food and drink Weekend

Tref is on holiday

Back roughly the third week in Jan. Hope your Christmas is a goodun and that Santa brings you everything on the list, always assuming you’ve been good during the year.

In the Davies household we will have a full deck of kids back for the holidays so we are all looking forward to that.

Also I will be working on so keep your mince pies peeled for that early in the new year.

If I can offer any advice on how to survive the holidays it is be sure to drink to excess, eat too much and lie in excessively late every day, small children permitting.

If you are anywhere near Lincoln on Wednesday 23rd December you are very cordially invited to my annual carol singing session in the Morning Star – details on the Facebook events page here. It’s a great evening, assuming you like beer and singing Christmas Carols.

If we are lucky the evening may also evolve into a jazz session once the carol singers have exhausted their repertoire.

See ya in 2016 🙂

charitable food and drink Weekend

Evening meals and aid for refugees

Lincoln aid for refugees

Tonight we are having pork curry. It’s been cobbled together from some leftovers from last night’s bbq and the use of some spices I bought last year when strolling through Lincoln market. I came across a stall selling Indian spices so I bought a few quid’s worth without really knowing when I’d make use of them.

Since then the garam masala mix has been used pretty extensively but we hardly seem to have touched the huge bagful. This time I roasted and ground some of the spices then fried them in oil and ghee together with garlic, ginger and green chili. Add onions, green pepper, bbd’d pork from last night, a tin of coconut milk and two of tomatoes and we are cooking on gas (yes).

Rugby has been watched but cricket ignored – I don’t think it’s going very well. Hannah and I have also been to deliver food to the collection point for the Calais refugees. The whole situation has caught everyone’s imagination and there was a constant stream of people delivering mostly clothes to the collection point down behind the Horse and Groom pub in Lincoln.

Hannah and I had been to Tesco to return the borrowed glasses we used for the party last night. Whilst we were there we stacked up with basic foodstuffs – oil, rice, flour etc for our donation. For some reason it gave me quite a pleasure on emptying the Tesco shelves of their value tomato puree. Maybe it was the ordered rows of tubes of puree that I liked although it was quite an emotional thing to fill the shopping trolley with food destined for people with a real need for it. I tried to imagine who it would end up with.

The whole refugee situation has become distressing. Over time my attitude to the refugees has changed from “these are just trying to get somewhere they can have a richer life” to “wow these are real people with really desperate problems trying to flee to somewhere safe where they can lead normal lives and their kids can go to school”.

We stacked up our trolley with food but in doing so wondered whether there was a more efficient way of using the money. Buying the food from a wholesalers rather than Tesco. Buying sacks of rice rather than small bags of the value stuff, though those did seem to offer the best value in-store. At least it made us feel that we were helping in our small way and unfortunately I’m not sure I trust big charities enough to donate them cash.

I think I will at least value the fact that we are able to have the curry in the comfort and safety of our own kitchen tonight rather than be hungry on some roadside or in a refugee camp somewhere in Europe.

aid donations at Lincoln Brayford Wharf

Engineer food and drink fun stuff internet

#trefbash2014 – the official photos

Last Thursday night the UK internet industry got together in London for trefbash2014, the 5th Annual trefbash. This one was better than ever with Radio2’s Alex Lester putting in a personal appearance and the Adforesight photo booth being a real hit (see live picture gallery).

I’m sure there is lots more to be said but for the now I’ll just leave you with the output of the official photographer. Note the colours. Most people really entered into the spirit of the beach party theme and the only exceptions were where the shirt hadn’t been delivered in time or people had afternoon business meetings to attend

End User food and drink fun stuff

Happy birthday me

As most of you know I’m normally a quiet, softly spoken kind of guy. I don’t shout out about things like it being my birthday. I’m 53 today.

Not entirely sure what to think or say. It’s either borderline mid fifties or early fifties, or both. I quite like it being my birthday. Fifties feels respectable although you and I both know that is hardly the case, innit.

I’m spending the night of my birthday having a quiet steak and chips in with Mrs Davies and our two youngest. The other two are away. There are enough parties going on to merit not bothering with one for my actual birthday which in any case a school night.

We began the party season last Thursday in Town with the ITSPA Xmas lunch. That was followed by our by now traditional (since at least 25 years ago) Xmas Market Party on the Saturday night of the Lincoln Christmas Market. We sing carols, drink lots and have a jammin’ session afterwards. I’m lucky enough to have musical kids and together with friends we mustered trumpet, piano, sax, geetar and drums.

Sunday night was a similar party at some friends. This week it’s the big one – the #trefbash2014 which in effect lasts two days. Saturday is a 50th birthday party black tie job.

The last week of term I already have local after work party invites on Monday (OpenPlan) and Tuesday (Wright Vigar) . Thursday is my annual carol singing night at The Morning Star in Lincoln followed by Jazz. We also have the LONAP board coming over that night. On the Friday night I have the launch party of The Lincoln A2Z Project. This is something I have been involved with for the last two years, writing 52 creative pieces for radio. Google it.

On the Saturday night we have a party at the Brittains around the corner on Curle Avenue and on Sunday we leave to visit parents and do the Christmas thing. Unfortunately that involves non stop partying until 30th December at which point we return home and immediately go out to a Pylons Gig at the West End Tap.

We don’t do New Year’s Eve so that is pretty much our quiet night in of the whole holiday season. I think Anne would like to do New Year’s Eve but tbh I’m a miserable bugger. Good thing probably.

So that’s it. It’s my birthday and a quiet night in with the kids beckons. I will need to build up my energy in time for #trefbash2014. The featured image gives you a taste of what’s in store!

Early doors anyone?

food and drink fun stuff

#trefbash2014 SOLD OUT eventAll tix are now SOLD OUT for #trefbash2014. If you are a mate you may be able to still get in – just message me. If you are a Corporate Sponsor you can still buy a ticket. If you have already got a corporate ticket but not yet signed up your guests then I still have the space for them – just let me know. Otherwise thanks for everyone for their continued excellent support.

Don’t forget this year’s bash is a beach party. You are expected to make some sort of effort to fit in with the theme. I’ll leave the detail to you. Looking forward to seeing y’all on the night.

People tend not to schedule much for the Friday after the bash. If this is you join us for breakfast at Silva’s on Shaftesbury Avenue at around 9.30 on the Friday and thence a few pubs around Covent Garden for a hair of the dog.

Catch ya later.

Engineer events food and drink fun stuff

#trefbash2014 – the “accessories” have been ordered

With only 24 days to go until #trefbash2014 the excitement is building.

Well it is in the offices anyway. #trefbash2014 is the culmination of the business year, after which it is very hard to get much done. Usually the next few days are a write off.

This year we have pro teams on the photography and on video production. We also have a fantastic interactive “facility” which you can only find out about on the night. Sgonna be good though.

We are also for the first time having a fantastic one off charity auction and I hope to be in a position to post a photo of the prize this coming Friday. It’s something you will be proud to have on display in your company reception:) We will also have a special guest star there to present the prize to the winning bidder. Tune in Friday to find out more.

122 people have signed up so far which is roughly par for the course with three and a half weeks to go. Last year we had around 180 turn up. All the Surf Bum tickets have gone. This ticket seemed to strike a chord with people. Cold Beer Billy tickets are about to sell out and then it’s neck and neck between Lifeguard and Coconut Delight. Beach Bartender seems to be least popular. Don’t worry. You won’t be expected to serve drinks.

The accessories have now been ordered. Well it is a beach party. What will the best dressed beach party goer be wearing this year?

If you still want to get your brand up there on the night it is still not too late. We have commissioned a special video that will be running all night, interrupted only by our special interactive feature. Lots of exposure and recognition opportunities.

We now have a menu:

Main Course Hot Fork Buffet
Hot and Spicy Jerk Chicken
Steak and Black Pepper Burger
Vegetable Jambalaya
Creole Fish Curry

Side Dishes
Tomato Relish
Tortilla Chips, Soured Cream & Garlic
Caribbean Salad, Honey & Lime Dressing

Ian the chef at the Phoenix Artist Club is a top operator. Knows that engineers have sophisticated tastes but also like a few carbs to soak up the champagne. I’m ordering the champagne next week. Last year we went though over 80 bottles!

If you are planning on coming but haven’t yet signed up get yer names down here. More deets here on the blog.

#trefbash2014 – a production:)

broadband End User food and drink fun stuff internet media travel

What I Did On My Summer Holiday (Digital Issue)

Recounting a (digital) summer holiday, well spent.

I didn’t intend to take a break from writing during this year’s La Famille Kessel summer holiday in Normandy. No, I had plans to regale stalwart readers with missives on the nature of my vacation from the digital perspective, intending to carry the content flag for anyone out there hungering for fresh pixelated meat during these dog days of August. Of course, I also planned to put sugar in the Latte Cannelle that just arrived to the left of KoryChrome here at Paris’s RROLL. Not salt.

Offering up the Yiddish proverb my departed mother used to wield easily and quite often, “Man plans and God laughs.”

Failures aside (gee, that was easy), in an attempt to backwards-engineer satisfaction of the aforementioned hunger I will recount five (5) areas of computer-based fun I indulged in around the edges of my mostly unearned R&R over the past four weeks.

<OK. Everybody take a breath. Here we go.>

  1. As an R.E.M. fan(atic) dating back to the 1983’s “Murmur” I was thrilled to learn in May that the band was finally making good on their long-held promise/threat to issue a rarities collection. And in typical R.E.M. style the boys over-delivered, kicking out not one collection but two — Complete Rarities: I.R.S. 1982-1987 (50 tracks) and Complete Rarities: Warner Bros. 1988-2011 (131 tracks). 181 tracks, the equivalent of 18 albums of “new” material. Of course, the fact that I already had 98% of the tracks didn’t make this treasure trove any less interesting, oh no! These two digital “boxsets” represented an UPGRADE opportunity supreme, as well as hours and hours of artwork foraging and data tagging and reconciliation amusement. Just my kind of BIG data.
  2. It seems that every summer for going on who-knows-how-many years I have on some late night or other sat down at my computer determined to finally get a definitive handle on media information delivery. Or, in other words, figuring out how to configure RSS feeds in a way that not only brought links across from my favorite resources in a great many areas, but that did so in a way that allowed me to spend more time benefitting from the deluge than managing it. I hesitate to whether I succeeded this time, but with RSS Notifier in place and tweaked pretty darn well I can say that my hopes are high. If next summer I find myself NOT re-attacking this project, at that time I will know that “Paid” has finally been put to this bill.
  3. The new site that you hold in your hands, dear reader, has been praised far and wide, end to end, and in between the cracks (yes, I am the reason the store is out of clichés until next Tuesday). And on the surface it rocks far and wide, end to end…well, etc. Behind the scenes, though, quite a bit of work remains to be done to really get the thing humming. One major effort taking place is SEO (Search Engine Optimization) enhancement/reconciliation for legacy posts going back six-plus years, an ongoing task that represented pretty much all of the work I did on the site during August, between opening my throat for copious food and drink intake, forming a marvelous first-impression of Guernsey (the result of a brilliant 4-day holiday-within-a-holiday excursion), and doing whatever-the-heck-else constituted a holiday well taken. Regular visitors to the site will likely not notice any changes to their experience, save perhaps for greater crowds milling about the more popular attractions therein.
  4. 38+ rolls of film. In the four weeks stretching from 27-July to 24-August I shot over 38 rolls of film. “Holy Shutterbug, Batman!”, you are no doubt thinking, because presented like that the feat sure sounds impressive. And expensive. Leyna the Leica is quite the digital camera, though, so please temper your awe accordingly. Still, I do shoot in RAW and that necessitates that I “develop” the photos into .jpg files, adjusting various photo attributes as necessary (exposure, contrast, shadows, highlights, white and black clipping, saturation, sharpening, noise reduction, and perspective correction, to name far too many), so if you want to let your awe (awe for RAW?) run rampant then by all means please do.
  5. The “La Famille Kessel” cookbook project continued during summer holiday 2014, with 10 recipes added, the appendage of notes and photos to existing content, and even some scant thought paid to eventual production. The collection, an ongoing concern, is an amorphous beast of a thing that will bring together pass-down family and friend recipes and a wealth of those found in key cookbook/magazine/whatever over the years. Promises to be quite the tasty thing when version 1.0 is finally completed…sometime in 2022 or thereabouts, coinciding with the kicking of The Boy out of his broadband-enabled nest.

So in summing up my digital meanderings for summer 2014, it is apparent that it was all about data and databases (about as surprising as water flowing out of the spigot when the tap is turned on). And naturally, we at are curious to know what you did to wile away the long days and short nights of summer — nobody will laugh — and thus invite your prolific Comments input. C’mon…have at it!


food and drink Weekend

Morning after the night before

Morning after the night before – mollusc gets legless.

The night before: We had a BBQ at our house last night. Sending off for Kid2 before her departure for foreign climes and her year abroad. Festivities began at around 5pm and the kids left to go clubbing at 10.30. Couldn’t do it meself.

After they had gone with a parting shout of “don’t worry about the mess, I will clean it up in the morning” we set to to bring the garden back to semi respectability. To our surprise one reveller had stayed behind to finish his or her pint of cider. The snail shown in the featured image was getting totally legless.

Must have finished off the whole pint, glass and all, because this morning when I got up there was no sign of snail or glass. Perhaps Mrs Davies who got up “just” before me had cleared it away. I will never know because I prefer not to ask leaving me with the notion that there is now a giant bloated snail sheltering under a bush somewhere in the garden. Sleeping off the cider no doubt.

Of course said snail could have been eaten by a bird in which case I expect to see one flying erratically around the garden.

morning after the night before

The morning after: It’s a bit of a slow start this morning. Something to do with the Stella Artois. Or maybe it was the margarita, or the red wine or calvados, or Carlos I Spanish brandy. It was one of that lot I’m sure.

The morning after the night before I stuck some bacon and mushrooms on the George Foreman Grill and made a spot of breakfast which was taken outside for consumption. In the garden I found we had a lot of designer cider left over plus a day’s supply of Stella. Gawd knows when we will get through the cider as Kid2’s departure is firmly fixed for Tuesday.

Looks like a red hot day in prospect in Lincoln. Had to come inside to write this post as it was already warming up. Before I wrap up and maybe go out an clean the bbq it is worth noting the gas supply dilemma.

The last thing you want when having a BBQ is to run out of gas. Especially if it is your daughter’s leaving bash and she is entertaining her “bezzie mates” (or words to that effect – I’m sure the colloquialism has already moved on, keep up Tref Dad).

There is a dial on our gas canister that lets you know approximately where you are in the gas supply stakes. However what it doesn’t tell you is how much actual barbecuing time you have left based on 3 jets firing at full throttle for most of the time. One could just refill the canister anyway but that would of course mean paying for a full refill whilst only needing a partial refill, if you get my drift.

The safe bet is to go out and buy a spare canister. That way if you run out of gas in the main canister the auxiliary can be switched in with very little loss of cooking time. That is what I did. Sod’s law of course dictated that we did not run out of gas in the main canister but better safe than sorry eh?


food and drink Weekend


Sachets, by Tref

Sachets sachets sachets sachets sachets sachets sachets sachets sachets sachets sachets sachets sachets sachets sachets sachets sachets sachets sachets sachets sachets sachets sachets sachets sachets sachets sachets sachets sachets sachets sachets sachets sachets sachets sachets sachets sachets sachets sachets sachets sachets sachets sachets sachets sachets

food and drink Weekend

Lamb tikka masala recipe – part 2

Having marinated the cubed lamb in step 1 we now move on to steps 2 and 3 for our lamb tikka masala recipe – the actual cooking.

This post continues part 1 of our lamb tikka masala recipe. The lamb will be nicely marinated having spent 24 hours in the fridge in the freshly prepared tandoori spice mix. I can confirm that in my own case the smell was heavenly (feel like I’m writing this for a woman’s periodical – next time I go to the dentist it’ll be there on the coffee table!).

The clay tandoor pot you are going to use to cook the meat needs soaking in water for a good hour or more. This is because when the meat is cooked in the tandoor the water steams our gradually keeping the lamb nice and moist. Heat the oven to gas mark 8 and place the tandoor containing the lamb, lid on, on a middle shelf. Give the meat an hour or so cooking time.

When the meat is cooked, remove it from the tandoor and crisp the outsides up under the grill. I discarded the liquid although something at the back of my mind tells me you can keep it for the next step.

I can only vaguely remember the next steps. I did research the lamb tikka masala recipe online before starting.  I’m pretty sure I chopped up some onions and mushrooms. I sauteed the onions in ghee in a wok. I bought the ghee specially. Never used it before but I now have loads of it in  tin in the fridge for the next time. Always handy to have some ghee in. Just like goose fat for roasties on a Sunday.

Some garlic, ginger and chilli mix I had left over from making the tandoori marinade were then added. With this I mixed in some tikka masala paste I had prepared earlier (in  jar  from Tesco – I lost the enthusiasm for doing it all from fist principles after the first night). After  bit of frying you add some tins of tomatoes (you decide how many – it’s a feel thing), tomato ketchup, turmeric and natural yoghurt. Other lamb tikka masala recipes have variants on this but fundamentally they are all the same.

i cooked the whole concoction over a low hear with a lid on the wok for around 60 minutes until the meat was tender and the sauce was just the right consistency. To finish off you toss in some chopped coriander leaves although I bought the wrong stuff and ended up with flat leaf parsley which does the job but isn’t quite as good. We kept the dish in the fridge and heated it up and ate it the next day. I think it always tastes better when the spices have had more time to infuse. Innit.

This lamb tikka masala recipe was brought to you direct from the kitchen of The top ranking lamb tikka masala recipe on Google is on the BBC website here.

lamb tikka masala recipe by tref

lamb tikka masala recipe including clay tandoor oven

food and drink Weekend

Tandoori marinade – lamb tikka massala part 1

Tandoori marinade mixed with cubes of lamb fillet in a bowl and left overnight.

All broadband and no curry makes for a dull life. This post describes how to make a tandoori marinade which, mixed with lamb cubes, is left in the fridge over night before proceeding to part two of the process which involves cooking the meat.

In our house the boss, the lovely Mrs Davies has been away for a few days and us lads, me and kids 3 and 4 have been left to fend for ourselves. In times gone by we will have survived on takeaways and miscellaneous home cooked junk food protein and carbs. However Anne has been making numerous trips away and the takeaway existence has proved to be unsustainable. We have been yearning for proper cooked meals.

This trip/absence, in all fairness to me, we have done reasonably well. Yes we have had our fair share of bacon, sausages, beans and baked potatoes or toast. We are blokes after all. However I have been attempting to have the lads in a reasonably healthy condition for when their mum comes home, which is tomorrow.

Last night I cooked fresh tagliatelle pasta with a tomato and vegetable sauce. Tonight we have fended for ourselves from the fridge due to the intervention of a school cricket match (we won yay). Tomorrow however Anne comes home and it felt only reasonable that I have something decent waiting for her tea.

Tomorrow night we have escalopes of pork marinated for 24 hours in Levi Roots Reggae Reggae sauce. This will be served with Brazilian rice (whatever that is – it sounded alright) and green beans and broccoli on the side (not for me – I’m a grown up – I don’t understand the point of broccoli).

At the same time I have decided that on Thursday we will be eating lamb tikka massala. Nome of this pre-made sauce rubbish though. This one is going to be cooked from first principles, prompted largely by the fact that whilst  wandering through Lincoln Cornhill Market a few weeks ago I came across a stall selling Indian spices. Impressed with the range of ingredients available I bought an armful including a huge industrial bag of garam massala.

All this fine foodstuff has been sat in the cupboard. Until now. Waitrose this afternoon offered up some lamb fillet together with a miscellany of other ingredients. Back at home I dioscovered that I also needed root ginger, natural yoghurt and some fresh coriander so another trip, this time to Tesco, was initiated.

The intent here is to marinate the lamb overnight in a tandoori marinade and tomorrow I will cook the meat in a tandoor. I have a clay tandoori pot which you stick in the oven and which simulates a real tandoor. The tandoori marinade is simple to make. Dry fry some cardamon pods, coriander seeds and cumin, grind together with a couple of red chillies, garlic and the root ginger.  I’m not going to bother you with quantities – look it up – this is not a cookery blog. Chuck in some lemon juice,  turmeric, mix into some natural yoghurt and then add the meat.

This concoction, which btw smells wonderful, is covered with cling film and left in the fridge overnight. Look out for parts two and three tomorrow. I want to get the lamb tikka massala finished tomorrow night so that it can benefit from another night of spice infusion.

If you like your food you should check out The Burton Road Strip, a series of poems about food emporia on Burton Road in Lincoln.


Engineer engineering food and drink fun stuff peering

Pissup in a Brewery – Photographic Proof of a Great LONAP-Sponsored Evening

Pictures from the Pissup In A Brewery held at the Fourpure brewery in London on Thursday 26th June

The Pissup In A Brewery, twas a good night. Sponsored by LONAP it was mostly LONAP members and guests. The rain held off, the food was universally acclaimed as fantastic, the beer was pure, copious and appreciated by all.

I’ve been to two other Pissup In A Brewery events, or Pissups In A Brewery. The first was with Bethesda RFC to a brewery in Liverpool, Castle Eden I think it may have been although time plays tricks with the memory, especially where a brewery is involved. We declined a tour of the brewery in order to maximise the efficiency of our two hours’ free bar. You can imagine the carnage of a coach load of rugby players let loose in the bar. We stopped in Rhyl for fish and chips on the way home. That’s all I can remember.

The other Pissup In A Brewery was at Batemans’ in AWainfleet. Wainfleet was once a port but the river has long since silted up and it is now a cosy village a few skims of a flat stone from the coast. It was a friend’s birthday and we didn’t find out until the end of the trip that he had paid for the lot of us.After the tour we retired to a pie and a pint on one of the local Batemans pubs. V civilised.

Last Thursday’s Pissup In A Brewery was held at Dan Lowe’s Fourpure brewery in South Bermondsey a stone’s throw from Millwall FC. Nuff said. You will note that the phrase Pissup In A Brewery gets repeated a number of times in the post. This is simply because the phrase to me seems to have become a brand in its own right. I can envisage having lots of pissups in lots of breweries. Reality is we might just repeat it next year, Dan Lowe and sponsorship willing. Like I said, twas a great night.

Thanks to LONAP for the sponsorship, thanks to Fourpure Brewery for having us, thanks to Richard Gibbs Catering for a great barbecue and thanks to all who came and enjoyed themselves and helped makeit such an enjoyable night.

events food and drink fun stuff Weekend website launch party – 4pm Friday 4th July

You are all invited to a free beer on Friday afternoon to celebrate the launch of the new website – free beer.

Went to my mate Terry’s 60th birthday surprise bash at the West End Tap last night. It was a genuine surprise and nice to see the look of humility on the lad’s face when he saw how many people had turned out. Left at around 11.30pm – I’m somewhat of a lightweight these days although the fact that it was my fourth night out on the trot didn’t help. Looking forward to a quiet few days before being back in the Smoke on Wednesday.

When we got home there was a party still in full flow in our back garden. Kid3 celebrating his penultimate teen birthday. The noise had died down by the time we got in, fortunately for our relations with the neighbours and especially since I invested in a PA system. I don’t have what was traditionally called a stereo but I do have a PA system.

This morning the damage in the back garden wasn’t too bad. Nothing that a bit of hosing down didn’t sort out.

Life seems to be one long string of parties and bashes (is there a difference?). It’s good job I’ve started to go to the University of Lincoln gym which is only a 5 minute walk from the office. Need the counter effect of the 70 minute workout to offset the damages from the bashes (deliberate choice of words:). Free beer for all…

This coming Wednesday we have the 10th Anniversary of ITSPA party in the big Smoke. A big part of me says we are only here the once so we might as well enjoy ourselves whilst we are at it.

On Friday we are having an impromptu drinks and nibbles out on the balcony at the office in Sparkhouse in Lincoln. The weather is going to be great and we will be filling the fridge the day before to make sure that the refreshments are appropriately cooled for our guests.

Everyone is welcome but we will need to know if you plan on coming so call me, message me, send a carrier pigeon, leave a comment etc. The doors will be locked so when you arrive ring my mobile and I’ll send someone from “Security” down to bring you up to the balcony. Alternatively shout up to the balcony at Sparkhouse – we will see you.

The party must finish around 7pm for no other reason that I am then heading over to the Lincoln Performing Arts Centre (LPAC) to watch a Zoe Rahman gig in which Kid3 who plays the jazz trumpet, amongst other instruments, is featuring.

Party is at Room 18, Sparkhouse, Enterprise Lincoln Building, Rope Walk, Lincoln LN6 7DQ. C ya there.

Other partyifically good posts include:

Official video #trefbash2012
Pissup In A Brewery

food and drink scams Weekend

The Tesco Baked Bean expose part II – 44% increase in baked beans pricing

Hot on the heels my first Tesco baked beans pricing expose (6 tins or 4 – best buys) I have more news. Further investigative journalism reveals that the buggers have now dropped the price of a fourpack to two quid whilst upping the six pack from two fifty to three sixty. wossatallaboutwtf?

Having lulled us into thinking that two fifty was the standard pricing for the sixpack they have now stuck it with a whopping forty four percent increase. So you can now either pay fifty pence for a can of beans or sixty!  They must think their customers are total morons. It is also intuitive to assume that a bigger pack will be cheaper than the smaller pack. They are taking advantage of that type of thinking.

It must come as no surprise that Tesco profits are in decline if they are messing about with prices like this. It leads to loss of faith and trust in the brand.

That’s all.

Other Tescoiffic posts:

State of the Art Tech at Tesco
I bought a grill cleaning T brush from Tesco
My name is Andy and I work for Tesco
Tesco SPAM more expensive than ham

baked beans
baked beans
baked beans
baked bean

food and drink Weekend

Essential office furniture – the drinks fridge

Husky Stella Artois Refrigerator

We have a new item of essential furniture in our office: the Husky Stella Artois Refrigerator otherwise known as the drinks fridge.

A drinks fridge is something I have wanted for years. It began when I once visited Sir Terry Matthews’ office in Canada. This multi-billionnaire owner of Mitel had his own drinks fridge in his office. I thought to myself if Terry can have one then it must be right.

Unfortunately I’ve always worked for a business with a professional outlook on life and that being so felt that a fridge in the office would look somewhat out of kilter.

This is no longer the case. trefor,net has attitude, no constraints, no concerns over corporate image to hold back free thinking and initiative creation. now has a fridge. All it currently contains is a jug of filtered water and what’s left of a pint of milk. However the plan is to fill it with suitable other liquids for the ongoing and ad hoc refreshment of the staff.

Once when I visited a Cisco facility at Research Triangle Park in North Carolina I noticed that their kitchen had floor to ceiling fridges filled with drinks. Well our needs aren’t quite that extensive but I will show a picture of a suitably filled fridge at the nearest opportunity. Not this week mind you as I am out of the office after today.

For future reference though if anyone is in Lincoln on  Friday afternoon from say 4pm onwards they should feel free to swing by  Room 18 at Sparkhouse and join us in some cool refreshment. Ease into the weekend. Feel the lurve…

Other cool stories include:

Kettles and Fridges
Embarrassing refridgeration gaffe
The kitchen of things

Business food and drink fun stuff H/W internet wearable

Owed to the Laundromat

Friday afternoon finds me well-lunched (New Mexican-ish place that opened nearby about a month ago) and passing roughly 45 minutes at a laundromat that is about 100 steps from the door to our building in Paris’s 18th Arrondissement.

Decidedly not Web 2.0 — no wifi, no URL on the door or windows, no comment field anywhere upon which to register user opinion — the local laverie (that’s French for…well, I trust you can work that out, cherished reader) is actually proving to be somewhat comforting in the mere fact that it has seemingly not changed a lick since my first and only previous visit almost 13 years ago (that being right after My Missus and I moved into our flat at 57 Boulevard Barbes and before the delivery and hookup of our washer and dryer, natch). Of course, the pricing is different now with regard to both the amount and the currency, but everything else is the same or similar enough to register as such…the basic floor plan, types of machines in service, signage, the definitive lack of furniture upon which to wait for the various cycles to complete, the character stereotypes aiding me in occupying the place (and we aren’t talking butcher, baker, or candlestick maker)…


==> To answer the hanging question for the one person out there who might crave the answer, my lavage moment is brought to you today by frugality and a need to clean a winter duvet that is simply too bulky to launder at home (and which the La Famille Kessel decision-makers are good and sick of paying the teinturier — dry cleaner — upwards of €50 to clean every spring). <==

I must admit that a broad idiot’s smile broke across my face when I realized a few moments ago that this is only my 2nd time in a laundromat in a great many years. The reason for said smile being that before that September 2001 visit to my current perch — with the exception of 1993, a year I spent living in a big house with three other people (and a washer and dryer) — I could always count on spending two hours every couple of weeks passing the time exactly as I am now, reading and writing amongst giant industrial behemoths chewing on my washable wearables and slucking down my hoarded dimes and quarters for the privilege.

Through the dormitory years, frathouse life, this apartment, that apartment, another apartment, apartment-apartment-apartment, and on through a house that while cute and cuddly was simply not able to harbor a washing machine (let alone a dryer), it was a steady diet of laundromat boredom for me. Regular as phone bills and cheap thrills, lest I be a dirty boy.

In the early 1990s a wave of innovation washed over the public laundering industry in urban America, and before long laundering types had some options. You could have a drink and try your luck at picking up a fellow launderer while your clothes getting sudsed up, or you could bowl a game during the rinse cycle. Of course, the good old-fashioned laundromats that I tended to inhabit soldiered on — those offering a rundown pinball game or an ancient Pac-Man machine for entertainment…if that — but now instead of the dull sense of tedious contentment with which we old-fashioned launderers were familiar, we were instead subject to a new and strange sense of unease, knowing that somewhere out there on that mundane Laundry Night there were those who were dancing or enjoying karaoke while their unmentionables were tumbling.

Did I bite, you are no doubt wondering? Did I turn my back on the underprivileged and overworked, the single old-timers, the vagabonds and homeless folks with enough esteem to occasionally freshen and soften their garments, the students squeaking by on budgets too small to be seen with the naked eye? I did not! But then, none of the new-age laundromats were offering free Internet access.

Nearly a decade and a half of years pass. Have passed. Past. A quick google-bing today reveals that clean-your-clothes multi-tasking has continued to expand and evolve, with Laundromat-Cafés (yes, offering free wifi) and even Laundromat-Restaurants now heavy in the mix. All we need now is Laundromat-equipped office cubicle farms and the evolution of the public laundry arts will be complete.

Duvet spinning fast now. Yes, I do think there is a song in there somewhere, but it is just past the reach of my tongue at the moment. Two minutes to go and I am outtahere.

Related posts:

food and drink Weekend

Spot the difference – a bowl of breakfast cereal with fruit @jeffpulver might approve, maybe

Sometimes the simple things in life are the best. A couple of Weetabix, fresh raspberries, chuck in a handful of blueberries and chop up a banana and off you go.breakfast without milk

But hey, wait a minute. There is no milk. You can’t have Weetabix without milk. I realise some do but they are not the norm (and I refrain from further exploring that thread). No problemo. You want milk? Here is milk. Semi skimmed. Yum.

breakfast with milkThis post has been brought to you by a slightly annoyed Trefor Davies who today went swimming, came home and ate the breakfast as illustrated, walked to work and has just come back from the gym having forgotten to bring his shorts! Last weekend I went to the gym and forgot to take my trainers! Where will it all end. What will Anthony say?!

Other truly scrumptious food related posts:

How to cook the perfect baked bean
Best pancake toppings
Important announcement on a Sunday morning

competitions Engineer food and drink fun stuff

Pissup In A Brewery free tickets competition No 3 – corny football sayings

freebeer_250Yeehaw. Another day another competition to win tickets to the Pissup In A Brewery. Today is a big world cup football day for England so I thought that we’d keep it simple. Hit me with a corny or funny football related saying or quote. Best ones will get tix. eg it was a game of two halves, really pleased for Chalky, thought Nobby did well to get his head to that one etc. Can’t reuse these ones obvs – I’m sure you can do better. Read about other unbelievable but true competitions: What is my favourite beer? Win free VIP tickets to a Pissup

No Divingfifa_250

food and drink

The Definitive Beetroot Sandwich

beetrootThe definitive beetroot sandwich. This post was originally published on philosopherontap and is reproduced here by kind permission of my sister Sue, though I haven’t actually asked her (I’m sure it will be ok).

Ordinarily this kind of flagrant plagiarism is frowned upon by the SEO powers that be at Google but the original post is so good that to alter it would be an insult to the artistic integrity of its author. The post is therefore reproduced unaltered except for this preamble and for the featured image which didn’t appear in the original.

The subject of the image itself is a somewhat grubby jar of Waitrose pickled beetroot as opposed to an actual beetroot sandwich. That is because I don’t like beetroot sandwiches (soz) and therefore to make one just for the photograph would have been a waste of good food. I will eat beetroot as a side item in a salad, preferably a baby beet.

Not sure I approve of the salt btw but if that’s what the recipe calls for…

Read on:

1 Large, crusty, unsliced white loaf
1 Jar pickled baby beets
Salt to taste

1 x side plate (or larger depending on the size of your bread) for presentation
1 x bread knife
1 x knife, fork, teaspoon

Using your bread knife, take your large unsliced loaf and cut two thick doorstop slices. If your bread is of the variety which tapers at each end (eg. a Bloomer), make sure you have two slices of the same size. Butter your bread liberally across the whole face of the slice.

Next, open your jar of Baby Pickled Beets. Note – it must be baby beetroot as the bigger variety can sometimes be too crunchy which detracts from the overall quality of the result. Using your teaspoon, select your baby beet, removing it from the jar to the plate. Take your knife and fork and cut the beetroot into generous, chunky slices. Arrange on the buttered bread. Apply seasoning as appropriate. Place finished sandwich on the same plate that you used to cut the beetroot as this will give you the opportunity to soak up all that extra vinegary, beetrooty, loveliness. Serve with large mug of steaming black filter coffee.

Some schools of thought state that the beetroot slicing should be on a separate plate. They are wrong. Others dictate that pre-sliced beetroot be used, and sometimes even the crinkle cut variety. I can understand this approach as it does take a step out of the process, and avoids dying ones fingers purple, but it does mean you cannot express your individuality in the chunkiness of your beetroot slices.

Loading your sandwich with too many beetroot chunks can result in mid-bite overflow. If you’re going to do this, make sure you’re wearing appropriate protective clothing.

Other eminently digestable sandwich reads include:

The fish finger sandwich
The perfect bacon sandwich
Rook’s off
Ice cream sandwich

food and drink

The fish finger sandwich

Before: a bed of Hovis sliced granary bread liberally spread with butter and with a moderate squeeze of Heinz tomato ketchup.

before fish fingers

With: that same bed of Hovis but now with three Young’s haddock  fish fingers grilled and laid from top to bottom across the right hand slice.

with fish fingerA gourmet sandwich. After hitting the gym at lunchtime you get home ravenous but need to head out quickly to watch Kid4 play cricket. Time is short. A fish finger sandwich is perfect for the job.

No instructions are needed. The construction of the sandwich is intuitive. Timeless. The choice of bread is personal but that bread should not be toasted. The fish fingers need to squash into the softness of the fresh bread. Tonight I had a glass of water to accompany the sandwich but milk would probably have been a better choice.

Note plain white plate on a black marbled effect worktop background. Either it is important or it isn’t. Your choice. You’re a big boy1 now. The knife visible to the right of the photograph is leaning on the edge of the plate and had to be removed in between shots whilst the plate was taken to the grill for the application of the fish fingers.

Other truly historic sandwich reads include:

The perfect bacon sandwich
Rook’s off
Ice cream sandwich

1 or girl, depending on which one you are (obvs)

competitions food and drink fun stuff peering

Win more Pissup In A Brewery tickets – competition # 2 – what is my favourite beer?

freebeer_250Okeydokey here goes competition number 2. Seeing as this is a Pissup In A Brewery we are talking about what is my favourite beer? There are clues to be found around but I’m not going to help you any more than that.

Answers by noon tomorrow as after that I have to go to a speed reduction seminar that starts at 1pm – 36 in a 30. Fair cop guv. Slap the cuffs on.

If you missed competition number one here it is but it is now closed. Note 19 LinkedIn shares fair play. LinkedIn members have their priorities set right.

events food and drink fun stuff

Win free VIP tickets to Pissup In A Brewery

freebeer_250Every day this week you can win a free VIP ticket worth £120 to the world famous Pissup In A Brewery. is known for its Christmas bash. Well now we have a summer bash and it is genuinely a Pissup In A Brewery.

The venue is the new Fourpure Brewery, one of the industry’s rising stars, where you can sample a wide range of real ales and lagers as brewed by one of London’s youngest and most exciting brewers, Dan Lowe.

Details of the event are here.

To win your free ticket you need to complete the following sentence “I like beer because…”. I might give out more than one prize if we get some good answers.

Deadline is sometime tomorrow morning at which point we will have a new competition.

Bad Stuff food and drink

6 tins or 4? – baked bean best buys

Roll up roll up get yer 4 pack of Heinz baked beans ‘ere. Only £2.50.

Heinz baked beans 4 pack at Tesco

No wait. Roll up roll up get yer 6 pack of Heinz baked beans ‘ere. Only £2.50.

Heinz baked beans 6 pack at Tesco

Really annoys me this. Supermarkets are full of sharp practice like this. I could be charitable and say that they might just be trying to shift some six packs of beans but it just doesn’t feel right. Why bother putting the 4 packs on sale at all when the 6 pack offer was running.You see similar examples all over the shop where they make it very difficult to decide what is a good deal or not.

Note also how they have labelled one as a price per Kg and one as per 100g. They have even got it wrong there. If I was paying £1.01 per 100g that would be an expensive tin of baked beans.

It’s beans on toast with bacon for supper tonight btw. I bought a sixpack.

End User events food and drink

A father’s day message

There are four ways of approaching father’s day:  as a son, a father, as oneself and with the whole thing as a load of commercial cobblers.

As a son my thoughts naturally turn to my eighty year old dad in the Isle of Man. I’ll give him a bell later this morning. We’ll have a chat about nothing. Had I been at home we might have gone out for a few holes of golf except that at the ripe old age of eighty he now only plays during the week at an appropriately leisurely pace. I speak to him most days in any case.

At eighty he soldiers on. I am his IT support and was yesterday woefully lacking as I wasn’t able to replicate his Google+ scenario for troubleshooting on my own iPad. He has an iPad 2 and mine is an original. In fact I couldn’t get the Google+ App to work on my own iPad! It’s all a load of codswallop.

When I go and visit we normally pop around to the Whitehouse pub for a couple of pints before dinner. They have a lovely little snug there with a coal fire which is often on even in the summer. It’s only a hundred yards or so from our house. Not bad I say. When we get home dinner will be ready. Perfect.

As a father I don’t really expect much from the kids. It’s all a load of commercially invented tosh anyway (see point 4). No card, barely a half remembered acknowledgement that it is father’s day. In fact the kids and I only realised that it was father’s day when we saw something on a TV ad about it last night.

So no cup of tea in bed this morning from adoring and reverential smiling faces. They are all still snoring away having stayed up late to watch England lose to Italy in their World Cup opener. I won’t see them until mid morning. Will cook my own bacon.

There may be a phone call from the two older ones who are not at home. Tom will actually call with his mobile. Hannah will expect me to be on Facebook this evening at which point we will just arrange to move to a Google Hangout. We don’t start on Google. Shows that Google+ still has a way to go to become the social network of choice for that demographic.

When I think of it I rarely engage with anyone on Google+. Just use Hangouts via the gmail interface or the Hangouts app on my droid.

At least we will have a barbecue this evening with the two kids remaining at home. Just the three of us. Anne is away seeing her own dad. On this basis we get to choose what we do foodwise anyway. I bought some chicken to make a chicken salad last night. Ended up getting a Dominos pizza delivered before the England game. BBQ chicken it is tonight then. I have a nice bottle of red and we may just stroll to the cricket club before hand for a relaxing cold beer whilst watching a bit of leather on willow.

The approach to father’s day as an individual may be considered to be the equivalent to what one does on one’s birthday. In other words do what you like, within reason. Today I will be cooking a bit of breakfast – not too heavy as I want to go to the gym later. After breakfast I have some sorting out to do. The brick workshop which is now just used as a garden store needs tidying up to make room for some shelves from the garage. The shelves from the garage are being moved to allow the new bench to move in.

The bench is waiting for the space to become available before final assembly. It was built to order by a bloke in Suffolk and arrived a couple of weeks ago so needs sorting. Before I can do that I have to clear the garage out and paint the floor. I did consider ecotiles but green garage floor paint makes more sense in our case as sometimes the drain across the front of the garage door blocks with leaves and we get water in. Need to stay on top of that. The upshot is that a painted concrete floor will be more appropriate in our case as it is less likely to be spoiled. That is probably a job for next weekend.

The one other schedule item today is a practice of the musical threesome we have assembled for some friends silver wedding anniversary in August. That’s me on geetar an vocals, Steve on slide and Joe on horn plus any other of the multiple instruments he can play. We did our first gig for the Curle Avenue Diamond Jubilee street party and called ourselves Los Trios Paranoias. Disappointingly I note that there has already been a band of that name so we will have to come up with another unless we call ourselves a tribute band. I doubt we play any of their material – in fact I don’t even know what music they played.

Finally there is of course the approach that all this is total commercial rubbish with no basis of tradition (since 1987!?). This is in fact the view to which I subscribe. Having said that I will still ring my dad, still half expect a call from the kids, still do my own thing today and still expect a cooked breakfast to be served up. Oh no wait. They are still in bed…

Happy Father’s day to all dads out there. Get in that shed!

Another terrific father’s day read:

Like father like daughter

The header photo is of breakfast at Silva’s – finest greasy spoon in London on Shaftesbury Avenue.

End User food and drink fun stuff Weekend

Saturday Snapshot (07-June-2014)

Yesterday My Missus and I decided to cap off Saturday with “Skyfall” and a big bowl of pasta, figuring that at the ripe age of 12 The Boy and his visiting friend were both ready for a bit of Bond, made the all the more tasty accompanied by fussili drenched in freshly crushed-out pesto.

Being a well-raised soul I feel compelled to share the goods, however as 3-D food printers are still quite rare I will instead do the next best thing to help satisfy all of the hungry readers out there and share my pesto recipe, complete with not-very-good iPhone 4 photo illustration (still twiddling my thumbs waiting for Samsung’s imminent Galaxy K Zoom, but that is another story).

1. Get yourself some good walnuts.

1. Get yourself some good walnuts.

2. Gotta crack a few walnuts.

2. Gotta crack a few walnuts.

3. Trim and clean plenty of basil. When you think you have enough, double it.

3. Trim and clean plenty of basil. When you think you have enough, double it.

4. Place your basil into your mortar, and add a 1/2 teaspoon of coarse sea salt (for taste, of course, and to aid in the grinding).

4. Place basil into your mortar, and add 1/2 teaspoon of coarse sea salt (for taste and to aid in grinding).

5. Grind the basil into pulp, add your crushed walnuts, and keep grinding.

5. Grind the basil into pulp, add your crushed walnuts, and keep grinding.

6. Next, add your peeled and trimmed garlic...keep grinding.

6. Next, add your peeled and trimmed garlic…keep grinding.

7. Grind until you have a aromatic paste, heady and delicious.

7. Grind until you have a aromatic paste, heady and delicious.

8. Add olive oil. if you cannot be bothered to use a fine extra virgin olive oil, toss the paste in the trash and buy a jar of ready-made.

8. Add a fine extra virgin (preferably unfiltered) olive oil.1

9. Add freshly-grated parmesan to your oily paste and grind some more.

9. Add freshly-grated parmesan to your oily paste and grind some more.

10. Taste your pesto, adjusting salt, pepper, and oil until it is just right.

10. Taste your pesto, adjusting salt, pepper, and oil until it is just right.


Once you have your pesto ready to go, put that big pot of water on the boil. Cook pasta, drain, return pasta to pot, dump in pesto, mix it all up nice, add a tad more olive oil, mix one last time, and cue up “Skyfall” (or 2006’s “Casino Royal”, which works just as well). Serve with chopped tomatoes, chopped red onion, and extra grated parmesan on the side. Oh, you might want to make sure you have laid in a good supply of take-a-break-after-the-opening-credits ice cream, too.

1If you cannot be bothered to use a fine extra virgin (preferably unfiltered) olive oil, toss the paste in the trash, buy a jar of ready-made, and wallow in shame.

Related posts:

agricultural food and drink

How to grow your own grapes for making wine – food and drink at the weekend

grapes_664For some time now the editorial team here at has been considering becoming self sufficient when it comes to wine. It used to be that you could get a reasonable bottle of plonk for five or six quid. No more. You now have to spend at least eight to avoid that screwed up face look.

There is only one thing to be done and that is to make your own wine. Obviously the key The only ingredient required to make wine is grapes. Grapes and plenty of sunshine. Living in Lincoln we haven’t historically benefitted from a guaranteed supply of the latter. This is the midlands which is reasonably green and pleasant and totally unlike the sun-parched plains of the rich south where most British wine is grown.

This can’t always have been the case because there is a patch that was formerly a vineyard on a southish facing slope at the Medieval Bishop’s Palace in front of Lincoln Cathedral. They weren’t daft, those Medieval Bish’s. Must a liked their tipple, unless, in their defence it was purely used for communion wine.

It was a lot cheaper to grow your own in those days as transportation costs would have been typically a lot higher per bottle/cask than it is in the technological age of 2014. Also they would have used cheap peasant labour to tread the grapes, or at a push the monks could do it. Knowing you had trod your own grapes used to engender a lot of pride in ecclesiastical circles.

That was then and this is now. I’m not treading any grapes when technology can do the job for us. Even then we are getting ahead of ourselves. This story hasn’t got that far yet.

Having decided to make your own wine the next step is to plant a vineyard. We considered that instead of worrying about global warming we should just go with the flow and planted our own vineyard in the Davies household around 3 years or so ago. Initially it was in a planter but after the first year the estate management committee met and decided it would be better off in the soil and replanted it against the newly installed trellis where we keep the barbeque.

Each summer we would rush to see if there were any grapes coming along and up until now I have to admit to an element of disappointment. Nowt, niet, sod all. Yesterday however, having trimmed back the greenery coming through from next door’s side of the fence, I uncovered the bbq with a view to cooking some burgers, chicken drumsticks and pork escalopes1. Then I saw them. A neat pre-pubescent strip of what will, in the fullness of time, and as spring inevitably moves into summer and thence on to autumn, be a bunch of our very own grapes.

This is big news which will trigger a rush of activity in our house. Winemaking equipment will need to be sourced, a bottle cleaned out and kept ready as a container etc etc etc.

The only thing is I suspect we have no idea what sort of grapes we are growing. The vine was a gift from the father in law who is a bit of a dab hand at this kind of thing and once had a photo of the apricot tree trained against their back wall published in the Daily Mail. Could ask him I suppose but I suspect he won’t be able to remember, fair play.

None of this matters. Here on we are going to follow the progress of Lincoln’s latest vineyard, just as we have been able to do with the Lincoln Eleanor Cross project. Come back each weekend for a progress update.


Later this morning…

Just been out to check on my grapes only to be confronted with a crushing disappointment. The stalk of flowers was no longer there. What could possibly have happened? I searched in the undergrowth and found not one but two stalks on the floor. Oh no! Might we have had two bunches of grapes growing? Had I knocked them off the vine by carelessly throwing on the bbq cover when I was shutting it down for the night?

Nah. Looking up the tree above was covered in these flowery stalks. One must have fallen off and dangled over the vine making it look as if it was growing there naturally. This is the same tree that casts a shade over the vine for the first part of the day and could well be contributing to the absence of grapes. Hmm.

Never mind we will continue to watch that vine and look forward to the day when we no longer have to buy our wine in and can grow merry on the fruits of our own labours. Also not going to waste this post having taken the time to write it:)

Chocolate fudge

1 Marinaded in Nandos Hot Peri Peri sauce and served up with a variety of salads, new potatoes and barbecued corn on the cob and asparagus

Other great agricultural/gardening posts include:

The yellow flower
7 a day in a box

Business food and drink

Sell by dates taken to the extreme

activa yoghurt sell by date

Activia yoghurt introduce very precise sell by dates. Ya gotta laugh innit. I was just polishing off this peach flavoured Activia, eaten in tandem with a medley of both fresh and tinned peaches with fresh ripe mango (for the foodies amongst us) and for some reason it occurred to me to look at the sell by date. Might be the use by date. Not sure.

Doesn’t matter really. Sell by or use by, it was sufficiently far into the future to give me confidence that no bodily harm would come to me having consumed the pot. Tasty it was too.

Then I noticed that not only had Activia provided a sell by/use by date but they had included a very precise time on that day by which the yoghurt would have to be sold/used. This degree of attention to detail and the customer’s well being is laudible but must surely lead to confusion in the aisles of supermarkets up and down the country. At eight minutes to seven the yoghurt is ok but one minute later and you had better look out pardner. “Health and Safety” would be up in arms, on your back.

I also note that Activia, in English, likes to spell yoghurt yogurt. My standard way of checking a spelling is to enter the word in the google search bar to see what comes up. On this occasion both yog and yogh seemed to be ok although WordPress would appear to disapprove of yog. This seems unusual to me because having originated in the good ole US of A I’d have expected WordPress to go for the simple spelling aka plow, color et al.

Reading Activia labels can also be very educating. In this instance for example we can see that translations of peach are peche and perzik. I leave it to you to decide on the languages. Choosing incorrectly could lead to embarrassing mistakes caused by not being understood by waiters and shop assistants in countries around the globe.

Notwithstanding all of this the yo’ghurt I consumed was the last in the fridge and we are unlikely to have to face up to “the date” as an issue.Based on this sample size of one I’d say Activia yogs fly off the shelves making me think that the only reason they have “a date” on them at all is that bloke in H&S again.

I quite liked my Activia. It went well with the fruit medley and is a handy, easy to throw together dessert for the busy exec looking to squeeze in a quality meal between emails and blog posts.

Other yoghurts are available. This post was brought to you by Activia, Yeo Valley, Danone, Actimel, Shape, Muller, Yoplait, Nestle, Yakult and the Heathrow Eggs and Dairy Company.

Ciao amigos. Drink more milk.

Bad Stuff End User food and drink fun stuff travel Weekend

Saturday Snapshot (24-May-2014)

Another Normandy weekend found La Famille Kessel welcoming a newbie to our oh-so-humble abode in Blangy-le-Château, which of course meant hitting the road. Though perhaps ‘hitting’ is too strong a term, as the rental car we have this time around is a Suzuki Celerio, a strange tiny beast of a vehicle that huffs-and-puffs at the slightest incline. Maybe ‘patting the road’ is more accurate. Also, it offers the strangest version of an automatic transmission I have yet encountered, with a three-stop gearshift that one pushes forward (into ‘R’) to go backwards and backward (into ‘D’) to go forwards. Neutral (‘N’), I am glad to say, is rationally located in the middle, which is just as it should be.

Manual Automatic

Also, if the driver prefers they can manually shift the gears by tapping the gearshift slightly to the left from A, and then tapping it up (into ‘M+’) to move to the next highest gear and down (into ‘M-‘) to downshift.

An automatic Standard? A non-standard Automatic? I have no idea what to call this new breed of auto (though a quick spin around the Internet just now seems to indicate it is “automated manual transmission”), but regardless of drive type moniker it is one awful ride. Setting that aside, the Celerio did perform its function, though with no élan whatsoever.

But enough about the car already.

On Saturday afternoon following lunch and a rainstorm (or two rainstorms…three?…this time of year the weather shifts so fast in Normandy it is a fool’s errand to try to delineate such) our band of four piled into the Celerio and headed for Honfleur, the remarkably picturesque port town that bumps up along where the Seine meets La Manche (that’s “English Channel” to all of you good mother-tongue English speakers out there). A regular visit we make with first-time visitors, I have to say that My Missus and The Boy and I really do enjoy making the 25-minute drive from Blangy to Honfleur a few times each year. Honfleur is beautiful, quaint and extremely charming and as expected this serves to make the place a little too touristy. Still, it is the perfect size for an afternoon walkabout and offers plenty of high-end shopping for the well-heeled, including a good amount of art galleries whose wares (and probably owners) are in some form of constant shift as well as some be-careful-what-you-touch antique shops. There are a number of interesting churches to walk through, a museum dedicated to the life and artwork of Honfleur favorite son Eugène Boudin (who had much to do with Monet becoming…well, Monet), and all manner of historical this-n-that surrounding the oh-so-postcardy harbor. Finally, Honfleur offers some truly marvelous grub to be had…great seafood restaurants, a few very nice creperies, and — of course — Alexandre Bourdas’s matchless Sa.Qa.Na).

I parked the Celerio — pushing the gearshift forward to back into my spot in front of Saint-Leonard — and shoehorned my group out of the car and onto the sidewalk. Recompressed, we began easing into Honfleur, and as always the town didn’t disappoint. Boats in the harbor, crushes of people packed into the cafés and restaurants lining the northern end of the port (all tourist traps that should be avoided at all costs, but which aren’t), and a truly awful rock group playing badly under a tent at the port’s southeastern corner next to the ubiquitous carrousel. All good.
2014-05-24 15.52.462014-05-24 16.00.50

2014-05-24 16.15.442014-05-24 16.30.36

We wandered over the drawbridge at the mouth of the harbor and walked up into the north end of town. Honfleur is one of those places where you just can’t help but repeatedly snap your shutter, even if you have a comprehensive souvenir album and have also already taken every picture there is to take (and many times over, at that).

“The way the clouds layer the blue sky over such-n-such church…wow.” “What a remarkable boat! And the flags!” “Isn’t that cute?”

At one point My Missus headed into the Musée Eugène Boudin with my visiting friend, and The Boy and I shot over to La Belle-Iloise to grab up some quality canned mackerel products. Soon we would all reconnect at the Celerio, and…well, just in case we got stuck inside the darn thing I wanted to be prepared!

Related posts:

food and drink


Ingredients for lasagna if done properly don’t come cheap

Spent all afternoon yesterday preparing a lasagne. Used a BBC Good Food recipe –  classy if time consuming and well worth the effort. I’m not going to go through the recipe – you have the link.

Not particularly cheap to make mind you. Ingredients for lasagna involved a whole pack of prosciutto, a mozerella cheese and a handful of fresh basil. You can’t buy a handful of fresh basil. It comes by the pot at about ten pence a leaf (ok bit of an exaggeration). Was able to make use of the nutmeg and grater I got for Christmas. Its only other application is in a cheese fondue, to my knowledge. I like cheese fondues.

Also used some fresh pasta sheets prepared ably by Kid3 who not only made the dough but also operated the machine producing exactly the right thickness of pasta. The pasta, being home made, was the cheapest bit of the recipe. My only role was bolting the machine to the table – has to be solidly secured for the correct pasta effect:) If you’ve never made fresh pasta you have to have a go. It’s far superior to the shop bought stuff.

Quite proud of the result with the lasagne. Kids cleaned their plates and went up for more without asking. Also proud to say that most of my kids are good cooks as witnessed by the fresh lasagne.

Not sure about the heir. He eats mostly beans on toast supplemented by curry whenever we meet up. In fairness his monthly budget is about what I spent on ingredients for this meal, including a bottle of wine I ended up not opening. It’ll get used at the rainfall measurement tool bbq tomorrow (see yesterday’s weekend post). Nice bottle of shiraz from Waitrose. Lamb casserole today. Slow cooked in a rich tomato sauce with green and red peppers. Yum. Got some leeks in the fridge which I’ll make something with.

Seeing as it’s a long weekend if anyone can get me some food related posts I’ll stick em up, as long as they are clean:) Make sure you send photos.

Other food related posts:
On yer bike – the big cheese
How to cook the perfect baked bean
Best pancake toppings
Important announcement on a Sunday morning

PS The share buttons on this post don’t seem to be v responsive. Don’t know why. Soz.

End User food and drink fun stuff gadgets H/W piracy

(Part of) A Day in the Life

08h14 Woke up (to a sweet small kiss from My Missus…thanks, honey). Got out of bed.
08h19 Open Chrome tab to Locate torrent for and click its Magnet link.
08h19 Confirm torrent download on Transmission.
08h15 Check Notifications on iPhoneKory (within arm’s reach at bedside, of course), to get up-to-speed with what happened during sleep time. Emails, text messages, instant messages, downloads completed, Facebook notifications, Twitter notifications, whether the Cubs beat the Cards.
08h18 Drag self from bed to desk chair and lay hands on keyboard and mouse.

When I took keys in hand this morning I thought I would capture a typical day from wake up to lie down. Not only did I think I could do that, but I thought I could make it compelling reading too, something able to easily transport my legion of readers (crowd? pack? coven?) to that special place where the words flow like wine. Belly-button gazing of the highest order and noblest cause, right?

08h20 Go back to Locate torrent for and click its Magnet link.
08h20 Confirm torrent download on Transmission.
08h21 Leave chair.
08h22 08h22 Get dressed, put on shoes, help make bed.

No. It just cannot be done. If getting a typical day down is already boring me into submission there can be little doubt that anyone who is not me is by this point scrambling madly for their own mouse and keyboard in a desperate attempt to avoid subtle but sure brain death. Or they are reaching for a noose or sharp razor.

Multi-tasking. All of us who these days spend any significant amount of time in front of a computer or tablet speak of it. In fact, nowadays the term rolls off our tongues so easily, one has to wonder just how many of the children born today are working on first-wording it for the delight and/or horror of their parents. I can do this while I am doing that and at the same time I have this going on and that will finish at right about the time this is just getting started and by the end of the day I will have done enough work (and played enough) for three people.

Alt+Tab, Alt+Tab, Alt+Tab, Alt+Tab, Alt+Tab (OSX users, substitute ⌘ for Alt)

So later that same morning I found myself working on this post for, checking Facebook, finishing up an article edit and pushing it back across to the client, checking Facebook, writing a bit more into my post, integrating Kat Edmonson’s “Way Down Low” into my music library, direct messaging a friend on Twitter to set plans for meeting up in London next week, using Lightroom to touch up a few photos I took last weekend in my wife’s fantastic Normandy garden, configuring my just-arrived Ricoh Theta (more on that soon enough), slicing-and-dicing my way around in search of a one-night stay in Chartres for a visiting friend, tweaking my post a little more, tagging myself in a Facebook photo, chasing a an alert for a Rolleiflex 2.8F that recently came up for sale on eBay, and googling (via reviews on a new Egyptian restaurant in the neighborhood (a boy’s gotta eat).

Anyone out there want to hear about my afternoon?

Life Day Task

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