Archive for the ‘Lifestyle’ Category

Buying a new kitchen knife – you’ll be glad you did!

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

One of the key items used in a kitchen is a knife. Nothing revelatory there. But it is also a remarkably complex business – firstly in the choice of knife, and secondly, in how you use the knife.

Most people who have spent any time in a kitchen will have some basic knife skills. They will also have used a wide variety of knives – large and small, sharp and blunt and everything in between.

There are books and videos aplenty covering every aspect of kitchen knives and cutting techniques… your knife skills. This article is not going to try and compete with any of those – it is purely to inform you of three basic knife choices you should make and let you know where you might source them.

Knife Number 1: Santoku – these knives have become the latest craze in kitchens, and with good reason. Basically they fulfil the same purpose as the classic ‘Chef’s Knife’, but with a more forgiving and versatile cutting edge and performance. You could almost get away with just owning one of these knives on their own. It should have a decent weight and an inflexible blade of approximately 7” – 8”.

For the rest of this article just click on the link below




Finer food for the sheer pleasure of it!

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

It’s not all work. Sometimes there has to be time to enjoy some of the finer things in life. And it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. I’m a great one for keeping my eye open for bargains. Tonights treat will be dinner, including a sparkling rose wine for under £10.

We’re going to have ‘Carrot and Rhubarb Soup’ to start – free to us as we grew what we needed.

The main course will be Seared Queen Scallops with Black Pudding dressed with Baby Leaves and a Smoked Garlic Foam (or ecume).

I don’t cook like this all the time, nor do I eat like this all the time either. But every now and then it’s important to give yourself a little reward. For me, food is a great way to achieve this. I get to both make the ‘reward’ and then share it with the ones I love.

As a writer it is easy to consider that all your creative juices have to be soaked up by the main event… i.e. writing. I think this is a mistake. I think being creative in any other activity can surely only be a good thing. A way of charging up the batteries. I know that if I am writing and finding myself struggling with a particular piece, I will often go and concentrate on something completely different for a while and let my subconscious tussle with the problems.

For me, cooking is something that will give me that break, but also allow me to practise a different creative pursuit that I very much enjoy (as my waistline will testify to!). The two activities are not in any way related, because I am not a food writer, but the disciplines and focus required can be very similar.

In any activity that we pursue, I think there are certain important attitudes to bring with us… I think we should always have to try to do things to the best of our abilities. But that allows us to do something quite averagely, but do it with the right mindset. I also think that we should allow ourselves to enjoy things as much as we possibly can. I know that a perfectly good distraction to a writing problem would be to go and dig a big, deep hole in the garden, but I don’t particularly enjoy digging so why would I. I do, however, enjoy cooking as a hobby, so as a distraction, it provides me with the perfect outlet.

So I’m going to go now and make a start on the smoked garlic reduaction for my ecume… wish me luck, because I’ve never done it before… but that’s half the fun, didn’t you know!



And if, like me you like cooking and food, check out

Sun is shiny

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

And where did summer suddenley appear from?

It makes staying on the computer a harder task because it’s just so bloody lovely outside. Which means trying to get the work/life balance bit sorted becomes more complicated.

I’ll feel better if I go to the allotment and plant crops. That way I’m outside, but doing something worthy and the fresh air will invigorate my mind and then the writer in shall be mused… or just bemused!




Saturday, April 9th, 2011

The sun is shining and the golf clubs are out. Fresh air and frustration on the cards to sharpen up the writer’s instincts. It’s always good to take a break when you can.

Still waiting for some clarification re the Kindle publishing situation and putting things in place to start the ‘networking’ campaign.

Onwards and upwards.


Francis d.