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Tuesday
Jun122012

Episode 22: Coconut Pork Skewers

And just like that , my week-and-a-half of holidays is over. I mostly abstained from editing & shooting throughout, but happily I have some stuff back-burnered for you guys. I knew you'd be worried.

 

Notes:

Yeah, so I thought it'd be a great idea to take the recipe at its word and used the mortar & pestle to reduce everything to a paste. Yeah. So that was difficult. I compressed it in the video, but it took 20 minutes of bashing away at the onion to get something even vaguely resembling a paste. If I had to do it again, I'd use my blender (though if you have a food processor, you could use that too, and also pat yourself on the back for being prepared). Also, you've got to be sure to layer on the marinade as thickly as you can, as all the lovely flavour & colour comes from there. The recipe comes from Kylie Kwong, who's rather a Sydney institution (we've been to Billy Kwong three times & have never been disappointed, and always see her at the Eveleigh Markets).

Oh, right, and the giveaway! Well, technically we have 2 more hours to go to be eligible, so I'll leave the winner's reveal until tomorrow. Remember, any comment on any post counts! Also, thanks to everyone for the kind words and encouragement on the Q&A video. If I get some more questions, I'm happy to make anotherone later.

Music Notes:

Wanda Jackson - "You Know That I'm No Good", "Rip It Up", "Rum & Coca-Cola", from "The Party Ain't Over", 2010. 

Wanda freaking Jackson. Was singing rockabilly and making hits before Queen Elizabeth II was crowned. Dated Elvis Presley. Compared herself to an atom bomb and became Big In Japan. Look, Wikipedia will lay it down for you. I'd only be repeating. She's a juggernaut. And she and Jack White have produced a cracker of an album, despite her being a youthful 74. Her vocal buzzsaw is as limber as ever, overriding Amy Winehouse's Naughties ennui in "You Know That I'm No Good" and turning it into a Take That. The rest of the album is equally good , with Jack White and a variety of Raconteur & My Morning Jacket alumni providing both a classic sound that still has White's signature skronk. I have it on vinyl and it sounds great.

Footnote on the last song, Rum & Coca Cola? Well, it was originally penned by a chap named Lord Invader, who wrote it as a response to American GIs in Trinidad debauching local women and encouraging prostitution. A chap named Morey Amsterdam (he of the Dick Van Dyke Show) copyrighted the song in the States, and it was a huge hit for the Andrews sisters in 1945. They, however, were completely unaware of the context of the lyrics about "mother and daughter working for the Yankee dollar", and just thought it was a fun calypso tune about sun and booze. Hoo boy. So the Wanda Jackson version is a cover of a cover of a cover of a tune whose original meaning was lost. 

Recipe:

Coconut Pork Skewers
(makes 5 skewers)

ingredients:

 

  • 500g pork fillet
  • 2 tbsp lemongrass paste or 2 stalks fresh lemongrass
  • 1 onion
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 125 mL extra-virgin olive oil
  • 25g dessicated coconut (unsweetened)
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt flakes

 

 

  1. Get your mortar and pestle out. It'll get some use.
  2. Chop the onion, zest the lime, and peel the garlic. 
  3. Throw all of it into the M&P and bash the ever-loving crap out of it. This might take a while. 
  4. Once you get it looking a bit paste-like, add the lemongrass & bash again. Bash, bash, bash.
  5. Add olive oil and tumeric, mix, and put aside.
  6. Cut your pork fillet into 3cm pieces, and put them into a container for marinating.
  7. Slather over the marinade, seal the container and toss it about.
  8. Leave for at least 24 hours in the fridge.
  9. Soak your skewers in cold water for 30 minutes.
  10. Take the pork out of the fridge and thread the bits onto the skewers.
  11. Get a grill pan on the stove and turn the heat up high.
  12. Lay out your kabobs in the pan, breaking off any punk skewers that are too long.
  13. Cook for 1 minute each side on high (4 minutes total), then lower heat and cook for 3-4 minutes per side (12-16 minutes, or until done).
  14. Pluck from the skewer, serve with rice and veg, seize, and consume!

 

Monday
Jun042012

Bonus: CoverVersions.TV Q&A and a Giveaway!

Bonus video for you all, in which I discuss cameras, comics, records, and give something away to one of you! Yes, you!

Edit: The sponsor feature is live! Click the link above to go to the Sponsor page. Still working on the donate bit.

Sunday
Jun032012

Episode 21: Vanilla Crème Brûtäl

Because more accents over letters means more awesome. 'Specially if they're umlauts.

 

Notes:

Guest baker! I've known Charlotte for a few years now, but have only in the last year discovered her tumblr of lovely recipes (which infuriates me because Tumblr won't let you comment) and when I said that sometime over the Easter Weekend she and Gonzi (who used to be in my team at work) should come over and we'd "cook stuff". They brought pork rillettes, I made VeganTamer Soup (future episode, watch this space), and Charlotte whipped up this delicious concoction, in spite of our temperamental oven.

See? This is her here:

Observe my wacky camera setup behind her.

The actual torchifying of the brulees went well, but the filming of same did not. The big camera was at an angle that couldn't see the melting, and my attempt at hand-held with my FlipCamera lead to varying white balance & focus. So only the prettiest shot stays in the video (hence the shift from torching the first one, then suddenly there are others. Cinema magic! See?
 

Special thanks also to Gonzi, whose artistic prowess I bow down before. He was just hanging out on my couch as Charlotte turned into a tornado in the kitchen, and I pressed him into serviceto draw the record this episode. We brainstormed a bit before deciding that Easter was about guys rising from the dead and rabbits with chocolate. So naturally the answer appeared to us: zombie bunnies. Gonzi knocked it out of the park, and I present the design in its full glory:

You can follow Gonzi & Charlotte on Instagram too, she's @FancyDancyMagicPrancy and he's @Tobasco_Slinger.

This is also my entry for the June AlphaBakes challenge, hosted by Ros of More Than Occasional Baker & Caroline of Caroline Makes. What's that you say? Wasn't the last entry an AlphaBakes one? Well, yes, it was, but I'd like to get on the board earlier in the month this time, and V is a hard letter.

Music Notes:

 

Mates of State - "Son Et Lumiere" "Long Way Home", from "Crushes: The Covers Mixtape", 2010
Nouvelle Vague - "Ca Plane Pour Moi", from "3", 2009
So after I'd cleaned up the kitchen, I sent Charlotte a message asking what music she'd prefer. Seeing as she's French and all (and proper French, not 3rd-hand French Canadian like me), I suggested Nouvelle Vague, whose first two albums I have. She agreed (specifically pointing out two covers of theirs I didn't know, like "Come On Eileen" and "Ca Plane Pour Moi" (!)), but also suggested Mates of State and their Covers mixtape. I filed all this away for later.
So now it's later and I've discovered Spotify (despite some early confusion and worried about my mobile's data cap). Through looking for the Nouvelle Vague "Ca Plane Pour Moi" cover, I found that both Holly Golightly (who collaborated with the White Stripes on "It's True That We Love One Another") & the Presidents of the United States of America have also covered the song. Then I go looking for the Holly Golightly cover on iTunes, and can't find it, which is because, as I later discover, Holly Golightly originally recorded it when she was part of Thee Headcoatees (a garage rock outfit created by Billy Childish as a backing band for his group Thee Headcoats). So see? You learn things through music.
Anyhow, Nouvelle Vague (French for New Wave, which is translated into Portueguese as bossa nova. See what they did there?) is a cover band, specifically making 60s bossa nova covers of punk, new wave and post-punk songs). They use a rotating roster of singers, secifically choosing those who have not heard the original track, to give each cover a unique feel. Their take on the wild and wacky Plastic Bertrand favourite is a good one. Also, go look up the legal battles around that song. It's interesting.
And Mates of State's Crushes Mixtape? Despite their website being baffling & occasionally non-functional, I did manage to get ahold of this album. It's pretty good, you guys. At first I felt their cover of Tom Waits' Long Way Home was too poppy, but it's grown on me. Their spooky intro of the Mars Volta song "Son et Lumiere" provided the perfect accompaniment for the zombie bunnies attacking the populace.
Recipe:
Vanilla Crème Brûtäl
ingredients:
  • 300 mL double cream
  • 200 mL milk
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste or the seeds of 2 vanilla beans
  • 4 tbsp of demarera sugar

 

  1. Preheat oven to 100 degrees.
  2. Separate your eggs (maybe keep the whites for an enormous meringue?) and add them to a pot along with the milk, cream and caster sugar.
  3. Set the pot on medium heat, and stir gently & continuously with a wooden spoon (don't use a whisk! It'll make bubbles and we HATE bubbles).
  4. Once the mixture is dissolved together and beginning to thicken, turn off the heat & take the pot off the burner.
  5. Get a big oven-proof dish or tray & double-up a tea-towel in the bottom. Fit 4 ramekins inside.
  6. Divide your custard equally between the ramekins, then pour boiling water into the big dish, so it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
  7. Into the oven for about 35 minutes, or until just set but still wobbly in the middle. (our oven was a jerk and it took nearly 50 minutes).
  8. When set, put the whole tray in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  9. Sprinkle a tablespoon or so of demarera sugar evenly on top of the custard. Use a spoon to super gently level it if you need to.
  10. Using a blowtorch (if you're awesome) or a preheated grill (if you're less so) to carmelize the sugar evenly into a crackly glazey layer. 
  11. Seize, crack in with a spoon, and consume!

 

Hey you! Yes, you!

 Are you an awesome cook?

Do you live in the Sydney area?

Do you have a blog to plug?

You too can be a guest cook on CoverVersions.TV!

 *Ahem*
I'll run the cameras, do the editing, the whole shebang.
Just drop me an email at Show@CoverVersions.TV with when you're free and what you want to do.
As some of you may have seen, I've got the next just-shy-of-two-weeks off, so happy to arrange something. 

 

Tuesday
May222012

Episode 20 - Honey Fig & Blue Cheese Tart

Are you ready for decadence? 'Course you are.

 

Notes:

This recipe is from Indira Naidoo's "The Edible Balcony" (which is another Christmas gift) which is as full of gardening tips as it is recipes, and all of the recipes focus on simple, great produce. However, due to a confluence of circumstance, this ended up beying one of the most expensive recipes I've ever made. Read on and find out.

So before we went on our mellow Byron Bay Beach holiday, I had been seeing figs everywhere. And cheap. Like 15 bucks a kilo. And a kilo of figs is a large amount. 

"Don't I have a fig tart recipe somewhere? I should do that."

Then we went away on holiday, but the idea stuck in my head. So once we were back and had a weekend, I decided to make it. I gathered the ingredients (including a huge $12 block of blue cheese, and a $10 jar of super-fancy organic wild honey), then toddled off to the greengrocer to get figs. 

Oh lordy lou was I shocked. Figs were suddenly expensive. And rare! I needed 10 for the recipe and there were 14 in the whole store. And about half were.... not great. One burst as I picked it up. I picked to the best of my ability, and dutifully paid $27.60 for 10 figs.

So that's $49.80 for one dessert. Gah.

Also, as is often the trouble for "simply written" recipes, So much was unsaid. I ended up streessing out in the kitchen and getting Tanja to help (after the argument blew over). Another strike: I had not used puff pastry before. I know it's simple, I know it's useful, but my lack of knowledge meant I imagined many horrific possibilities. Third strike: the measurements for the recipes are WAY off. I didn't NEED 10 figs. I barely fit 6, and that was overloading things. I didn't need 300g of blue cheese. I think 100 would have sufficed. The extra blue cheese caused there to be runnoff into the tray, which quickly turned black and needed to be scraped back. The tart didn't cook evenly, which required me to MacGuyver some tinfoil shields for the edges while the centre cooked. So the results were a little uneven. Your results should look a little nicer than mine, so that's okay.

Admittedly, the concoction tasted fantastic, but was so incredibly rich, it's less a dessert than a meal in itself. Whew. So I'll be listing my version of the recipe in the text part, while the video shows Indira's version. I cropped out most of my stress-induced freakouts.

So what of you, dear reader? Ever had a recipe be underwritten and thus go belly-up?

And of course, this is another entry into AlphaBakes, as hosted by Ros from the More Than Occasional Baker & Caroline from Caroline Makes. This month was H, which required some title rearranging, but still worked.

Music Notes:

The Gag Quartet - Le Internet Medley, single, 2011

Nyan Cat. Leek Spinning. Friday. Trololol. Dramatic Groundhog. These are the names of the gods of our time.

Alright, they're just memes, but I wanted it to be epic, you know? Anyhow. Weezer. 2008. They wrote Pork & Beans, a witty, self-referential song that was a throwback to the Blue album sound. For the video, they found Youtube stars like the Numa Numa Guy, Star Wars Kid, and many others and turned the whole video into a memefest. And it was great.

But evolution is a thing that happens. Cue the GAG Quartet (an Israeli three-piece. Ha.). They didn't just cram a bunch of memes into the video. They constructed an epic track ENTIRELY from the memesubstance itself. Behold the glory of the full video:

Also, their bio reads thusly:
"The three met on an online dating site, cruising the web for shemale arm wrestles. And although they did not find love, they found something else way more valuable... Music. (and a penny.)" 

Go buy their things. Any you can find.

Recipe:

Honey Fig & Blue Cheese Tart [Lucas' Realistic Remix]
serves 8

Ingredients:
5 figs
100-150g mild Blue Cheese
3 tbsp wild honey, plus more to serve (the recipe specifically says to avoid squeezy supermarket honey, as it's too diluted for this)
Small bunch of fresh thyme
3 sheets puff pastry, thawed
1 egg

 

  • Preheat an oven to 200, fan-forced.
  • Grease a baking tray.
  • Get out your puff pastry. Cut one of the sheets in half, and magically attach it to one of the other sheets so you get a rectangle of pastry that'll cover the whole bottom of the tray.
  • Put the pastry into the tray, and get yonder blue cheese. Crumble it into bits and scatter it evenly across the pastry. Leave a bit at each edge that's clear. Also, try and flatten any big lumps of chesse so the top is more or less flat.
  • Drizzles 3 tbsp of the honey over the cheese, again, keeping clear of the edges.
  • Take 3 or 4 sprigs of thyme, and pick the leaves off over the tray, letting them fall wantonly in.
  • Beat an egg in a little bowl, then use a brush to brush the edges of the pastry.
  • Take the other pastry sheet, join it with the remaining half, and put it on top. press down with your fingers and seal the edges of the two sheets. When sealed, brush the whole top with the leftover egg. 
  • Slice your figs lengthwise, and put the prettier middle slices on the pastry until the top is covered, but not overloaded (I overloaded it in the video).
  • Scatter over more thyme leaves, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Into the oven for at least 20 minutes, but keep an eye on it. You want all the pastry to be golden, and that may happen gradually. If your edges look like they might burn, make shields out of auminum foil, and leave the centre uncovered to brown.
  • When cooked, take out of the oven and leave for 5 minutes, then cut into squares. If anything has leaked out of the sides, do your best to scfrape it off: it's just fat from the cheese, but doesn't taste good.
  • Drizzle more honey over each slice, seize, and consume! (It's also nice cold, from the fridge) 

 

Monday
May072012

Episode 19: Epic Metal Chilli Con Carne

Oh, indeed. It is epic. Behold, and hold onto thy butts:

 

Notes:

The reason for the epic soundtrack and odd ordering of instructions is because a) I shot this in January (before I started messing with the shot format) and b) the recipe is essentially "cram all of the things into a pan and cook for 50 minutes". And the best part? The more time you take, the better the result. Sweat the onions for 40 minutes if you want, leave it on the stove all day (add a bit of water if it gets dry), whatever!

Funny story: using a quadrupled version of this very recipe, I managed to feed an entire floor of a call centre. Twice. The first time, we used a barbecue (to mixed results), and the second time I brought in a camp stove (to super-epic results). The tale has become an urban legend of the "four loaves, two fishes" variety.

The flavour of the chilli is more smoky that fiery, so feel free to add your favourite hot sauces or special chillies. I recommend the El Yucateca line, or Chipotle Tabasco. The page of the cookbook is splateered with red, as befits a good recipe.

Music Notes:

The Northern Kings - "A View To A Kill", from "Rethroned", 2008

Imagine, if you will, the combined orchestra from the Lord of the Rings series, Meat Loaf, and Jack Black met up at an 80s night in Norway, got really drunk and decided to make epic music. You'd still be short of the Northern Kings. All they do are covers. They primarily choose 80s and mid-90s music, gleefully lampooning ballads like "Kiss From A Rose" and "Don't Stop Believing", while adding a real menace  and power to songs like "Creep" and "In The Air Tonight" (the former becoming the lament of a stalker/serial killer, the latter a mediation on revenge). The track I chose though, is something else, taking a decent, if rather dated Bond theme and turning into a juggernaut. Tanja hates it, due to her love of Duran Duran and the original (she has it on vinyl), but I adore it.

Jim Johnson - Flight of the Valkyries, single, 2011

This one is harder to classify, due the WWE's annoying habit of listing artist information on iTunes as the name of the wrestler who uses it. Yes. I admit it. I am a wrestling fan. And this theme is used by one of the two wrestlers that have re-energised my interest in the product: Daniel Bryan (the other is CM Punk, but that's another post). Just revel in the epic.

Recipe:

Epic Metal Chilli Con Carne
feeds 4-6 people

ingredients:
600g beef mince (vegetarians, substitute 400g Swiss brown mushrooms)
2 tins tomatoes
1 tin red kidney beans (2 if using mushrooms)
1 large onion
1 tbsp tomato paste
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
2 teaspoons chilli powder
1 bay leaf
500ml stock (chicken, beef or veggie)
1 dried cascobel or pasila chilli, chopped (optional)
2 tsp fajita or cajun spice (optional)
4 tbsp sour cream, plus more to serve
grated cheese

 

  • Dice the onion, and put in a big-ass pan with a little oil on medium heat. Cook the onions for at least 5 minutes, or as long as you feel like without them burning.
  • Once onions are cooked, add the mince and brown for 5 minutes.
  • Add the tomato paste, tinned tomatoes, lemon juice, garlic, salt, bay leaf, stock, drained beans, and all the spices. (if you like, you can combine these in a big bowl beforehand and let the garlic and beans and such absorb the flavours. If you got the time, this step is well worth it)
  • Bring to a boil, mixing well, then turn down to a low simmer for at least an hour, or as long as you want. If the mix looks a bit dry near the end, add a little water.
  • If you want, make up some rice in stock while this is going on. Also grate some cheese.
  • About 5 minutes before you serve, stir in 4 tbsp of sour cream, and then turn off the heat. The sour cream should be melted in before you serve it, so feel free to stir.
  • Put a layer of rice in a bowl, top with a few scoops of chilli, then sour cream and grated cheese, then a crown of corn chips, seize and consume!