Reversing Sandwiches

Fixing Sandwiches is a website showcasing animated GIF files of rotating sandwiches1. But it’s got a problem: 2 of the 51 sandwiches rotate the wrong way. So I’ve fixed it:

The Eggplant Parm Sub is one of two sandwiches whose rotation doesn’t match the rest.

My fix is available as a userscript on GreasyFork, so you can use your favourite userscript manager2 to install it and the rotation will be fixed for you too. Here’s the code (it’s pretty simple):

    // ==UserScript==
    // @name        Standardise sandwich rotation on
    // @namespace
    // @match*
    // @grant       GM_addStyle
    // @version     1.0
    // @author      Dan Q <>
    // @license     The Unlicense / Public Domain
    // @description Some sandwiches on rotate in the opposite direction to the majority. 😡 Let's fix that.
    // ==/UserScript==
    GM_addStyle('.q23-image-216, .q23-image-217 { transform: scaleX(-1); }');

Unless you’re especially agitated by irregular sandwich rotation, this is perhaps the most-pointless userscript ever created. So why did I go to the trouble?

Fixing Websites

Obviously, I’m telling you this as a vehicle to talk about userscripts in general and why you should be using them.

Userscripts fix and improve websites for you. Whether you want to force Reddit to stay “old Reddit” as long as possible,  make’s maps more-powerful, show Twitter images uncropped by default, re-add the “cached” link to Google search results, show prices on shopping sites in terms of hours-of-your-life of work they “cost”, or just automatically click Netflix’s “yes, I’m still here, keep playing” button for maximum binge-mode, there’s a script for you. They’re like tiny browser plugins.

Screenshot from Pinterest showing many kittens, not logged-in.
Want to get endless-scroll in Pinterest without getting nagged to make a Pinterest account? There’s a userscript for that.

But the real magic is being able to remix the web your way. With just a little bit of CSS or JavaScript experience you can stop complaining that a website’s design has changed in some way you don’t like or that some functionality you use isn’t as powerful or convenient as you’d like and you can fix it.

A website I used disables scrolling until all their (tracking, advertising, etc.) JavaScript loads, and my privacy blocker blocks those files: I could cave and disable my browser’s privacy tools… but it was almost as fast to add setInterval(()=>'', 200); to a userscript and now it’s fixed.

Don’t want a Sports section on your BBC News homepage (not just the RSS feed!)? document.querySelector('a[href="/sport"]').closest('main > div').remove(). Sorted.

I’m a huge fan of building your own tools to “scratch your own itch”. Userscripts are a highly accessible introduction to doing so that even beginner programmers can get on board with and start getting value from. More-advanced scripts can do immensely clever and powerful things, but even if you just use them to apply a few light CSS touches to your favourite websites, that’s still a win.


1 Remember when a website’s domain name used to be connected to what it was for? does.

2 I favour ViolentMonkey.


[Bloganuary] Pizza

This post is part of my attempt at Bloganuary 2024. Today’s prompt is:

What snack would you eat right now?


Always pizza.

Forever pizza.

A pizza slides off a peel into a wood-fired oven. One half seems to have salami and olives, the other half perhaps just cheese and tomato.
Every pizza is beautiful. Except for the half of this one that has huge chongin’ black olives on (eww!).

Do you know what I love about pizza? Everything. Every little thing1.

First up, it’s a bread product. Bread is magical. You take flour, water, a pinch of salt, and a certain other magical ingredient, knead it, let it rest, knock it back, and bake it, and you end up with food. The magical ingredient is yeast, and it’s a tiny living organism that eats carbohydrates and excretes a lot of carbon dioxide and a little bit of alcohol. Humans use both, but whether you’re brewing beer or baking bread the process feels somewhat mystical and otherworldly.

A circle of pizza dough on a worktop, a rolling pin atop it.
Making pizza, like making any bread, is a wonderful experience. But pizza can be brilliant even if somebody else makes it.

But it’s not like rising a loaf nor is it like finishing a flatbread. Pizza dough is risen, but kept thin to act as a base for everything else. And already there’s such variety: do you spin it out in a classic thin Neapolitan style to get those deliciously crispy leopard-print cornicione bites? Do you roll it out thick to hold a maximum depth of tomato sauce and other toppings when you pile it high, per the Chicago tradition? Do you go somewhere in-between? Or perhaps do something different entirely like a calzone or panzarotto? There’s no wrong answer, but already so many options.

Pizza is cooked fast: the relatively thin surface absorbs heat quickly, and you keep your oven hot, baking the bread and heating the toppings at the same time. If you’re feeling fancy and fun then you can add some extras as it cooks. Crack an egg into the centre, perhaps, or drizzle some chilli oil across the entire thing. Or keep it plain and simple and let the flavours combine as the dish cooks. Whatever you do, you’ll be enjoying delicious hot food within minutes of putting it into the oven: the cooking-speed to deliciousness ratio is perhaps the highest of any savoury food.

Close-up of a pizza whose four quarters contain four different toppings.
Many pizzas2 include tomato sauce and cheese as basic toppings, which is already genius: both are rich in naturally-occurring monosodium glutamate, which coupled with the rich fats and saltiness in the cheese and the sweetness and mild acidity of the tomato makes them frightfully moreish even before you’d added your favourite meats or vegetables.
Pizza is incredibly versatile, not just in the diversity of ways in which you might prepare and serve it, but also in the ways in which you can eat it. Sit at a plate with a knife and fork. Divide it into slices and pick up one at a time (with optional “New York fold” if it’s otherwise too limp). Carry a large slice on-the-go, al taglio. Fold it into a portafoglio so you don’t risk losing a single jalapeño off your hot-and-spicy meal, if you fancy. There’s no wrong answer.

If my favourite meal is pizza3, my second-favourite has to be leftover pizza. Because it reheats easily and makes a great next-morning snack. Or can be enjoyed cold, hours or days after the fact. It’s even suitable for parbaking and chilling or freezing, making it an excellent convenience food4. It’s widely produced in a variety of styles (and qualities) in restaurants and takeaways wherever you go, and its convenient shape means that it can be boxed and stacked with little more help than, perhaps, one of those little plastic “tables” that stop the centre of the cardboard box sagging onto it.

Freshly-baked pizza with spinach and mushrooms, whole, on a wooden board.
Yes, please. This, please. Now, please.

So yeah, I’ll take a slice to go with mozzarella, peppers and red onion for my snack, please.


1 If you know me well, you’re probably well-aware of my love of pizza, although you might previously have seen it articulated so thoroughly.

2 #NotAllPizzas! You don’t have to feel constrained by the bread-plus-tomato-plus-cheese-plus-other stuff paradigm. Swap out the tomato sauce for barbecue sauce on the base of a meaty pizza with a spicy tang or omit it entirely for a pizza bianca. Replace the cheese or remove it entirely for a vegan or lactose-free alternative. Or dispense with both entirely and spread pesto on your base, topped with roasted vegetables! The sky’s the limit!

3 It is. What gave it away?

4 Obviously I prefer a lovingly-crafted hand-stretched pizza, freshly-made under ideal circumstances. But pizza is so good that it’s still usually perfectly acceptable even when it’s mass-produced at economy scale and frozen for later consumption, which is more than can be said for many foods.

× × × ×


Frame from a video showing TomSka's hand pushing a hot dog sausage into a bun, on top of fried onions and sauces. The picture is captioned "July 6th".

In his latest Last Month video, TomSka took the “is a hot dog a sandwich” argument into a whole new arena by saying:

I’m a firm believer that the sauce and toppings should go under the dog. And that way, I don’t have to put it all in my moustache when I eat it.

My initial reaction was: What the hell are you doing‽ They’re toppings, not… bottomings, I guess?

But on the other hand:

  1. Previews of other movies you might like to see are still called trailers, even though nowadays they’re normally shown before the film.
  2. This actually looks like it might be good for preventing onions falling off, which is my biggest problem when I eat hot dogs (I don’t mind moustache toppings: they’re a treat for later on).

So yeah, I might try doing this. But if I do, I’m definitely going to start calling them “bottomings”.


Scottish-Mexican Fusion Cookery

I swear I’m onto something with this idea: Scottish-Mexican fusion cookery. Hear me out.

It started on the last day of our trip to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2012 when, in an effort to use up our self-catering supplies, JTA suggested (he later claimed this should have been taken as a joke) haggis tacos. Ruth and I ate a whole bunch of them and they were great.

A hand holds a crisp taco containing haggis, mashed potato, rocket, and a blob of sour cream. In the background, JTA can be seen eating his dinner in a more-conventional way: off a plate. There are glasses of wine on the table.
It wasn’t perfect, but it was pretty good: if I did it again, it’d be haggis and clapshot with a thick whisky sauce… all in a taco.

In Scotland last week (while I wasn’t climbing mountains and thinking of my father), Ruth and I came up with our second bit of Scottish-Mexican fusion food: tattie scone quesadillas. Just sandwich some cheese and anything else you like between tattie scones and gently fry in butter.

A pair of tattie scone quesadillas sizzling in a pan.
These were delicious as they were, but I think there’d be mileage in slicing them into thin fingers and serving them with a moderately spicy salsa, as a dip.

We’re definitely onto something. But what to try next? How about…

  • Bean chilli stovies?
  • Arroz con pollo on oatcakes?
  • Carnitas and refried beans in a bridie?
  • Huevos rancheros with lorne sausage sandwiched between the tortilla and the eggs?
  • Kedgeree fajitas? (I’m not entirely convinced by this one)
  • Rumbledethumps con carne?
  • Caldo de leekie: cock-a-leekie soup but with mexican rice dumped in after cooking, caldo-de-pollo-style?
  • Something like a chimichanga but battered before it’s fried? (my god, that sounds like an instant heart attack)
× ×

Note #20578

Kids: We want porridge for breakfast.
Me: How do you want it?
Kids: Surprise us.

Presenting… oatmeal, honey and sultanas with a toasted marshmallow.

Two bowls of porridge with sultanas, each topped with a jumbo marshmallow (one pink, one white) being toasted by a blowtorch (mostly off-camera).


Say… “Cheese?”

For lunch today I taste-tested five different plant-based vegan “cheeses” from Honestly Tasty. Let’s see if they’re any good.

Prefer video?

This blog post is available as a video (here or on YouTube), for those who like that sort of thing. The content’s slightly different, but you do get to see my face when I eat the one that doesn’t agree with me.


I’ve been vegetarian or mostly-vegetarian to some degree or another for a little over ten years (for those who have trouble keeping up: I currently eat meat only on weekends, and not including beef or lamb), principally for the environmental benefits of a reduced-meat lifestyle. But if I’m really committed to reducing the environmental impact of my diet, the next “big” thing I still consume is dairy products.

My milk consumption is very low nowadays, but – like many people who might aspire towards dropping dairy – it’s quitting cheese that poses the biggest challenge. I’m not even the biggest fan of cheese, and I don’t know how I’d do without it: there’s just, it seems, no satisfactory substitute.

It’s possible, though, that my thinking on this is outdated. Especially in recent years, we’re getting better and better at making convincing (or, at least, tasty!) plant-based substitutes to animal based foods. And so, inspired by a conversation with some friends, I thought I’d try a handful of new-generation plant-based cheeses and see how I got on. I ordered a variety pack from Honestly Tasty (who’ll give you 20% off your first order if you subscribe your favourite throwaway email address to their newsletter) and gave it a go.


Dan eats some Bree.
It’s supposed to taste like Brie, I guess, but it’s not convincing. The texture of the rind is surprisingly good, but the inside is somewhat homogeneous and flat. They’ve tried to use mustard powder to provide Brie’s pepperiness and acetic acid for its subtle sourness, but it feels like there might be too much of the former (or perhaps I’m just a little oversensitive to mustard) and too little of the latter. It’s okay, but I wouldn’t buy it again.

Ched Spread

Dan eats Ched Spread.
This was surprisingly flavoursome and really quite enjoyable. It spreads with about the consistency of pâté and has a sharp tang that really stands out. You wouldn’t mistake it for cheese, but you might mistake it for a cheese spread: there’s a real “cheddary” flavour buried in there.


Dan eats 'Blue' Veganzola.
This is supposed to be modelled after Gorgonzola, and it might as well be because I don’t like either it or the cheese it’s based on. I might loathe Blue slightly less than most blue cheeses, but that doesn’t mean I’d willingly subject myself to this again in a hurry. It’s matured with real Penicillium Roqueforti, apparently, along with seaweed, and it tastes like both of these things are true. So yeah: I hated this one, but you shouldn’t take that as a condemnation of its quality as a cheese substitute because I’d still rather eat it than the cheese that it’s based on. Try for yourself, I guess.


Dan eating Herbi.
This was probably my favourite of the bunch. It’s reminiscent of garlic & herb Boursin, and feels like somebody in the kitchen where they cooked it up said to themselves, “how about we do the Ched Spread, but with less onion and a whole load of herbs mixed-through”. It seems that it must be easier to make convincingly-cheesy soft cheeses than hard cheeses, but I’m not complaining: this would be great on toast.


Dan serves a Shamembert.
If you’d served me this and told me it was a baked Camembert… I wouldn’t be fooled. But I wouldn’t be disappointed either. It moves a lot like Camembert and it tastes… somewhat like it. But whether or not that’s “enough” for you, it’s perfectly delicious and I’d be more than happy to eat it or serve it to others.

In summary…

Honestly Tasty’s Ched Spread, Herbi, and Shamembert are perfectly acceptable (vegan!) substitutes for cheese. Even where they don’t accurately reflect the cheese they attempt to model, they’re still pretty good if you take them on their own merits: instead of comparing them to their counterparts, consider each as if it were a cheese spread or soft cheese in its own right and enjoy accordingly. I’d buy them again.

Their Bree failed to capture the essence of a good ripe Brie and its flavour profile wasn’t for me something to enjoy outside of its attempts at emulation. And their “Veganzola” Blue cheese… was pretty grim, but then that’s what I think of Gorgonzola too, so maybe it’s perfect and I just haven’t the palate for it.

× × × × ×

Further Lessons in Wood-Fired Pizza

Earlier this month, I made my first attempt at cooking pizza in an outdoor wood-fired oven. I’ve been making pizza for years: how hard can it be?

Charred non-stick coating on a tray.
Do you know what temperature Teflon (PTFE) burns at? I do. Now. (About 470ºC.)

It turned out: pretty hard. The oven was way hotter than I’d appreciated and I burned a few crusts. My dough was too wet to slide nicely off my metal peel (my wooden peel disappeared, possibly during my house move last year), and my efforts to work-around this by transplanting cookware in and out of the oven quickly lead to flaming Teflon and a shattered pizza stone. I set up the oven outside the front door and spent all my time running between the kitchen (at the back of the house) and the front door, carrying hot tools, while hungry children snapped at my ankles. In short: mistakes were made.

Pizza dough balls under cling film on a black marble surface.
I roped in Robin to help make dough, because he’s damn good at it. And because I had a mountain of work to do today.

I suspect that cooking pizza in a wood-fired oven is challenging in the same way that driving a steam locomotive is. I’ve not driven one, except in simulators, but it seems like you’ve got a lot of things to monitor at the same time. How fast am I going? How hot is the fire? How much fuel is in it? How much fuel is left? How fast is it burning through it? How far to the next station? How’s the water pressure? Oh fuck I forget to check on the fire while I was checking the speed…

Digital infared thermometer display reading 246ºC.
“How hot is it?” is a question I’m now much better at answering. Thanks, technology! This oven’s still warming up. (!)

So it is with a wood-fired pizza oven. If you spend too long preparing a pizza, you’re not tending the fire. If you put more fuel on the fire, the temperature drops before it climbs again. If you run several pizzas through the oven back-to-back, you leech heat out of the stone (my oven’s not super-thick, so it only retains heat for about four consecutive pizzas then it needs a few minutes break to get back to an even temperature). If you put a pizza in and then go and prepare another, you’ve got to remember to come back 40 seconds later to turn the first pizza. Some day I’ll be able to manage all of those jobs alone, but for now I was glad to have a sous-chef to hand.

Pizza in an oven, fire raging behind and jumping onto the floor of the oven.
Also, if too much of the flour you use to keep your peel moves slick falls into the oven, it catches fire. Now you have two fires to attend to.

Today I was cooking out amongst the snow, in a gusty crosswind, and I learned something else new. Something that perhaps I should have thought of already: the angle of the pizza oven relative to the wind matters! As the cold wind picked up speed, its angle meant that it was blowing right across the air intake for my fire, and it was sucking all of the heat out of the back of the oven rather than feeding the flame and allowing the plasma and smoke to pass through the top of the oven. I rotated the pizza oven so that the air blew into rather than across the oven, but this fanned the flames and increased fuel consumption, so I needed to increase my refuelling rate… there are just so many variables!

A salami and basil pizza with olives on half.
You know what, though? Everything turned out pretty-much okay.

The worst moment of the evening was probably when I took a bite out of a pizza that, it turned out, I’d shunted too-deep into the oven and it had collided with the fire. How do I know? Because I bit into a large chunk of partially-burned wood. Not the kind of smoky flavour I was looking for.

But apart from that, tonight’s pizza-making was a success. Cooking in a sub-zero wind was hard, but with the help of my excellent sous-chef we churned out half a dozen good pizzas (and a handful of just-okay pizzas), and more importantly: I learned a lot about the art of cooking pizza in a box of full of burning wood. Nice.

× × × × ×

How Not to use A Pizza Oven

Clearly those closest to me know me well, because for my birthday today I received a beautiful (portable: it packs into a bag!) wood-fired pizza oven, which I immediately assembled, test-fired, cleaned, and prepped with the intention of feeding everybody some homemade pizza using some of Robin‘s fabulous bread dough, this evening.

Ooni Fyra portable wood-fired pizza oven.

Fuelled up with wood pellets the oven was a doddle to light and bring up to temperature. It’s got a solid stone slab in the base which looked like it’d quickly become ideal for some fast-cooked, thin-based pizzas. I was feeling good about the whole thing.

But then it all began to go wrong.

Animated GIF showing the fire blazing as seen through the viewing window on the front of the oven.
The confined space quickly heats up to a massive 400-500ºC.

If you’re going to slip pizzas onto hot stone – especially using a light, rich dough like this one – you really need a wooden peel. I own a wooden peel… somewhere: I haven’t seen it since I moved house last summer. I tried my aluminium peel, but it was too sticky, even with a dusting of semolina or a light layer of oil. This wasn’t going to work.

I’ve got some stone slabs I use for cooking fresh pizza in a conventional oven, so I figured I’d just preheat them, assemble pizzas directly on them, and shunt the slabs in. Easy as (pizza) pie, right?

Pizza on fire in oven.
Within 60 seconds the pizza was cooked and, in its elevated position atop a second layer of stone, the crust began to burn. The only-mildy-charred bits were delicious, though.

This oven is hot. Seriously hot. Hot enough to cook the pizza while I turned my back to assemble the next one, sure. But also hot enough to crack apart my old pizza stone. Right down the middle. It normally never goes hotter than the 240ºC of my regular kitchen oven, but I figured that it’d cope with a hotter oven. Apparently not.

So I changed plan. I pulled out some old round metal trays and assembled the next pizza on one of those. I slid it into the oven and it began to cook: brilliant! But no sooner had I turned my back than… the non-stick coating on the tray caught fire! I didn’t even know that was a thing that could happen.

Flames flickering at the back of a pizza oven.
Hello fire. I failed to respect you sufficiently when I started cooking. I’ve learned my lesson now.

Those first two pizzas may have each cost me a piece of cookware, but they tasted absolutely brilliant. Slightly coarse, thick, yeasty dough, crisped up nicely and with a hint of woodsmoke.

But I’m not sure that the experience was worth destroying a stone slab and the coating of a metal tray, so I’ll be waiting until I’ve found (or replaced) my wooden peel before I tangle with this wonderful beast again. Lesson learned.

× × × ×

Lucky Devil Eats

This article is a repost promoting content originally published elsewhere. See more things Dan's reposted.

Lucky Devil Eats

The lockdown’s having an obvious huge impact on strippers, whose work is typically in-person, up close, and classed as non-essential. And their work isn’t eligible for US programmes to support furloughed workers. So Lucky Devil Lounge in Portland decided to adapt their services into one that is classed as essential by providing a drive-through food service. With strippers.

This is Erika Moen’s comic about the experience of visiting the drive-through. Her comics are awesome and I’ve shared them with you a few times before (I even paid for the product she recommended in the last of those), of course.

Chlorination Chicken

This article is a repost promoting content originally published elsewhere. See more things Dan's reposted.

In 1953, upon Elizabeth II’s ascent to the throne, a dish was created to mark the event: coronation chicken.

Today, to mark the UK’s exit from the EU, I propose a new dish: chlorination chicken.

I’d laugh if I weren’t so sad.

£20 for a boiled egg, one piece of toast and a mug of tea?

This article is a repost promoting content originally published elsewhere. See more things Dan's reposted.

Egg and toast

£20 for a boiled egg, one piece of toast and a mug of tea?

The story of a modern London cafe…

(Read to end of thread before commenting!)

An amazing thread well-worth reading to the end. Went in expecting a joke about hipsters, millennials, and avocado-on-toast… finished with something much more.

Review of The Rusty Bicycle

This review of The Rusty Bicycle originally appeared on Google Maps. See more reviews by Dan.

Visited today for the first time. Discovered when I came to order that special offers (e.g. £5 lunchtime pizzas) on the menu aren’t actually honoured when you come to order unless you agree to install their “app”. Their app is appalling: currently averaging 1.7/5 on the app store, and I can see why!

By the time I’d looked at the app’s privacy policy, I decided it was better to pay full price rather than use it: the app requests permissions to access virtually all of your phone’s data and the privacy policy states that your use of it grants them the right to track your GPS location from then on (seriously!). No thank you!

Cocktails were okay. Food was pretty good, but not quite good enough to take away the sour taste left by the “app” experience. I’d visit again… but only if they moved towards honouring the special offers they advertise… WITHOUT the precondition that you agree to give all of your personal data to them first.