A quick apology

Hi, how are you? I’m well. My apologies for the reduced posts and reposts over the last two weeks. I’ve been a little busy relearning basic html, and sprucing my back pages, so you can find all my recipes and everything from my ridiculous Now! Project a little more easily. I should be back and blogging in full effect next week, and I look forward to seeing you then!

Here are the fancy schmancy new pages, with tables and whatnot, for your enjoyment, and a picture of Lionel Richie as a Thundercat, as my peace offering to you.

Recipes

The Now Project

It's totally him you were looking for.
It’s totally him you were looking for.

Now That’s What I Call Music 19

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This article is part of a series, chronicling a foolish attempt to chronicle the history of modern pop, through the Now That’s What I Call Music series. All the previous articles, and some other fun stuff, can be found here.

Released- 25th March 1991

Music History

Michael Jackson signs for $1 billion dollars with Sony. Bear in ming, all his best albums have been and gone now. If he hadn’t died, this would have been really bad value… And speaking of profiting from death, Eric Clapton’s son falls from an apartment window, leading to the writing of Tears in Heaven.

Me History

Seven now. I know I’m reading a lot of Roald Dahl books. Of these, to this day, my favourite is The Twits, which is full of Machiavellian awfulness and beards. A lot of the rest of my time is spent playing Street Fighter 2. To this day, I will beat you at this. With Blanka.

If I had to save one track from this album, and the remainder were to have SCUD missiles dropped on them by George Bush Sr., that track would be…  Unfinished Sympathy by Massive Attack. As I said below, buy Blue Lines, if you haven’t already. Listen to it. Enjoy it. Don’t Spotify it. It’s just not that kind of album.

Track by Track Breakdown

The Clash : “Should I Stay or Should I Go”

What is known as a ‘shit sandwich’ here. The Clash are on a Now compilation, and scored their only number one. BUT it’s one of their worst songs. BUT it’s still better than pretty much everything else, and it’s The Clash, one of my personal punk holy trinity, next to the Dead Kennedys and Minor Threat.

Oh no I appear to have put the wrong Clash song here and instead included a far superior song! Whoops.

Scritti Politti feat. Shabba Ranks : “She’s a Woman”

SHABBA! It’s as much a punchline as an announcement, saying here come the slightly racially offensive Sebastian the Crab impersonation. Mi still gwan say mi like it though. Jah bless. With sincere apologies to the West Indies.

The Source feat. Candi Staton : “You Got the Love”

The definitive version of this song. The Moroder style blips just accentuate the feeling. The bassline adds a faintly ominous feel to proceedings. Brilliant. PS- jumping ahead about 60 odd Now! albums, Florence and Dizzee can do one.

The KLF feat. The Children Of The Revolution : “3 a.m. Eternal”

It’s hard to be unbiased when the arty, situationist, lunatics are doing well. Great song, but I’d love their bad ones too. Dance music artists are often incredibly dull, so it’s great when the sense of mischief permeates everything they do.

C+C Music Factory featuring Freedom Williams : “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)”

It’s gym montage time! Even men with steel hearts cannot resist this song (indeed I’m sure they would just do the robot). I want to shout EVERYBODY DANCE NOW just writing this.

Continue reading Now That’s What I Call Music 19

Chicken, Mushroom and Pesto Lasagne

I haven’t cooked anything new for a few days, so I’m reposting an old favourite today. I still haven’t homemade decent pasta yet, and I may have to bite the bullet and invest in a machine soon!

Antipathti

So, lesson one, don’t try to make pasta for the first time on a Monday night while hungry and tired! Apart from the stretchy, odd, undercooked taste of “almost pasta” though, the flavours in this were delicious.

Lesson two? Take your wedding ring off before working with any type of dough you idiot.

Pesto is possibly my favourite thing about Italian cooking. Basil, cheese and nuts. I can’t think of three more enjoyable things, without using the word beer.

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Ingredients

Serves 2-4, greed dependent

  • Lasagne sheets
  • 350g diced or minced chicken
  • 350g chestnut mushrooms
  • About 3 large handfuls of fresh spinach
  • 60g basil
  • 50g grana padano or other hard cheese, plus more for optional sprinklage
  • 50g pine nuts
  • A tub of ricotta
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Method

Put your lasagne sheets in a bowl of warm water with a little salt, to soak a little until they’re needed.

Gently…

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Monday Music Mixtape- The Tracks of Eight Years

Happy Monday, I couldn’t decide on a theme today, so I left today’s mix in the hands of Last.FM. If you haven’t come across it before, Last.FM is a website and app, which sits in the background of your phone and computer, tracking what you’re listening to, a process they call ‘scrobbling’, which is a hideous word.

It then recommends other acts you may like, based on your listening habits. It has pointed me in the way of some great acts over the years, and some terrible ones, but I am happy that my life now contains music by Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, Mr Muthafuckin’ Exquire, and Jaques Brel, who I may have otherwise overlooked for being respectively too obscure, too hardcore and too Belgian to have been discovered by me independently. It’s worth it for that alone, and I strongly recommend it for anybody who loves music.

So, I’ve been on there for 8 years now, which is scary, and it’s listened in on me listening to over 50,000 songs. And today’s music is from the ten acts who I have listened to more than any other. I assume there must be a reason for this, and that reason must be that they are brilliant! I have put a screengrab of numbers 2-10 here, but the number one will be a secret until you scroll down, for the purposes of creating a false sense of excitement…

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10) Kanye West

Far lower than his ego could ever accept, but probably about right to my tastes. For all his flaws, he is one of the most forward thinking, inventive producers of our age. Not a Brian Wilson, but definitely at least a Joe Meek! I’ve gone for Seth Rogen and James Franco’s shot for shot remake of his video for Bound 2.

9) LCD Soundsystem

An act brave enough to call it quits at the height of there fame, James Murphy and his cohorts made three nearly perfect albums, the first of which, the epynonymous LCD Soundsystem is ten this year, and still sounds ahead of the curve. Seeing them at Brixton Academy and in Hyde Park have been two of the best gigs I’ve been to in the last decade.

Continue reading Monday Music Mixtape- The Tracks of Eight Years

Comes Along A Love

So, the third number one. It’s the best yet, a fun little big band swinging love song, and very possibly the only reference to the Highland Fling in a number one record. Not even The Proclaimers have otherwise managed this, so all credit is due!

Talk About Pop Music

I have a playlist that contains every UK number one song since charts began in 1952. Thanks to EveryHit, this is a fairly simple process. Let’s remind ourselves of these songs.

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Janathon- Weeks 2 & 3, and the sweet smell of failure

So… here were my targets for week 2 of Janathon, from my last Janathon post;

  • Don’t finish a single day under 10,000 steps.
  • Run at least 13.1 miles over the week.
  • Do at least 15 minutes of bodyweight type exercise.
  • Stay off the fags.

And here is what I actually achieved;

  • 6/14 days over 10,000 steps, at an average of 10527 steps a day, so technically a win!
  • 6.6 miles run, plus some swimming, so miles short there. FAIL.
  • Does cooking count? FAIL
  • 3 cigarettes, and I’ve started vaping, so a technical win, as I’m down by about 70 on my usual smoking.

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As is the case for most humans with New Year’s resolutions, I appear to have failed on all four, with some wins on technicalities. In my defense, I was struck down by a nasty bug this week, which justifies three days of failure, but I’m still a fair way off being a Janathon hero. Regardless, I have made steps towards a healthier me in 2015.

I’ve joined my local leisure centre, and purchased a copy of Men’s Fitness in the vain hope I can work out what the hell you’re meant to do in a gym.

I’ve remembered how much I enjoy swimming, although it’s been so long since I’ve done a front crawl, I can’t remember how to breathe.

For the sake of record, here’s what I done…

January 9th- 4 mile run

January 12th- 2.5 mile run

January 15th- 30 minutes swimming

January 17th- 40 minutes swimming

January 18th- 15 minutes on a rowing machine

January 19th-21st- Competitive sweating and aching

I’m not letting it get me down. This is the most healthy I’ve been behaving since August, and I’m hoping I’m forming good habits for the rest of the year. So thanks Janathon, and let’s see how the rest of the month goes.

Spinach Soufflé

I love food with accents on it. Paté, soufflé, all good. Like metal bands with umlauts. Once again it’s FODMAP friendly and pretty darned healthy.

It’s also pretty easy, as you don’t have to worry about it collapsing, as the spinach provides a support structure for the soufflé.

You’ll need ramekins. Which is a very nice word, isn’t it.

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Ingredients

Makes two soufflés

  • 3 eggs
  • 150 g spinach
  • Handful of parmesan
  • Tiny pinch cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper
  • Butter

Method

With a little butter, grease up your ramekins so they’re non stick, and set aside.

Continue reading Spinach Soufflé

Now That’s What I Call Music 18

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This article is part of a series, chronicling a foolish attempt to chronicle the history of modern pop, through the Now That’s What I Call Music series. All the previous articles, and some other fun stuff, can be found here.

Released- 19 November 1990

Music History

The end of year polls are saying the year belonged to Public Enemy, The Pixies, Sonic Youth, The La’s, Happy Mondays and the Cocteau Twins. So the Now albums have about a 33% hit rate on critical praise. On the other hand, Timmy Mallett releases a single which is shamefully overlooked by those critic snobs. Leonard Bernstein passes away, but balance is restored as Soulja Boy is born.

Me History

It’s my little sisters birthday shortly after this comes out. She gets a cat for her birthday. For the proceeding 15 years, Snoozy (she is a lazy cat) will be the most faithful, lovable cat you can wish for. Right now, however, she realises that I am terrified she’ll scratch me, and will taunt and mock me relentlessly. Ten years and I still miss you, you lazy, evil git.

If I had to save one track from this album, and the remainder were to be beaten to death by Mallett’s Mallet , that track would be… There She Goes by the La’s. You wouldn’t believe a band as largely mediocre as Cast would be borne out of a band capable of creating such a beautiful, summery, jangle pop song. Sing along and damage your vocal chords.

Track by Track Breakdown

The Beautiful South : “A Little Time”

Lovely country tinged ballad with a clever reversal at the end. Incidentally, also Callie and Arizona’s plot in the current series of Grey’s Anatomy. Further down the incidental scale, I used to be in a band on the same management as another brilliant band called Amber Room. Years later, they unexpectedly popped up in the first series of the British version of the voice, performing a grunged up version of this very song. Enjoy!

PS- their covers are nothing compared to their own material. In short, check out their Soundcloud above, you won’t be disappointed!

Steve Miller Band : “The Joker”

Only heartless men and football referees could dislike this stupid, wonderful song. Especially the Maurice whit whoo bit!

Elton John : “Sacrifice”

Bleh. He’s given up on quality control. He’s only 7 years away from defecating on one of his most beautiful songs.

Roxette : “It Must Have Been Love”

Okay sober, perfect when drunk and singing at the top of your lungs while heartbroken, I’d imagine.

Continue reading Now That’s What I Call Music 18

Gluten free oat crusted cod

I almost feel guilty including those two words, at this time of year, as it feels a little like I’m just taking advantage of the January weight loss panic. Truth be told, to a degree I am, but only insofar as it’s gotten me too! My belly is currently like a rubber ring I am permanently wearing…

Anyway, this is light, filling, rich in good stuff, gluten free, and FODMAP friendly.
Beat that for dietary efficiency!

Ingredients

  • 2 good sized cod fillets
  • 200g GF oats
  • 50g chopped fresh parsley
  • Rind of one lemon
  • 1.5 tbsp salted butter
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Salt and pepper

Pea and mint puree

  • 200g peas
  • 4 sprigs of mint
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Method

Weigh out your oats, chopped parsley, lemon rind, and butter and fill a food processor with them. Pulse it a few times until it all gets nicely mixed together and looks ready.

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Continue reading Gluten free oat crusted cod

Music Monday Mixtape- Hey hey we’re the Grizzly Bear.

Happy music Monday.  Today’s theme is bands with animal names in them, which works as bands with animals in their name are something of an indie godsend… Also, there’s no such animal as a Beatle, so that’s a no no. I like this week’s challenge, mostly because years ago, I was in an indie band called Digital Fish. Some of our music is still around, and it’s free too!

So first, here is Two Weeks by Grizzly Bear, one of the best songs of recent years.

And of course, Modest Mouse, with the beautiful Third Planet.

Continue reading Music Monday Mixtape- Hey hey we’re the Grizzly Bear.