It’s What’s Inside That Counts

Today I just wanted to share some lovely food photography with you all. It’s quite unusual and really rather wonderful too!

This collection of photographs come by way of New York based photographer Beth Galton, who has turned simple food items into incredibly striking conceptual art. In this ‘Cut Food Series’ she dishes up some fascinating images, allowing for a surprising glimpse of cross-sections of the food we eat.

The photographs I found particularly interesting were the ones of the liquids, especially the coffee. I love how dramatic the creamy swirls of milk look, appearing as though they’re loftily dancing about within the contrasting, deeply-hued cup of coffee. It’s quite odd knowing that they are in fact stationary though. I wonder how she got the liquid to set before the milk fully dispersed? Hmm, puzzling.









‘This series was inspired by an assignment in which we were asked to cut a burrito in half for a client. Normally for a job we photograph the surface of food, occasionally taking a bite or a piece out, but rarely the cross section of a finished dish. By cutting these items in half we move past the simple appetite appeal we normally try to achieve and explore the interior worlds of these products.’ Beth Galton

Back To Porridge

Porridge, when made the right way, is a lovely thing indeed. It’s perfect for those days when all you want for breakfast is something warm and comforting, containing only a few simple ingredients.

This past week I’ve been all about the porridge. I’ve been having it every single morning. I caught myself thinking about it late one evening and was wondering about the pre-soaking stage some people do before actually cooking it. I know it’s traditional and all, but does it really make much of a difference? For the amount of effort which actually goes into it, I thought I’d give it a go. From boiling the kettle it literally took me all of 20 seconds, and you know, I think I’m a convert. This extra little step really helps in softening the oats so that when they’re cooked the overall texture is nice and creamy.

It seems almost funny giving you a recipe for porridge because it’s one of those things that epitomises the word ‘basic’. People don’t tend to get over-excited about it. I really like it though. And that term ‘Back to Porridge’? Come on, what is that all about? Don’t say it like it’s a bad thing! I may have to reinvent the phrase and just start using it more positively. “What time is it?! Morning?? Oooh! Back to porridge!”

I think the trick to making a really tasty porridge is all in the amount of time it cooks for. Soaking the oats overnight does cut back on the cooking time a little, but even so, I still like to simmer it for a good 20 minutes or so. This recipe is so easy it almost isn’t one and takes very little effort on your part, so get it in your repertoire!

The Perfect Bowl of Porridge – Serves 1 very hungry individual

1/2 cup organic rolled oats

1 cup freshly boiled water

1/2 cup milk

a pinch of sea salt


Put the oats in a saucepan and add the hot water and pinch of salt. Give it a stir, then cover with a tea towel overnight.

Organic Rolled OatsOrganic Rolled OatsPorridgePorridgePorridge

The following morning, add the milk to the soaked oats and simmer for about 20 minutes on the lowest heat possible. Add a little extra milk if it gets too thick or dry.


After simmering, your porridge should have thickened to a nice creamy consistency. Now get it into a bowl because it’s almost ready to eat!


I usually eat mine with a squeeze of honey or maple syrup, but this week I’ve reverted back to my childhood and have been really enjoying it with a bit of soft brown demerara sugar and a splash of milk. That is where it’s at.


If you forget to soak the oats the night before it’s not the end of the world! Just soak them for about 15 or 20 minutes prior to cooking, then simmer for about half an hour adding a little extra milk if necessary.

For this recipe I specify a half cup measure of oats, an American measurement which holds 125ml, but really any small mug will do.

Porridge is great eaten with so many different toppings: Maple syrup, honey, or agave nectar. Whatever nuts and seeds you happen to like. Try it with some dried fruit, like raisins or sultanas, figs, sour cherries or dates, or fresh fruit like sliced juicy pears, peaches or nectarines. Another good combo you should try is banana and peanut butter – Just stir in a spoonful of peanut butter into the porridge towards the end of the cooking time along with some sliced banana. When the banana is stirred into the hot porridge it gets a little cooked and becomes reminiscent of the inside of a banana fritter… Yeeaahh that’s right! If that, for some reason unknown to me, is not your thing, just slice some over the top once it’s in the bowl. Whichever topping you decide to opt for, it will taste great, and if not, I will eat my hat, so pick a good’un because I don’t really want to, okay? Thanks.

Too Hot? Too Spicy? Hot Hot!

It’s no secret that I am a big chilli fan. Sometimes I have to stop myself from putting it in just about everything! There’s just something about the fresh flavour they impart as well as their varying degrees of tongue numbingness that I love and cannot seem to get enough of. And they’re SO versatile. Chilli and chocolate anyone? They are a match made in heaven. After two and a half years of my cooking, Martina has gained quite the chilli tolerance too and can take it like a pro. I feel so proud! Or should I say, after two and a half years of subtly upping the quantity of spice she has not yet noticed! Scooore! I think that is a job well done. Little does she know I’m priming her for a really insane, Man v Food style chilli eating contest! Mwahahaa!*

Chillies come in so many different forms and can be used in a multitude of ways. The ones that are in constant rotation in my kitchen are fresh red and green chillies, dried chillies, Kashmiri chilli powder, the Malaysian sambal oelek, shichimi (Japanese 7 spice powder) Sriracha hot sauce (the Hollywood A-lister of the condiment world, created by Chinese-Vietnamese founder David Tran), a crispy chilli in chilli oil that has fried shallots in it and a photography of a very serious looking Chinese lady on the front and most recently gochujang, a fermented Korean condiment made from red chillies, glutinous rice, fermented soya beans and salt. It would seem I have the bulk of Asia covered! And they’re all fantastic in their own unique way. Oh, and those pickled green chillies you sometimes get on the side when you order falafel? Uhh yes please! Who could refuse that tangy, spicy kick in the tastebuds?!

I do realise that not everyone’s such a huge fan though and people are often told to stay away from spicy foods when they’re feeling unwell. I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I am sick that’s what I find myself craving, especially when I have a cold or I’m feeling congested. At times like this I imagine something hot and fresh, like Tom yam soup, will cut through the sick feeling and come out triumphant! (or at least shoo it away a little faster.) It may not be the best thing to have if you have a stomach bug, but according to Wikipedia, the online fountain of knowledge, chillies are a safe and effective way in relieving arthritis pain, shingles, diabetic neuropathy and headaches. Not that I needed convincing, but anyways, I’m sold!

With the amount of chillies that I use in my cooking, I thought it was about time I grew my own. My sister Rachel bought me a nifty little grow your own tin, well, ages ago (sorry Rachie!) that I had yet to use, so yesterday I cracked it out to hopefully send myself on my way to chilli nirvana!

Here look, isn’t it cute? I can’t wait to see all those little Italian chillies start to flourish!

Chillies in a tin

According to psychologist Paul Rozen, eating chillies is a prime example of a “constrained risk”, like riding a roller coaster, so people can enjoy the feelings of pain and fear because they know that these sensations are not actually harmful. This method lets people experience extreme feelings without any risk of bodily harm.

That says it all: If eating chillies is being compared to riding roller coasters, they must be pretty damn amazing.

* And no, I am not ACTUALLY entering Martina into a chilli eating contest. The idea is to help increase tolerance, not annihilate her poor little tastebuds!

Finding Joy in the Teenie Things

“If you had one shot, one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted.. one moment. Would you capture it or just let it slip?”

If you were Charles “One Shot” Harris  you would capture this:

One Shot HarrisCharles “Teenie” Harris, as he was also often known, was an accomplished African-American photographer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Teenie photographed many celebrities who were visiting his hometown, such as Martin Luther King, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Eleanor Roosevelt, Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Duke Ellington and Muhammad Ali. However, from 1936-1975 he also chronicled life within the black neighbourhoods of the city for the Pittsburgh Courier, one of America’s oldest black newspapers. Harris took more than 80,000 images during his career and was nicknamed “One Shot” because he very rarely made his subjects sit for retakes. The candid nature of this photo is what makes it so perfect afterall. A moment like this is fleeting and could be lost in mere seconds, so another attempt to recreate something this intense yet still natural would likely fall flat. The look of elation and utter euphoria on this little boys face at the cotton candy booth is priceless, and seemingly contagious, as I feel overjoyed just looking at it!

I hope this makes you smile, and I cannot believe I just quoted Eminem.

What’s new pussycat?

Meet Lily. When I go back to Lisburn to see my mum and dad I always like getting to see my furry white friend again. Don’t worry, I am not being racist. Lily is our lovely fluffy white cat!

Here she is when she was a kitten.

Although you can’t see it here, she had huge bright blue eyes. Adorable does not begin to describe it.


She slept a lot of the time, but when something is as cute as that it is somehow okay, apart from the fact you lose so much time just staring in disbelief at the cuteness that lies before you. These days she is more active and is always running about to the point where she is occasionally nowhere to be found, and you know, I think she’s grown to be a little cheeky too. According to the neighbours she would sometimes peek inside their cat flap, get the dogs attention, then recline outside their front door to taunt the poor thing! I don’t think she’d be so cocky if the cat flap were larger.
After her escapades she always eventually makes an appearance though and comes in to take a nap in the warmth. What a cutie.

Lily 2

Lily 3

There’s just something about a sleeping cat, that makes a house feel that little bit more homely, don’t you think?