18 September 2011

The Writing Worms Monthly Blog

Apologies for going off topic here, but just a quick post really to tell people about my friend's new blog, thewritingwormsmonthly.blogspot.com, which is all about showcasing creative writing in the form of poems, prose, or anything you like really, each of which is based on a monthly subject.

It's a really novel idea (geddit?) and I'd love it if you could check it out and start following!

I shall be regularly contributing with my own pieces, beginning with a specially written poem called Sojourn, which was centred on the theme of the month: Dreams.

Hope you like it!

(New post coming soon: Peanut-butter fudge recipe!)

19 August 2011


This one's more of a review than a recipe sheet. First time for me, so please be kind!

After being in Cyprus for a week, I felt it was time to write a little something on the cuisine of the place. Of course, being a part of both the Commonwealth and the EU, the island has pretty much all the major fast food joints, as well as your Irish and British themed bars/pubs which serve a selection of predominantly pub-style foods, but it's by taking a trip down to the harbour in Kato Paphos that you start to discover the reality of Cypriot food.

That reality lies quite heavily in fish. As an island, the country has an obviously thriving fisherman's culture, with the Mediterranean virtually pregnant with all kinds of sealife. Taking a stroll down the promenade of the harbour ensures a virtual slideshow of freshly caught fish, ready for your delectation. One restaurant even had the choice of fresh lobsters, cooked at your request! Can't say fairer than that if you're a fish lover!

Personally, however, fish isn't my favourite, so I tend to opt for the meatier end of the scale (fishy pun unintended). If fish is where the Cypriots excel though, salad and vegetablea are their chosen accompniments. Due to the climate, the island has a fantastic range of fresh fruits, vegetables, and salads. The tomatoes are especially lovely, and compliment the local feta cheese perfectly: so if you find yourself in Cyprus, I would certainly recommend (though the same, I'm sure, can be said for any of the Greek Islands, and of course the mainland).

In terms of meat, there is an array of beef, lamb, pork and chicken dishes, as you would expect. But a personal favourite of mine is Moussaka. If you've never tried it, I recommend it highly! Essentially it is similar to a lasagna, but swap the pasta for aubergine. Being so closely related to Greece, obviously this is the predominantly served version, but there are various alternates served around Turkey and the Balkans (though all with the same basic ingredients). As soon as I can, I'll post a recipe for this truly wonderful meal, which serves ideally with a salad containing those wonderfully ripe and red tomatoes mentioned earlier.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't put in a little word for the hotel in which I stayed. Called the Mayfair, it's located a 2 minute busride from Paphos harbour one way, and the town Agora (or marketplace) the other. The beer was lovely (Carlsberg on draught for those playing safe, or the local Keo and Kappa which were equally tasty and went down a treat), the food was excellent, especially in the evenings when throughout the week a different buffet was held including a Cypriot night, as well as international cuisine, and a grill night on Saturdays.

On the entertainment team: they were thoroughly...well...entertaining. Friendly, approachable, and bloody talented. The dancing was top-notch, the singing brilliant, and all-in-all a good night was to be had pretty much always. There was a couple of quiz-nights in the week for those less inclined to the productions, and they put on bingo for most nights, with a cash prize of up to 1000€!!!

Overall, my time in Cyprus has been fantastic, and there's only one thing missing...

9 August 2011

Eton Mess

This was one of the first things I made for my lovely girlfriend, Lizzie, and one of the first desserts I've ever made. She inspired me to create this blog, and helps me tremendously with advice and by being my personal taste guinea pig/photographer :D

She was the one who requested I make an Eton mess, and I duly met the challenge with aplomb! Having never made one before, she told me how to go about it, and so really and truthfully this is her meal, not mine.

Eton messes are very simple, very tasty desserts that require essentially no cooking whatsoever. (Unless you want to bake your own meringues, which I did not). They're very tasty, and provide a wonderfully refreshing treat on a summer's evening, perhaps after a barbeque!

2 meringue cases
300ml double cream
Packet each of strawberries, black currents and raspberries
1 tsp of lemon juice
About 3 tbsp worth of sugar

1. The first thing you want to do, is whip the cream. So pour this into a bowl and start whisking briskly, until the cream is thick in consistency and has about doubled in size.
2. Simply break apart the meringue cases into large chunks, and fold them gently into the cream mixture, along with half of the fruit.
3. To create the berry coulis, halve the strawberries, and put them, the black currents, the raspberries, the lemon juice and the sugar in a blender until a vibrant and aromatic sauce is created.
4. Using a sieve, separate the juice from the left over seeds etc., and finally place the cream mixture in a bowl to serve, and drizzle the coulis over the top to finish.

For a more 'mature' version, a tasty addition is a small amount of port or even a berry flavoured liqueur such as Chambourd for added kick.

If you are interested in making your own meringues, then the BBC Food site has various recipes for you to peruse at leisure.

Hope you give this a go, and good luck! Let me know how it goes!

Thanks, Tom!

8 August 2011


Right so this is my first recipe post on here, and I thought I'd start with something simple, which anyone can do and be creative with.

As the name suggests, this dish uses tortilla wraps as a perfect base for pizzas, made in a flash! All you need is two tortilla wraps, some tomatoes, some cheese, and a few herbs and you can make a simple but tasty snack that can be adapted according to your own tastes. All made in less time than it takes to call a pizza place and have it delivered!

Ingredients for the pizza:
2 tortilla wraps
2 tomatoes - chopped (preferably skinned as well)
1 tbsp tomato puree
Half a small onion - chopped
Handful of grated cheddar cheese, or a few slices of mozzarella
Garlic clove (crushed)
Basil (dried or fresh)

You don't need me to tell you what toppings to put on a pizza, but some ideas...
Ham, mushroom, bacon, chicken, sausage etc etc.

1. First things first, in order to skin the tomatoes, make a couple of cuts on the top to create an X, and put them in a bowl of boiling water. This will loosen the skin from the flesh, and you can then peel the skins off after about 20 seconds.
2. Heat a small amount (1 tbsp) of oil in a pan, and chop the onion, and fry this and the garlic off until softened.
3. Chop the tomatoes and add these to the pan along with the puree, and allow this to simmer on a medium heat.
4. To finish the sauce, chop some fresh basil and add this (or the dried variety) to the pan.
(At this point, I then put the sauce in a blender to produce a thinner sauce, however this is not necessary and is merely a personal preference).
5. With the sauce complete, place the two tortillas together and cover the top with the sauce, leaving about a centimetre around the edge. Add whatever toppings you like, and sprinkle the cheese over the pizza.
6. Finally, put the pizza-tortillas in a pre-heated oven (200C/392F/Gas Mark 6) for about 5-10 minutes, until the edges of the bread have become crispy.

This snack is great for kids and as a quick treat for anyone, and is much more healthy than the usual take out pizza! Why not experiment with a BBQ sauce base, or for those more adventurous, why not take a look at Levi Roots' Reggae Reggae Sauce to jazz up this treat with a Caribbean-style twist.


Eton Mess with a berry coulis
Basically, I've decided to have a whole different outlook on what I'm going to blog about, and ultimately it comes down to one thing: food!

What I mean to say is, I'm going to post on here my thoughts on various recipes I've tried out myself, as well as short reviews of restaurants and, perhaps, even some critiques of shop-bought deals, such as the Dine in for Two for £10 by Marks and Spencer. Mostly, though, it will be a place for me to share with you all my culinary exploits.

I'm not a prodigious blogger by any means, but if you happen to come across this, and are interested by the idea, then don't hesitate to follow me, and hopefully I can inspire people, young people especially, to cook a bit more. I say this because it seems to me that young people (16 - 25) are a bit reluctant sometimes to cook, or cook anything they're not used to. But I'm here to show that cooking is an experiment, and that it's all about trial and error: the only way you can learn is by making a few mistakes and perfecting your recipes as you go. The key thing to remember is that cooking should be enjoyable. It should be something that you want to do, and something that you come back to doing time and again.

So watch this space, and hopefully I'll be ready to post some of my better creations on here in a short time!

31 January 2011


Do people remember what it was like when it was good?

Tim Lovejooooooooy. Helen Chamberlain (looking rather lovely), Sheephead, Rocket, Tubes. Topless Weather. Fixtures and Fittings. Feed the Goat. Oh the memories.

When Mr Lovejoooooooy left for...erm...something...it just wasn't the same. I tried, in vain, to watch it over the years following, but it's just a bit...well...well it seems like it's living off of its former greatness.

I used to get up every Saturday morning to watch Soccer AM before going football. Now I get up to watch Saturday Kitchen Live. There's nothing wrong with that in my book, but as far as I can tell, if Lovejoy was still on Soccer AM then I'd still be watching it!

I have nothing against the new bloke...whoever he is...Max I think. But he just isn't Tim. I miss the Geordie Dancing. I miss the Vegetarians. Ah it's all gone a bit soft around the edges now :/ bit like SkySports in general. Not that I was his biggest fan, but Andy Gray getting sacked for saying what we all know to be true?!?! Hahaha I joke. Still...bit pathetic really. Sodding Rupert Murdoch. Wanker.

Anywho, for today's weather:
In Scotland it'll be cloudy with a chance of snow. And as we move down to Leeds we can see it's gloriously sunny. In Warsaw there's a nasty storm brewing. And down South: light drizzle.

28 January 2011


I don't really have anything to add to this really. Other than the fact that this is a truly epic film, and we as a civilisation should be ashamed that it seems to have passed out of favour and knowledge.

There's gonna be a whole generation unaware of the wonders of this Tarzan spoof.

As a society, can we tolerate this!? Can we live with this terrible truth?!

We should be ashamed...that is all.


Kids eh?

Is it me or do they want to just grow up far too quickly these days? Or at least LOOK more grown up.

You walk down any high street in London (and I'm sure across the wider UK and perhaps the rest of the Western World) and you'll see barely teenage girls in clothes more suited to a nightclub than a classroom/shopping mall.

Why are they so determined to look older?

I remember when I was their age, all I cared about was playing football and getting home to play some Gran Turismo or International Superstar Soccer Pro (known now as Pro Evoluton Soccer) or whatever else I had on my old PlayStation.

I don't mean to come across as prim and proper at all...it's just when I was a kid I was entirely pre-occupied with being a kid! Perhaps it's a boy thing, but if the girls in my class were dressed for a night out in Oceana I certainly didn't notice!! And to make matters worse, they smoke from such an early age that it just strikes me as pure idiocy, and the people providing these kids with cigarettes should be locked up for child abuse or something...

Is it because the clothes are widely available? I don't think so. I saw a BBC Panorama investigation into the matter that showed most shops don't stock what could be construed as revealing or 'overly sexy' clothes for kids...which begs the question: where do they get them from? But that's not what I'm interested in.

Perhaps it's due to the increased sexualisation of life: cars are advertised in a 'sexy' way; pop-music videos are very suggestive, and the lyrics are oftentimes outright blatant. I'm not beating up on this...as my last post says: I love pretty much all music. But I'm older and wiser than a 14 year old boy who hears his favourite rapper talking about what he did with a girl he met in a club...and I know how competitive 14 year old boys are when it comes to...well...anything. ESPECIALLY sex.

I'm not saying that anything should be done about this, and I'm certainly not suggesting some sort of ban on dressing how you like, but it just seems like kids and early teenagers want to be the same age as me now...but I can think of nothing more dull, dreary, and tiresome.

I want to be a school kid again...they have Power Rangers........

27 January 2011


What does music mean to you?

To me, music literally provides the soundtrack to my life. There's not one moment when I'm awake that music isn't playing. When I'm at work, the radio is on. At home: iTunes. En route: iPhone. I cannot imagine my life without music.

I'm not picky with my tunes either. I like anything and everything. As long as it's good and I can relate to it. I prefer songs (i.e. with lyrics) to pure beats, which leads me to essentially debunk what I've just said...because I cannot, will not, abide 'house' or any of it's derivatives and sub-genres. It's crap and literally just noise. Urgh. Other than that, not fussed. I like everything from dubstep to grindcore, and grime to classical.

It is well known that I like to sing. And my singing repertoire is as extensive as the music I listen to. I don't sing because I have a good voice, or because I want people to compliment me or anything like that...I just genuinely love singing. It's such a good way to release emotions that are otherwise difficult to express. Sometimes I wonder if my life isn't actually just a musical from the 40's!

When asked the conundrum 'what would you rather be: deaf or blind?', aside from the obligatory 'neither', my answer is blind. This is based on the fact that if I were deaf I wouldn't be able to enjoy my life as much without music I think. Of course this is only hypothetical, and does not mean to say that I think blindness to be a trivial matter. It's just a demonstration of how much I feel music means to my life.

Recently, a friend has asked me if I want to start an acoustic project with him on guitar and me providing vocals. I love acoustic songs...they really catch the essence of the moment I think. So it was a no-brainer for me. Hell. Yes.

Anyways, the point is that when we get it up and running, I'll take some videos and pictures and post them on here for y'all to see. So watch this space! Thanks :)

26 January 2011


It's funny how we never really appreciate school for what it is: an absolute doss.

We've all been told that school is the best time of our lives...and that it only goes downhill when you enter 'the big bad world and get a proper job.' But did we ever really listen...? I certainly didn't.

At the time, secondary school seemed ever so important to me. Not necessarily the GCSEs and exams, but the friendships and connections I'd made over the four/five years I was there.

They seemed like relationships that would outlast the dying of the Sun. We all planned our lives in conjunction with each other: it was implausible and impossible to imagine a future without my gang of friends.

How poignant it is now then, that I speak to but one of those friends on anything resembling a regular basis, but even then, nothing like enough for us to be considered good friends based on anything other than our former closeness. Today I reacquainted myself with one of my oldest friends...over a drink in Edwards Bar in Wimbledon, while I took a break away from my other friends. He's one of my oldest friends, but now we're so very distant and different that what seemed like a friendship cast in stone, now seems like a distant, faded memory. Like a quote from a book I'd read during my studies that no longer mattered now it was of no immediate concern.

I raise this as when I was on the bus this morning on the way to work, I saw the current student body of my old secondary school. And I saw on their faces, and in their mannerisms, the same juvenile outlook as I possessed at their age: this is all that matters...I have my friends and the relationships we build and break now will last forever. God, how naive I was back then.

I assume we all felt the same to some lesser or greater extent, or at least I hope we did. It was odd running into that old friend. He had no worries or cares beside his basic desire to satisfy himself. While I constantly have to concern myself with the need for a good degree, and what I plan on doing after graduation: a postgraduate study perhaps, or should I search for a graduate internship somewhere?

Such questions were well beyond my means of worry back at school, and I sometimes wonder if I were wiser then for not caring, or now for caring as much as I do. Perhaps it was not naiveté back then, but a more innocent, less corrupt, more honest view of the world in which we live. Perhaps it was all meaningless.

All I really know is that without the profoundly superficial views of life I harboured back then, I wouldn't hold the superficially profound views I now do. And I probably wouldn't be as drunk. But hey ho, here's to schooling! Enjoy it while you can kids: it's probably going to be the best time of your life. Shit..........