Jumbo Irish Oat Granola and Alastair Hendy’s Photography Tips

Almonds, Breakfast, Oats

Hi Fran!

A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to attend a photography workshop sponsored by Bord Bia at the Irish Embassy. This workshop was presented by Alastair Hendy, who is a renowned food photographer and stylist.

His photos are each more mouthwatering than the next. It was really interesting for me to hear him talk about the process, the patience, the light and all things that make up a great photograph. This workshop became all the more useful now that I have also gotten a nice Nikon SLR camera with which I can really begin to play and experiment.

So I just want to share some things that impressed me and caught my attention when looking photographing food:

  1. Your food needs to seduce the viewer, it needs to look so delicious, so sexy that the viewer wants to literally lick the screen. The food is the undisputed star. The photo would not be happening if it weren’t about the food.
  2. What is the story you are trying to tell? Leave some things to the viewer’s imagination, let them travel through your photos. It is more about what you leave out of the photo than about what you leave in.
  3. Help guide the viewer, choose 1 thing to focus on.
  4. Spend time thinking about the story you want to tell and the mood you want to set. Then make sure your photos tie well together through: colors, concept and scale.
  5. Keep a simple color palette and maximize it in all your pictures. Not all of them need to be food related, as they may help in telling the story.
  6. Never shoot in direct sunlight. Early morning or late afternoon are best, if you must shoot in the middle of the day, always shoot in the shade.
  7. Spend time thinking about your shots. About their composition and depth of field. What is closest to us, what do we keep blurred in the far back?
  8. If the food is not that delicious looking, bring someone into the photo holding it. If the serving portion is large, bring people into the picture as you serve it during a family gathering.

After his presentation, we divided ourselves into groups and chose different types of Irish treats to photograph. Pascale (from extra-relish) and I decided to take advantage of the amazing afternoon light to photograph the wonderful amber colors of Irish Whiskey.


As we were leaving we were given a goodie bag with many little Irish treats, the best part were the oats. Seriously those were some impressive oats, and they were JUMBO! As you may have imagined, the first thing that came to mind was… GRANOLA! I love love love granola, and can never get enough. Mostly, because I can never buy it because it is always way too sweet. So I prepare it myself. This specific granola recipe is great for people like myself who are quite low on blood iron. Sesame and flax are both great sources of iron as well as super tasty, sesame in particular adds a really nice smokey/roasty flavour to thee whole mix that I love!

Nutty Sesame Granola


  • 4 cups Jumbo oats
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup white sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup black sesame seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried ginger
  • 5 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/3 cup canola oil or butter


  1. Preheat oven to 200˚C.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, nuts cinnamon ginger.
  3. In a small sauce pan heat the sugar, honey and 1/2 cup water, stir until the sugar and honey have dissolved and combined with the water. Mix in oil/butter and pour over the dry mixture, stir until well coated.
  4. Spread evenly on 2 baking sheets, bake for 20 minutes.
  5. Stir bake bake for another 20 minutes until evenly browned.
  6. Let granola cool to room temp and store in airtight container for up to 1 month.

3 thoughts on “Jumbo Irish Oat Granola and Alastair Hendy’s Photography Tips

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