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Tuesday
Jul172012

Episode 24: SuperGreen Satay w/ Hot Noodle Salad

Bit of a break between episodes but that DOES NOT MATTER as it is go time! Play the video!

Notes:

Oh, friends, have you ever have one of those recipes that you do the first time without the camera running or anything important on the line and it goes incredibly well and then your wife agrees to have it again just so you can film it and then you do it on a day off in your pyjamas and you burn your hands twice and forget two ingredients and then accidentally dunk your oven-mitted thumb into a bowl of boiling water and the final shot doesn’t focus properly?

No? Just me then.

Yeah, this is an amazing recipe, super flavourful, and really not a lot of effort on your part, but it comes off like you’re the second coming of the messiah of your choice. The final construction at the table where you’re making little satay-and-noodle-and-cashew lettuce taco-choy-bao things is fun, and the flavours really sing. So what if your hands are scarred? Don’t be a pansy. All the cool cooks have scars.

Music:

Oh, friends (again), have you ever thought of a clever name for your chicken satay episode based upon the colour of the sauce, and then draw the picture of a frog as SuperFrog and have him say “it’s not easy” as a reference to that Five For Fighting song about Superman that was every-gosh-darn-where in 2001 and then realise that you bought the Green Album of amazing Muppets covers and that “It’s Not Easy Being Green” is a song a frog sings and OH WOW you made an incredible pun? And then you picked some songs like The Wishing Song because it’s heartbreaking, and Mr. Bassman because it’s an incredibly potent earworm and OK Go’s version of the Muppet Show syncs up so that the crescendo is right where the blender goes off and you can end the episode with Mahna Mahna and then you DID all of those things and uploaded the video & Youtube muted it and smacked you with a strike and then you cried a little inside?

Oh. Also just me.

Instead I’ve grasped about in a frantic way and come up with some tunes from a CD that came with a Q Magazine in 2006. They’re vaguely themed in that they’re covers of 80s tunes. I left off Camera Obscura’s lovely cover of “Modern Girl” and Placebo’s “Running Up That Hill”, but instead you get (and OH CRAP I just realised as this is uploading to YouTube that I didn’t change the credits to reflect the new songs, so whoops, cancel, re-render, THE STREAK LIVES ON):

The FutureHeads - Let’s Dance

Cord - Spirits In The Material World

Elf Power - Upside Down

all from Q-Covered: The Eighties, from 2006

 

Recipe:

SuperGreen Satay Chicken with Hot Noodle Salad

ingredients:

  • 800g chicken breast fillet
  • 1 large bunch coriander
  • 2 red chillies
  • 1/2 clove garlic
  • 3 heaped tsp crunchy peanut butter
  • soy sauce
  • 2cm piece of ginger
  • 2 limes
  • dried egg vermicelli (1 nest per person or 250g total)
  • 100g cashews
  • 1/2 a red onion
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 baby cos lettuces
  • 4 wooden skewers

 1. In a blender or food processor or mortar & pestle or trash compactor, combine:

  •  half a bunch of coriander (stems & leaves, no roots)
  • 1 red chilli, trimmed
  • 2cm ginger (peel it with a spoon first)
  • a big splash of soy sauce
  • 1/2 a peeled clove of garlic
  • 3 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • the zest of both limes & the juice of one
  • couple splashes of water

 ...and blend that whole mess into a paste.

2. Turn your oven grill on full. Yes, that high.

3. Lay out your chicken breast fillet, and run all 4 of the skewers through it, parallel to one another, and cut in-between to make 4 skewers. if they’re uneven, cut the uneven bits off & even out the smallest one. Score all sides of the kabobs with a sharp knife.

4. Scoop out your sauce into a bowl. Get a non-stick oven tray (or a papered one if it’s sticky), and dump half of the sauce onto it (put the rest aside for later). Roll each kabob in the tray-sauce, being sure to cover all sides.

5. Season with salt & olive oil, then whack it into the oven under the grill for 20 minutes, turning once.

6. Meanwhile, dump your cashews into a tea towel, wrap it up and use a blunt object to bash them into bits. When bashed, put them into a dry pan on medium-low heat for a bit, giving them a shake every now and again.

7. Get your nests of noodles, put them in a bowl & cover with boiling water. Put a plate over the bowl & let it sit for 7 minutes.

8. Get your lettuces, chop off the bottoms, pull apart the leaves, and give ‘em a wash & spin, then set aside.

9. Fetch the second half of your coriander, trim off the roots, cut off most of the leaves & set aside, then finely chop the stems. And hey, while you’re there, deseed and chop the second chilli, and slice up half a red onion. Stems, onion & chilli into a big bowl, then add 2 tbsp of soy sauce, your sesame oil and fish sauce, a bit of olive oil, the juice of your 2nd lime and AGITATE it.

10. Turn the heat up to high on your cashews.

11. Drain the noodles in a colander, then give them a rinse with cold water (don’t scalp your thumb), and add the noodles to the big bowl and mix all about.

12. If the chicken is done, take it out of the oven. Drizzle the chicken with 1 tsp of honey.

13. Since you’ve got the honey out, add another tsp to the cashews, chuck in the reserved coriander leaves and shake it all about. Take it off the heat.

14. And you’re ready to go! Put a skewer on each plate, and let folks construct little parcels of chicken, noodles, cashews and reserved satay sauce wrapped in a lettuce leaf.

Seize and consume! 

Monday
Feb062012

Episode 10 - Kung Pao: Enter The Chook

Welcome back, watchers/listeners/readers/viewers! I am posting to you now from my brand spanking new MacPro, which I'm sure will be creating you fancy new cover versions for many moons to come.

Notes:

Be sure to prepare things for this recipe first, as the end kind of degenerates into "throw crap into wok, stir". You'll notice I'm doing a camp stove in the video. That's because I prefer a gas flame when cooking stir-fry, or anything that needs a really hot pan. Also, if you have lots of little bowls, now is the time to use them. It's really helpful to seperate out the ingredients beforehand. 

The recipe is really fragrant, especially when the coriander stem hits the pan, so prepare for your house to smell awesome.

I was going for a badly-dubbed-and-worse-translated Shaw Brothers 70s Kung Fu vibe with this video, and I must give thanks to Diana (for talking me out of scrapping the idea for fear of offending) and May (whose inability to help translate made me fall back on Google Translate and Translation Party, which I think made a better result).

For all that I'm posting from the MacPro, this video was actually one of two episodes edited not on my Alienware M11X laptop using Corel VideoStudio Pro V4 (as episodes 1-8 were), but on Adobe Premiere Pro C4 on my PC (which I've had for years, but have been unable to use, as my PC is a slow sack of crap. Recently, though, I set up my external hard drive as a scratch disc, which freed up some functionality). Hence nicer transitions, better timelapses, and new fonts. Also less stress for me. I'll be making the jump to Final Cut Pro X now that they have multi-camera editing, but might let the credit card cool down for a bit first. Phew. 

(edit: I'll take that back, because in my time between this morning, when I started writing, and just now this evening, I had a mini freakout at my new Mac. I had decided to buy Final Cut Pro X and had started the download. Then I thought "Hey, I'll get DropBox and Evernote so I can send my half-finished blog to my iPad, and finish it in the living room and not be anti-social". Well. I downloaded DropBox and it asked me to drag the icon to the Applications Icon but I couldn't FIND the Applications icon, and then I was trying to Google where I would find such an icon, and the internet spacked out on me, causing pop-ups from the downloads saying they'd been cancelled and was I connected to the internet? So I got mad. But I actually know it's not the OS's fault. I'm just too used to knowing where everything is, so when I don't know, it can be worrying.)

Music Notes

The OneUps - "Ain't No Love Like Lewanda's [ToeJam & Earl In Panic On Funkotron]", from "Integalactic Redux", 2011; "Rainbow Road", from "Super Mario Kart Album", 2010

These guys were part of the NSFW show Summer Music Series, and played the first track, which casually and with no great difficulty melted my face onto the floor with the crazy funky jam. Go here to see that performance here, and check them out on their website. Buy their crap. I did. Also, I chose Rainbow Road because not only was it the most difficult goddamn track from Mario Kart (it had no walls! NO WALLS! Also it induced epilepsy), but the song sounds like a game show "Tell them what they've won, Johnny!" montage. Both of which fit my 70s vibe nicely.

 

Recipe Notes:

Kung Pao: Enter The Chook Szechuan Stirfry

Serves two.

Ingredients:

2 chicken thigh fillets

4 spring onions

1/2 a capsicum

1 clove garlic

3cm of ginger, peeled

1 bunch coriander

1/2 teaspoon szechuan peppercorns

2 dried chillies

1 tsp cornflour

2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

Handful of salted peanuts

Chinese 5-spice powder

Soy sauce

rice, to serve

 

  • Slice up your chicken thighs into bite-sized bits, and put them in a bowl with a couple big splashes of soy sauce. (let's call this bowl 0)
  • Chop the roots off your coriander, then tear the bunch in half. Put the top half (the bit with the leaves) aside for later, and finely slice the stem (put it in bowl 1).
  • Chop up your half-capsicum into little pieces (bowl 1)
  • Cut the nasty hairy bits off your spring onions and finely slice them too. (bowl 1)
  • Peel your garlic & slice into matchsticks. Use a spoon to take the peel off the ginger, and matchsticks as well (both into bowl 2)
  • Get out your mortar & pestle (or if, you don't have one, use a pepper grinder or a Bamix attachment or a rock or something). Crush your dried chillies and szechaun peppercorns into smaller bits of chillies and szechaun peppercorns. (bowl 3)
  • Get your wok onto a high heat. When it's hot, toss in the handful of peanuts and let them roast a bit. When you can smell them, take them out and return wok to the heat.
  • Put the peanuts into your mortar and pestle and crush them. Dust them with 5-spice powder and crush again.
  • When the wok is hot again, throw in the chicken bits and any soy sauce left in the bowl. Season with salt as you move it around the pan quick-like.
  • About 30 seconds later, add bowl 3 (your chilli & pepper). Stir, flip, turn.
  • When the chicken's turned golden, throw in bowl 2 (garlic and ginger) Stir, flip, turn.
  • About 30 seconds later, add bowl 1 (veggies). Stir, flip, turn.
  • After a minute or two, pour in the sweet chilli sauce, the cornflour, a splash of soy sauce, mix the whole lot together and turn off the heat.
  • Leave stand for 2 minutes as the sauce sets.
  • Get two bowls. Put some rice you made in the bottom and split the stir-fry between them. Scatter your spiced peanuts over top and finish with a handful of torn-up coriander.
  • Seize, and consume!
Wednesday
Dec142011

Episode 6: Egyptian Flatbread

Like I said on twitter, this episode might have been done this weekend, but then there was house-cleaning (we had an inspection) and a friends' birthday party, and ironing, and interesting things to watch. So now it's Wednesday!

Notes:


Sorry for the boring YouTube blurb, but really, this recipe is as easy as it gets. Seriously. The un-sped-up version was about 14 minutes, and the final cut was 4:55 without intro or outro. Seems like the more of these I do the quicker the episodes get, which becomes a problem, music-wise. I usually try to use at least two or three tracks per episodes, and I've got a mental list of artists I want to dedicate a show to*. 

I've actually posted this recipe previously, as a Cooking Sunday (actually Tuesday) post. The version I photographed in that post is actually prettier than the video version turned out. See?
(also, I'm stealing the recipe from that post to save on typing. Nyah)

The fancy-looking za'atar I use in the video is from the Gewurzhaus in Melbourne, but I've also found it in Sydney supermarkets & greengrocers labelled "zahtar". 

And yes, I really did cut myself. You can actually see it that partway through the video I gain a band-aid on the end of my finger. Knives, kids. They chop stuff.

Also, this is the first (apart from a little bit at the end of Suga Alla Babe) episode where I use my new Sony NEX-5N DSLR for video recording. All I can say is "Where have you been all my life?" You'll be able to spot where it's used in future episodes because the jump in quality is really noticeable. Now if only I could find a tripod that's small enough to sit on the counter, but tough enough to hold the camera with a 55mm lens attached. 

Music Notes:

"Rich Kid Blues" - The Raconteurs (orig. Terry Reid), from "Consolers Of The Lonely", 2008

I've long had a love of all things Jack White, and the Raconteurs (or The Saboteurs, as all their Australian albums read due to a legal issue) are slowly replacing the White Stripes as my most-listened-to Jack White project. This track is their only released cover. The original 1969 song, by often-used session-musician Terry Reid, was famously (and heart-wrenchingly) covered my Marianne Faithfull in 1971, and titled her 1984 compilation album. The Raconteurs cover hearkens back to the bombast of the original, and though White's plaintive voice doesn't quite reach the Joe-Cocker holler of Reid, the sound matches the tone of the lyrics. 

Oh yes. Lyrics. This song is all about Maslowe's Hierarchy of Needs. The narrator has paid his dues, and has "shoes money, and good friends" and everything he needs. He has fulfilled all of of the survival, achievement and social needs, but is still not happy or fulfilled. Everything should be right, but it isn't. He acts out in ways he doesn't understand, hurting those close to him and is frustrated because he "knows what is going on" but it doesn't help. Where Faithfull's (heart-wrenching) version sounds like the girl sitting alone at her own party, bored, tired, and more than a little sad (and tellingly, was recorded before she was living on the streets as a heroin addict), White's version seems to tap into the Gen X ennui combined with Gen Y's yearning for something real, something to belong to. "I have all the best toys, why can't I be happy?" 

Funny, I came up with a haiku along these lines:

Waiting for pay day
Then I can buy something new
Won't that be a thrill?

"Intimate Secretary", "Yellow Sun" - The Raconteurs, From "Broken Boy Soldiers", 2006

These songs aren't covers, but I needed a 1-minute outro for the credits (Intimate Secretary) and a 12-second intro for the record-painting bit (Yellow Sun).

Recipe Notes:

Egyptian Stuffed Flatbread

I have no idea if this is authentically Egyptian, but frankly, I don't care. It's good. Serves two as a meal, or 4 as a starter. Goes great with soups.
Ingredients

DO THIS FIRST
--Your Oven
Preheat it as high as it will go. Seriously.
--Prep Your Bits:
It just sounds so rude! Nah, basically, all this step involves is taking whatever bits you're using (chicken, lamb, pork, etc) and chopping it up into bite-sized pieces. Admittedly, if you don't have any leftovers, you can just buy a couple of thigh fillets, cook them on a grill and chop them up. But the idea here is to use what you already have in the fridge. Though not pizza. Anyway, chop the bits and put them in a mixing bowl.
--Start Your Mixture
You know that bowl with the bits in it? Crack in the two eggs, and dump in your spices. Zest your lemon, chop the zest up fine, and throw it into the bowl as well. Squeeze on half of the lemon over the bowl. Slice up your spring onions and put about 3/4 of them into the bowl too (keep a few aside for later). Pinch of salt, bit of pepper, into bowl. Mix the whole shebang together, making sure all your bits are coated and the eggs get beaten. You could beat the eggs before, but that's another step and another bowl to wash.
--Flatbreads
Get out your baking trays. This bit is done easiest with spray olive oil. Spray the inside of one tray and lay your flatbread in it. I use two if they're big, three or four if they're small. You're going to be folding them over like a quesadilla, so just put your filling onto one half. Smooth it out with your spoon, so it's level. Keep it clear of the edges, or it'll run out. Now spray the bottom of the second tray with your oil, fold the flatbreads over, and put the second tray on top, so it holds them down. This also means both sides will get crispy.
NOW THE ACTUAL COOKING (sort of)
Put the trays into the oven for 8 minutes.
WHILE THIS IS HAPPENING (I love dramatic headings)
Get a big plate. In the middle, dollop your yogurt. Grab a handful of mint leaves and tear them up over the yogurt.
Wait a bit. A small bit. Until the 8 minutes is up. I don't know, maybe sing a little song or something.
Ding! Flatbreads are done. Take them out of the oven (the top layer should make noise when you tap it with a fork. Seriously) and lay them out on your cutting board. Slice the flatbreads into triangles (or trapezoids or dodecahedrons) and arrange them in a circle on the plate around the yogurt. Leave one side of the plate free, and dollop on your hommous, making a little well in the middle of the hommous and pouring on some olive oil.
Scatter over your leftover spring onions and a little bit more sumac, cumin and zahtar (don't go mad, though).





* That list currently includes The Northern Kings, The Baseballs, Mark Ronson, Ukelele Beatles, Radiohead, Rhythm Del Mundo, Beatallica, Dread Zeppelin, a country-rap episode, and that's just off the top of my head.
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!