I’m back – AGAIN!

runninglow-1024x536Where have I been for 4 years. Oh my! I can’t believe I’ve not posted to sifty for this long.

Well I kind of stopped cooking new things. Freya and I bought a house in Birmingham, moved off the boat and have been busy doing a major house renovation. No time for exciting blogging about food.

Well of course there was time, I just got really distracted. I ended my 17 year long tenure at Ocado Technology and went to work for myself doing IT Consultancy.

And how the world has changed. Now we are all stuck inside, and my appetite for cooking is back – as is the time available to photograph it – and blog about it – and tell you all the fun things I’ve been up to!

So this is just a test post to make sure everything still works, that I remember how to use WordPress, and that I get all my notifications as expected.

Watch this space for more yummy food – and thank you for coming back!

My Kitchen

I don’t really have the conventional kitchen. Most people would expect that I have a fancy oven and all the gadgets that come with it. But I don’t.

Freya and I live in a converted garage that didn’t get proper planning permission. Consequently the garage to house conversion ended up being a living room and a bedroom. No kitchen! So I made one. Sort of…

We had some old IKEA bedroom stuff knocking about so I constructed a base from this, then I added some ‘legs’ on top of the base – and then a desktop balanced on the legs. It kinda works – check IKEAHacks for other ideas!

As for appliances – all we have is:

  • A combination microwave oven
  • A round Andrew James Halogen Oven
  • A portable induction ring
  • A Magimix

That’s it for appliances!

So when you see me cooking in a linear fashion – and not multitasking – it’s because I can’t. I only have one ring and the confines of a halogen glass bowl!

Food Blogging

My future wife encouraged me to start a food blog.

Since November I’ve been cooking pretty much every day (apart from when we go out) and photographing everything for recollection. This was part of a New Years Resolution to make something once a week from a different cookery book that I already owned.

Google+ was really taking off internally where I work so I ended up posting the pictures in the office. I’m not sure what I was trying to achieve other than making my colleagues salivate whilst eating their microwave ready meals or the not so great sandwich from the sandwich guy.

But, she figured it’d be better to talk a bit more to a wider audience than just posting pictures at work. There has also been talk of us creating an App – but that’s another story.

The trouble with blogging – as I found when I used to blog about ale – is you end up feeling an overwhelming responsibility to please your audience rather than doing what you want to do.

I’m having this issue at the moment. What’s best?

My current approach is to strip a book – scan the book – shortlist some recipes and make them – photograph them – and say whether I would or wouldn’t make them again.

But! Does that please an audience. Does the audience want to see regular variety? You start questioning whether what you set out to do is what you should actually be doing.

As an example, the first three books I stripped were by Yotam Ottolenghi. He is the master as far as I am concerned and I think I pretty much made everything from his three books ‘The Cookbook’, ‘Plenty’ and ‘Jerusalem’. More specifically I only made the Vegetarian dishes from these books (I’m not vegetarian by the way – just preferring it for now).

So how do you blog? Do you mix it up? Or do you force feed your audience three weeks of Ottolenghi? How good do your pictures need to be?

At the moment I’m not sure. As I backfill the recipes I’ve made since November I’ll let you be the judge. You’ll see pretty much only Vegetarian food for now – as we are trying to prove something that I will talk about another time.

All I know is I’ve already gone out and bought different plainer plates so the food looks better.  And I always use Camera+ on the iPhone with the Clarity and Miniaturise filter to make them look a bit sexier.

Shelf of books



Do your cookery books just gather dust? Mine were. Now they are not!

I’m moving onto a boat soon and it dawned on me that there was no room for my cookery books. I have over 400!

My future mother-in-law probably has twice as many cookery books as me and they are also dust gatherers!

So a plan was this:

  • de-spine all my cookery books
  • scan them to PDF
  • toss the pages – or turn them into paper briquettes

Now, when you de-spine a cookery book you end up looking at every page of the book. And when you look at every page in a book you end up wanting to make things.

I love cooking, so I ended up selecting 10 things per week from de-spined books – and made them!

This blog will showcase the things I’ve made and the books they are in.

I hope you enjoy it.