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Saturday
Jan262013

Episode 30: Parmesan Jacket'd Salmon & Couscous.

 

Hey look, a new episode of CoverVersions! Now if only I can remember how to do this…

 

Notes:

Yes. It was a long time between updates. Again. But a lot of things have been going on! I went to Germany! There was Christmas! I went back to work! Things were busy! But anyway, enough excuses. I told myself that I was going to be more regular with my updates this year, and I mean it. So! Recipe. This is one that I have only made once, when I made the video. I haven't made it since, but every time I look back at it, I say "Wow, I need to make that again." It's extremely tasty, and for all that there's a lot going on, it's not that difficult or time-consuming. 

Another note: watercress. I had never had or used watercress before. I only knew it because of a joke made in an Archie comic where Archie took Veronica to a fancy restaurant, but couldn't afford anything, so he ordered two watercress sandwiches & tap water. Well, my ignorance shows because today I saw watercress at the green grocer and it does NOT look like what I used in the video. So I guess any salad leaf will do.

Another thing I'd like to point out: after 30 episodes, it's getting tougher & tougher to come up with new and interesting music, so I've decided to outsource/ask for help. And on that note, I present Joel, aka @gingerexplosion on Twitter, who is going to be helping me with the music side of things for the foreseeable future. Welcome Joel! As a starting point, I had chosen some music that were not actual covers, but instead evoked a certain sound, much like when I used the Raveonnettes in the Bikkits episode. Come to think of it, I had Joel's help with that one too! Go figure.

 

Music notes, by Joel:

The Last Shadow Puppets - "In My Room", "My Mistakes Were Made For You", "Separate And Ever Deadly", all from The Age of the Understatement, 2008

Adele's theme for Skyfall, like the film itself, remixes James Bond's history into a more modern form. The John Barry brass, the Matt Monro/Nancy Sinatra coo, the Shirley Bassey drama; all its elements are as iconic as the shaken-not-stirred martini, or the Walther PPK. Bond themes are a genre unto themselves, and 'Skyfall' Frankensteins its conventions into something that sounds simultaneously retro and contemporary.

Alex Turner and Miles Kane did something very similar on The Age of the Understatement, the only album to date of their project The Last of the Shadow Puppets. All sixties melodrama and twanging guitars, songs like 'In My Room' are Bond themes in waiting. With arrangements by Owen Pallett (the artist formerly known as Final Fantasy) performed by the London Metropolitan Orchestra, the only thing separating 'Skyfall' and 'My Mistakes Were Made For You' is the film to legitimise the latter. Turner's heart-worn and sentimental lyrics aren't exactly a natural fit with Daniel Craig's stiff upper lip, 'I'm not not crying' version of Bond, but, as Adele's 'Skyfall' proves, lyrics aren't everything.

Recipe:

Parmesan Jacket'd Salmon with Tomato Couscous & Cress Salad

serves 2

ingredients:

400g salmon fillet, skin on

100g parmesan cheese

150g couscous

1 egg

1 bunch basil

1 clove garlic

1 bunch watercress or salad leaves

1 tomato

1 lemon

50g flour

olive oil

salt & pepper

 

 

  • Fill the kettle & get it boiling.
  • Get a pot (one with a lid) and put it on medium heat.
  • Peel & chop up the garlic, and put it in the pot with a bit of oil.
  • Pick most of the leaves off the basil, but keep the stems.
  • Chop the stems finely, put them in the pot with the garlic (once the garlic is coloured) and AGITATE. 
  • Cut the tomato into chunks, and add that to the pot as well.
  • Add the couscous and 225 ml of water, mix it all up, put the lid on, and take it off the heat.
  • Get a decent-sized frying pan on medium-high heat, with some oil.
  • Crack the egg, into a biggish bowl, and beat it until combined.
  • Get out two plate-accomplices. In one, spread out the flour. In the other, grate the parmesan cheese. 
  • Arrange the bowl and two plate accomplices into a little assembly line, flour-egg-cheese.
  • If your salmon is in one piece, cut it lengthwise into two long pieces. 
  • Take each piece and dunk it in the flour, coating it completely, and shake off the excess. Then dunk the fillet into the egg, coating again, then finally into the cheese, so it sticks. You want nice even coverage.
  • Put the fish into the hot pan & cook for 2 minutes per side (I did it for 8 minutes total).
  • While that's happening, bifurcate the lemon. Squeeze the juice of half into a big salad bowl.
  • Add three times as much olive oil as you have lemon juice. Yes, really. 
  • Pinch of salt, a bit of pepper, then taste it to see if it's alright. Adjust if you need more of anything.
  • Wash the watercress & tear it up. Add the torn cress to the salad bowl & toss to coat.
  • When the fish it done cooking, lay it out on paper towel.
  • Take the lid off the couscous, fluff it up with a fork, then stir the basil leaves through, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Arrange the fish, couscous & salad on a plate, seize, and consume!

 

 

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!