Induction hob revisited…

A couple of years ago I bought an induction hob, see here** and here, in the hope that it would cut my energy consumption. I wasn’t best pleased to realise it didn’t have a simmer setting (80C or 100C, nothing in between), and, after fulminating about it, consigned it to the back of the cupboard.

**I’ve since found out that root veg cooked in a tomato sauce takes forever but, even so, 14 hours!

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How is IDS still in office? Because he’s doing so well…

A popular question on Twitter is “How is IDS still in office given he’s such an incompetent oaf?” That’s the profanity-free version.

I used to think that – and say so, with a great deal of profanity – now I’m not so sure. Like ATOS, I think he’s just working to his brief, which is to reduce the numbers of the chronically sick and disabled by any means possible.

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Ron’s Revised Fruit Cake…


I make this cake a lot and, since first published a little over a year ago, it’s gone through a few changes, some minor, others – the addition of more fruit and a lot of cherries – quite major, so I thought it time I updated it. So I have…

Initially, it was knocked up on the spur of the moment. It worked so I published the recipe – the top pic is, in fact, the first one I made. Personally, I think this version is better but, if you don’t agree, you can always tweak it. I think the cherries might be overkill for some – half the quantity works pretty well too. I use Tesco or Sainsbury’s glacé cherries. Avoid Asda’s, they’re tasteless.

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Cooking your own dried beans…

As regular readers might have noticed, I’ve taken to cooking my and freezing dried beans myself, rather than buying canned. Yesterday it was the turn of a bag of Judion de la Granja “giant” Spanish butter beans – not cheap at 8 quid a kilo, but they taste great even if the giant aspect of this batch was rather lacking. And they were 6 months past their BBE date which matters little – they just take a tad longer to cook. Since they normally take a long time, this is hardly noticeable.

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Quorn Chicken Fillet Casserole…


This is my second successful venture into Quorn territory (this was the first), this time using their chicken fillets – the plain, uncoated ones, pretty obviously. I’m not sure how Quorn get away with labelling these as Chicken Fillets, despite the qualifier “Meat Free,” as chicken they most certainly are not. Ah well – not my problem.

As you’ll see, it’s pretty veg-heavy, so you won’t need much with it except maybe a few spuds or some mash, to soak up the sauce. As a break from my usual style, I’ve put directions, where needed, against each ingredient, rather than in the method – I think it might be easier for novice cooks that way. Do let me know what you think.

Makes 3 litres, as ever – this is it, finished.

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A Very Easy Soup…

I recently failed to make green split pea soup, because the plague of uncookability that’s affected GSPs across the world for the past few years has now affected the last bastion (as far as I know), of GSPs that perform properly in the pan** – the organic supply from Canada.

**Which is to say they absorb water, soften, swell, and collapse into a thick, silky-smooth mush, to which you then add more water to get your preferred consistency. Instead, they break down into inedible green grit, which thickens the liquid not at all and just lurks balefully at the bottom of the pan. Adding flour will thicken it, and it will look like pea soup, but it won’t taste like it.

So I gave up and made split red lentil soup, instead. And that didn’t work either. However, it turned out that this was my fault, after I’d had time to think.

I’d not made it for some years, having become obsessed with getting edible pea soup which, admittedly, I prefer and, being used to making it in a much smaller pan, I failed to scale up the recipe sufficiently, the result being a thin and not very tasty soup.

I decided to put that right.

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An open letter to Amazon…


Which is why I’m opening with their Twitter addy in the hope that they see this when it appears on Twitter.

By Amazon’s own count, I have had 92 orders in the past 6 months. Because I’m housebound I shop entirely online and, apart from groceries (Tesco and Sainsbury’s), Amazon get more of my disposable income than anyone else. Sadly, that’s not reflected in the standard of service I receive which, in the last six months or so, has gone to hell in a handbasket.

The reason for this deterioration is Amazon Logistics, their in-house delivery service – it sucks. This email, just sent to Amazon, is typical of the problems I’m having (this isn’t as vague as it appears – on the website it links directly to the order in question):-

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Add lightness and simplify…

That mantra was very popular with motorcycle designers in the 60s. It’s also a very good policy when putting together a photographic outfit, especially when one is disabled. My current outfit – a DSLR body (Oly E-420), three zoom lenses covering the range from 35mm to 600mm (35mm equivalent), a flashgun, a tiny camcorder, lightweight tripod (yes, I know there’s a downside), spare batteries for everything, and a 7” tablet computer for previewing my pics – all of which is just too heavy.

Things are going to change. I said recently that they needed to and, in pursuance of that idea, I went out last Tuesday, with the support of a friend, to take some photos of wildfowl and whatever else I came across. It was, as I’ve reported, a disaster. I still haven’t fully recovered – it’s taken me three days to write this, I just can’t concentrate and being drugged to the eyebrows doesn’t help – not that the alternative is any better. I could have sworn I’ve written a blog post about this, but if I did I can’t find it and I definitely didn’t publish it. Ah well…

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Let’s all go to Africa…

As regular readers will know, as a result of severe lymphoedema, my right leg now sports an ulcer. As well as causing extreme pain, out of all proportion to its size, barely moderated by 220mg of morphine a day (Zomorph – modified-release caps – 70mg every 12 hours, plus Oramorph – liquid – 20mg morphine every 6 hours**), the ulcer is growing visibly day by day. This is not going to end well.

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The laws governing the statutory right of entry (to your home), are currently in a state of flux thanks to Cameron’s idiot government trying to “improve” matters (Google statutory right of entry UK and see for yourselves). Doubtless, from that flux, will emerge a right of entry for DWP stormtroopers.

On a personal note, I am so heavily drugged (and so seriously ill), that much of the time I’m unable to talk coherently to anyone, and I talk to nobody about anything to do with money (or anything important at all), it’s just too easy to make mistakes, as I know to my cost. If they want to send me a form, or write a letter, fine, I’ll reply in kind, but I will not discuss it verbally.

The lovely wibbly wobbly old lady

Reposted from
DWP sign

In today’s scary news, it has emerged that the DWP are claiming the right to enter the home of people in receipt of a variety of benefits, demand to see their ID and financial documents, and interrogate them for an hour or more. All without prior warning.

While the DWP have always had teams that investigate fraud – including spying on people through their windows from parked cars – the idea that they can select you at random and turn up unannounced appears to be new. What happens if you turn the DWP officer away is not stated.  While the website says “You can reschedule your appointment if you need to” it also says  “You won’t always get a letter in advance telling you about the visit.” Of course this is very likely to be backed up with the usual “you do not have to comply but…

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