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Thai Green Paste

There are a lot of advantages to making the base pastes for Thai curries yourself. Firstly, you know what goes in them, secondly they’re going to be as fresh as can possibly be, thirdly you get to adjust the ingredients to make them your own. I’ve done this for years, cutting the chilli content down when my kids were younger, now starting to bring it back up to a full-heat version as they’re all getting a lot more tolerant!

There’ll be a lot of recipes out there on the internet for this, this is the one I use when making it for the family.


  • 1/2 tsp White peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp shrimp paste
  • 1tsp salt
  • 4 sticks lemon grass (trim off the dry green bits and the root-ends)
  • 2tsp ginger (galangal if you can get it)
  • 1 kaffir lime leaf
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander stalk (never have been able to get the root, if you can then go for it – and tell me where you got it)
  • 1 small onion or 5 shallots
  • 1 head of garlic, peeled to give you all the cloves you could possibly want (and then add a couple more, just to be safe)
  • Chillies to taste (see below)


Dry-fry the peppercorns, coriander seeds, cumin, and shrimp paste (wrap it in a little foil first) for a couple or three minutes in a frying pan over a medium-high heat. You should be able to move the seeds around with your fingertips and not get burned. This stage smells divine. Really, you should do this with whole spices whenever you’re using them, before you grind them. Makes a difference! Allow to cool and then crush the seeds to powder. Don’t try and crush the shrimp paste, you only make that mistake once!

Now for the really complicated bit. The chillies. If you want this a full-heat, no-holds-barred, toilet-paper-in-the-fridge paste, whack in ~15 long green chillies. Want less heat? Use less chillies. I substitute green bell peppers or poblanos if I’ve got them with a ratio of 5 hot chillies = 1 poblano or 1/2 a bell pepper. Right now, I’m usually making this paste with 2 or 3 long green chillies and 1 green pepper (de-seeded)

Put everything in your blender (or go old-school and use a pestle and mortar) and turn it into a smoothish paste.

Job done. Freeze what you don’t use in an ice cube tray, that way when a recipe calls for a tablespoon of Thai green paste you can chuck in a couple of ice-cubes’ worth and you’re golden.

Stuff that doesn't fit in another category

I am the very model of a trainee pedagogical…

I found this in my notes today…

With apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan, who’s Major-General’s Song I have done better justice to using their lyrics, and grateful thanks to Nikki Benjamin and everyone on the Deepings SCITT.

To the tune of “The Major-General’s Song” from G&S Pirates of Penzance… Sort of… If you squint…

I am the very model of a trainee pedagogical
I’ve knowledge differentiated, scaffolded, and practical
I know my Blooms Taxonomy, Growth Mindset, and Pia-a-get
With learner progress at the heart of lesson planning every day

I’m very well acquainted too with Pavlov, Dweick, and Vygostsky,
I understand assessment both the formative and summative
About the latest research I am teaming with a lot of news…
…With many cheerful facts from TES, the DofE, and Twitterverse

I’m very good at thinking hard and assessment for lear-er-ning,
I know my HPAs need lots of higher order questioning,
In short with differentiation, scaffolding, and AFL
I am the very model of a trainee pedagogical.

I’ve observed others teaching and I’ve cherry picked their best ideas,
I’ve powerpoints and handouts that should keep me sweet for several years,
I’ve watched behaviour management and witnessed both the good and bad,
and year 9’s lack of interaction very nearly drove me bad.

When I no longer quake in fear when presenting to those in Year 4,
And whistle up a lesson plan for a subject I’ve not taught before,

But still with differentiation, scaffolding, and AFL
I am the very model of a trainee pedagogical!

slow tempo…

In fact when I know what is meant by questioning and plenary,
When I can tell on sight an HPA from G and T,
When such affairs as questioning and starters I’m more wary at,
And when I know precisely what is meant by proximal development.

When I have learned what progress has been made in classroom ICT,
When I know more assessment than both Ofsted and the D of E,
In fact when I’ve a modicum of behavioural strategy,
You’ll say a better trainee never passed their PGCE!

back to speed

For my subject knowledge audit though I’m plucky and adventury,
it’s only up to date around the end of the last century.

But still with differentiation, scaffolding, and AFL
I am the very model of a trainee pedagogical.

So yeah. It’s not perfect, and I think there’s a couple of lines missing. And there’s some very creating rhyming in there! Suggestions for improvements probably welcome!

Stuff that doesn't fit in another category

Coding during Lockdown part the first

Well. You begin to understand why “May you live in interesting times” is a curse! We’re living right now through something that will be taught in school history classes in years or decades to come, assuming the human race survives and the Martians don’t seize the opportunity they’ve been waiting for. Perhaps this virus is the Martians testing out a weapon they know they’re immune to. Perhaps I’ve been listening to War of the Worlds a little too much.

Anyway. For those who don’t know, my day job is as an ICT teacher. We, the geeks, are now in the forefront. We’ve been saying you can do all this stuff remotely for a long time and now, finally, we get to prove it.

This is going to be part 1 in a series, don’t know how many parts there will be, it will depend on how long this goes on, where I’ll point to some resources on the internet that will let you continue to learn how to program a computer whether you’re in Key Stage 2, 3, 4, or 5 here in the UK.

Key Stage 2-3 – Hour of Code

A huge range of coding challenges here. Some are harder than others, some are obviously Scratch with the serial numbers filed off and a hasty paint job slapped on – Star Wars, Minecraft, etc. I’m looking at you here. My favourites on Hour of Code are LightBot, Code Combat, and the HTML stuff on there from Khan Academy. The first two are nice, fun activities that teach some really complicated coding concepts in a great step-by-step way, the third is a fantastic introduction to HTML, the language used to build web pages. What better way to spend your lockdown than creating your own in-house website?

Key Stage 2-3 – Scratch

You can’t possibly have escaped Primary School without encountering Scratch. If you can think of a game, you can make it. Mind you, the same can be said for Little Big Planet on the PS4, Kodu on the X-Box, and a few other platforms. You assemble code like Lego blocks, gradually building up more and more complex games as you go. What I love about Scratch is how instant it is. A couple of clicks and you’re moving a character around a screen, chasing something that’s trying to run away from it.

Key Stage 4-5 – Codecademy

Now this is where things get real. Codecademy has online courses for an absolute ton of programming languages and associated concepts. It will keep you occupied for days. Weeks! And what better time to learn a new language than now when you’re stuck inside with only the internet to keep you company.

Bonus challenge. Flexbox Zombies (and other games to learn new stuff)

Every now and then They (the capital T is important) introduce new features into a language you’ve been writing for years and you need to learn it fast. In HTML, They introduced the FlexBox. And then they created Flexbox Zombies to teach you how the whole thing works while killing zombies at the same time. Or training a frog to reach it’s lily pad, or getting aliens to abduct cows for whatever it is aliens abduct cows for. They’re all just a quick search away.

Many, many, more resources are there on the Internet for you. I’ll take a deep dive into those on the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s website for those of you wanting more out of Scratch… Until next time, keep coding. It’ll keep you sane. Or it’ll drive you mad in entirely new and different ways.