Praise The Nylons

DSC_0873Someone told me a long time ago that the inventor of pipe cleaners got rich from it. I don’t know if that’s true, but I surely know that the inventor of the standard nylon cable tie deserves a fair amount of wealth and our deep gratitude for this versatile invention.

The police use them, church choirs and theatres use them, kidnappers, car repair men and persons enjoying a kinky lifestyle might use them. They can hold things in place, bundle things together, mark a location.

They can fix a rattling mudguard on your bike, secure portions of a temporary performance stage, tie a criminal’s hands, and they do a pretty good job at tying off cables.

Duck tape and WD40 usually tops the list of the most essential repair things on the planet. I think it is time for these two to officially move aside and make room for the nylon cable tie.

[Edit: As much as I am in praise of the nylon cable tie, one did snap in last night’s concert, and very nearly caused a bad accident. Just goes to show that assumptions made by the crew about the use of certain guard rails may not match the actual forces in use during the concert. Glad nobody was injured.]

Have Faith In Me

DSC_0729I wonder when the world in general and online forms in particular will learn to have faith in me and begin to trust in my ability to enter my email address correctly.

I don’t have to enter my mobile phone number twice either, or my street address, or my name or vehicle registration number. Email has been around for a while, and my email address changes as much, or even less, than any of the other details the form asks for.

Don’t you think it is time to stop that nonsense?

Roasted Pork Belly And … Whatever

201503251953591Last night’s supper, today’s lunch, and one of my current favourites.

I suppose this dish should be called Seasonal Vegetable Soup with Roasted Belly of Pork, but the pork belly is the star of the show no matter how delicious the soup is. So it’s really all about the roasted pork belly with crispy crackling skin and … whatever soup you find to go with it.

I added the pork belly recipe to our recipe collection, it’s right here:


DSC_0936Yesterday’s supper is today’s lunch: a home-made Reuben’s sandwich, complete with home-made salt beef, Gruyère cheese, mustard, sauerkraut and toasted rye bread. D.e.l.i.c.i.o.u.s.

We didn’t take photos this time, but this won’t be the last time I make salt beef.

I highly recommend Diana Henry’s Salt Sugar Smoke, which is both beautifully presented and offers very useful recipes – salt beef is one of them.

I always have my eyes peeled for a nice piece of brisket.

Royal Forest of Dean

20150321130319Armed with a new hand-held satellite navigation tool, we set off to the Royal Forest of Dean, where we enjoyed a splendid all-day walk from Symonds Yat through the forest to Monmouth, which a return trip after lunch along the banks of River Wye. The walk crosses three counties (Gloucestershire, Monmouthshire and Herefordshire) and two countries (England, Wales), and comes with our wholehearted recommendation.

The round-trip is 24 km all in all, inclusive of the occasional detour on account of limited signage, abundant alternative routes and lack of familiarity with the aforementioned high-tech gadget.

Check it out. The walk is now online at the superb outdooractive site:

Carrot Soup

20150113203836Here’s the lucky outcome of yesternight’s experiment: Carrot and Ginger Soup, served with a kick, a poached egg and some herbs.

Check it out on


New Toys


Meet my new toys. We finally made it to the Late Turner exhibition at Tate Britain, and at least one good outcome is that I felt a strong urge to get new watercolours. Are they not lovely?
I think they are.

Bye Bye Annabell

DSC_0021Annabell, the beautifully waxy and ultimately flavoursome potatoes which be brought back from Neustadt in September are now officially gone. I just steamed the remainder for one last dish of Bratkartoffeln tonight, then it’ll be back to Elfe or Charlotte varieties. These aren’t bad, but they aren’t good either. They have the right consistency, but are lacking in the deep yellow colour, and in the rich flavour.

Hard times ahead.

(Picture shows Riesling grapes (I think). I didn’t have a nice picture of Annabell or a potato field, but at least the photos is taken in the right area.)



Here’s last night’s doodle. A silly little thing, but quite good fun because I really enjoyed working playing with Corel Painter for Android, the best mobile painting application I have seen so far.

Wacom’s Bamboo is just plain silly. No layers, a fixed and limited palette.

Autodesk’s Sketchbook Pro is quite good but I can’t get it to work on my Nexus 9 (crashes when accepting the license terms), and in the end I find Corel Painter Mobile a lot more flexible, actually working fine most of the time, and well worth £2.75 for the licensed full version. I am happy to pay and happy to play.

Adrift. Silicon stylus on Nexus 7 and Corel Painter Mobile.

A Rosy View

dsc_0217Here’s a nice view on our second 2014 batch of rosehip jam, made from 2.7 kg or rosehip marc, made from 4.5 kg of rose hips. We foraged for the rose hips in and around the local Bunny Park and connected meadows around the Grand Union canal and the river Brent, paying the ultimate sacrifice in blood and loss of skin.

There’s a blood price to pay collecting them, and there’s another price to pay in preparing the jam, as the process isn’t exactly straight-forward. Rewarding though; we love the fruity silky jam on bread or toast, as a vanilla ice-cream mix-in, or as freshly churned rose hip ice cream.

Click here for the recipe: