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Month: September 2008

The Quilter Street Chutney – green tomatoes and chilli…

The result

Following on the heels of the Quilter Street Olives last year, I received quite a bit of interest, advice and sympathy 🙂

Simon Robinson at House of Fraser not only passed on advice and enthusiasm, but also turned up in the office one day with a small chilli plant – a donation to the tiny ‘garden’. Dista, Helga’s mum, provided two tomato plants and so all I had to do was sit back and await the sunshine…

However, siince nothing much has ripened this year I decided to make the most of my adversity and knock off a green tomato and chilli chutney.

Chutneys are essentially ‘something edible’ boiled in a mix of sugary stuff and vinegary stuff. With some spice. I had a look on the web, at a recommended Jamie Oliver recipe, and the most excellent Forkd, but could find anything that matched my “needs” (aka limited supplies).

Picked, our tomatos yielded c250g and the chillies a wonderful 6g. I supplemented this harvest (ahem) with a pack of toms going mouldy in the fridge, some onions from the bottom of a bag from our hols, a fridge-burned stump of ginger root – and resorted to the shops for a couple of apples, some more vinegar and the sugar.

Rough ingredients were:

  • ‘leg’ of ginger, grated to a pulp
  • 4 tiny chillies
  • 4 small onions – overgrown shallot size
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 250g green toms, 450g squashy red ones
  • half pint malt vinegar
  • quarter pint of balsamic vinegar
  • 500g (ish) of brown sugar
  • Few handsful of raisins or sultanas.

Recipe is easy. Blend, bash, grate or mouli everything till it looks the way you like. Toss it all in a pan. Boil until it’s about the consistency you like and then transfer to short-term accommodation or preserving jars.

Recipe amendments would be:

  • swap the ratios of balsamic and malt vinegars
  • caremelise the onions before adding to the tomato mix
  • less sugar
  • add in some lemon juice or use tarter apples
  • one more chilli.

It was a good fun activity for a raining Saturday afternoon with the kids.

Next year it’s time to get a mulberry bush or a gooseberry bush (to be grown in a large pot). Thoughts/advice on either gratefully received, either in the comments or by email.

Schmaps Paris: one of my photos is chosen :)


I’ve liked the idea of Schmaps for a while – the combination of user-generated images and reviews and useful mapping made them entirely compelling (until Dopplr came on the scene) and now it lives alongside Dopplr for planning at home, and alongside GoogleMaps on the iPhone while ‘on the road’.

Actually, while “in reach of wireless broadband” – not many roaming iPhone users make the mistake of leaving data access on while wandering the streets of Paris more than once! £200 of data in a day is a painful lesson. That, and the 3 hour battery life when 3G, wireless and GPS are all lit. Like a little, shortlived, expensive handwarmer…

Anyway, back to the point. I was mightily pleased to get a lovely email via Flickr from the Schmaps people saying that they’d seen one of my photos and wanted to shortlist it.

The email was well-put:

While we offer no payment for publication, many
photographers are pleased to submit their photos, as Schmap
Guides give their work recognition and wide exposure, and
are free of charge to readers. Photos are published at a
maximum width of 150 pixels, are clearly attributed, and
link to high-resolution originals at Flickr.

That rather sums it up. I was pleased to submit my work and entirely chuffed at the thought of anyone seeing it. In such way doth amateurism undercut professional photographers’ fees…

So – the jury has spoken, and my image of the pigeons over Les Deux Magots now has its 15 seconds of fame. Or rather, 15 seconds competing with another 11 images in a revolving display (see below), but at least it’s 15/11 or 1.36 seconds of fame.

What have a learned from this?

  • asking nicely gets you things
  • people like to be valued and will give you things free
  • a good visual pun wins over a great image
  • good titling of photos on flickr gets photos found
  • writing about a moment of fame takes about 442 times as long as the fame itself
  • “recognition and wide exposure” currently means 2 page views 😉

JustTheOne BBQ – photos

the scoff laid out...

Now that summer is but a distant memory (in London at least) I turned to the photos of the BBQ for sunny solace and realised that I’d not shared them. Mea culpa, etc.

The BBQ was held in July and was a great success. Massive thanks to Ian Worley at Flow for not only being a great sport in volunteering his offices (heh), but for taking on the role of BBQ-meister with such relish and inadequacy-inducing competence. Karen at Flow also galley-slaved for Britain, while keep a cool head in a hot kitchen and John Thew was a serene presence, filling empty hands with full beer bottles and, at 2am, tried nobly to persuade a black cab to take him south of the river. The River Tamar… 😉

Photos from the evening (and the night before’s preparations) are on the JT1 BBQ 2008 photoset page. If you took any photos you’d like to share then please tag them with “jt1” and “bbq”.

By popular demand we’ll try something like this again next summer, so any budding chef’s or owners of shareable BBQ space please feel free to volunteer now!

Normal pub/bar service will resume in October or early November. Please let me know good venue suggestions in the Clerkenwell/Holborn/Bloomsbury area otherwise we’ll be back at St Chad’s.

Thanks again to Ian, Karen, John and all who helped clean up.

UPDATE: to join the list go to, and for those of you who’ve changed jobs please resubscribe ‘cos I’ve set the list to delete bounces 🙂