Mushroom Curry, twice

January 4th, 2015

I got asked for my mushroom curry recipe recently.  Here’s two variations. The first is a more hearty curry, the second is higher and more suited to a side dish in my view.

 Andy’s Mushroom Curry.

1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
chunk of root ginger (about as big as the garlic), finely chopped
1 finely chopped chilli pepper, or chilli powder to taste
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp garam masala
1 tin chopped tomatoes (1/2 tin will do, but I like it saucy!)
400g mushrooms (button ones work best, or quartered larger ones)
Fresh Coriander (Cilantro) to garnish

Serves 4 as a side dish or 2 as a main course.

Spray a frying pan with fry-lite, or paint with a thin coating of oil.

Add the onion, garlic, chilli, ginger, cumin and fry under a medium heat until the onions soften.  (You could add a chopped bell pepper as well for a main course dish).

Towards the end of this cooking, add the turmeric, but don’t let it get too hot/dry or the turmeric will burn and it will be nasty – add some water if necessary to stop it from sticking and burning.

Add the chopped tomatoes and turn up the heat until it boils.  Stir in the garam masala and mushrooms and simmer, uncovered,  for 10-15 minutes until the mushrooms cook through.  You may need a fairly high eat to stop it getting too mushy.

Add the coriander just before serving.  You could also stir in some yoghurt once it’s off the heat for a creamier curry.

Serve with plain rice for super healthy, or chapatti (or cheat and use pitta) if you prefer.


Zarrin Zardari’s Mushroom and Coriander Curry as modified by Andy
From Madjur Jaffrey’s “Curry Bible”

1 tbsp oil
1 stick cinnamon
2 small onions (or 1 large)  – very finely chopped
3 fresh green chillies, finely chopped
250ml natural yoghurt (low fat will curdle but still taste OK)
pinch of salt
900g button mushrooms
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom seeds
60g fresh coriander leaves

Heat the oil, add the Cinnamon, stir once and then quickly add the onions and chillies.  Stir fry for 5-7 minutes until onions start to brown.  Take the pan off the heat and add the yoghurt and salt.

Return to the heat for a few minutes, and add the mushrooms, cloves, cardamom and coriander.
Stir, reduce the heat to low and cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Remove the lid and turn up the heat to reduce excess liquid.

I decided it looked a bit insipid, so stirred in a tin of chopped tomatoes with the mushrooms, and left it uncovered to remove excess liquid from the start.



Volunteering in a kilt

May 13th, 2014

Last year I volunteered for Walk the Walk in London, Edinburgh, and even New York City.

And when I was in Edinburgh, I made something of a sartorial investment.  And I’m not afraid to wear it.


IMG 3076





Biryotto – you heard it here first.

August 16th, 2013

So, when the Biryotto graces the menu of the finest restaurants, you heard it here first.

What’s a Biryottto?  It’s a fusion (and portmanteau) of Biryani and Risotto.  Indian spices in the base, then add arborio rice and slowly add stock for a risotto like creamy finish.

This isn’t so much a recipe as a guideline.  Feel free to play with quantities.  You could also do a veggie version with butternut squash (cut into chunks and roast with cumin then add instead of the chicken and mushrooms), or use lamb or whatever you like.  

1 onion

2 cloves garlic
1″ cube of ginger
2 chicken breasts (or 4 boned thighs if you prefer)
150g arborio rice
5 or 6 decent mushrooms 
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tbsp medium curry power
a good squirt of tomato puree
chilli powder to taste – or a finely chopped chilli 
500ml chicken stock – if done from a cube it’ll be all the salt you need
a good grind of black pepper.
at least a tablespoon of chopped coriander
2 tsp oil, or a good spray of fry lite to keep the fat down.
100g of frozen peas
Chop the onion, garlic and ginger as finely as you can.  Add oil or fry-lite to the pan, and when it’s hot add them and turn the heat down and stir occasionally until the onion goes translucent.  
Add the chicken, turn up the heat, and stir-fry until the chicken starts to colour.  Add a splash of water if necessary to keep it from sticking and burning.   Add the black pepper.
Add the spices, the rice, and mushrooms, and the tomato puree and stir until all evenly coloured.  
Start to add the stock and let it simmer and reduce like a normal risotto.  Keep adding stock and simmering until the rice is tender.  As the rice is close to being cooked, stir in the frozen peas.
Once the rice is ready, stir in the coriander.
Serve as is to be healthy, or with a pitta bread, roti or naan bread if you’re really hungry.

Google Glass: I think I’ve found the killer app

May 12th, 2013

I’ve been watching the fuss around Google Glass with a bit of an air of detachment. In a world where you feel like a geek for wearing a bluetooth headset for your phone, wearable computing has got a way to go.

But the application for Google Glass I’d love is a super version of Evernote Hello – tracking the people you know.

Combine facial recognition with background information – when my boss walks into view it reminds me I need to get him to approve my holiday request. When I meet someone new (they stay in shot for more than 30 seconds) it automatically adds their photo to the “people I met today” where I can add name, contact details etc. If I haven’t seem them for a while it pops up their name and where we met and any other notes. Also tracking context “This is Fred Smith from Fubar computing. Last met at Fubar user conference in Barcelona.”

Pebbles, Google Glass, and all that

May 10th, 2013

At work this week a colleague had a pebble watch. t’s really, really neat. 

Apart from one small thing:  it’s … one tenth of what it could be.

And all the fuss around Google glass  – again, it’s not even starting to get there.

If I’m going to wear a bit of technology, it needs some useful features.

Facial recognition: if I walk up to someone I haven’t seen for a while it should tell me who they are, when I last met them, and anything else relevant.

Navigation: if you’re heading for the pub you arranged to meet the guys at, you need to turn right here.

Money: when I look at a menu, remind me I’ve already overspent on dining out this month and to go for a cheaper option.

Seriously, guys, you can do better with this technology than recording everyone bullshitting their mates in the pub and putting it on YouTube.  

How much technology to play a song?

January 23rd, 2013

So, I’m sat here with my laptop, and I decided it would be nice to listen to some music for a few minutes.  I grab a bluetooth speaker, fire up iTurnes, and play some playlists from the library on my desktop.  Took all of 10 seconds, 8 of which was ferreting in my bag for the speaker.

But let’s think about this.  The computer upstairs is pulling a data stream off its local hard drive, sending it down a wire to the wireless access point, which sends it over the air to my laptop, which then sends it via a different radio format to the speaker sat next to me.  I’m not just amazed that I have superb quality audio being played to me right now, with that lot of technology in the way, I’m amazed that it’s not only possible, but affordable.e

Aperture Confusion

January 23rd, 2013

I realised disk space on the Mac was filling up rather faster than expected, and after some investigation I found a couple of culprits.  First of all, iTunes was set to copy files into the iTunes Media folder when found, so storing a second copy of all my media files.

That was fairly easily sorted, but the bigger problem was that when I’d originally imported all of my pictures into iPhoto, and then shared the iPhoto Library with Aperture, iPhoto had sneakily done that by coping all those images – so Aperture was, mostly, working Managed, not Referenced.  

The workflow to sort this out was, after some trial and error, as follows:

  • Select group of Projects in Aperture (they are grouped by year)
  • File->Relocate Originals to put them in an Aperture sub-directory of the original folder.
  • find Aperture -exec touch {} \; to update the timestamp on the newly created files, because Gemini couldn’t work out which files to keep
  • Run Gemini on the folder, tell it to keep the newest files, and go.

Oh, and full marks to Gemini as a neat, cheap, file de-duplication program.  £2.99 from the App Store, and it’s gained my 200Gb of disk space and counting.  I also used Disk Inventory X to gain some insight into where space was being used to start with.  Both of which I found from tips at

I still have some cleanup to do on the original directories, but that’s not taking up much space in comparison with 90Gb of images – which, stored three times (in the file system, in the library, and in the backup Vault) was something of a disk space hog. 

Going Paperless: Top 10 Paperless Posts of 2012 | Jamie Todd Rubin

December 31st, 2012

I’ve made a few entries on the subject of Paperless – or as I prefer to call it, Paprefree – organisation, and Jamie Todd Rubin has an excellent and informative blog on this subject.   His Top 10 Paperless Posts of 2012 offer a useful insight into how to reduce the amount of paper in your life – and more importantly the amount of time spent filing it and finding the stuff again later.

IKA Logic ScanStudio Software on MacOS

December 29th, 2012

Playing around with various digital circuits I was pleased to discover the IKALogic ScanaLogic logic analyser for not a lot of money, largely because your PC gets to do the heavy lifting.

However, I did run into some problems running the Scanstudio software under Parallels Desktop 8 on my Mac.  It turns out that the problem is with the DirectX support in parallels.    The problem is that if you import one of the example waveforms, or   try to show a decoded capture, it doesn’t display properly, as shown.

Screenshot 29 12 2012 18 18


The workaround is to shut down the VM, open the Parallels hardware settings, and disable 3D Acceleration.


Screenshot 29 12 2012 18 20

One that’s done, the traces appear properly:


Screenshot 29 12 2012 18 23

Aperture – moving photos between computer

December 23rd, 2012

There’s a great video up at ApertureExpert on how to do this in detail, but this is the quick and dirty version.

For the “on the road” library, work in Managed mode, where the photos are stored in the library.  It keeps everything in once place, but for the main computer with 30,000 photos and growing, I need to work Referenced so that I can keep Aperture file sizes manageable.

Import from Laptop to Desktop

So, after importing and editing on the Macbook (working managed):   File->Export->Project as New Library.  

Then, on the base machine, File->Relocate Original… 

Export from Desktop to Laptop

Select what you want, then File->Export->Items as new Library

Select Copy Originals into exported Library – use the originals, and copy previews into exported library.  You can just export the previews if you don’t want to edit the images, just add keywords etc.

When you bring them back, use the merge option to merge back to existing project folders.