Monday, October 22, 2007

Winter Warmer 1 - Mushroom Soup and Fabric Live 36

In honour of the days getting shorter, the nights getting longer, and the cold...well, getting colder, I decided that last week it was time to make the first soup of the season. After visiting the hustle and bustle of Dalston market to pick up provisions, I got started on making what turned out to be quite a nice mushroom soup. As much fun as getting culinary on the weekend is (and believe me, chopping up shallots and blending mushrooms is much more fun than anything the Primrose hill set get up to), what really helps while slicing and dicing is what's on the stereo, because sometimes you need some musical motivation to make sure you spend less time in the kitchen, and more time enjoying what you've just whipped up. So, in what may become a weekly feature on this blog (well, we'll see about that) here's a simple soup recipe to warm up your body, and a fine audio selection to nod your head to whilst straining and stirring.

Right, this one's easy (as it says below). I used around 500g of button mushrooms, 250g of chestnut mushrooms, and around 250g of porcini, shitake and oyster mushrooms, although I guess you can vary the ratio of each according to what type of mushrooms you can get your hands on. I found that the only laborious part of the process came when straining the rough soup (it took an aaaaaaaaaaaaagggggge before I had at least a litre of smooth soup) so make sure you blend it as smoothly as possible to speed up the process. Oh, and while truffle oil is easier to find than it was when I started my attempts at cooking several years ago, you still have to search for it as it's not exactly something that your local Sainsbury's would probably have (mine stopped stocking it a few months ago). I eventually found some at Fresh and Wild, with a small bottle costing around 8 quid a pop. It's well worth having some in the cupboard, as it's a great finishing touch. Don't worry about the cost either as a little oil goes a long way.

Ahem. Now, about those beats.

Punkin' Machine - I Need You Tonight
(from Fabric Live 36 mixed by James Murphy and Pat Mahoney)

Surely the best Fabric compilation since last year's Cut Copy helmed Fabric Live 29, the LCD Soundsyem/DFA boffins get down to the D.I.S.C.O with a bag of classic NYC 70s and 80s cuts, alongside their own exclusive track Hippie Priest Bum-Out. My favourite though has to be the slick choice of Punkin' Machine, which brought a tear of joy to my eye. Of course, those tears came while I was chopping shallots so maybe it wasn't exactly joy induced eye-leakage, but it's still a cracking choice. Oh, and head down to Fabric on Thursday 25th October to catch the lads spin a record or two. Tix here, space disco guaranteed.

Creamy Mushroom soup (recipe by Thomasina Miers via UKTV Food)

* Servings: makes about 2 litres
* Level of difficulty: Easy
* Preparation Time: 15 minutes
* Cooking Time: 30 minutes


* 750g field mushrooms
* 250g assorted wild mushrooms
* 2 tsp butter
* 2 large Shallots, chopped
* 1 garlic clove, sliced
* 1 litre chicken stock
* 500ml Milk
* 100ml double cream
* Truffle oil, to taste
* salt and pepper

1. Roughly chop the mushrooms.

2. Heat the butter in a large saucepan, tip in the shallots and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened, but not coloured.

3. Add the mushrooms and cook until softened - about 5-7 minutes.

4. Cover with the chicken stock and milk and simmer for a further 20 minutes.

5. Using an electric hand blender, whiz the soup until smooth. Pass through a sieve into a clean saucepan to remove any mushroom pieces.

6. Stir in the cream and season with truffle oil, salt and pepper. Reheat the soup before serving.

Errrr......fin! Now dish that dish and dig in. More soup and beats same time next week.

* In other DFA/Cutters related news, head over to Modular People to hear So Haunted, another indication that Cut Copy and Tim Goldsworthy are indeed a match made in heaven. Australian readers - go out and see the boys (plus hot to trot countrymen and fine fellows Damn Arms) as they run around Australia next month.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

New Diplo mix / Check the Technique

New music anyone?

* First up, head over to FiftyOne:FiftyOne for a cracking mix from Diplo which he whipped up for Radio 1's Essential Mix show. Plenty of tunes crammed into two hours with everything from M.I.A. (natch) to Bart Simpson (remember this?) with Joakim, A Tribe Called Quest and Nirvana in between. Quality.

* A tip from my law-talkin' sister led me to Drop It In Their Laps, the latest LP from The Cops. Taking musical cues from Chic, Talking Heads and David Bowie amongst others, Drop It In Their Laps is an certainly an eclectic affair. While not every track works, there are more hits than misses, each bullseye a showcase for the band's pop sensibilities. Hot Weapon is just one example, complete with an ending reminiscent of Bowie's Modern Love. Hey, what's not to like?

The Cops - Hot Weapon

* The Lock Tavern family of 'tarted-up boozers' (their words, not mine) is expanding again with the opening of The Amersham Arms in New Cross. Set to carry on the spirit of the pub's recent offerings before being taken drafted into the Lock family, expect plenty of live nights, comedy, art exhibitions, great DJ nights and damn fine bood and beverages. For their opening night on October 12 they've managed to call in a few friends to help celebrate. Deckwork will be provided by Hot Chip, Sinden, Filthy Dukes, El Plate, Casper C, Nasty McQuaid and Ben UFO. Not bad huh, and it's just 7 quid (a fiver if you're one of those studenty types) to get in. Plus, expect David E Sugar, XX Teens, Kevin Rowland, Don Letts, Fourtet and Findlay Brown to strut their stuff in the following weeks. Splendid stuff, and they serve Glasto cider too!

* Pinback are coming to town. Yes, Armistead and Rob are finally coming back to the UK in November, with a London show on November 22 at 229. Tix here, and given the strength new album Autumn of the Seraphs (one of 2007's best) it's a fair bet that it'll sell out too.

Pinback - From Nothing To Nowhere

Old music anyone?

* Hands up who thinks tomes on hip hop history are few and far between? Considering the movement is only three decades young, it's obvious that it'll take some time before more books like the essential Can't Stop Won't Stop hit the shelves to satisfy readers hungry to learn more about the four elements.

In particular, hip hop writing suffers from a lack of documentation of the movement's classic records and the people behind them. Maybe it's because of the early focus on the single (especially in regards to deejaying) than the album that there aren't any essential books dealing with the minutiae behind albums such as Raising Hell, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), Criminal Minded, or Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em (kidding). Until now that is.

Check the Technique makes up for lost time by focusing on 36 classic albums and the people behind them. Pieced together from countless interviews with the artists themselves, producers, DJs, label men and managers, Brian Coleman's book is a thorough look at how some of the best albums in hip hop history were made. It's perfect to dip in and out of, and provides new information on records that you've heard hundreds of times, or not at all, straight from the people that made them. One for the Christmas list, and the library too.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Nope, we're not shutting up shop, k?

Time flies when you're....

* in a new job
* entertaining visitors from overseas
* busy running errands
* playing records
* errr....

But hopefully normal service will resume this weekend. Scouts honour!

Meanwhile, I'll be playing records all weekend.....yes yes. Come down to Catch on Friday where I'll be coming off the subs bench to play alongside sioux-elin at Vinyl Glamour from 9.30pm (get well soon Lazy L!)

Saturday? After a kip and some quality time spent in the kitchen, it's off to the always lovely Defectors Weld (8.30pm till 1am). It's a bit of a warm up set for Sunday - the closing party of this year's Raindance Film Festival at Sound nightclub in Leicester Square. Hanging out with the next bunch of Spielbergs , Fords, Scotts, No matter, it'll be pretty fun.

Until this weekend's proper bumper comeback post, I'll leave y'all with this clip (gold!), and this much would you pay?*

* I went the whole hog and got the discbox. And apparantly, I'm not the only one it seems.