Key People in a Tailoring Business

These are the key people in a tailoring business:

Sales People
They are normally not directly involved with the suit’s making, but usually have a first class knowledge of cloths and trimmings, and also are very aware of the business, the styles and details. This, of course, helps the customer pick the correct styles and fabrics for the right occasions. In some businesses with a CMT service (Cut, Make & Trim), a salesman will take basic measurements which are then sent to a factory for manufacture. This is not true “bespoke”, but depending on the sales person’s experience, this can produce a relatively good fitting suit for the money.

The Cutter
That’s me. OK, at English Cut I’m the salesman as well, which is the norm for a smaller outfit. As I’m sure you’re aware I’m more the architect of the suit. I take the measurements, I draft the pattern, I cut the cloth, then I send it off to the tailors for the sewing.

The Trimmer
These are the people who take the cut pieces of fabric and match them up with the canvas, linings and silk etc, so the suit can actually be made. And yes, that’s my job too. Again, it’s usually a full-time job only in the larger houses.

The Tailor
These are the people who actually sew your suit together. If I am the architect, then these are the actual builders. They usually specialize: making coats, trousers or waistcoats, and some only make dressware. But like me with other roles, tailors adapt their skills. Many of the tailors will turn their hand to making anything- except for trousers, which are usually left to the specialist trouser makers.

These are usually ladies who have perfected the art of hand buttonholes, felling the linings and all the hand-sewing needed to finish a coat and trousers. The nickname for them in the trade is “Kippers”. This is not because they suffer from the smell of smoked fish, but that they usually worked in pairs. This is so they could more easily fend off the flirtatious advances of cutters. We cutters do have a rather undeserved reputation for that, I might add.

Pat Gormley, a well-known & respected tailor

Pat Gormley, a well-known & respected tailor

Tailors and cutters always argue in the pub over who’s  most important, but we both know that we’re as dependent on each other as “needle and thread”. It’s true the cutter will usually get all the praise for a beautiful job, but he gets to feel the full wrath if it goes wrong- something the tailors are normally spared. To decide which suits you best you’ve got to decide which you prefer: the highs and lows of a cutter’s life, or the tailor’s more constant, steady flow of making beautiful clothes.

Ladies are often asking me what opportunities there are for them in the business. Quite simply, they can and do the same as men, often a lot better. However the only real restriction which I’ve seen is that I’ve never known any ladies do the actual measuring of customers.

They’ll often get the measurements from a colleague, then go cut a suit as well as anyone, hidden in the back of the shop. But sadly many of the customers don’t feel comfortable having the 4” brass end of a tape measure thrust up between their legs by a lady.

Tailoring is just a lot more personal than most industries, with the customer and the product always far more important than any money to be made.

As far as mastering cutting and tailoring, there’s no easy answer. Even if you’re brilliant, you’ve got to be humble and patient for a good few years – a quality that’s getting rarer than hen’s teeth these days.

However if you do have the right stuff for it, you’ll never starve, and you’ll never dread going to work in the morning. Can’t say fairer than that.

To read the unabridged version of this article, click here.

Image reproduced from

Walk Innovation – Step 3

Recently, Adam Shaw reported on Step 2 of Walk Innovation. Now he talks about Step 3: Intent. Watch his video here.

Now that you are committed to DOING this programme and you know to ground yourself regularly, we will now talk about intent.

In everything you do in your life your intent will determine your outcome. If you intend to find fault – you will. If you intend to improve your life – you will. If you intend to love – you will.

As non-positive intent yields non-positive outcomes we will only ever be focusing on POSITIVE intent

Being aware of your intent at any given moment is the fastest way to move towards positive outcomes more often.

Intend for what you want – or you will get what you don’t want.

Have fun walking now that your intent is positive.

Read more on Walk Innovation here.

Date and Tamarind Chutney


This chutney is often referred to as the sweet chutney or Imbli/Ambli Chutney. It’s made using dates which are sweet and tamarind which is sharp and sour so I would say that this is a sweet and sour chutney. No Indian snack is complete without this chutney and the green coriander and chillies chutney.

Ingredients for 2-3 cups of chutney:

12-14 fresh dates – washed and de-seeded and chopped
1-2 teaspoons of tamarind concentrate (you can use fresh tamarind or prepared tamarind blocks too. If using fresh tamarind, use only 3-4 pods of tamarind or just a inch square block of tamarind)
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp chilly powder
1 tsp ground cumin and coriander mixture
¼ inch of ginger
1 fresh green chilly – chopped in 4 pieces
1-2 tbls jaggery (or brown sugar)


1. Mix the chopped dates, tamarind and all the spices apart from jaggery into a deep microwave safe bowl and add 1 cup of water to the mixture. Cook on high for 3 minutes. Stir the mixture and feel to see if the dates (and is using fresh tamarind) have softened. Give it a further 2-3 minutes to allow the dates and tamarind to soften.


2. Strain the mixture. If using fresh tamarind, you may find that it needs a lot more straining and you may have to add ½ cup of boiling water to the mixture to enable you to strain well.


3. Add the jaggery/brown sugar and cook for 2 minutes or until the jaggery or sugar have blended in. You may have to cook it for a minute or 2 longer  if you had to add water during the straining process.


4. The chutney should not be as thick as tomato sauce but more like a dipping sauce kind of thickness. Taste the chutney and add ingredients to make the chutney to your taste.

5. Keep the chutney in the fridge to cool and serve with any Indian snacks.


6. The chutney can be kept in the fridge for 3-4 weeks.

Sultry Smokey Summer with Versace Eyes

Bringing high fashion fierceness to your sexy summer self!

versacess13This Summer we have seen stunning makeup trends on the runway from pop colours on eyes and lips to back to basics bare looks.

Chanel and Dior were amongst some of the designers who sported beaming bold beautiful eyes. Every window looks better dressed with glorious curtains, so I’m going to tell you how to dress the windows to your soul with easy to do techniques!

Using a Versace SS13 look as a template and Urban Decay NAKED palette as a colour referral guide here is how to recreate it:

Start with prepping your eyelid with an eye primer (Urban Decay Eye Primer Potion), use your ring finger to work the product all over the eyelid area to the browbone. Also carefully apply the smallest amount of primer underneath the bottom lashes.

Eye Primer

Eye Primer Potion

Take an eyeshadow brush take a base colour (close to your skin colour) and apply all over eyelid. [The colour ‘naked’ 3rd in the palette].

With a small flat shadow brush take a light brown pigment and apply over the eyelid. [The colour ‘buck’ 5th in the palette].

Take your eyeshadow brush and apply a gold metallic colour on the middle of your lids . [The colour ‘half baked’ 6th in the palette].

Using another eyeshadow brush take a black pigment and place it on the outer corner of the lids. [The colour ‘creep’ 11th in the palette].

Take a fluffy brush and using a dark brown shadow go over the black blending the colours into each other softly and create a mid arch in the crease. [The colour ‘hustle’ 10th in the palette].


Urban Decay Naked Pallette

With the same dark brown [‘hustle’],use an eyeshadow brush and put this just before the inner corners of the eyes (so the brown should now be on both ends of the gold). Take the fluffy brush and blend all areas where the colours bleed into each other so it looks flawless.

To create the bolder brighter look, take a light gold/ivory colour and place on the inner corners of the eyes and also on the brow bone using your brow shape as a guideline to highlight. [The colour ‘virgin’ 1st in the palette].

Take a brown eye pencil and holding your outer eye taut, line the upper lash line.

With a small flat eyeshadow brush take a brown pigment eyeshadow [‘hustle’] and work this along your lower lash line.

Follow with a black liquid or gel eyeliner on top, bottom or both depending on your eye shape and the eye shape you desire.

Finish your look with a pair of false lashes to give you an instant glamourous high fashion look. Don’t forget to use a coat of mascara to help your lashes blend in with the falsies!

Smoulder with your bolder brighter eye enhancing, eye catching eye makeup this summer.

Images reproduced from, and

Fiery Apple Chutney

Right now the British apple season is in full swing! From early August until May next year keeping the doctor away defines us as ‘British’! British apples have started making appearances in farmers’ markets and farmers’ shops. If you are lucky, you might have an apple tree within walking distance or in your own garden, the branches soon to be sighing with more fruit than you could possibly eat. So how do you deal with seasonal glut? Apart from eating those juicy apples you can peel them, bake them or make chutney, crumble, pie, jelly and jam to name but a few options.

I am not lucky enough to have an apple tree in my garden, but fortunately enough I have Apple trees close to me, and thus I can have as many as I want. A few days back I picked some apples, but they were a bit too sour to eat as a whole, but good enough make chutney!

I had an idea of making this chutney, after I saw Raw Mango Chutney (the best chutney from her kitchen) from Nivedita’s Kitchen. She is lucky enough to have a mango tree in her garden, which makes me a little bit envious.  Of course I’ve made raw mango chutney numerous times, but this time I thought of using apples instead of raw mangos. The ingredients and the methods are similar. Chutney can be eaten with thali or many other snacks.

You will need:

  • 3-4 small green apples
  • a little oil to roast
  • 1 tbp urad daal
  • 1 tbp channa daal
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 cup of desiccated coconut
  • 1 tbp sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp dry coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp methi seeds
  • half of a fresh ginger
  • 10-12 curry leaves
  • 2-3 dry red chillies
  • salt to taste
  • 2-3 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tbp lemon juice
  • 2 tbp jaggery, sugar or dark muscavado sugar
  • 1 tbp oil
  • pinch of hing (asafoetida)


Heat  the oil in a heavy bottom pan. Roast all the ingredients. Meanwhile wash and peel and cut the apples, add lemon juice to prevent them from getting brown. Once you get a nice roasted aroma, add apples and fry for less than one minute.Turn of the heat. Once  the mixture is cooled, add the remaining ingredients and grind everything into a coarse paste by adding little water. The fiery chutney is ready to serve!

I served mine with thin crackers for starters and spread some on my sandwiches.

Homesteading is Possible for Most People

Since becoming interested in nutrition and the overwhelming effect of politics upon it, I’ve gradually come to the conclusion that the only way to obtain nutritious food is to either (1) buy it from a small farm or (2) grow it yourself.

The first option is becoming more and more difficult. Large agribusiness and governments at all levels have colluded to ensure that operating a small farm is unnecessarily difficult by imposing across the board on all agricultural enterprises onerous fees, regulations, and prohibitions. Such measures are a minor cost of business for large corporations, however, they are often prohibitive for small farms or those just starting out in farming. While some small farms persevere and survive amid this unfavorable legal climate, more and more often they cannot.

Fortunately, there is the second option–grow the food yourself.

The practice of growing most or all of one’s food at home is known as “homesteading”. Surprisingly, this option is realistic for most people. All that’s needed is a little land, a few pieces of equipment, and the willingness to learn.

The biggest concern people seem to have is land. People believe that, unless one has at least several acres, one cannot begin to grow most of their own food. This belief isn’t true. Obviously, the more land one has, the more he can do with it. But even with just a little land, if the land is used wisely and is managed well, one can do A LOT. For example, on a plot of land the size of 1/20 of an acre, which is an average backyard, a small family can grow several kinds of crops and keep several chickens, a few rabbits, and a bee hive. This alone will provide the family with most or all of its vegetables, meat, and eggs, and will also provide honey and a means of pollination. With a little more room, that family can add a couple goats for milk and additional meat. With some more room, the chickens and goats can graze on grass rather than rely exclusively on store-bought feed. With even more room, you can do even more.

The point is to recognize that, certainly, one can do more with several acres than he can with a small backyard. But one should also recognize that, even with a small backyard, he can do a hell of lot! And so why not take advantage. Instead of wasting one’s land by growing useless grass that never gets eaten and has to be mowed every week, why not use that space to grow food.

Backyard chickens.

Doing so in any degree will not only result in a healthier diet for you and your family, it will also substantially reduce your grocery store bill, it will provide meaningful exercise for your muscles and your immune system, it will get you out in the sun, and it will provide an extremely valuable educational activity for your children. It will also send a strong message to the agribusiness community that you opt out of their system of manufactured, nutrient-depleted, and chemicalized food. Maybe if the conventional system receives enough such messages, it will change.

Finally, having an independent source of food provides food security for yourself and the local community. The conventional system is not secure because it can easily collapse upon the occurrence of any number of catastrophes, including draught, rampant crop disease, oil price spikes, political revolution, etc. Local food systems are much less vulnerable to such crises because they are smaller and more spread out. Only a local source of food provides any measure of assurance that food will be available during a time of crisis. No source of food is more local than your backyard.

When assessing what one can do on a certain piece of land, it is necessary to be mindful of local laws and regulations that may prohibit raising certain animals in city limits or other locations. But don’t let that stop you entirely. The whole point is to do what you can.

And usually, you can do a lot more than you think.

Photo by Leah Zerbe,

Tao of Jeet Kune Do

I have been toying with the idea of writing book reviews for a long time.  Have an extensive library of martial arts and Eastern philosophy books that cover a broad range of subjects.  I hope that what I am going to write about each of them will be enough to inspire some readers to read them, as well as writing some comments about what they think.

When reading a martial art book it is important to have a clear idea of what the main goal for the reading the book is: in my case I never intended to learn a martial art or a style but more to understand the main concepts and philosophy behind it.

The book

Many of us consider Bruce Lee a legend that left a great legacy and inspired entire generations to start and keep training martial arts.  For me this is a precious book that I keep handy and go back to read on a regular basis.  It is obviously not a novel with a story but more a collection of notes and ideas: small paragraphs and some time single sentenced that describe a strong and deep concept and make you think for a long time.  Although the cover sheet states “Tao of Jeet Kune Do – by Bruce Lee” the book was put together by Gilbert L. Johnson and Linda Lee (Bruce Lee’s widow) based on Lee’s original notes.


I see this book as a journal for Bruce Lee himself when he was thinking and refining the concepts behind JKD and how he felt this should have developed.  Tao has a strong meaning and multiple interpretations: it is written in Chinese with the same character that is used to write Do in Japanese and it has the same meaning: The Way.  This is to describe an approach that is not meant to teach a strict methodology to do this or that.

Each chapter describes a different aspect of the concepts behind JKD: Preliminaries,Qualities, Tools, Preparations, Mobility, Attack, Circle with Circumference and it’s just a name. In some parts of the book entire pages are full of hand written notes from Lee himself, in other cases there are drawing that are probably copied by other books at the time: I say this because the drawing style is consistent for some of the simple stylized pictures where an entire person or a limb is represented with a few lines.

JKD maintains and improves many aspects of Wing Chun that is the first martial art that Lee ever practiced when he was still in Hong Kong.  Bruce Lee probably wanted to improve what he considered the weak aspects of Wing Chun but, instead of simply adding the missing techniques, he saw an opportunity for a much greater picture, not limited by traditions, cultures, styles or country boundaries.  He wanted to define a new concept that many different people, with different backgrounds, could embrace and grow with it.

What I like of this book

Apart from the definitions of this and that technique Lee explores numerous details of the mental aspect of training: what you should think, the attitude you should have and how each of these should be prepared.  While he was against rehearsed techniques and combinations because fighting should spark naturally, from the martial artist experience and based on the opponents moves, he covers in details how each aspect of training should be practiced.  Considering that disciplines like coaching and motivation, the knowledge of sport science and sport psychology were hardly available at the time Lee was surely a great precursor of these concepts.  I also find fascinating the amount of wisdom contained in this book, considering that Lee was in his late twenties when he wrote most of the notes.


I would suggest reading this book to anybody that is interested in martial arts, from beginners to top ranked black belts.  Don’t expect to learn JKD by reading it but be prepared to a bit of thinking because each chapter will add some wisdom to your knowledge of martial arts.

If you are interesting in buying this book, or other interesting ones, please have a look at our book store that contain a little collection of the books I read so far.

Start The Samba Early

Having just watched England comfortably beat Moldova 5-0 in the first qualifying match for the World cup finals in Brazil 2014 its time to Que the hopes and expectations, the dare to dream and mutter the words “we could win the World cup”. There is only one problem with this? I said this for the World cups in South Africa, Germany, Japan and South Korea and probably France in 1998. So why should this qualifying and World cup be any different? Or will it be the usual that we qualify scrape through to the quarter finals and eventually get knocked out on penalties (and probably to the Germans).

Well the facts speak for themselves. At this very moment in time England lie third in the Fifa World rankings, The highest we have ever reached since Fifa rankings began. We have an English manager in Roy Hodgson, The only English manager who has taken over the national team with actual international managerial experience, and yet to be beaten in 90 minutes of play as England manager. England also have a balance in the team with experience and youth. The old guard of John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole who were once described as “past it” in the middle of last season by some media critics went on to show that they still have a lot to offer by winning the Champions league with Chelsea. This experience can offer a lot to the new talent braking through into the team with Tom Cleverley and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain making a claim to be in the starting eleven and none more so then their performance in Moldova. Having both started the game due to squad injuries they knew this could be their chance to show the manager what they had to offer in a competitive match and they did exactly that from kick off. The pace of Oxlade-Chamberlain on the wing and attacking threat of Cleverley playing just behind Jermaine Defoe was more then enough to spring a new life into the the England style of play. This was backed up Frank Lampard a real professional in the centre of the park who had this to say after the game. “They’re are brilliant, of course they’re are good enough.’ he told ITV1 “Tom is a pleasure to play with and with him being such a young age, he’s going to be right in the middle of the team for years to come.” He also had this to say on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain “Alex was brilliant. He lit up the first half and it’s great to see players like that coming through.”

As we all know Moldova are not the power house in international football and being ranked only 141 in the world behind St Vincent and the Grenadines actually puts things into perspective. As the qualifying period continues we will be playing a harder standard of football, with the likes of Poland and Ukraine in our group but as you can only beat what is in front of you and the England team did exactly that. With the ground only having a 10.500 capacity and the pitch not exactly being up to the Wembley standard the stage was set for a shock upset. With that in mind England had the perfect start when they were awarded a penalty after only three minutes for a handball which Frank Lampard converted to settle down the enthusiastic home crowd. Then on 29 minutes Lampard got his and England’s second and with Defoe adding a third just minutes later it was safe to say the game was won by half time. With James Milner and a very deflected free kick form Everton’s Leighton Baines adding to the scoreline in the second half, it was certainly a great start to kick off the group stages. So we now look towards the game Tuesday night at home against Ukraine which i will be attending and which i have no doubt will be a sterner test for England, the objectives will still be the same. With an expectant 90.000 England fans at Wembley and Roy Hodgson still being judged on every match if the squad can put on another impressive and attacking performance and with a clean sheet then there is no reason why England cant stay top of group H before the next round of games take place.

Im not saying we will win every group game and that every performance will be top draw. This is England we don’t do things the easy way, but if we can build up a winning mentality and qualify comfortably for the finals in Brazil then it will certainly give us an edge as the team come up against the best in world football. Of course if England do these things and do get through the group easily then the pressure will be on England to transfer those performances and win the World cup. That is a stigma that is attached to every England team weather it is the World Cup or European Championships, but this is because we are an expectant sporting nation with football being our national sport with world class English players and in truth 1966 was too long ago. So lets just say the England world cup winning wagon is setting off and i am first on board and there is plenty of room if you want to jump on board and join me.

Photo courtesy of

Vegetarian Cottage Pie


This cottage pie is made using Quorn Mince. Quorn is the brand name for a range of meat-free ingredients and meals sold here in UK.  Quorn products are  versatile and quick to cook. The mycoprotein used to produce Quorn is extracted from a fungus, Fusarium venenatum, which is grown in large fermentation vats.

Quorn produces both a cooking ingredients and a range of ready meals. It is sold as an alternative to meat and vegetarians love the taste.   The only downside is that the binding agent for Quorn is egg and  vegetarians who do not eat eggs will not be able to eat their products.  Please checkout for more information.

I used Quorn Mince and mixed vegetables to make my cottage pie.

 Ingredients for 2 -3 servings:

For the topping

5 -6 medium potatoes, peeled and diced largely
1 tablespoon butter
2 tbsp milk
2 or 3 cups of grated cheese
1 tsp oregano
salt and pepper to taste

For the Filling

175 g of  Quorn mince
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 cloves of  finely grated garlic
1 small Onion
1 cup mixed vegetables – I used peas, corn and carrots
half a can of chopped tinned tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato purée
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 small vegetarian stock cube or 1 tbsp vegetarian bouillon powder


1. Preheat the oven to 190°C, Gas Mark 5

2.  Using just enough water to cover the potatoes,  cook the potatoes until tender,  soft  and mashable.

3. Meanwhile heat the oil in a saucepan and add the Quorn Mince. Add the salt and pepper and cook the Quorn mince at a medium heat until the mince  starts to slightly brown.

4.  Add the garlic , onions and the mixed vegetables.

5. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, half a cup of water with the Oxo cube/ boullon powder  and allow this to cook very gently on medium heat – stirring all the time, until the mixture has thickened.  The Quorn mince  will absorb all the flavours from the tomatoes and garlic.

6. Transfer the cooked mixture to an  oven-proof dish.

7.  Mash the potatoes with the milk and butter until smooth, season to taste with the salt,  pepper and oregano.

8.   For the topping:  Cover the Quorn mixture with a layer of grated Cheese.

9.  Next cover the cheese layer with the mashed potatoes

10.   If you are feeling adventurous, you can use a piping bag  to decorate the top of the cottage pie.

11.  Cook in the centre of the Oven at 190 degrees Centigrade for 20 minutes.


12.  Serve hot with a variety of vegetables such as  parsnips or Green beans.


Powerful Strikes: My Top 5 Martial Arts Punches

Martial artists and sport fighters with some level of experience are aware that some punches or kicks are stronger than others; some people just accept that as a fact, some of us try to understand the reasons behind by studying the human anatomy, how the body works and how biomechanics actually apply to these techniques.

If the first step in this process will help you understand why things work in a certain way the natural evolution from there will be to better train the muscles involved in the movement and improve your performance.

Although different people will achieve different results when striking with various punches I will list below my 5 top favourite martial arts punches (e.g. not limiting ourselves to IBA boxing strikes):

The Jab

I think of the jab as an amazing technique; when well trained it can be super fast, ideal to strike the opponent at both medium (abdomen, chest) and high level (face).  In boxing (as much as in kickboxing) the Jab is very much the bread and butter of the fight, mostly used to strike often the opponent in order to check and maintain the distance and as a preparation for other more powerful, but often slower and more energy demanding, techniques.  The Jab should always travel on a straight line, directly from your guard toward its target and then being withdrawn immediately to go back ready for the next strike.  The total number of muscles involved in the jab is relatively small: mostly the triceps, with small contribution from deltoid, pectoral and trapezium.  Extra power can be added with a well timed little step forward while some people add an extra torsion on their core to involve a few more muscles; I generally don’t as I find it time consuming and less easy to follow up.

The Hook

It is the most powerful punch I can throw, with either hand or from either stance, reason being the high number of strong muscle groups involved in the motion: the bicep, the deltoid, pectoral, some of the abdominals, good part of the core and, if well performed, the calf, quadriceps and the hip area. Although all hooks hits the target sideways in a circular motion, from a mechanical and geometrical point of view the hook performed with the leading (front) hand is totally different from the hook performed with the rear (back) hand.  In the first case the only way of delivering power is to perform a counter turn that while shifting weight on the rear leg builds up momentum to be transferred to the arm and the fist.  When striking with the rear leg it’s important to push from the rear leg, starting from the ball of the rear foot, twisting the hips forward in synch with the arm moving forward in the strike.

The Cross

The Cross shares the simplicity offered by a straight trajectory similarly to the jab, but it develops more power for two main reasons: it travels for a long distance therefore it builds up more momentum, delivering more damage; it involves, on top of all muscles involved in the jab, the hip torsion (core, gluteus) and the push from the rear leg as previously described in the hook from the rear hand. Adding a little step even if moving just a few millimetres it can help to add a substantial amount of extra power.

The Back Fist

The Back Fist punch (as in the picture above) is a typical martial arts punch that derives from traditional styles like karate and kung fu; it was never part of the IBA boxing repertoire but, funny enough in the UK it is being progressively removed from various light and full contact kickboxing rules.  The Back Fist is not a particularly powerful punch as it involves just triceps and the shoulder muscles; at the same it is very fast and annoying because it hits people on the side of the face or some times on the nose.  Very popular in semi contact kickboxing it’s an ideal technique to be used while fighting in side stance and combined with side, round and hook kicks with the front leg.

The Spinning Back Fist

The Back Fist is the only punch that makes sense when performed while spinning back; while maintaining the limitations of being by its own nature a weak punch the spinning movement, if well performed and timed, can deliver an unexpected amount of power.  The spinning should always being performed in a way that the eyes (e.g. your vision) hit the target before the punch, in short, look at what you are striking.  The Spinning Back Fist was acceptable within kickboxing rules until a few years ago but it’s now been abolished in every style for its apparent lack of control and the amount of damage it can deliver when properly performed.

Jodie Marsh – Beauty or Beast?

Standing by Jodie Marsh in matching black bikinis waiting to go on stage is rather intimidating to say the least, with her heavily bronzed tan and lights, Jodie’s body was a far cry from the Page 3 look we are accustomed to seeing in the pages of glossy magazines, but is it a step too far for the price of fame? Where does one draw the line of beauty?

No stranger to fame Jodie has spent 10 years in the public eye and appeared in numerous lads magazines and TV programs, even marrying for attention, but this was different, this time she sculpted her body with heavy weights, an intense and grueling cardio regime and a super strict clean diet of high protein, low complex carbohydrates and good fats for several months, culmination in a few final days where carbohydrates are eaten and water is depleted from the body, resulting in a muscular defined body that earned her fifth place and a trophy at the Natural Physique Association (NPA) Mike Willaims Classic and Pro-Am Bodybuilding  Championships.

Many may say her new body is less attractive than before and rather off putting, but few have seen the hard work and dedication it takes, the weeks of dieting, restricting yourself to certain foods, abstaining form drinking, changing your workouts to keep your body guessing, the early morning cardio sessions, the dehydration the night before, this is no easy way to gain the publics attention.

Surely a muscular toned body displays signs of strength, power, virility and health, and with the shift from size zero models isn’t a healthier look more attractive? Should we really be criticizing her for eating carefully albeit extreme, and for training hard?

With the Olympics looming even non sport related companies such as insurance companies are using athletes and sports models to promote their products, implying that an athletic look is in fact appealing.

As obesity rises in the world and in particular theUK, the latest Health Survey forEnglanddata shows us that nearly 1 in 4 adults, and over 1 in 10 children aged 2-10, are obese. So perhaps instead of sitting on the sofa complaining about someone who has altered their body dramatically, reduced their body fat from 25% to 10% and increased their lean muscle – which is hard enough for a man with a healthy amount of testosterone to do, let alone a vegetarian woman over 30 to do, we should be commending her.

After all, what better role model is there to young anorexically inclined girls who are influenced by celebrity magazines and bombarded with usual pictures of skinny gaunt celebrities, than someone who has changed their life for the better and has the confidence to stand in front of a panel of Pro bodybuilder judges against a number of other elite athletes, to be criticized, scrutinized and pulled apart.

And who’s to say that muscles on a woman are unattractive? Woman often join a gym or hire a trainer because they want to be “more toned” so they take up running or spinning or some other form of cardio, but what they really mean is they want to build a little muscle and lose some body fat as Jodie has done. Most will avoid the “mens” area of the gym, the free weights section, in favor of the recumbent bikes and the stepper or cross trainer, but what Jodie has realized is that it’s the weight training that makes you more toned and sexy without becoming butch or resembling Arnold Schwarzenegger in a dress.

To slate Jodie for the clothes she used to wear on a night out in her hometown Essex, or the TV appearances she made or the men she dated is one thing, but to criticize someone for changing their life, taking a stand and creating a body that they are entirely happy with is unfair. Few women can say they are a 100% happy with their figure, most have some body part they would like to alter or improve, their belly, bingo wings, flabby thighs or less than pert behind, Jodie however has meticulously crafted her body using hard work and sheer determination, if that does not inspire people than what does…

Jodie Marsh: Bodybuilder premieres on DMAX in  January 2012.

Image reproduced from Heat Magazine

Drunken Holiday Flings… Not A Good Look!

Having recently returned from a week in Portugal I noticed how full of Brits and Irish people it was.  I can’t say that this was what I was expecting, I never really choose to go abroad to be surrounded by people from my home town.  Nevertheless I was with my man and no amount of build me up buttercup was going to put a dampener on my hols.  There was a lovely little square in the centre dubbed ‘The Old Town’ which was full of cute little fish restaurants along the seafront and some not so cute British looking bars.  There were however a lot of young families and couple frequenting these places (and the odd stag do which we tried to avoid of course).


One day we decided to check out ‘The Strip’ in a different part of town.  Not to be confused with the Las Vegas Strip and everything glorious it has to hold there.  This strip however was a debauchery of loud English stag and hen do’s, followed by even louder northern lasses looking for a “good time”.  I use the word good loosely as who knows how good anything is after 8 Jagerbombs and 12 double vodka and cokes.

Neon lights and the promise of 2-4-1 jelly shots at happy hour engulf these randy holiday makers.  What makes for a sexy 3am finish?  An abundance of alcohol and a Bon Jovi track to boot.  ‘Yes we really are halfway there’.  Brummie girls followed by young Irish men fill the streets of the Portugal strip tonight.

What makes these holiday makers sleep with whatever is on offer at that time at night? Girls in bikinis, guys with six packs all smelling of Hawaiian Tropic in the midday sun is just the beginning of Temptation Island for that week.  Drinking in the heat equipped with half naked testosterone roaming the sand dunes is enough to make many people turn on their backs.  Some of these girls and guys may not dream of partaking in such tom-foolery  back on home turf.  Men and women who have come on these single sex holidays.  You know the ones ‘Whores on tour’ or ‘Stags to Shag’.  They suddenly forget all about their relationships back home and the rules of relationship norms.  I.e. no sexy cuddles on the beach or on frolicking under clothes on the dance floor (because that still counts you know).  Partners are forgotten back home for some of these amorous holidaymakers and the next 7 days are a free for all apparently.   It’s a no holds barred 2 for the price of 1 action.

kavos BG _A2

The thrill of being in a different country, a hot Irish accent and endless fishbowl cocktails is all too tempting for some happy campers.   Sleeping with a stranger on holiday is seen as more acceptable than sleeping with someone from your local apparently.  It’s totally acceptable and more often than not encouraged.  ‘Oh you’re on holiday, have some fun’ or ‘what happens on the strip, stays in the strip’.  Until pictures get posted on Facebook that is.  It can become like a huge challenge for people out there to sleep with as many people as possible in the time they have.  Sun worshippers getting as drunk as humanly possible and putting the evening’s actions down to ‘maybe my drink got spiked’ and acute memory loss it would seem.

The more notches in the sand the better, especially for the girls it can seem.  However try this one nighter action back at home and you take the name fishbowl to a whole other level.

How to Catch Wild Pigs

I recently came across the following story about how to catch wild pigs that serves as a commentary on the state of freedom in modern America.

A chemistry professor at a large college had some exchange students in the class. One day while the class was in the lab the Professor noticed one young man (exchange student) who kept rubbing his back, and stretching as if his back hurt. The professor asked the young man what was the matter. The student told him he had a bullet lodged in his back. He had been shot while fighting communists in his native country who were trying to overthrow his country’s government and install a new communist government.

In the midst of his story he looked at the professor and asked a strange question. He asked, ‘Do you know how to catch wild pigs?’ The professor thought it was a joke and asked for the punch line. The young man said this was no joke. ‘You catch wild pigs by finding a suitable place in the woods and putting corn on the ground. The pigs find it and begin to come every day to eat the free corn. When they are used to coming every day, you put a fence down one side of the place where they are used to coming. When they get used to the fence, they begin to eat the corn again and you put up another side of the fence. They get used to that and start to eat again.

You continue until you have all four sides of the fence up with a gate in the last side. The pigs, who are used to the free corn, start to come through the gate to eat; you slam the gate on them and catch the whole herd. Suddenly the wild pigs have lost their freedom. They run around and around inside the fence, but they are caught.

Soon they go back to eating the free corn. They are so used to it that they have forgotten how to forage in the woods for themselves, so they accept their captivity. The young man then told the professor that is exactly what he sees happening to America. The government keeps pushing us toward socialism and keeps spreading the free corn out in the form of programs such as supplemental income, tax credit for unearned income, tobacco subsidies, dairy subsidies, payments not to plant crops (CRP), welfare, medicine, drugs, etc. while we continually lose our freedoms—just a little at a time.

This story is illustrates how freedom can be taken little by little without the victims even realizing it and in a way that leads the victims to even consent to their freedom being taken.

Focusing on the issue of food freedom, Americans today have nearly lost their ability to feed themselves. Absent fast food, grocery store chains, and media pronouncements about what to eat and the latest health “discovery”, most people would lack either a source of food or knowledge of what foods to eat. In this way, Americans today are like the corralled wild pigs in the story. They retain the appearance of freedom because they are are free to drive to the grocery store. But their freedom is only a facade because they lack the means and knowledge to truly obtain food for themselves. They are dependent on the industrial food system to provide them with their food selection and information about what to eat.

Only by struggling to retain the traditions of centuries past that governed the selection and preparation of foods, and only by struggling to support local and diverse food sources, can we break through the fences that now confine us and exercise the food freedom that is justly ours.

My Thoughts About Judo

Judo was the first martial art I have ever practiced and, even after many years, I have good memories of the experience and I can still use good part of what I have learnt at the time.


Judo is essentially a martial art based on throwing techniques: the intent, when two people start fighting, is to drop somehow the opponent and then follow up with grappling.  Grappling means wrestling on the floor using various techniques to immobilize the opponent (keeping both shoulders on the floor for at least 10 seconds), to strangle her or to apply joint locks, specifically elbows: once one of the fighters is caught in one of these situations she will have to give up by tapping with one hand the floor or the opponent body to avoid real damage.


Judo is a Japanese martial art that was defined by Jigoro Kano in the late 19th century as a fair, sport orientated, derivative of Ju Jitsu.  Most ancient martial arts were invented and practiced for situations when loosing a fight meant being seriously injured or killed.  Ju Jitsu is a martial art with over 500 years of history that was taught to samurais, useful to fight bare handed in a broad range of situations with the intent of surviving life threatening attacks.  Many applications of Ju Jitsu are meant to seriously arm or kill the opponent and this obviously doesn’t apply very well in a competitive sport.  Judo was the first martial art to be an Olympic sport and it gained  at some point great popularity in the US and Europe as long as it was one of the few martial arts broadly available.

What I like about Judo

Judo teaches and greatly improves awareness about balance and how to cause an opponent to loose it: it works well if and when an attacker grabs you by the lapel or any part of your clothing.  It is also ideal when somebody pushes you aggressively: with a simple movement or a little sweeping technique you can simple drop the attacker on the floor and, if she has no experience in martial arts, she won’t know how it happened.  In a typical Japanese fashion Judo classes are highly structured, instilling good discipline and great respect for the opponent.  Although much of its training is very physical it is reasonably safe and a great work out of for most parts of the body.  Given the relatively gentle approach that can be applied to its teaching, Judo can be taught to young children both male and female: it could be a great starting point for children interested in martial art and for parents that support the idea.

What I don’t like about Judo

I find Judo inadequate for self defence purposes because of its basic structure.  Although its aim is to redirect the opponent’s force and use it to your advantage I found it not as applicable as it sounds.  I met many people, with senior ranks in Judo, that had the opportunity of testing this on their on skin, with dear consequences. It is known that Judo’s curriculum includes, for top ranked practitioners, strikes similar to the ones used by Karate or other striking styles.  Nonetheless I never encountered or heard of anybody practicing these techniques.  That means that all training relies on the opponent grabbing you with the intention of applying a Judo technique.  This is pretty much useless if somebody, as it can happen in many cases in the street, attacks you with a strike of some kind, either a punch or a kick.  The other bad habit instilled by Judo is relying on an opponent wearing a Gi (typical jacket and trousers made out of thick cotton fabric) that has broad and strong sleeves and a belt: if you face an opponent wearing t-shirt and shorts you’ll find that good part of the common techniques of this style do not work because you cannot grab your opponent in a way that allows you to apply the technique itself.  Although in terms of safety Judo training is reasonably safe I know of many joint and shoulder injuries caused by excessively zealous joint locks or wrong fall breaks.


I am convinced that some of the basics of Judo are very useful concepts to be aware of: at the same I would not rely on this martial art for self defence because of its intrinsic limitations.  I therefore would not suggest considering Judo as a unique martial art to be learnt.

In any case I firmly believe that a decent or good knowledge of two or three martial arts is fundamental to have a reasonable understanding of how the same thing can be done differently.

Gin – Is It Really Mother’s Ruin?

Gin has made a bit of a comeback as of late. In the old days (i.e. when I was young) there was only one gin we’d drink and that was Gordon’s. This would be with an “ice and a slice” I used to drink it during my early college days in the days of Hooch (what did become of Hooch?)

I then moved onto vodka and would only drink one brand as I and many others knew no different. This was Smirnoff Red. It was the obligatory drink to bring to a party and we’d enjoy it with cranberry juice.

In the last 5 years or so vodka has now moved into the flavoured category: we have vodka with many different flavours such as raspberry, lime, and blueberry – a whole plethora of flavours tickling our taste buds. I’ve actually moved away from vodka as to be frank got bored of it. It actually has no flavour and I can’t see the point.

Somehow gin is moving into its own new category and some new gins are so light you could almost describe them as flavoured vodka. You can even drink gin straight and that’s not just coming from me who works for a spirit company but you really can and it’s quite nice.

So what is gin? Essentially gins are made with ethyl alcohol flavoured with juniper berries. There are different types of gin and the most popular choice is London Dry Gin. In order to be called a London Dry gin the Master distiller must follow certain EU guidelines. London Dry gin must contain some level of juniper berries –the predominant flavour must be juniper, it must not be coloured, of an ABV of at least 37.5% and at the time of distillation all the ingredients must be present. The ingredients refer to the botanicals that are added to the copper pot still where it heats up and all the magic comes together. Water is the only permitted ingredient and this must be demineralised water and never regular tap water.

Juniper berries have always been recognised from ancient times as possessing medicinal properties. As early as the 11th century, Italian monks were already crudely distilling their own. The Dutch physician Franciscus Sylvius is credited with having invented gin. During the mid 17th century gin was very popular in Holland and Belgium and was known as Genever which we still have today. During the 80 years war thanks to the Dutch the English troops were already sipping some gin before battle and this was known as “Dutch Courage” a term we still use to this day.

Gin became very popular during the Restoration during the reign of William of Orange – and gin was then produced illegally in crude, inferior forms sometimes flavoured with turpentine and unregulated water.

Gin Lane


Gin became even more popular in England after the government allowed unlicensed gin production and also imposed a heavy duty on all imported spirits. This lead to people distilling their own at home with poor quality grain and thousands of gin shops sprang up also known as bathtub gin. Gin was also blamed for various social and medical problems which led to the famous Gin Lane painting by Hogarth – unregulated gin production and the term Mother’s ruin – a term we still hear to this day. There were various gin acts such as the Gin Act of 1736 which imposed high taxes on retailers and led to riots in the streets.

The London Dry gin was developed in the late 18th century using pot stills and in British Colonies gin was used to mask the bitter flavour of quinine. Quinine was also used to combat malaria so that is where the gin and tonic derived from. To this day tonic can put people off gin as it does have a particular bitter taste.

Essentially vodka is unfinished gin. Gin is much more complex and we are seeing a real turn to more interesting cocktails using gin such as the Gin Martini (shaken or stirred), Negronis containing campari and gin – lovely refreshing cocktail, Gimlets just with lemon juice and even Gin mojitos. All very exciting stuff.

Gin Martini

So that’s just the nuts and bolts stuff: it does get quite complicated with the distillation process and all the individual botanicals but we can discuss that another time.

So I have the pleasure of working for a spirits company. We make and manufacture gin and vodka for the moment. It is very interesting. I’ve been here for just over a year. Very different to my previous career in media and dating! However combines many of my key skills such as those all important people skills, putting events together and sales / marketing.

Last week I had an event at a lovely boutique Hotel the Pelham Hotel in South Kensington. It was an early Christmas party entitled “Christmas comes early” and it certainly did on one of the hottest evenings of the year! Our gin brand which is distinctly floral was chosen to be the sponsor combined with canapés and food pairings.

The Pelham is a beautiful quaint boutique style Hotel. It has been described as London’s “finest Town House Hotel” and what a fine Hotel it is. It feels like a mini stately home but without all the pomp and circumstance. It is probably the most chilled out boutique Hotel I have been to. I love to escape from the hustle and bustle of London life and use it as my retreat.

We were in one of the main function rooms overlooking the hustle and bustle outside. It is directly opposite South Kensington station. The Hotel’s main objective to allow new potential guests to try the Christmas menu for parties or functions.

The canapés were delicious from glazed pork belly with an apple compote, ricotta cheese and butternut squash arancini, confit duck and terragon croustade, poached pear and goat cheese tartlet, smoked salmon, dill scone and crème fraiche.

The sweets included old fashioned whisky jelly shot, mulled wine ice cream and mini baileys fondant.

On the gin side with the gin being so floral we had a special bellini with the gin, fresh berries plus prosecco, another take on a Christmas cocktail with cinnamon liquor, gin, apple and prosecco.

It was paired up beautifully. So who was there – a mixture of local businesses, journalists, some drinks people, local Hotels, and general potential clients who may well book and enjoy their Christmas party there.

There was a lovely ambiance – Christmas but a warm feeling, great people, food and cocktails. A perfect evening to round off a hot Summer’s evening (in October!)

I regularly get invited to events and functions either with the spirit as a sponsor or as a guest. I am lucky to try out new bars and restaurants in London so happy to report back on my findings.

Until the next time…

Image reproduced from Wikipedia Commons

Savoury Cereal Snack

A few weeks ago myself and my friend Nayna went to a cupcake decoration class in London. We both had a very great time there.

On the way back Nayna invited me to her house for lunch. She really spoiled me with an elaborate lunch and she cooked Methi Poodla, and Rice Khichee and served them with lots of dips and pickles. Everything was so delicious and she also served this Cereal Chevdo to me. I was amazed by just looking at it and when I ate it I was blown off my feet! Before I had even said anything she filled up a big bag for my family. She told me that this recipe was from one of her other friends.

Thank you so much Nayna! Next time it is your turn to come to my house. Since then I have been making these chevdos every week for my family. Also they are not only a hit in my family, but in my daughter’s friends family too! I adapted the recipe a little bit and did not add turmeric powder or dried red chillies.

You will need:
Basic cereals:

1 small bowl of each around 100 gr

  • Cornflakes
  • Cheerios
  • Bran flakes
  • All bran sticks
  • Rice crisps
  • Shredded wheat
  • Shreddies
  • Multi grain start
  • Almonds
  • Cashew nuts

For the Masala:

  • 2-3 tbp oil
  • 3-4 green chillies sliced (round)
  • 10-12 curry leaves
  • 5-6 cloves
  • 1-2 small Cinnamon sticks
  • salt to taste
  • 2-3 tbp sugar
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp citric acid  (limbu na phool)
  • 1 1/2 tsp red chilli powder


Roast almonds and cashew nuts in the oven or in microwave for about 5-6 minutes. Place all the cereals and nuts in a large bowl.
Grind sugar and citric acid in a coffee grinder and grind until it turns into fine powder. Add three quarters of that  into the cereals. Add chilli powder and salt to the cereals and mix very well.

Heat oil in a small pan, add cloves and cinnamon and fry them for few seconds, remove them from the oil and add into cereal bowl. To the remaining hot oil add curry leaves and fry until they are a little crispier. Remove them and add them to the cereal bowl. Add green chillies to some oil and fry till they are crispy (be careful as chilli seeds might pop out). Pour the oil and chillies into the cereal mixture.

Gently give it a good mix with your hands, so that all the spices and the sugar coat the cereals really well. If you wish to make the flavour even more intense, then add the remaining ground sugar and the citric acid and give another good mix. When the cereal mixtures cool down transfer them into an air tight container. Serve on its own or with a bowl of yoghurt for breakfast.

Enjoy as much as my family does. I have to warn you as the above measurement of ingredients is not enough for more than one week.

Nut Roast Biryani

I am delighted to announce  that my recipe Nut Roast Biryani  has been published in Take a Break (issue 13) – My favourite magazine in the UK.

If you would like to vote for my recipe, please do so on facebook here (page 42).


We all love this aromatic vegetarian Biryani, it is delicious !!

For the rice:
200g basmati rice
Salt to taste
Few whole spices like cloves, cinnamon and bay leaves
1 packet of nut roast mix

For the gravy:
1 tbs oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/2 tin of plum tomatoes (puréed)
2 tbs crushed green chillies and ginger
1 tbs red chilli powder
1/2 tbs ground turmeric
200g spinach, finely chopped
2 tbs
fresh chopped mint leaves
1 tbs garam masala
50ml single cream
1/2 tbs cardamom powder
Salt, to taste

For the topping
75ml single cream
1 tbs butter
7-8 threads saffron



1 Wash the rice 3-4 times with cold water and leave it to soak for 20-30 mins.
Add rice in a pan with whole spices and salt in a 500ml of boiling water.
Simmer, cook until al dente. Keep aside for later.
2 Cook the nut roast according to packet instruction. Leave it to cool and cut in squares.
3 Make the gravy. Heat the oil in a heavy bottom pan, add the onion and fry until light brown. Add the puréed tomatoes, chillies and ginger, red chilli powder and turmeric and cook until you can see oil at the side of the pan .
4 Add the spinach and mint and cook for 2-3 mins. Add the garam masala, cream,
cardamom powder and salt. Mix well and leave aside.
5 Preheat the oven to 190C/gas 5. Grease an ovenproof dish and spread the half the cooked rice to form one layer. Arrange the nut roast squares over the rice. Pour the gravy evenly over the top. Top with the remaining rice.
6 Heat 75ml cream with 1 tbs butter and the saffron threads. Simmer for 2-3 mins and pour over the layered biryani. Cover the biryani dish with a lid and bake for 15-20 mins. Serve hot with raita.

The 3 Body Types: Endomorph, Ectomorph & Mesomorph

Ever wondered why a training routine that appears to be followed by a celebrity doesn’t seem to be working for you? Or what may work wonders for your friends figure has no effect on your shape whatsoever? This is because we all have different body types and need to account for this when planning a workout or nutritional plan.

To begin, identify what somatotype (body type) you are, untrained. This means what your body would look like without any training.

Ectomorphs are naturally thin with a small bone structure, meaning small wrists, narrow shoulder width and thin muscles. This makes it difficult to put on weight, both fat and muscle.

Endomorphs are softer and curvy, naturally hefty with a round shape and thick joint. It is easy to put on weight, both fat and muscle.

Mesomorphs have a naturally athletic physique with an upright posture and broad shoulders, small waist, T shape or a rectangular shape with thick skin. They can even have good definition and muscularity without lifting weights or doing much exercise.

It’s possible to be a combination of the above somatotypes. It is rare to find a person who is at a total extremity. The term phenotype is defined as “The observable physical or biochemical characteristics of an organism, as determined by both genetic makeup and environmental influences.”

This scale uses three digits, each of which describes how prominent a certain body type is. For instance, a pure endomorph (hefty build) would be a 7-1-1. A pure mesomorph (athletic build) would be a 1-7-1. A pure ectomorph (thin build) would be a 1-1-7. A totally average person would be a 4-4-4 and would have a little of each body type.

There is a clear visible physical distinction between the three phenotypes, but what is not visible and often ignored is the biochemical and metabolic differences between the three phenotypes.

Each phenotype has its advantages and disadvantages with regards to training and these need to be respected in order to achieve a goal or a change in body shape.

An ectomorph will find bodyweight exercises easy with practice such as pull-ups, dips, push-ups, chin-ups due to having a lighter weight than a meso or endo. Ectos are also able to achieve the best definition because of the ease of losing fat, and the natural lean structure.

Ectomorphs may have a disadvantage in gaining muscle mass, but find it easy to stay lean and are better suited to lower intensities. Losing fat can be more difficult as they have less to lose and will inevitably lose a small amount of muscle which they have less of. Endos will find losing fat easier as they can afford to lose some muscle, as with mesomorphs.

Endomorphs have the most limited range of effective workouts and may be unable to do some effective exercises such as pull-ups, dips, push-ups, and chin-ups due to being heavier.

However endos are able to solely focus on strength gains at first since they are naturally big and can often put on size quickly, shortening the time needed for muscular gains. Endos trying to lose weight can do a variety of exercises.

Mesomorphs advantages are broad shoulders, small waist, thick skin, hard body, strong posture and the readiness to gain muscle and lose body fat and can push their bodies very hard.

Training to your body type will work on your strengths, improve weaknesses and help you achieve your goal without overtraining or injuring your body with wasted hours doing the wrong kind of workouts.

Image reproduced from

Turkey Escalopes

turkey escalopes

It’s official, I’ve become a Nigella Lawson clone. I was looking in my freezer the other day and I came across some frozen breadcrumbs and thought I would use them. When I started this blog I said that I hated the way TV cooks always had stuff just laying around in there freezers or cupboards and now it’s happening to me….bugger…..there goes that argument…..But it’s better to freeze what you have left over than throwing it in the bin or as I do by leaving it out for your resident fox, as we do frequently.

This is a another very simple dish and doesn’t take long to prepare and about 20 minutes to cook. I cooked them in the oven as it’s healthier than frying in a pan with lots of butter, but either way is okay, depending on how you prefer to cook it.


100g breadcrumbs
2tbsp sage, finely chopped
salt and pepper to season
1 large egg, whisked with a fork
4 turkey steaks
vegetable oil


If you are cooking in the over pre-heat the oven to 180c/350f/gas 4. Place the breadcrumbs on a plate and mix in the sage and season to taste.

Take one steak and dunk it in the egg, so the turkey is completely covered.

Place each turkey steak into the breadcrumb mixture turning it over a few times until covered.

If you are doing in the oven, place each escalope on a lightly oil baking tray and cook for 20 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown

If you are frying add 25g of butter and a splash of oil into a frying pan. Once the butter has melted add the escalopes and cook until the breadcrumbs are golden brown.

Risk of E. Coli is Much Lower in Grass-fed Ground Beef

People may intuitively understand that local, grass-fed ground beef is safer than conventional ground meat, but I doubt that they understand just how much safer it really is, and why.

There are three basic reasons why it is safer.

First, cows are ruminants and evolved to eat grass.  Unfortunately, cows that are raised in the conventional food system are not fed grass, but rather, grain.  And lots of it.  The digestive systems of ruminants are not designed to process large amounts of grain, and the grain-based diet causes abnormal changes in the acidity of one of the animal’s stomachs, called the rumin.  This abnormal acidity allows for the proliferation of harmful bacteria like E. coli in the animal’s digestive system, and during the butchering process this harmful bacteria often finds its way into the meat.

Second, when in nature, cows roam over wide areas and spread their manure and urine on the ground in a way that the ground can easily absorb and which serves to fertilize the soil.  In the conventional food system, this process does not occur.  Instead, cows are raised in large feed-lots, called Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO’s).  These feedlots have no grass but are simply fenced-in dirt yards in which the animals have no ability to roam.  The animals stand in one place and so drop their manure and urine also in one place.  The ground cannot absorb such a constant bombardment of waste, therefore, the waste collects.  Ultimately, the cows stand and lay all day in their own feces, which becomes caked on their hides.  As a result of their grain-based diet, such manure is often contaminated with harmful bacteria like E. coli.  During the process of slaughtering and removing the hides, the harmful bacteria often contaminates the meat.

Finally, and perhaps most interestingly, conventional ground beef does not come from just one cow.  Large corporate meat-packing plants slaughter several hundred cows per hour.  Meat from many many cows is combined together in large machines that grind the meat into ground-beef for things like hamburgers.  The ground beef that comes out is not from just one animal, but from all the animals whose meat went into the machine–possiblyhundreds or even thousands.  It takes only one to spoil a party, and only one infected cow can spoil a hamburger.  The more cows, the greater the chance of infection.

The conventional beef industry has certain means of attempting to kill the bacteria in its meat, including by injecting it with various chemicals like ammonia to disinfect it, however, such methods are not entirely effective and almost certainly present health problems of their own.  See New York Times article.

Local, pasture-based, grass-fed beef does not suffer from any of these problems.  The cows eat grass that their digestive systems can easily digest without fostering the growth of harmful bacteria.  The cows roam over a wider area and spread their manure in a manner that the ground can accommodate.  The local farmer processes fewer animals, and he likely processes them in a way that rarely combines meat from different animals.  The only way that a hamburger from his meat is contaminated is if the one cow that produced the meat was infected, which is itself extremely unlikely given the natural conditions in which the cow lived.  After all is said and done, that farmer can save his ammonia for washing dishes.

For these reasons, grass-fed, pasture-based beef is not merely safer than conventionally raised beef.  It is HUNDREDS of times safer.  So think of that next time you’re about to order your McDonald’s Big N’ Tasty.

Image source:  Picture taken by Grant Cochrane, whose portfolio may be viewed here.

Crispy Sesame Fried Tofu

Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside with a hint of nuttiness – this Japanese appetizer is a perfect summer treat when served along with some chilled lemonade. Or relish this vegan starter with some sweet & spicy Asian flavored dipping sauce. This appetizer is a perfect side to some light and clear soups too! It is easy to put together but is a nice touch to your vegan or Asian or summer menu!


Preparation Time : 15 mins

Cooking Time : 10-15 mins

Makes 12 pieces

 Ingredients :

Tofu – 12 pieces of 2″x1″

Vegetable oil – to pan/ shallow fry

Spring onion greens (optional) – to garnish

For the batter :

Plain Flour – 1/2 cup

Cornflour – 2 tbsp

Baking powder – 1/4 tsp

Black pepper powder – 1 tsp or to taste

Salt – to taste

For crispy coating :

Cornflakes – 1/2 cup crushed or as needed

Black sesame seeds – 1 to 2 tbsp

To Serve :

Sweet Chiili Sauce or Chilli Jam


Method :

1. Take tofu block and put it in a bowl of hot water for 3 to 4 mins (not more). Drain well. You can keep this tofu in  a muslin cloth and put it between two wooden blocks for few minutes to drain well as tofu contains large quantities of water. Cut into cubes.

Crush the cornflakes with hands or in a blender till almost fine (leave it slightly coarse).

2. In a bowl combine all the ingredients for the batter. Add enough water to make a thick batter of fritters batter consistency.

3. In another shallow bowl/plate  combine the crushed cornflakes and the sesame seeds. Mix lightly.

4. Dip the tofu cubes in the batter, roll in the cornflakes mixture and pan fry in few tsps oil till they turn golden brown on all sides.

5. Garnish and serve hot with Sweet Chilli Sauce.


Notes :

1. You could add white sesame seeds instead of black.

2. Soaking tofu in hot water will help to remove impurities if any and soften them enough to absorb the flavors of the other ingredients well.





Eat What’s Right for Your Body Type

Although there are government guidelines regarding the recommended quantity of macronutrients that we all should be eating, there are actually three different macronutrient recommendations one could choose to follow, depending on how your body burns.

If your body tends to store fat easily, you will need to eat a different amount of carbs, protein and fat to someone else who burns their food slowly and rarely stores fat.

During the process when food is broken down, oxidation occurs, converting carbs into glucose. This is released in the blood, stimulating the pancreas to release the hormone insulin to mop up the glucose(sugar) from the blood. This sugar is not being utilised by the body for energy and it needs to be stored in the cells as fat.

Depending on our body types, we oxidise foods in different ways. This can explain why certain diets work on celebs or our friends but not on us.

To eat correctly for your body type, it is important to understand which type you are. This can help you consume the optimum nutrients to achieve maximum results.

Fast oxidisers store fat easily. This is because the nutrients in their food are broken down very so rapidly that the carb content is broken down to glucose and released into the blood almost at once. This sudden increase in blood sugar quickly causes vast amounts of insulin to be released to mop up the extra glucose, which the body then stores as fat in the cells.

The more carb content in a fast oxidiser’s food, the more energy will be available to the body right away, and so more fat is stored.

The hormone insulin works quickly to remove the glucose from the blood, causing a dramatic rise and inevitable fall in blood sugar levels that result from fast oxidation. This is called a sugar crash. For a fast oxidiser, foods with high carb ratios will therefore cause fatigue, carb cravings and fat storage.

Fast oxidisers would benefit from consuming meals with more proteins and fats in order to slow down their rate of oxidation and insulin release, and to better promote stable blood sugar and sustained energy levels.

On the other end of the scale, slow oxidisers burn through the nutrients in their food slowly and do not release the glucose from carbohydrates into the blood quickly enough, which means that they do not get converted into glucose, and energy production and availability are delayed. They will be less likely to store fat.

The presence of protein and fat in the meal will slow down the rate of oxidisation even further, so a slow oxidiser should eat a higher ratio of carbs in order to gain an increase in energy as storing fat is far less of an issue.

As you have probably guessed, balanced oxidisers fall right in between the two. Ideally meals should contain equal quantities of protein, fat, and carbs in order to obtain the maximum amount of nutrients and energy from the foods.

The three main body types are shown below with the ideal macronutrient percentage of your total daily food intake, and per meal.

1. Fast oxidisers: 20%carbs, 50% protein, 30%fat.
2. Slow oxidizers: 60%carbs, 25%protein, and 15%fat.
3. Balanced oxidizers: 40%carbs, 30%protein, and 30%fat

Sewing on a Button using a Matchstick

All you need to sew on a button: needle, thread, thimble… and half a matchstick!button1

Even if you pay £2000 for a suit, the sad fact is that buttons do fall off, even the ones sewn on by hand by the best Savile Row tailors.

Now I don’t think for a moment that the ladies and gentlemen who read English Cut are incapable of sewing a button on. But as with everything in life, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it.

Sewing a button on correctly is particularly important with the key button on a coat, the middle waist-fastening button (With Savile Row you only button the middle button; never the top or the bottom).

The secret here is to sew the button on with enough “shank” (the amount of space allowed by the thread, between the button and the coat). Ideally you want a quarter-inch shank. Anything more makes the button droopy, anything less can make the front of your suit look too tight, even downright awful.

Yes, even something as minor as this can create a serious problem.

Obviously the Savile Row tailors will have sewn on thousands of buttons in their time, so getting the right amount of shank is easy for them. But what if you’re a novice?

Here’s a great tip:

Get yourself a standard wooden match, and break it in half. Place it over the top of the button, then thread the button around it, as seen in the following picture.

button2Then once the button is good and sewn, pull the match away… the slack created by where the match used to be will give the thread that extra length needed to get the correct shank. Then finish the job by wrapping the remainder of the thread around the shank, and sewing through. Just like you would normally.


Sewn-on button with quarter-inch shank. Voila!

It’s a simple trick, but it works every time.

Here’s another great tip:

Ideally, you should run the thread through a piece of beeswax before sewing, or use prewaxed thread. First, this waterproofs the thread. Secondly, beeswax acts as a lubricant, allowing the thread to be sewn in more gently. Both help to prolong the the length of time the button will stay on.

Savoury Lentil Cake (Ondhwo/Handvo)


This savoury lentil cake called Ondhwa/Handvo by the Gujarati’s is a perfect dish to serve for weekend brunches, snacks and picnics.  I often serve it at BBQ’s too.

Ingredients for 4 servings: 

2 cups of ground chick pea dall (I soaked 2 cups of  chana dall and blended it in a blender using some water.  You can freeze the left over mixture)
½ cup corn flour
½ cup chick pea flour (Chana flour)
½ cup wheat flour
½ cup yogurt
½ cup chick peas or which should be soaked overnight and then boiled until soft. (you can used canned version too!)
1 onion – chopped finely
1 carrot – grated
1 cup grated cabbage
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables ( you can use any mixture you like)
3-4 cloves of garlic – minced
1 tsp. grated ginger
1-2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon chilly powder (optional)
3-4 green chillies – finely chopped (optional)
½ tsp soda bicarbonate
3-4 tsbp lemon juice
1 tsbp sunflower seeds  (optional)

For the tempering:
1 tsp. cumin seeds
4-5 tbsp oil
3-4 tbsp sesame seeds (save some to sprinkle on the top of the ondhwa)
2-3 cloves
1-2 cinnamon sticks
1 dried red chilly (optional)


 1.  Pour all your flours into a mixing bowl and add yogurt and 1 cup of warm water and stir until smooth.

2.  Mix all your vegetables and chick peas in one bowl.  If you are using frozen vegetables, make sure they are defrosted.


3.  Mix the vegetables and the mixed flours in a big mixing bowl.  Add all the spices and the ginger, garlic and green chillies and mix well.


4.  Add the lemon juice, mix and add the soda bicarbonate.  The mixture should now rise a bit.

5. In a separate saucepan, heat the oil and add the tempering mixture – sesame seeds, cloves , cumin seeds, cinnamon sticks, dried chillies.  Once the spices stop popping add them to the ondhwa mixture and stir.


6.  Transfer the mixture to a greased cake or bread tin and sprinkle some sesame seeds and sunflower seeds on the top and cook at 170 degrees C for 30 minutes.  Lower the heat after that to 140 degrees for 20 minutes.  Check if its cooked by putting a knife into the middle of the ondhwa.  It should come out dry if its cooked.  The top of the Ondhwa should be crispy and look fairly dark brown.

7.  Serve it hot or cold with any sauce.



Differences Between Kickboxing and Thai Boxing

Many people, too many people, confuse Kickboxing with Thai Boxing (also called Muai Thai). Perhaps it is because of the generalisation that many schools do in defining any fighting sport that uses upper and lower body strikes (e.g. punches and kicks) as Kickboxing.  I used the term fighting sport to indicate a martial art that gets practiced according to some sporting rules: these rules define, among other things, what can be used as a striking weapon and what areas of the opponent’s body can be hit.

Thai Boxing

In general, the correct definition for Kickboxing is what is also called American Kickboxing, the style initially defined in the late sixties/ early seventies as Full Contact Karate.  The pioneers of this sport where people like Bill Wallace, Joe Lewis and Benny Urquidez: they eventually renamed it Kickboxing to indicate a boxing fight with added kicks. In traditional Karate people and arestill fighting with little or no contact.  Several other styles also some people call Kickboxing while obviously being something else. Thai Boxing is a typical example but Savate, a French style with some obvious differences, people call Kickboxing and even Sanda, a sport application of Kung Fu is sometimes called Chinese Kickboxing.

Although there are some very obvious differences between Kickboxing and Thai Boxing I will try to make them very obvious for the beginner:

  • Kickboxing is American and Thai Boxing is Thai… not that easy to spot by the untrained observer but the most obvious aspect of this difference is in the uniform that is generally adopted although there are exceptions.  The former uses (and imposes during tournaments) long trousers while the latter uses broad silk shorts, usually in very bright colours.
  • Kickboxing uses the same range of punches from standard IBF Boxing plus back fist and knife hand strike together with all most obvious kicks: front, side, round, axe and so on, including all variations of jumping and spinning back.  Thai Boxing allows all of the above and adds elbow and knee strikes: in reality knees are considered a kind of preferential weapon and they tend to deliver a high percentage of the most devastating blows.
  • In Kickboxing you cannot grab and hold any of the opponents limbs or body parts. Thai Boxing allows for example grabbing the opponent’s leg and hold onto it while striking at the rest of the body; it is also allowed to clinch and strike at the same time.
  • Kickboxing’s techniques can land on the opponent’s torso, face and head: no strikes are allowed to the legs, back or back of the head.  Thai Boxing can strike everywhere excluding the groin area.
  • Kickboxing is practiced wearing full protection kit made of gloves, mouth guard, groin guard, shin and foot pad: Thai Boxing fighters wear just gloves, mouth and groin guard.
  • Kickboxing’s competitions can follow semi, light or full contact rules. Thai Boxing just applies to full contact.

Because video are better than words, now that a bit of explanation has been offered, please have a look at these two examples I found.  The first is a friendly demonstration fight between Bill Wallace and Dominique Valera. Note the variety of techniques and how spectacular they look.  If they were in a competition they would have been less spectacular and much more violent:

The second video shows a Thai Boxing fight.  Although the number of techniques available to Thai Boxing fighters is larger than most of the other fighting sports the actual number of techniques effectively used is generally smaller:

I hope you enjoyed this post and the video I selected as examples. Any comment are as usual highly appreciated.

Image reproduced from

Book Review: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life

I recently read the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, by Barbara Kingsolver.  This book tells the story of the author and her family who, having lived for a long period in Tucson, Arizona, packed up and moved to a rural area in western Virginia where they attempted to live one entire year eating almost nothing other than what they could grow for themselves or obtain from nearby local farms.

I found this book very entertaining.  It presents a ton of interesting and useful information about the biology of fruits and vegetables.  This information is the kind that people once took for granted but now, with modern supermarkets, have forgotten.  It mentions everything from which vegetables are actually flowers to the sex lives of turkeys.  The author, along with her husband and co-author Steven Hopp, provide a lot of information on the politics of food and how our modern food culture is dominated by large industry.  The book provides numerous recipes.  But most significantly, it explains, in an interesting and colorful way, how important it is to understand food, where it comes from, the role it plays in local economies, and how it feeds not just bodies but also the spirit of communities.  The book is less a source of information than it is a work of art showing an example of a healthy outlook on the place that food should have in our lives.

All this being said, the book does not provide a model of how to eat.  Its theme is strongly pro-vegetarian, discussing at length the produce that the author and her family grow, eat, and preserve, and it makes rare mention of any kind of meat, with the exception of eggs and the occasional chicken or turkey.  The author leaves the reader with the strong impression that she and her family eat almost all vegetables and grains.  The author admits without apology that she and her family frequently eat pasta, often store-bought.  For all of her discussion of vegetables, the author never mentions lacto-fermented vegetables.  She never mentions the benefits of soaking grain.  She does not attempt to debunk the myth that saturated fat is linked to heart disease.  And she never explains the extreme benefits of raw dairy or organ meat.  While her dietary recommendations, as I could gather, would certainly be an enormous improvement from the typical American diet, it does not serve as a model for a traditional diet.

I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle because it was recommended by Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms, who is closely allied with the Weston A. Price Foundation.  In the end, this book does not advocate for the traditional foodways that Weston A. Price promoted.  However, I’m glad I read it.  It was delightful to read, and it does inspire people to be aware of where food comes from and of the value of growing and preparing one’s own food, and it encourages people to support local economies and communities with local food-buying practices.

I give it a thumbs up.