It's the end of 2012 and the end of my photography Project 52. It seems like it's been a long time but in reality, 52 weeks is short. There were some weeks when I struggled to find something interesting -- from my perspective -- to photograph but I always found something. Fortunately, I knew other photographers doing their own Project 52 who helped provide motivation to get out and shoot. A 52-week photography project is much easier to complete than a 365-day photography project. I've tried those in the past but given my personal and professional schedule -- and my dislike of winter -- there were many days when I couldn't be bothered to pick up the camera. Having a whole week to find a subject that was interesting took the pressure off.

I learned a lot in 2012. The project has helped me practice my technique and compositional skills. I learned more about my Nikon D40 camera -- which I've had six years now -- and it's limitations. For HDR photograph having a camera capable of auto-bracketing is essential and a higher resolution and high ISO sensor helps maintain quality when cropping. I tried overcoming the limitations of my camera via my Raspberry Pi but I would love the convenience of a built-in feature. Finances permitting I would like a new camera body in 2013.

I also learned a lot about lighting. I've taken a few courses and workshops in the past but having my studio strobes has allowed me to experiment. I learn more from doing. My intention for 2013 is use those lights to start and grow my photography business. I prefer landscape and nature photography but it seems more customers are willing to pay for portraits.

So that's it for 2012. I'm looking forward to 2013 and whatever new adventures await. So as the song "Auld Lang Syne" suggest, the time has gone by. May the new times ahead bring incredible new adventures for you.

Growing up in the West Indies — St. Vincent, Bequia, Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, then back to St. Vincent — I experienced Christmas very differently than the way it is in Central New Jersey1. In the islands I lived in, Christmas trees were always artificial (including face snow! ) and people tended to visit family and friends for drinks and merriment. It was a time for church (Methodist, Anglican, Catholic etc). Other than that, Christmas day was just like any other festive2 day in the West Indies — breezy and sunny with the possibility of rum.

Bhavna and her family enjoy3 the festive nature of Christmas and this year we are getting together at her sister’s home. My niece, Maya, is the party planner and the dress code is pyjamas. We’ve all got the day off anyway so why not? My nephew’s birthday — Rohan — is the 23rd and my father-in-law’s birthday is the 27th so there are other reasons to get together.

Bhavna asked me about West Indian Christmas food and all I could think of was a cloved ham and Punch de Creme4. LOL!

I’m not a big drinker. I enjoy a beer or two during the week and will occasionally drink a cocktail. However, her question got me thinking about what I might contribute culturally. I looked the web for Punch de Creme recipes but they all seemed too involved. I wanted a recipe that would allow me to create single-serving quickly and with just a few ingredients. I found a West Indian Eggnog recipe that I think does the trick.

I tweaked the original recipe a bit. Ron Zacapa rum is too fine to use a mixer so I used something cheaper. I picked up some Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum and Planat Cognac VS from Steele’s Wine Cellar. I didn’t have access to sugar cane syrup but Shoprite has Liquid Sugar in the Raw. I also changed the units of measure to metric. This is the 21st century.

I thoroughly enjoyed the result. The drink was not cloyingly sweet and the rum and cognac were nicely balanced. The eggnog was not as “spiced” as I had hoped. Perhaps I need to create my own spice mixture. Enjoy.

West Indian Eggnog

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A wonderful way to bring some West Indian spirit to the winter holidays.



Credit: islandinthenet.com

Ingredients


Directions

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender, and blend for 15 seconds.
  2. Add ice, and blend again for 5 seconds.
  3. Pour into your favourite mug.
  4. Garnish with a dusting of nutmeg.
  5. Drink and be merry.


  1. I won’t characterize all of New Jersey or the USA as being the same. Regional cultural differences can be found between the northern and southern end of the state. 
  2. a festive mood: jolly, merry, joyous, joyful, happy, jovial, lighthearted, cheerful, jubilant, convivial, high-spirited, mirthful, uproarious; celebratory, holiday, carnival; Christmassy; archaic festal. 
  3. They are Hindus. 
  4. Punch de Creme is the Trinidad and Tobago version of an eggnog. 

I bought a Vitamix earlier this year. I use it to make delicious breakfast smoothies. I started out with a recipe my wife got from her boss. That recipe included chocolate powder and blueberries but I didn't like the chocolate. After much experimentation I found a combination that works for me.

My smoothies usually have a base of two servings of spinach, a handful of grapes, one cup of unsweetened plain soy milk, and a cup of ice. To that I add a cup of another fruit and two table spoons of ground flax. Bananas, melon, pineapples and mango work well. Sometimes I add avocado and two tables. Sometimes I use chia seeds or skip the flax. The flax can make the smoothie too thick and difficult to drink.

Well blended this recipe yields two servings of a delicious low-fat non-dairy smoothie. The smoothie is a low glycemic breakfast. I find that I must drink it immediately after taking my rapid acting insulin. Sometimes I take the insulin after drinking the smoothie. Nothing ruins my day more than hypoglycemia.

I have no grapes. This morning I planned on blending the spinach with soy milk, melon, ice, flax and avocado. I forgot to add the avocado.