So, I work with an Itallian. He is always talking about food and wine and how easy it is to cook fantastic food.

I have always enjoyed carbonara and even attempted to cook it once. I made a roux, added cheese and cooked ham, combined it with the spaghetti and quite enjoyed it.  it was garden work though…

My Itallian friend laughed at this and quickly corrected my attempt. He emphasized the use of parmigan cheese, freshly graded so it didn’t smell like sick.  He also stressed the simplicity of Italian cooking, where generally you only need one or two pans.

His method was dead easy and 100% authentic:

1. Put on the spaghetti to cook as per the packet.
2. Grate parmigan
3. Beat 2 eggs together
4. When the past is a couple of minutes from done, fry some Bacon lardons in a frying pan.
5. Drain the pasta and throw it in the pan with the bacon
6. Take the pan off the heat and mix the pasta and bacon
7. Add eggs and mix
8. Add cheese and mix.

You shouldn’t need to return the pan to the heat or the eggs will scramble. 

Serve. How easy is that?


3rd Kyu

Posted: January 14, 2014 in Aikido, Diary

I recently took the aikido 3rd Kyu grading. As before we watched novices up to 4th kyus grading first. Soon it was my grading partner and I who sat in seiza alone on the mat. I was uke first and he did a great job in each of the suwariwaza and tachiwaza techniques.

My turn came and I found I was already tired from the pre-grading course and being hurled around during my stint as uke.

Some of the techniques I was concerned about went quite smoothly, while other, more simple techniques I had done several times went pear shaped.

I was particularly pleased with my chudan tsuki Soto kaitenage. I managed to blend well with my partners attack and managed to maintain my center through the technique.

We also had to perform a set of ushiro waza which again went quite well.

I was quite warm by the end and glad for tge chance to rest up and watch the following 2nd and 1st kyu gradings.

Not everyone was awarded a grade this time, so I was glad when I was called to receive mine.

Looking forward to the next test which should be later this year…

Sub 22 Minute 5K !

Posted: January 6, 2014 in Running
Tags: ,

I love parkrun, wooohooo!

Nos Galan 2013

Posted: January 1, 2014 in Diary, Running

Another visit to the Mountain Ash night races or Nos Galan. This was the first 5k race I ran 12 months ago. I really enjoyed it and was looking forward to the 2013 event.

The weather was grim as we drove to the village in the Cynon valley.  The event had sold out early with another record number of people entering.  I knew what to expect this time and had arranged to meet a friend who was also entered to race. 

My times had improved over the 12 months and I nearly enteres the elite race – but an illness,  injury and work commitments kept new from being confident of an elite time. 

As we watched the elite race and warned up,  a persistent drizzle settled in,  which coupled with the cold temperature made waiting around very uncomfortable. After what seemed like an age,  the course was clear and we made for the start. 

Being in close confinement made things a little warmer,  but the rain continued.  Soon,  we were off past the back of the workman’s institute and bus station.  The sharp incline leading up to the mount pleasant pub caused the runners to separate out.  I managed to pass several people who must have misjudged their starting pace and were slowing. Then other was back toward the town centre and looping around to the next lap. The rain got progressively worse, the rain going horizontal and chilling to the bone.

I lost count of the laps and took a look at the Garmin. I was nearly done.  just as well as tge rain was sleeting and dispite the warmth generated by running, it was pretty uncomfortable. Heading toward the finish a group of friends and family shouted to me and I managed a sprint finish passing a couple of runners who were flagging.

Moving past the finish line, I colected my goodie bag and medal.  I hung around for my friend to finish and we went off to find the others in the fun fair. 

Another great night which could only very improved by better weather.


Posted: December 5, 2013 in Culture

Quick and dirty pancakes with no flour!

1x Banana
2x Egg
1x Tablespoon of peanut butter

Mash the whole lot up into a batter.
Pour out a small circle of batter. Not too much as it will not cook through before the outside is burnt.
Fry in a pan for a couple of minutes each side.

Turkey Bolognese

Posted: October 27, 2013 in Culture
Tags: , , ,

This has become a monday night favourite in our house. A simple and tasty bolognese made with Turkey Mince.


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion – chopped
2 garlic cloves – crushed
2 carrots – peeled and diced (or grated works well.)
500g (ish) pack of turkey mince( breast is better, but leg mince works well too.)
1 tin of chopped tomatoes (Tesco value range is good, just literally chopped tomatoes and nothing else!)
2 tablespoon size squrts of tomato purée

1 beef stock cube dissolved in 150ml of boiling water
100g of dried pasta per person- i usually halve this for the kids.

This sauce goes with anything, not just pasta. It’s great with some mashed sweed, sweet potato or rice.


1. Prepare the carrots, onion and garlic.
2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok.
3. Fry the onion, garlic and carrots and for 5 minutes, until soft.
4. Remove the vegetables and brown the turkey mince, breaking it up to ensure it’s cooked.
5. Add the veg back in and stir in the chopped tomatoes.
6. Mix the tomato purée with the beef stock and add to the pan. I usually use the chopped tomato tin to mix it up.
7. Simmer uncovered, on a low heat for 20 minutes.
8. Cook the pasta while the sauce is cooking.
9. You can serve it with grated cheese on top.

Had another issue with the Garmin 310XT the very week after I managed to sort out the horrendous sync issue. I was running along minding my own business when I noticed my left wrist became lighter. The 310 had come lose and landed on a grass area at the edge of the trail. I retrieved it and to my horror found the front of the unit had cracked!

I have owned the 310 for nearly a year. It has been used several times a week in a variety of activities from hill walking, fell, trail and road running, kayak, swimming and snorkelling. I zipped the unit into my shorts pocket and and carried on training. 

At home, I found that one of the watch pins had failed, causing the strap to stop holding the unit on my wrist. I spoke to a customer representative at Garmin who asked me to send the unit off for inspection. He gave me a Return Authorisation number and within another week I mailed the package to them. To be fair, the turned this around quickly – I had an email and a call the same day they received the device to explain that it was all my fault and not a mechanical or quality issue. The cost for fixing the unit was £75.

I was then left with a dilemma – Fix it, buy another type of Garmin, Buy another type of computer. The other option was to live with it. They send it back and I keep it in a plastic bag until the battery dies.

After doing a thorough trade study and finding that Garmin provide replacement units that have a new battery, casing, etc. I decided that paying 75 quid was the better deal. I did try to argue the case that the fault was theirs, but they were having none of it!


Not very impressed, but pleased to say that upon stumping up the cash via credit card on Wednesday, the replacement unit was delivered Friday and out running/swimming on Saturday Morning!