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July 9, 2015 / Aware of the Void

This Curry is Nuts – Version 1

 

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I say nuts to you sir!

This is another one that gets made often. Quick, simple and very tasty. You can make this with pretty much any type of nut and it is so similar to the dhal recipe I posted before that I have reused a photo.

Here I have made it with cashew nuts and a few almonds because I had some in the house. I think technically because of the luscious use of coconut milk here this would be considered closer to the Sri Lankan or Southern Indian style of cooking. I normally eat this with rice or cold the next day with a big slice of bread.

Ingredients:

  • 2 x cups of nuts – I used almonds and cashews
  • 1 x medium sized onion
  • 3 x cloves of garlic
  • 2 x teaspoons of black mustard seeds
  • 3 x curry leaves fresh is great but dried is ok also
  • 200ml x coconut milk
  • 1 x tea spoon curry power – I use HOT but use as per your taste
  • oil for frying
  • A lime – I do love a lime there are a little like magic

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Method:

  • Soak the nuts in hot water to slightly soften them.
  • Chop the onions and garlic
  • Heat a frying pan and add some oil.
  • Fry the mustard seeds until they start to pop and scatter all over the cooker.
  • Fry the onions, garlic and curry leaves until cooked “nicely”
    IMG_5040
  • Remove the fry mixture to a separate dish for a few mins
  • Lightly fry the nuts to a light charred – this adds a little richness and sweetness and loveliness
    IMG_5043 IMG_5045
  • Add the onion and garlic mix back to the nuts
  • Add the coconut milk and stir
  • Add the curry power to you taste
  • apply a great squeeze of lime

So there it is, as always I’m looking for new ideas if you make it please let me know and if you have any suggestions for alternates please do share. I will post an indian version of this dish mostly using tomatoes the next time I make it.

 

 

July 5, 2015 / Aware of the Void

Feel the Fear and Shoot a Wedding Anyway

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You would imagine that an entire year would be long enough to gather my thoughts on the time that I accidentally became a wedding photographer but I’m still struggling to file the day away in my brain.

At some point late in June 2014 my good friend/mortal enemy Annemarie asked me if I would take pictures at a friends wedding. My reaction was the same as every other time I have been asked this over the years – an instant and emphatic NO!!. I done my usual explanation that I believe that wedding photography is a very specialist type of photography best left to the professionals. I explained that a wedding photographer has a shopping list of “must get” shots and that they achieve this without thinking about it. I told her that for “artistic” reasons that I was currently only shooting with film and I had assumed that digital would be required for social media use. I explained that my group shots are legendarily bad and that there would need to be at least one. Most importantly of all I explained that when someone asks me to take a photo I will normally pack up my camera gear and pout like a bold child.

Annemarie politely listened and then dismissed all my well considered points and arguments and said that I seem to have miss-heard her. She said she wanted me to take pictures, not be a wedding photographer. She told me how important these friends are to her and that she wanted someone taking pictures that would capture the spirit of the couple and their amazing personalities.

I was intrigued by this prospect and very tentatively agreed to have a think about it. A couple of weeks later I was invited to Skerries to eat chocolate brownies and meet the couple. Sometimes its pretty amazing how you connect with people – within 5 minutes I felt like I had known Niamh and Nigel all my life. I would later discover that they pretty much have this effect on everyone they meet.

I got them to pose for a few shots an Annemarie’s garden and we had a lot of fun. A couple of days later would be the real event and all of a sudden I found myself concerned that I would not be able to capture the personalities of Nigel and Niamh and the pressure mounted. On the day I used a couple of different cameras. The Mamiya RB67 for formal stuff in the walled garden, my f100 for general snap shots, my iphone because Instagram must know everything I do and a very fancy looking Cannon 5d Mkii with L glass because I wanted to look like I knew what I was doing.

I really enjoyed the day and am glad that I gave wedding photography a go and I delighted to have made new friends in Niamh and Nigel. I have posted a selection of the pictures of that day shot with the mix bag of gear I had with me on the day. The happy couple as far as know were pleased with the results.

Would I do it again……..

Synnott-Fluet

mami_TRI_HC110_4-5min_218 - 2014-07-08 at 20-12-36 (1) mami_TRI_HC110_4-5min_214 - 2014-07-08 at 20-03-54 Synnott-Fluet Synnott-Fluet Synnott-Fluet Synnott-Fluet Synnott-Fluet Synnott-Fluet Synnott-Fluet Synnott-Fluet Synnott-Fluet Synnott-Fluet f100_TRI_HC110_300sec235 - 2014-07-08 at 20-52-19 Synnott-Fluet Synnott-Fluet

 

 

June 21, 2015 / Aware of the Void

Get your Liths out for the Lads

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A few times a year I meet up with some of the guys from the Irish APUG forum and we have a bit of show and tell with our recent efforts in analogue photography.

Since I started doing my own darkroom printing at home I have found these meetings invaluable. There is a great sense of encouragement in the room and a critique where requested is done in a very gentle way. Over the years I have received practical advice and guidance that has helped me to get better as a printer and allowed me to be more confident in what I’m trying to achieve.

I have been very busy in work and on the domestic end of things we have undertaken some pretty major building works that have taken over a lot of my spare time. So getting into the Darkroom has slipped down the list as a priority. The recent print show was an excuse to spend a few evenings trying to make prints in the hope that I would have something new.

Other than printing a few postcards to contribute to Monica’s monthly postcard swap I had not printed anything from the trip to India so decided to concentrate my efforts on some of the portraits I made while traveling. I got it into my head that Liths of the people would be a nice way to go as the warmth of the country and people I met would be present in the tone of the final prints. I also printed a couple of the night time cityscapes of Dublin and once again feel the Lith process has helped the mood of the results.

I struggled for a long time with the process of Lith printing and had almost given up on it but I think I was just using the wrong subjects.

The India Prints:
Camera: Nikon FM2
Film: Kodak TRI-X 400
Dev: HC110 (B) 7min 20c
Paper: Fomatone MG Classic Warm Tone (132 Matt)
Paper Dev: Moersch Easy Lith 20ml(A)+20ml(B)+800ml(H2O)+200(old Brown) @40c

Liths863

Liths864 Liths862 Liths865

Cityscapes:
Camera:Mamiya RB67
Film: Kodak Tri-X 400
Dev: Rodinal 1+100 80min
Paper: Fomatone MG Classic Warm Tone (133 Velvet)
Paper Dev: Moersch Easy Lith 20 ml(A)+20 ml(B)+1000ml(H2O) @40c
Enlarger: Devere 504

Camera:Mamiya RB67 Film: Kodak Tri-X 400 Dev: Rodinal 1+100 80min Paper:Fomatone MG Classic Warm Tone (133 Velvet) Paper Dev: Moersch Easy Lith 20ml(A)+20ml(B)+1000ml(H2O) @28c Enlarger: Devere 504 awareofthevoid.com www.facebook.com/AwareOfTheVoid Development details on FilmDev

Camera:Mamiya RB67
Film: Kodak Tri-X 400
Dev: Rodinal 1+100 80min
Paper:Fomatone MG Classic Warm Tone (133 Velvet)
Paper Dev: Moersch Easy Lith 20ml(A)+20ml(B)+1000ml(H2O) @28c
Enlarger: Devere 504
awareofthevoid.com
www.facebook.com/AwareOfTheVoid
Development details on FilmDev

Camera:Mamiya RB67 Film: Kodak Tri-X 400 Dev: Rodinal 1+100 80min Paper:Fomatone MG Classic Warm Tone (133 Velvet) Paper Dev: Moersch Easy Lith 20 ml(A)+20 ml(B)+1000ml(H2O) @40c Enlarger: Devere 504 awareofthevoid.com www.facebook.com/AwareOfTheVoid Development details on FilmDev

Camera:Mamiya RB67
Film: Kodak Tri-X 400
Dev: Rodinal 1+100 80min
Paper:Fomatone MG Classic Warm Tone (133 Velvet)
Paper Dev: Moersch Easy Lith 20 ml(A)+20 ml(B)+1000ml(H2O) @40c
Enlarger: Devere 504
awareofthevoid.com
www.facebook.com/AwareOfTheVoid
Development details on FilmDev

 

 

June 19, 2015 / Aware of the Void

What is Pinholeobscura.com?

Photo by Jeff McConnell

Photo by Jeff McConnell

In August 2013 the idea for pinholeobscua.com seemed to fall fully formed from the brain of Monica Smith. The idea was to get some of her pin-holing friends from all over the world to collaborate on a website where we would post pinhole pictures of the world around us with the unique view that pinhole provides.

So far between the four of us we have visited 88 separate locations all of which are worth a visit.

You can find us on the blog at http://pinholeobscura.com/ we have a facebook page and we sometimes tweet so come along and see what we are doing!

Photo by R. Perez

Photo by R. Perez

June 11, 2015 / Aware of the Void

The Laziest (and therefore best) Hot and Sour Soup

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They only thing I love more than a good soup is a super lazy soup. To qualify as a lazy soup it must be possible to be prepared with the absolute minimum amount of thought and effort on my part and the whole process should take between 10 and 15 minutes from start to finish. This mostly gets made when I have no interest in cooking but still need to eat. Its so effortless that I’m always a bit surprised at how tasty it is.

Ingredients:

  • 1 x bag of shop bought fresh stir-fry mix
  • 1 x straight to wok noodles/tofu (optional)
  • 1 x onion
  • 2 x hot chilli peppers (I like red) or chilli paste
  • 2 x garlic cloves
  • 1 x ltr veg stock
  • 10 x table spoons balsamic vinegar
  • ? x any veg you might want to add – mushrooms always work well
  • Sesame oil for frying and flavour
  • 3 x table spoon of dark soya sauce

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A little note of the use of chillies to make this “hot”. The more chillies the hotter the soup will be so do this to your own tastes. Over the years I have struggled to select chillies in the shop that are the right level of spice for my appetite so I have devised a fool proof method of working out how hot they are. I take the chilli that is to be tested and take a massive bite out of it. If my head goes numb and the pain is unbearable it is probably just about right for my cooking.

Method:

  • Chop the onion, garlic and chillies and fry in the sesame oil.
  • Drop in the bag of stir-fry mix
  • Pour over the veg stock (amount depends on how soupy you want your results)
  • At this point at any additional veg you want (I tend to add mushrooms and bean sprouts)
  • Add the dark soya sauce as per your tastes
  • Now the sour – I add lots of the vinegar as I like the sharpness but you can add to your tastes
  • You can add noodles or tofu at this stage if you want the bulk – I add them more often in winter.
  • Simmer the pot until the veg is how you like it.

Because I like my veg to have a bit of bite I find that start to finish this dish takes me no more the 10 minutes to prepare and cook. As usual if you happen to make this please let me know how you get on and if you have any alternative suggestions for a similar meal.

June 1, 2015 / Aware of the Void

Turning Japanese – A Trip to the Gardens (Pinhole Obscura Reblog)

 

Camera: Pinhole 4x5 (Horseman 120 roll back fitted) Film: Foma 100 Dev: Rodinal 1+ 50 9mins awareofthevoid.com www.facebook.com/AwareOfTheVoid Development details on FilmDev

Camera: Pinhole 4×5 (Horseman 120 roll back fitted)
Film: Foma 100
Dev: Rodinal 1+ 50 9mins

It’s not often that I take my soul on the journey from oblivion to enlightenment but the Japanese garden at the National Stud made this an easy and eye pleasing prospect. Located in County Kildare the gardens were devised by Colonel William Hall Walker and were set out by Japanese master horticulturist Tassa Eida and his son Minoru. The walk through the trees, plants, rock gardens and water features symbolises the Life of Man.

Camera: Pinhole 4x5 (Horseman 120 roll back fitted) Film: Foma 100 Dev: Rodinal 1+ 50 9mins awareofthevoid.com www.facebook.com/AwareOfTheVoid Development details on FilmDev

Camera: Pinhole 4×5 (Horseman 120 roll back fitted)
Film: Foma 100
Dev: Rodinal 1+ 50 9mins

Camera: Pinhole 4x5 (Horseman 120 roll back fitted) Film: Foma 100 Dev: Rodinal 1+ 50 9mins awareofthevoid.com www.facebook.com/AwareOfTheVoid Development details on FilmDev

Camera: Pinhole 4×5 (Horseman 120 roll back fitted)
Film: Foma 100
Dev: Rodinal 1+ 50 9mins

The Vapors – Turning Japanese :D

May 31, 2015 / Aware of the Void

Nivetha’s World Famous Sri Lankan Style Dhal

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When I stopped eating meat a few years ago this quickly became one of the mainstays of my diet. It is very tasty and super fast to cook. Like the Chilli Paneer I tend to have the main ingredients in the house all the time so it’s a handy dish for the days when I’m unsure what to cook. It’s high in protein and I tend to make a bowl of this if I am making any other curries as the cooking process for a lot of things all start with the same basic ingredients.

My friend Nivetha is leaving Ireland very soon to return to her life in Singapore and a great sadness has descended on cook island. I’m so glad she showed me how to cook this dish as it means every time we eat this at home it will be like having her around for dinner again.

Ingredients:

  • 2 x cups of Red Lentils – I buy these is an Asian shop as “Masoor Dhal”
  • 1 x medium sized onion (or two small, 4 really small, half a large one or one quarter of a giant one)
  • 3 x cloves of garlic
  • 2 x teaspoons of black mustard seeds
  • 3 x curry leaves fresh is great but dried is ok also
  • 200ml x Coconut Milk
  • 1 x tea spoon curry power – I use hot but use as per your taste
  • Oil for frying
  • A lime

IMG_5030IMG_5038Method:

  • Rinse the dhal in cold water until the water runs clear.
  • Add the dhal to a pan and add just enough water to cover it – this will need to be topped up as the dhal cooks but it is better to add the water gradually than to lose the flavour by drowning the lentils at the start
  • Turn on the heat – as the dhal cooks you will start to see a white foam appear. When I was a little girl growing up in Sri Lanka it was my job to use a slotted spoon to remove this foam. It is entirely optional – personally unless there is mountains of it I leave it as I have taken the view that it might contain that delicious lentil flavour.
  • While the dhal cooks chop the onions and garlic
  • Heat a frying pan and add some oil.
  • Fry the mustard seeds until they start to pop and scatter all over the cooker. This releases their aroma and rich flavour – I wear eye protection for this bit.
  • Fry the onions, garlic and curry leaves until cooked “nicely”. I still have no idea what cooked “nicely” means but this was the advice I was given so I’m passing it on.

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  • At this stage your dhal will be just about cooked – I like it with a bit of a bite and texture to it so I believe that technically I might be slightly undercooking it so do it as per your tastes.

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  • Add the fried mixture to the cooked dhal adding the curry powder.
  • Add the coconut milk gradually tasting as you go until it reaches a level you enjoy. It adds richness which if overdone can hide the flavour of the dhal.
  • You may wish to add salt also but I find that many of the off the shelf curry powders have plenty in them already and its better to just leave some on the table for people to adjust for their own taste.
  • IMG_5047A good twist of lime right at the end is the secret ingredient that really adds a zest of freshness to this dish.

I tend to serve this with basmati rice and have been know to just sit dipping cheese and onion crisps into it while I vegetate on the sofa. It is always a nice one to have along side other curry dishes and according to my good pal Nivetha anything less than 5 curries its not really a meal anyway.

Let me know if you try this or if you have your own alternative version.

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