24 June 2015

stars in the night blazing their light can't hold a candle to your razzle dazzle

There's nothing like lovingly taking photos of a cake on your camera and then sticking the camera's SD card into your pocket and then losing it somewhere in the street to hinder the blog post writing process; luckily for me should anyone find it there is only cake photos on there and nothing incriminating (all my photos of me holding up signs saying "I just robbed this bank!" while pointing to a bank are on another SD card, phew!) but it was one hell of a pain to try and take photos of the cake again when I'd since demolished so much of it directly into my mouth. I managed to take a few hasty photos of what was left of it and found a couple of grainy-like-sugar snaps on my phone, but yeah, consider yourself warned that these photos aren't my best work, and my best work is in fact dissolving in a puddle somewhere between Newtown and Wellington central.

caught by the fuzz(y photography) 

But at least the cake itself was good, and what a name: Bobby Dazzler Cake. Bobby Dazzler Cake. I found the recipe carefully written in the back of a cookbook belonging to one of my great-grandmothers (a smartly bound Aunt Daisy book with my great grandmother's name embossed in gold on the cover, fancy!) I was utterly smitten with the name before I even saw what was in the cake itself. You know when you hear a word or a phrase for the first time and then suddenly you see it everywhere? That happened to me with didymo, although it only occurred to me recently that it was probably because there were suddenly all these "watch out for didymo" campaigns everywhere and previously there hadn't been (once more for the people in the back: didymo! A satisfying word to say, even if you have to Watch Out for it.) But uh, sometimes it feels like more of a coincidence than that, in this case my excellent girlfriend and I were watching the terrible/amazing miniseries Tipping The Velvet and one character exclaimed to the other, "you're a real bobby dazzler." I was thoroughly taken with this phrase and while I initially assumed it was some secret Victorian-era glasses-waggling code, like "she's civic-minded" or "she stands up on the night train" or "she's remarkable" it turns out it simply means something along the lines of "the cat's pyjamas" which makes it no less delightful. Anyway, mere days after seeing this show, I discovered this recipe, in this book I must have read dozens upon dozens of times, and I knew it was a sign that I should bake it with immediacy. 

the bee's knees

The recipe was written in that type of handwriting that was probably considered terribly neat and full of propriety sixty years ago, and is entirely unintelligible nowadays, not to mention all in imperial measurements - a pound of this and a pound of that - and finally, as was the style of the time, it trails off mysteriously halfway through and doesn't give you any detail about how to mix it, what temperature and how long to bake it for, or indeed what sort of tin to put it in. There was so much that you just had to know back then! In the spirit of trying to just know stuff, I made some presumptions and biffed it into a ring cake tin and baked it for an hour at 180 C, or what Aunt Daisy might've cryptically referred to as "a good oven".

And it turned out splendidly! The mixture contains a resolutely old-timey mixture of prunes, grated carrot, grated apple, and sultanas, as if it's trying to be five different cakes at once, but you get a kind of moist fruitiness that's very comforting, the sort of cake you want to have with a large pot of tea while the rain dashes at the windows (a very easy scenario to come by in Wellington these days as we approach the middle of a neverending winter.) Honestly, when (when! Not if!) I make this again I'll increase the apple and carrot quantity to two, and dice the prunes a lot finer - the former sort of dissolved into the cake while the latter were all like "here I am! Prune! In your face!" I'd also use brown sugar instead of white, just to hold all that fruit together with a slightly more darker caramelliness. But honestly, this cake was wonderful, especially when I spread it with a thick cream cheese icing.

bobby dazzler cake

adapted from a handwritten recipe from my great-grandmother

250g soft butter
one and a half cups sugar
three eggs
one cup milk
one cup sultanas
one cup prunes, roughly chopped
one large carrot, grated
one large green apple, grated
three cups plain flour
one teaspoon baking soda

Set your oven to 180C/350F and generously butter and flour a ring/tube cake tin. I say generously because ring tins always make me a bit nervous, since there's so much surface area for cake to stick to. 

Beat the butter, sugar, and eggs together till soft, light and fluffy. Meanwhile, heat the milk till just below a simmer - hot and starting to wobble but not bubbling - and carefully stir it into the butter. I added a little at first, and whisked that in, then a little more and a little more and then finally tipped the lot in - this makes it easier to mix it all together. 

Stir in everything else, and spatula it into the cake tin. Bake for around an hour, or until firm and brown on top. Allow to sit for about ten minutes before running a knife carefully around the cake and its inner ring, and tipping it onto a plate. Ice with a mixture of around 250g room temperature cream cheese mixed with around half a cup of icing sugar. 

Keeping it familial, and while you're here I may as well tell you, the grey rose-patterned plate that I photographed the cake on used to belong to a family friend's great-aunt (if I remember correctly) and it was given to me as a birthday present years ago. The blue gold-edged plate belonged to my late grandmother on my dad's side. I love new things and new cookbooks but there's something quietly lovely about looking at a cookbook and seeing someone's handwriting on it, someone who only knew you when you were a baby, and thinking about them at your own age; or how a plate that would've had a thousand different cakes on it throughout the years is still getting to have cake on it; or just, I don't know, knowing that these bits and pieces aren't stuck in a cupboard somewhere but are still getting used and loved. It's nice!

oh wow also this knife belonged to the great-grandparents too now I think on it; also this photo is an instagram which is why it's all clean and bright like an eidelweiss

I daresay you could do further things to spruce this up; soak the prunes and sultanas in dark rum before you mix them in, skewer the cooked cake and pour over dark rum; order take-out and forget the cake completely and drink a lot of dark rum; add sultanas or dried apricots or dark chocolate - whatever, really. And then you can look fondly at your cake and say, a la Tipping the Velvet, "you're a real bobby dazzler". 

Almost as exciting as thinking about cake, is the fact that I wrote about important television show Pretty Little Liars for The Spinoff; I am really so proud of this piece that I wrote since this show means so much to me and it took me so long to write and research but was also so fun, not since I wrote an essay about Idina Menzel for a media studies paper in university have I had such joy approaching a deadline. So even if you're all, "this show is about teenage girls and therefore I'm quite sure without really knowing why that it is TERRIBLE and MEANINGLESS" perhaps I can change your mind or at least outrage you by comparing it to The Wire?  
title from: Old Devil Moon, a song as comfortingly old-timey yet sassy as this very cake that I'm writing about. Judy Garland could break my heart singing the happiest song and as I admire that quality greatly, that's the version I'm directing you to. 
music lately: 

Idina Menzel covering Radiohead's Creep, live in Manila. Oh wow. I haven't listened to the original of this song (it's one of those ones that you utterly thrash and then it starts to lose all meaning) and I wasn't sure how this would work but Idina is gold here, like, old-timey late early 2000s Idina all sweary and dark and twisty and her voice sounds amazing. I love her.

Laura Lee, Little Too Late. My rad pal has just released a new single, it's gorgeous and dreamy and fun and I love it and am so proud of her! It's a good time to be a Laura. 
next time: whatever it is I'm gonna take better care of my SD card, that's for sure! 

18 June 2015

i should tell you: spook the horses

Well hello there, and welcome to volume seventeen of I Should Tell You, where I ask cool musicians about food to see what they have to say, or indeed, to see if they'll even answer at all. I haven't done one of these in a damn while, but yay, it's back! 

This time around I'm talking with Callum, Zach and Donnie from Wellington band Spook The Horses, whose sound I would describe as "pleasingly grumbly" but is perhaps more helpfully to be described as the sound of "post-hardcore, atmospheric, doom". Wonderful! If you want to listen to them you could head to their bandcamp site, or you can hear their entire recent album Rainmaker on YouTube. If gruff, dark, moody music that kind of envelopes you and washes over you at the same time when you listen to it really loud tickles your fancy then your fancy will most definitely be tickled by these guys. Look out for them around Wellington as they're always doing gigs here and there, otherwise just immerse yourself in that blissful doom noise.    

Thanks Callum, Zach and Donnie! The interview begins...now. 

1. Where's somewhere you've eaten that you kinda like to brag about or drop into conversation?

Callum: I've been done the whole degustation and wine-pairing thing at Hippopotamus before which is always good for some bragging but my go-to place in Wellington is Olive. Olive up and down rules. Consistently good coffee, good brunch vibes and the most chill and peaceful outdoor courtyard ever. It's less of a name-drop and more of a love letter,

Zach: A place that Is always interesting and relaxing to eat at is Duke Carvells. Although I'm not sure if i've earned the bragging rights, as the only time I can afford to go there is when my parents are paying. I enjoy eating somewhere that makes as many of the components of the meal as possible on site. I know they do their own breads, and smoked/preserved meats and sausages. They're all delicious, and are presented in interesting ways.

Donnie: It’s not exactly something to brag about, but I’m a huge, huge fan of pho bò, which is this Vietnamese beef noodle dish, and the best pho I’ve ever had, anywhere, is in this little unassuming fish and chip shop on Bond Street here called the Fisherman’s Plate. It’s one of those places that has burgers, chips, spring rolls all up next to the Vietnamese cuisine, so you’d never guess, but it has some of the best Vietnamese food in the whole city.

2. What do you fix for yourself, or where do you go to eat, when it's just you on your own?

Callum: Nachos! Alex and I used to live together and made developed the Spook the Horses classic, Nachos de los Muertos, which is probably terrible Spanish and probably also very culturally insensitive (Sorry.) It's a chili delivery mechanism above all else. We all love spicy food so the more different kinds of chili the better. Chipotles and green jalapenos are mandatory. Black beans are mandatory. Watties beans are strictly forbidden. What's not to love about a cauldron of vicious as hell chili?

Zach: My go to solo home cooked meal is probably Putanesca, a pasta dish with a salty and warming tomato sauce. I usually make it because its really quick, and all of the ingredients last for ages - so I always have them lying around. Olives, capers, anchovies, canned tomatoes, etc. Also a lot of people get weirded out about anchovies, so my leftovers never get stolen!

Donnie: I will never, ever pass up the opportunity to make some dope as fuck grilled cheese sandwiches. Love those things. You can chuck anything in them, too. Olives, artichokes, tomatoes, ham, pineapple, corn, mushrooms etc. Two pieces of thick grain bread chucked in a frying pan, buttered sides out, with a ton of cheese in them, and whatever else you’ve got lying around. I think I have to go make one right now.

3. What's one of your favourite food-related memories from your childhood?"

Callum: My dad is an excellent cook and a total outdoorsman, so he grows as many of his own veges and herbs as he can. My fondest memories are of how proud he would be to serve something he grew himself, or seeing him duck out of the kitchen to the herb garden to season a dish on the fly. I have some weird memories too, like my mum telling me the chicken I was eating was actually "chicken flavoured dough" to silence my objections about eating animals. Maybe my occasional flirtations with vegetarianism would have stuck if not for that bizarre lie.

Zach: The most vivid memories of food from my childhood would have to be of Christmas and new year’s time with my family. There were a lot of dishes that were traditional to have for our family, but my favourite one is probably the trifle my parents made. I'm not talking supermarket sponge cake and Watties canned peaches. It was all beautifully homemade sponge, custard, syllabub and fresh berries. Also lots and lots of booze. It's one of those rare times you can get drunk off eating solid food. The other memories that stuck would just be learning about having a healthy diet from my mother. She taught me that you can cook healthily and still have awesome tasting food.

Donnie: My mum is a fucking INCREDIBLE cook. Like, she can walk into any kitchen and just work with what’s there and make a delicious feast for eight people. One dish I was always fiending for was her kedgeree, which is a kind of curried rice dish made with smoked fish. This time when we were camping with a bunch of family friends, she made so much of the stuff for everyone that it filled one of those enormous 50 litre washing tubs. I had like six bowls and still wanted more. I’m pretty sure they had to keep me away by swatting at me with a spatula.

Read previous i should tell you interviews here.

9 June 2015

and ice cream castles in the air and feather canyons everywhere

rum'n'raisin your hands in the the air like you just don't care

I've been really sick this whole past week, and every time I even tried to blog it was like, what if I just lie here and groan throatily instead? Yes, that's a better use of my time. I'm still a little tickly of the throat and having to blow my nose a ton, but things are definitely improved. I pushed myself a couple of times last week - to go to work (alas, no sexy 2005 Lindsay Lohan voice for me but more of an enthusiastic honking goose noise every time I opened my mouth) and to go to the launch party of the Visa Wellington on a Plate festival. I really could've stayed in bed that night of course, but the promise of free wine is a rousing one and reading the new event programme is always exciting and damned if I'm going to let feeling like death stop me from doing some hard mingling and trying to feel like I'm vaguely relevant in the food-related scene, whatever that even is. Upon arriving at the launch my sheer black fringed robe immediately got tangled in a low-hanging plant in the foyer, causing an old man to say in a concerned voice, "This is the Wellington on a Plate launch", as though I'd wandered here by mistake while looking for like, The Quarterly Symposium of Sewer Dwellers, but fortunately my name was in fact on the door and I managed to extricate myself and have a wonderful time. Love a good launch party! And now I have till August to meander through the programme and hedge my bets as to which set menu in which fancy restaurant looks the funnest. 

What with my throat feeling like an actual garbage can and all, I thought the ice cream I made a while ago would be a soothing thing to eat, but unfortunately my stupid nose, with all the functionality of a flickering lightbulb, meant that I couldn't really taste anything. This was distressing. Since this ice cream is honestly the most delicious thing ever. Luckily, I made some well before I got sick, ate the lot in one sitting, then made some more and ate half of that before I got sick, so I have a good frame of reference from which to describe it to you. And I will describe it to you like this: omg it's amazing. 

I don't even like raisins at all, those gritty little scrunched up no-fun ex-grapes, but my swell girlfriend was saying how she loved rum'n'raisin ice cream when she lived in England and never saw it anywhere here in New Zealand. I like a challenge, even if I don't like a raisin, and I adore making ice cream, and actually had never even tried this particular flavour before, so how was I to know if the look on my face I made when I thought about it even matched how it tastes in real life?

I cheated massively and substituted the more tolerable sultanas while audaciously keeping the name, but if you're not averse to the real alliterative thing then by all means substitute raisins for my substituted sultanas. Really though, it's the rum and the coconut sugar which make this recipe particularly magical - I used Cruzan Blackstrap rum which is full of dark, sticky caramel flavour, and anything along those lines would be perfect. I feel like I've gone on heaps about coconut sugar lately, but it's so fudgily butterscotchily good and really gives the custard an intensely, gorgeously mellow flavour (yes, both intense and mellow). Making the custard is a pain - so much transferring between bowls and pans and so much stirring! - but it's forever since I've done this proper method of making ice cream and the soft, dissolvingly creamy texture you get once it's frozen is worth the effort, I think.

And yes, the sultanas themselves are wonderful - all swollen from the rum, and strangely chewy and confection-like once frozen, little bursts of alcoholic warmth amongst all the caramel iciness. 

look at this good ice cream I made

rum'n'raisin ice cream 

makes around a litre/1200ml, depending on how much custard and mixture you eat. 
a recipe by myself. I didn't consult any other recipes so this is literally ice cream that has rum and also raisins in it (I mean, sultanas, but same diff) and I have no idea how similar it is to the established flavour itself, but since I never see it around and have never tried anything but mine I can only conclude that my version is totally superior to everything. 

3 large egg yolks
half a cup coconut sugar, or brown sugar
one cup full cream milk
500 - 600ml cream (sometimes it's only sold in 600ml bottles and if that's all you can find all that happens is you'll get a bit more ice cream, wheeeee) 
half a cup of sultanas, golden if you can find them
dark rum, I used Cruzan Blackstrap

Firstly, place the sultanas in a small bowl and pour in just enough rum to pretty much submerge them. Leave them overnight ideally to absorb as much alcohol as possible, but if you've only got an hour then I'm sure it'll still be okay. 

Slowly heat the milk in a saucepan, till it's almost, almost, at a simmer - you want it to be hot but barely starting to wobble and move around with the heat, if that makes sense? While it's heating up, mix the egg yolks together with the sugar - it might turn into quite a thick paste, don't worry - and then once the milk is hot, remove it from the heat and briskly whisk a few spoonfuls of it into the egg yolks, slowly adding the rest of the hot milk while continuing to whisk. Now spatula all that back into the saucepan and stir this mixture over a low heat - either using a whisk or a spatula - until it thickens up a little, like the texture of a good milkshake. This will take a few minutes of stirring but keeping the heat low prevents the egg yolks from cooking instantly. Once you feel like it's sufficiently thick - less a milky texture and more a creamy, saucy texture - remove from the heat immediately. 

Now all the hard stuff is done, and to turn this into ice cream, all you have to do is: stir the sultanas and remaining rum into the cooled custard, whip the cream until it's thick and aerated but not fluffy and stiff, fold everything together, spatula into a freezer-safe container and freeze, without stirring, until it's solid. That's it.  

 that's it

Also, the person who suggested that I try making this in the first place really loved it, which is excellent. There are so many things I'm not good at, but it's nice to remind myself how amazingly great I am at making ice cream. I mean, I really did eat the entire first batch in one sitting, as if in some kind of delicious fugue state. And so I conclude that raisins are in fact pretty okay, but only if they're actually sultanas. And filled with rum.

Also: ya girl has blue hair now! Although as I type I've randomly smudged some purple and pink into it to see what happens. What will probably happen is I'll forget I've done this and take a nap after I've finished writing this and I'll end up dying my face and pillow but somehow not my hair. But I want to nap so hard right now I'm not sure I even care? Either way, fun times should ensue.

Some other exciting things I've done lately include, appearing on Radio New Zealand to talk about preserved lemons with Jesse Mulligan - I love being on Radio NZ, they are good people - and also I wrote about a local coffee shop for US site Sprudge. Ya girl is doing stuff! Also ya girl is so ready to be completely unsick again. There's only so many times that I can Leslie Knope myself into action, being all "okay I can't actually stand upright okay time to go interact with the public and do the responsibilities" (by "only so many times" I mean "I will do this endlessly and as many times as I have to", but yeah.) On the upside, being sick and having my tastebuds wavering in and out of service means I still have quite a lot of untouched rum'n'raisin ice cream left in the freezer...
title from: Carly Rae Jepsen, Both Sides Now. The more I see "sacrilege! gasp!" comments about her cover of the Joni Mitchell song on youtube the more amazing and legit it sounds, tbh.
music lately:

She Cries Your Name, Beth Orton. The opening strings on this are so dreamy and haunting! And then it stays that way! 

Shakey Dog, Ghostface Killah. Speaking of dreamy and haunting, I just looove the sample that serves in place of a chorus here, every time it changes up a chord into that "uhhhhhhh" bit (I'm so great at describing music lol) it's so amazing. Also Ghostface Killah is massively engaging and I love how he always sounds a bit stressed.
next time: even if I have this cold forever and ever I'm gonna make myself blog sooner, okay? Being asleep all day is no excuse for not writing! 

28 May 2015

i'd have the cheek to say they're equally as bleak

slow cooked beef cheeks with cinnamon and kumara

I have achieved a lot this week, which I'm very proud of, because - as I'll tell you soon as see you - I'm really only awake and functioning for around 90 minutes a day when I'm not at work. None of this changes the fact though, that I'm honestly a bit sad about one thing that I can't achieve my way out of, whether or not I'm awake or asleep or thriving or unthriving: Wednesday the cat has gone. Gone to live at the Cat's Protection League, so she will be a league-protected cat, but it's so sad to not have her stupid wee half-moustached face and crooked broken little tail around. What happened was, the flatmate who was catsitting her had to move out to be nearer to her job (which is also a major bummer since she's lovely) and couldn't keep her, and the rest of us remaining were unable to keep Wednesday so the only real solution was to send her off. If I was around more or was not the sole person responsible I'd adopt ten million cats but I'm just not at home enough to give a cat the attention it needs (and then entirely ignores) so...that's that. 

However, having Wednesday around for just one happy month was wonderful, so let's cue a montage: 

holding paws



my favourite look: business cat

Better to have loved and lost than never to have had a cat at all, right? Again, I know this might sound all overwrought (and if there is a thing to be wrought, I'm first in line to do it overly) but Wednesday appeared just when I was reaching the zenith of my climb up Cat-Longing Mountain and the utter blanketing joy of suddenly having a soft little animal around was just just just so lovely.   

Anyway! Life goes on and luckily there will be other cats out there for me and also I have dear friends close by who own animals of varying degrees of willingness to be snuggled, so yeah. This may sound all very stupid and self-indulgently whiny but do you even know how I feel about cats? I FEEL.

*Goodbye To You by Michelle Branch playing on a constant loop* 

Speaking of things that are good to have in bed in the middle of this snappishly cold weather; I recently made my first proper slow-cooked casserole thing of the Winter (it's not even technically Winter yet but Wellington cares not for your seasonal timelines.) Whilst sleepily wandering around Moore Wilson one morning I saw that beef cheeks were incredibly well priced - like, $5! - and I grabbed some, surmising that the time had come for me to get back into cooking such things. I'd never cooked using beef cheeks before but figured there couldn't be much to it, and about this I was highly correct.  

Seriously, the only stressful thing about cooking this is that you need a lot of time. But during that time the house smells so completely incredible, that you can zone out and come to and feel like you've wandered into some enchantingly bucolic French bistro when in fact you're just sitting in your Newtown kitchen playing idly on your phone while wearing tights that have holes in places that are, shall we say, not amenable to being public-facing, and a stained hoodie that you slept in and haven't changed out of yet. So yeah, it takes time, but look at it this way, this is a recipe that you can achieve things to: put it in the oven and then get on your laptop and write, or tidy your room, or do whatever it is that you ought to be doing, and then you are rewarded with a mouth-quiveringly good feed.

I based this recipe on a few things that I found online, purposefully going with a recipe that doesn't use any alcohol, despite how enticing the thought of braising this meat in Pedro Ximenez or a bottle of red wine was. On my current budget I just can't bring myself to the point of tipping a whole ton of wine into a pan, when I could be drinking it. It makes me feel all flinch-y. This recipe simply uses cinnamon - one of my very favourite scents and flavours - and stock, and lets the beef itself do the rest. Leaving any wine you might have to be poured straight into your mouth (or like, use a wine glass, you adorable heathen.)

slow-cooked beef cheeks with cinnamon 

serves two to four people, depending on appetite and what is served with. 

around 300g beef cheeks (or more, whatever) 
one onion
one good size orange kumara, or half a butternut squash
250ml beef stock (ideally from a carton, but use a cube if it's all you've got for sure)
two cinnamon sticks

Set your oven to 150 C/300F. Slice the onion into thin half-moons and dice the kumara roughly. 

Heat an indescriminate amount of butter in a small frying pan (around a tablespoon is fine if you need someone to make this decision for you) and sear the beef cheeks on both sides, for around a minute each side, just to brown them. Once brown on both sides, remove from the pan and sit them in a medium-sized casserole or baking dish. Then, add a little more butter to the pan and gently fry the onion and kumara (you may need to do this in batches) until the onion is softened and the kumara is a little browned and crisped in places. Tip all this into the casserole dish on top of the beef. Finally, pour the beef stock into that same pan and allow it to come to the boil. Carefully pour this over the beef, onion and kumara, nestle the cinnamon sticks in amongst all that, cover with either a lid or tinfoil, and then place it in the oven. Leave for around three hours, and then serve, over rice or some kind of potato situation or simply with plenty of bread and butter. 

It seems almost impossible that a method so simple that you're barely touching the food as you cook it, could taste so deeply delicious, but such is the joy of slow cooking. The meat was so tender I could literally slice into it with the edge of a spoon, and half-heartedly at that. There is a wonderful stickiness to this, from the gelatinously rich meat to the warmth of the cinnamon and the sweet, slightly scorched kumara. Actually I should mention now that beef cheeks have long been a very unfashionable cut of meat and are only really now coming into prominence - in the same way that lamb shanks did a few years back - but honestly they're so, so good and fulsomely rich in flavour that they practically deserve to become overpriced restaurant food. Also, it's all so arbitrary, right? I mean, rump steak is a fancy cut of beef but I mean, it's the rump. You're literally eating a cow's butt?

On that note, I had it pointed out to me by some rakish wag (my dazzling girlfriend in fact) that if you say "beef cheeks" out loud it's weirdly hilarious and uh, yeah, I agree. Beef cheeks! I don't know, but giggles ensue! Immature of me, yes, but in my defence, I am very immature.

More sensibly, you should know that the leftovers of this are quite incredible heated up and stirred through hot pasta - ideally pappardelle for that hearty ragu vibe, but all I had was linguine and the meat, shredded roughly, with the pasta absorbing the gelatinous stock and some extra butter that I threw in because I'm incapable of doing anything else, was sublime. 

Despite living the catless life currently there is still SO much to look forward to: Pretty Little Liars, aka one of the most important TV shows in the Western canon; returns next week and so does the webseries of my heart, Carmilla. Also, next Monday morning (around 9.45am I believe?) I'll be on Radio New Zealand talking to Jesse Mulligan about food, which should be rad as. I love being on the radio! And wherever Wednesday is, I love her too and am glad I got to meet her at all. 

*Don't You Forget About Me by Simple Minds plays on loop* (ps oh man thanks for bearing with me, ya girl is maudlin)
title from: Arctic Monkey's moody Do Me A Favour. Those guys!
music lately: 

Walk Through The Fire, from the musical episode Once More With Feeling from Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Yes. I am at the stage with my Buffy-watching where I got up to the musical episode. Verdict: oh I don't know, I think I want to/have to watch it like seventeen more times before I can properly calibrate my feelings on it (what I'm saying is I love it)

VCR, The XX - their music just makes me feel all warm and safe, it's so dreamy and low-key. This is one of my very, very favourites of theirs. 
next time: I know it's freezing but I made some rum'n'raisin ice cream the other day and it was honestly the nicest thing I've tasted in forever. So I ate it all. In one go. But I'm going to make it again and let it hang around long enough to take photos of this time! 

22 May 2015

it's a little secret, just the robinson's affair

got a secret, can you keep it, swear this one you'll save

In a completely unsurprising turn of events, I fell asleep while writing this blog post and now have a very small window of opportunity - more like a mouse-hole of opportunity, or perhaps a fissure of opportunity - to get it done before I have to take off for work. In fact I have no real proof that I'm not still asleep right now, so please keep this in mind as you read on. What I'm saying is, I coolly absolve myself of any need to make any sense as I try to finish this thing without falling asleep again.

Speaking of cool absolution, I am so chill with being inspired by my own self, which is honestly kind of practical - I mean, I should theoretically like and use the recipes I've created. Last Sunday I was invited to my girlfriend's flatmate's fundraiser potluck for local charity Kaibosh, and with cheerful self-absorption I turned to my own cookbook to browse it for suitable recipes. The recipe for Secret Centre Mini Pavlovas caught my (probably half-asleep) eye, as it is both elegant and awesome yet easy and inexpensive to make.

gonna lock it in your pocket (I'm quoting the Pretty Little Liars theme song here btw)

I was absolutely correct about these chocolate stuffed meringues being easy to make, and for the filling I used Whittaker's caramel chocolate, partly to be obnoxiously excessive and partly because I thought it would taste wonderful. 

However! Diligently I walked from my house to the potluck venue at In Good Company, and about halfway through the journey I came to a long set of concrete stairs. A set of concrete stairs that I once fell down. Aha, I thought, my old foe, we meet again. Luckily I'm going up, not down this time, hey? HEY? And then I fell up the stairs. 

While I was totally fine, with little more than a delicately bruised knee on top of doubtless another bruise that had only just barely healed - the container of meringues that I was carrying dropped and they got all banged up inside. They were still edible but the edges were all ragged and shattery and some of the tops were a bit crushed and essentially they weren't particularly photogenic. So, I decided to forgo my own photos altogether and just use the ones that go with this recipe in my cookbook. I can't remember whether it was Kim or Jason who took these, so a huge thank you to them both just to be safe. 

secret centre mini-pavlovas

a recipe by myself from my cookbook HungryandFrozen: The Cookbook. I just wrote out the instructions from memory rather than copy-pasting what was in the book, even though it's all my own words (I don't know why I did this) but either way the recipe is a lot simpler than the length of this recipe would make it seem - I just kind of overexplain stuff a bit. 

two egg whites
a pinch of salt
100g sugar
filling of your choice - in this case I used caramel-filled chocolate but dark chocolate is a good starting point

Set your oven to 150 C and line a baking tray with baking paper. 

Whisk the egg whites (or use an electric beater if you're more sensible than me) with the pinch of salt till they're white and a little fluffy and when you raise the whisk the fluffy egg white raises up with it and falls down slowly (this is known as "soft peak stage" but in case you needed an expanded explanation, there it is.) At this point slowly whisk in the sugar, initially about a teaspoon at a time, until the mixture becomes thicker and shiny and gorgeous. It should get to the point where it's really very stiff, and if you raise the whisk up out of the bowl the mixture will be thick and dollopy instead of falling in ribbons off the whisk. God I hope these descriptions make sense! 

Place heaped spoonfuls of the thick, gleaming meringue onto the baking tray, leaving a little space in between to allow for expanding. Top each spoonful with a piece of chocolate, and then spoon over a little more meringue mixture, so that the chocolate is entirely encased in white. 

Bake for thirty minutes, although check them at around 20 - 25 minutes in, just in case your oven is more grunty than mine. They should be a delicate pale brown colour on top and appear firm. Allow them to cool in the oven with the door slightly ajar, and then carefully remove them from the paper, peeling it away from their fragile bases, and then all you have to worry about is eating them.

never not dazzled by fairy lights

While my falling asleep constantly or falling up stairs or generally being involved in some kind of falling is barely news, these secret centre mini pavlovas are, at least, notably spectacular. Crisp, dissolving meringue gives way to a burst of chocolate that you wouldn't otherwise know what there unless someone forewarned you. While it's sweetness upon sweetness, something in the mix of textures keeps it fresh - whether the chocolate is still warm and gushes into your mouth or cooled and firmed and crunchy under the brittle meringue. The potluck dinner was so fun and fortunately no-one minded the mini-pavlovas being a little smashed up, and there was a ton of delicious food and lovely people and a very decent amount of money was raised for Kaibosh, an outcome sweeter than a meringue secretly stuffed with chocolate.

Am about to fall asleep again but before I spatula my tired self out of bed to get ready to go, I wish to impart two more pieces of crucial information to you:

Kate and Jason (the stylist and aforementioned co-photographer for my cookbook, but also like, wonderful people in their own right aside from their relation to my cookbook) GOT A BEAUTIFUL DOG and I got to hang out with him today. He's blindingly white and fluffy like a freshly laundered towel and so friendly and silly and I'm quite in love.

 this is Ghost, also a good name for me because I am dead after looking at his face

Secondly, I had another Crush Cake story published in The Toast! The Toast is probably the very best website on the internet, if I was pushed to choose one, and little makes me prouder than being able to contribute to their spectacularly high quality accumulation of writing.

This is a crush cake dedicated to Drake. If you're not intrigued and inspired to immediately find out exactly what this is all about, then...I mean I can't blame you, but that's kind of a bummer. 

bonus! dog! so! blessed!
title from: Mrs Robinson, that cheerfully weird song by Simon and Garfunkel. I love the punchy yet thoughtful guitar chords. And also the lyrics which sound like they were written by a committee passing notes to each other. 
music lately:

Ummm so the video for Beyonce and Nicki Minaj's song Feeling Myself is still only available via subscription to Tidal but this 30 second teaser alone is giving me more life than literally anything else right now. Watch it and feel yourself become a better human. 

King Kunta, Kendrick Lamar. Yeah, still can't stop listening to this on repeat eh.  
next time: I made ice cream so amazingly nice that I literally ate nearly a litre of it in one sitting. Maybe you'll be able to make it soon too. 

14 May 2015

you know that i'd do anything for you, we should have each other to dinner

miso marinated salmon and pea puree

Let me tell you right now, the photos I took for this week's blog post are objectively horrendous! It looks like something out of a microwave gourmet book from 1982! But like, you could go literally anywhere on the internet and find beautiful food photography, where else are you going to get the innovation of fizzingly good writing paired with completely disgusting photos that do a total disservice to both the quality of the writing and that about which I write? Honestly I nearly considered not posting about this recipe but if I learned anything from doing ballet since the age of three it's that the show must go on. There's only one word for my actions here, and that is: so brave. 

proof that I at least tried to take these photos and didn't just cut them out of a 70s cookbook that had been not particularly recently dropped in a puddle (also: the perils of me cooking for you - having to wait for me to photograph everything.)

So, because of the hours I keep at my recently-acquired job, I never ever get to cook dinner anymore. I love my job! But also I love cooking dinner. So much. When I first started flatting nine years ago I used to kick up such a fuss if I missed out on one night of cooking dinner, because apparently I was an enormous brat, but at least in a way that reaped useful dividends. Now I'm lucky if I get to cook dinner once a fortnight. I know it's more or less a chore and as such a weird thing to complain about, but as Selena Gomez said, the heart wants what it wants. On Sunday night I was able to combine my love of cooking dinner with another favourite activity, cooking dinner for other people: in this case, my excellent and marvelous girlfriend. Since I was spiralling this disproportionately into such a high-stakes occasion, I turned to my desert-island book, the seminal text How To Eat by Nigella Lawson. 

I latched onto a recipe for homemade beef carpaccio but when I went to buy the required piece of tail-end beef the price made me scream repeatedly, so I went with a second option, which was an entirely more affordable miso marinated salmon with pea puree (combining bits of two separate recipes from different chapters of How To Eat, based upon what I had already in the fridge.) 

the alpha and the omega-3  

I love salmon fillets, all tender and pinky-coral and oily, but the oiliness can be disconcertingly, lung-cloggingly present. Fortunately this marinade not only cuts through that, but it also adds layers upon layers of vehemently meaty yet subtly sweet flavour, in the form of miso paste, that magical and mysterious stuff, and coconut sugar, which has its own elusive, deep-toned caramel vibe. Lemon juice and vinegar lighten it up and briskly stop it from being altogether too much of an intense onslaught, and all you have to do is flash it under a hot grill for the skin to turn crisp and chewy - like pork crackling but thin and delicate as rice paper - and the flesh below to become utterly tender.

seriously this lighting is so bad, I need to remember how to take photos under regular lightbulbs again since it's dark 90% of the time these days, thank you for continuing to read this far

I have a tendency when I get the opportunity to cook for people I hold dear to be all pending-apocalypse about it, like, let's eat a vat of pasta big enough for a moose to comfortably nestle in and then we'll have seven different puddings and also here are several side dishes all involving fried potatoes and toasted nuts. This time around I wanted something that wouldn't bring on that frantic feeling of having consumed twelve kilos of food, so went for a weightless pea puree alongside, made luscious with butter and mascarpone. It's billowingly soft and creamy and works quite perfectly with the salmon, honestly I could eat a whole bowlful of it on its own (and in fact I did the next day with the leftovers.) 

when even instagram can barely embiggen your lighting situation you know you're in trouble

miso-marinated salmon with pea puree

adapted from a couple of recipes from Nigella Lawson's important book How To Eat

two salmon fillets, around 150g each
one heaped tablespoon white miso paste
one heaped tablespoon coconut sugar (if you can't find it, use brown sugar or better yet, palm sugar)
one tablespoon apple cider vinegar
the juice of a lemon

two cups frozen peas
150g mascarpone (or use creme fraiche or even sour cream or a little actual cream)
50g butter
salt and pepper to taste

Mix the miso paste, sugar, vinegar and lemon juice together and smear across both sides of the salmon. What I did was roughly mix the stuff together in the dish I was planning to marinate the salmon in and then kind of schmeered it on the salmon from there before just leaving it in said dish to sit and absorb the flavour, this saves on dishes but is admittedly kind of hard to explain. Leave this to sit for at least half an hour.

Set your oven to grill (broil, I do believe it's called in America?) and turn the heat up high. Meanwhile, bring the peas to the boil in a pan of water, and cook until they're very, very tender. Remove the salmon from the marinate and wipe gently with a paper towel. Place the salmon onto a baking paper lined oven tray, skin side up. Drizzle over a little oil (I used olive) and put them in the oven, grilling them for around 5 to 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, drain the peas and blitz them in a food processor with the butter (the heat should melt the butter sufficiently) before adding the mascarpone and blending again till it's a smooth green puree. 

Serve the salmon alongside the puree with whatever salad leaves you fancy. Serves two.  

if I wasn't supposed to make this obnoxious caption then why does pea puree rhyme with bae?  

It was so, so delicious. And incredibly simple. A combination I appreciate. And now that I've overanalysed it a few times, these photos aren't thaaaat bad. They are in fact, unequivocally hideous. Location-based discomfort aside, I feel like maybe I should take all food photos in the bathroom from now on, since the light in there is so good for selfies.

I mean really.

guess which one of us is genteel and which one of us is a plate-licking heathen (for the sake of not slandering anyone I'm the heathen, it's me, but in my defence spatulas are not considered to be cutlery so what's a gal to do?)

Cheers for bearing with me during this difficult time, people, clearly I need to cook dinner more often so I can remember how actually to take photos of dinner. But I got to cook dinner at all and it was ridiculously delicious and made for a dreamy evening, and despite everything, that is actually what counts. 

Yesterday on another rare night off I went to my friend Pinky Fang's first solo art gallery opening with said excellent gf, and met lots of other swell friends there and ate the most amazing candy and drank wine from plastic cups and it was all very very fun. But more important than wine and candy (it's true) is that Pinky's artwork collection is incredible! I'm so proud of her! If you're in Wellington you should absolutely definitely go to Thistle Hall this week while her show is running and if you're not in Wellington you can at least access some of her massively rad works from her online shop (I have the "shut up" cat print on my wall and can highly recommend having its presence in your life.) Yay art and friends and good times! 
title from: Lovecats by The Cute. Uh, I mean The Cure. But if you're gonna write a song this wilfully adorable you're gonna have me to deal with. 
 music lately:

Zendaya, Replay. This song is so great with such a head-swingingly big chorus and I love a dance-in-front-of-the-mirror music video to be quite frank. 

Scritti Politti, The Sweetest Girl. This 1981 song is unsettling but sweet, dreamy but sinister, I adore it. 
next time: I mean I very rarely cook dinner these days so the chances of me having to deal with unruly nighttime light anytime soon are slim but I'll work on it either way, promise. 

8 May 2015

let's just make this part go faster

mugging for the camera

Comfort food can take many forms. For me it's usually something that gives you the masticatory impression of gently sliding into a warm bath, like a slowly-stirred risotto or a bowl of soft, butter-saturated polenta or an enormous pile of mashed potato, but sometimes comfort food is more about the act itself than whatever form the food ends up taking. Sometimes it can simply be like, it's 2am and I just finished work and it's too windy to stand up straight and you're sad and I'm sad and I bought you this bag of crisps from a 24/7 dairy because the line at BK was too long and also I didn't know what else to do but this $3 gesture represents a lot more than merely just crunchy sodium goods...y'know? 

But sometimes comfort food is very obvious and straightforward, in this case: a chocolate peanut butter cake that you make in a mug (the most comforting vessel!) microwaved briefly so that quite instantly you can reward yourself for existing with a piping hot, warm, rich cake. Just for you. I'd never made a mug cake before but I'd sure heard of them: in my completely unresearched experience mug cakes started off as the sort of thing that an enthusiastic relative would email you accompanied by sparkly gifs of puppies and a phrase along the lines of "This is the most dangerous cake in the world.....Because now chocolate cake IS OnLy five minutes away!" A few rotations of the earth and the very simple recipe is now a staple of pinterest and has morphed into such things as "choc chip cookie in a mug" (why would a cookie be in a mug though) and "red velvet layer cake in a mug" (this does not sound comforting or fast tbh.) However you come to it, and whatever your opinion on microwaves, there's something thoroughly charming about going from point A - you standing there with no cake - to point B - you eating a small cake from a mug - within about five minutes. And so, in the mood for sugar and immediacy, I recently made my first mug cake. 

 stay inside, drink more coffee, make cake really suddenly

I made this recipe up based on ingredients I already had in my possession, basically just whatever dusts and pastes I could find that might together form a half-decent cake. A little cocoa, a little coconut sugar (included for its extraordinarily deep caramel flavour, but just use brown sugar or plain sugar if you like) a little peanut butter for those this-is-a-fun-cake vibes...and after a long 90 seconds it transformed into a soft, meltingly chocolately, utterly delicious brownie-type thing, which I poured cream all over and ate in a chocolate-scented haze of beatific calm. All of which could be yours really, really quickly if you make yourself this.

chocolate peanut butter mug cake

a recipe by myself

two tablespoons butter (around thirty grams)
one tablespoon coconut sugar or brown sugar
two tablespoons cocoa powder
two tablespoons peanut butter
quarter of a cup milk
a pinch of baking powder
a couple of squares of chocolate, roughly chopped

Place the butter in the mug that you're using and soften it in the microwave. Stir in all the ingredients - a teaspoon with a long handle or a narrow whisk is good for this - and add a little extra milk if it seems toooo stiff. It should come to about halfway up the mug. I microwaved it for a minute on high, then another thirty seconds, by which stage it was firm enough on the surface for me to decide it was ready to eat. 

Plunge a spoon into the cake, pour cream or milk into it, and eat all by yourself. 

It doesn't rise very much, mind you, but I was astounded at how filling it was, so what it lacks in height it makes up for in cellular density I guess? Also for the work of minutes that you can count on one hand it's a pretty tidy result. In fact pretty tidy is underselling it: it's really, completely, wonderfully delicious.

This blog post is also going to be fast and mug-sized, but to distract you (and indeed, myself) from this I will leave you with Wednesday the silly beautiful tiny dingus of a cat being a literal loaf.

loaf cat (the demonic glow is coming from my heater/the camera on my phone not being able to deal with said glow)

Wait, one more thing! If anyone out there could please recommend a rad web designer that would be excellent. I'm thinking about refreshing this old blog here since it currently looks thoroughly ancient and un-cute. I don't know anything about anything so am hoping to go by personal recommendations for people who do good work like this, and am also hoping that my blog can undergo some kind of movie makeover transformation to the effect of a stunning brunette removing her glasses and undoing her ponytail and suddenly everyone gasps and notices how bodacious she is. 
title from: mate, it has been a while since I've quoted RENT on here. This song that I quote today, I Should Tell You, is so fragmented and tentative and nervous and beautiful. Jonathan Larson could really, really write. 
 music lately:

I don't know why Anna Kendrick's voice in the Don't You Forget About Me bit of the final number in Pitch Perfect makes me feel emotional, but there you have it. (I saw Pitch Perfect 2 last night, there is wonderful singing and Anna Kendrick is great and it's so weirdly racist and many other bad things! That's my review.) 

Shazam, by Spiderbait, from one of my favourite music genres, "bratty".

Lorde, Royals. I hadn't listened to this song in forever and ever and wow it is still such a tune.  
 next time: roast chicken in a mug! I'm kidding.  

29 April 2015

if green pears you like, if old chairs you like, if back stairs you like, if love affairs you like

Poire Belle Helene - pretty Helen pear - man, everything sounds so much better in French, but then do the French sit around being like man everything sounds so romantic in English? I, uh, I doubt it. 

Because I am heedlessly whimsical and waggishly adorable, when the notion strikes me to make a classic French dessert for my lunch in its entirety, I indulge that whim. Hard. Some might describe that as not providing one's body with enough necessary nutrients or a lot of work for a small result or even simply annoying, but I've said the magic word - whimsical - and as such am exonerated from all such opinions. For what it's worth though, later that day I was later horribly ill and had to go home from work but I refuse to blame this poached pear in chocolate sauce. I don't actually know what I'm blaming - it was all very mysterious and came out of nowhere, but I've eaten both pears and chocolate since and been utterly fine, so who knows. I hate going home sick from work - firstly when you're a bartender you have to try and find someone to cover you at the last minute, secondly you miss out on hours, thirdly there's this sense I have with hospo instilled from my ballet days where like, you can be coughing up blood and yet the show must go on - but maaaaan I was sick. Fortunately I have a marvelous girlfriend who was able to immediately administer panadol and cold flannels and such, but wow it was horrible. Um, anyway, this recipe is really delicious and you should definitely make it without fear of incapacitation. Definitely.

There's this scene in the musical Company where the lead character, Robert, is recounting a story to a woman that he's trying to sleep with, about another woman whom he tried to sleep with - in this story they had just met and were thoroughly into each other and rented a motel for the night, she then suggested that he go buy champagne, he drove to the nearest shop and bought all the champagne he could carry, sped back to the motel and - he says devastatingly - I could not find it. He then drove around for three hours looking for the motel before leaving. This was me, but with a block of Lindt dark chocolate that my mum had sent me. I was like, this would be perfect for the Poire Belle Helene whim that I've been taken with, and then I could not find it. I then ransacked my bedroom for twenty minutes. I don't know how a person loses a block of chocolate in their room but I'm sure I'll find it somewhere ridiculous when I least expect it, like in my sock drawer or on my head or melted and dripping down the mirror. I wanted some damn Poire Belle Helene though, so scooted to the corner dairy and bought some milk chocolate to use instead. A fascinating story, I know!

Honestly poached pears have never appealed to me that much as a dessert - if I wanted a damp fruit I could just open a can of them, thank you, don't insult me with this pretense of a pudding - but cover them in chocolate sauce and suddenly I get it. Poire Belle Helene was a dessert invented by that clever man Escoffier in the late 1800s in honour of an opera (that was what people did for fun back then, I guess, and I'm all for it) and it's a fetching combination - fragrant, sweet pear with creamy, rich chocolate sauce, the gritty yet yielding fruit against the silky, warm chocolate. It's blatantly a good idea for lunch. My recipe here is for one person (hence the flighty name) but the quantities are easy enough to increase.

poire belle helene seulement pour vous  (poire belle helene for you only) 

a recipe by myself. Serves one.

one firm pear
four tablespoons sugar
two cups of water
a tablespoon or so of riesling or sweet white wine, if you have it
one teaspoon vanilla extract 

75g milk chocolate
half a cup of cream
a tablespoon of butter
a pinch of salt

Peel the pear, leaving the stalk intact. If it's a bit wobbly and won't sit upright, cut a small slice out of the base so it's steady, otherwise leave as is. Put the sugar, water, riesling and vanilla in a small pot and lower the pear into it - it probably won't be submerged but this is okay. Bring the pan to the boil and then lower to a simmer, turning the pear over occasionally so that all sides spend time submerged by the hot syrup. Stick a skewer into the pear after about ten minutes, and if it's soft and yielding then you're good to go. Remove it from the syrup and place in the bowl that you're going to serve it in.

In a small pan, heat the cream till the surface is wobbly and it seems like it's just about to bubble. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate, and allow it to sit for a minute - the heat of the cream will melt the chocolate instantly. Stir briskly till all the chocolate is melted and you have a smooth, shiny sauce. Stir in the butter and the salt and then pour lavishly over the pear. Drink the rest of the sauce or save it for something else, up to you. 

aggressively autumnal

Obviously this makes a fairly gorgeous pudding to be had at the usual time of after dinner, but honestly, in the middle of the day, eaten contemplatively and reverently at the kitchen table while wearing stretchy pants and a large, soft hoodie and wooly socks...it was sublime. Milk chocolate brings a different vibe than 80% cocoa dark chocolate but I'm such a fan of its friendly, vaguely caramelly flavour. Whatever chocolate you use, try to make sure it's good, that is, that it's actually going to impart some kind of chocolate flavour at all, you know? The pears can be any old trash but the quality of the chocolate is really going to make or break this thing. That said, I used the fakest, cheapest vanilla essence in the syrup because it's all I had, and I manage to sleep at night (that's not true, I'm a terrible sleeper, but it's not from synthetic vanilla guilt at least!)


So the most exciting news in my life right now is that my flat now has A CAT. It's actually so hard for me to type this because just the knowledge that there is a cat in my presence makes me want to do triumphant forward rolls around the room for a good solid forty minutes. Oh sure, you say, cats are nice, but do you have any idea how fervently my heart has been yearning for one? I mean, if you read this blog you should have a decent idea since I go on about it quite a lot, but if not, just imagine the ferocious intensity of a thousand perturbed alligators: that's me. And now, a cat! Just as I was at the pinnacle of my I-have-no-cat feelings, the universe threw me a bone in the form of my flatmate, who was a last-minute replacement cat sitter for a friend going overseas for work for several months. Isn't that wonderful? 

caaaaaaaaaaaat faaaaace

business cat has key performance indicators to think about and doesn't have time for you right now, Bob

Her name is Wednesday and she has a tiny crooked tail and a curious disposition and she's just the happiest little nubbin ever. And so am I. 

In the wider scheme of things there is a lot of terribleness out there right now (well, there always is, but right now it's bubbling closer to the surface) and while I have nothing to say that would change or help, I would just like to draw your attention to the following two things while I'm here: if you're able to contribute to the people of Nepal following the horrifying earthquake that hit them, this FB post has some very useful information. If you are able to contribute to the people of Baltimore in the wake of ongoing police brutality, a wonderful woman I follow on Twitter is doing great, highly transparent work gathering essential supplies for people and can be supported via her Indiegogo account here. That is all. 
title from: the gloriously sassy title song from the glorious musical Anything Goes. Okay so you should absolutely listen to the stridently excellent Patti LuPone sing it on the 1988 Broadway cast recording and then I urge you to watch Sutton Foster breezily belt it out and then tap dance effortlessly at the 2011 Tony Awards, and then speaking of things called Tony, I really truly adore Lady Gaga and Tony Bennet's take on it. Finally Melanie C's version is so gorgeous. Listen to them all or get outta here, quite frankly. It's just one of the best show tunes there is and Cole Porter, who wrote it, is an actual genius. 
music lately:

DVS's brand new mixtape DVTV is SO VERY good, as is he. 

Janelle Monae, Yoga. "Get off my areola" is honestly the best line of 2015.
next time: anything goes! (loooool)