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  • Posted on February 16, 2017

    'Treat don't Cheat' Beef and Oxtail Ragu

    It’s been so cold this week, all we want is some hearty, comforting food to keep us cosy, and this beef and oxtail ragù recipe ticks all the boxes. The rich sauce makes it a great winter warmer and serving it with spiralized sweet potato makes it the perfect guilt-free comfort food!

    beef ragu with spiralized sweet potato

    Beef and Oxtail Ragù with Spiralized Sweet Potato

     

    beef dripping, for cooking

    600 g/21 oz. oxtail (on the bone)

    600 g/21 oz. beef short rib arrowroot, to coat

    3 smoked garlic cloves, finely chopped

    2 carrots, finely diced

    1 large white onion, finely diced

    2 celery stalks/ribs, finely diced

    2 fresh rosemary sprigs

    2 bay leaves

    400 ml/1 ¾ cups chicken stock (or water)

    11/2 teaspoons wholegrain mustard

    3 tablespoons good-quality balsamic vinegar

    225 g/8 oz. baby plum tomatoes

    salt and black pepper, to season

    to serve

    2–3 large sweet potatoes

    chopped fresh parsley

    mixed green salad

    SERVES 4–6

     

    Set a large casserole dish over medium heat and add 1–2 tablespoons of beef dripping. Coat the meat in arrowroot and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the meat to the dish – any fatty bits need to take priority on the heat. Once the meat is coloured and sealed, remove from the pan.

    Put all the vegetables and herbs except the tomatoes in the dish and sauté for a few minutes. Return the meat to the pan, stir everything together, add the stock, mustard and balsamic, and cover with a lid. Simmer for 40 minutes.

    Remove the lid and stir everything together. Cover the dish with baking parchment, and simmer over low–medium heat for another 1–2 hours, stirring occasionally. If the ragù sauce is reducing too much, add a little water and put the lid over the baking parchment.

    Add the tomatoes for the last 30–40 minutes.

    The meat should fall apart and fall off the bone; the sauce should be reduced and thickened. Remove the bones from the dish and keep warm.

    Spiralize the sweet potato. Set a frying pan/skillet over medium heat and sauté the sweet potato with a little water for a few minutes until softened.

    Serve the sweet potato with the ragù, sprinkled with chopped fresh parsley, and a side salad.

     

    This recipe is from Perfectly Paleo by Rosa Rigby, available from Amazon UK and Amazon US, as well as other retailers and bookstores.

    Perfectly Paleo by Rosa Rigby

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    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, News, News, Recipes, Recipes, UK, What's new, What's new and was tagged with winter warmer, savoury, recipe for the weekend, paleo, healthy

  • Posted on February 9, 2017

    'Treat don't Cheat' free-from Pancakes

    Pancakes for breakfast is one of the great weekend treats we don’t want to miss out on! So whether you’re an early riser, or enjoying a lazy brunch, this recipe is a great indulgent yet healthy option. It is gluten-free as well as dairy-free and given a nutritional boost with the addition of protein powder, making these pancakes an ideal start to the day for runners and gym bunnies everywhere! Serve with your choice of fresh fruit or chocolate chips.

    dairy-free and gluten-free pancakes

    Free-from protein pancakes

     

    6 tablespoons gluten-free plain/ all-purpose flour of choice

    1 scoop of protein powder of choice

    ½  tablespoon xylitol or stevia, or other granulated sweetener

    ½  teaspoon baking powder

    a pinch of salt

    1 small banana

    1 tablespoon non-dairy milk of choice

    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    ½  teaspoon coconut oil

    berries of choice and maple syrup, or dark/bittersweet chocolate chips, to serve

    MAKES 3–4

     

    In a bowl, combine the flour, protein powder, sweetener, baking powder and salt.

    Separately, mash the banana until no lumps remain, then add the milk and vanilla extract.

    Mix the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients until well combined.

    Melt the coconut oil in a frying pan over medium heat so that it coats the bottom of the pan. Spoon a quarter of the pancake batter at a time into the pan, then flip the pancake over when you see it start to bubble. Cook until golden underneath.

    Remove the pancake from the pan and keep it warm while you make the remaining pancakes with the rest of the batter.

    Serve with berries and a touch of maple syrup for a healthy option, or dark/ bittersweet chocolate chips for a treat.

     

    This recipe is from Pancakes and Waffles by Hannah Miles, available on Amazon UK and Amazon US as well as bookstores and other retailers.

    Pancake and Waffle recipe book by Hannah Miles

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    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, Recipes, Recipes, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with brunch, recipe for the weekend, Gluten-free, pancakes, healthy, dairy-free, protein

  • Posted on February 8, 2017

    Wordless Wednesday: Beautiful Bedrooms from Modern Vintage Style

    Green painted bedroom

    Vintage style light and peaceful bed by window

    Woodland bedroom

    Colourful patterned bedroom

    White lace bedroom decoration

    Floral medley bedroom

    Photography by: Debi Treloar

    Modern Vintage Style by Emily Chalmers is available on Amazon UK and Amazon US, as well as other retailers and bookstores.

     

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    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, What's new, What's new and was tagged with interiors, vintage, photos, bedroom, modern

  • Posted on February 2, 2017

    'Treat Don't Cheat' Paleo Pizza

    This February we want to prove that eating healthy doesn’t have to mean missing out on the foods you love. Our recipe inspiration for this month is all about those favourite foods but with a little twist, so you can treat without cheating! This week…pizza! This paleo pizza has a base packed with good carbs and protein from a mixture of flours and almonds and is topped with olive tapenade, chicken and sun-dried tomatoes.

    Paleo Pizza

     

    80 g/ ½ cup arrowroot

    130 g/1 cup tapioca flour

    190 g/2 cups ground almonds

    1 tablespoon mixed dried herbs (or dried oregano)

    1 garlic clove

    salt and black pepper, to season

    pizza sauce

    1 red (bell) pepper, chopped

    5 medium tomatoes, halved

    3 garlic cloves

    ½ – 1 tablespoon dried oregano

    tapenade

    70 g/ ¾ cup pitted/stoned black olives

    70 g/ ¾ cup pitted/stoned green olives

    1–2 tablespoons capers, squeezed of excess liquid

    juice of ½ lemon

    2 big handfuls of fresh basil

    70 ml/5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

    toppings

    1 cooked chicken breast, sliced

    a small handful of sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

    ¼ – ½ green or yellow courgette/zucchini, shaved

    a handful of rocket/arugula

    fresh basil leaves, torn

    1 teaspoon dried oregano

    2 baking sheets lined with

    baking parchment, 1 brushed with olive oil

    a high-powered blender (I use a NutriBullet)

    pizza stone (optional)

    MAKES 1 30-CM/12-INCH PIZZA

     

    Begin by preparing the sauce. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4.

    Put the red (bell) pepper, tomatoes and garlic on the prepared baking sheet without oil, sprinkle with the oregano and season with salt and pepper. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove the roast vegetables from the oven and transfer to the high-powered blender and blitz to a smooth purée.

    Meanwhile make the pizza base. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Add 170 ml/ ¾ cup of water and bring the dough together to form a ball and put on the prepared baking sheet.

    If you have a pizza stone put it in the oven to warm up. Roll the dough into a thin 30-cm/12-inch round on the oiled baking sheet. Then once the sauce ingredients are cooked turn the oven up to 200°C (400°F) Gas 6.

    Bake the base on the pizza stone by shooting it into the top of the oven from the baking sheet, or on the baking sheet, for 20 minutes, or until golden. Remove the base from the oven but keep the heat on at 180°C (350°F) Gas 4. Rub with a peeled garlic clove to infuse it with flavour.

     

    This recipe is from Perfectly Paleo by Rosa Rigby, available here.

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    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, Recipes, Recipes, UK, What's new, What's new and was tagged with savoury, recipe for the weekend, Pizza, paleo, healthy

  • Posted on January 26, 2017

    Vegan Friendly, Dim Sum Dumplings for Chinese New Year

    Our last Veganuary inspiration recipe is also a nod to the Chinese New Year celebrations that will be going on this weekend. Dim Sum are tiny dishes, found in Chinese restaurants around the world. In this recipe the dumplings are filled with sun-kissed mediterranean ingredients, resulting in a delicious clash of cultures. The strong tang of sundried tomatoes and olives are cooled by the mellow tofu. Pan-frying to get a crispy bottom is a nice finishing touch.

    Vegan friendly Tofu, Sundried Tomato and Olive Dumplings

    MAKES 16

    To make the Wheat dough:

    150 g/1 cup + 2 tablespooons Asian white wheat flour

    80 ml/scant 1⁄3 cup water

    Place the flour in a large mixing bowl and combine with the water to form a dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 20–25 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.

    Separate and roll into two equal cylinders about 2.5 cm/ 1 inch in diameter. Cover with a damp kitchen cloth and set aside to rest for 30 minutes.

    To prepare the skins, use a sharp knife to slice the dough cylinders into 16 equal pieces. On a lightly floured surface, flatten each piece with a rolling pin until it has a round shape and a diameter of around 7.5 cm/3 inches.

    To make the Dumplings:

    1 batch Wheat Dough,

    200 g/7 oz. firm tofu, drained and sliced into small cubes

    a pinch of salt

    1 leek, thinly sliced

    60 g/ ½ cup sundried tomatoes, finely chopped

    50 g/scant ½ cup black pitted olives, finely chopped

    2 button mushrooms, finely chopped

    2 Chinese chive stalks, white parts removed and finely chopped

    a handful of fresh Chinese parsley, finely chopped

    1 teaspoon Sichuan pepper

    1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    2 tablespoons vegan stir-fry sauce

    2 tablespoons sesame oil

    Dipping sauce

    1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar

    2 tablespoons olive oil

    a red shallot, finely chopped

    a handful of fresh basil leaves, finely chopped

     

    Sprinkle a little salt over the tofu slices and set them aside for 30 minutes before squeezing out the excess water.

    Prepare the wheat dough (see above). While the dough is resting, prepare the filling.

    In a bowl combine the tofu with the chopped vegetables, parsley, seasonings, vegan stir-fry sauce and sesame oil. Mix well and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.

    Roll out the skins, continuing to follow the recipe on page 8. Put a large teaspoon of filling into the centre of a skin. Dip your fingertips in a small dish of water and slightly moisten the edge of half the skin. Fold in half and pinch the edges together to form a simple cresent shape. Fold the two ends of the dumpling together and overlap to create a Chinese ingot shape. Seal with another dab of water if needed. Repeat until all the mixture and skins have been used.

    Gently lower the dumplings into a pan of boiling water and cover with a lid. As soon as the dumplings start to float they should be ready. Alternatively, you can lightly pan-fry the boiled dumplings to make the bottoms crispy and golden.

    To make the dipping sauce, mix the ingredients together in a small bowl.

    Serve the dumplings hot with the dipping sauce on the side.

     

    This recipe was taken from Modern Dim Sum by Loretta Liu, available here.

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    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, Recipes, Recipes, UK, What's new, What's new and was tagged with january, vegan, chinese new year, savoury, recipe for the weekend, vegetarian, dim sum, tofu

  • Posted on January 19, 2017

    Vegan Paella

    Our next Veganuary inspiration is a one-pot, vegan take on a classic Spanish paella. Colourful, delicious and quick to make, it's bursting with fresh vegetables and enhanced with the subtle flavour of saffron, perfect for brightening up gloomy winter evenings.

    Vegan Paella

    a large pinch of saffron threads

    80 ml olive oil

    200 g red or yellow cherry tomatoes

    100 g green beans

    4 baby courgettes, halved

    80 g frozen peas, thawed

    2 garlic cloves, chopped

    2 fresh rosemary sprigs

    320g paella rice

    800 ml vegetable stock

    30g flaked almonds, lightly toasted

    serves 4

    Put the saffron in a bowl with 65 ml hot water and set aside to infuse. Heat half of the oil in a heavy-based frying pan set over high heat and add the tomatoes. Cook for 2 minutes, shaking the pan so that the tomatoes soften and start to split. Remove the tomatoes from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the beans, courgettes and peas and stir-fry over high heat for 2-3 minutes. Set aside with the tomatoes.

    Add the remaining oil to the pan with the garlic and rosemary, and cook gently for 1 minute to flavour the oil. Add the stock and saffron water to the pan, then stir in the rice. Cook over high heat until bubbling fiercely, then reduce the heat and simmer gently, uncovered, for about 20 minutes until almost all the stock has been absorbed.

    Scatter the cooked tomatoes, beans, courgettes and peas over the rice, cover lightly with some foil and cook over low heat for 5 minutes so that the vegetables are just heated through. Sprinkle the almonds on top to serve.

    This recipe has been taken from easy one-pot, available here.

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    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, Recipes, Recipes, UK, What's new, What's new

  • Posted on January 12, 2017

    Vegan and Paleo friendly Vegetable Stir-Fry

    This fabulous vegetable stir-fry is a great, versatile dish, as you can easily mix and match your ingredients to suit everyone’s tastes. Packed full of colourful veg and served with a sweet and spicy sauce, this recipe is Vegan and Paleo friendly, but you could add king prawns or nuts for extra protein, or serve with noodles or rice on the side…it’s totally up to you!

    Vegetable Stir-Fry

    1 red and 1 green (bell) pepper, sliced into strips

    3 carrots, cut into ribbons

    150 g/5 oz. green beans, sliced

    100 g/5 oz. baby corn, roughly chopped (optional, omit if following strict Paleo diet)

    2 pak choi/bok choy, sliced lengthways

    coconut oil, for frying (optional)

    black sesame seeds, to garnish

    sesame oil, to drizzle

    stir-fry sauce

    ½ –1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger, to taste

    ½ –1 green chilli/chile, thinly sliced, to taste

    ½ red chilli/chile, thinly sliced

    1 garlic clove, finely chopped

    a small handful of jarred pea aubergines/eggplants, roughly chopped

    2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

    2 tablespoons liquid coconut aminos

    freshly squeezed juice of 1 lime

    SERVES 4

    First prepare the stir-fry sauce. Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside until ready to cook.

    The hard work in this dish is in the slicing of the vegetables. Prepare the ingredients as indicated, ensuring everything is sliced or chopped in a similar way to allow the ingredients to cook at the same time.

    Set a large wok or frying pan/skillet over high heat and add a little coconut oil or water. Add the vegetables and cook for 1–2 minutes until you have the desired crunch – I like my vegetables to be al dente but you can cook them for a little longer if you prefer.

    Tip half of the stir-fry sauce into the pan and toss to coat. Continue to cook for 1–2 minutes longer to release the flavours of the sauce into the dish, then remove the pan from the heat.

    Top the dish with black sesame seeds and drizzle with a little sesame oil. Serve immediately with the remaining stir-fry sauce on the side to pour over to taste.

    This recipe is from 'Perfectly Paleo' by Rosa Rigby, available here.

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    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, Recipes, Recipes, UK, What's new, What's new and was tagged with january, vegan, savoury, recipe for the weekend, vegetarian, paleo, healthy

  • Posted on January 21, 2015

    Midweek Chat with Jenna Zoe

    You might have noticed a bit of a healthier living trend on the blog recently, and not for nothing! Some of us in the office are embarking on a #TeamPaleo challenge next week, and we’re very much looking forward to enjoying some of the delicious and nutritious recipes in our new book Plant-Based Paleo.  So we’re thrilled to have its author, Jenna Zoe, here on the blog answering some of our questions about her new book and the ideas behind it.  She even has a few tips for us! And definitely keep an eye on the blog next week to hear all about our experiences, see some photos and try some recipes yourself!

    © Michael Watford

    Paleo is a bit of a nutrition buzz-word at the moment. Could you explain the ideas behind it and how they work?

    The word 'paleo' is short for Paleolithic, which is an era when humankind lived in the wild and survived on what nature provided. A paleo diet therefore, is simply eating the way our ancestors ate: focusing on fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds with very little processed food and no dairy or grains. My concept of 'Plant Based Paleo' is a bit more flexible - it's the idea that some people thrive off a meat-based diet, where some people digest dairy very well and others need grains in their life. So my guiding principle is, make fruits and vegetables the cornerstone of your diet and add whatever else it is that suits your body.

    Of course, there are some die-hard paleo fans who follow the diet to the letter, but for me, good health is about eating these unprocessed food about 80% of the time - total restriction from modern delicious foods that surround us is near-on impossible, so it's important to be realistic about our consumption. If we expect total abstinence we will always feel like failures.

    Where do you get your recipe inspiration?

    I get inspired by all the flavour combinations from our favourite foods. So for example, I used to love Terry's Chocolate Orange as a child, so I tried to translate that into a healthier dessert and got the Raw Chocolate-Orange Pie. Essentially - I get inspired by my own junk food cravings!

    What is your favourite part of putting together a book?

    I love all of it, but my favourite part is conceptualising a recipe and then challenging myself to see if I can make it a reality. It's always so rewarding to see that idea in your mind come to life.

    Who are your foodie heroes?

    The foodies I admire most are those super busy people who still somehow prioritise eating well and being healthy. I am in awe of them! Hearing stories of single mothers who get up an hour early to prep food for their kids or working women who devote their sundays to making lunches for the week - it doesn't get more inspiring than that for me.

    What three things are never out of stock in your kitchen?

    I always keep avocados on hand because they're my favourite fatty food and eating enough fats ensures you stay satisfied. To me, preventing that feeling of being deprived is key to sticking with a healthy path.

    The other thing I love to have on hand is fresh herbs which help to add flavour without the need for salt. Red onions, spring onions, garlic and powdered spice mixes are great for this too.

    Lastly, dark chocolate. I have at least a little bit each day after lunch which again stops me from feeling deprived.

    What would your one desert island foodie item be?

    Probably cold smoothies with raw cacao in them, topped with lots of almond butter. I could live on those. My current favourite combination is coconut water, protein powder, ice, spirulina and raw cacao powder.

    What is your favourite Plant-Based Paleo recipe?

    I have lots of favourites but the one I use (and eat) most often is the Tahini Caramels. They always satisfy my 3pm sweet craving but are actually sugar free, plus they're filled with protein and fat so they're satiating. The Asian Kale salad is also a staple for me, as are the Green-a-colada smoothie and the Snickers Cups. I mostly like easy things that don't take a lot of time to make, but deliver a ton of flavour. The whole idea of the recipes though, is that they're blueprints for people to play around with - if you want to add berries, or sub quinoa for some salmon, or you don't like avocado - you can't really go wrong with experimenting.

    Do you have any top tips for those of us in the office embarking on a plant-based paleo diet next week?!

    Yes! If you can, try to 'warm up' to eating a fully pant-based paleo diet a few days before by easing into it. Physiologically speaking, when we go cold turkey overnight it can be tough for our bodies to adapt. You'll feel a lot better if you start building up to it by say, having smoothies for breakfast the week prior and making lots of healthy treats to have on hand. Also, drinking water during any dietary change is essential because your body will start to release stored toxins. I make hydration a little more fun for myself by brewing big pots of ginger tea and adding lemon juice to it, or doing a chilled peppermint tea with some stevia in there for sweetness.

    Lastly, the most important thing to remember about embarking on positive changes is to remember your initial motivation and excitement! Often we sabotage ourselves hallway through any kind of self-improvement because we don't see instantaneous change. We start to doubt ourselves. We get bored. We start to question the process. Before you start, get clear on your desires and hold them close to your heart all the way through. Put post-its on your bathroom wall, doodle it in your notebook, set reminders on your phone - whatever it is that will help you remember the big picture.

    Plant-Based Paleo by Jenna Zoe is available here.


    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, Interviews, Interviews, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with january, vegan, detox, Jenna Zoe, working lunch, mid-week chat, 2015, paleo, healthy

  • Posted on January 16, 2015

    Recipe for the Weekend!

    New Year’s resolutions are all well and good, but sometimes after a long week, the thought of snacking on a carrot stick dipped in houmous isn’t all THAT appealing and something sweet is the only thing that will cut it. Or perhaps you’ve got a mid-January dinner party planned but don’t want to fall off the wagon quite that early? We’ve got just the thing. Sugar-Free Snacks and Treats is packed with delicious recipes that are free from refined sugars, so you can enjoy a treat like this show-stopping chocolate tart and still feel virtuous. Plus, it’s so tasty that we’d wager even the most sweet-toothed of friends will love it!

    Chocolate Tart

    Convincing people that food, especially desserts, made without sugar can actually taste good, let alone delicious, is an almost impossible task. After tasting this chocolate tart, however, even the greatest cynics will beg you for the recipe, as well as another slice!

    Serves 10–12

    sea salt

    100 g dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa solids

    For the base

    10 pitted dates

    150 g pecans, lightly roasted

    125 g Scottish oat cakes

    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

    2 tablespoons agave syrup

    2 tablespoons coconut oil

    3 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder

    a pinch of sea salt

    For the filling

    3 avocados, not too firm

    ½ teaspoon sea salt

    6 tablespoons agave syrup

    1 tablespoon carob powder

    5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

    2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

    3 tablespoons date syrup

    4 tablespoons coconut oil

    20-cm/8-in. springform pan, base-lined with parchment paper

    food processor or blender

    To make the base, blitz the dates in a food processor, then add the rest of the ingredients and a pinch of salt and blitz until everything comes together into a sticky ball.

    Press into the baking pan so that you have an even and smooth base for the tart. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or freeze for 15 minutes until set.

    To make the filling, cut the avocados in half, remove the stones and scoop the flesh into a food processor. Add the salt, the remaining ingredients apart from the coconut oil, and blitz until smooth.

    Melt the coconut oil in a pan over the lowest heat possible – this will only take a few moments. Turn on the food processor and pour the coconut oil into the mixture through the funnel. Once combined, pour the mixture onto the set tart base and smooth out the top. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or if you want it to set quickly, freeze it.

    When you are ready to serve, warm the chocolate to just above room temperature to make it easier to grate. I find leaving it beside the oven when you are cooking for about 10 minutes does the trick. You want the chocolate to be just beginning to soften – not in any way gooey or melting, just not rock solid, so it grates easily in long strips.

    Pop the tart out of the baking pan and transfer to a plate. Liberally grate the chocolate over, so it piles up high. The tart should be served fridge-cold so that it stays reasonably firm. It keeps wonderfully well and can easily be made a day in advance.

    Sugar-Free Snacks and Treats is available here.

    Have a great weekend folks!


    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, Recipes, Recipes, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with january, Jordan Bourke, baking, chocolate, recipe for the weekend, sweet, 2015, sugar-free, avocado

  • Posted on January 15, 2015

    So you think you're a skateboarder?

    Today we have some skateboard-style entertainment for you, in case you’re twiddling your thumbs at work or just love to skate! We start at the miniature end of the skating spectrum with a project from Build your own Fingerboard Skatepark. All you’ll need is a box, a pair of scissors and some tape, and you can be a tiny Tony Hawks or Nyjah Hustons, soaring through your own diminutive dreams in no time!

    We then have a hilarious characterisation of that mythical guy from the skatepark… You know, the one that everyone talks about because he does the most insane tricks, but hasn’t actually been seen for months… Head down towards the bottom of the blog post to have a read!

     

    How to build a very simple quarter pipe using just a box, scissors & tape

    This lesson is the simplest in the book, but in many ways it is also the coolest, because you can have a ton of fun with this little ramp, and anyone can make it in minutes. Once you have the basic idea down you’ll see that there are a lot of potential variations on this ramp, and using this system you can set up a sweet little bunch of chained ramps very quickly.

    You will need:

    Cereal box

    Scissors

    Tape (packing tape or duct tape is best, scotch tape could work)

    Extra stuff that helps:

    Maybe a pen or marker

    Maybe a ruler if you want to be fancy

    1. Find a big empty cereal box and remove all of its contents, either by eating or simply by putting the cereal somewhere else. The bigger the box, the bigger the ramp. With the box open, remove the extra flaps (the stuff that is used to open and close the box) on the open side only. While not completely necessary, I prefer the ramp not to have this extra stuff. Make sure you keep the pre-sealed “bottom” sealed.

    2. Lay the box down flat. It doesn’t matter whether the front or back is showing, but if you like the idea of a big cereal logo on your ramp, use the front. We’ll call whichever one you’ve chosen the ramp face. Measure 13/4in. (4.5cm) down from the closed end of the box at the fold and mark it (see diagram). Repeat this step on the other side. You can experiment with this measurement, but you’ll see after you’ve made one that this measurement affects the size of the flat and how sloped the ramp is. Take your scissors and cut down each side up to the mark.

    3. Now push the loose ramp face in, forming a curve. Put a strip of tape along the bottom, and a strip along either side. You can shape the flat more if you want to, adding a harder fold there for little slides and plants, or you can keep the curve to have a more fluid slope to ride. It’s all up to you, ramp-builder!

    4. Now you should have a cool little ramp! In addition to taping the ramp face in place, I usually tape the whole ramp down to a stable surface, too, so that it doesn’t move around and so that transitions are smooth. You could also push it against a wall to give yourself a little vert wall to play off.

    Build your own Fingerboard Skatepark by Marty Allen is available here.

     

    The Myth

    Sasquatch, leprechauns, unicorns, the Loch Ness Monster, a world free from kids on scooters... all these things share one glaringly obvious trait: they don’t exist. The Myth is a bit more of a gray area. He is definitely a real person, because your friend’s friend once met him and that friend knows this one thing the Myth did must be true because his friend said so. Make sense? Good.

    Every town and every city has one local skateboarder who has achieved mythical status through his skateboarding.

    “I heard he did this insane trick at the spot.”

    “No way man, I heard he did it switch.”

    “I heard he did it after being hit by a car.”

    “I heard he did it naked!”

    Mixing the Chinese-whisper effect that younger skateboarders create during their junk-food fueled conversations with the murky, beer-fueled memories of the reminiscing older generation easily can create a make-believe memory of a skateboarder, one that can be at least 50 percent fiction. The person may have existed, but exactly what he did or didn’t do may have been somewhat altered.

    Usually this mythical beast will have dropped off the scene due to some career-shortening, never-heard-of-before injury, or he simply disappeared into the ether after allegedly doing some mind-bending super stunt. This kind of exit from the skateboard game means this ethereal creature’s spirit is destined to live on in infamy. The drab reality is that this apparition, this distant memory probably just got older and had to join the rat-race and accept the responsibilities of real life. He probably had a kid, got a 9-5, and just ended up skating less.

    Regardless of the actual truth behind the stories, the enhancing of the Myth’s abilities, and truth-bending surrounding his stunt work, this guy is probably the most important person to figure in the formation of a young skater’s life. The mysteries and fables only serve to make a kid aspirational about what is possible on a skateboard. Without these fantastical stories, kids might think some things are just not humanly possible, and one of the most amazing things about skateboarding is how it continues to progress beyond what seemed possible in the years preceding it. Without knowing it, the Myth is the person we learn from, the one who teaches us lessons, inspires us, and makes us believe the impossible is possible. The Myth might not know it, but he is.

    Next time someone tells you a tale about the time the local legend did such and such, don’t question it and wonder about the validity of the statement; embellish it and relay it to someone else. It’s the only way to ensure things move forward. And it’s fun to mess with people’s heads, too.

    So you think you're a skateboarder? by Alex Irvine is available here. More craft related books also on offer here.

     


    This post was posted in Craft Projects, Craft Projects, Featured, Featured, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with Marty Allen, skateboarding, 2014, humour, tutorial

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