13 October 2009

in the flesh?


Note: Post edited 14th October to remove a lot of details which I, in my naive over-excitement, talked about far too loudly. This means you get the blog equivalent of films that get the swearwords and love scenes bleeped out for airlines, but the story is at least safe. Although, as the media has never had the slightest inclination to get in touch with me before it's flattering to think that this blog could shake things up.

Okay, guess what. I hate suspense so I'll tell you right now: I got interviewed by a nationwide publication about my blog. Never mind that I've been trying to thrust my food blog onto peoples' radars for years now. I've been keeping this a secret for a good week and a half till the story got confirmed. Which it has been. Turns out I should have kept it quiet a bit longer as it's not being published for a while but what can you do? I mean, there will be other food blogs, don't think it's a feature entirely devoted to my blog (all in good time, are you listening Cuisine magazine?) but whatever, it's me! I'm giddy with excitement! How do famous people handle it? Important note: The story is due to run sometime in November. Deal with it.

That said, I may completely regret spreading this news far and wide when the story is published, as I really have no idea how, apart from sweaty, I came across in the phone interview. I spent the rest of my day second guessing myself ("I didn't quote [title of show]! I didn't convey my love for Nigella adequately!) The aforementioned Ange and I were talking about how interviews with celebrities always hinge on how petite they are and how they glow with thousands of luminous spheres. You know. "[Insert starlet here] enters the room, her delicate wrists offsetting her endless eyelashes and skin as dewey as a meadow after the rain. Despite wearing a plain grey tracksuit and not a lick of makeup, she exudes effortless chic and charming approachability. Merely gazing at her is like walking down a Parisian boulevard."

It made me wonder how my intro would run. "Laura walks straight into the doorframe as she attempts to enter the room. She is wearing $6 men's grey trackpants, the kind that Wolf from Outrageous Fortune wears in prison, and her thighs are even larger than she claims on her blog. She should really consider a deep-conditioning hair treatment...and she's glaring at me." Well, you've got to make the jokes about yourself before everyone else does. Anyway, let's all hope for the best that I made a good impression and focus on the joyful fact that I've had my first proper interview. It's really exciting, right? I was jittering all over the place when I found out and completely unable to concentrate. And also, finally, finally, the New Zealand lifestyle media is waking up to the fact that there are flourishing food blogs out there and that people might be interested in them.

To the food:

I think, lately, I've been eating so much tofu and soft, diaphanous rice stick noodles and coconut-drenched everything that I now instead crave something more animalistic and hearty. And they don't come much heartier than lasagne.

I'm not going to give you a recipe for it, because I don't think anyone needs it and I don't even really know what I did...just a buttery, nutmeggy bechamel in one pot, tomato-sauced beef mince with garlic and red wine in another...all layered up with sheets of pasta and topped with cheese and finally baked for a while. I'm not saying that everyone should know how to make lasagne like a spider knows how to spin a web or they are failures at all aspects of life...just that it's not something you necessarily need to stick slavishly to a recipe for.

I haven't actually made lasagne since September 2007 (having a blog makes you know these useful facts) and I'd forgotten how rather brilliant it is...The best bit is the bubbling cheese on top (and only on top...who can afford to put cheese in every layer?) but the whole combination is amazing - soft pasta, milky sauce, rich, red-winey beef...If you possibly can, wait till the next day before eating it as the layers all settle in together and the flavours really develop feelings for each other. And it won't fly everywhere when you try and cut it. I think the reason that I never make lasagne is that it's a complete mission to cook and uses every pot and pan in the house, but seems so rustic and old-school that no-one thinks you've gone to any effort. Good lasagne is a bit of a revelation still though. And a squillion miles removed from those deepfried, crumbed Toppers that you used to be able to get from the school canteen. I feel slightly uneasy just thinking about them.

Continuing on this meaty theme, (with apologies to flinching vegetarian readers - although you can hardly claim that there's a lot of meat on this blog), I finished off the Maryland chicken pieces last night by making Nigella Lawson's Garlic Chicken from her seminal text How To Eat, the sort of recipe that garlic was surely invented for.

Garlic Chicken

2 heads garlic, cloves separated but unpeeled
400mls olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons
16 chicken wings

I scaled all this down accordingly for two large chicken legs. Don't feel you have to stick to chicken wings for this either.

Put cloves of garlic in a small pan of cold water, bring to the boil and boil for ten minutes. Drain, push the cloves out of their skins (a little messy, but easily done) and whizz in a food processor with the lemon juice and olive oil. Or you could just mash/chop them roughly like I did, which, although you don't have a food processor to clean, is actually much more of a pain to do.

Pour the garlic mixture over the chicken and marinade in the fridge overnight or whatever (I tend to err on the side of 'whatever' but no doubt this will be nicer the longer you leave it) When you're good and ready, roast at 210 C for around an hour. Serve sprinkled with salt and perhaps with more lemon wedges for squeezing over. Easy as that.

Don't even think about skipping the bit where you have to boil the garlic. It's this which softens the eye-watering viciousness of it all and keeps the entire dish a mellow delight as opposed to some kind of excercise in how to encourage early-onset balding. The garlic marinade permeates every nook and cranny of the chicken while making it all good and crisp and magically delicious. I served this with ratatouille (eggplants have come down in price, rejoice!), new potatoes (which I frugally boiled in the garlic water, hoping it would impart some kind of wafting flavour...it didn't) and roasted asparagus, also fantastically cheap these days. A totally fabulous meal full of flavours that totally kick winter to the curb. Even though it has been freezing and blisteringly windy and rainy for the last week. You tell yourself what you have to.


The title of this blog is meatily brought to you by: Pink Floyd's In The Flesh? from that troubled album The Wall. The bombastic guitars and wry lyrics make it a genius choice for a concert opener, a practice adopted by steely erstwhile Floyd member Roger Waters. Check it out here, in a clip from his In The Flesh DVD which would have a profound effect on my mid-to-late teenage years. We saw him live in 2007 opening his concert with this song - bliss. Aside of that, don't you think he and Richard Gere are a bit doppelganger-y? They could surely play each other in the respective biopic films of their lives.

On shuffle while I'm a-typing:

Standing In The Rain from local group Opensouls, from their album of the same name. We saw them at Bodega on a whim last Friday and they are fantastically sassy live -somehow managing to sound straight out of the sixties but also really fresh and modern and funky. Beautiful stuff, I highly recommend it.

Rising 5 by Hudson Mohawke from his forthcoming album Butter. This song seems to be all over every single radio station I flick between. It's really sunny and summery for want of a better word, and for some reason reminds me of the sounds I was listening to in England back in 2005, which is not to say it sounds dated. Pitiful explaining aside, anyone calling their album Butter must be worth a listen.


Next time: Contritely, I probably won't mention the interview again.


  1. oo maybe I should ake this tonight! ah!

  2. Congrats, Laura, on the interview--too cool!

    Thanks for reading my blog, and I am really enjoying yours. :)

  3. Hey Laura, Congratulations (in textual format this time!) I look forward to reading it.

    Garlic chook is being added to my already long list of "thing's Laura has cooked that I must try to cook also"

    See you Friday at Sophies? (no pressure, I just noticed she had mentioned it to Timothy)

    Scotty x

  4. Congratulations! How exciting. I saw an item on the news about the Julie and Julia movie. It looks ..... delicious. Not often you can describe a movie as delicious.

    Awesome-looking lasagne. It's one of those things that you really don't need a recipe for after you have made it once.

    Julian is cooking dinner tonight. I bought frozen Sealord fish fillets (in beer batter) but he has spurned that for something requiring a recipe book and a tin of tuna. i.e. fast food has been cast aside for ....slow food.

  5. Well done Laura! I understand your joy, I was utterly delirious when I was featured by Saveur.

  6. Congrats on the interview! How exciting! Having a blog is such a good substitute for a memory. Someone asked me how I made something the other day and my first response was "How the fuck should I know? It was a year ago" but then I found the relevant post and all was well.