Friday 12 February 2010

Successful Global Trade Network meeting

It was quite refreshing to go to a networking event dedicated to international trade for regional companies. Even more so as the Global Trade Network is a free network run by volunteer business people, without any other agenda.

Forty or more companies turned up, most of them experienced in at least some international trade, to listen to Chris Jarvis's "Back to Basics" and an entertaining non scientist Nick Tait, talking about his science based company Syrris and it's lesson's learnt whilst penetrating international markets.

A bit jarring were poor Mike getting an earful about the UK Technology logo, (it is not the most inspiring of designs - see top left in document here) and some people talking at the back of the room whilst the presentations were going on. Rude? or am I just turning into a grumpy old man.

The networking afterwards was great, helped by the excellent buffet. It was good to chat to companies as diverse as quality vegetable seed producer Pro-Veg Seeds or XJTAG, a debugging software and hardware provider.

From past experience of organising international events or participating in them, I look forward to future meetings where we companies with international connections can share our expertise. Make sure you don't miss the next event by visiting The Global Trade Network site.

Tuesday 9 February 2010

Tasty mixed pepper tart for a light lunch

On the lookout for a new enjoyable snack, I chatted to my neighbour David, a young chef to be with an interest in pastry. He recommended a simple pastry dish, the mixed pepper tart.
For a small tart, I would need:
  • 100g plain flower
  • 25g butter
  • 25g lard
  • a teaspoon or so of water to help bind
(David recommends using the butter lard mixture because as it prevents the pastry cracking as it would with butter alone)

  • Sieve the flour into a bowl
  • Add the copped butter and lard
  • work in with fingers to breadcrumb consistency
  • add water sparingly until bound together
  • Chill in fridge for 20 - 30 minutes for easier preparation later
In the meantime prepare the filling:
  • Two halves of different coloured peppers
  • half an onion
  • small clove of garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste/season
  • 1 small egg
  • about 100ml milk
  • finely chop the onion and garlic
  • fry them lightly in oil 
  • chop and add the peppers
  • carry on cooking gently until the peppers are nice and soft
  • add the seasoning to taste
  • Optional, add some basil for additional flavour
  • take out to cool
  • Whisk the egg with the milk lightly in a jug
Now we need to prepare the pastry
  • Take pastry out of the fridge
  • onto a floured surface and with a floury rolling pin, roll out the pastry to about 3mm -4mm thickness
  • Line a suitably sized oven proof dish or tin with butter
  • Wrap pastry around rolling pin and carefully deposit in dish
  • tamp down gently
  • remove excess above dish rim with a knife
  • add the pepper and onion mixture
  • add the whisked milk and egg
Cook in a preheated oven at 180 degC for about 20 minutes or until lightly golden and set.
Serve hot, perhaps with a light salad as an accompaniment!

Guess what ! will be trying tomorrow!