Saturday 22 December 2007

Cajun Vegetable Soup Recipe

This recipe came about for two reasons

1) My daughter Emily has a really bad cold and what appears to be a very sore throat and doesn't want to eat any of her favorite foods.

2) We're going away for a couple of days and have a load of vegetables left over from our organic box delivery that needed to be used up.

This recipe can be pretty much adapted to use any spare vegetables that you have lying around.


  • Saucepan or Casserole (if you want to make a lot)
  • Hand Blender
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 Clove of Garlic
  • 1 Large Potato
  • 1 Large Parsnip
  • 4 Large Carrots
  • Cajun Seasoning
  • 1 Litre of stock or water
  • Milk
  • Butter and Olive Oil

Finely chop your onions and garlic.

Add the butter to the saucepan and melt over a low heat on your hob. Add some olive oil.

Add the garlic and onions and mix well with a wooden spoon to ensure that they get a good coating of butter and oil.

Put the lid on the saucepan and leave to sweat for 5 minutes. The onions should soften but not burn.

Peel the potato and chop up to little pieces. With the parsnips and carrots, simply scrub to remove any dirt and chop into little pieces.

Add the potatoes, carrots and swedes to the onions, put the lid back on and leave for another 5 minutes to allow all the vegetables to soften.

Add 1 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning to the soft vegetables and mix in thoroughly and cook for another minute.

Add your litre of vegetable stock to the mixture. If you don't have time to make stock (and who does?), I suggest using Swiss Vegetable Bouillon which is an excellent substitute.

If you like your soups a little creamy, add a splash of milk.

Leave the soup on a rolling simmer for half an hour. This is where you get a tiny stream of bubbles appearing.

After half an hour, either pour into a blender or use a hand blender to get it to the consistency that you like.

Serve and Enjoy

Thursday 20 December 2007

Is Jacob Zuma bad news for South Africa?

With a South African wife and daughter and in laws still leaving in South Africa, I like to pay close attention as to what is happening in that country.

This weeks big news is that Jakob Zuma, the colourful and controversial Zulu politician has been elected head of the ANC and quite likely the next South African president. Its generally assumed by the white population that this is a bad thing due to his more radical views and perhaps more importantly impending court case on corruption charges.

Zuma has fantastic grass routes support for one very good reason, in that 50% of South Africans have seen very little change in their lives since the end of Apartheid in 1994. Great leaps forward have been made in some areas so that people still have clean water and a constant power supply, but a lot of people are still living in poverty, whereas the white population hasn't really suffered too many hardships since the end of apartheid.

William Gumede writes a very thought provoking article called Zuma's victory may trigger the break-up of the ANC in which he looks at the reasons why Zuma one and concludes it was Zuma was seen of the lesser of two evils by lot of the ANC who had finally got tired of Thabo Mbeki.

If you're South African or just interested, I recommend reading the article

Thoughts from a concerned dad

Ever since becoming a Dad to a young daughter, I'm been having the same thoughts that I am sure that most parents have about worrying about the world that they are growing up.

Libby Purves in today's Guardian has written an excellent article called A tide of bland imagery tells girls that sexy is everything which pretty much sums up what I have been thinking about when it comes to world that girls grow up in and pressures that have to put up with

One particularly interesting and potentially worrying point was that" research analysis undertaken by Women in Journalism this year found that, while primary school girls were happy to imagine themselves as the next prime minister, aspirations shrunk with age to dwell around the appearance-dependent occupations of modelling, pop singing and generic celebrity" concerned

Eddie Izzards Death Star Canteen

As well as useful physics lectures and all the stuff to enhance your mind, YouTube is also great for finding stuff that is just funny.

A friend recommended looking up the words Death Star Canteen which is a two and a half minute sketch by British comedian Eddie Izzard about Darth Vader waiting in line to be served. The joy of this video is that someone has used Lego star wars characters to act it out.

There's more to YouTube than you think

If you think Youtube is all about exploding Pepsi bottles and the fun Will It Blend series of clips, think again.

According to the article Top of the iTunes chart: meet the professor who's making physics cool, some of the biggest performing videos on Youtube and Itunes are from professors who are using it spread their message. So far there have been at least 250,00 viewing of the videos on YouTube

I've embedded a highlight video of Professor Walter Lewin who uses all types of props and stunts to educate his students in the laws of physics.