Monday, December 12, 2011

Stephen Fry in America

It's hard to imagine a more English, Englishman traveling across the United States. Prince Charles, Hugh Grant, the late Noel Coward? In this series from 2010, writer and comedian Stephen Fry crisscrosses America in a London black cab dispensing his inimitable wit as he travels through state after state. Some of the states get a bit of short shrift. Nevertheless it's funny to see the US through the eyes of a Briton. I wish he'd brought Hugh Laurie along with him. Maybe next time. Free streaming from Netflix. 

Meet Plan Go

Do you spend 10 hours a day trapped in a tiny cubicle toiling away on TPS reports or something worse? Has the morning commute become so routine you drive to work with your eyes closed? Perhaps it's time for a career break. Ever thought about it? Looking out the windows by my cubicle at the cold and advancing gray sky certainly puts in mind that the sun must be shining somewhere. I've been reading through Meet Plan Go's website lately and fantasizing about what it would take to take some time off, lots of time. If you're ready to cut loose and do some serious travel Meet Plan Go might be just the thing for you. They host events around the country and offer practical advice and support on how to make a career break part of your career development. 

Culture Fairs

I joined the PTO at the boys' elementary school earlier this year. They're always looking for people and I thought it'd fun to be a bit more involved.

In November we hosted a multicultural fair. Stevenson Elementary is surprisingly diverse considering its size and each year the school holds a culture fair to celebrate that diversity. There are parents and students from nearly every continent, and many of them volunteer to host rooms.

We had rooms dedicated to: India, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, China, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Native America, Russia, Vietnam, and Sweden. (Though not officially a Swede, I felt Jenni and I could at least represent.) Each room had crafts, clothes, activities and most importantly food. As the kids and their parents entered the school, each child was issued a passport like you see on the right. After a presentation in the gym and some music, the kids took their passports to each room to have them stamped, have a snack and maybe do the activities. It was a great way for the kids to be exposed to cultures from around the world. There was clog dancing in the gym, henna tattooing in the cafeteria, and a virtual world tour in the library.

Living in a university town we have a lot of culture fairs and international festivals, but I'd have to say this was one of the best I've attended. The best thing about it was having parents volunteer and participate at the school. If you're more of a stay at home traveler, which we've become lately, this is a great way to share your knowledge and bring a bit of the world home.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

It's Not The End Of The World

Have you ever wondered what your intrepid blogger sounds like when he sings in the shower? Well, wonder no longer. Here's a copy of the album my band and I recorded in February/March of 2011. It's a fairly low key affair compared with some of the things I've recorded in the past.

It turned out pretty well all things considered. I'm working with an animator to create a couple of videos to go along with the tracks.


Is there a more powerful travel tool than the iPhone or iPad? Having information in the palm of your hand everywhere you go, (as long as you're on the grid) has certainly changed the way I travel and communicate. The FlightBoard app allows you to track the arrival/departure board at airports around the world just like you're there. As you hustle through the busy holiday season, this might be a handy app to have in your arsenal.
Turn your iPhone or iPad into the Arrivals and Departures board for any airport in the world! FlightBoard lets you check out the boards of your favorite airports and view all the flight information in real-time. We used the board at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris as inspiration for the design so it has a beautiful, old school feel.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World

I've never been a huge fan of cakes. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because cake is harder to carry around in your jacket pocket than say, a cookie. Maybe it's because baking a cake is as much about creating something pleasant to the eye as it is about something pleasing to the stomach. Maybe the stakes are just too high with cake.

If, like me, you lack in cake confidence it might be best to shoot for the cup variety. Jenni picked up Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, of The Post Punk Kitchen  when she went vegan in January. Jack and I used it to make: chocolate, vanilla, and apple cider cupcakes for his and Harry's 7th birthday. They turned out fantastic. My niece said they were the best cupcakes she'd ever eaten.

Forks over Knives

Have entire generations grown up eating post industrial food that's more commodity than sustenance? Can adopting a plant based, whole foods diet prevent diabetes, decrease cancer risk, prevent heart disease and help you maintain an appropriate weight?  Have we in the West become the victims of our own success?

Forks over Knives, Lee Fulkerson's compelling and widely viewed documentary takes Food Inc. and Fast Food Nation into the operating room and beyond. The film traces the evolution of the American diet during the 20th century and focuses on the testimony of two doctors, Dr. T Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn. The doctors conclude that the Western diet with its heavy reliance on animal protein and processed foods has made us sicker and heavier than any people in human history. Based on their research and the results they've seen with their patients, adopting a 'veganized' diet can actually reverse its harmful health effects.

I'm always a little dubious when I watch shows like this. I think there are a myriad of reasons Americans are overweight, diet being just one of them. Nevertheless, it is a compelling argument. Even Ozzy Osborne found it inspiring. Worth watching if you wanted one more reason to go vegetarian.

Atom Retro (Mod Clothes)

If you're looking for something unique for the mods on your Christmas list; you should check out Atom Retro. I was looking at their Christmas jumpers this morning. I can remember kids on my school bus wearing these back in the '70's. Back then we were far more concerned with being warm, than being cool. Still, nice looking sweaters.

Spinach Salad

Here's a great salad recipe that I appropriated from Giada De Laurentiis. I made this last weekend while I was watching football and making bread. It didn't occur to me to take a picture of it, till it was already gone. 

Giada's calls for prosciutto, but I used tempeh bacon instead (pictured below). I thought is worked pretty well. If you're using fresh citrus in your dressing, remember it'll turn bitter after a day or two.   

1 bag of baby spinach rinsed
4 tablespoons toasted pine nuts or walnuts (optional)
6 slices vegan bacon or tempeh cooked according to the instructions
2 oranges, zested, and juiced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 clove garlic crushed
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil

For the dressing:
Combine the orange zest, orange juice, balsamic vinegar, honey, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix until smooth. Add the olive oil in a steady stream until combined.

To serve:

Crumble the bacon onto the spinach, and sprinkle with nuts, if using, then drizzle with dressing and serve.Goes well with some sliced avacodo too.

Fitz and The Tantrums - MoneyGrabber

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Kurt Wallander Mysteries - Henning Mankell

Ystad in southern Sweden might seem an unlikely setting for a series of murder mysteries. But there seems to be more than enough crime, crumby weather, and personal demons to keep Inspector Kurt Wallander busy. Henning Mankell's troubled detective has been on the job for nearly 20 years. He's spawned 13 novels and numerous films and television shows, including the award winning BBC series starring Kenneth Branagh featured below. I was probably as intrigued at reading something set in my family's home province of Skane as anything. But I've enjoyed reading the first three novels in the series: Faceless Killers, The Dogs of Riga, and The White Lioness. Cool stuff, if a little grim.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Vegan Beer Brats

Summer might be on the wane, but that doesn't mean it's time to put away the grill. Football season is right around the corner. Whether you're getting in that last summer cook-out or tailgating before gametime, Turtle Island's beer brats are a fantastic way to enjoy an old favorite. I picked these up at Naturally Yours, our local health food store. I couldn't believe how good they tasted. Made with "'Full Sail Ale' and real tofu," the brats are certified vegan and taste delicious.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Vegan Clothing

Catch me if you can!
A friend of mine was asking me about my new shoes the other day. When I got over the initial shock of one of my buddies asking me about shoes, I told him they were just like the running shoes I had in high school; Asics, very light and comfortable, very 80's. I'd just picked them up from He nodded and said, cool. I then mentioned that they were vegan as well. He asked, "What are vegan shoes?"

I told him it meant they were made of all man-made materials. So, in a pinch, I could eat them should it become necessary. I pointed to his all leather loafers and shook my head. "I wouldn't be able to make a risotto with those."

In all seriousness most vegans and vegetarians are aware that you can buy vegan friendly clothing and accessories, (no wool, no silk, no leather.) They can sometimes run a bit on the pricey side, but more and more designers are creating stylish options. Jenni has picked up purses, wallets, and shoes at sites like Alternative Outfitters and at, and you can find even more than clothes at sites like Vegan Essentials. If you have any favorites be sure to pass them along.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


The af Chapman & Skeppsholmen hostel  in Stockholm
Hostels have come a long way over the years. They aren't just for college kids on a budget, nor are they just an excuse to make a low budget horror film.

Hostels are an affordable option for any independent traveler wanting to see the world and connect with others. Many travelers, like Rick Steves and his son Andy highly recommend them. Hostels come in all shapes and sizes: jumbo jets, sailing ships, cinemas, castles, monasteries, and sometimes the accommodations are on par with what many hotels have to offer.

If you plan on making your own meals or simply want to cut your lodging costs hosteling might be the way to go. HostelWorld has become one of the preferred sites for finding hostels. There you will find the beloved hostels of Lisbon like the Travellers House, winner of the Hoscar (Hostel Oscar) in 2009 and 2010 and many others. They are mobile as well.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Harry got his wish for chocolate donuts
Making fresh donuts is easy and fun, especially for kids. I saw Giada De Laurentiis do this on one of her cooking shows and I thought it was a really clever idea. Since I usually have leftover pizza dough sitting in the fridge on Sunday mornings I decided to try frying it up. 

Brad's Pizza Dough

1 1/4 cups warm water
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt

1) To make the dough by hand, whisk the yeast and oil into the warm water until it is foamy.
2) Add the flour and salt and mix until the dough comes together.
3) Work the dough on a floured surface until it becomes smooth and not lumpy.
4) Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, turning so the dough is completely coated with olive oil.
5) Cover and allow the dough to rise until it has doubled in size. You can divide again if you wish and let it rise further.

For donuts, I usually use dough that has sat overnight in the refrigerator. This gives the dough a great consistency as the yeast has had extra time to work on the flour. Just remember to let it come back up to room temperature before using it.

Stretch the dough out on a floured surface without working it too much. Cut into shapes or roll into balls as pictured above. Using a slotted spoon or very quick fingers, place the donuts into an inch of vegetable oil. The oil should be at 300 degrees or higher. I normally use one ball of dough as a test, and if it's started sizzling, we're ready to go.

Fry until golden on both sides. It takes about a minute per side. Remove and allow to cool. Roll in cinnamon and sugar or dip into icing.  

Friday, July 29, 2011

In a Sun Burned Country / Dark Star Safari

I've been spending more time at the office than I would like this summer. (Some summers are like that.) So, to while away what little free time I have, I've been catching up on my reading. At the moment I'm rereading In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson and Dark Star Safari by Paul Theroux. You'll find both on World Hum's '100 Most Celebrated Travel Books of all Time,' which is a good list, as lists go, and worth checking out. Theroux and Bryson are both masterful writers and storytellers albeit with decidedly different temperaments. Both find themselves traveling the length and breadth of vast, southern continents, through countries with histories of colonialism but with decidedly different presents. 

It's hard to look at modern, bustling Sydney and think of the former penal colony  it once was, or the seemingly endless list of life threatening flora and fauna native to the bush. In a Sun Burned Country is entertaining and funny like all Bill Bryson books. It's erudite, informative, and full of humor like the man himself. Bryson presents Australia as it was on the cusp of the 2000 Summer Olympics, a proud, successful, active and ambitious country in an unlikely place that rose to the challenges placed upon it.

As you might expect Dark Star Safari, also from the early 00's, is a little more of a serious and complex affair, like the place itself, and its author. Paul Theroux was a Peace Corp volunteer in the early 1960's, teaching English in Malawi. In Dark Star Safari he returns to Africa, now a celebrated novelist and travel writer of 60, to reflect upon what has changed and what hasn't in the 40 years since his departure.

Theroux turns his keen and notoriously irascible eye on what he sees at ground level en route from Cairo to Capetown. His novelistic writing style is amazing as always. He provides great descriptions of the places he travels through and the people he meets in what he calls the 'anti-Europe' or 'Dark Star' that is modern Africa.

Rick Steves spoke with Theroux about his memoir on Travel with Rick Steves.

Friday, July 22, 2011


Kitchiri is a classic Indian dish. Easy to make and good for you too. It's popular with those practicing Ayurvedic medicine for it's ability to purify the digestive tract and cleanse the body of toxins. The recipe below is taken from 'The Inspired Vegetarian,' by Christine Ingram. Add some paneer if you have some handy, or cubed potatoes. I've always been amazed that every time I make it, it always turns out a little differently.

1 cup green lentils or Indian masoor dal
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/4 cup vegetarian ghee or butter
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 1/4 cup basmati rice
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 or 3 cloves
3 cardamon pods
2 bay leaves
1 stick cinnamon
4 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons tomato paste
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley to garnish

Cover the dal or lentils with boiling water and soak for 30 minutes. Drain and boil in fresh water for 10 minutes. Drain once more and set aside

Fry the onion and garlic in the ghee or butter and oil in a large saucepan for about 5 minutes

Add the rice, stir well to coat the grains in the ghee or butter and oil, then stir in the spices. Cook gently for a minute or so.

Add the lentils, stock, tomato paste and seasoning. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 20 minutes, until the stock is absorbed and the lentils and rice are just soft. Stir in the cilantro or parsley and check the seasoning. Remove the cinnamon stick and bay leaf.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Arctic Monkeys on Later with Jools Holland

Tal Ronnen - The Conscious Cook

Jenni went vegan in January of this year and hasn't looked back. Though I'm our primary cook, I keep bumping into her in the kitchen as she whips up seitan and imitation sausage rolls.

I still place myself firmly in the vegetarian camp. But that doesn't mean I'm not above expanding my repertoire. Veganism continues to become more prevalent in America and around the world, and new chefs are beginning to show how you can create out of this world vegan cuisine that tastes just as good as the alternative.

The seemingly tireless, Chef Tal is one of those chefs. In this beautiful and informative cookbook Tal shares wonderful, and at times challenging, vegan recipes with the at home chef. Throughout are his recommendations on what ingredients to use and interviews with chefs and others who are creating great, vegan food. As a pitchman for Gardein , you'll find entrees that incorporate Gardein 'chicken' into the recipes, like the one below.

Flash Sales - Luxury Link - FamilyGetaway - Vacationist

We used SniqueAway to get a great deal on our room at the Shores Resort and Spa in Daytona, Florida at the beginning of June. Like Seize the Deal and Groupon with their popular deals of the day, numerous sites have popped up offering short term/flash sales for travel. These 'member's only/private sales' typically run for about a week and offer 20-60% off of regular prices at luxury hotels and resorts around the world. It could just be a flash in the pan like the deep airfare discount sites of the early 00's. (Oh, how I miss them.) But still, they're worth looking into as you do your travel planning. It doesn't cost a thing to become a member, and you get a nominal credit for recommending the sites to friends (should they also book.) Keep in mind many do not offer a refund for cancellations so be sure to read the fine print in the terms of service. Also keep in mind, that if you sign up you'll find yourself with a lot of tempting spam in your email inbox.

Today I was looking at Vacationist, part of the Luxury Link travel group. One of the travelers that I follow recommended it during a recent podcast. Launched last year as a partnership between Travel + Leisure and Luxury Link, Vacationist offers 3-7 day sales with 25-40% off of regular prices. They have a virtually identical business model to SniqueAway, but their locations are more varied and international. Nothing fancy, just quick sales in beautiful places. 
Luxury Link, itself offers both live auctions and fixed price rooms with up to 65% off the room price. They have an enormous selection of properties as well as vacation packages and tours worldwide. Luxury Link is impressive just for the shear scale and diversity of their offerings. Their site is broken out to include destinations, interests, and property types. I actually ended up lost in their site for a couple hours poring over what they had to offer. I can honestly say that this was the first time I've found myself browsing for accommodations by 'Villas, Estates and Castles.'

Within this same group of companies, takes the same model and applies a 'family-friendly luxury' spin; big discounts, buy now and auction offerings but at family focused destinations. FamilyGetaway includes theme parks and portal for hotels with 'cool pools.' How cool is that?

I know there are more of these sites competing for our every shrinking travel dollars, if you have a favorite or you'd like to recommend one to us, please let me know. 

Monday, June 27, 2011


There nothing particularly fancy about limeade, but it's certainly refreshing on a hot day. If you add a bit of rum and give it a quick buzz in the blender; it makes an easy cocktail. Add as much water or lime juice to meet your taste.

1 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1 cup sugar
2 quarts of water
Mint or Basil (optional)

In a saucepan slowly dissolve the sugar into a half cup of water till it becomes syrupy. Set aside.
Place a strainer over a bowl. Roll and then juice the limes until you have about a cup of lime juice. Six large limes should provide you with a cup of lime juice.
Add the sugar syrup, lime juice and water to a pitcher or glasses. Chill and serve.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Major League Baseball

On Friday night we attended a Chicago White Sox baseball game at US Cellular Field on Chicago's South Side. US Cellular Field, like many ballparks in America, now offer multiple veggie friendly dining options, such as veggie burgers and veggie dogs. Peta recently released their top ten list of veg-friendly ballparks. Though Cellular Field didn't make the top ten we didn't have a problem finding plenty to eat. Before you head out to the ballpark this summer check out Soy Happy. Soy Happy promotes veg friendly concessions at major and minor league parks as well as other venues. On their site they maintain an up to date 'venue reference guide' that shows which teams and ballparks have veggie friendly snacks.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Harry takes a Holiday

Where would we be without Florida? The Sunshine State is America's top vacation destination, home to NASCAR, Disney World and St. Augustine, the oldest city in the United States. The place where Ponce de Leon and Jack Sparrow, and millions of Americans have searched for the Fountain of Youth. Daytona Beach, Cape Canaveral, SeaWorld, the Florida Gators, the Everglades, the Keys, South Beach, Hemingway, Tom Petty, Jimmy Buffet, Crockett and Tubbs...

It would seem then, like the perfect place for the Boy Who Lived to have a theme park dedicated to himself. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter features remarkable recreations of Hogwart's Castle, the Three Broomsticks, and Hogsmeade Village. It's as if various pieces of the Harry Potter universe disappeared into a Vanishing Cabinet and were magically transported to Orlando, Florida. The attention to detail is striking. Though you might be roasting in the Florida sun, and surrounded by more muggles than you can shake a wand at, when you step past the Hogwart's Express and look up at the crooked and snow capped rooftops of Hogsmeade you do feel like you've been transported somewhere else, right down to Moaning Myrtle chatting away in the lavatories.

Jenni and I and the boys spent the better part of two days walking around Harry Potter, which is inside Universal's Islands of Adventure, clutching frozen Butterbeers and buying Chocolate Frogs and Bertie Bots Every-Flavour Beans. We purchased wands and t-shirts in Dervish and Banges, sent post cards from the Owl Post to our friends back home featuring Hogsmeade postmarks, and ate breakfast and lunch at the Three Broomsticks. While there my son Jack didn't hide his disappointment upon discovering his Elder Wand didn't allow him to cast spells on his brother. We toured the castle and took the exciting and nauseating Forbidden Journey, rode the family-friendly Flight of the Hippogriff around Hagrid's Hut, but skipped the daunting Dragon Challenge.

I can say as a Harry Potter fan that the park was absolutely stunning, if a little small. There is no end to the number of attractions that could be added if JK Rowling ever needs the money. How about a ride that features the Night Bus or a roller-coaster that takes you through the Department of Mysteries. Instead of fireworks they could project the Dark Mark into the sky at the end of the day. I couldn't help but wonder while listening to all of the British accents around me why they didn't build a Harry Potter theme park somewhere in London, or Blackpool. But I suppose even Harry Potter needs a holiday once in a while.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Shores Resort and Spa - Daytona Beach

The pool at the Shores Resort and Spa - Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach (Daytona Beach Shores)

There's nothing like being on a beach first thing in the morning. The air is filled with salty smells and sea sounds. The sand feels cool beneath your feet. Only a few people were out when the boys and I took an early morning stroll: vendors getting set up for the day, joggers taking their morning exercise, a silver haired granny with a surfboard clutched in her hand (not pictured) walking through the surf, looking for the right wave. It's hard to imagine that this beach served as a race track for nearly 50 years.  

Hogsmeade Village

Hogsmeade Village at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Islands of Adventure - Universal Orlando Resort)

Hogwarts Castle

Hogwarts Castle at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Islands of Adventure - Universal Orlando Resort)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Snique Away

I received an invitation to join SniqueAway a few months ago from George Hobica of Airfarewatchdog. SniqueAway, which is a part of the same company that owns TripAdvisor, is a member's only site offering short run sales at luxury resorts and 4 and 5 star hotels, mainly in North America and the Caribbean. The sales run about a week and the savings can be pretty significant. We were able to book a weekend at a four star hotel for what we were going to get at a nearby budget hotel for our upcoming trip to Florida. If you know you're going to be traveling and you are interested doing some comparison shopping it's worth getting the alerts. You can use this invite from me to sign up. 

If you've already used it, let me know how it went.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Drop Biscuits

I've been making biscuits for as long as I can remember. So long in fact, my original recipe called for a 1/2 cup of lard. This one's on the healthier side of that, and borrowed from Lauren Ulm. I'm still not entirely sold on Earth Balance margarine, but it's not bad once baked.

2 1/2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tbs Earth Balance margarine
2 tbs shortening
1 cup soy milk plus 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Mix flour, baking powder, soda, and salt in a mixing bowl. Cut in the margarine and shortening working it until the dough seems crumbly. Add the soy milk until just combined. Place the dough on a floured surface and roll into 1-inch thickness. Using a biscuit cutter or glass, cut the dough into circles and place on a parchment covered baking sheet. Bake 15-20 minutes at 475 degrees or until golden. 

Gimme Some - Peter, Bjorn and John

We've been listening to the new Peter, Bjorn and John album, Gimme Some, for the past couple of weeks. It's more of a straight ahead indie-rock sound than their previous albums: buzzing guitars, pounding drums, quick tempos, and short songs. They don't quite sound like fellow Swedes, the Hives, but Breaker Breaker sounds like something the Buzzcocks might have written back in the day. Here's the lead off track. Sorry they haven't posted a video for it yet. Enjoy boppers!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Flavia de Luce Mysteries

Jenni picked up these great little novels last month. They're not particularly travel related, but they were a fun read, and they might be fun to take along on your summer journeys, especially if you have a young reader along with you.

Set in 1950's England, these award winning novels by Alan Bradley feature the crime solving skills of Flavia de Luce, an 11 year old chemistry enthusiast who always seems to find herself in the thick of things when bad things happen in the tiny village of Bishop's Lacey.  

Surprisingly complex and suspenseful, the mysteries are filled with humor and told in Flavia's singular voice. They have about everything you can imagine in a mystery set in post-war Britain; an aristocratic family living in a crumbling manor house, quirky servants, eccentric, gossipy villagers, bumbling police officers, and the odd dead body popping up under mysterious circumstances every so often.      

You learn a little bit more about the characters with each novel, and the fictional village of Bishop's Lacey really comes alive. Throughout you have the indefatigable Flavia out to prove she can solve the mystery before the police can.

I believe there will be 5 novels in the series, and I don't doubt we'll be picking them up as well.  Great stuff.

iTranslate iPhone app

My first job after college was working in the international marketing department of a graphic design company. I remember spending hours translating our documentation and business letters into one language after another, piles of dictionaries and how-to books littering my desk and covering my floor. My associate, Pascal, looked on in horror as I butchered one language after another.

Well, those days are gone for good. We live in an age of Rosetta Stones, online translators, and apps for our smartphones that can translate in the palm of our hands or speak for us. I have thankfully retired from the world of international marketing, and I can only hope that Pascal found fame and fortune with the marionettes she was so fond of making.

I have several of these translators on my phone. I can't speak to the superiority of any one in particular. They all work on the same basic principal, type or speak phrase that you need, and the translator provides the translation for you. Text to Speech has come a long way but it still doesn't sound exactly natural. I like all the various voices iTranslate has to offer, but I have to admit I haven't bought any of them. If you have a favorite pass it along.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Catherine Tate - Posh People - The Aga Saga Woman

I loved the Catherine Tate show. I think of the first clip every time I pick up my organic vegetarian eggs.

Oven Fries with Lemon Rosemary Salt

These fries make a nice snack or side for lunch or light dinner. The boys and I threw these together along with some pizzas for our friend Bobby who was visiting from New York. 

Lemon Rosemary Salt
1 - 2 Tbs fresh rosemary
1 lemon zested
2 -3 Tbs sea salt

Combine ingredients using a mortar and pestle adding enough salt until the mixture seems dry.

3-4 russet potatoes

Wash the potatoes to remove dirt and slice into fries an inch or less thick. Soak the fries in cold water for 2 hours or overnight. Then parboil in salted water for 5 or 10 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Place on a baking sheet and brush with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake at 420 degrees for 20 minutes or until crispy. Sprinkle with the lemon rosemary salt and serve.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Adele - Rolling In The Deep

We've been listening to Adele's new album, 21. I thought that 19 was an incredible album, but I'm even more impressed with 21. Amazing voice, great arrangements, solid songs. Great Stuff.

Tracey Cornish Vegetarian Pasties

It's that time of year again. Time to raise a glass to the Celts. I thought I'd take a shot at the Cornish pasty, that savory, hand held pie popularized by the tin miners of Cornwall. I didn't make these vegan but they certainly could be. I served mine with home made oven chips and pickles.

1 3/4 cup of flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
5 tbs butter

1 tbs olive oil
1 onion diced
1 stalk of celery diced
1 carrot diced
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 small rutabaga (swede) peeled and diced
1 potato diced
2 eggs
1 tbs mustard
1/4 cup Gruyere cheese

To make the dough: Sift the flour and salt in a bowl and cut in the butter, mix well until it looks like breadcrumbs. Add enough water to bind. Chill it for about an hour.

For the filling: heat your oil in a saucepan. Add the onion, celery and garlic. Cook stirring for a couple of minutes. Then add the rutabaga, potato, and carrot. Add water and let the vegetables steam until just tender.

Whisk one egg and the mustard in a large bowl. Stir in the vegetables and Gruyere. Season with salt and pepper. Whisk remaining egg with water and set aside.

Remove the dough and bring it up to room temperature. Roll it out on a floured surface to the desired thickness. Cut it into disc shapes using a cutter or a bowl. Brush the edges with egg and water mixture. Add filling and fold over crimping the edges with a fork or rolling them together with your fingertips. Continue until 
all the dough or filling is used up. Brush the top with milk or the egg and water mixture.

Bake at 400 degrees until golden brown, or about 30 minutes.


Gardens at Warwick Castle

You don't have to spend all your time at Kew to enjoy English gardens, many country homes and castles have remarkable gardens worth visiting. Jenni and I spent a couple of hours wandering around the gardens at Warwick Castle as well as taking a well needed rest. 

Garden in Broadway, Woucestershire, England