Thursday, August 27, 2009

My New Camera

I got a new camera this week! I've wanted one for a long time, and had my sights set on a digital SLR because... you know... it's fancy! But I came across one particular camera last week which challenged my thinking. It was the Fujifilm FinePix S1500. It was in my price bracket (thanks to a tax refund) and you can't attach anything to it, except a tripod, and I'm seriously thinking about getting one of those. And that's the beauty of this type of camera. It does all kinds of wonderful things, but I don't need to spend much more money on it, unlike an SLR, where the basic camera is $1 000 (or more) and then you lenses, then filters, then ... It all adds up, and I don't have that kind of money to splash around. That's what I have my scrapbooking for (insert evil chuckle.)
So then I shopped around. I looked at what I was getting, and how much it would cost. After looking at a few different cameras, I came back to the Fuji. For the money I was paying, it was as much as I needed, and enough to learn on. Maybe one day I will upgrade to a proper SLR, but not this year. And, with shopping around, I ended up getting the camera, the camera bag, the memory card, and batteries for the price of the camera alone at the original shop.
So... Piccies :) All of these are straight out of the camera - isn't it wonderful?

This is a cactus/succulent/thing that is growing in my garden for some obscure reason.

This is growing in the lawn. It has escaped from someone else's garden, which these plants are notorius for. Mum has some, and they are forever popping up in random spots in the lawn.

The bottle-brush has just started blooming. This shot is looking up at the plant, and then to the eaves of the house, but because it's on Macro setting, it just sort of blurs into that greenish background.

No idea what this is. I thought it was a camellia, but the flowers don't look like it. Any ideas?

This is the old Toowoomba Council Building at night. I could not have gotten this photo with my old camera (I tried - blech!)

I'm actually entering the Coucil Building and the Bottlebrushes into a local photography competition with the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers. The photos have to be a minimum of 4mp, and my new camera is 10mp, so that means I can crop the photos a little, if I need to. My old camera was 5mp, and that means you only have a very little amount that you can crop before it drops too low.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hummingbird Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

So I had some bananas going bad in my fridge, which is just such a shame - don't you think? What to do? What to do? I know - Hummingbird Cake! (Insert evil laugh here.) (Wipe drool - sorry.)

This is what is left after 2 days. Actually, less now :D

Hummingbird Cake

So... Grab your 23cm x 30cm roasting pan or 9" x 13" baking pan (as the case may be) and line it with some baking paper while setting the oven to 180C (approx 360F.)
You will need
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour OR 1 1/2 cups plain flour, and 3 tsp baking powder
1 cup brown sugar (I don't press down, but suit yourself)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup sultanas ('cause - hey! extra fruit!)
3 eggs
3/4 cup melted butter
2 cups mashed bananas (I used 3 really(!) ripe, medium-sized ones)
1/2 cup undrained crushed pineapple

Mix the flour (and baking powder, if needed) sugar, cinnamon, and sultanas, and set aside.
Mix the eggs, butter, banana, and pineapple.
I've found it better to dump the dry onto the wet in this sort of recipe, since you want to be quick with the mixing, and this way you don't get flour hiding at the bottom of the bowl when you pour it into the pan. So mix - pretend it's muffin batter - and pour into your lined pan, then bake at 180C/360F. This took me 30 minutes, but my oven tends to be a little slow, so start checking after 25 minutes.

Cream Cheese Icing

250g cream cheese, softened
80g butter
2 tsp vanilla
500g icing sugar

Mix the cream cheese and butter until smooth, then add the vanilla, then the icing sugar. (I used a icing mixture, but pure icing sugar is fine, and gluten free, as the packet proudly proclaims.) I didn't use all the icing last time I made this, so I still have some left over (threw it into a ziploc bag, and put it in the freezer before I ate it all) but I don't think I would bother next time - it wasn't that much, and it spreads well over the cake.

You should get about 24 serves from this cake - about 5cm x 5cm squares (2" x 2".) Not an overpowering flavour, but very nice.