Linguini with mushrooms and mascarpone

linguiniTHIS linguini with mushrooms and mascarpone is one of those recipes that is ridiculously simple but yields a result that is sophisticated enough for a dinner party yet cheap enough for a midweek evening meal.

It oozes an almost beefy mushroom flavour (making it enjoyable for meat-eaters and vegetarians alike) that is beautifully offset by the parsley and the wine.

Needless to say, you can use any pasta you like but fatter pasta such as linguini or tagliatelle go best with this sauce.

This recipe serves four, so simply halve the measurements if you’re serving two or add 50 per cent if serving six. Tips: don’t stint on the parsley, make sure your serving bowls are warm and serve with crusty bread.

INGREDIENTS

30 grams porcini dried mushrooms

120 mls of sweet white wine (marsala, tokay or even sherry)

120 mls water

250 g mascarpone

Nutmeg

Pepper

6 tablespoons of chopped parsley (curly or flat-leaf)

500 grams pasta

2 tablespoon of unsalted butter

2 cloves of garlic

6-8 tablespoons of freshly grated parmesan cheese (according to taste)

METHOD

Put the dried porcini in a small saucepan, pour in the wine and water and bring to the boil. As soon as the mixture starts to bubble, turn the heat off and allow to cool a bit (about 10 minutes).

Put mascarpone into a bowl, top with black pepper and a grating of nutmeg. Then remove the mushrooms from the pan with a slotted spoon and place on a chopping board. Pour the remaining mushroom liquid into the mascarpone bowl and mix well.

Place parsley on top of the mushrooms and chop both coarsely.

Melt butter in a large, hot frying pan, peel then crush the garlic and add to the pan. Cook for about 60 seconds, then add the mushrooms and parsley. Cook for three minutes before adding the mascarpone mixture. Turn the heat down to the gentlest of simmers.

Now cook the pasta according to its instructions. When ready, reserve a couple of tablespoons of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and place it in the frying pan containing the mushroom and mascarpone mixture. Add the pasta water if the sauce is too thick.

Finally, add the parmesan and mix through before serving in warmed bowls, adding extra parsley on top of each served portion.

Buon appetito!

 

©WordMediaCo Ltd. If you wish to reproduce or translate this article, you may do so, provided you add the following credit: This article was written by David Boyes. He is a media consultant and trainer who empowers businesses to use social media more strategically. For more information visit: http://www.wordmedia.co

Thai red curry recipe

Thai red curryONE of my favourite meals is a Thai curry – either red, green or yellow – and this recipe will give you results that will make you wonder why you every bought jars of paste with no taste from a supermarket. 

The result is a pungent, flavour-packed tastebud tingler that is spicy, sweet, sour and salty, all at the same time. The word “moreish” just doesn’t do it justice.

Use chicken thighs, as they are better than breast meat in any curry, because they retain their firm consistency, don’t dry out the way breasts sometimes do and because they taste better. Furthermore, they are not expensive, so this feast from the east will not break the bank.

Add king prawns at the end of the cooking period if you wish to give the Thai red curry a luxury touch (and to eke it out a bit further if your guests ask for second helpings, which they invariably will!).

I have drawn the ingredients and method for this Thai red curry recipe from the memory of a trip to Thailand and from a number of respectable online sources and added my own stamp. I have used it on many occasions and swear by it. The amount set out here will give you a decent-sized jar of paste that will last refrigerated for days. Freeze it in ramekins, and it will keep for months. If you wish to make less, just halve the amounts.

Thai red curry PASTE recipe
  •  4 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 16 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 8 stalks lemongrass, outer leaves removed, core roughly chopped
  • 6 long red chillies
  • 8 birds eye chillies (these are the really hot ones)
  • 2 cupfuls chopped fresh coriander (roots and leaves)
  • 10cm/4in piece fresh galangal, peeled (or fresh ginger)
  • juice of one lime
  • 4 tsp shrimp paste
  • 12 tsp hot paprika
  • 8 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds (crushed in mortar and pestle)
  • 8 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Splash of coconut milk

Blitz all of the above in a blender or processor until smooth and divide among portion-sized small containers –ramekins are ideal – for storage in the freezer or pour the mixture into a sealable jar for keeping in the fridge.

How to cook with the Thai red curry paste:
  • Heat wok or frying pan until very hot
  • Add one tbsp of peanut or vegetable oil
  • Add 3 or 4 tbsps (one ramekin) of paste
  • Add one tsp of sugar
  • Add meat (chicken thighs, chopped). Do not attempt to brown them – that is not the aim here
  • Add half to three-quarters of a can of coconut milk
  • Add tbsp. fish sauce
  • Turn down the heat and simmer, covered with a lid or tinfoil for 20 mins
  • Add the juice of one lime
  • Scatter a handful of chopped basil leaves or coriander leaves and slivers of fresh red chilli on to the curry
  • Taste the curry at this point. If it’s too spicy, add more coconut milk.
  • Allow to cool for about 20 mins.Reheat gently and serve with jasmine or basmati rice and naan breads, pittas or chapatis.
©WordMediaCo Ltd. If you wish to reproduce or translate this article, you may do so, provided you add the following credit: This article was written by David Boyes. He is a media consultant and trainer who empowers businesses to use social media more strategically. For more information visit: http://www.wordmedia.co

Anne Penman Laser Therapy Social Media Workshop

DELEGATES from the Anne Penman Laser Therapy stable are today attending a social-media-for-business presentation and workshop, hosted by WordMediaCo director David Boyes.

He will be explaining the main principles involved in the use of social media by corporate organisations and demonstrating some key techniques to help business managers capitalise on its enormous power.

From Twitter to Facebook and blogging, the presentation provides essential insights into the “what”, “why” and “how” of social media, which is outpacing traditional media and advertising through its ability to:

Quickly and effectively establish lines of communication

Engage potential customers

Establish and enhance reputations and brands

Social media is THE tool of the moment for business. Unfortunately, many are fearful of trying it, some are prejudiced against it and the minority muddle through with it.

The fact is that social media is an immensely powerful way of communicating in an intimate way with your target audience.

Gone are the days when a company would purchase space in a sector-specific publication or mainstream newspaper for the insertion of an advertisement that would, generally, appear once.

Social media allows companies to engage with their audience 24/7 in a way that has previously been impossible.

After today’s presentation at the Anne Penman offices in Glasgow, the delegates will have a clearer understanding of the principles of social media and how to use it regularly and effectively to locate and engage customers and potential customers, while building a credible online reputation.

©WordMediaCo Ltd. If you wish to reproduce or translate this article, you may do so, provided you add the following credit: This article was written by David Boyes. He is a media consultant and trainer who empowers businesses to use social media more strategically. For more information visit: http://www.wordmedia.co

Have an Appy Christmas

Apple_store_silhouettesIT’S that time of year again – or, rather, that time of the year is coming back round fast. Yes, the festive period will be upon us soon, and that should concentrate the minds of those with an interest in apps.

With Christmas  exactly nine weeks away, businesses need to ensure their digital magazines, books and catalogues are ready for the biggest download day of the year.

Apple will be closing their App Store to developers on or around December 21, 2013, which means that any new apps will have to be submitted to Apple by December 1, which is just six weeks away.

Bearing in mind app developers will need a minimum of a couple of weeks to build any app (depending on its complexity and features, of course), then the time to act is fast approaching.

So if your organisation is serious about selling its content in the optimum manner and to the maximum audience over the Christmas period, NOW is the time to get your thinking cap on.

CONSIDER THIS FACT:

Android and iOS device activations reached an incredible 17.4 MILLION on Christmas Day LAST YEAR – an increase of 332 per cent on the rest of December.

So guarantee yourself an Appy Christmas by making sure your content is there for everyone to download.

©WordMediaCo Ltd. If you wish to reproduce or translate this article, you may do so, provided you add the following credit: This article was written by David Boyes. He is a media consultant and trainer who empowers businesses to use social media more strategically. For more information visit: http://www.wordmedia.co

Seven expensive words on Twitter

By DAVID BOYES
 

bercCLUMSY Tweeting by a prominent member of society in the United Kingdom has resulted in a legal decision against her, a heavy financial penalty and a warning to everyone that social interaction can sometimes come at an extremely high price.

The decision by the High Court in London that a message put out by Sally Bercow, wife of the Speaker of the House of Commons, was libellous merely reinforces my longstanding view that the days of the internet and social platforms being regarded as “non-mainstream” are well and truly gone.

And, along with other legal verdicts on both sides of the Atlantic, it should set alarm bells ringing among individuals and companies who use Twitter, Facebook, et al, or are considering entering the social media space for the first time.

It is my contention that as soon as any individual or organisation sets up a website or social presence, they have entered the publishing or broadcasting business.

As such, they need to know the rules of “the game”.  This is at the nub of the trouble that Bercow and others – prominent and not so prominent – have run into.

Individuals, companies and employees who have no experience of the laws of libel, defamation, copyright infringement and contempt of court cannot, as a rule, even begin to grapple with the dos and don’ts of public communication.

Without expert assistance, they may be heading for a fall, the scale of which would probably only feature in their nightmares.

Until recently, I’ve felt as though I have been shouting into a cave, as I have attempted to persuade prospective clients of my company to be cautious about what they communicate or allow to be communicated in their name (by employees or outside agencies).

My concern comes from a lifetime in newspaper journalism which ingrained in me a professional commitment to check and double-check information in advance of publication in order to avoid exposing the publishers to legal dangers, either criminal or civil.

But now some rather expensive chickens are starting to home to roost.

The upshot of the Sally Bercow ruling – which centred on just seven words and some punctuation – means she will have to pay a substantial sum of money to Conservative Party politician Lord McAlpine, who she wrongly linked to the sexual abuse of children at a care home.

The original allegation of misconduct had been made in a TV news programme by the BBC, who later paid McAlpine £180,000 ($280,000) in damages.

Amid widespread and fevered speculation about the identity of the abuser, Bercow, who had denied libel, waded into the Twittersphere and asked: “Why is Lord McAlpine trending. *innocent face*.”

That was enough to land her in court – and leave her looking at a large bill after the court ruling.

‘A warning to all social media users’

She had previously made two offers of out-of-court compensation to McAlpine that were rejected by him. So it’s clear that the undisclosed, agreed damages were higher than she had hoped.

In a statement issued after the ruling, Bercow said she had learned her lesson “the hard way”, adding that the ruling should be seen as “a warning to all social media users” because comments could sometimes be “held to be seriously defamatory, even when you do not intend them to be defamatory and do not make any express accusation”.

In court, her legal team had argued that the phrase “innocent face” was merely an indication that the tweet should be read in a deadpan manner, comparable to stage directions or notation on a musical score.

But Lord McAlpine’s lawyer stingingly responded that only “a moron in a hurry” or an “anchorite in a sealed cave” would have been unfamiliar with the context in which the tweet was published.

Individuals can only learn from this event as best they can. However, corporate organisations using social interaction – whether that’s by way of a blog, a Twitter account or through Facebook or LinkedIn – may need to draw on expert advice to ensure that they communicate “cleanly”.

Social media is now falling under the gaze of governments, legislative bodies, regulators … and lawyers.

Its advent has been akin to that of the Industrial Revolution or rotary press. But, in the UK at least, the law has finally caught up.

Messages and updates (in words, photographs, drawings or film) on Twitter, Facebook and all the other popular platforms are regarded as published material.

Interestingly, in the McAlpine case, his lawyers urged people other than Bercow who named him on Twitter to come forward so they “can reach a settlement” – i.e pay him compensation.

Ominously, the lawyers added: “We know who you are.” They also revealed that “specialist firms” had recorded each offending post and the authors would be tracked down if necessary.

The McAlpine case involved civil law but analogous scenarios have played out in criminal courts too.

A professional football (soccer) player in Wales was convicted in court of rape but nine people named the victim on Twitter, which is illegal. They pleaded guilty to publishing material likely to lead members of the public to identify the complainant in a rape case and were ordered to pay damages to the woman.

And two men who on Facebook posted apparently up-to-date photographs of the two killers of a two-year-old boy, in violation of an injunction protecting their identities, were given suspended prison sentences.

The murderers, who were 10 years old at the time of the crime, were given new “lives” to protect them from possibly vigilante harm after the completion of their custodial sentences.

The Facebook users acted in contravention of a global ban on the publication of anything revealing the identities of Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, who were released in 2001.

The injunction prohibits the publication of any images or information claiming to identify or locate the pair – even if it is not actually them. The order also covers material published on the internet.

‘The spoken word has become
the published word’

Clive Coleman, the BBC’s legal correspondent, has said of the current social media scene: “Conversations that once would have only taken place in the street or the pub have moved online. The spoken word has become the published word.

“In short, we are all publishers now. Anything tapped into a PC or phone can rapidly go viral and cause real damage to the administration of justice.

“The internet may have seemed, at its birth, like a new unregulated frontier beyond the reach of the law. It isn’t, and anyone posting material in relation to matters concerning the justice system should be aware that between mind and keyboard lies the law.”

Already in the United States, there have been legal deals in the wake of malicious or errant social media messaging,Courtney Love most notably that involving rock star Courtney Love who, in 2011, had to pay $430,000 to settle a lawsuit brought against her by fashion designer Dawn Simorangkir, who claims she was defamed in a series of messages posted on Twitter.

In all the cases detailed here, the size of the audience who viewed the messages exacerbated the misdeed.
“Publish and be damned,” was the cry of the Duke of Wellington in 1824.

That sentiment resonates to this day, and it applies to all us publishers, large and small.

©WordMediaCo Ltd. If you wish to reproduce or translate this article, you may do so, provided you add the following credit: This article was written by David Boyes. He is a media consultant and trainer who empowers businesses to use social media more strategically. For more information visit: http://www.wordmedia.co

How to post a PDF to Facebook

By DAVID BOYES

Facebook logo, blue background, white "F"HAVE you ever tried – and failed– to upload a PDF file to share on Facebook, either on your profile or business page?

If, like me, you have , fear not. There is a solution. Or rather, there are a number of solutions.

The reason PDFs cannot be posted to Facebook is because of their  format (Portable Document Format), which is not supported by the social sharing site.

Ordinarily, the  document should uploaded to a different online location, such as a website, from where the link can be shared.

But what if you don’t have a website? Well, if you have the right software, you can convert it to a JPEG or PNG – which are compatible with Facebook – and then share that with your friends or fans. But that can be fiddly and the results are sometimes less than professional in appearance.

A quick search on the web will offer up numerous other alternative ways to overcome this this annoying little problem, but the simplest solution I have found is to sign up to Scribd.

Scribd is a digital documents library that allows users to publish, discover and discuss original writings and documents in various languages.

It’s easy to subscribe to Scribd and easy to share from from your account. Just copy the link from your document, paste it into your Facebook post (this will create a thumbnail too) and share. Easy!

The video below will show you how to post a PDF document to your Facebook page/wall so you can share it with your friends, even if you do not have a website.

Read the WordMediaCo blog for other social media tips and tricks.

©WordMediaCo Ltd. If you wish to reproduce or translate this article, you may do so, provided you add the following credit: This article was written by David Boyes. He is a media consultant and trainer who empowers businesses to use social media more strategically. For more information visit: http://www.wordmedia.co

Human right “to be forgotten”

By DAVID BOYES

IN this social media-crazy world, it may seem ridiculous to consider the possibility of a human right “to be forgotten”.

Yet this is exactly what is happening at the heart of Europe’s legal system – and the ramifications for Facebook, Google+, Twitter et al could be enormous.

In an era of ever-expanding communication and an implicit acceptance of the concept of the “well-documented digital life”, the European Commission has probably set its continent on collision course with other parts of the world – not least the United States, which is the spiritual and corporate home of social media.

The principle of the right to be forgotten – or, put another way, the right to be left alone – will go to the heart of the legal bedrock of Europe and the US.

The roots of this entitlement exist in Europe and can be found in French law, which recognises “le droit à l’oubli” – a right that allows convicted criminals who have been punished (for certain crimes) to object to the publication of details of their criminal past.

In the United Kingdom, the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 is an example of the acceptance of this principle of the human right to be forgotten.

In America, by contrast, publication of someone’s historic criminal activity is protected by the First Amendment.

If, as seems likely, the human right to be forgotten becomes enshrined in law in Europe, social media companies could be held legally liable if they fail to remove photos or information that people post about themselves and later regret, even if the material has been widely distributed already.

This will apply to all European Union citizens, not just those who have been involved in criminal activity, and will form part of a greater civil data protection umbrella.

“The best steps toward privacy and the right to be forgotten may be just to avoid the necessity in the first place,” argues academic and social media influencer John Nosta in a blog post here.

It is my view that the solution may, unfortunately, turn out to be a little more complex. This, to me, is just one of many  examples of the tussle that is playing out between, in the blue corner, the law, society and sovereignty and, in the red corner, iconoclastic social media companies and a disruptive concept of totally open communication that is being driven forward on a daily basis by millions of people across the world.

©WordMediaCo Ltd. If you wish to reproduce or translate this article, you may do so, provided you add the following credit: This article was written by David Boyes. He is a media consultant and trainer who empowers businesses to use social media more strategically. For more information visit: http://www.wordmedia.co

Business case for social media

By DAVID BOYES

THE business case for social media is now being laid out cogently and regularly by large organisations across the world, particularly in the United States.

However, there is a perception that large organisations are the ones that stand to gain the most from the fastest-adopted medium in human history.

This is not true, as a study proves. The key lessons being learned about social interaction are as relevant to large companies as they are to smaller ones.

Whether an organisations is a multi-national, multi-strand business with tens of thousands of employees or an SME, the take-home messages are identical, as are the methods of application.

One of the biggest changes that social media has introduced for corporate entities is the principle of interaction not just on a B2B or B2C basis but on a P2P principle.

This ability to interact with a wider audience of people in a more intimate and meaningful way as they go about their daily lives is a hugely powerful and useful tool that has not been available to any business of any size up to now.

Social media is now knitted into the corporate fabric of trail-blazing companies such as Pepsi, Virgin and American Express, who are developing the methods and principles of interactive best practice that will be followed in future by millions of firms the world over.

Whether that’s talking to customers in inspiring ways, engaging with potential new clients, exploring radical new applications for social media or breaking down barriers within internal communications frameworks, these firms are all firmly committed to the cause.

The question for SMEs now is: are you ready to lead your company and its employees into a new world of social connectedness or are you just going to sit back and wait until the time is “right” to follow?

Watch the video below from Hootsuite, and decide:

©WordMediaCo Ltd. If you wish to reproduce or translate this article, you may do so, provided you add the following credit: This article was written by David Boyes. He is a media consultant and trainer who empowers businesses to use social media more strategically. For more information visit: http://www.wordmedia.co

Social media’s stock keeps rising

By DAVID BOYES
 

SOCIAL media is now a key way for investors to keep track of developments in the corporate world, thanks to a ruling in the United States.

It is yet another indication that social sharing is becoming, almost by the day, more mainstream and that it has formed an essential component of modern communications.

The ruling was prompted after movie-sharing company Netflix used Facebook to share information which boasted that their customer base had grown to a million subscribers, leading to an increase in share values.

An explanation from the Wall Street Journal shows how social media’s stock is rising and how the Securities and Exchange Commission reached its landmark decision.

Social media’s rising stock

Video here:

Social media: a new world for corporate reporting

Or watch this from TheStreetTV:

©WordMediaCo Ltd. If you wish to reproduce or translate this article, you may do so, provided you add the following credit: This article was written by David Boyes. He is a media consultant and trainer who empowers businesses to use social media more strategically. For more information visit: http://www.wordmedia.co

How to create a Facebook Page and why

By DAVID BOYES

FACEBOOK business pages can be a useful tool to aid corporate profile-building but many organisations remain confused about how to create a Business Page and why.

Many companies are making the mistake of promoting themselves through Facebook profiles (personal accounts), either deliberately or by mistake.

In the former case, they are aware of Business Pages but have opted not to establish one for any number of reasons. In the latter case, they just don’t know Business Pages exist and that they are fundamentally different from personal profiles.

Facebook logo, blue background, white "F"Whatever the reason, there is a danger that a company’s Facebook activity could come to an abrupt halt if they fail to follow the rules of this particular social media game.

It has been widely reported that Facebook have started scrutinising accounts and are deactivating businesses that are not adhering to protocol.

In this blog post, we will look at the principles of Facebook Business, or Fan, Pages and how they can be used to best effect.

[Read more...]
©WordMediaCo Ltd. If you wish to reproduce or translate this article, you may do so, provided you add the following credit: This article was written by David Boyes. He is a media consultant and trainer who empowers businesses to use social media more strategically. For more information visit: http://www.wordmedia.co