world according to sam

Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first. Mark Twain

Category: GADGETS

Kitchen Gadgets – Spiraliser


Do you have a cupboard full of kitchen gadgets that you never use? And don’t you love it when you find one that really does work and you actually use on a regular basis?

I had a plethora of defunct, aged kitchen paraphernalia .. the ubiquitous orange plastic Moulinex mandolin of the late 70’s, early 80’s, my chamfered knuckles a testament to the razor-sharp blade! And an orange enamel Le Creuset fondue set …. mostly sitting redundant, looking ironically retro in dog-eared boxes at the back of a kitchen cupboard.  I am usually gadget-averse, fearing further cluttering of ever more full kitchen cupboards. I rarely fall foul of wunder-gadget demos at food or home fairs (unlike Mr H who is a groupie for an y kind of exhibition demonstration!!).   I already have THE best peeler, (Good Grips), Zester (Ikea), Parmesan Grater (Microplane) and numerous sets of tongs (Ikea, Poundland, etc) and thought my gadgetry collection complete … until I discovered the Spiraliser, a genius hourglass shaped contraption with two blades (varying sizes for thick or thin spiralising!) and the gadget-de-choix of the carb-free, gluten-free, healthy-eater brigade.  There is a larger, more fancy-pants version by Hemsley & Hemsley but until you are sure you are going to use it I would stick to the one I have from Amazon here  for £13.95


I have only used this on courgettes, (and a carrot for experimental purposes only)  I have made oodles of Zoodles (Zucchini noodles) and miles of Courgetti and as long as you don’t over cook it, it is ‘virtually’ indistinguishable from the real thing bar the fact that I am indigestion and carb-bloat free!

So this is my gadget go-to for now …. What next?

Top Tip … Don’t spiralise your fingers – I have – it hurts!


Christmas Taste & Sensibility Bypass




Does anyone have the same problem as me? Christmas switches something in my thinking. Year round I love the simplicity of all things white. As the festive brochures arrive and the shops fill with gift sets and gizmos, for ONE MONTH ONLY (for it is a sin to buy anything Christmassy before the Macmillan Christmas Fair at the end of November). I develop an acute taste and sensibility bypass   …. every brochure that drops through the door I pore over, enthusiastically searching for that never-before-seen, quirky/witty/kitsch item that will keep everyone entertained for hours …. except they don’t.  The comedy glasses with windscreen wipers, moustache shaped pot scrubbers, jelly bean/chopstick challenges. Borat mankini all reside, often untouched, at the back of the cupboard until my annual clear out in the Spring.  I have ‘wasted’ so much on stocking fillers over the years but this year I have been resolute and filled my son’s stockings with sensible things …. spices and luxury cook items that their meagre wages won’t quite stretch to ….. and personalised jars of Nutella too, obviously!  What is your guilty pleasure at Christmas?

Vitamix – You had me at Hello …..

Steps : 3459

Green Juice Drunk 0 (see below)

HIIT …. no time, too busy blogging and constantly checking my stats




On a Sunday afternoon when we should have been doing more exciting things we found ourselves once again pushing a wonky wheeled outsize trolley around the cavernous Costco warehouse in Reading, purchasing a 6 month supply of discounted high quality triple ply loo paper. Despite only two of us living at home now we still cannot resist bulk buying bathroom and kitchen paper goods from Costco as if there were still the four of us residing there and the imminent threat of  some bowel turning superbug about to do its worst hanging over us!.

The Vitamix sales talk is compelling, presented by one of those cheeky chappies that have fine honed their barrow-boy banter to pull in the ladies and of course their accompanying other halves (and this is where they are clever, flirting with the ladies but even more so with the men, winking knowingly, conspiratorially imparting that look that says YOU KNOW YOU WANT IT!). Onto the demonstration of first, its strength (this bad boy’s 2 litre container is made from Polycarbonate plastic, the same indestructible material used in Spaceships apparently!) The salesman theatrically smashes the container on the side of the demo counter, stands on it, bouncing away while he continues with his crowd seduction,

We stood transfixed by the salesman’s patter – this is how Adam felt when Eve tempted him with the apple – it was irresistible.  This gadget was going to revolutionise our lives.  I am gadget averse, what I mean by that is I don’t like gadgets out on display and I have little space in the cupboards to accommodate anything else.  My kitchen is traditional and without the retro styling of Kitchenaid I just aint’ interested HOWEVER I was slowly being seduced into thinking that this was worth the sacrifice and with one eye closed and head slanted at an angle the Vitamix does look a little vintage, though the styling is more akin to a 70’s TV Space series representation of the Future than my preferred 50’s look!

So as  we filled ourselves with delicious salsa, a hot Thai soup, a green kiwi smoothie, almond milk, cashew butter and  frozen berry yoghurt we stood transfixed, the sales assistant doing a metaphorical dance of the seven veils, revealing the hidden bounties of  The Total Nutrition Center. We were coaxed in closer with a tray of amuse bouche and through each reveal, a little history, a funny anecdote followed by another mouthful of deliciousness.  How to create ‘mock’ lemongrass – an apple and half a lemon whizzed up in the Viatmix with a little water.  Genius.  Then the techie stuff, the explanation of Centrifugal force..the intense spinning of the blades creates friction that imparts heat to the liquid and in less than six minutes HOT SOUP! And you don’t even have to peel the fruits and veg, could this get any better? Mesmerised we swayed to the demonstrators melodious repartee, enthralled and then STRIKE! A One Off TODAY Only Offer Madam, Sir …. blah, blah blah – the rest was irrelevant.  Mr VitaMix sales rep, you had me at Hello …..

The chatter home in the car was full of how we would wake each morning to a delicious green juice full of wholesome fibre and plentiful nutrients, perhaps a high protein snack at lunchtime of a nut-butter spread on crispbreads and then how many times per week we could now go to the gym, straight off the train at 8pm, gym by 8.15, 45 minutes in the gym and home to delicious hot soup full of goodness within 10 minutes of walking through the door. Green smoothies for breakfast, entertaining with home made salsa, soup starter and then frozen yoghurt for pudding … I will be a  Domestic Goddess worshipping at the shrine of Vitamix – and thin and healthier to boot.

Day One of the new us ….. managed to not quite get up early enough to do a green juice and besides it was Monday and there were only 2 apples, a lemon and an ageing plum left in the fruit bowl.  Not to worry, I could pop into Wholefoods in Kensington and pick up some delicious Organic vegetables for the smooth velvety soup I would be making post-gym session tonight.  So at the end of the day, feeling virtuous at starting the week I skipped through  the door with my bag of mixed root and leaf vegetables ready to create.  In they went, carrots, leeks, onions, celery, a little spinach, parsley, coriander, a little salt, pepper and garlic to flavour and cold water.  And GO! The noise of the machine is LOUD, loud enough to require lip-reading skills when in action.  Of course in a Costco Warehouse with its plane hanger dimensions this is not a problem, in my small suburban kitchen it is but we shall presse (presse, geddit?) on.

Six minutes feels too long when you are suddenly ravenous,  four or five minutes into the processing and the machine is beginning to steam and a quick touch of the polycarbonate container confirms the soup is indeed getting hot.  Poured into deep soup bowls we sit to eat our healthy, nutritious, fat free supper ….. bleurgh.  I WAS NOT expecting that …. it is VILE, throat closingly, gag inducingly VILE but HOW? I like ALL those vegetables and herbs and combined they would normally create a delicious, smooth vegetable soup with the aid of my now defunct Braun MultiQuick and 30 minutes softening in olive oil.

By now tired and emotional caused by a massive blood sugar slump I throw the last remaining carrots and coriander into the Vitamix, now everyone loves carrot and coriander soup, right? what could possibly go wrong … so six minutes later we sit down again, less enthusiastic than before but nevertheless driven by hunger, keen to bolt it down.  Well, it wasn’t inedible but frankly Covent Garden Soup Company turns out something far superior than this bitter concotion.  And the texture,  the force used seems to emulsify the liquid somewhere along the line and what is poured out has a strange viscosity that once in the mouth feels  ‘slimy’ and not unlike egg albumen.  But we ate it anyway.

Deflated we went to bed hungry and feeling a little bit like we had fallen prey to a slick sales pitch (again! we have a steam penguin, shirt flip flap folder and numerous miracle household cleansers residing in various cupboards around the house).  On reflection, I suppose when you slowly soften vegetables in oil to make soup in the conventional way, you release the vegetables natural sugars which gives a softer, sweeter taste in the mouth and a quick jooooosh in a blender affords you the texture you want rather than the cloying potage I had created.   Since then I have reverted to peeling and softening my vegetables in the traditional way and of course use my Vitamix to blend it to the texture I require.

Now I am no longer commuting to London for 5 hours a day and have rescinded my gym membership, preferring a brisk walk in the morning to keep me fit I finally have the time to watch the instruction video and read through the manual, when searching for where I had gone wrong, an online forum posted RTFM – Read The Freakin’ Manual, should have done that, I didn’t.  I am determined to master the Vitamix, but until then it is my most perfect, noisy, indestructible …… blender.

Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon

                                                                                                                                       Doug Larson

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