Foccacia Bread Update 2018






Simple Recipe :

  • 800g White Strong Flour
  • Olive Oil (some for the dough and some for the cooking tray)
  • 200g Semolina flour (medium is ok / gives crispy feel)
  • 1 Tablespoon of Salt (sea salt is nice)
  • Dry Yeast for 1KG Bread
  • Fresh rosemary / Thym / Dried Herbs

How to Make it:

Mix all dry parts first, including herbs.
Then add olive oil, 2 to 3 tablespoons
650ml lukewarm water (a bit warmer than blood …about 40degrees)
mix with a fork in the bowl

work the dough manually (for therapy effect), use the machine if you want.
keep dough fairly moist
put on the work surface and work the dough, about 5 minutes.
“tuck-in” the dough into a ball and put into a large bowl with a bit of flour
let rise for 1 hour

put the dough into a large baking tray (clay or ceramic one) with olive oil in the bottom
poke the dough so that the tray is fully filled
put a bit of olive oil on top
let rise a second time for 20/30 minutes
poke with 1 finger in even spaced holes

pre-heat oven to 250 degrees.
Put Rosemary on top of dough.
poke the dough with 1 finger until holes evenly spread
add a bit of rock salt on top.
put in the oven for 20/30 minutes or until golden brown and dry inside.

Take out and let cool for 30 minutes

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Trivets new models

These are great gifts, I like to make them, I like to go to somebody’s house who still have them for many years before. In some way, I like the idea that it is a piece of me in other people’s lives.

They are made with 3mm bamboo sheets, which har more and more difficult to source. These ones are caramel colour.


I usually use 3 layers or 3mm bamboo, laser cut, then glued in place.

Then a fair amount of sanding, polishing to get to the nice sheen and touch feeling that the final product gives.

I like the texture and the feeling you get when you touch these when they are finished.

I was inspired by a first design discovered on Pinterest and decided to make a few variations, I still have a few more ideas of variations to make but need to find a reliable source of bamboo sheets.


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Toothbrush holder

Now that I have learned to use the software tools such as Fusion360 and Adobe illustrator, I am able to go quickly from design to finished product with minimum waste of time or materials.

This weekend, made a tray for Bathroom to hold toothbrushes etc…with draining holes and stainless steel hardware.

I remember the days of my youth when I was waiting for these tools to be available to use. I knew it would come but it has been very slow coming….

My observation today, is that the software has evolved well but the interface to the production machines such as the laser or the 3d printer are still very buggy or cumbersome. There is still a lot of progress to happen here.

For example in 2006, when I bought my first CNC the software was very DIY and reflected how the machine worked rather than how the human would want to interact with the machine.

An example of that would be: Assume you want to simply carve a circle in a material. The 2006 software would require you to provide “all” the parameters and would require you to calculate the offsets of the tools using a text editor and some G-Code.

Today it is better but still not great. You draw in Fusion to ensure precision in the drawing, export to illustrator to get an SVG or another file format that the CNC/Laser can understand, then provide parameters to the machine for cutting, then start cutting.

Still, I find the laser and amazing tool to go quickly from Design to Finished product…

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Duck and Chicken Meat Loaf

Simple / Quick / Delicious….

Made one this Saturday morning was all done before I could finish my coffee…

Can be eaten hot or cold with salad and bread,


Nice smell in the house for the kids to wake-up.



Ingredients :

  • 4 Duck Filets
  • 6 Chicken tights
  • 1 egg (optional)
  • Spring Onions
  • Lemmon Grass, Ginger, Coriander, Chillis: I use the Waitrose Thai Mix
  • Salt / Pepper

How to make :

  • Take fat off the back of the duck filet by pulling hard on skin.
  • Grind the chicken and the duck using medium or small grid depending on preference
  • Put all meat in mixing bowl and add Thai mix to taste. I add until I can see a nice blend of meat and spices in the base. (see pictures)
  • Add salt and pepper and the spring onions.
  • mix one whole egg, this will help with keeping the meatloaf to separate when you cut slices when it is cooked. It is optional.
  • Cook in the oven at 160 degrees Celsius with a temperature probe in the meat. I set the target temperature to 74 degrees for poultry. Probably 30 to 45 minutes.
  • If at the end of the cooking, the top of the meat is not “browned”, I put the oven on high grill for a few minutes to make it crispy on top.
  • Can be eaten “Hot” or “Cold”.


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Long tenured

A colleague in the office just got 30 years of Company.

He told us of an old story that his dad (an ex-Xerox as well) told him many years ago. without going into the details, the below poem is worth a bit of reflection.

The Indispensable Man

(by Saxon White Kessinger)

Sometime when you’re feeling important;
Sometime when your ego ‘s in bloom;
Sometime when you take it for granted,
You’re the best qualified in the room:
Sometime when you feel that your going,
Would leave an unfillable hole,
Just follow these simple instructions,
And see how they humble your soul.  

Take a bucket and fill it with water,
Put your hand in it up to the wrist,
Pull it out and the hole that’s remaining,
Is a measure of how much you’ll be missed.
You can splash all you wish when you enter,
You may stir up the water galore,
But stop, and you’ll find that in no time,
It looks quite the same as before.  

The moral of this quaint example,
Is to do just the best that you can,
Be proud of yourself but remember,
There’s no indispensable man.

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Weekend Mind Cleansing

Just a few things done during the weekend to clear my mind …

Quick pint with the kids, trash talk, laughs, (the best).

Longboarding in the sun (second best, especially with the right Playlist)

Raspberry pi Programming, painful on my old brain but rewarding
(ultimately for the Tesla charging app)

3D Printed Bracket for music speaker on the bike. (Preparing for summer rides)

Digital Embroidery of new “Boule Club” of Jules. (He made it, I am so proud)

Laser cut tracker for fish feeding…Fusion 360 Design to Finished product in 3 hours.
(Action trumps perfection)

I still feel I have done very little of what I could do.


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Weather Warning – Risk to life

Amused by all the commotion around some cold weather front…feels like a lot of emotion and not much process…I am in Aberdeen….not playing tennis tonight…

Update : Was probably to “flippant” about the weather, my “karma” got adjusted this morning with the boiler not working and freezing conditions….12 degrees celsius inside at the moment and dropping.

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Lent 2018

I have given up croissants !….until Good Friday…

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25 Years at Xerox

Still cannot believe I have spent 25 years, or half of my life, working for Xerox…

Started on a 6-month non-renewable contract, thanks to a very clever manager that saw some potential in a young and

in-experienced lad.



Some days I think I was lucky, others I think I worked hard…

When I look back, I am always proud of the legacy I am still building  and grateful to the “giants” that coached me and thought that I could be trusted with the keys of the business .


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Strong souls

Some people leave deeper footprints than others

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Mind like water

In the office, I use regularly the expression “Mind Like Water”
from the book: Getting Things done.

I have used the concepts many times and feel it is worth sharing.

For me, my “restful” picture in my mind is a large powder field which I have either just been down or about to rip. It requires complete attention to only one thing and clearing everything else out of your mind.


Because I had a severe accident skiing in the past, clearing my mind before a steep slope and enjoying the moment is very powerful.

Last week, the return to the office from a week’s holiday was not great and these images were very helpful to keep me going. They do not make me happy in themselves, just remind me of the state of my mind that I should be in.

What is your mind image?


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Replacing D-Cells with 28650

Been trying to consider how to replace my 2D Maglite battery powered to a modern Lithium 28650 – 5000mah.

2D Cells was 2X1.5V=3V total

2X 28650 Batteries give 2X4.2V=8.4V at full charge, dropping to around 7.6V when flat.

Had to replace the led bulb with a new one, made a couple of battery holders to keep the Lithium cells in the middle of the torchlight, used a 3 X 8mm disk magnets to connect everything together and then had to make a new end cap spring to accomodate for the new length of the batteries.

It all works and it is substantially brighter than the previous setup.


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Mid-life crisis…



I am not buying a Porsche…..


I am selling it….



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Manual Machine

Built this with Now during the weekend. It is a training tool for making wheelies without pedalling which are called “Manuals”…so this is a “Manual Machine”…

It is made so that it can be dis-assembled easily to put in the garage.

There is a single nut to hold the balancing arm, which we 3D printed.



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