Saturday, 31 October 2015


Although this is an Italian dish. I first tasted it in Spain. We had caught the,”Frexisenet Express” north from Barcelaona to the village of Sant Sadurni d’ Anoia. With a couple of hours to kill before our scheduled tour of the,”Cava” Centre we wandered up into the village.
The road bollards are the shape of champagne corks. Champagne is a protected name for wine from a distinct region of France.
Or to look at another way. The French word for The Spanish Cava.
OK I am a little biased.
We stumbled upon this little restaurant.
I enjoy talking to people.
I also enjoy listening to people.
Sometimes just a few words of encouragement is all that is required.
My open smile and praise for the wonderful, octopus carpaccio we had just eaten was enough.
It would have been rude not to buy the second round of Grappa but certainly the third was not needed to pass on the recipe.
I am sure there are other recipes equally as good but this is the one he told me.
Boil the cleaned octopus for one hour.
Leave to cool in the water.
Put the octopus into a plastic bottle.
I used a cut off UK milk bottle. Depending on size.
Push, pound it down into the bottle to eliminate air pockets.
I don’t have the skill to carve thin slices with a sharp knife.
I used an electric slicer. Carve, slice the frozen octopus.
Add paprika, oil and salt to taste.

My wife suggested using garlic infused oil. Hm. Maybe.

Thursday, 29 October 2015


I have been stringing milk bottle tops onto cable ties for bio filters.
In my quarantine tank I use bottle tops scourers etc as the bio media.
Water test show low nitrite levels so I have been thinking of ways to improve the efficiency of the bio filter. I have not used k1 because with the current configuration there is a possibility that one K1 media could get into the pipe and block it.

One of those,’Doh’ moments. String the Ki on cable ties.

Monday, 12 October 2015


They say that holidays are a time to recharge your batteries.
Trouble is when you hit 65, everything takes a bit longer.
In Barcelona on my birthday we were upgraded to the Presidential suite.
Gosh. If I had known how well Presidents lived I would have been one earlier.
Private bar. 15th floor. Lights of Barcelona at night!
Not bad!
Home to reality.
One small piece of advice I would give to those contemplating retirement.
You have more time so you need more money.
Plane landed at 23.50. Back to work at 7.55am.
I need to work to maintain my standard of living. Truth is I would also be bored.
Work however sometimes get in the way of doing the things I love.
I can buy pickled onions.
I choose to sit watching old movies wearing a diving mask. Peeling onions.
Pounding cabbage for sauerkraut and coring apples to dry.
I get distracted.
Robert Harris the author was launching his new book in Hungerford. A town about 8 miles away.
My son flew in to Bristol. I picked him up and we went on to The Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Australia v Fiji . I have to confess I wore an Aussie scarf but chanted Fiji too. An evening to remember.
I wanted to take some local photos.
 This week is, ‘Mop’ week. In the past this was a time local landowners would hire new workers. Today the celebrations include a, ‘fair’ in the main street. I figure you have all seen fairground rides so no photos. Next week.
Busy busy.
 Also a time for reflection.
Five years ago I was diagnosed with cancer. Five year survival prediction. Less than 50%
It has been a great five years!
Looking forward to many more!
Oh! Forgot to say. Added 9watt UV light to my quarantine tank set up.
New fish coming soon.

Life is not about delivering a perfectly preserved body to the finishing line.

It’s skidding across,  at the last second. What a rush!

Thursday, 8 October 2015


I am making pickled onions. 10Kg maybe I should have bought the 5Kg bag.
Peel. Soak in brine for 48 hours. Add pickling spice and non brewed condiment.
It’s the protective suit goggles and gloves I find a little awkward. 

About half way!