kintamani, Chef Yong Bing Ngen to name a few) to prepare them! They even listed down the calories, fats, carbs, cholesterol etc per serving!

We know that cooking need not be precise (unlike baking), but most of us are not trained to be able to tell how much calories are in the food we eat. Try following a few recipes. You would be able to gauge how much calories there are in certain type of food. After a while, you might roughly be able to calculate calories by looking at ingredients!

Healthy Chef App by Health Promotion BoardHealthy Chef App by Health Promotion Board

I noticed something about this app. A search for recipes by Calories! If you think you have been having too much rich (as in high in calories) food recently, and want to eat something delicious yet low in calories, search for food under “Calories”.

Example of ‘under 200 kcal’ food includes Abalone Egg Custard, Asian Gazpacho etc. 1 serving of the Abalone Egg Custard is only 65kcal! Delicious food doesn’t mean it is high in calories.

Download and try it now. It’s free!

Making your children remember you forever!

I once talked to a friend who has 2 children and she works full time in a bank. Bankers work late and that’s one reason she doesn’t cook much. Another reason is that her mum prepares such nice food and is the fussy type and everyone depends on her mum to prepare all the food. Her children will grow saying grandma’s food is the best.

I told her once that maybe she should master 2 or 3 dishes and feed them to her children. Make them grow up remembering the taste of your cooking. Reinforce in them that it’s very nice. (Of course make sure it is nice!) Cook it often enough that they will remember it, but not too often until they get ‘jelak’ (bored) of it.

Brain wash into their heads, that when they behave, mummy will cook you the special dish as a reward. Occasionally ask them, do you want to eat that dish? They will probably say those 3 dishes that she has mastered. Do you think it will work?

Ask yourself now, are the dishes cooked by your mum (or maybe Dad, Grandma or Grandpa) the best tasting ones? It’s because you have grown up eating it. We tend to think about it and the familiar taste will make it the best dishes you have tasted in your life. The saltiness of food is what you are used to. You won’t complain that it’s too salty or too bland. The sweetness, aroma, ingredients used are all customised to your liking!

If you have children, maybe you should try the suggestion above? One day when your children leave home, they will remember the food you cook at home when they were younger. When someone asks them what the best dishes they have tasted are, it will most probably the ones that you cooked for them since young!

Take photos of your family activity!

Another way to remember the food and the family fun is to take photos of it. Most of us have smartphones, compact cameras and also DSLRs. Just go ahead and take photos of your family at any time!

This is something I thought might help. This is not professional photography write up, but a poor man’s way of taking photographs with limited equipment. Here are 3 tips for taking nice family activity photos. Use your smartphone, it’s probably the camera that most people are carrying with them almost 24 hours a day!

1. Find a leaning point.


Do you realise that your photos are always blur / out of focus? It’s because you either move too much or your hands are shaky when you take photos. Instead of just pressing only shutter release button on the camera, the whole camera moves when you press it.

One way to prevent blur photos is to anchor yourself.

  • One way is to have your hands near your body, imagine a piece of paper between you and your hands. You need to hold it tight such that way your hands are anchored to your body when you take photos. 
  • Lean on a wall to take photos. Sit on a chair with the back in front to anchor your hands on the back rest. You can also anchor your hands on the dining table. Just make sure you don’t move too much when you are taking photos.
This is most important when there isn’t sufficient lighting in the room. Your camera’s shutter will be exposed longer and you need to anchor yourself to have in-focus photos.

2. Focus on their eyes, if ladies their dresses too!

Target your camera to your subject’s eye when you take photos. Wait for them to finally look into your direction, then press the release shutter button! Photos only look good when you see the subject’s eye fixated on you.

Don’t zoom in too near or too far away. Having the subject covering between 1/3 to 2/3 of the screen will usually be just about right. Remember photography is an art. Try it out and see what works best in a particular situation.

How do you make sure they look at you? You either wait for them to look at you, or distract them to look at you.

Oh, I realised something, when you are taking photos of ladies, remember to zoom out a bit and take a photo of their dress if you notice they took time to dress up. It takes them like 30mins to an hour sometimes to pick the perfect thing to wear!

3. Ask them to fake a pose.


Sometimes when you want nice photos for memories, ask them to pose deliberately for you. If they are cooking, ask them to hold the whisk, sneak a bite on the food that has been prepared. These would be interesting photos that will be conversational pieces months or years later!

If you are a newbie, I hope these tips would be good for taking photos. Try out and maybe you can submit your photos for the competition!

Good luck!

For more info about the contest, click on to the HPB Facebook.

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