Four pizzas (and a crust cross-section)

Since I started making my own pizza, I’ve been doing it a lot. I’ve tried all sorts of variations, and made a lot of discoveries [evidence 1, evidence 2, evidence 3]. Today I want to show you four pizzas I’ve made recently.

This one is sun-dried tomatoes and anchovies with soft goat’s cheese. I like to change things up a bit from time to time, and this one is refreshingly different what I usually do. It’s very slightly inspired by the Maria Crazy pizza that they used to make at Pizza Bella in Crouch End, back when we lived there from 2000–2005. Continue reading

If you can have pulled pork, why not pulled chicken?

We love pulled pork, a straightforward way of making even the least appetising cut of the most environmentally friendly mammal meat absolutely delicious. But chicken is even less burdensome for the environment than pork, and cheaper too. Can you do the same thing with chicken? (SPOILER: Of course you can.)

I started by rubbing a whole chicken with the same rub I use for pulled pork: brown sugar, salt, freshly ground black pepper and smoked paprika, in a ratio of something like 40:20:1:1.

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The utter blistering incompetence of Now TV Broadband

Internet service providers are hardly known for their service, but with Now TV Broadband I have hit a new low of incompetence and carelessness that just boggles the mind. The spoiler is that tomorrow I will lose my Internet connection due to their idiocy. Strap yourselves in, it’s going to be a rough ride.

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Nachos

One day as we were driving back home from London, cruising along on the M4, Fiona out of the blue said “I want nachos”. I said fine, we’ll pull over at the next services and buy a packet. But she didn’t just want the tortilla chips, she wanted the whole dish. So this is what I made when we got home:

Since then, nachos have become a staple part of our diet, and they are delicious. So much better than they have any right to be. Here’s how I do it:

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Risotto à la Jon

I love a good risotto, but for years I could never get it to be really good when I made it myself. That changed a few months ago when Fiona and I stayed with our old friend Jon Wensley, who made a superb chicken and mushroom risotto and walked us through it.

This is the actual risotto that Fiona made, following the recipe, immediately after I posted it.

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What I’ve been listening to in 2021

Here is a YouTube playlist of my now-traditional top-ten list of the albums I’ve listened to the most in the previous calendar year. (See this list of previous entries.)

I listen much more to whole albums than to individual tracks, so each year I pick the ten albums that I listened to the most (not counting compilations), as recorded on the laptop and the desktop box where I listen to most of my music. (So these counts don’t include listening in the car or the kitchen, or on my phone.) I limit the selection to no more than one album per artist, and skip albums that have featured in previous years. Then from each of those ten objectively selected albums, I subjectively pick one song that I feel is representative.

#10=. Dire Straits — 1985 — Brothers in Arms (3 listens)

The year is around 1989. My friend Andy Charles and I are big fans of Dire Straits’ Love Over Gold. I ask to borrow his CD of Brothers in Arms, but he is reluctant. “It’s always the same”, he says: “You lend something to someone, and you never get it back”. But I persuade him I will return it, and he lends me the CD.

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Spoileriffic thoughts on Wandavision

I got a recommendation from a friend to watch the first three episodes of Wandavision in a block. That suggestion was solid. It’s slllooowww to get going, especially, if you’re not bathed in American sitcom culture. Fiona and I watched the first episode together and didn’t get much out of it. We started the second, and she bailed before we reached the opening credits, feeling it was more of the same. As a matter of pacing, I think they needed to bring the red helicopter into the first episode, so there’s something there other than a 1950s sitcom of the kind that 2020s TV has left far behind for a reason.

In fact, I wonder whether the best way to watch this show isn’t just to skip episode 1 completely.

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Let’s be clear. To be honest. Putting it simply

When writing, or indeed speaking, do not begin sentences with any of these phrases.

“Let’s be clear” admits that, up to this point, you have been obscure.

“To be honest” implies that you’ve been lying until now.

“Putting it simply” suggests you’ve been making it sound more complicated than it is.

Your writing and your speech should always be as clear, honest and simple as you can make it. Clarity, honesty and simplicity are not optional extras that you can use occasionally to decorate your communication.

From the depths of time: a 30-year-old bug with a funny explanation

It was 1990 or possibly 1991, and I was working for System Simulation on an Application for Windows 2 – which at that time was a rather exotic extra that a few adventurous people were running on top of their MS-DOS systems. There was no graphical development environment in those days: you’d compile your program using the command-line C compiler cl, and compile your resources (dialogue boxes, menus and suchlike) using the command-line resource compiler, rc.

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Tartes au citron et limon (second try)

Last time, I made my first attempt at baking tarte au citron (lemon tart). I made several mistakes, which I documented, so yesterday I had another go, learning my lessons from the first time. Here is the result:

In summary: this was a big step forward.

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