Category Archives: Budgeting

Food on Friday ~ Quick and Easy

my friend cooks with wine, sometimes she even adds it to the food

In an ideal world each of us would have a gorgeous kitchen, a larder full of exactly the right ingredients, and lots of time to create wonderfully, brilliant, healthy and tasty dishes.  Mostly the world isn’t like that, and for many of us there are so many other things we need and want to do rather than stand over a hot stove.  Particularly when the weather is wonderful ~ or we have to go to work.  Or have a long, hot, soak in the tub.

This week we’re concentrating on quicker and easier wonderful, brilliant, healthy, and tasty recipes.

First up this week, from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest; 15 Minute Garlic Butter Ramen Noodles.  Simple, easy, fast, and looking delicious.

15 Minute Garlic Butter Ramen Noodles

Another noodles dish, this time from Chungah at Damn Delicious; Quick Chicken Ramen Noodle Stir Fry.  I like stir fry dishes, my perfect one pan meal every time.  This one should be ready in 30 minutes.

Quick Chicken Ramen Noodle Stir Fry

Something I must try, from Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb is a Cajun Shrimp and Rice Skillet.  This is a one pan dish you should be ale to prepare and cook in just 30 minutes, less if your seasoning is ready mixed.

Cajun Shrimp and Rice Skillet

At this time of year some of you may have peppers growing in your yard.  From Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats we have these Grilled Marinated Peppers with Burrata and Breadcrumbs.  This dish may take a little longer than the others we’re looking at this week, but it’s a very relaxing kind of longer.

Grilled Marinated Peppers with Burrata and Breadcrumbs

Our first collection this week is from Diane, The Minimalist Baker 26 Quick & Easy Recipes, all of which should be ready in 30 minutes or less.  As the weather is not only mostly sunny, it’s also probably hot where you are, I’ve chosen to feature this Greek Goddess Bowl ~ something an Aphrodite would enjoy.

Greek Goddess Bowl

Another collection, this time from Country Living; 77 Best Quick, Easy Dinner Recipes You Can Make In 30 Minutes or Less.  I’ve chosen to feature this dish of Grilled Pesto Chicken with Summer Squash ~ and talking of things you may have in your vegetable patch, how brilliant if you have squash growing in your yard.

Grilled Pesto Chicken with Summer Squash

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

we each have our own idea of an Aphrodite

Songs on Saturday ~ Geordie

howay man, wesa gannin doon the toon

Yesterday I went shopping in Newcastle.  Not only does the place bring back so many memories, it’s also the best place to go shopping outside of Italy.  I always spend far too much there.  Here’s a little song to remind me of the toon.

Although Newcastle never really was my home town ~ I was born in a far more ancient and much smaller pit village.

Please listen with a smile.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

the monument

Just Ban Everything ~ Why Don’t You?

what price freedom of thought and expression

some people are natural sheep

Even though I limit myself to just 10 minutes of news a day I can’t help from noticing that the world is becoming crazier, crueler, and more bizarre as each day passes.

The latest insanity I’ve seen is a call to ban the wool trade because it’s cruel to sheep.  Here in the UK an advert by PETA, (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals ), has been canned by our advertising standards authority for claiming that ‘wool is just as cruel as fur’.  The snag is that if farmers didn’t regularly shear their sheep, then the poor animals would get very sick ~ and that really is animal cruelty.

I know that several organisations want to ban the keeping of domesticated farm animals, along with banning eating meat and wearing leather / wool.  That is never going to happen.  Although a bunch of mad scientists are busy creating artificial meat, currently only grown at vast expense in labs, but if they get their way there will be factories churning out this muck before long.  Don’t expect me to eat that, nor quorn either.

Milk substitutes are already available as an alternative to the genuine article from cows, sheep. and goats.  I suppose artificial vegan cheese actually tastes a bit like real cheese.  Luckily I have sworn off dairy products as part of my paleo diet.

The green global warming eco-warriors will be happy to have the keeping of farm animals banned because they say that the methane from bovine flatulence is a major factor in catastrophic anthropogenic climate change.  Maybe if they shouted less we’d have less CO2 in the atmosphere and less COVID-19 laden spittle floating about.

Talking of global warming, the burning of coal to generate electricity is banned here in the UK, which puts our economy at an enormous disadvantage to China, India, and the USA, where coal is still mined and used.  Next, ‘they’ will ban the use of oil based fuels, such as diesel.  Where do ‘they’ think all the electricity is going to come from to run all the electric vehicles?

More insidious, because of the COVID-19 virus, travel between counties is mostly banned, and travel within countries is banned in some places too.  Gathering together in groups is mostly banned everywhere.

Worse than that, history is banned, because some of it ‘offends’ certain minority sections of the community.  Some words are banned, some movies are banned, some songs are banned, and I’ll bet some books will be banned before ere long.

I seem to remember people like the Nazis doing this kind of totalitarian stuff.

Some say that Black Lives Matter.  And that we should all ‘take the knee’ to show respect.  All I know is that where they burn books they will soon burn people.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

some say the answer is green energy

good luck with that one

 

Food on Friday ~ 4th of July

I like to see a man proud of the place he lives

It’s July this this weekend, an important holiday in the USA.  I have no idea what traditional Independence Day food is in the USA, because, obviously we do not celebrate that here in England,  So, I’ve chosen some nice healthy dishes for this weekend.

From Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest we have this melon basil burrata salad with crispy prosciutto.  I really like the look of this dish

Melon Basil Burrata Salad with Crispy Prosciutto

Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb has this super recipe for cilantro lime marinated steak with corn salsa.  Can’t get much more American than this.

Cilantro Lime Marinated Steak with Corn Salsa

From In Diane’s Kitchen we have this easy ginger soy glazed chicken.  Ginger goes really well with chicken, and it’s so very good for you.

Ginger Soy Glazed Chicken

Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats has this fabulous looking collection of 25 recipes for July 4th.  I have chosen to feature these smokey blood orange BBQ ribs with avocado butter greens.  Enjoy

Smokey Blood Orange BBQ Ribs with Avocado Butter Greens

Finally for this week we have 59 easy 4th of July recipes from Good Housekeeping.  I’ve chosen to feature something different, a grilled leek potato salad.

Grilled Leek Potato Salad

And, these charred shrimp, leek, and asparagus skewers.  I happen to like leeks.

Charred Shrimp, Leek, and Asparagus Skewers

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Balboa Island

I wonder if anything will be open this July 4th

Food on Friday ~ Lazy Summer

roll out those lazy hazy crazy days of summer

So, what is it?  Spend the days isolated in lockdown?  Or do we get out into the yard, have family over, have friends round, or just enjoy ourselves in the warm summer sunshine?

I guess you all know which end of the spectrum I’d prefer.  But then, at my age I’m not so risk-averse.

Should you wish to try some alfresco dining then I heartily commend these recipes to you.

Since we can’t go travelling the world, there’s a cosmopolitan flavour to the dishes this week.

First up, from Amanda at Chez le Rêve Français, we have this Tuscan roast pork with apples.  I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Tuscany; Florence, Sienna, Pisa…..  but the food there is fabulous.  Amanda captures the atmosphere perfectly with this dish that would be great on any alfresco dining table.

T

Tuscan Roast Pork with Apples

Since you probably don’t want to go trogging off to stand in line at IKEA, I offer you this Swedish meatball pasta, from Chungah at Damn Delicious.

Swedish Meatball Pasta

From semi-professional taco eater Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb here’s a dish of Cajun shrimp and rice, cooked in a skillet, so easy and so delicious.  Great with a salad.  I’ve had a very similar dish in the West Indies, on a beach of silver sand.

Cajun Shrimp and Rice

To go along with any of the dishes this week, or as a fabulous, healthy meal in its own right we have this beautiful Mediterranean Salad from Heather Christo.  She does make good looking dishes.

Mediterranean Salad

Our collection this week comes from Good Housekeeping Magazine their 75 quick summer dinner ideas for easier weeknights ~ weeknights? Hell!  These dishes are great at any time.  From this collection I’ve chosen to feature this grilled Moroccan steak and carrots.  It’s worth getting the spices and doing this properly, you’ll love it!

Grilled Moroccan Steak and Carrots

And for desert, or as an alfresco brunch, we have this blueberry Dutch baby panckake from Andrea at Cooking with a Walflower.  Fantastic with vanilla ice cream.

Blueberry Dutch Baby Pancake

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

blackened shrimp kale Caesar salad

an odd fact,

women like kale much better than guys do

Food on Friday ~ Music

all we ever get is gruel

As it goes, lots of Americans eat gruel all the time ~ it’s merely another name for oatmeal.  Mixed thin mind you, but oatmeal nontheless.  This from the musical Oliver, based on Charles Dickens seminal work; Oliver Twist.

Some things mentioned in that song you may not have heard of; pease pudding and savaloy.  You’re not missing much if you’ve never tried either.

Please listen with a proper appetite.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

no doubt Oliver, the Artful Dodger, et al

would enjoy this strawberry and rhubarb pie

Personal Finance 101

neither a borrower nor lender be

The phrase above comes from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and actually refers to never lend nor borrow from a friend, but I would expand that to include never lending to nor borrowing from a family member, partner, lover, or anyone else for that matter.  Often you will never, ever see a single penny paid back to you.  I would also expend that to say never, ever, ever stand as guarantor for anyone either. Because as guarantor you are jointly end severally liable for the whole debt, plus interest, plus charges ~ up to and including losing your home and everything else you own.

  1. Work out your monthly budget, with hard numbers.  How much do you have coming in, and how much goes out, and on what?  If you have more going out than you have coming in, then stop fucking wasting money on cigarettes, booze, gambling, drugs, vacations, sex, new clothes and shoes you don’t need….  Or get a higher paid honest job.
  2. Only ever borrow for two reason; #1 a mortgage to buy your home  #2 to buy your car, if you must have a car.  (actually student loans to pay for your education sometimes make a third reason)  The only borrowing I have ever had, in my whole life, was a mortgage on my home.
  3. Pay off your debts just as soon as you possibly can, and only take out a loan if that is allowed in the documentation with no penalties.  Don’t ever borrow from anyone other than highly respected, and properly regulated institutions.  If you have never heard of them, don’t touch them with a barge pole.
  4. Never, ever, ever borrow on a credit card, for any reason whatsoever.  Only buy something on your plastic if you can afford to pay for it in hard cash right there and then, and always pay off all your card debt in full every single month.  The interest rates on credit cards are stupidly high.  Anyone who says using a credit card / line of credit to consolidate your borrowing is a crook.
  5. On the other hand, I buy everything on plastic.  I do that for 3 reasons #1 I get good points which I can use to get other things #2 because I pay off my card bills in full every month, I get 1 month’s free credit  #3 if I have a dispute with the seller, then in the UK the card company will, at the end of the day, refund me in full in the seller will not, or cannot.
  6. Save for your retirement, however that works in your country and in your company.  Save as much as you can afford for your retirement.
  7. Never ever trust anyone who tries to sell you any kind of financial product whatsoever.  If it sounds too good to be true, then it is.  If you don’t understand it, then it’s a scam.  Never, ever believe anything you see on the internet ~ especially on YouTube.  Everybody lies sometimes, sales people lie all the time.  Often they believe their own lies, or they’re to badly educated to understand their own products.  (That applies to all sales people.)

We had a mantra when I worked in Banking and Finance in The City of London;  ‘My Word Is My Bond’.  Sadly that no longer applies anywhere.  The world of Savings, Loans, Credit Cards, Banking, Finance, The Stock Markets, Real Estate….. are today full of the ignorant, dishonest, liars, charlatans, confidence tricksters, and crooks.

We had another saying in the City of London caveat emptor; which is Latin for Let the Buyer Beware.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Food on Friday ~ Scallops

you can keep your oysters, but give me Scottish Scallops

Just around the corner from the garret is a fantastic old-fashioned fishmonger ~ well this is an old-fashioned fishing harbour, although because of the European Union we don’t do that much fishing from here at present.  But, this fishmonger is the real deal, they have fresh fish and shellfish you just wouldn’t get at the fish counter in your local supermarket.  They may be slightly pricier, but you get what you pay for, and do these guys know their fish…..

So, this weekend I have a fancy for scallops, and I know the fishmongers usually has great Scottish King Scallops, (a.k.a. great scallop, clam, Couquille St. Jaques).

Now all I need is a great recipe.

Andrea at Cooking with a Wallflower has a really nice recipe for pan seared scallops pasta carbonara.  I know this recipe is very fast and very easy, as well as being something you could serve at a posh dinner party.  I love this.

Pan Seared Scallops Pasta Carbonara

Now, from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest I can offer you these honey butter blackened scallops with herby polenta.  I love that these scallops are just seared in a hot pan with spices, honey, and butter.  Perfect if you just happen to have a skillet in you pan drawer.  Simple, easy, perfect.

Honey Butter Blackened Scallops with Herby Polenta

Next up is Chungah from Damn Delicious with her garlic butter scallop bowls ~ I love the cilantro lime rice and pico de gallo too.  Now that summer is with us, (even here in England), this is a perfect dish for an alfresco luncheon.

Garlic Butter Scallop Bowls

Another dish from Chungah at Damn Delicious; bacon scallops with garlic butter sauce.  I just had to include this recipe because of it’s 3 great components; scallops, bacon, and garlic butter.  What’s not to like?

Bacon Scallops with Garlic Butter Sauce

From Petra at Food Eat Love we have this delicate dish of scallops with mango and spring onion salsa.  Perfect to serve with drinks, and so very, very easy.

Scallops with Mango and Spring Onion Salsa

Last for this week is a collection of 18 scallop recipes from Delicious Magazine.  I’ve chosen to feature this warm salad of pear, scallop, and chorizo.  I think the disparate flavours in this dish will go well together, and you should be able to have it ready in under half-an-hour.

Warm Salad of Pear, Scallop, and Chorizo

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

I don’t think they’re after scallops

The Art of Attracting Women

Faint Heart could never win Fair Lady

This is all an artificial construct, because a very sensual, intelligent, emotionally mature, and very grounded woman can never be attracted by techniques, or schemes, or cunning artifice.  The only person who could ever deceive that woman, or make her date an unsuitable man, or get into a less than ideal relationship is herself.  And, women can be very good at fooling themselves, not that they would ever admit that, (hardly ever anyway).

There are innumerable works out there which will purport to tell a guy how to pick up a woman, how to regularly get casual sex, how to manipulate women, how to fuck them and leave them, and how to use them.  Perhaps the deepest and most thorough treatise on the art of using women is The Way Of The Superior Man by David Deida.  I can only stomach this book for a couple of pages at a time.

So, to the truth, and assuming you are not James Bond.  To attract a sensual, intelligent, emotionally mature, and very grounded woman;

Be the very best version of yourself you can possibly be.

  • Get healthier and fitter.  Exercise, eat right, get some sun.
  • Look as good as you can.  Haircut, manicure, teeth, and manage any facial or other extraneous hair.
  • Dress as well as you can ~ appropriately for the place and occasion, but find your own style.  Always dress up, rather than dress down.  Pay attention to your shoes and tie.
  • Control your addictions.  Stop smoking, don’t drink much at all, don’t gamble, don’t overeat or eat junk food, and FFS do not use drugs.
  • Learn some English good manners.  Almost all American men have appalling manners, but not as bad as Germans, Japanese, and most other Asians or Hispanics.
  • Learn how to hold a conversation, and for most men that means learning how to listen to her.
  • Read some interesting books, learn some interesting things to talk about ~ most women are very uninterested in sports.  Find out what she is interested in and learn about that.  Have a wide and deep knowledge base, but never ever bore her with what you know.
  • Accessorise well. Apartment, car, watch, pen…..
  • Learn about money, manage your money well so you can always pick up the tab if you need to, but never ever flash your cash around.

But, most of all, care about her.  If you do not genuinely like her and care about her then you are wasting both of your time.  I’m not talking about love, that should usually only come deep into a relationship.  Caring about someone is different.  She is a person, not a sex object.  If you want a sex object find a hooker or a slut.

Some say there is no such thing as ‘the art of attracting woman’.  And that any woman you can get that’s willing and breathing is the one you want.  All I know is that there is nothing so precious to a man as real and honest friendship with a woman.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Bond makes up his own rules

Food on Good Friday ~ 2020

this Good Friday share all the bread, wine, and love you have

Back when I was a boy, Good Friday always meant eating fish ~ and for many in England it would mean going down to the local ‘chip shop’ for cod, chips, and mushy peas.  And if you’ve no idea what I’m talking about then you’ve missed out on one of the great meals.

In reality, if you’re a Christian, then Good Friday means not eating meat.  After all we are still in Lent.  So, this week I’ll be concentrating on fish and vegetarian dishes.

If you are a Christian, you will not be able to go to church today, and whatever your religion you will most likely be banned from attending your place of worship.  Personally, I will be going down to the sea to pray for all of us.

First up this week, from the Minimalist Baker, how about this 1-pot curried chickpea soup.  You can’t get much easier than this, and if you’ve been feeling unwell the garlic and ginger in this dish should do you the world of good.  This is both vegetarian and gluten-free.  Gluten is bad for us.

One Pot Curried Chickpea Soup

To go along with that curried chickpea soup, what about the rosemary focaccia bread from Ali at Gimme Some Oven?  I love the flavour of fresh rosemary.

Rosemary Focaccia Bread

From one of my favourite cooks; Chungah at Damn Delicious let me show you this sheet pan Easter dinner.  Now you probably wouldn’t eat this today, but I know a lot of people will be having family over for Easter Sunday lunch / dinner.  If you don’t like the pineapple ham, then try garlic butter chicken instead.  I love sheet pan cooking, it’s so damn easy.

Sheet Pan Easter Dinner

If you are having people over for lunch or Easter drinks, then what about these Easter deviled eggs as an appetiser.  This very easy and colourful recipe is from In Dianes Kitchen.

Easter Deviled Eggs

Heather Christo has a fabulous little collection called Easter brunch decadence.  I really like the look of her strawberry rhubarb scones.

Strawberry Rhubarb Scones

Our final collection today is from Cookie + kate; 50+ spring brunch recipes.  All of these are vegetarian.  I have chosen to feature the roasted cauliflower and faro salad with feta and avocado from this great collection of easy Easter recipes.

Roasted Cauliflower and Faro Salad with Feta and Avocado

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

unlike most of us Marmaduke can get away for the Easter holiday break

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