Friday, 30 April 2010

Beefburger Recipe

Perfect for BBQ

  • 1 lb (or 454g if you prefer) Minced beef - Forget the 'extra lean' rubbish, the fat is what gives it the flavour!
  • 1 tsp French mustard
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 tbsp Garlic, minced with 1 tsp salt
  • 5 drops of the ludicrously hot Tabasco Sauce
  • 2 Shakes of Worcester Sauce
  • Plenty of pepper
  • 1 small(ish) onion very finely chopped

Basically all you do is dump the ingredients in a bowl 'get yer mitts in it' and mash it all up to a pulp.
Form into burgers and cook on the BBQ for.. Well I'm sure you can gauge when they're done!

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Mayonnaise Recipe

This is a great recipe for home-made mayonnaise that my mum developed.

1 Egg
2 tsp of cornflour
2 tbsp of water
1 tbsp Cider vinegar
2 cloves of garlic
Dash of lime juice
Half tsp Dijon mustard
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Sprinkle of black pepper

Mix the cornflour, water, cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, lime juice and  black pepper.
Microwave for 30 seconds - 1 minute; stirring half way through.
When thick, (after about a minute) add garlic mashed with salt.
Whisk an egg (yolk & white) into the heated mixture.
Then gradually add about 3/4 pint sunflour oil (still whisking) until very thick (about 4 - 5 mins) - adjust seasoning to taste.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010


If the NHS was serious about getting its 1,000,000 + employees fitter; they should have a computer policy of setting people's mice to the least sensitive setting. You know; that setting where you have to move the mouse 10 cm to achieve a 5 cm move on the screen!

That would keep all their 'desk jockeys' a smidgen fitter.

Why 'WeightWatchers' is stupid

In a nutshell, WeightWatchers is so bad because it is a calorie controlled diet. Granted - it uses a points system to restrict your calorie intake, but at the end of the day it encourages you to follow the 'Eat less - Do more' way of thinking.

Since this way of thinking has been introduced; obesity has skyrocketed and this is due to the following reason:

When you restrict your calorie intake, firstly your body sends you a signal - hunger. This causes you to crave food which leads to overeating. If you ignore this signal, your body goes into 'starvation mode' and thus hangs on to any fat that it can and lean tissue is 'burnt as fuel'.

There was an experiment done in America in May 1944 - The Minnesota Starvation Experiment.
36 men - aged 20-33 were chosen (for their physical and mental resilience) from 200 volunteers.
The experiment lasted a year and was split into 4 phases:

Phase 1 - The Control Period.
This phase lasted 12 weeks and the intention of it was to determine the calorie requirements of the men. It was found that the men needed 3210 calories per day in order to maintain their weight whilst walking 22 miles per week (Just over 3 miles per day)

Phase 2 - The Starvation Period.
This phase lasted 24 weeks and was, in effect, a calorie controlled diet of approx. 1600 calories per day. The diet was comprised of foods that were generally available in Europe during this time period.

Phase 3 - Restricted Rehab Period.
This phase lasted 12 weeks and in it, the men were split into four groups and were given different calorie, protein and vitamin levels to see which would nourish them back to health

Phase 4 - Unrestricted Rehab Period.
This last phase lasted 8 weeks and the men were allowed to eat whatever they liked. The research team carefully monitored what they ate.

The men all reported massive hunger, weakness and exhaustion.
They lost 21% of their strength in the first 12 weeks of the starvation period.
They experienced muscle wasting and dizziness.
They became obsessed with food.
They had to team up with another member of the experiment to avoid 'cheating' (eating more than allowed).

The government is keen to impress upon us that if we create a calorie deficit of 3500 per week we WILL lose 1 lb of fat
Do not aim to lose weight too quickly, or you could end up losing muscle rather than fat. Aim for half to 1 kg (1-2 lbs) per week. This means eating 500-1,000 fewer calories than you were eating and drinking before. You should lose 6-12 kg if you keep this up for three months.  from here
A pedometer gives the user the ability to measure how much they have done and a goal to aspire to. Walking the recommended 10,000 steps in a day will burn 500 calories, and doing that five days a week will burn 3,500 calories – enough to lose 500g (1lb) of body fat from here
Aim to lose about 0.5-1kg (1-2lb) a week until you reach a healthy weight for your height. You should be able to lose this amount if you eat about 500 to 600 calories fewer a day than you need. from here

The Minnesota Experiment renders this advice to be utter rubbish:
The calorie deficit in the starvation phase was 1630 calories per day by eating less and almost 3000 calories per week by doing more! The average weight loss of the men was 37 lbs (1.5 lbs per week). If this formula was correct, every man should have lost 95 lbs in fat during the 24 weeks. (The lightest man in the study would have ended up at under 3 stone!)

During the experiment it was determined that some men needed to be restricted to 1000 calories per day in order to attain the desired weight loss and if the 3500 calorie deficit myth is to be believed then these men should have lost over 5 lbs per week or 120 lbs over the course of the 24 weeks. What actually happened was that the human body adjusted it's energy requirement to combat any further weight loss.

All men reached a plateau at around week 20 and one man even recorded a weight gain during the final 4 weeks! but this was attributed to him chewing gum - His results were not used.

During the final phase - the unrestricted phase, all of the men overate and binged in order to regain their calorie deficit. One of the men - Harold Blickenstaff, was sick on the bus on the way back from one of the meals on phase 4; he found that he simply
Couldn't satisfy [his] craving for food by filling up [his] stomach
Many also reported eating excessively  after they left Minnesota; Jasper Garner described it as a 'year long cavity' that needed to be filled.
Many like Roscoe Hinkle put on substantial weight after the experiment had concluded.

This is why WeightWatchers will not work in the long term you would need to restrict your calorie intake for life; even then your body would reduce the amount of calories it needed to maintain its weight and thus you would need to reduce your calorie intake even more just to maintain weight.

Monday, 26 April 2010

The 'Good Old Days'

I had a conversation today with a colleague where we got to talking about car insurance - Thrilling eh?!

Anyway, this got us both reminiscing about cars that we wanted to insure when we were 17 but couldn't afford to. For me this was a Ford Fiesta XR2

I can vividly remember phoning up Direct Line Insurance just after passing my driving test and politely inquiring how much it would cost to insure one... The lady on the other end of the phone 'laughed at me'! and told me there is no way they were going to insure me on a car like this.

I wonder why this is why I never get a competitive car insurance quote from Direct Line even now...

This then got us both reminiscing about growing up in the late 80s / early 90s..

  • No mobile phones
  • No internet
When you called a friend, you called their land line and, heavens forbid, they may not be in! - If this was the case; the world did not end...

Back then, we must have thought our parents were stupid. I remember getting picked up from school friend's parties by my dad and sitting in the back of the car trying to 'not sound drunk'. There is no way he didn't know I'd had a few beers! (Dad if you are reading this "I never touched alcohol at parties - honest!!!")

I remember having a 'long distance relationship' and, in order to get some privacy, (the land line was in the hall right next to the living room) going to the payphone down the road.

The more I think about it the more I think that 'Those were the days..' True - My life is great now - but those days were care-free, no responsibilities save homework and keeping 1 room of the house tidy. Or am I looking back with 'rose-tinted spectacles'...?

Sunday, 25 April 2010

First BBQ of 2010

Well.. The first BBQ of hopefully many has been done!

My BBQ is not  quite as large as this one! - is that even a real BBQ? If it is I'm sure it would be sponsored by Jeremy Clarkson - Judging by the fact that it has got a 'dirty great' V8 attached to it. I was unaware that spit roasts hat to be turned that fast!

I'm about to go all Mrs Beeton on you and give you my homemade  beefburger recipe:
  • 1 lb (or 454g if you prefer) Minced beef - Forget the 'extra lean' rubbish, the fat is what gives it the flavour!
  • 1 tsp French mustard
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 tbsp Garlic, minced with 1 tsp salt
  • 5 drops of the ludicrously hot Tabasco Sauce
  • 2 Shakes of Worcester Sauce
  • Plenty of pepper
  • 1 small(ish) onion very finely chopped
Basically all you do is dump the ingredients in a bowl 'get yer mitts in it' and mash it all up to a pulp.
Form into burgers and cook on the BBQ for.. Well I'm sure you can gauge when they're done!

Friday, 23 April 2010

Why is there always so much to do?

That time of year is now upon us. That time where we can easily feel guilty for sitting in the house on a Saturday.

I have been given my 'Spring / Summer' list of jobs that need doing outside.
  • Lawns mowing
  • Fence mending
  • Fence Painting
  • Shed re-organisation
  • Patio furniture buying
  • BBQ building (well, putting together)
  • Weeding
  • ...
  • ...
I am determined to have more BBQs this year. Last year was a washout - after the weathermen predicted a 'BBQ Summer'.

My wife has suggested that kids (6 and 2) help with painting the fence... I'm trying not to picture the carnage... Thinking about that has reminded me when my dad and I creosoted the fence once. I think I got more creosote on me than on the fence but the fact that I can still remember it now and still remember how much I enjoyed it means that it was one of those 'special times' bonding with my Dad (who incidentally is the best Dad a man could wish for).

My mind is made up! - The Kids can help! It will probably take twice as long but this is what memories are made of.

Rob Parsons said something in a book called the 60 minute father that stuck in my mind.. "The quieter day never comes..." The more I reflect on life, the more I realise he is spot on! As this is the case, I plan on trying to enjoy the busyness with my family!

Bring on the fence!!!!

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Change is coming...

The latest version of Ubuntu is due for release at the end of the month. This promises to be a fantastic version - I have been using 9.10 for a while now and am struggling to find something that Windows can do that Ubuntu cannot - Well if you count crashing

Monday, 19 April 2010


This isn't normally the kind of post I'd make as I detest adverts but this beautifully crafted advert gets its point across succinctly and actually makes you think.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Food Shopping - When you are in a hurry

You are food shopping and you are in a hurry, (through no fault of your own); you have slung your shopping in the trolley, bruising all your fruit and now you are faced with the decision that will either make or ruin your entire shopping trip.

Which checkout to choose...

Now most people will choose the checkout with the shortest queue, thinking it will be the fastest. In some cases this will be correct, however, there is a factor that you will not have taken into consideration - The LOL factor. Now I realize that some of you 'hip' people will be thinking "What has laughing out loud got to do with any of this?" but the LOL factor predates and of the txtspk crap by a few years.

I am of course talking about the Little Old Lady factor.

9 times out of 10 the LOL in front of you at the checkout will take up the checkout operators offer of "Would you like any help packing this?". This is time consuming; have you ever seen the speed of a one-handed checkout operator? - It is like watching paint dry or... Watching a 'Little Chef' waitress plying her trade..

Anyway, after the long wait for LOL's bags to be packed; the LOL will remove her oversize handbag from her shoulder and take out the world's biggest purse - you could fit a cat in it... with room for a litter tray and food also!

LOL will insist on paying with the correct change thus taking even more time up!

From bitter experience, I have learnt that the best people to be behind at the checkout is the family with 'rowdy children'. They will be desperate to get out of there as quickly as possible.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Weight Loss..

Bit of an indulgent post; but hey...

A few people have noticed now that I have lost some weight so I thought I'd share what I have lost and how I have done it.

In a nutshell, I am following The Harcome Diet. This diet, in a really high level summary, cuts out processed foods and sugar.

Phase 1 is a detox that helps fight three conditions that induce food cravings.

Phase 2 is the main weight loss phase and encourages you to eat healthy, real food in good sized portions - Hunger is a thing of the past! On this phase you don't mix fats and carbs. For example, my lunch today consisted of 5 roast chicken drumsticks, a large salad and a large chunk of cheese.

Phase 3 is a maintenance phase and in this phase you can cheat. By this time you will know what foods cause your cravings and you will want to avoid these.

Since starting this diet 10 weeks ago - I don't really see it as a diet - more a change in eating habits. I have never eaten as much as I am now and I feel (as Tony Tiger would say.) Grrrrrreat! I have lost 36 lbs or 16.36 kg (approx.)

I would recommend doing this diet even if you don't need to lose weight simply because it is so damn healthy!

The book that contains all the information is Here at

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Sugar = Evil

Apparently, if you were stranded on a desert island (assuming that there was a fresh water supply) and the only food you had to eat was refined sugar; if you ate NOTHING ie. starved yourself; you would live LONGER than if you ate sugar!

It is the only substance we consume with zero nutritional value. No fat, no protein, no water! Just pure empty calories of carbohydrate.

I find it completely frustrating that food manufacturers feel the need to put in practically all of their products. Try getting ham from a supermarket with no sugar in it - It is almost impossible. Even ham from the deli counter can have sugar in it. (They often call it dextrose - Pretty much anything ending in -ose is a sugar)

Monday, 5 April 2010

Something Google can't find..

Have you ever tried to get the ingredient list for 'takeaway' Doner Kebab meat?

I have! - It is impossible. I have actually resorted to tracking manufacturers down and asking them.  I guess I'll wait and see how many of them respond.