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Say “Hello” to My Little Friends! | House of Annie

Say “Hello” to My Little Friends!

Guess what came in the mail the other day?

Flip Ultra Video Camera

It’s the Flip Ultra Video Camera!

Jaden of Steamy Kitchen had a birthday giveaway, asking people to submit Asian recipes that could be done in 15 minutes. Annie and I submitted nine entries, five of which became a series on this blog. Well, our entry for Steamed Shiitake Mushrooms with Bok Choy and Fatt Choy was chosen as the entry that won the video camera!

So after we got back from our trip back home to Hawaii, Jaden sent the video camera to us. But that’s not all she sent…

Canon Digital Rebel XT

Canon Digital Rebel XT

When Jaden read that one of my options for spending the money we won by winning the FoodBuzz Traffic Challenge was to buy a Digital SLR camera, she offered to sell me her used Canon Digital Rebel XT. Yes, Queen Jaden sold me the camera that took some of this beautiful food porn! That’s so cool. It’s like Luke being given Anakin’s lightsaber!

Annie wanted me to get a digital SLR a long time ago. But I was afraid to spend the money on such an expensive item. So all this time, the pics on the House of Annie food blog have been taken by this little guy:

Canon PowerShot A710IS

Canon PowerShot A710IS

Just compare the shot of the Rebel XT that was taken by the PowerShot A710, with the shot of the A710 taken by the XT. The difference is remarkable. Annie picked up the XT and snapped a picture of her breakfast toast and tea. That one shot, taken without any staging or fussing, looked a billion times more beautiful than my Turkey Omurice photo, which I had to take multiple pics of to get the right look.

Here’s a picture I took of our lunch:

Kangkung Belacan with Tomato

Kangkung belacan with tomato

The depth of field and the detail are so breath-taking. And I love how quick the autofocus works! I can tell already, this camera is going to make it easier to take more delicious pictures. (I can hear Annie saying, “I told you so!”)

Kangkung Belacan with Tomato


1 bunch kangkung / ong choy / water convulvulus, chopped into 2 inch-long pieces

4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons laksa paste
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small tomato, cut into wedges
Fish sauce to taste


  1. Heat oil in a wok or large saute pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the laksa paste and the minced garlic and fry until fragrant.
  3. Add the chopped kangkung and stir-fry until the paste and the garlic are mixed will in with the vegetable.
  4. Add the tomato wedges and cook until they start to soften.
  5. Season to taste with a few splashes of fish sauce.

Steep Learning Curve

In less than two weeks, Annie and I will be attending the TomatoFest in Carmel Valley, as “foodie correspondents” for FoodBuzz. In addition to all the perks like dining out on FoodBuzz’s dime, FoodBuzz has also arranged for Annie and I to get media passes to this event! We’re so stoked.

I’m even more stoked that we are taking our two new friends, the Flip Ultra and the Rebel XT along with us. But it’s going to be a steep learning curve, for sure. I hope I have enough time to get used to this new equipment.

Which would you take?

If you were in my shoes, would you take the new DSLR, even without knowing all its capabilities, or stick with the more familiar old point-and-shoot A710? Leave us a comment!

Aloha, Nate

This post was entered into the September 7 edition of Weekend Herb Blogging, created by Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen and hosted by Küchenlatein

19 Comments Post a Comment
  1. J says:

    >Albert (Mr. Cover-to-Cover Manual Reader) didn’t even think twice about bringing his new 1-week-old behemoth camera to Israel and Dizzy World, and leaving the midsize mediocrity at home. He didn’t have time to read the manual until well after the trips. Many of his shots could have been better, but I think he enjoyed the trial and error of experimenting with his new toy.

  2. judyfoodie says:

    >Nice camera. /jealous

    I saw the ong choy at the Asian market yesterday but did not buy any. In fact it was the first time I’ve seen it and was wondering about it. Now that you have posted a recipe, I have an excuse to buy some. What does it taste like? Is it anything like yu choy?

  3. Jenster says:

    >Congrats on your new cameras. Please let us know how you like the Flip. I’ve read some reviews on it but, being Chinese, I just can’t get myself to shell out the money for a “toy.”

  4. [eatingclub] vancouver || js says:

    >The picture looks gorgeous! I have to try that sometime, to get out of the adobong kangkong rut.

  5. daniellui says:

    >you’ve given me a bad case of techno lust.

  6. noobcook says:

    >ahhh beautiful photo of the kangkung!! congratulations on all the good things that are coming your way ;) … Personally, I would take the time now to practise using the dslr and bring that mean machine for the event :D

  7. dp says:

    >Take the DSLR. You can use it in automatic mode if you are more comfortable with it that way. Your picture shows how nicely it works :-)

  8. Robert says:

    >I would take the DSLR, you are there to record the event and a better camera will be the better tool. However, I find that a smaller camera is useful in more casual situations, such as site visits and recording garden observations etc…everyone needs as much tech as possible.

  9. Linda F says:

    >I have techno envy too, the DSLR would be fab!

  10. babe_kl says:

    >*drooling* congrats!!!! sighhh i think i need to get a DSLR too

  11. Michelle says:

    >Yay! Congrats! That’s a couple of great cameras! I’d go with the newbie if I were you – the trusty standby is great, but the new one will be awesome even if it’s just point and shoot and autofocus – just take LOTS of pictures to choose from!!

  12. Nate-n-Annie says:

    >@J – midsize mediocrity? Is that how I’m going to feel after playing with the new toy?

    @judyfoodie – I don’t think ong choy tastes like yu choy. I think it tastes more like spinach (one of its names is “water spinach”). Do try this recipe out and let us know what you think!

    @Jenster – I think the price is coming down on the Flip, so you might be able to pick one up as well. So far, I’ve found it to be pretty easy to use.

    @JS – never heard of adobong kangkong, but we do like adobo! Sounds tasty.

    @daniel – I’ll let you touch it next time hehehehe

    @noobcook – thanks!

  13. Nate-n-Annie says:

    >@dp – that’s three votes.

    @robert – and four. I think I’ll take the dSLR. But I still would worry about taking it into a restaurant. I’m sure I’ll get over it ;-)

    @Linda – I think the price on a used dSLR is within range of more people now.

    @Babe – eh? your pics are so good I thought you had one already!

    @Michelle – (waves) Thanks! I hope I don’t run out of batteries :D

  14. White on Rice Couple says:

    >Congrats on flip camera!!! How awesome that you got your SLR too. Jaden is a sweet heart.

    Your photo’s look phenomenal and droolworthy. Can’t wait to see the amazing phototgraphy stuff you guys will be posting!

    I just got a new camera too…ummmm….maxed out my credit card for this one!

  15. Nate-n-Annie says:

    >@WoRC – I am loving this camera! Definitely going to take it to TomatoFest.

    Gotta start saving up for that 50 mm F1.2 …

  16. Ulrike says:

    >Thanks for your WHB enty

  17. KC says:

    >I’ve never had ong choy with belacan and tomato. It looks delicious. I’m going to try it. Fabulous photo.

  18. Kalyn says:

    >I have that same camera, and I’d definitely vote for taking it with you. As one other person suggested, you can always use the auto feature if you’re not sure about the camera settings.

    I have heard of water spinach, but would love to try it, looks delicious!

  19. Nate-n-Annie says:

    >@Ulrike – thanks, it was great to be part of such a wide ranging roundup!

    @KC – thanks, and I hope you like the dish!

    @Kalyn – We’ve decided that I wil take the XT and Annie will carry the A710. Who do you think will get the better pics? :-)

    You should be able to find it in your Asian grocery.

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About Us

My Photo Annie is mistress of the kitchen while Nate is the master of the grill and smoker. We cook the homestyle Asian and Hawaiian foods of our younger days while also exploring the wider worlds of Western foods.

Learn more about us by clicking here: About House of Annie.

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