Veggie Love – Romanesco Broccoli

I can’t quite believe what happened yesterday.  I have recently met the most amazing women I’ve ever met and we have started to have some really lovely times together, just perfect.  I’m not going to go on about that here as it’s all very personal but we did something really quite magical yet so simple for each other yesterday.

I went to visit my friend Jo in the morning.  Each Thursday we have been trying to meet up to then take a trip to the little local vegetable and fruit merchant although we haven’t done it often as we’re both very busy, in fact I think that’s only the second time.  The fruit and veg folks set up their stall in a pub car park just on the outskirts of Frome to push their healthy wares on the great masses.  Great little market that sells all kinds of stuff you can’t get in supermarkets.  I’d already picked out some Lilies as a gift for Maria and then Jo showed me the Purple Cauliflower and I decided to buy some of that as another gift as well.  Mad I thought but it totally felt like a thing that would be appreciated.

Once Maria had arrived I was literally floored, completely and utterly floored.  Not only because Maria had arrived and it was amazing to see her again but she had done exactly the same.  She had bought some Romanesco Broccoli as a gift.  We were both totally speechless really, I’ve certainly never bought a vegetable as a gift before and neither had Maria.  Really just one of the most amazing moments ever, the stuff memories are made of.

IMG-20140821-WA0000Its like space-age trippy veg, just incr(edible).  You can literally see the expression of the golden ratio and Fiboacci numbers at work.  Literally amazing.

_MG_1442So to show my appreciation of that I decided to cook with it today and take some photos of my efforts as I really wanted to celebrate it and also remember it forever.  I decided I’d do something really simple with it to really make the Romanesco the star of the show.

I hand broke the Broccoli and placed it in a roasting tray, drizzled it with Olive Oil, seasoned a little with Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper.  On top of that I then sprinkled it with some Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.  Roasted that for 20 mins (turning once half way through cooking).


Whilst that was doing in the oven I just cooked up some Messicani pasta.  Once it was all ready I plated up and sprinkled over some more or the Parmigiano and a little more black pepper.

Wow, what an amazing but simple plate of food.  The Broccoli tasted incredible, really buttery and combined with the cheese and seasoning it’s a total winner.

Thank you Maria, I’m in awe of you!



Gmail & Thunderbird

So, Gmail access using a desktop client. Should be easy right? I ended up going round and round in circles trying to get access to my Gmail account using Thunderbird. I checked settings repeatedly, started from scratch a few times and no joy. Thunderbird has a rather annoying feature when you add accounts in that it tries to do a load of your thinking for you and so far has never worked for me, I always have to resort to doing things manually. Anyway … I’ve got it working.

Turns out that Google considers desktop clients like Microsoft Outlook and Mozillas Thunderbird as “less secure apps” and blocks these by default. Nowhere in the Gmail config instructions does it mention this on the page where it tells you how to access Gmail from a desktop client which isn’t very helpful.

OAuth 2.0

The basic problem is that Google want you to use their web based client and block anything accessing their services that doesn’t implement the OAuth 2.0 standard. Slightly hypocritical since the original author of the OAuth 1.0 standard departed the development of the OAuth 2.0 standard directly as a result of companies like Google wanting to introduce inconsistencies and … yup, you guessed it … less secure methodologies.  This is a perfect example of Embrace, Extend and Extinguish …

Whatever happened to you Google?  “Don’t be evil” used to be your mantra …


Canon PIXMA MG7150

So my trusty old (as in REALLY old) Epson Photo R200 died last week and I have a stack of printing to do for various things including my annual tax returns and wotnot.  Great, more expenses.

Started looking around at printers and all-in-one jobbies for the home office as I’ve had a need for a scanner as well as a printer quite a few times recently.  Since I’m an avid user of Canon cameras (I have a 7D and a 5DMkII) I decided to look at Canons offerings.  Being able to print directly from source is actually quite attractive and since Canon SLRs all use Compact Flash storage it made sense to look at their printers.  Most cameras these days use SD cards so conversely most printers only sport SD card readers that was the first thing that seemed attractive about this unit.

Anyway, I’ve got one for the office at home now and I have to say that I’m seriously impressed.


Got the hardware set up in about 20 minutes.  Unwrapped and installed all the cartridges (which each have a little LED in showing they are active, very cool) and then configured the Wi-Fi in about 30 seconds.  Then hooked up all the devices to it taking about 30 seconds on each device (PC, MacBook Pro, iPad and Android Phone).  So now I can print from anything anywhere.  Awesome.

Print Quality

So far I’ve only printing text documents but it literally out paces the old R200 by quite a margin.  I was seriously impressed with the speed actually and it’s a lot quieter than the old Epson as well.  The text is exceptionally sharp considering the fairly cheap paper I have at the moment.

No complaints here at all.


On top of that Canon are offering a £20 cashback on this printer at the moment, bargain.  You need to provide proof of purchase so I tested the scanning.  Plopped the receipt on to the platter, tapped on the touch screen Scan button and it asked me where I wanted to save it – PC.  Hit the scan button and the PDF popped up the PC screen.

Literally completely painless.

Highly recommended.


iPad Mini Cover – Tech 21 Impact Mesh + Apple Smart Cover

After I blogged about the appalling quality of the IWANTIT(to fuck off) case I’ve upgraded.

After looking around a lot I thought the functionality of the Apple Smart Cover was pretty cool but I didn’t want to go and add a stack of bulk to the iPad Mini, I bought the Mini for a reason, so why bulk it out with unwieldy case?

Tech 21 Impact Mesh (Impactology … ahem)

The Impact Mesh case is really nice, rubbery and close fitting, all the bits that should line up with the iPads controls and ports do in fact line up although the camera hole isn’t quite centered with the camera lens but absolutely does not effect the camera use at all.  I’m not going to test how it handles impacts as I don’t ever really want to find out that it doesn’t as I’m sure you can appreciate.  However, it looks like it will do a fine job.  I think the “impactology” bit is all about dissipating the pressure of an impact away from the point of contact.  I hope they did test it.  It feels well worth the £29.95.

Smart Cover

I bought mine on ebay for £14 … sorry apple £35 for this cover is simply outrageous.  When put side by side with the Mesh I simple cannot see how you can justify that cost.  It’s a cover with a magnetic clasp, woo.  Does what it says on the tin.

Combining Them

Anyway, the Impact Mesh case and the Smart Cover are not as compatible as Tech 21 would lead you to believe.  With the Mesh case fitted the Smart Cover cannot properly engage with the magnetic clasp mechanism and so it “falls off” the surface if you hold it upside down.  Not a major problem so far as when you need it protected most (in a bag) it’s going to be held in place by the fact it’s in a bag.  So far this feels like a winning combination, not perfect and whilst it is compatible in the sense that both elements can be mounted on the mini at the same time the Mesh 21 case does impact on the full functionality of the Smart Cover.

Given that I paid less that half price for the Smart Cover I may attempt to trim off a millimeter or two of the excess rubber on the Smart Cover to try and fix the issue if it becomes a problem.  Considering I’ve got a £400 device this seems like it might be worth sacrificing the £14 cover if it does prove to be a problem.


Israel – The Generals Son

I have only just discovered Miko Peled through my friend Vix.  He is the son of the legendary Israeli general Mattityahu Peled.

As far as I’m concerned this man could very well turn out to be an Israeli analogy to Nelson Mandela working against apartheid in terms of his position and opinion on the Israeli/Palastine conflict.  He is a fantastic speaker with the history and credentials that place him in an utterly key position in the whole story and the potential solution.

As far as I can tell this man is not only required reading / listening / watching but quite possibly the ONLY opinion to listen to.

I personally am no longer buying anything produced or linked to Israel in any way, consider yourself boycotted.  It is an oppressive, racist, disgusting totalitarian regime of the worst kind.

I am sickened by the silence of the politicians that apparently represent me in the UK government. They have again proved themselves to be spineless, ineffective, flaccid wastes of skin.  Pathetic.  When I learned the that US congress, right in the middle of this new conflict mid 2014, had unanimously voted to supply Israel with even more equipment and bombs to drop on children I was literally left speechless.  I’m literally sickened by it all.

Some of the photographs I have seen on social media over the last few weeks will literally never leave my mind until the day I die.  Parents carrying what is left of their children in plastic bags, a father screaming in pain holding up the legs of his child.  Images that simply should impossible to take.

Israel has ABSOLUTELY committed war crimes.  There is no debate about that, they simply have, period.  Intentionally bombing children in shelters as they sleep is utterly indefensible; Israel is a monster.

I believe that the outrage is such that Israel is in the process of committing suicide, I cannot see how it can come back from this with an iota of respect from anyone.

Yesterday was the 100th anniversary of the First World War – we have learnt nothing at all.


IWANTIT iPad Mini Case review

So, when I bought my iPad I really didn’t want to leave the store without a cover to keep it in, I knew it was only a stop gap case until I found the one I wanted but even for that use this is highly useless.  I bought this cover so thought I would do a review … it’ll be short.

Utter s***, put your iPad in a sock instead (one with a hole for the camera).

Seriously, there is NOTHING good to say about it, nothing.  The “fit” to the device is akin to an Octopus trying to wear a glove.  All the buttons are obscured by the case to one degree or another.  When you stand it up on the case it falls over … every time.  Seriously this is one of the shoddiest pieces of shit I have ever seen.

Seriously the write up on the web site lies with every statement, whatever it says about any aspect of the case the absolute opposite is the truth.  Utter, utter shit.  A blind, deaf and dumb Otter with arthritis could design and build a better iPad case out of its last defecation.