Almost ready for holidays

About to go on holiday but feeling blue with all the rain in the UK and 50 years birthday bash coming soon….

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Sous-Vide Temperatures

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Work with Beth


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Ski Racing !

Happy I can still race down a track…loved the family racing all together!



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Cleaned the toilet !

It was a spring clean requirement!…



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Trivet 2

Made a new Trivet design, inspired from some Pinterest boards I had visited months ago…

Laser cut from 3mm Bamboo, then glued together to make 9mm thick, then sanded to 2000 grit to give nice feel and sheen.

The fit could be better, I did not take into account the Laser Kerf in the design and also I might have botched the laser settings in terms of focus and therefore beam thickness.

Compared to the “3 Branches” version, this one would be more expensive to produce as more cuts and trickier fit. The “design look” is nice but probably does not warrant the extra effort to produce compared to the 3 branches one. Still, I like it.

I should sign it.

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Made a complete project with my XCarve. It all started with a friend who was trying to repair a second-hand child bicycle trainer.

The handlebar was broken and glue was never going to work.

The part is not very complicated but needed some smooth curves and a recess for the connection to the steering mechanism.

I created the fusion 360 3D model, then created a CAM setup, then posted all this to several G-Code files on my home network, [one for the pocket and the holes, one for the contour] then went to the garage and ran the G-Code on my X-Carve with a 10mm router bit at 16.000RPM, 3mm cut depth, 600mm/min feed.

It all worked perfectly ! for once…No broken bits, No burning or parts, No flying wood parts in the garage…

My friends were very happy and the fit is simply perfect.

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Making a Stool with X-Carve

My first true design of something for the Xcarve. There has been a few mistakes along the way and still have not managed to get a final product from the machine yet…

I am close.

The router bits, feeds and speeds are something that you must acquire and work to make test cuts etc…until you get a clean cut that does not destroy the router bit or the machine.

I have had a few crashes and also made some part of the wrong size.

I am getting close.

I could have made this simple stool using traditional techniques in a lot less time but I want to be able to get to a complete project where I know, I could simply put a large sheet of wood and press “Go” on the computer and it would cut all the parts needed to make this simple stool.

I designed it in Fusion 360, then created all the tool paths for the X-Carve in the Cam environment.

I am now using a Dewalt router, which is better than the previous Bosch Colt for which I destroyed the collet. I re-built the X-Axis as well to give it more rigidity when I installed the new X-Controller.

Wood is 18mm thick

Router bit : 10mm

Cut depth :3mm

Router Speed : 16000 rpm (dial setting 1)

Feed : 600mm/min (500mm/min works as well with less heat generated in the router bit)

Plunge : 150mm/min

No lead-ins or lead-outs.

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Repairs for the pond

The electrics have been playing funny for a few months. The RCD is tripping the whole house when I use my Laser…I have been trying to understand what is the source of the problem exactly but simply cannot source a consistent behaviour of fault.

It trips “mostly” when I am in my garage using my Laser…

So the whole family thinks it is the Laser which is faulty.

I am not sure, … actually, I am “often” in the garage. I am often using the laser. It has tripped even when I was not using the Laser or even being in the garage…

I think the Laser takes the RCD over its maximum and makes it trip.

I think the water pump of the pond is a more likely source of the problem as well as the electrics of the plugs for the pond.

So I have decided to replace the whole system. Replace the pump and new outside electric box, I am using a smart electric box with relays and a computer tracker which keeps an eye on the pump for its electric consumption and can sound an alarm in case the pump gets to work too hard.

It was a pain to do…

One day I will connect it all using a Raspberry Pi to track consumption and monitor temperatures etc…I have a Pi already setup in the conservatory  “taking pictures” daily and sending them to my email.


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I got my Farmbot ! – must wait…

Got my Farmbot a couple of weeks ago [here], I must wait until the garden is all re-done to be able to build it into the glass house I am planning to install in the back of the garden.

It is exciting to be part of a very early project…the enthusiasm of the creators of this project and the overall sense of community is brilliant.

Will post more when I have managed to find the time to build it!

Here a few pictures of this very well put together kit.

It is controlled by a Raspberry Pi using open source design and software

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Easter Weekend – Cured Duck

Just about to start curing some duck filets. Starting with 2 filets of Duck, I am salting using Kosher salt (sticks better to the meat) and lots of spices of all sorts. The rub will be mostly pickling spices (coriander/cloves/mustard pepper) a few dried herbs,  black pepper and brown sugar.

[update] May bank holiday weekend! About 10 days that the duck is in the fridge and in the muslin. Just got my meat slicer (my Xmas present from my wife), can’t wait to try the thin slices of meat with a glass of wine.




  • 2 Duck Fillets (approx 400g)
  • 25g Salt
  • 25g Brown Sugar (Cassonade)
  • Pickling Spices
  • Dried Herbs
  • Black Pepper

How to Make:

  • Grind all the spices and mix in a bowl.
  • Pat dry the fillets with towel paper
  • Score the skin of the duck filets
  • Cover the fillets with the spice rub and place in a container to go to the fridge. I prefer to leave the fillets not touching each other. I use a foie gras container or high side cake dish.
  • Leave the Duck for a couple of days in the fridge with the salt, to start the curing process.
  • After a few days, remove and clean the duck under running cold water, then put into a muslin cloth to “hang” in the fridge for 2 or maybe even 3 weeks. !
  • Cut thinly and eat as an appetiser or put onto pasta.
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Making a nice Ham for Aperitif

I have made some “Jambon a l’eau”, with the new meat slicer it is easy to make very thin slices which make a very nice aperitif for “after work” recovery.

I buy a gammon which I cook in a big pan with unsalted water, an onion, a few cloves, a carrot, a celery, a couple of leaves from the laurel tree of the garden.

I cook 1 hour per kilo of meat. I have tested the temperature of the centre of the gammon and it reaches roughly 55 degrees celsius.


I have now made 3 or 4 hams. I have found that the cooking must be very gentle with the water just barely boiling. Wait 1 hour per kilo of meat.

I am now trying a “final roast” method. When I put the ham in the oven for 30 minutes on 230 degres celsius with either maple syrup or other spices to coat the outside of the ham.

Will report here if it worked…


For Archive : How to make “Cured” Ham:

Just savings quickly some details to make cured ham for a different type of recipe.

Need 3 days of curing in salt for every kilo of meat

To make saucisson you need at least 2 to 3 % of salt per weight of meat.

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Perfect Meat Slicer !

I knew the best brand for a meat slicer was Berkel, but their machines are simply too expensive for a home user, until very recently when they introduced the Homeline. It is still very expensive so it took me a long time before I committed to the purchase…

Just received my machine this week and had to wait for the weekend to be able to try it out.

First impressions are that this machine is incredibly well designed. Feels very solid and the blade, motor, traveller are all extremely well balanced and simply function as expected.

It has a very professional feel, but the look is nice.

The downside, the machine is still huge for a home kitchen and very heavy (required to make get the rigidity necessary for thin straight cuts).

However making thin slices of saucisson or thin slices of cheese make everything taste a little different and special, a big success with the family…

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Curry Tree

I have some flowers on my curry tree!

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American Biscuit

Today for some reason, I had a very strong desire for American Biscuits…no idea why, but I certainly could not resist the urge to make some! Very simple if you have the right ingredients.






Ingredients :

  • 250g of Plain Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon of Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon of Vegetable fat
  • 1 Natural yoghurt (in UK : )
  • A little of Whole Milk
  • 1 teaspoon of Salt
  • 4 teaspoons of Baking Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Bicarbonate of soda

How to Make:

  • Set the oven to 220 degrees celsius (NOT Fan assisted is better)
  • Mix all the dry ingredient with the flour in a large bowl and make sure it is all well mixed and homogenous
  • Crush the butter and vegetable fat with your fingers in the flour and make a crumble
  • Mix the Yogurt and a little bit of whole milk to make approx 230ml of a silky mixture
  • Make a small well in the middle of the crumble
  • Incorporate the liquid into the crumble until you get some sort of dough. It will be moist but not too sticky.
  • Flour your hands and make a ball with the dough
  • Roll the dough on the worktop until it is 2cm thick
  • Cut 8cm wide disks with cutting forms
  • You can use the remainder of pastry to reform a ball, re-roll and re-cut. Until all dough is used up. Probably 6 large 8cm biscuits or twice as much small ones.
  • Put the 2cmX8cm disks on a cooking tray with silicone sheet or parchment paper
  • Cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until Golden Brown.
  • Take out of the oven and let cool on a wire rack.
  • Eat warm with butter only or with butter and jam ….


The kids certainly like it and Manu would break a diet for some warm biscuits


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