Author Archives: Alex

Brewing Calculators & other useful info

Lot of this page is for my own reference whilst attempting a little home brewing. Hopefully of use to others too..

If you are reading this and not sure what I’m going on about – try reading this article on how to use a hydrometer.

There is also a pdf on hard cider you can download here

Image result for hydrometerBrewing calculators

Fermcalc – collection of various calculators for wine making – quite advanced – sugar calculator is definitely useful!

Brewers friend – Wide range of calculators for all things home brew. More catered towards wine making and beer – the estimated percentage of alcohol calculator is useful – or you can use the table below to get a quick idea.

Estimated Percent Alcohol by Volume (ABV)

Original Gravity →

1.030 1.035 1.040 1.045 1.050 1.055 1.060 1.065 1.070 1.075
0.998 4.1 4.8 5.4 6.1 6.8 7.4 8.1 8.7 9.4 10.1
1.000 3.9 4.5 5.2 5.8 6.5 7.1 7.8 8.5 9.1 9.8
1.002 3.6 4.2 4.9 5.6 6.2 6.9 7.5 8.2 8.9 9.5
1.004 3.3 4.0 4.6 5.3 5.9 6.6 7.3 7.9 8.6 9.3
1.006 3.1 3.7 4.4 5.0 5.7 6.3 7.0 7.7 8.3 9.0
1.008 2.8 3.5 4.1 4.8 5.4 6.1 6.7 7.4 8.0 8.7
1.010 2.6 3.2 3.8 4.5 5.1 5.8 6.5 7.1 7.8 8.4
1.012 2.3 2.9 3.6 4.2 4.9 5.5 6.2 6.8 7.5 8.2
1.014 2.0 2.7 3.3 4.0 4.6 5.3 5.9 6.6 7.2 7.9
1.016 1.8 2.4 3.1 3.7 4.4 5.0 5.7 6.3 7.0 7.6
1.018 1.5 2.2 2.8 3.4 4.1 4.7 5.4 6.0 6.7 7.3
1.020 1.3 1.9 2.5 3.2 3.8 4.5 5.1 5.8 6.4 7.1
1.022 1.0 1.6 2.3 2.9 3.6 4.2 4.9 5.5 6.2 6.8
1.024 0.8 1.4 2.0 2.7 3.3 4.0 4.6 5.2 5.9 6.5

↓ Final Gravity



Humous, Falafel & Fresh Naan bread – vegan munchies

My friends make jokes about me being a survivalist because I’m always stockpiling tins of tomatoes and chickpeas etc – but I just buy in bulk when supermarkets put them on offer due to overstocking.. so had a crate of chickpeas I needed to use up and guests coming for dinner – this is the perfect combination lol

1 tin of Chickpeas
4 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons tahini

1 clove garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste
2-3 tablespoons olive oil (try with 2 first, add bit more if needed)
Add all ingredients in a blender for a few mins.. there you go – smear over a plate and drizzle olive oil over the top – can’t go wrong.



3 tins of chickpeas
1 onion, quartered
1 potato, peeled and quartered
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup Corriander leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour or gram flour
2 teaspoons baking soda

Place the chickpeas, onion, and potato into the blender until finely chopped. Leaving about 1 cup of the chickpea mixture in the blender, pour the rest into a mixing bowl. Add the garlic, cilantro, coriander, cumin, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper to the blender; mix on low to blend thoroughly. Return therest of the chickpeas you set aside back into the blender along with the lemon juice, olive oil, and flour; process on low into a coarse paste. Cover, and refrigerate.

After 2 hours – stir baking soda into the chickpea mixture until evenly blended. Using damp hands, form the mixture into 2-3cm diameter balls.
You can deep fry these falafel but I prefer to shallow fly them in some sunflower oil and flip half way, pressing down a little to make them slightly flat.


I’ve had a couple of go’s at this – but really got some good results the last time – using a Kurdish Naan recipie which is really simple:

480g bread flour
2-3 teaspoons yeast
approximately 3/4 to 1 cup water
1-2 teaspoons salt
Nigella seeds ( optional )

Fill cup about half full with luke warm water, add about half teaspoon sugar and add yeast, stir up to activate yeast. Place flour in bowl add the salt and mix, then make a well – add the water/yeast mix and stir – add another half a cups worth of water to rinse and mix together until it comes to a nice dough, nead the dough for a few mins then roll into a saugage shape – approximately 30 cm long. Cut it into equal bits – appoximately 6-8 peices and form them into balls… place in fridge covered on a plate for 40 mins.

I use my BBQ to cook the naans by placing a grill pan upside down on the fire and cooking on that – but pretty sure you could do in a very hot pan or in a preheated oven.



Cooking measurement calculations

Hate having to keep finding the cups to grams ratio etc when using American recipes etc so posting a few conversions here to save time..


Ingredient 1 cup ¾ cup ⅔ cup ½ cup ⅓ cup ¼ cup 2 tbsp
Wheat Flour 120g 90g 80g 60g 40g 30g 15g
Cornflour 120g 90g 80g 60g 40g 30g 15g
Butter 240g 180g 160g 120g 80g 60g 30g
Sugar (granulated) 200g 150g 130g 100g 65g 50g 25g
Sugar (Brown) 180g 135g 120g 90g 60g 45g 23g
Icing Sugar 100g 75g 70g 50g 35g 25g 13g
Rice (uncooked) 190g 140g 125g 95g 65g 48g 24g
Couscous (uncooked) 180g 135g 120g 90g 60g 45g 22g
Oats (uncooked) 90g 65g 60g 45g 30g 22g 11g
Chopped Nuts 150g 110g 100g 75g 50g 40g 20g
Breadcrumbs (fresh) 60g 45g 40g 30g 20g 15g 10g
Breadcrumbs (dry) 150g 110g 100g 75g 50g 40g 20g
Grated Parmesan cheese 90g 65g 60g 45g 30g 22g 11g

Continue reading


Perfect thin crust pizza recipe

Tried loads of different combinations for making perfect pizza base, this is the one I use – it makes 3 medium sized pizzas.


Add half of the water to a cup and mix in the tea spoon of sugar. It’s important that the water is not too hot – it should be around room temperature – any hotter will kill off the yeast. Once the sugar is dissolved, add the yeast and stir well – put to one side and allow the yeast to activate.. you should start to see some small bubbles/circular patterns of yeast – usually 5-10 mins.
Meanwhile – Mix the flour and salt in a bowl. and once the yeast looks like it could be about right – add two table spoons of olive oil to the flour and a little of the water/yeast.. mix well adding more of the yeast and then rinsing the cup out with the remaining water until all is cleaned out – all the time stirring with a spoon as you do this.
Once you’ve mixed all you can with your spoon and the pizza dough seems to be forming – dust a clean work surface with flour then chuck the dough on it and knead the dough adding some dusting of flour as you go to stop it getting too sticky… once this is nicely done – leave to rest for half an hour covered in a bowel.
You can store this in the fridge for a few days and simply take enough dough for how many pizzas you will have – storing in the fridge will make the yeast dormant so take out and rest at room temperature for 10 mins before you knead the dough and roll into pizzas.
If you are using oven dishes – heat them up in oven for 10 mins, then dust with flour before putting rolled out pizza dough on there – this will ensure the underneath starts to cook straight away while you are putting toppings on – should be ready in like 7-10 mins depending upon how much sauce/toppings.


Note for vegans – if you don’t want to use cheese on your pizza, maybe put the rolled dough in the oven for a minuete or two to cook the base slightly before putting tomato sauce on – will ensure you don’t bugger up by using too much sauce and undercooking the base.

Buckfast Caramel sauce recipe

Woke up with a hangover and a quarter bottle of buckfast tonic wine left, it was pancake day and needed a new idea for an alternative to sugar and lemon… so had the brainwave of a buckfast caramel sauce for the pancakes.. complete overkill but not actually that bad – think it could be used in cakes – watch this space lol


100g sugar ( I used about 80g white sugar and 20g brown sugar costa type sachets )
Approximately 60g butter ( could get away without using maybe if vegan)
Quarter of large bottle buckfast tonic wine.


Caramelising the sugar Melt the butter over a low heat in a small frying pan, then add the sugar and stir until you can see it caramelising, then be very careful as it will spit – add a little of the buckfast – whilst string very quickly… repeat this, allowing the water to evaporate – buckfast is quite sweet anyway so it will caramelise as well

I’m pretty sure someone will point out that you can dry caramelise sugar – but this works as well.. and the added butter keeps it from hardening too quickly.

Once you have a nice dark caramel and you can see there are no crystals left, it should be ready – or you could possibly stir in some cream gradually to make a sauce for desert..

Any excess, spoon onto grease proof paper and fold the paper over to cover it once cooled – should be able to store for a while like this and reheat if required.

I don’t really bother much with deserts but my girlfriend has a sweet tooth and I couldn’t help incorporating buckfast – will update once I have another bash.




Underground Punk festivals you should check out if you visit the UK

Every year I see people posting in the couchsurfing punk rock group asking about Rebellion Festival – there are much better, more intimate festivals with real DIY punk bands (and minus the boneheads).

2017 version coming soon.

Manchester Punk Festival – April 2016

Manchester Punk Festival

South London Scum Present – April 2016


Refugees welcome fest – Manchester, June 2016

Facebook event

0161 Festival – Manchester – May 2016

0161 Festival Manchester

Antifascist festival based in Manchester

Surplus Fest – Wales July 1-3

Quite good crusty festival with decent bands – South Wales – close to Cardiff.
Fb Event

Fuk Reddin Fest – North London – August 2016

Yearly occurrence on the London punk scene every August Bank Holiday weekend, billed as an alternative to the corporate sponsored walled ripping Reading ( & Leeds) festival, usually a very messy affair. Flyer to come – for more information check out the facebook page.

Common Ground Festival = South West England September 2016

The original Dirty Weekend Festival actually started out in North Wales as an alldayer but has grown into a really cool diy, not for profit festival aimed at raising money for charity. This year it’s got a new name, but the same crew and the same ideals. Closest airports is Bristol or maybe Birmingham. Check out the lift share group on facebook | Facebook Event | Common Ground Festival

March of the Penguins – Manchester August 2016

Facebook event

Chimpy Fest – late August 2016 (London)

Facebook event

Any festivals listed on here do not tolerate dickheads – the purpose of this post is to get people – especially from overseas – to visit decent diy festivals. Everyone is welcome – as long as you are not a dickhead. Zero tolerance to racism, homophobia, misogyny etc – if you feel any of the latter apply to you – maybe you should go to Blackpool 🙂


Turbo cider basics

This post was originally on tumblr – moving it to this domain:

So i’ve been going on to everyone about how they should make their own cider after seeing the light myself only recently. I’ve promised to put down some basic info on how to make turbocider. This is not how to make the nicest tasting, crisp scrumpy – its cheap, easy to make, strong cider.

Things you will need.

A freecycle account – before you start – why buy brand new equipment when there is perfectly good, free equipment that’s festering away in some old person’s garage waiting to be brought back into operation? I’ve literally gotten loads of airlocks, demijons, fermenting bins from there.

1 bucket or washing basin – for sterilising equipment

1 or more demijons – Glass ones are best as they are easy to clean but if stuck, buy a 1 gallon (5litre) bottle of spring water, then make a hole in the top, push through an airlock and seal the top with silicone.

Sterilizing powder – can be bought from some Morrisons/Wilkinson or brew shop / ebay. If ur using glass demijon u can get away with using just boiling hot water to sterilize but u’ll need to use smthg for the airlock ( u can use sterilised vodka or highly diluted bleach to fill airlock or in my case – Romanian Tuica)

Airlocks – bout 2 quid for 2 airlocks in the brew shop but try to freecycle them first.

Siphon tube – need this for when you want to rack off ( bottle ) the cider.

Yeast – u can make do with ‘wine yeast compound’ from morrisons but I prefer champagne yeast – must better result

Sugar – check the pound shops, places like home bargains for sugar ( and apple juice )

Concentrated apple juice – where u get it from may change the end taste so shop around find stuff that makes decent cider. ASDA smart price apple juice aint too bad and its cheap.

Empty bottles – lemonade etc plastic bottles – once which can handle carbonated drinks ( if u plan to give your cider some fizz )

Basic recipe – I have to thank Simon Wild for – very good recipe but I’ve found champagne yeast more effective in brewing really strong cider 🙂

Will update this post soon with a few more potent turbo cider recipes.

Golden rules of turbo cider production

“Even if you have 100 litres in your cupboards – don’t ever stop brewing because you think you have enough!’ (Ippy Chris 2012)

If in doubt – clean it again.