Cooking is Very Therapeutic

I’ve enjoyed my foray in to cooking over the last few months. I have found it to be a nice change from my day job of software development; very relaxing, except for that hectic part at the end when you are trying to get a number of dishes, all with different cooking times, on to the plate at the same time.

To encourage me in my endeavour the Boss brought me a number of cooking books, mostly Asian/Chinese due to my liking of the wok and our liking of that cuisine. I returned the gesture by buying her an electric wok and a new set of cooking utensils. Winking smile The idea was that using two woks would make it easier to get different dishes on the table at the same time.

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Now the purists out there will probably tell you that woks should be used on a gas ring but we don’t have one of them. I can tell you that they work pretty well on our induction hob and the electric one is really good too for a £33 bit of kit – the heat control is very good.

It happens that one of the cookbooks Mary gave me contains a recipe for Nasi Goreng. This is an Indonesian style fried rice dish that I first tasted when I was out in the far east back in the 1960’s and really liked, so I christened the electric wok with it. Nasi Goreng can be a little pale on the eye in it’s basic form and I like a little colour on the plate, so I threw some peas and diced carrot in with the rice and chicken recipe to brighten it up. Boy did that bring back some memories – and it tasted good enough for Mary to clear her plate.

Needless to say this week has been an Asian cuisine experience.

Next week it will be back to a varied diet starting with a couple of Italian style dishes on Saturday.

Stay Safe folks

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We Went To Mars With Perseverance

Or at least our names did.

Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover – NASA Mars

Perseverance's Sky Crane ManeuverA couple of years back Mary and I signed up to the NASA project to send our names to Mars with the Perseverance Rover. These are the Boarding Passes:BoardingPass_MyNameOnMars2020BoardingPass_MyNameOnMars2020_Mary

We watched the landing broadcast on Thursday 18th February and cheered with the NASA team when we heard the announcement that the landing was a success.

Our names are now in one of three chips located in Perseverance’s cross bar shown in this 3D model. You can find at the link to the NASA site above.


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COVID–19 Vaccination

To all of those anti vaccination and conspiracy people out there:

You have the right, in all countries that believe in free speech, to believe in anything you want no matter how stupid you look to the rest of us. (Yes, under those same rules of free speech I have the right to call you stupid)

I’ve had my first jab and the only side effect was a slight tenderness in my arm for a few hours. Yes, some people, including my wife, get other side effects, but nowhere near the severity as those (2,409,381 as of today) that have been infected with the virus and died.

The difference between my belief that you are stupid, and your belief that the vaccine is harmful, is that my belief can only hurts your feelings; your belief is downright dangerous to those you persuade not to have the vaccine should they become infected, and to all those who they go on to infect.

So by all means believe what you like – just stop trying to prevent the rest of us from being sensible.

Stay safe folks – get the jab when it is offered to you so we can get on with life.

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Hawaiian Bliss

Well that was a successful weekend’s cooking.

As I said in the previous post, Friday’s carbonara was a great success.

The boss gave me a gold star for the Mediterranean dinner on Saturday. She has always turned her nose up at the vegetables when I’ve had them whilst in Mallorca; she has never liked courgettes and has never been keen on cooked peppers; but she cleared the plate. I think it was the honey and extra virgin olive oil coating that did the job.

Last night we were going to have mushrooms stuffed with bacon and stilton as a starter. Unfortunately the mushrooms didn’t look that appetising when I started to prepare them, and I didn’t want to take the risk; so we made a change to prawn cocktail. That’s when we found out we had used the last of the 1000 island dressing. You know that tomato relish I spoke about in the last post? turns out that adding mayonnaise to a couple of spoonful’s made a close substitute.

Then came the main course; The Hawaiian Pork. The only changes I made to the ingredients were to use dark soy source (use light if you have it to get that orange look), and we couldn’t get canola oil, so I used groundnut oil to brown off the joint. We can back up the comment at the top of the page; that was a plate licking meal*. The sauce, a little darker than shown in the link picture, was like nectar.

Oh, and I made a loaf of bread, which also turned out well, so I can have left over pork loin and pickle sandwiches for lunch today.

*I can’t be alone in wanting to lick the plate when I’ve had a great tasting meal. I know it is not polite, but to me it is the highest compliment you can pay a chef, if etiquette didn’t get in the way. And yes, I will admit to doing it if the boss isn’t looking; or, alternately, surreptitiously running my finger over the plate to get that last taste if I’m not in one of those places that give you a bread roll. For some reason my kids get annoyed at me because their kids lick the bowl – can’t think why In love

Stay safe folks

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Going Mediterranean–Unfortunately Without the Sun

As I said in my last post, this weeks Saturday dinner will be cod with Mediterranean roast vegetables and a tomato relish. This one is, pretty much, going to be my own concoction, with a few sneak peeks at recipes so, hopefully, it won’t go too far wrong. I made a batch of the relish yesterday and it tasted pretty good even if I do say so myself.

While I was browsing for other ideas I came across a recipe for Spaghetti Alla Carbonara by Gino D’Acampo; so I decided to start the weekend with that for Friday’s dinner. I followed his recipe; just changing the amounts to suit just the two of us and, being British, changing the Pancetta for unsmoked streaky bacon. Gino that was very easy to follow and, despite the ingredient change, it has to be the best carbonara we have ever eaten. Thank You.

On Sunday we are switching over to Hawaii for a slow cooked Hawaiian pork loin in pineapple source on a bed of basmati rice. This will be the first time using a slow cooker for me but it looks too good to not try it.

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How to Blow Your Taste Buds

In my last Cooking post I mentioned that I would be going Indian and attempting Salmon with Saag Aloo. I have to report that the salmon, glazed with tikka masala paste went down a treat. Not so much with the saag aloo.

The recipe called for a teaspoon of chilli flakes in the aloo spicing – guess who didn’t read the label properly and missed the big red ‘HOTConfused smileSteaming madSteaming mad on the bottle. I did taste during cooking, but must not have picked up any chilli because my first mouthful nearly blew the roof of my mouth off. Fortunately I had made some mint raita which, along with a bit of mango chutney, managed to cool it down to an edible level for me.

After that the Boss decided I would be cooking again on Sunday to make up for it; this time it was Salmon in a Breadcrumb crust with Dauphinoise potatoes, one of Mary’s favourites. Now I have never liked dauphinoise; not because I don’t like the taste, but because the look of them always put me off, so I had never tried them. Well I’ve changed my mind – they were very tasty, and that’s not just me saying that; Mary had a second helping.

Trouble is I’m getting carried away with this; I did a breadcrumb encrusted turkey stake with deep fried new potatoes and a creamy mushroom source last night; and this Saturday’s dinner is going Mediterranean with cod fillet, Mediterranean roast vegetables and a tomato relish. Time to get the sun lamp out. Now what was my Amazon account Open-mouthed smile

Stay safe out there folks – better still stay at home and do some cooking

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Captain Sir Tom Moore


You gave us cause to smile in difficult times.

Thank you

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Success and Failure

Continuing my culinary experiment, I decided to have a go at baking with an attempt at French Bread and Cinnamon Rolls.

The French Bread was a bit of a failure, because I didn’t have the patience to wait for the dough to rise properly; I used the time specified by the recipe but, in hindsight, it hadn’t doubled in size. It looked nice and, for the most part, tasted good, but the centre was a bit heavy and damp. Still, it went well with the mushroom soup I made for lunch.

The boss started the Cinnamon Roll dough but got side-tracked and asked me to finish it. This time I made sure I left the dough long enough, in fact left it overnight as it was getting late. The following morning I took great pleasure in thumping it down and kneading it before rolling it out. I’ve always liked the smell of cinnamon; it kind of reminds me of Christmas; and the kitchen really did have that atmosphere as I spread the mixture over the rolled out dough. I’ll call this one a success as they all disappeared rather rapidly when they came out of the oven. Even my Son, who isn’t too keen on sweet food, loved them.

This Saturday’s dinner is going Indian; I’m going to try my hand at Salmon on Saag Aloo. (Saag: Leafy green vegetables found in the Indian subcontinent or, in the UK, Spinach; Aloo: Bombay Potato) The salmon will be glazed with tikka masala paste. 

Stay safe folks.

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A Look at the Numbers

For some morbid reason I have looked at the Corvid-19 numbers every day since the Pandemic was declared and they started showing them for all countries.

I watched as China, then Italy, Spain and the United States took their turn, at the unenviable position, on top of the leader board. Obviously I also kept my eye at the UK’s position, at first going ahead of Spain and Italy, then those two and France going ahead of us and now back to us being ahead of them.

I’ve just created this little chart plotting the numbers of those countries with above two million reported cases (as of today (22/01/2021). I was curious to see how the numbers held out when you compare cases per head of population and reported deaths to number of cases.

Corvid Stats

It is plain to see that the USA is at the top and there the UK is in 5th place in terms of cases. Until you look at it from a different perspective:

Yes the USA is still up there leading the world (sorry) when we look at the numbers as a percentage of the population, but the UK goes in to 3rd place just behind France and India drops all the way down to last in this table.

I think the worst figures are the percentage of deaths. Here Italy is in 1st place with the UK in 2nd and the USA down the bottom only just ahead of Turkey. Remember we are not talking about countries with poor heath care facilities; these are countries, in the most part, with arguably some of the best heath care provision in the world.

The last week has seen the UK Corvid-19 attributed deaths per day higher (Above 1,000, and on 2 days above 1,800) than during the worst days of the initial breakout. If this does not go down over the next week, we will see the UK deaths over 100,000 by next Wednesday.

One other thing to remember is that these are ‘soft’ numbers. It is estimated that 1 in 3 people, tested positive for the virus, do not display any symptoms; which means they don’t know they have it until tested. How many people are out there who have had the virus and didn’t get tested because they didn’t know they had it (or were scared of loosing their job).
There is a formula around the number of days between hospitalisation and death that dictates whether the virus is put down as a cause which may also make the number of deaths low.

I’m also going to add my thoughts on the Vaccination. Anyone, who knows what they are talking about, will tell you that a vaccine does not give you immunity from the virus or disease. It helps your body fight it when you are infected which should, hopefully,  reduce the likelihood of any or severe illness. It also doesn’t stop you from infecting other people while your immune system is doing its job.

I don’t have many readers but if these numbers tell you anything it’s that we ain’t finished yet folks.

I promise I’ll get back to a bit of humour in my next post. 

Stay safe and keep everyone else safe by following the lockdown rules.

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Wishing You All a Happy and Prosperous New Year

Well 2020 has ended with a bang, or rather a damp squib; Brexit is done, bar the details, and the pandemic is galloping away after a slight hiatus towards the end of Novembers lockdown.

The highlight of our year was on 12th September when Mary and I celebrated our 50th Wedding Anniversary. It wasn’t the big get together and holiday we had planned but we both quietly renewed our vows to each other in the privacy of our own home.

With the potential saving light of the Corvid vaccines being administered, I am optimistic that 2021 will see us, once again, getting out and around.

I know it is hard for some but keep making each other laugh – it doesn’t matter how you do it but you’d be surprised how much good a big belly laugh does for you and those around you.

Take care out there folks – and have a great 2021

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