It's possible to trade profitably on the Forex, the nearly $2 trillion worldwide currency exchange market. But the odds are against you, even more so if you don't prepare and plan your trades. According to a 2014 Bloomberg report, several analyses of retail Forex trading, including one by the National Futures Association (NFA), the industry's regulatory body, concluded that more than two out of three Forex traders lose money. This suggests that self-education and caution are recommended. Here are some approaches that may improve your odds of taking a profit. Prepare Before You Begin Trading Because the Forex market is highly leveraged -- as much as 50 to 1 -- it can have the same appeal as buying a lottery ticket: some small chance of making a killing. This, however, isn't trading; it's gambling, with the odds long against you. A better way of entering the Forex market is to carefully prepare. Beginning with a practice account is helpful and risk-free. While you're trading in your practice account, read the most frequently recommended Forex trading books, among them Currency Forecasting: A Guide to Fundamental and Technical Models of Exchange Rate Determination, by Michael R. Rosenberg is short, not too sweet and highly admired introduction to the Forex market. Forex Strategies: Best Forex Strategies for High Profits and Reduced Risk, by Matthew Maybury is an excellent introduction to Forex trading. The Little Book of Currency Trading: How to Make Big Profits in the World of Forex, by Kathy Lien is another concise introduction that has stood the test of time. All three are available on Amazon. Rosenberg's book, unfortunately, is pricey, but it's widely available in public libraries. "Trading in the Zone: Master the Market with Confidence, Discipline and a Winning Attitude," by Mark Douglas is another good book that's available on Amazon, and, again, somewhat pricey, although the Kindle edition is not. Use the information gained from your reading to plan your trades before plunging in. The more you change your plan, the more you end up in trouble and the less likely that elusive forex profit will end up in your pocket. Diversify and Limit Your Risks Two strategies that belong in every trader's arsenal are: Diversification: Traders who execute many small traders, particularly in different markets where the correlation between markets is low, have a better chance of making a profit. Putting all your money in one big trade is always a bad idea. Familiarize yourself with ways guaranteeing a profit on an already profitable order, such as a trailing stop, and of limiting losses using stop and limit orders. These strategies and more are covered in the recommended books. Novice traders often make the mistake of concentrating on how to win; it's even more important to understand how to limit your losses. Be Patient Forex traders, particularly beginners, are prone to getting nervous if a trade does not go their way immediately, or if the trade goes into a little profit they get itchy to pull the plug and walk away with a small profit that could have been a significant profit with little downside risk using appropriate risk reduction strategies. In "On Any Given Sunday," Al Pacino reminds us that "football is a game of inches." That's a winning attitude in the Forex market as well. Remember that you are going to win some trades and lose others. Take satisfaction in the accumulation of a few more wins than losses. Over time, that could make you rich!

Cauliflower & Chestnut Gratin with a Parmigiano Reggiano Cream

Cauliflower & Chestnut Gratin with a Parmigiano Reggiano Cream
This decadent cauliflower gratin made with the King of cheeses is the perfect addition to any Christmas dinner.  It is simply divine!

Serves 4-6
Prep time: 10 minutes 
Cooking time: 30 minutes

1 large cauliflower (600g-750g), cut into bite-size pieces
10 cooked chestnuts, chopped
600ml double cream
60g Parmigiano Reggiano* cheese, grated
½ tsp fresh thyme, chopped
Freshly ground salt & pepper

For the Herb Breadcrumb:
70g sourdough bread
1 small garlic clove, peeled & finely chopped
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. fresh parsley
½ tsp fresh thyme leaves
½ tsp fresh rosemary leaves
1 tbsp. Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
Freshly ground salt & pepper


1.    Preheat oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas mark 6.
2.    Add the cauliflower, chestnuts and cream to a large pan and bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 10-12 minutes or until tender.  Remove the cauliflower and chestnuts with a slotted spoon and set aside.
3.    Now add the Parmigiana Reggiano and thyme to the cream and return to the boil then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes or until the cream thickens.
4.    Meanwhile make the herb breadcrumbs, place the bread into a food processor and blitz until you have fine breadcrumbs, now add the remaining ingredients and blitz until fully combined.
5.    Return the cauliflower to the cream mixture and season to taste.  Spoon the cauliflower and Parmigiano Reggiano cream into an ovenproof dish and sprinkle over the herb breadcrumbs.
6.    Place in the oven for 5-10 minutes until golden and the sides are bubbling.  Enjoy!

*         Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, known as the King of Cheeses, is one of the world’s oldest and richest cheeses - still produced today as it was nine centuries ago.
*         A long ageing period is fundamental in building the aromas and texture of Parmigiano Reggiano. Such complexity is achieved in a totally natural way, without any additives, making Parmigiano Reggiano 100% natural, easy to digest and high in calcium.
*         The minimum maturation time is at least 12 months, but only when it reaches approximately 24 months of age, is at its best. Ageing can continue up to 36 months or more, during which time the cheese develops its flavour, texture and digestibility.
*         Parmigiano Reggiano is a P.D.O. product. P.D.O. products are defined and protected by European Union law in order to defend the reputation of regional foods. This mark ensures that Parmigiano Reggiano can only be produced in Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Bologna to the west of the Reno River and Mantua to the east of the Po River.


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