The Awesome South African Cook Off

Now that the ‘Great British Bake Off’ is in full swing and even providing some unexpected drama, I thought I’d tell you about some South African culinary delights. Not all of them are baked goods but all of them are pretty awesome!

Cane – a similar drink to vodka which is lovely for cocktails and long drinks. My favourite is cane, passion fruit cordial and lemonade.

Fanta Grape – a variety of fanta not found in the UK (only in South African shops). This is my favourite soft drink in the world!

Potjiekos – this basically means pot food, and is a variety of stews , soups and curries made in a potjie (similar to dutch oven) over a fire. My speciality is the Beef and Beer Potjie which I will be making tomorrow for 30 people! ( here is the recipe I will roughly be following:

Boerewors – this means farm sausage and is a spicy beef sausage often cooked on a braai (BBQ) and served in a bread roll with Mrs Balls chutney (available from some major supermarkets). I highly recommend you buy some Mrs Balls chutney as it is also very good with curries.

Umgqusho  (samp and beans) – this is a Xhosa dish which contains a corn product (samp) mixed with various beans, onions and garlic.  I recently prepared this with a variation of this recipe though I used canned beans instead of dried beans.

 (boerewors and samp and beans, not added Mrs Balls yet though)

Bunny Chow – this delicious ensemble is the perfect takeaway food. Lovely beef, lamb or mutton curry in a hollowed out loaf of bread.

Baked goods / puddings
Koeksisters – these are dough in a twisted braid shape deep fried and soaked in syrup. Careful they are very sweet!

Peppermint Crisp Tart – a heavenly no cook pudding that simply involves mixing cream, caramel condensed milk and peppermint crisp chocolates, then layer it with tennis biscuits. If you are interested in making this there are plenty of south African shops to buy genuine ingredients or you can do it with mint aero and an alternative biscuit (probably hobnobs, but I have never tried).

Rusks – a hard biscuit that must be first dunked in coffee before eating. I believe Ouma rusks are available on Ocado. Or you could try bake your own buttermilk rusks. I do strongly suggest you dunk them before you attempt eating them!

Honourable mentions
Skottle – a cooking device which is like a giant wok, great for cooking breakfasts while camping!

Finding People Who Are Not Listed in the Telephone Directory

Our telephone numbers data is updated each night (6 nights per week). In that data, about 75% of the people have exercised their right to not be listed in the telephone directory.

Until recently, the strict regulation of this data (the UK has an over-regulation fetish) meant that we were prevented from giving any information about those people,  to our users of In other words, we were not even allowed to say (in effect)

I’m sorry, that number is ex-directory

…which is the usual response from one of the 118 services (such as 118365) when queried about an unlisted person.

We were only permitted to say

No records found

…which in the case of an unlisted person was incorrect, unhelpful, misleading,and utterly ridiculous.

However we are now permitted to report if a person is unlisted (or ex-directory). We give extra information in the summary shown when your search results are displayed.

A typical report is:-

We found 1 result, which is ex-directory and cannot be displayed

If you visit you may search the telephone directory for free, and if the person you seek is not listed you will now be informed.

The right to privacy of that person is respected; we do not give any information about that person, other than the fact that she or he is unlisted. It should at this point be stressed that we do not of course reveal their telephone number (and we don’t know the unlisted telephone numbers anyway).

If the person is not listed at all in the telephone data, you may search the electoral roll data. Purchase one of our competitively priced credit packages to be able to search for people on the latest UK electoral roll data, and use our many other services.

Robin Williams: 10 Best Moments

We have a few major film fans in the office so we were very sad to hear about the death of Robin Williams. As a child of the ‘90s, I grew up watching many of his movies over and over again. Here are a few of my favourite Robin Williams moments:

1. Mrs. Doubtfire

2. Aladdin

3. Good Will Hunting

4. Hook

5. Good Morning, Vietnam

6. Jumanji

7. Dead Poets Society

8. The Birdcage

9. Friends

10. Mork & Mindy

Top 10 Android Apps of 2014

We’ll be launching our ukphonebook Android app in the next few weeks, so in preparation we’ve narrowed down our top 10 Android apps of 2014.

1. ukphonebook – Free

This is essentially a pocket version of the website. You can search the UK telephone directory for business and residential information, search the Electoral Roll, look up postcodes and dialling codes and even TPS check phone numbers. And you still get your free search credits every day. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to hear when we launch in the Google Play Shop.

2. Nova Launcher Prime – £2.40

Customize your homescreen interface with Nova Launcher Prime. This app allows you to play with various settings such as gestures and drawer groups, whilst maintaining a super-fast and smooth experience. You can also customise themes and access icon sets available on Google Play.

3. Google Keep – Free

This is a syncing notepad that supports photo notes, voice notes, and checklists and saves them to Google Drive where they can be accessed on any other web-connected device. It is ideal for quick note-taking on the go with a colourful and easy-to-use interface.

4. Spotify – Free

This app is free to download but we highly recommend taking out a premium subscription once you have downloaded it. Spotify can essentially replace your music collection as it provides you with access to a huge inventory of music on-demand. You can even download your favourite music for offline listening.

5. Snapseed – Free

Image editing and filters have recently improved on Instagram, however, you will still want to run your photos through this app before Instagramming them. You get more control when correcting/tuning/adjusting your images and there is a wide range of filters to choose from.

6. Duolingo – Free

Learn Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, and English. This app makes a game out of learning a new language with bite-sized lessons. You can easily track your progress and also have the option to set daily goals for yourself.

7. Untappd – Discover BeerFree

Untappd is a social discovery network for anyone that enjoys beer. You can record each new brew you try, rate it and even add tasting notes to share with fellow beer lovers. Discover new beers and bars through the vibrant Untappd community.

8. Google Maps – Free

Just a few taps and this app will tell you exactly where to go. Get directions to your chosen destination and decide whether you want to travel by foot, bike, car or public transport. You can even see what’s around you by using the street view option.

9. Allthecooks RecipesFree

If you’re stuck for what to cook for dinner, get inspiration from this cooking community app. There are hundreds of thousands of recipes to be found with people sharing their experiences of making them by posting photos of their attempts. You can add favourite recipes, manage shopping lists and set up meal calendars.

10. The Room/The Room Two£0.69/£1.99

This is the only game on our list and it is well worth a look. “A physical puzzler, wrapped in a mystery game, inside a beautifully tactile 3D world” as the developer Fireproof Games puts it. The sequel is just as good, if not better than the original and will have you puzzling for hours as you become completely immersed in the clever puzzles, spine-tingling music and beautiful graphics.

Premier League Predictions

Premier League

After my relative success predicting the world cup earlier this year, I thought I’d have a go at predicting the premier league season which starts on 16th August. Who will finish top and who will be relegated!

I have recently become a player/manager of a local York team so I must have vast amounts of football knowledge, our recent 8-2 defeat was just a fluke (actually its probably because we played a team 4 divisions above us).

First the bad news…relegation!

Historically recently promoted sides usually battle to stay up but I’m really hoping Burnley do, they achieve so much without buying success. That said I just can’t see it happening, purely because they don’t have the resources.  Jamie our office Burnley fan is not going to be happy with this prediction.

Another recently promoted side, but I think they have the same problem as Burnley not enough players with proven premier league experience.

Hull City
I think Hull will probably make it into the Europa league but these extra fixtures may prove to be too much of a strain to get enough results in the premier league.

The top dogs (teams going into Champions league)!

4th Manchester United
My least favourite team should be much better under new management and much fewer fixtures than their rivals. The new players coming in also look very decent.

3rd Liverpool
I try to be objective but there is no way I can have Manchester United finishing higher than my favourite club Liverpool, they almost won it last year but I think it will take a season to rebuild after losing their top scorer Suarez.

2nd Manchester City
They have enough depth in their squad to handle the fixtures and they have a few game winners like Aguero and Toure.

And the finally the winner…

1st Chelsea
Another team with a lot of depth in their squad, but I think their manager is slightly better. Their new signings, Fabregas and Costa are also world class.

TOR – Fears and Facts


TOR (The Onion Router) is a free, easy-to-use system which allows users to access the Internet anonymously.

It consists of a network of computers (relay servers and exit nodes) which work together to provide anonymity to users.

You can find more details, and download the software at The Tor Project

How it Works

The software manifests itself as a proxy server through which a preconfigured browser (the “Tor Browser”) communicates with the Internet. A typical event may be:-

  1. The user clicks a link to access a web page.
  2. The message requesting the web page goes from that user’s computer into the TOR network.
  3. It is passed through several TOR relay servers, and each time the IP address from which it originated is encrypted.
  4. Finally, the request leaves the TOR network via a TOR exit node and goes to the website. That website can only “see” only the IP address of the TOR exit node, not the user’s real IP address; that’s the point of using TOR.
  5. The website responds with a web page and associated images etc, all sent back through the TOR network.
  6. The TOR network sends the page through several TOR relays and eventually back to the user’s computer. The website never knows to where it has really gone. That’s the point of using TOR.

Controversy and Benefits

TOR has had a “bad press” due to its association with the Dark Net and Deep Network in order to obtain illegal pornography, weapons or narcotics.

However TOR is also a simple means for anyone living under an oppressive regime to anonymously access the Internet without fear of intimidation, persecution or prosecution.

Fears and Questions

Am I really anonymous?

Yes, but there is a lot of work being undertaken to “crack” TOR, or at least to provide the real IP addresses of some users of TOR, you should be aware.

So, should I use it?

Always ensure that your TOR software is up to date. TOR will fix any identified vulnerabilities.

If I’m using it, will other TOR users (perhaps doing highly illegal things) be able to access the Internet using my IP address?

No. You would have to create a TOR exit node. Your IP address will only send and receive your web use, and the websites won’t know who you are.

Who’s trying to crack TOR?

The FBI were reported to have staged an attack in 2013 using a vulnerability in an older version of the Firefox browser used by TOR. The Russian Government has recently offered a large fee for the breaking of TOR, and the U.S. Government are reported to be spending large sums in this effort.

Well, if I’m not doing anything illegal, I’ve nothing to worry about.

That’s one view, perhaps relevant to a liberal Western democracy but not to a web user in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, for example. You may have your own reasons for wishing to be anonymous.

Can I use TOR to download movies or music?

In theory yes, but in practice this is highly discouraged by TOR relay providers, largely due to the huge bandwidth needs of such traffic.

How else can I be anonymous?

You could use an anonymous VPN. This does contravene one of the popular principles of the Internet, you have to pay money to do so, but it can be as low as a few dollars per month.

I want to help TOR. Can I create a relay or exit node?

A TOR exit node provider needs to be prepared to deal with possible legal actions, or action from their ISP.

You could host a TOR relay on your own bandwidth; the encryption that happens as the traffic passes through your relay should ensure that your IP address is not revealed. If you have spare bandwidth and a love of TOR, consider doing so.

Websites Blocking or Limiting TOR Users

It is very easy for a website to “know” that the person using it is doing so via TOR.That site may then choose to totally block use, or to restrict activity.

I would stress once again at this point that in the situation above, the website does not know that person’s real IP address; that’s the point of using TOR.

Perhaps the most famous example of a website that restricts TOR users is Wikipedia, which prevents edits when using the Onion Router.

TOR Exit Node List

The TOR network publishes a list of IP addresses of its exit nodes; this list is updated regularly. All TOR traffic appears to originate from the exit nodes; the real IP addresses are of course, hidden; that’s the point of using TOR.

To use obtain the list of exit nodes, this example URL shows that exit nodes that are able to communicate with the IP address on port 80. Substitute your website’s address and relevant port.

If the IP address making the request is in the above list, the request has been routed through TOR.

High Quality Mapping

Later this year, our Corporate ukphonebook service will be augnmented to include very high resolution mapping data from Ordnance Survey.

When viewing Ordnance Survey maps currently, the maximum zoom is illustrated below by the area around Exeter St. David’s Station:-

The forthcoming facility will include the higher resolution and higher quality mapping data as again illustrated by the area around one of Exeter’s railway stations.

Finally, we will offer the highest quality mapping, shown by this “zoomed in” view of the area to the north of the station, shown in the views above.

Keep watching for updates.