Smartphone life shakes up website world


 Is your company website geared up for view on smartphone or computers and tablets. If you  follow the techy world you will see that more and more of us are using Smartphone as a means of accessing the internet. If your website is not user friendly to apps then you will rapidly be left behind in this increasingly digital world – think about it if you wish to remain  in business!

In-store mobile wallet payments will reach €78bn in Europe and North America by 2017.

Finally all parties look as if they are getting their acts together to provide a mobile wallet service in Europe and US. Up until now it as been patchy with individual providers like Starbucks leading the way. I look forward to seeing how the alliances between the parties develop. From my perspective I am interested to see what the security will be like, and most importantly who foots the bill when you loose your mobile.

Mobile wallet In US mobile are reaching all time high and it has become the focus of some local authorities and police departments. Watch this space for more information on this …….. to be continued.



Mothersday Luscious Brownies


Luscious Brownie recipe


185g Unsalted butter
100 g Dark Chocolate buttons
90 g Chocolate praline sandwich buttons from Henry’s hand made chocolates
85g Plain flour
40g Cocoa powder
3 large eggs from Nethergong nurseries
275g golden caster sugar


Turn the Oven on 180 and allow to pre-heat

On the hob boil some water in a large saucepan – insert a large heat proof bowl over the saucepan to make a bain marie  

Melt the Chocolate over  boiling water – once melted add butter and sugar allow for sugar to dissolve and butter to melt.

In a separate bowl away from the heat beat the eggs then add the cocoa and flour. Add the chocolate mixture little by little and mix well.

Pour into a non stick greased baking tray and bake for 23 minutes on 180 C

Update on use of Mobile Wallets in US & UK


For those of you followed my earlier blog on Mobile wallets ( the message its pretty much the same ( talks about the US market place which not surprisingly is further advanced than UK & Europe.
The article ( deals with situation in UK using the the same data set  mention in the earlier article but also also brings up some new statistics. But the general message for UK is that consumers like you and me are still concerned about security and it goes on to talk about how many consumers surveyed identified a lack of in-store promotion of contactless payment. The study also found that staff were frequently uninformed about contactless payment, unsure whether the stores accepted it, and unaware of minimum payment requirements or upper limits.

So the players who are trying to convert us consumers – you need educate your own staff as well as consumers – get your act together if you are serious about mobile wallets in the UK.

Heart shaped Fruit Tart


For the sweet pastry use a heart shaped base pan to keep with the theme!


Crème patissière

Ingredients for the toppings

To serve

Preparation method

  1. For the sweet pastry, preheat the oven to 190C/350F/Gas 5.
  2. Lightly grease and flour 12 x 8cm/3¼ heart shaped tins.
  3. Stir the flour and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Add the flattened butter straight from the fridge into the flour and rub in the mixture.
  4. Add the sugar, mix together the eggs and egg yolk, and  add to the mixture. Gently mix with a dough scraper, or spatula, until the dough comes together in a ball.
  5. Lightly flour a work surface, tip the pastry ball out onto it, and knead until you have a smooth soft dough. Shape the pastry into a square, to make it easier to roll out.
  6. Place the dough the fridge to chill for an hour minimum, preferably overnight.
  7. Remove the pastry from the fridge and lightly flour a work surface. Roll out the pastry 2-3mm thick and line the 12 tins, leaving an overhang of pastry. Place some greaseproof paper over the top and fill with baking beans. Rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  8. Once chilled, place the pastry tart cases on a baking sheet and cook for 15 minutes. Lift out the paper and beans, brush with beaten egg yolk, and place back in the oven for 8 minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Then trim the edges and lift out onto a cooling rack.
  10. For the crème patissière, place the milk, vanilla seeds and pods into a large saucepan and warm though.
  11. Place the eggs, sugar and flour in a large mixing bowl and whisk until the colour changes and becomes pale. Gradually add the warm milk and vanilla to the egg mixture, whisk together, then return the mixture to the pan. Cook on a low heat until it the mixture thickens, then pour into a clean bowl. Place a circle of greaseproof paper on the mixture, to stop a skin forming.
  12. If you would like to flavour the crème with kirsch, add it to the crème once it is cold.
  13. To make up the fruit tarts, spoon the crème patissière in a piping bag, and pipe into the pastry cases. Top the tarts with the strawberries.
  14. Put the apricot jam and 1-2 tablespoons of water in a small sauce pan and warm it through, so it loosens up and becomes more liquid. Lightly brush the fruit to glaze.
  15. To serve, place the tarts on a cake stand and dust with icing sugar, and garnish with mint tips or pistachios.


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Pasta Recipe


500g plain flour

4 whole eggs

6 egg yolks

1 tbls olive oil

Mix all ingredients in food processor and leave to stand in fridge for 10 minutes


Creamy Pasta Sauce

Fry 300 g of chestnut mushrooms quartered in 1 tbl spoon of olive oil and spoon of butter till golden. Add one finely chopped garlic clove and cook till soft.

Put the mushrooms to one side.

On a low heat melt 50 g of butter in a sauce pan. When melted add 50 g of plain flour, stir very well to incorporate the flour and butter into a paste.

Add 50 ml of milk at a time and mix well to get rid of any lumps, when the 50 ml of milk has been stirred in add another 50 ml – Keep stirring constantly so that the mixture does not burn.

In total you will need to add 300 ml of full fat milk. Once the sauce has thickened add 100 g of grated mature cheddar and 1 tsp of English mustard. Season with salt and pepper.  Add the mushrooms to the sauce plus 30 g of chopped parsley.

Serve on Pasta or with Chicken.


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Bread recipes

White bread

700g strong white flour

2 tsp salt

1 tsp yeast

1 tsp brown sugar

425ml warm water


Wholemeal bread

570g wholemeal flour

2 tsp salt

2 tsp yeast

1 tsp brown sugar

400ml warm water


Focaccia bread

500g strong white flour

2 tsp salt

1 i/2 tsp yeast

300ml warm water

3 tbls olive oil


All breads mix all dry ingredients and oil together then add warm water and mix together and need for 10 minutes and leave to prove until double in size

Then bake at 180oC for 15 mins and check.


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More about mobile wallets


I came across two articles which follow on from my article last week on mobile wallets.


In the article on “Comment: Mobile Wallets – Can IT withstand the strain?” ( makes some very interesting points about how retailers need to have a very good overview of all the technology they have a cross their organisation. The technology will need to be integrated with the mobile wallet technology for the business to get the maximum benefit from what mobile wallets have to offer – such as information about purchases trends and needs of their customers. Because the technology is spread across many departments there will turf issues to deal with, e.g. Customer loyalty card information may reside with Marketing or Sales. 

It is also important that the system is robust and can cope with customer demands which ebb and flow and that the system has the capacity to deal with demand place on the system at peak times. Lastly, all the above has be seamless and work 100% of the time as it will make sure the customers gets a good service or they will not come back with more business in the future.


In the article “2013: opening the mobile wallet?”( are two conflicting reports. There are conflicting reports about the use of mobiles for banking and the use of mobile wallets. This all

highlights the huge debate that is going in some circles about this new technology. There is also a difference between the relative use in US and Europe which I have talked about in earlier blogs on this subject. ICM Research talks about the doubt as to whether mobile wallets will really feature in 2013. Whereas Juniper Research talk about over 1 billion people will use mobile for banking purposes by 2017.


So what does all this mean to you as consumer and potential user of mobile wallets? Apparently 80% of us are aware of mobile wallets now but only 8% are prepared to use them. The mobile joint venture between EE, O2 and Vodafone say that education will help persuade us to make the move. However, this is disputed by the ICM Research data and goes on to say that the use of mobile wallets is in its infancy with lack of support, few terminals and little or no in-store promotion. This is certainly the case in the UK with only a very small number of retailers using the technology.


There is also the concern amongst consumers like myself about the security of mobile wallets. This has not been help by the major players not talking to each other and going their separate ways – although I understand things are improving on this front. But uptake will remain patchy until all parties get together and thrash how to move forward constructively, and reassure consumers like myself with a consistent message. After all many of us who have been around a while will remember a number of battle royals between two or more companies or organisations in the same field fighting over different technology to get you and I to buy their particular product. 

Tear and Share Bread



150ml/5fl oz whole milk, plus extra for glazing
400g/14oz strong white flour, plus extra for kneading
7g/¼oz sachet fast-action dried yeast
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp fine sea salt
15g/½oz butter
1 tbsp sunflower oil, plus extra for greasing
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
15-20 sage leaves, chopped, plus extra for garnish
freshly ground black pepper



Preparation method

1. Heat 150ml/5fl oz water and the milk in a saucepan over a low heat until lukewarm.
2. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and stir in the yeast, sugar and salt.
3. Make a well in the centre and stir in the water and milk with a large wooden spoon. Gather
     into a ball then turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead
4.Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover loosely with oiled clingfilm. Leave to rise in a
    warm place for 45-60 minutes or until doubled in size.
5.Meanwhile, melt the butter and oil in a large non-stick frying pan and fry the onion and garlic
    over a very low heat for 10 minutes, or until softened.
6.Scatter the chopped sage over the onions and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Remove from
    the heat, season with lots of freshly ground black pepper and set aside to cool.
7.When the dough has doubled in size, tip it back onto a floured surface and flatten with the
     palms of your hands. Spoon the onion mixture on top and knead for a couple of minutes until evenly
     incorporated. Sprinkle with a little extra flour if it becomes sticky.
8.Divide the dough into eight and shape into neat balls by pulling the dough from the outside
    of the ball and pushing into the centre. Turn over with the ends underneath. Place the rolls in a circle
    on a large baking tray lined with greaseproof paper, making sure the dough balls are touching. Cover
    loosely with oiled cling film and leave to prove in a warm place for 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
9.Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 6.
10.Brush the top of each roll lightly with milk and place a small sage leaf on top. Brush with more
      milk and bake in the centre of the oven for 20 minutes, or until risen and golden-brown.





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Runner Bean parcels with Olympic swimming seared Tuna and Jersey Potatoes



1 Tuna Steak per person

Olive Oil

5 or 6 New Jersey potatoes per person

100 g of Runner Beans per person

100 g Chives – cut long

1 clove Garlic

50 g Butter





1. Put the new potatoes In a saucepan with boiling water and cook on a medium heat for 12 minutes.
2. Whilst the potatoes are cooking Blanch the Chives in boiling water.( Insert for 3 minutes into boiling
     water) Prepare the runner beans and tie them into parcels with the softened chives
3. Steam the Runner bean parcels for about 5 minutes
4. Heat the Olive Oil Till Hot and Sear each Tuna Steak for 2 minutes on each side. Depending on the
     thickness of the steak – it should leave a little bit of Pink meat in the middle.
5. Chop the Garlic Fine and heat gently in a Pan with the butter till melted.
6. Serve all together and Use the Garlic butter as a dressing over the Tuna and Beans



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