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Brown Bread & Nostalgia

19 Oct

The Irish are always accused of being overly nostalgic and maybe this affects all who visit there. It’s cold and wet now in Vancouver. This time of year always reminds me of my time in Ireland. Not that the sun never shone when I was there. It definitely did. But when I moved there in mid-September 1995, I soon found myself in the middle of a dark, wet and windy October. I’m shooting Irish Brown Bread at the moment, the perfect antidote to cold and windy weather. I can’t help think of that time, and of  the landscape, the people and the magic that inhabits the place. Here’s a few detail shots from my current shoot.


It’s that time of year…

6 Sep

Time for canning. Although I’m a real newbie, I’m excited to be working my way through The Preservation Kitchen by Paul Virant. I spent this past long weekend making Sweet Pickled Tomatoes, Pickled Fennel and Pear and Vanilla Aigre-Doux. My review will appear shortly on once these lovely pickles and preserves have had some time to mature. If the fun and enjoyment I had making these is anything to go by, they should taste fabulous.



Strawberry Custard Tart

10 Jul

When I was sixteen I worked in a bakery. Among the specialties were some tiny strawberry tarts filled with bavarian cream, topped with strawberries and a strawberry glaze. I thought of this immediately when I was deciding what to do with all those strawberries. I made a larger version with a pâte sablée from a book I’m currently in the process of reviewing for It uses almonds, flour, butter and an egg and I love the richness it brings.  I made a custard with egg yolks, milk, and a bit of flour and then arranged the strawberries on top. Although I made a glaze, ultimately I decided to use just a drizzle.  The custard made this rather gooey and delicious.

Strawberry Tart Photography © 2012 Helena McMurdo

Signs of Portland

19 Mar

I’ve always been inspired by beautiful  and interesting signage and architectural details and when I visit somewhere new, inevitably my camera roll will be filled with many pictures of signs. My recent trip to Portland provided lots of interesting examples both retro and modern. I love the strong, masculine and  heritage typographic forms found in many of the classic signs in Portland,but there were lots of fun, modern examples as well. Here are some of my favourites.

What do you think? Do you have any favourites?

Sunshine in London

2 Jun

I’m on my way to a friend’s wedding in the west of Ireland. I left Vancouver late yesterday and found myself with about 7 hours to kill in London. Desperately wanting to avoid yet another unnecessary Tie Rack purchase and over indulgence in badly prepared pastries, I escaped Heathrow and headed into Central London on the Heathrow Express to spend a few hours walking around Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens enjoying the beautiful English sunshine.  Yes, sunshine! Continue reading

A Food Blogger’s Dream Opportunity

28 Apr

Recently one of my favourite food photographers, Penny De Los Santos, of Saveur and National Geographic Fame, agreed to give a free food photography workshop through CreativeLive. Continue reading

Grandma’s House – Eating & More Eating

8 Jul

Grandma’s house is in the Ancares region of Galicia. This is a relatively unspoiled area of the earth where the people genuinely live off the land. Everyone has their plot of land with cabbages, potatoes, beans and maybe a cow, or some pigs and chickens.  Life is pretty simple here. Continue reading

mmmhhh…uh…hello there..

18 Jun

I really am wondering about all this blogging stuff…I mean is this a path I really want to go down?  Spilling my guts all over the internet. Does anyone care? What will I write about? Continue reading

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