The Silk Roads

It has taken a bit more time than usual but really enjoyed this book. I learned a lot of new facts. I love history and in school we were very focus in European history and neglected greatly all other parts of the world. In this book you can read about the importance of the routes between Europe and Asia along the centuries. Because all great empires were supported through commerce. From the constant battles between Ancient Greece and Persia, Rome, the pressure of the mongol empires from the East, Christianity, Byzantium, the rise of Islam and its lighting spread from Arabia to westerm Europe and the far east, the religion wars, crusaders, etc. It is interesting Vikings travelled “south” to commerce with the east, mainly with slaves captured in the way down. That slaves were the most profitable business. That the word”slave” comes from “slav” so those were the tribes mainly captures to become slaves and sold to the current empire and business centers between Europe/Asia. That luxury was a main drive in business: obviously silk and spices. How the discovery of America by the Spaniards was a waste of resources in European wars, and crashed South American population and culture. How Christian religion looked somewhere else at that time (link1 link2) apart from Dominican Bartolome de Las Casas. Funny enough the next-to-come empires (Dutch and English) did the same… And is funny too how tolerant was Islam for centuries and intolerant Christianity (has changed this?)

Then it comes the last couple of centuries.The heavy industrialization, the desire to maintain the status-quo, etc. For me was mind-blowing the approach for the WW1 and WW2. WW1 was to maintain the empires against the new forces: Germany and Russia. The goal was mainly keeping the East under control (India during English Empire time – that is bigger than current one..) and the new gold, petrol (Persia aka Iran, Mesopotamia aka Irak, etc). But the war was mainly fought in mainland Europe… Then you see the lack of scruples from Britain and then America dealing with the countries in the East. Then you can understand all the mess we see in Irak, Iran, Afghanistan… And Ukraine. Germany tried to conquest URSS during WW2 to get Ukraine as it was considered the granerie of Europe… and the south part of URSS so it could control the petrol supplies too. As well, you see the times when Iran and Israel were friends xD. Funny enough all the nuclear technology in Iran is from USA. USA got involved in Afganistan when the URSS invaded it (I will always remember the movies Rambo III and Red Scorpion) I think nobody from the army watched those movies…

I leave a lot of things behind but it is a great book. I read it as ebook but it is worth have it in paper. Very likely will get the next book.

Blueberry Muffins

This makes approx 6 muffins.


  • 110g plain flour
  • 110g butter
  • 65g caster sugar
  • 2 free-range eggs mixed
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 100g blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • Muffin cases


  • Pre-heat oven at 200C
  • Cream the butter and sugar. It should double in size and it should look like a cream. You shouldnt feel the sugar granes. This is slow and a bit painful 😛
  • Slowly, add 1/4 of egg to the cream, mix until all combined. Add another 1/4 of egg, mix until all combined. Repeat until all egg is in.
  • Add the flour, baking powder and nutmeg. Mix all well.
  • Cover the mix and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  • Prepare two cases per muffin if you dont have special muffin tray.
  • Take a piping bag, you dont need any special head. Put the mix into the bag. Cut the tip of the bag, it should be 1.5cm max diameter.
  • Pipe the mix vertically! (very important) on the bottom of the cases. Fill a bit less than half the case.
  • Add blueberries on top of each dollop of mix. 5-6 blueberries.
  • Then add another layer of mix on top of the blueberries. Remember to pipe vertically!. Fill until the top of the case. Add again 5-6 blueberries.
  • Put the muffins in the oven for 20 minutes aprox or until golden on top.
  • Before removing from oven, use a tooth stick and check it comes out clean.
  • Let it cool for a bit.
  • Optionally, you can use a bit of icing sugar on top for decoration.


This makes aprox 6 scones


  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder (double effect: fizzy with water -> bubbles -> in the oven expand)
  • pinch salt
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 150ml whole milk
  • 1 egg bitten for washing


  • Clotted Cream
  • Jam
  • icing sugar


  • Prepare a baking tray. Wash with a bit of melted butter, then spread some flour and finally smack the tray to remove the flour. You should have a light dusted tray.
  • Pre-heat oven at 220C
  • Sift flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Stir in the sugar.
  • Add the butter and “rub” with the flour mix until it looks like breadcrumbs. Tosh a bit the bowl and check there is no butter pieces.
  • Add the milk bit a bit. Mixing with one hand.
  • Put the dough on the work surface and knead it for 7-8 minutes. It is a very wet dough so use a scrapper to help you. At then it should be a bit more manageable , then form a ball with your hands and let it rest for 20 minutes.
  • Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface. Put flour on your rolling pin and spread the dough until it is aprox 2cm thick. If it is thinner than this, the scone will not rise much!.
  • Use a pastry cutter of 8-10cm diameter. Cut the dough with one strong move, dont twist it! Remove the cutter, and do the same in different part of the dough until you can use it anymore. Remove the leftover dough with the help of a spoon or similar without breaking the scone shape.
  • If you have dough left, repeat the process. Spread to 2cm thick, use cutter, etc
  • Transfer the scones to the tray. Wash only the top with the egg wash. Rest for 10 minutes.
  • Wash again the top of the scones and transfer to the oven.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes until the top is golden brown. Use a tooth pick to be sure the inside of the scone is baked. The pick should come out clean.
  • Let the scone cool down.
  • For serving, use a bread knife and cut approx by the middle. You can use anything you like, the typical fillings is clotted cream and jam!
  • You can spread some icing sugar on top for decoration