Life skills

I feel like by now I have some serious life skills to share with the world. Here goes.


  1. If tap water tastes like chlorine (mine does), you can purify it using a stick. There's something called Binchotan Charcoal, which is supposed to be the best one for filtering. You buy a stick, put it in a jug, fill the jug with water. The filtering process takes up to 8h, but you might be happy with the water in as little as 1h. After 6 months you boil the stick for 10 minutes and it's good as new. After 12 months you're supposed to replace the stick, but I just reboiled mine and it's still working fine. A company called Black+Blum sells these, but there may be others.

  2. I don't trust pressure cookers, they're death traps. I invested in a good stainless steel one with fancy lock up tech and at some point it still exploded. Someone could have died there. Just saying.

  3. FalafelIf you put corn kernels into your falafels, they won't be dry (see photo). I prefer the raw corn off the cob. I know this is a successful tip, because my cats ripped leftover falafel to shreds and left them all over the kitchen floor.

  4. Broccoli soup that doesn't suck is the one where you char the broccoli on the pan first.

  5. My favourite method for rice cooking comes from a Hare Krishna book that my mother was given on the street once. Pre-soak the rice for 15mins. Use a measuring dish for rice, then use the same dish to measure double the amount in water for boiling. Bring the rice to the boil, then cover, switch heat to lowest and leave for 8 minutes. Then switch the heat off completely and leave for another 8mins. Fluff with a fork et voila! Doesn't always work 100% (depends on the rice, stove, etc.) but it's a pretty solid technique.

  6. If you put MSG crystals in a coffee instead of sugar, it tastes sort of like coffee and sort of like a Chinese takeaway. It's fucking disgusting but sort of interesting.


    I don't really drink much anymore, but I used to be a drunk. During that time I learned a few things.

    1. Drinking on public transport in London is tolerated because prohibition is too cumbersome to enforce. At train stations, you can open your bottles on the edge of the bench.
    2. Domestic alcoholism (liet. 'buitinis alkoholizmas') is great but grows old after a while. Tends to be heavier, lengthier and to involve more nudity.
    3. Apparently, if you're low on alcohol, you should drink what you have an then put your head on the radiator (??). Mother's tip for when I was going off to university.
    4. You can make unlimited alcohol of unlimited strength by making basic ginger beer. It's really easy and can be fermented in big plastic bottles, but it will taste of plastic.
    5. White cider is what the street drunks drink in the UK, whereas in France they drink wine that comes in cartons.
    6. Someone told me of a guy they knew who worked at a cider factory. His job was to turn the white cider cans over to check that it hadn't corroded the metal. White cider is not
      made from apples. Curiously, there's a sparkling wine in the U.K. that even white cider drinkers won't touch.
    7. If you mix beer and cider, you get 'snakebite'. If you top your beer with a dash of cider, you get 'lemonade top', or just 'top'. If you mix beer and lemonade, you get 'shandy' and people make fun of you.
    8. When I was a teenager, I had an online friend from the US. He told me that he was too young to buy alcohol, but that mint cake flavouring was 99% alcohol.
    9. My teenage drink of choice was whiskey mixed with plum compote, although that might not be so good today.
    10. Before I stopped drinking, I was working on a drinking game to go with Prime Minister's Questions. You drink when someone says key phrases, such as "hard working families".