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Thursday
Dec012011

Episode 5: Sugo Alla Babe

Whew! Long time between episodes. I blame work being draining and my discovery of Skyrim. Also, since my last upate, a few people have gone out of their way to let me know that what i do here has inspired them to start their own cookery blogs/videos, which makes me feel all lovely and glowing. Go check out May & Diana's blogs (here and here) and tell them I sent you. 

Anyhow. Behold my old-school, untrendy, slow-cookin' pasta. It doesn't play your pokemans, it doesn't go to your blue light discos, and it certain, most definitely, doesn't listen to the newfangled rock and/or roll.

Notes: 
While this episode was edited and rendered in record time (again), and is the shortest Cover yet at 7 minutes, it contains some of the longest takes I've left in an episode. This is because this recipe is so easy and simple that it's just a matter of prepping the ingredients and sitting back. 

Music Notes

I tried, oh how I tried, to find some U2 covers from the new (Ǎhk-to͝ong Bāy-bi) Covered album, which features Modest Mouse, Nine Inch Nails, Garbage, Damien Rice, Depeche Mode, Patti Smith, Snow Patrol & the Killers, purely so I could make a joke about how it's a Sugo Alla Bono because it's so hammy. Sadly though, all the covers seem rather listless & lacking in energy. All the songs plod along, seeming under- or over-produced, totally devoid of fun. The sole exception is Jack White's howling, explosive version of the weakest Acktung track, Love is Blindness. So next I thought I could use some covers of the Strokes then realized I had nothing to say about the strokes except that I think they,re alright and that NME said they'd be the next big thing. Then maybe a Franz Ferdinand cover of a Gwen Stefani song? Nah, the version I have is too low quality, and again, nothing to say. 

So I went with the Pixies.


Gigantic - OK Go
Hey [Double Dragon Remix] - Fashion Victims, from
Dig For Fire: A Tribute to the Pixies

I had no knowledge of the Pixies before purchasing the first Like A Version. I had purchased it, having been wooed by the Cat Empire's French-language L'Hotel De Californie from the same program. The rest of the album wasn't quite as good, sadly, though I did like a catchy guitar version of "The Holiday Song" by some band called the Pixies. Seemed like a positive bunch. I might look them up (heh).

Cut to a few years later. I was continuing to practice with Tedwardo The Amazing Bass Player in our struggling duo They Came & Ate Us: The Musical. His then-girlfriend joined the group on guitar & vocals and brought a love of the Pixies with her. We learned Gouge Away, The Happening, Tame, and Wave of Mutilation, but we were stuck on Hey. And here's why. Hey is a song based around the vocals. All of the guitar flourishes and drum fills are framed around the vocals. However, it is also a long song and it's hard to find your place. So the vocalist lost her place, and the drums (me) and guitar (Ted) would not know where to come in. So we'd improv. And interpretive dance. Yeah.

Also, on a side note, I recall reading that OK Go, with their one-take music videos, that involve treamills, fields, marching bands, and other unreplicable oddities, were an attempt to return the viewer's attention to the band, rather than to the video's editor, therefore giving the power back to the band creating the music. 

So.
Yeah.

Recipe Notes

A sugo is a generic word for a gravy or pasta sauce, but has come to be associated with slow-cooked ragus, the kind of dishes that are put on the stove in the a.m. to be served in the p.m. And are seasoned by old folks gossiping at a nearby kitchen table. This version is inspired by Spaghetti Al Bere Bere from Cooking Under The Influence. Like I say in the video, you can let this sauce sit for Anywhere from 40 minutes to 2 hours. Just make sure you add a little water or stock if it gets too dry.

Ingredients (I'd do a scan, but my scanner be strange tonight)

4 rashers bacon
1 4-cm-piece of flat pancetta
1 onion
2 tins tomatoes
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons pesto
500g Spaghetti
Parmesan cheese, to serve

  • Put a big ole pan on medium heat.
  • Derindify your bacon and roughly chop it up. Seriously. Don't even try.
  • Cut your pancetta into 1-cm-wide pieces, then cut crosswise against the grain.
  • Add some oil to your pan, and toss in the pig bits. Let them cook, stirring when you feel like it, for 4 minutes.
  • Skin your onion & chop him up. Add him to the pan, coom for a further 5 minutes.
  • Turn the heat up to high.
  • Flatten your garlic, peel it, then chop it up and add to the pan.
  • 4 seconds after your garlic is in, crack open both cans of tomatoes and add to the pan. Bring the whole shamozzle to the boil.
  • Turn the heat to low & cover with a pan lid, or a plate set slightly askew. Cook for at least 40 minutes, or as long as you feel like.
  • Once it's to the point you reckon it should be, cook the spaghetti, then drain it.
  • Add 2 teaspoons pesto & a tablespoon of butter to your sauce & mix in. 
  • Add the pasta & stir to combine, desegregating it.
  • Top with fresh-grated parmesan, seize & consume!
Saturday
Nov052011

Episode 4: Nirvana Fish

Another episode, and in record time. Not only did this only take me 2 evenings and a morning to edit, but the final video, pre-speed-up was only 16-minutes. Clearly a recipe for those in a hurry. It went so quickly, in fact, that I made two glaring mistakes, which I annotated in the video:

Notes:

This is a two-person recipe, and, as noted, make sure you turn the heat down to a simmer at the opportune time, or else, tragedy (like when the feeling's gone, and you can't go on).

Music:

 

JEFF the Brotherhood - "Something in the Way"
EMA - "Endless Nameless"
Foxy Shazam - "Drain You"
Charles Bradley & The Menahan Street Band - "Stay Away"
(all from "SPIN presents NEWERMIND: A Tribute Album")

 

Unlike many my age, I came to Nirvana late. I was too young and out of touch during the Grunge movement to know who Kurt Cobain was until he was dead. Even then, I only had a vague idea from the news. In 1995, I was 13, and my friend Andrew (who also introduced me to Green Day, Offspring, and the entire idea of alternative and punk) played "Nirvana: MTV Unplugged In New York" for me. "This one's a David Bowie cover." he told me. I only (again) had the vaguest idea who David Bowie was, having heard my father mention the name, but never having heard any of the music. I didn't like it. Compared to the much more kinetic and fun pop-punk music he'd played me before, this just seemed like a guy croaking along to an acoustic guitar to songs I didn't know. I voiced just that opinion, and was told I was a moron, and that when I was older (perhaps closer to his clearly more mature and grown-up 14), I might understand.

Still, it took me a while.

Cut ahead 2 years to 1996. Now an old man of 15, I was part of my first band, the eloquently titled 4-Sale (yes, spelled with a 4), of which I was the drummer (and held the practices, because we had a basement with my drum kit in it). The lead singer/guitarist, Rocky (again, his actual given name), was a devotee of Cobain. He had all the albums. All of his t-shirts were Nirvana shirts. He could even approximate the Cobain voice , having smoked cigarettes and weed since he was 8. Yes. He was one of those kids. He even had a long dot-matrix-printed banner that said "R.I.P. KURT" which he printed out at school and secreted home. Rocky was kind enough to make me a tape of random Nirvana songs, which I played continuously (along with the tape of "Enter Sandman", "One", and "For Whom The Bell Tolls" made for me by lead guitarist Martin), though I didn't even know the song titles. I can proudly say that "Tourettes" was the first ever song I've played to make my liberal, I-like-you-kids'-music dad say "Ugh! Turn that off! It's just noise!" which is a proud moment in every kids life. I still did not own any albums, unless you counted Weird Al's "Smells Like Nirvana" from "Off The Deep End". I had, however, stolen an Incesticide t-shirt from Rocky (he loaned it to me once for our school talent show, and I wore it home and never gave it back), which I trotted out for occasions where I wanted to look cool. 

It would be 8 months and summer before I got up the nerve to buy a Nirvana tape (it was "In Utero", and I didn't like it because it didn't have any of the songs I knew) and another year in a different province before I got my own Nirvana shirt, which was ash-grey, had a blue picture of Kurt on the front with an RIP, hung halfway to my knees, and was once worn by my-first-proper-girlfriend-and-first-proper-kiss Stephanie when she spilled something on her shirt and needed it washed when at my house. Another proud moment.

So anyhow, the music from this Cover Version is all from "SPIN presents Newermind: A Tribute Album" (found here, though they're not offering it for download anymore). I originally chose "Something In The Way" due to it's line about fish and their lack of feelings, but the doomy JEFF the Brotherhood didn't start doing their thing until after that line, so I layered in some of EMA's take on "Endless Nameless". The other two choices? They are the single catchiest earwormiest tracks on the album. Charles Bradley & the Menehan St Band in particular changed the song so thoroughly that I barely recognised it.

RECIPE:

 

 

  • Preheat your oven on its lowest setting, and cram your two bowls into it.
  • Put 2 frying pans, one with a lid called Pan The First, one without called Pan The Second, onto medium heat.
  • Smash the skins off of two cloves of garlic and chop them to bit.
  • Rip the bunch of coriander in half with Incredible-Hulk-like strength, put aside the leaves, and chop up the stalks finely. Leave no stalk unchopped.
  • Cut your chilli in half and chop up half of it.
  • Put some oil into Pan The First, then add half your garlic, your stalks, and the chilli, stirring often, until garlic looks cooked, then crack open a tin of your finest tomatoes. Pour the tomatoes into the pan, stir, and for the love of criminy, reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes.
  • Top and tails your zucchini, then cut it to bits. Divest your onion of its earthly rainments, then roughly cut it up.
  • When your sauce is ready, put the fish fillets on top of the sauce and hide its shame from the world with the lid. Keep that lid on for 10 minutes.
  • Put some oil in Pan The Second. Chuck in the unused garlic, the zucchini and onion, along with 1/2 a tsp of cumin (another thing I forgot). Cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • While the veggies are doing their thing, put 190g of couscous into a bowl, and cover with boiling water, then put Gladwrap over the bowl. Let it sit for 4 minutes.
  • Get your lemon and zest the hell out of it.
  • Draw, quarter and chop up your coriander leaves.
  • The veggies should be soft around the time the couscous has had its 4 minutes. Put the cooked veggies into the couscous bowl and mix it about, then cover it back up.
  • When the 10 minutes is up (which it should be, at this point), take the lid off Pan The First. Check the fish is cooked, and remove the skin if you don't like it (I don't like it). Turn off the heat.
  • Get your warm plates out of the oven, and make a little bed of couscous and veggies. Fish bits on top. Then sauce., then finally, lemon zest and coriander leaves.
  • Seize, and consume!

 

Saturday
Oct292011

Episode 3: Dirty Granny Pudding & PandaDoodles

Our first guest recipe! @Pandabelle was talking about making snickerdoodles, and was nice enough to send me a recipe for snickerdoodlin' "like a boss". I also included a recipe which should be familiar to anyone who's turned up at my house for a movie night/drink making experiment or been to a work bake sale I was involved in. Let's watch, shall we?

Notes:

As is mentioned in the video, that snickerdoodle recipe makes HEAPS, so feel free to experiment. Considering how quick they are to make, what's to lose? I made play-doh -style tobes and created Snake-rdoodles. It was a thing.

Music:

Based on the binary nature of this episode, I broke from my covers theme and did two distinct kinds of music, imagining that there was an old lady and an indie kid on a long car ride, fighting over the radio, but coming to an agreement by the end.

The Puppini Sisters - "Walk Like An Egyptian", "Crazy In Love" (from "The Rise and Fall of Ruby Woo", 2007) and "Heart of Glass" (from "Betcha Bottom Dollar", 2006)

The Puppini Sisters are a 1940s close-harmony singing group who cover songs from all times. Their live show contains up to 30 costume changes, and one of the Sisters used to work for Vera Wang. So they've got pedigree, plus are awesome.

Pomplamoose - "Mister Sandman", "Single Ladies" (from "Tribute to Famous People", 2009)

Pomplamoose got my attention shortly after Michael Jackson died when their VideoSong version of Beat It was doing the rounds of Digg.com & Youtube. Their VideoSong idea intrigued me, the idea that every sound you heard was real, and they had cut the video to show it. Both Jack Conte (multi-instrumentalist) and Nataly Dawn (vocals, bass) are musicians i their own right, but put together, they're astonishing.

Guest playlist by @Pandabelle:

A.C. Newman - "The Town Halo" (from "The Slow Wonder", 2004)

Architecture In Helsinki - "Heart It Races" (from "Places Like This", 2007)

Well, I say guest playlist, but what really happened is thus: I got the idea to do an Indieish couple of songs to counterpoint the old-timey Puppini Sisters and Pomplamoose. I thought, "Hang on, Pandabelle likes indie tunes. I'll just stalk her on her various social networks." So I came away with many bands I was unaware of and a few I had on the harddrive. I chose them, started rendering, then she gave feedback with other songs. OH NOES! But it's cool. She has approved the choices. I had A.C. Newman because I love the New Pornographers, of which he is a member, and I had the Architecture In Helsinki tune off a CD I got from buying The Word Magazine. 

Recipe:

So in the video, I make the desserts simultaneously, but for ease of repition, I'll split the recipe here. It was actually really easy to do them both at once. You just need a lot of bowls.

 

 

Dirty Granny Pudding:

 

  • Preheat oven to 180.
  • Peel, slice, and core your apples in any method you see fit. I like the V-Slicer, because it's fast and it makes it really thin. Does that make me a sociopath?
  • Put your apple slices in a bowl and dust liberally with vanillin sugar and cinnamon. Pour over a generous splash of spiced rum, amaretto, schnapps or other fragrant booze. Cover the bowl with Gladwrap and set aside.
  • In one bowl (let us call it The Dry Bowl), combine:
    • 1/2 cup flour
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 cup caster sugar
    • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • In a second bowl (let us call this the Not-As-Dry-As-The-Dry-Bowl-Bowl), beat together 1 cup sour cream & 2 eggs until smooth.
  • Pour the contents of the Dry Bowl into the Not-As-Dry-As-The-Dry-Bowl-Bowl and mix.
  • Grease a dish that can withstand the heat of your oven.
  • Pour in half the batter, than scatter over half your drunken Granny slices. 
  • Add the rest of the batter, top with the rest of the Granny slices, some slivered almonds, and more cinnamon and vanillin sugar.
  • Bake for 45 minutes. When done, test the middle with a skewer. If it comes out clean, you're homefree. Cut up, serve with custard, seize and consume!

Pandadoodles:

 

 

  • Preheat over to 180.
  • Beat together 1 cup room-temperature butter, 2 eggs and 1.5 cups of sugar in a bowl.
  • Add 2 3/4 cups flour, 2 tsp cream of tartar, 1/4 tsp salt and 1 tsp baking soda and mix again (carefully. This sumbish comes back atcha)
  • Chill dough and ungreased cookie sheet/tray in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  • Do a little dance while you wait. Tra-la-la.
  • Mix together 3 tbsp of sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon on a plate or shallow bowl. Or on the counter. Whatever.
  • Scoop out bits of dough and make into planetoids 2cm across. Roll them in the cinnamon sugar, then place them on the cookie sheet. Make sure there's space, they'll spread out.
  • Bake for 11 minutes (or until cinnamon on edges goes dark)
  • Once done, remove from tray, seize, and consume!

 

Saturday
Oct292011

Episode 2: Jerkass Chicken

Now the format starts to click! I had all 4 cameras rolling and my framework set. I was going to use all covers for the music, and it was going to be awesome! Or course, the diting was something I hadn't imagined, but I got through it in the end, with a minimum of swearing.

Notes:

The book the original recipe came from is as much a cookbook as it is a book of observations on graffitti art and street culture around the world. While the art is cool and the interviews are mostly entertaining, the recipes are hidden in among everything, and you have to ferret them out. What I found most interesting is where certain recipes ended up: he claims the best chilli is from New York, the best Moroccan food from Monmartre, France, the best peri-peri from Amsterdam, and jerk chicken from West London. Speaks to the migrant spirit, innit?

The "how to spend your day" snippets were filmed on my iPhone at Questacon in Canberra. You should totally go. Also, make sure you get a beer at the Wig & Pen.

Music: 

The Clash - "Wrong 'Em Boyo" (from "London Calling", 1979)

A straight-up cover by the godfathers of punk of a tune by the Rulers. The Clash play it perfect, right down to the 40-seconds-in giving-up-on-the-first-song-let's-try-it-again jam session vibe. It also, as you may have notice, contains a bit of "Stagger Lee", which may be the single-most covered song in history. I could write a whole post on that song alone. Others have written books.

The English Beat - Rough Rider (from "I Just Can't Stop It", 1980)

Truth be told, I had to really look to find a cover by these guys just so I could include them, because to me, they're the sound of pure fun. Also, of course, 2-Tone ska was all about taking the things you love, combining them with what you like and can do in order to create a new third revision, which is a philosophy I can get behind.

Madness - "The Israelites", "Shame & Scandal", "Keep Me Hanging On" (from "The Dangermen Sessions, Vol 1", 2005)

Before they made this album, Madness started playing gigs again, under the alias "The Dangermen". They played mostly covers from when they were starting out, completely reinventing themselves. They created aliases and fake backstories for all of the members of the band, and said the fictional "Dangermen" had been holding onto this album for 35 years before it was released. Marvel fans, think of it like The Sentry, but for music. Also, one of these songs "Keep Me Hanging On" is well known to me because my dad had the Vanilla Fudge cover, which was a 7-minute blues-rock showcase from the early 70s. But to each their own.

Recipe:

*24 hours earlier*

  • Press your lime against a surface to make it juicier, then slice it in twain. Squeeze the lime's innards into a large mixing bowl.
  • Allow your yoghurt to fall into the same bowl. Make it look like an accident.
  • Add 2-4 teaspoons of jerk seasoning (depending on how infernal you wish your flame to be), and stir.
  • Brutally and with surgical precision, stab each chicken portion 5 times.
  • Put each chicken piece into the marinade and drown it before adding the next.
  • Once all the chicken is in, fetch thy Gladwrap. Secure it to the chicken bowl so none shall escape.
  • Detain the chicken bowl in the fridge. Spend the next 24 hours however you so choose.
    *the next day* 
  • Fetch an oven rack and a tray. Preheat the oven to 200. Put the rack over the tray, and line up your little chicken soldiers on the grill (the tray will catch the drips).
  • Put the rack-and-tray into the oven for 60 minutes (or if you're cool like that, cook it on the barbecue for 30 minutes)
  • Get a big frying pan with a lid on the counter. Into it put:
  • 300g rice, and enough water to just cover the rice
  • 1 onion, peeled & diced
  • 1 tin red kidney beans, brine and all.
  • 4 teaspoons Allspice
  • Chicken stock cube
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 chopped cloves of garlic
  • 7 oz Coconut cream
  • 30 minutes before the chicken's ready, put your rice pan on high heat, & bring to a boil.
  • As this is happeneing, it's gravy time. In a saucepan, combine:
    • 2 teaspoons allspice
    • 1 chicken stock cube
    • 1 teaspoon jerk seasoning
    • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
    • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
    • thumb of ginger, (peeled with a spoon, chopped up)
    • 2 cups boiling water
  • When your rice pan begins to boil, turn it to the lowest heat & cover it for 20 minutes.
  • Bring your gravy to a boil, uncovered, open to the world.
  • Once the gravy is boiling, crank it down to a simmer for 10 minutes.
  • When the rice's 20 minutes of fame is up, take it off the heat, still covered, and let it think about what it's done for 10 minutes.
  • Serve chicken on a bed of rice, with a spoon of gravy on top, seize, and consume!
Friday
Oct282011

Episode 1: Sticky Chicken Tortillas

This was my first Cover Version, made before Cover Versions existed. It was my first time making a cooking video. I only had the two cameras (and the second one was in the wrong spot for 3/4 of the video.), I hadn't come up with the record title card idea yet, nor the theme for the music. Behold! 

 

Notes:

I highly recommend the Jamie Oliver iPhone & iPad apps, though 20-Minute Meals seems the better deal, in that you get all the recipes for one price, while the otherwise free Recipes app requires you to purchase packs of recipes. This recipe serves two people, or 4 as a starter.

Music: 

Cibo Matto - "Know Your Chicken", "Beef Jerky" (from Viva! La Woman, 1996)

I discovered Cibo Matto after their appearance on Buffy ("Cibo Matto can clog dance?!"), but it wasnt until I purchased their album "Viva! La Woman" that they really got my attention. Cibo Matto is Italian for "Crazy Food", which is fitting as all the songs are named after and based on food. Their sound ranges from Shonen-Knife-style rock-and-roll to experimental pop, with frontwoman Miho Hatori crooning in soft-voiced, heavily-accented rounded tones, to urban trip-hop, with that same frontwoman bouncing around rapping like a long-lost Beastie Girl. The lyrics are sung in English, Japanese, with Italian ands French thrown in and range from abstract musings on food-based sexual imagery, to rapid-fire staccato shouting. Very interesting stuff, and great to put on at parties.

Beck - "Cellphone's Dead", "The Horrible Fanfare/Landslide/Exoskeleton" (from The Information, 2006)

Unbeknownst to me at the time I bought it, this album was considered controversial. Beck released it without a proper cover, just a blank sleeve and one of four packets of stickers so that fans could create their own and make each CD unique ("a call for interactivity", as he put it). Forums were created for people to compare their versions. I loved this idea, and put a lot of thought into creating mine. However, the album was denied entry into the UK Album charts. Ridiculous. Anyhow, the album is great, with Beck using all of his toys (including a Game Boy) to create densely layer soundscapes. The final track, "The Horrible Fanfare/Landslide/Exoskeleton" is a 10-minute three-part opus that wanders from sampling it's own album, to sampling Serge Gainsbourg, to a discussion between Dave Eggers and Spike Jonze. An underrated gem.


Recipe:


· Put a pan on medium heat with a little oil in it.
· Preheat oven to lowest setting.
· Rather rudely cut each chicken breast into 4 strips lengthwise.
· Season both sides liberally with salt and pepper.
· Zest the hell out of your lemon.
· Deposit thy lemon zest into a mixing bowl.
· Bifurcate the lemon.
· Squeeze the lemon juice into the bowl. No seeds, you savages.
· Add approx. Twice as much olive oil as there is lemon juice.
· 4 tablespoons of yoghurt into the bowl and stir.
· Once the pan is hot, abandon the chicken to its hellish fate.
· Brutally snap the leaves from your defenceless lettuce.
· Baptise the lettuce under the holiest of taps, cleansing it of sin (and dirt).
· Using a salad spinner, whirl the lettuce about in a whimsical manner, drying it to some extent.
· Hold the lettuce leave still as you finely slice them. Ignore their pleas for mercy.
· Consign the chopped lettuce to the same fate as the lemon zest.
· Wash, trim and skin the carrots*.
· Once the little bastards are skinned and subdued, peel them into ribbons for their insolence.
· Put those ribbons into the bowl and stir.
· Grab a handful of alfalfa sprouts, hold them over the bowl, and take your scissors to them for being untidy.
· Oh right, the chicken. Yeah, turn that.
· Stir the mixture again.
· Time for thyme. Yes, I went there. 2 sprigs.
· Get out your fennel seeds and tortillas.
· Craft an aluminium foil coffin for your tortillas and put them into the oven.
· Poke vaguely at the chicken. Make sure it’s still dead.
· Strip the leaves from the thyme and discard the stem.
· Get two plates ready.
· Poke the chicken some more.
· Taste the mixture, make sure it’s ok. Stir.
· Fling the fennel seeds into the pan where they belong, and their thyme leaf buddies too.
· Shake the pan like a TV Chef to coat the chicken.
· Drizzle the honey onto the hot chicken. Feel a bit naughty as you do. TV-Chef-Pan-Shake again.
· When the chicken is coated in honey like some sort of harlot, turn the heat off.
· Stir the mix again. Free your tortillas from their mighty coffin and place one on each plate.
· Apply 1 tablespoon of tactical hummous and 1 tablespoon of also-tactical harissa/Sambal manis.
· Add ¼ of your lettuce-carrot-yoghurt-Franken-mixture. Top with primary and secondary chicken bits.
· Wrap up, seize, and consume!

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