Category Archives: Thoughts

Some of my thoughts, ideas and other text based entries

Recently read: In A House Of Lies

My goal of reading more books this year still isn’t going as well as I’d like, but I’m going to keep trying. Still, I did manage to finish a book yesterday I had bought two weeks ago. The latest instalment in the Inspector Rebus series by Ian Rankin.

After over a decade and over 20 books in the series there isn’t an awful lot new happening, a lot of the usual suspects and storylines make another appearance. Two main strands/cases are interwoven through the book, not linked yet still linked. But I felt the story flows well and it’s a nice and easy read. Some new characters are introduced I suspect we might hear of again in the next book in the series. Oh, and judging from a passage near the end there might be some Brexit influences as well, as there’s a good chance that Brexit (and the related Border and customs issues) will provide rich pickings for criminals real and fictional.

Hemp and Walnut Bread

It was time for some baking again last Sunday (but I only find time to blog about it today), time for another experiment. I decided to make an alternative version of the Hemp and Almond Bread I first made back in June (and have made again since), mainly replacing the almonds with walnuts. But as the walnuts came in a slightly strange packet size I also played around with some the of volumes.

These are the ingredients I used (I decided to also include some sunflower seeds):

  • 400g strong stoneground wholemeal bread flour
  • 200g strong white bread flour
  • 125g hemp seed hearts
  • 130g walnut halves
  • 50g sunflower seeds
  • ~15g fast action bread yeast
  • 3 table spoons olive oil
  • 400ml of warm water

Mix, knead, let rise as appropriate, then bake at 220ºC (fan assisted oven) for just over 30 minutes.

Taste test? Similar to the almond version, a nice slightly nutty taste, as expected from the hemp and the walnuts. Crunchy when you bite on a walnut. Also tastes very nice toasted.

Hemp and Almond Bread

Decided to experiment with some bread baking again. While doing my shopping yesterday I spotted some ‘Hemp Seed Hearts’ (described as ‘pure unrefined hemp seed kernels with a delicious light nutty flavour’ and that among other things they are perfect for baking), so I bought some to use them in some bread to be baked for the weekend.

(click on the pictures for larger versions)

These are the ingredients I used (I decided to also include some almonds):

  • 300g strong stoneground wholemeal bread flour
  • 150g strong white bread flour
  • 75g hemp seed hearts
  • 75g toasted chopped almonds
  • ~10g fast action bread yeast
  • 2 table spoons olive oil
  • 1/2 pint of warm water

Mix, knead, let rise as appropriate, then bake at 220ºC (fan assisted oven) for just over 30 minutes.

Taste test?

Has a nice light nutty smell. Taste also light nutty (as promised), bread turned out quite light but also crunchy with the seeds and the almonds. Yes, I’ll almost certainly make this again.

Recently read: Small Change

Money, money, money. Unless we return to bartering I believe it will stay with us and be an important part of our lives for a long time. And with it the question how to spend it wisely. Via Tim Harford I came across an interesting book about just that topic:

While it didn’t teach me as much new as I had hoped it reminded me of a few things and gave me a few things to think about, namely:

  • The importance of seeing the money you’re spending, also called the pain of spending money. In our modern world more and more of our money is spent cashless, you don’t really see the money disappearing from your wallet, so you don’t feel the pain as much. While certainly convenient (and I use it all the time) it makes it much easier to lose sight of how much you’re spending (which at least partially is intended, as it gets you to spend more).
  • Opportunity costs. If you spend £4 on a coffee/tea/hot chocolate, what are you not spending (or saving up to) it for? If you spend an hour on Facebook/Twitter/othersocialmedia, what are you not doing instead (e.g. writing a blog post like this)? What can you not buy/do by spending money or time or something? What is more important to you?

Neither of these were new to me, I had either read about them before elsewhere or learned about them during my education. But they were good reminders of things to think about more. In particular opportunity costs I think about much more now.

Other readers might learn other things or be reminded of other things from the book. I think it’s a good read, well worth the money (it might pay for itself if you learn something from it…).

Recently read: Psyched Up

One of my goals for this year is to read more, sadly it’s not going as well as I had hoped. Still, I did manage to finish a book recently, hopefully motivation for more soon. Especially as the subtitle of the book reads:

How the science of mental preparation can help you succeed.

Sadly the science is rather limited and largely focused on sports, at least that’s what I mainly took away from the book. There’s quite a bit about the success (or lack thereof) of trash talk and music playlists during or before sports competitions and activities, neither of them I found very beneficial for me personally. Others might find it more beneficial and interesting (I personally don’t like music while I’m exercising very much, in particular walking/jogging, I prefer the sounds of nature).

More interesting was the part about confidence, how to instill confidence and how the often derided (incl by me) motivational posters might actually help after all. Still, I don’t plan to hang any of them up, certainly not at home and most likely not at my desk in the office either.

An unexpected chapter was the last one, covering the use (or abuse, depending of your point of view) of various chemical aids, a.k.a. pills. After giving them a try Daniel McGinn came to the conclusion they weren’t for him (a conclusion I’ve come to without trying them), although he’s still keeping the option in his back pocket (not something for me).

In summary for me: some ideas I might be able to build on, but overall not enough practical ideas for me personally. A too large focus on sports to be useful for me personally. Your mileage may vary.