Andrew Bluett-Duncan

A Northern Trip and a Swiss Chopper

5 MARCH 2022

Andrew Bluett-Duncan


Riedel Delivery

Last weekend I ended up in Liverpool, to help my brother build a “Log Cabin” which as it happens is another nail in the coffin in my opinion on marketers, because it's undoubtedly someone with a marketing hat on who named it thus….  This posh shed (my name for it) no more looked like a log cabin than a stick of Brighton Rock, and in fact I was somewhat relieved that it didn’t, as it would have looked a little incongruous in the back garden of a Liverpudlian house, or any other house for that matter.

Be that as it may, we had exceedingly good weather conditions for the build. I arrived at lunch time on Friday and by dusk we had laid a 2” insulated base, of our own design, (that surprisingly, wasn’t supplied) upon which we were going to erect the shed. 

And in the following day and a half we managed to get this rather posh erection, complete with double glazed, opening windows and French windows (handily, also opening), into a reasonably complete state and that included fitting more planks of tongue and groove for the roof than you could shake a stick at.

Nephew and brother looking photogenic. Me working!

Nephew supervising, brother surveying his roof. Me working

Me still working!

Great fun was had by all, Jim (my brother) Matt (my nephew 6’ 5”…very useful) Clive (an old friend of Jim’s, not 6’ 5”) and me (a semi useful 6’ 3”).As is usual when visiting this most welcoming of households, Babs (my sister in Law) looked after me, and in fact all of us, in a manner to which I could easily become accustomed, with tea, coffee, cake and biscuits on tap throughout the day (and if you haven’t eaten her Pizza on a puff pastry base, you may not have actually lived?) and, in the early evening, a beer to finish the building works (served chilled for some odd reason, I thought it might be a northern thing but am told it's universal…strange, nothing that a short burst in the microwave wouldn’t put right though). Then onto an aperitif, followed by plentiful supplies of red wine, served, of course, in the correct Riedel glass.

At present, this is my most northerly repository of these excellent wine drinking instruments, as I like to call them when feeling slightly pretentious, slightly superior or somewhat intolerant towards lesser glasses. It's very reassuring to know that civilised wine drinking exists outside Reigate, Cobham and Banstead.

On my way back I was stopping off with a friend in the Birmingham area (another oasis of wine drinking civilisation), and she asked if I’d cook supper, as she was rather over loaded with work.

So, Sunday evening found me steaming potatoes, sautéing some onions (in a Demeyere 24cm frying pan that I’d taken for the purpose…does sautéing life get any better, I ask myself?) frying a couple of well dried, well-seasoned fillets of Scottish salmon (got a lovely crisp skin this way, skin that I actually want to eat!), whipping them out of the pan when just cooked, returning the sautéed onions to it, adding half a pint of double cream, some fish stock and Sauvignon Blanc to taste and this produced a very tasty sauce. Oh, and tender stemmed broccoli fried gently in olive oil. I’ve not done much cooking over the last 28 years, as that has been mostly down to Babette, with whom I couldn’t compete. But I did really enjoy myself and my host, I’m pleased to say, referred to the end result as top class restaurant food….what more could I ask!

Riedel Veloce Sauvignon Blanc Glasses (Pair) - Stemware (6754481799226)
Riedel Veloce Sauvignon Blanc Glasses (Pair) - Stemware (6754481799226)
Riedel Veloce Sauvignon Blanc Glasses (Pair) - Stemware (6754481799226)
Riedel Veloce Sauvignon Blanc Glasses (Pair) - Stemware (6754481799226)
Riedel Veloce Sauvignon Blanc Glasses (Pair) - Stemware (6754481799226)
Riedel Veloce Sauvignon Blanc Glasses (Pair) - Stemware (6754481799226)
Riedel Veloce Sauvignon Blanc Glasses (Pair) - Stemware (6754481799226)
Riedel Veloce Sauvignon Blanc Glasses (Pair) - Stemware (6754481799226)

Riedel Veloce Sauvignon Blanc Glasses (Pair)

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Naturally, we washed this all down with the Sauvignon Blanc I’d used in the cream sauce and I think the synergy with the sauce was remarkable. 

You won’t be surprised to hear that she also has the correct glasses for that wine. And just a note here, if you’ve ever dismissed Sauvignon Blanc because it’s too sharp or acid, then you might do worse than to try drinking it out of a Riedel Sauvignon Blanc glass. You will, perhaps for the first time, be able to truly smell the Elderflower, the apple and gooseberry notes. And instead of wincing slightly at the first encounter with acidity, instead your taste buds will be assaulted by much the same flavours that you’ve just smelt. In short it’s a glass that demonstrates so very effectively, the Riedel principles at their best.

Remember you are able to buy and return USED products to us, so there is no risk involved for you. 

 Try it and return it!

Zyliss Zick Zick Classic Chopper

Now, talking of chopping onions, if there’s something I hate doing, it's peeling and chopping onions. And a couple of weeks ago, at a training session in the shop, we’d been sent, at our request, samples of the  Zyliss, “Zick Zick Classic Food Chopper” and the more expensive “Zick Zick 2 Food Chopper”. And these two machines just make onion chopping a bit of a doddle really.

The original model, called the Classic, does the job very effectively, we found. There are just two downsides to it. It's harder to clean than the more expensive model, and it doesn’t turn as you chop. Or rather, as I discovered today as I wrote this, it does in fact turn, but by so little that you tend to end up chopping on the spot and so will chop very finely indeed if left to its own devices. This could be a good thing of course, but when we were testing it out we didn’t clock that it was turning at all. We manually turned it after each plunge. But if neither of these factors matter to you, then £17 buys a very competent chopper for cutting up onions, nuts (really good for nuts that usually want to go flying off in all directions) some dryer herbs like Rosemary and last, but not least, Chocolate!

Zyliss Zick Zick 2 Chopper

In designing the “Zick Zick 2” Zyliss have clearly learned from the original design. So the two major changes that I alluded to a moment ago have both been dealt with. They are, that now the blades turn approximately one 6th of a revolution automatically after each plunge, which is far more than the Classic and I’d say generally this is better.The other is that the plastic body around the blade swings apart for cleaning, which is also a decided improvement over the Classic model.

And actually there’s one other improvement that struck us as we used it and that is that there are now two wipers that revolve as you chop and these help to keep the sides clear of whatever it is that you are chopping. But, having said that, I still found myself removing the lower section of the machine and wiping my finger round it to remove small pieces of onion, when I’d finished.

Culinare Naturals Bamboo Handle Straight Peeler

Zyliss Zick Zick Classic Chopper

The Zyliss Zick-Zick Classic Chopper quickly and efficiently prepares a wide range of vegetables, nuts, chocolates and hard cheese.


Culinare Naturals Bamboo Handle Straight Peeler

Zyliss Zick Zick 2 Food Chopper

The Zyliss Zick Zick 2 food chopper features high quality sharp stainless steel blades that rotate every time the top is pressed down. 


Both models, incidentally, are dishwasher safe. With both machines you can choose to chop directly into a base that clips to the bottom, so for smallish quantities, this is a neat way of keeping everything contained, and in fact the Classic even has a lid that you can put on the container afterwards. Or, you may chop directly on your chopping board. As with knives, beware of using this on a hard surface like glass or melamine as they will blunt the blade. Chop on wood or polythene boards or my favourite Epicurean boards which are made from wood pulp set in a sort of resin, dishwasher safe, knife safe, light weight and also make good cheese boards….love them.

With both Zick Zick models everything you chop is contained and won't escape!

Two highly competent products from a high quality Swiss manufacturer, albeit almost certainly made somewhere north east of Addis Ababa!

Zyliss Offer
The offer this weekend is, buy any two Zyliss products and we’ll take 20% off your bill. Use code ZICKZICK when checking out, or tell us who you are in the shops. By way of example of a second piece to buy, take a look at the Susi 3 Garlic Press. One of the best, most effortless garlic presses on the market.

That’s it for this week, I hope you have a pleasant and peaceful weekend.


Andrew Bluett-Duncan Director

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