Category Archives: Personal Style

Food on Friday ~ Cookies

Life is better with fresh baked cookies in it.

In everything I’ve shared with you in Food on Friday, I haven’t posted much about baked stuff, mostly because I’m terrible at baking.  I have no idea why that is ~ but there you go.

On the other hand, I do like cookies, (except we call them biscuits here in England), and if I ever called at a friend’s house and they’d made any of the cookies / biscuits featured in this week’s Food on Friday, I guess I’d have to force myself and eat some / a lot.

From Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest we have some nice looking browned butter coconut chocolate chip cookies.  Tieghan says these are both delicious and easy, and I have no doubt that she’s correct on both fronts.  Anyhow I like both chocolate and coconut, and I like them better together.

Browned Butter Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Some more chocolate chip cookies, (why not?), this time Andrea at Cooking with a Wallflower has a great recipe for soft and chewy cherry chocolate chip cookies.  Andrea says these cookies are a perfect snack for road trips, and as you all should know, I love road trips.

Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies

You know what?  When it comes to cookies you almost can’t go wrong if you add chocolate, and Amanda at Chez le Rêve Français has one of my favourite combinations with her chunky chocolate and hazelnut cookies.

Chunky Chocolate and Hazelnut Cookies

As you might expect Dana, the Minimalist Baker has some very good recipes for cookies, and this recent post caught my eye.  So how about; vegan trail mix cookies (gluten-free + grain-free), would you like to try those?  I had thought of featuring Dana’s recipe for 1-bowl ginger cookies (gluten free) but thought you may like the trail mix recipe better.

Vegan Trail Mix Cookies (Gluten-Free + Grain-Free)

A blog post about cookies would not be complete if it didn’t include a recipe for traditional Scottish shortbread.  So here, from Scottish-at-Heart.com we have the best Scottish shortbread recipe.  Although there are actually two recipes and a lot of other good information in this link.  And, if you’ve never had proper Scottish shortbread ~ then try some, right away.

Scottish Shortbread

I am really not certain how his would work in the USA, but here in England we also have savoury ‘biscuits’, and across the pond you may even call these biscuits instead of cookies.  Anyhow, from Petra at Food Eat Love I’m giving you a recipe for chilli cheese buttermilk biscuits.

Chilli Cheese Buttermilk Biscuits

And finally for this week, what would Food on Friday be without a recipe collection.  So from Baking Mad we have a whole bunch of cookie recipes, (they don’t say how many and I haven’t counted them), ((actually there are 57 recipes on this page, and that’s so cool)).  To go with a coffee I particularly like the look of the vanilla sugar cookies from Nielsen-Massey.

Vanilla Sugar Cookies

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

cookies are just so versatile and moreish

A short break in Wales

Or, how not to drown.

Not so very long ago, during a solo vacation in Turkey, I very nearly drowned in the Mediterranean.

These are my co-vacationers in Turkey- who didn’t almost drown.

As I’m going to Crete in a couple of weeks I thought I should do something about my non-swimmer status, (for all practical intents and purposes).  So casting around on the internet I found Sarah Kentish, ( http://www.swimwithsarah.co.uk/   sarah.kentish@btinternet.com ) who could give me some intensive, 1 to 1 swimming instruction, before my vacation in Crete.  And believe you me, finding some proper swimming instruction in the narrow time-window I had available was nothing short of miraculous.

Sarah said that she could teach me how not to drown every time I went in the water, and she was going to be teaching in the Imperial Hotel in Llandudno. And so, I booked a series of lessons and sent off my payment.  Snag was, I had no real idea where Llandudno is, other than it’s a seaside resort.

Llandudno is in Wales, and about 250 miles from where I live….. which doesn’t sound so bad.  Except I was travelling by train.  The journey there took six-and-a-half hours and involved 5 different trains.  (The journey home from Llandudno was not as bad.)

Still, I got there to find that the Imperial Hotel is a Magnificent Victorian Edifice.  My room was nice, the pool in the basement was nice, and Sarah was nice.  Under Sarah’s instruction, in 5 x 40 minute sessions I went from being effectively a non-swimmer to a chap who was more than just ok in the water.

Other than just how much I needed proper swimming instruction, the most surprising thing about this trip was that the main dining room at the Imperial Hotel is world-class.  They serve the most sublime food in elegant surroundings, (posh frock and expensive shoes elegant).  How they can have a world-class dining room in Llandudno is beyond me.

The downsides were; the trip cost a small fortune, the weather was dreary, and Llandudno by rail from my place may as well be on the dark side of the moon.

Llandudno is a pretty smart place, but it seems to attract the elderly more than cute girls in small bikinis.  On the other hand there is a hell of a lot more to do in that Welsh seaside resort than you’d think.  The Imperial Hotel is fairly pricey, but mostly worth it.  Individual, 1 to 1 swimming instruction is also fairly pricey, but very, very worth it.  It might save my life one day.

And, that’s why I took a short break in Wales.

Jack Collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

The pool at the Imperial Hotel

Sleeping in Hotels

Alone and on the road again…..

I’ve just enjoyed the first decent night’s sleep I’ve had in about a month, and I’m in a hotel……

In my long and mostly disreputable life I have spent more nights than I care to remember in all kinds of hotels, in most of the major cities of the world, (and some towns that would have to work hard to qualify as a bomb-site).  And in all that time I never hardly ever slept well in an hotel.

One solution to ‘hotel insomnia’ is to get good and drunk…..  But these days I am utterly sober.

So, what’s different this time?

I believe it’s that I’ve put my worries, resentments, and anger behind me…..  And nobody can possibly sleep with a mind racing like an evil train crash.

I also believe that a few hours in the hotel pool taking the strenuous exercise of swimming lessons, and then going for long walks by the sea, also helps.

And, on a cautionary note, sharing your hotel bed with a woman you’ve just picked up at the hotel bar will not help you sleep either.

Jack Collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

I have never in my life ‘picked up’ a woman in a hotel bar.

Hooker, or otherwise.

Swimming Lessons

Some things are much more fun than you would think.

I had my 3rd swimming lesson this afternoon.

Seems that I am doing ok because my instructor has stopped teaching me to swim…..  She is now giving me instructions on how to swim properly.

Lots and lots to remember.

At least I am much more confident in the water now.

Shame the weather here in Llandudno is so dull.

You can’t ever have it all.

Jack Collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Llandudno

Llandudno isn’t pronounced anything like you’d think.

But I like it here.

I like the Imperial Hotel too, it’s like going back in time 100 years or more, and it’s very smart.

I had my first swimming lesson here today ☺☺☺☺☺

And now I’m totally exhausted.

I’ll tell you more when I’m not using a tablet to post with.

Jack Collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

Where I had my very first swimming lesson ever.

Relationships

A wise woman should have money in her head, not in her heart.

Yesterday, or maybe it was the day before, I was at the dentist to have a tooth extracted.  You get a local anaesthetic, which my not be quite as local as one thinks.  Because after my trip to the dentist I wrote and said some things that were truthfully hurtful.

Under the effects of that local I realised that;

One cannot forget one’s past.

Everything you have done is always a part of you.

Women, most of all, want a guy who has a lot of money.

I am very cool with all of that, my friend in California is not.  She hates that I know her for what she was and is.

But, there was a rope that tethered me to her, and without her my life would have been incomplete and unresolved.  I know that I need to be honest and open with her, and calling her a slut isn’t such a positive thing to say, even if it’s true.

There is an opportunity for me. It maybe comes once in a lifetime.

I need to put the past behind me, especially where it comes to the woman who used to matter to me the most.  She is yesterday.

The past is where it belongs, and I can now progress on the next stage of my life.  I am done with the Californian girl.

Falling for a woman who used to think casual sex, younger men, and cocaine were cool may not have been the best thing I ever did.

Things may be frustrating right now, but I know that patience and perseverance will pay off in the end.

And I might have found a kitten to cuddle.

The pictures today are just because I like them.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Sex, Love, and Heartache

Wherever I go, I always find that special person who is so wrong for me.

In the world’s largest financial centres, I spent most of my career making a hell of a lot of money by exploiting my knowledge of people and what makes them tick.  In London, Paris, New York, and Chicago I learned to read people, and know what they really want, need, and desire.  My skill was in matching the things I could do with what my clients thought they wanted.  And, for a long while, I was the acknowledged world expert in my field of esoteric banking.  But, really, my success was all due to the way I could use my interpersonal skills.

If I am so skilled at the art of interpersonal relationships, how come I can get it so wrong with women?  Some of the time I am forceful, passionate, prideful, self-indulgent, sensual, lustful, and too warm towards women who possess grace, beauty, and charm.  If I am very attracted to a woman I can be far too liberal with my affection, compassion, time, love, and money.  I tend to do a little too much by way of extravagances, and luxuries.  Maybe I send flowers too often.  And, as you would expect, sometimes these women take everything I can give without the slightest show of gratitude, appreciation, or affection in return.

A fool and his money are soon parted, especially when it comes to affairs of the heart.  ~  Thomas Tusser

Obviously I am not doing the right things, in the right way, at the right time, with the right person.  There isn’t the right balance, or sense of equilibrium.  And there’s the rub ~ we don’t choose who we fall in love with.

Something tells me that self-confidence, strength, and passion are a heady mixture which is not always under my control ~ I often let my emotions run away with me, and this can only lead to loneliness and heartache.

My past has been marred by decisions I made that have left me feeling disappointed and bitter.  It’s important for me to remember that I am accountable for my decisions.  What I need to do is reflect on those past choices in a frank and healthy way, without looking at the past through rose-coloured glasses, or sugar coating the choices I made in error.  I have made many bad choices, which then turned out very differently from the way I had hoped.

At times this has caused me much pain, worry, wasted time, and wasted money.  Perhaps I fool myself that I always tried to do my best, and that I always had good intentions at heart ~ but I don’t think so.  I did my best with the cards Life dealt me, but somehow things always took unexpected turns.

There may have been doubts in my heart which I ignored.  I was careless, and not always honest with myself.  I have often acted impulsively, with utter disregard for the consequences.  I have had the feeling of being utterly out of my depth, and I usually pressed on regardless.

Some say that we can only learn by our own mistakes.  And, that we don’t fail by falling down, we fail by  staying down.  All I know is that I’ve made some bloody painful mistakes.

If there’s nothing much about sex in the paragraphs I’ve written above ~ that’s because usually there hasn’t been any.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

Exactly the sort of woman I should have never been involved with.  Great legs do not necessarily a nice person make.

 

Food on Friday ~ Easy Summer Dishes

All I’ve got’s this lazy summer afternoon, food, and wine, and you…..

Face it, on a nice warm summer’s day, the last thing we want to do is spend ages in the kitchen.  These dishes are perfect for summer, and they’re all amazingly easy; the kind of recipes where you can do much of the prep work in your yard, in the sunshine…..

It seems a while since I did a Food on Friday, so let’s see if I can still pull together a good menu.  There are a lot of peaches involved this week.

First for this Friday we have summer spaghetti with tomatoes and burrata from Chungah at Damn Delicious.  (I guess if you can’t get burrata then a mozzarella would work pretty well too.)  This really is a 25 minute meal which would be perfect for lunch, a light dinner, or to take to work and zap in the microwave.

Summer Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Burrata

Next this week we have a fabulous 30 minute recipe from Sabrina Modelle; grilled salmon with peach salsa.  This dish has so much going for it; you can cook the salmon on the BBQ, which means you can make the whole recipe in your yard.  Anything with grilled salmon looks really special, so this is something you can serve to guests.  And, best of all, it’s a 30 minute recipe that will make a great lunch, dinner, or something to take to work the following day.  (This recipe was found for us by Elise at Simply Recipes).

Grilled Salmon with Peach Salsa

Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest has posted a lot of great recipes recently, but for this Food on Friday I’ve chosen to feature this 25 minute recipe for pesto zucchini and peach pizza with burrata.  This really is a taste of high summer, and so very easy to make.  Again you could serve this dish at lunch, dinner, as a snack, or take some to work the following day ~ maybe.

Pesto Zucchini and Peach Pizza with Burrata

From San Diego girl Averie Sunshine at Averie Cooks, we have this very, very easy recipe for sheet pan summer vegetables and chicken.  I love sheet pan recipes, they are just so simple and there is so little clean-up afterwards.  Averie says this easy, healthy, one pan meal should be ready in half-an-hour or so.

Sheet Pan Summer Vegetables and Chicken

The Minimalist Baker concentrates on vegetarian recipes of 10 ingredients or less that take less than a half-hour to prepare.  This cheesy spaghetti squash pasta will actually need about an hour and a half , including cook time, but the prep is dead easy.  This 9 ingredient dish looks fabulous

Cheesy Spaghetti Squash Pasta

Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats says this following recipe is THE SALAD OF THE SUMMER; or less shouty, the best summer panzanella salad.  You know what?  Jessica may just be right, this easy dish looks delicious.

The Best Summer Panzanella Salad

For something to drink that isn’t sucking down beer from a bottle, Jessica also has this delicious pinot peach sangria ~ another sangria recipe, and more peaches……  You can’t have too much of a good thing.

Pinot Peach Sangria

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

A little while ago Food on Friday was about summer vegetables and salads.

Some perfect side dishes to go with this week’s recipes.

So, now I need counselling.

Never look to another to tell you who you really are.

A friend of mine has said that I need some form of mental health / spiritual counselling ~ suggesting to me that she thinks there’s something seriously wrong with the way I feel, think, act, and react to events and people.  I guess she believes that I don’t feel, think, act, or react in ways that she likes when it comes to my friendship with her.

I thought about this a lot and very seriously.  I am fully aware that I don’t follow normal rules of behaviour, especially when it comes to interpersonal relationships, and I also know there are, (at least), a couple of reasons for this.

Something happened to me deep in my early childhood, so far back that I don’t know exactly what happened to me when I was maybe 3 years old.  But whatever happened had a very profound effect on me, sufficient to change my personality for my whole life.  It’s complicated, but various mental-health types have said a couple of things; #1 I don’t have bipolar disorder, and #2 I may have had borderline personality disorder, but if I had I’ve recovered.  Well, that’s helpful….. or not. The practical upshot of whatever happened when I was a young child is that I will not willingly accept advice, criticism, or chastisement.  So what?  That just puts me in line with 99% of the rest of the crazy people on this planet.

The second reason I don’t follow normal rules of behaviour is because I’m better than that. I’m enlightened, truthful, open, ethical, grounded, and fucking smart.  And to be honest, with the exception of the people who follow me on this blog, that makes me a better man than anyone any of us is likely to meet in an average day.

So, I thought about this very carefully when it came to finding a therapist / counsellor / spiritual adviser….. and decided that wasn’t going to happen.

I’ve spent the greater part of the past 2, 3, or maybe 4 years trying to walk the warrior’s path.  Trying to find out who I am, who I was, and who I wish to be.  And now, after years of effort, I’m finally beginning to see some light.

It may just be a candle in a hurricane of hellish darkness, but that small light is me.

The little boy may have become a broken man, with a broken spirit and broken dreams, but today I can hold on and today I’m feeling strong.  I know who I am, and I’m not a shadow or the man in the mirror anymore.

No over-qualified, well-intentioned, mental health wazzock is going to be given my permission to dip their dirty fingers into my soul.  There is no chance of me attending therapy / counselling / psychotherapy.  Not now, not next year, not ever.

It turns out that I know who I am, and I like who I am.  And, those that don’t can fuck off.  Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, and please don’t keep in touch.

Some say that humility is the true key to success.  And, that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.  All I know is that I’ve tried humility and therapy, and all I got was insanity.

I have a new plan of action concerning my supposed need for counselling.  I am happy to take no action whatsoever.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

Marmaduke is as sick of misplaced and unwanted advice as I am.

blame it on the moon

Poets, lovers, and lunatics have such seething brains.

lost and alone, dismal depressed heartsick

I didn’t want to get angry again so soon

I spoke with her in the late afternoon

and I thought I was now immune

you can blame it on the moon

I’m still just a bitter lunatic

blame it on the moon

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

It’s just the dark of the moon.

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