Spade Enterprise - Smithfield

I just love how the universe works!! I had originally been referred to Spade Enterprise Centre by one of the leaders of my Plato group. Upon making contact with Pascal, the then general manager just happened to be looking for a photographer to work with for the revamp of their website. So he hired me. Coincidentally I needed a space to work during the time of our renovations. Luckily Spade had a place for me short term.

I worked on the photographs running up to my arrival in the centre and it really got me excited about being there. It was easy to understand why Pascal was so passionate about the buildings.

‘We are an Enterprise Centre in the heart of Dublin City, that puts your business success at the heart of what we do.’

I was to capture the true essence of Spade. I wanted to show the beauty of the Cathedral office conversion with its authenticity intact as well as the shared kitchens surrounding it.

I loved this project. I loved this place! I loved, even more, working in this space! I’m not just saying this, I loved everything about the office space I was working in. It’s a photographer’s dream. The customer care from all the staff involved was impeccable.

To put it simply, I felt right at home. It’s going to be hard to leave but my new extension/workspace needs me.
Thank you Spade for a magical 4 weeks! 

New website design and branding by the talented Killian Flanagan

Mum’s Recipes - Fantastic Chicken Curry

Recently, my Dad got to visit us since we last saw him in March 2020. It was the first time he would see his grandchild, Elliot. It was a momentous occasion and also a sad one. My mum passed away in February of last year and never got the chance to see her grandchild. This was a time for us to heal and well as to celebrate. We went to Glendalough to scatter her ashes and I can honestly say, we all experienced something spiritual that day. Mum was there, she really was there.

My Dad brought many of Mum’s things with him that he thought I might want to keep. Along with these were a Mrs Beaton’s Family Cookery book and a plastic sleeve of magazine and newspaper recipes she had kept over the years. Some dating back to the early 1980s! The most popular recipes coming from You Magazine’s Let’s Cook section. I think it’s incredible that I didn’t know about these recipes until they were handed to me at exactly the right moment that I need them! I’ve been soul searching for a specific direction in mypersonal projects and Mum just literally landed the idea on my lap. 

I plan to go through these recipes and relive meals that bring back memories and have a cultural significance to me. I want to share the wonderful flavours of South Africa with you as well as explore traditional recipes of Mrs Beaton’s. Most importantly, I want to keep the spirit of Mum alive by showcasing her favourite meals.

First up, Fantastic Chicken Curry by Dini Scholtz. Mum was absolutely mad about curry! Her love for it began when she moved to South Africa in the 1970s. Thanks to Mum, I’ve been eating curry for so long I actually can’t remember when I started! The smell of curry cooking brings me back to Mum’s kitchen. It was a weekly meal in our house and a lamb curry (her absolute fav!) was often a way to celebrate a special occasion. So, it’s no surprise to me that there are tons of curry recipes in the folder.

A South African curry is a blend of recipes from numerous cultures. There are no airs and graces. The magic lies in its beautiful flavour and it’s a nostalgic feeling of homeliness and togetherness. My head is filled with flashing images of the beautiful colours of the nation. The bright, bold colours come from our food, art, clothing, architecture, and landscape. I wanted this to come through in my image. I wanted the essence of South Africa to shine.

There is deep-seated history in the South African curry. A history that can mean many different things to many people. It’s a signification of difficult times passed but also a huge representation of a colourful nation united in our love for flavour. Food has the incredible ability to break down social barriers and bring us all together in harmony.

See my adapted recipe below:

8 chicken pieces or 6 chopped chicken fillets

15ml olive oil

2 cloves of garlic 

5cm ginger

(blend both of these into fine pieces)

1/2 finely chopped red chilli

5 ml ground cumin

5ml turmeric

5ml ground coriander

5ml cayenne pepper

1 can of tomatoes

150ml plain yoghurt

15ml fresh coriander leaves (chopped)

5ml garam masala

5ml curry powder

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Juice of 1 lemon

15ml of fresh coriander leaves

Serves with:

Sweet fruity chutney

Chopped bananas

A sprinkle of coconut flakes


Fry chicken in a nonstick pan until golden brown. Set aside. Wipe the pan and return to heat. Add oil once the pan is hot. Stir fry the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli. Reduce the heat and add cumin, turmeric, coriander and cayenne pepper along with a tablespoon of water and stirfry for another 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, yoghurt and half of the fresh coriander. Reduce the heat and add the chicken and about 1/4 cup of water. add the garam masala and curry powder. Squeeze in the lemon juice. Stir and simmer on low for two hours. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Chop the remaining leaves just before serving and sprinkle on top.

Note: This on a spicy one! To reduce the spice take out the chilli and curry powder.

Tip: After you have simmered for two hours. Cool and refrigerate. Cook the next days for that added flavour!

Most importantly, share it with the ones you love x

Quack and Dirk - Deirdre Mahon

I’ve known Deirdre Mahon (AKA Deids) from Quack and Dirk way back from my restaurant days when I was running the little Bistro upstairs at Kennedy’s Food Store. She held a fashion show one evening and I fell instantly in love with her clothes. One dress, in particular, had to be mine! I still have it! I ended up modelling in another one of her fashion shows for charity and then photographing a line of her clothes. I was only just starting my photography journey and Deids was so patient (bless) but it was a set of images I’m still super proud of. We had a great day

During COVID and after I had Elliot, I found myself gravitating towards the store more so than usual. I was even buying dresses that a) didn’t fit me and b) I couldn’t really wear anywhere due to COVID. So I asked myself, what’s happening here? What are you doing Dena? Then it hit me like a bomb. These beautiful frocks were a signification of hope. They were a sign that one day, all this misery will be over and you can go out again and feel fancy. They were something to look forward to and get excited about. They signified a dream of a date night with John and a fancy restaurant.

As well as that, they were a treat that I feel I deserved for learning how to be a Mom (ongoing), dealing with 2020 and achieving my post-baby body goals. As things have eased and we can finally socialise again, I finally have the chance to wear my dresses and boy it feels FANTASTIC!

Everyone! Retail therapy is a thing! It’s 100% a thing!

So why wasn’t I doing this with every online clothing store?? There is more to Quack and Dirk than just clothes, there is Deids herself! Her happy, bubbly, caring personality is as much part of the brand as her clothes are! She’s so incredibly passionate, it’s infectious. Her service is on a whole other level and I always feel I’ve been treated when I visit the store.

Deids, you had a massive positive impact on me during 2020 and continue to do so. I hope you know how special you and your clothes make us ladies feel every day. It’s not a vanity thang, it’s a therapy thang!

A final note about Deids; she loves to bake!! Her Instagram page is scattered with fun and fabulous baking sessions with the kids and new recipes. So I thought photographing her in her kitchen would be a great way to show off her personality at home. 

Here’s what she had to say:

Tell me about the type business Quack and Dirk is?

My aim is to bring the best clothes that you could find in the city centre into the shop in Fairview. I carefully cull all the clothes so that my customers’ shopping experience is effortless. I want shopping to be easier and quicker so we can all make the most out of our time. I love people and I take great pride in getting to know my customers and adopting high levels of customer service. Personal service is a huge aspect to the store!

Has this been your lifelong dream and has it gone in the direction you wanted to go when you started out?

No. When I was younger I never thought I’d own a boutique, no way! But I always knew I’d do something different and so did my sister. When I opened the shop 12 years ago I was just thought I’d see where it would go. There is absolutely no way I would have seen where I am today. I am thrilled and proud of myself and everyone that has helped me get here. It’s above and beyond any expectation or dream I would have had. I am so in love with my job. I think the reason it ended up this way was because I didn’t have any expectations, I just kept at it and loved the whole process.

What do you love about having a small business in Dublin 3?

I LOVE the community feel here! There is such a mixture of people from all ages and backgrounds. There is so much around you, you literally don’t need to go anywhere else! I love being able to cycle to work every day. My Dad had a mechanics around the corner from this shop and so I’ve always known the wonderful community of Fairview.

What impact has COVID had on your business (positive or negative)

It was frustrating and difficult having to change direction all the time. On the plus side, I’ve been able to lessen my hours because the online store is so strong now. Even though I’m busier mentally, I have more freedom and time to spend with my family. Having strengthened the online store over 2020 has helped reach more customers and networks from different countries.

With every delivery I want them to feel they get that personal shop experience with little extras such as a handwritten note and beautiful packaging.

What are your other passions in life?

I LOVE markets and vintage shops and second-hand shops!! If were on holiday on a bus or something and you see people with those market bags, I’m like stop the bus!! Everyone is getting off here!!

If you could have any 3 people at your dinner party who would they be and what would you cook?

Louis Theroux, he’s amazing!! My grandad Billy was meant to be great craic! I never met him so I would love to have him for dinner. The other one was Alan Partridge. He’s effortlessly, awkwardly funny. I would get my husband to cook because I’m more of a baker. He cooks a great squid with Couscous and salad. For dessert, I’d bake a Pavlova, always great for a dinner party.

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