Black Bean Soup

Another ongoing recipe that will  always be under development.

  • 1 large Onion (chopped fine)
  • 3 – 4 gloves of garlic (chopped)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • cooked black beans
  • tin of tomato
  • 1 jalapeno (fresh)
  • 1 -2 chipotle (rehydrated)
  • 1 romano pepper
  • bunch of fresh cilantro
  • 1 fresh lime

In a large saucepan, heat a teaspoon of vegetable oil with bay leaves, slowly cook onion for five minutes. add the peppers, chills, garlic, and half the cilantro. Cook for another minute, and then add the cumin. Add the beans and tomatoes, and cover with water. Simmer slowly for 30 – 45 mins. Towards the end of the cooking time, if the beans haven’t started to lose their form “encourage” them with the back of a wooden spoon.

Serve with the rest of the cilantro, a squeeze of lime, and hot sauce as appropriate.

In Search of a Pair

It’s that time again. I’m trying to convince myself that it’s worth putting my photography on walls again. For the loooooongest time i’m wanted to do something “spectacular” (read: “stupid”) with the ‘Water under the Bridge” series.

Before leaving Japan i took a bunch of these shots on Acros and developed them with Microfine, the Fujifilm developer for smooth grain… probably now discontinued.

The results never did much for me, had trouble getting clean scans, which were never really big enough to consider printing at the size at which it seems likely that these shots would work.

Today as part of my effort to get back on track i scanned the shot to the right. That one is 12000×32000 pixels, printed at 300dpi it would stand 2.7m tall and 93cm wide…

What i don’t really know is what that’s going to look like on paper… looking at that little version over there (40 times smaller than the full scan!) it sure look sharp / in focus / detailed, but looking at the pixels 1:1 it’s not so obvious.

Despite being shot on a tripod, with a cable release, there is a lot that can go wrong. And despite the XPan lenses, whether i manager to nail the focus, and get the film perfectly parallel to the wall… who knows.

2.7m is a little larger than i’d anticipated. Down sampling it down to a size where it could be just 2m might help a little (in terms of making it practical to hang). Which is all very well, but how do i go about getting someone to do test prints for a couple of places in the image.

Oh, and can i find a few more that are similarly interesting / sharp? Still think it’d look spectacular hung one of those unpainted concrete gallery walls that are all the rage in Tokyo…

If you’ve ever printed on this scale and would care to share any wisdom it would be much appreciated!

Update: first suggestion, from @Tug, is C Type prints at Metro


Raita. To go with the remains of the curry…

  • cucumber
  • yogurt
  • 1 glove garlic
  • 1/4 of a purple onion
  • tsp Coriander powder / seeds
  • black pepper
  • salt

Thinly slice the cucumber with a japanese finger tip remover (mandolin), mix with salt (1/2 tsp) for several minutes. When the water has started to come out of the cucumber, roughly five minutes, rinse off the salt and dry.

Finely chop the garlic and onion. Mix into the cucumber. Stir in the yoghurt and coriander. Serve with black pepper, and a squeeze of lemon / lime.

Still no pictures, but i’m sure you can imagine!

Chickpea and Kale Curry

For a while i’ve been trying to perfect my chana-masala. A couple of times it got close, but it’s generally really difficult to get ‘just right’. Getting the curry to the right consistency to coat the chickpeas is definitely an art. Just need to keep practicing!

This is a variation on the theme, adding kale. It is consequently a little more earthy / hearty than a traditional chana masala.

  • 1 large onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 10cm of fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp Coriander powder
  • 2 tsp Cumin powder
  • 1 tsp Tumeric powder (optional)
  • 2 – 4 Red Chilis (preferably fresh…)
  • Chickpeas
  • Kale
  • 1 can Tomatoes
  • salt (to taste)
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 Lemon / Lime

Slice the onion, chop the garlic and chilis, grate the ginger. In a *large* pan cook the onions in vegetable oil and a little salt until they’re getting soft (about 10mins), add the garlic, chills, and ginger, let them cook for another minute or so. Add all the spices, and mix them through the onions for another minute. Now add the chickpeas (we soak them overnight, and cook them in a pressure cooker, but a drained can would be fine) and the tomatoes, rinse the tin out with a little water. Stir and cover for around 15mins. It can get pretty dry / thick, but don’t worry, the kale will thin it down again.

Wash and clean the kale, taking out any large stems. Chop it though, or shred it if it looks tough. Add the kale into the top of the pan. Put the lid back and let it steam for a few minutes before attempting to mix it into the curry. Depending on how young / fresh the kale is, it’ll take 5 – 10 mins to soften.

Stir in the Garam Masala, and serve with lemon / lime juice. The sourness really brings out the spices. If you used fresh tomatoes it probably wouldn’t be as important, but the tinned ones are pretty sweet.

Oh, and the Turmeric is optional as sometimes it turns a little bitter if you don’t get it into hot oil. Not good.

As usual, i should have taken a picture. Next time!

Blau SIM in Japan

[Posting because i couldn’t find this information easily online]

Was rather surprised to find that my venerable unlocked Vodafone branded Nokia 5800 XpressMusic (shipped in 2008!) with a German SIM *now* works in Japan. That’s notable as two years ago the exact same phone and Sim resolutely refused to connect to anything!

If only it was something other than stubbornness that stopped me from “upgrading” – i’ve never bought a phone, and see very little need to start now, he Luddited.

The rates aren’t terrible for what i need. It’s 99¢ / min for voice, 19¢ / SMS, and 99¢ / MB for data. The only data i need is for mail, and thus far i’ve yet to manage to the use a megabyte in a week. The only “problem” is that it’s completely impossible to decrypt / encrypt pgp on this thing… well, maybe there is a Symbian pgp mail app out there somewhere, but you have to draw the line somewhere!

Also finally bought the infamous CA-100C cable and can charge thing thing off a laptop / iDevice wall-wart. Worldwide mobility is within my grasp, etc.

GPGMail Beta for 10.10

You can get it here:

For some reason that’s the best link i can find…

I’ve only had it installed for a couple of days and stability isn’t terrible (one or two related crashes i think…) Up until that point i’d be living out of the services menu, which isn’t bad until you need to deal with attachments, and need other command line tools to decode / extract mime parts. Even then it’s not that bad, and will always be free.

Edit: the notes on setting up GPGTools Services are here, and the command line tool for mime is ‘ripmime‘.

Building the GPGTools Mail Bundle


The usual dance. You upgrade an OS X release and your plugins get disabled. As they are working with unpublished APIs this isn’t in the least bit surprising. Apple really should get their act together and make easily extensible – if they can’t include PGP support by default, at least make it easy for the good people that do. Changing the API between beta and GA is a dick move.

If you followed the link above you’ll know that the GPGTools mail bundle is moving to a paid model. That seems like a sensible decision to me. When they get that system setup i’ll pay. In the meantime i wanted to see how easy it was to build from the source. It’s not bad, but it doesn’t get you a working mail bundle.

IMPORTANT: the below won’t give you working GPGMail in!! It just shows you how to build and install the currently broken version.

That said, if you’re interested here are the steps:

  • install XCode
  • clone the git project, In a terminal:
$ mkdir src ; cd src
$ git clone
$ git checkout yosemite
$ cd GPGMail
$ make
  • the above will build everything but fail to create the actually bundles due to an issue with signing. To fix that open the Xcode project:
$ open ./GPGMail.xcodeproj
  • in ‘Navigate’ menu, select ‘Reveal in Project Navigator’. Open the GPGMail project in the left most pane, and select the ‘GPGMail_Updater.xcodeproj’ target. In the centre pane, in the ‘Identity’ section, change the ‘Signing’ to ‘None’. The project seems to auto-save on close… no idea, i’m not an Xcode user.
  • Now go back to the terminal and reexecute the ‘make’ command.
  • To manually install the bundle, close, and copy execute the following:
$ cp -r ./build/Release/GPGMail.mailbundle ~/Library/Mail/Bundles/

And restart It should tell you that the bundle is incompatible and is being disabled. This is the part that the GPGTools developers are working on fixing.