Ben & Zoë

Thank you to everyone who came to our wedding. The photos are available by clicking on the images below…

The Official Photos

The Official Photos

The official photographs have been uploaded at a reduced size – if you would like full size copies of any for printing please contact us (or put a comment on it) and we’ll send you a copy.

Photo booth

Photo Booth

Your own photos

Your own photos

We’d love it if you’d share your own photos with us. Please use this Google Photos album…
NB. I’m afraid you’ll need a Google account to contribute – if you don’t have one please send your photos to us

Gluten Free Fish & Chips!

Posted on February 8th, 2017 by Ben

For the batter:

  • 1oz Maize flour
  • 0.8oz Potato flour (plus more for dredging)
  • 0.5oz Ground polenta
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 small egg
  • 75ml gluten free dark beer

For the rest:

  • 2 white fish fillets
  • 2 potatoes for the chips

Weigh out the flours, add the salt and mix together. Break in the egg and start to beat together with a wooden spoon. Gradually add in the beer before it goes too claggy and continue to blend together adding the beer to give a smooth batter.

Heat a deep fryer to 130°C and chop the potatoes into chips (I like mine more like fries than chunky). Once the fryer is at temperature add the potatoes and fry for 8-10mins depending on chunky-ness.

Turn the heat up on the fryer to take it to 190°C. Dredge the fish in the potato flour then coat in the batter. Slowly introduce to the hot oil – this takes a bit of nerve but just allowing the batter to cook a few seconds before it hits the basket will stop it from sticking! Depending on the size of your fryer you may need to fry the fillets one at a time. Cook for 3-4 mins.

Finally put the chips back in to crisp off for about 4 minutes. Serve with a wedge of lemon and some homemade tartare sauce.

Now, here’s an interesting accidental discovery… Last night I accidentally added the first piece of fish while the oil was still at 130°C, and then quickly lifted it back out again within a minute, and put it on a plate while the fryer heated. This fish was then far crispier than the second piece which was fried in one sitting at full temp. Take from that what you will – I’ll experiment more next time.

Chicken, Bacon & Leek Pie

Posted on January 29th, 2017 by Zoë


I am still in the process of devising an acceptable grain free pie crust, but for the moment, this will do nicely!

Serves 2

Ingredients:

Pie Filling

  •  100g leftover roast chicken
  •  500ml chicken stock
  •  One large leek
  •  4 rashers of bacon
  •  4 large chestnut mushrooms
  •  50 g of butter
  •  2 tbsp crème fraiche
  •  1 tbsp (approx.) double cream
  •  1 tsp tarragon
  •  Couple of sprigs of thyme
  •  Salt & pepper
  •  Splash of white wine

Mash

  •  2 medium potatoes
  •  Knob of butter
  •  Splash of whole milk
  •  Salt & pepper
  •  Handful of cheddar cheese

 

Instructions:

  1. Heat up the butter in a large frying pan.
  2. Fry the leeks and chestnut mushrooms until softened.
  3. Add the bacon and fry until slightly browned.
  4. Add in the roast chicken and warm through.
  5. Add in the tarragon and thyme.
  6. Meanwhile, boil the potatoes until soft.
  7. While the potatoes are boiling, pour the chicken stock into the leek and chicken mixture and simmer for approximately 15 minutes.
  8. Mash the potato with the butter and milk, adding in a bit of salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Add in the crème fraiche, splash of white wine and double cream to the chicken and leek mixture, and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  10. Season to taste.
  11. Put the chicken and leek mixture into a pie dish with the mash on top.
  12. Sprinkle on some cheddar and grill until golden and bubbly.

Smoker Automation! (Part 1)

Posted on January 5th, 2017 by Ben

Just built and ready to roll…

Now, the first thing I did when we got a smoker was to buy a book, and in that book the author extolled the virtues of an offset smoker (like ours in the picture above), but warned that they aren’t a ‘set and forget’ thing. And after that I immediately went and bought a wireless 2-channel thermometer (one for the food temperature and one for the cooking temperature).

After a Christmas Eve of smoking in cold, blustery weather and constantly being in and out the house trying to keep the right temperature I decided there has to be a better way – and so SmokerPi was born! These posts will document the successes (and probably failures!) of trying to automate my smoker.

The First Prototype

First we need to build some prototype hardware to play with…

Controlling the Heat

The first question is how can we control the heat? There’s only really two things you can control on a Smoker and that’s the inlet vent on the firebox (controlling the amount of oxygen that can reach the fire) and the outlet vent on the chimney (controlling the draft through the smoker and the heat and smoke in the cooking chamber).

Now, both of these control the temperature but do a few experiments and you’ll quickly work out that the inlet vent is really the primary control, so it’s really there we need to start. That’s all well and good but it’s hot down there!

Actually the design of the smoker gives a possible option: By clamping a servo to the handle on the end of the firebox with an arm down to the the vent handle the whole thing is offset an inch or two from the firebox and therefore hopefully plastic parts will be OK.

The 3D printed bracket and arm

Electronics

The obvious choice for me as a base was a Raspberry Pi Zero. They’re cheap, there’s a great community of things to connect and you can do so much with Python to quickly make great software even when experimenting. To go with that we need a temperature measuring device and a way to control the servo.

It turns out the servo is quite easy: The Raspberry Pi has a PWM output on GPIO pin 18 which can be directly connected to the control input to the servo. The only catch is that the power requirement means any attempt to power the servo from the 5V supplying the Pi is likely to result in the Pi immediately resetting. Instead I connected it to 4 AA batteries in series.

For temperature a thermocouple is a good choice. Partly for its temperature resilience giving the option to locate it quite close the fire for better responsiveness, but mostly because they tend to respond quicker in themselves, than other sensors. To read it Adafruit do a small thermocouple amplifier board which connects to SPI and comes with Python code for the Pi.

For good measure I also added a small H-bridge motor control board also from Adafruit for future use in case it is useful to have a fan to blow additional oxygen into the firebox.

Software

I won’t go into the software in much detail at this stage but I wanted a real-time web-app style interface with a graph showing the live data from the thermocouple, and a slider to control the servo angle.

Using Flask and flask-socketio a web sockets app could quickly be written (OK, the writing was quick but the reading to get me that far took a bit longer!) which communicated from the Python program to a connecting web browser. I then added flot charts which are a set of JavaScript client-side graph plotting libraries built on jQuery to present the data nicely.

Where next?

After a quick function test showing that the servo really could work the vent accurately, it’s time to give it a trial run… Watch this space!

Philly Steak Stuffed Peppers

Posted on September 9th, 2016 by Ben

I ate it too quickly!

This is a nice easy dinner, perfect as a Friday night treat. Use a good quality minute or frying steak, and we’ve used the French cheese Morbier because it has a tang to it and goes lovely and melty. You can use Emmental or anything like that as an alternative.

OK, tell me more…