Into the Khumbu

Nepal: Into the Khumbu.

A couple of hours above Dhukla Pass (4620 m) we step into the Khumbu, above the tree line, above normality as we know it. Stark, beautiful, unforgiving.

Prayer Wheel


Tengboche Monastery, Nepal.

We attended a puja ceremony for climbers up here at the monastery in Tengboche (3867 m), a rather eerie and special occasion. Not easy to articulate what actually happened, as I was a bit heady from the altitude and was a bit overcome by the weird chanting and blaring of the trumpets. It’s something I’ll never forget and will attempt to articulate in time.

My daughter the violist

Kaytlin Chaloner viola player violist


My daughter Kaytlin has been playing the viola for a few years now and since today was the first time it’s been out this year, I thought I’d stick up a little post. It’s a pleasure to hear her play, although I think she finds it uncomfortable playing for me. But we’ll both get over that. I really enjoy what she’s doing. Her technique has come on in leaps and bounds, and the sound she produces out of an admittedly inferior instrument is really warm and mellow. The music (as distinct from technique and tone) is really beginning to happen too. I’m not sure if she’ll come across this post anytime soon, but hopefully if and when she does she’ll realise that I appreciate her (and her music).

Continue reading “My daughter the violist”

food: the return of the curry paste

Back in the kitchen again today, got a rush of blood to the head and decided on a curry. For curry, you need curry paste (which I’ve blogged about before) but this time I toasted the seeds before crushing them and fiddled with the proportions a little too.


1/2 cup coriander seed
4 tbsp cumin seed
2 tbsp fennel seed
2 tbsp fenugreek seed
4 dried red chillies
5 curry leaves
1 tbsp chilli powder
1 tbsp turmeric
2/3 cup wine vinegar
1 cup vegetable oil


Toast the whole seeds gently for five minutes or so to release their aroma, making sure not to burn them. The kitchen will be filled with an amazing assault on your nose, although my youngest kid finds it a bit overpowering. It’s an indication of what’s to come though, because this paste imparts a great flavour and is something which develops with age.

Grind the whole spices to a powder in a spice mill, or grinder. Transfer to a bowl and add the remaining spices. Add the wine vinegar and mix into a paste. Add about 5 tbsp water to the mixture tp loosen it a bit. Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan, and stir fry the paste for about 10 minutes. Allow to cool a bit before putting it into airtight jars and then refrigerating. It should last three to four weeks in an airtight jar.

The finished article.

Guinness “Anticipation”
Guinness “Anticipation”

Client: Guinness
Creative: Liam O’Flaherty
Agency: Arks
Production: Littlebird Films

Director: Richie Smyth
Editor: Hugh Chaloner

Kinsale Gold Medal for Editing
ICAD Craft Award for Editing