27 January 2012

the syrups and shaved ice, i ain't gotta say it twice

Did all of you have to write and say a speech in school, as part of the curriculum? Here in New Zealand it's a long-standing tradition. I wrote a rather excellent think-piece on the Spice Girls (admittedly, there was no Google so I had to glean any knowledge of them from what was written on the side of chupa-chup packets and from analysis of lyrics like "She's a real lay-dee!"); an award winning speech on well-known cats in literature (I got to the regionals with that speech, and of course I had lots of friends, why do you ask?) and then the next year, I admit, I phoned it in with a speech about chocolate. It was largely put together from quotes found in those "Little Book of Calm" tiny books which were very fashionable at the time. If I remember right, I won the school competition but lost out at the interschool level.

But those books that I quoted, glaze-eyed though they were, had it right. Chocolate is special and no loss at the interschool level for my speech which honestly wasn't that good will take that away from me. Or any of us! Particularly special, on a national level now, is the compelling output of Whittaker's, who this year launched their Berry and Biscuit block. 

Berry jelly, juiced up with real fruit, and crunchy bits of biscuits punctuating their caramelly milk chocolate. It's damn good. I should disclose that the reason I'm able to so casually lay pieces of it upon a commemorative plate, and turn it into sorbet like it's no big thing is this: I wrote - entirely without agenda - very nice things about Whittaker's Berry and Biscuit in a national paper, they liked what they saw and sent me some so I could really make sure I liked it. So I decided, because I am self-appointed duchess of ice cream ("see her melting crown!") I would turn some of it into a pure and chilly Berry and Biscuit Sorbet. 

But first: some really exciting news from Tim and I. Guess! Guess! Or scan slightly further ahead in the text to where I've written it down. Last year Tim and I embarked on our first ever holiday, which we'd saved for five and a half years for ("feels like thirty", as Jesus commented in Jesus Christ Superstar), and it was glorious. Well there's nothing like landing back home to make you want to claw your way back to another travel adventure again. We're not tap dancing happily about our bank balance right now, but we have been saving a bit of a nest-egg and while it might've been sensible to wait another year before planning the next trip...we thought...what if we just do it this year? What if we just? We can make it happen somehow! So we've put a down payment on flights to America. Specifically: NEW YORK. I need hardly elaborate on how heavily exciting this is. From my first musical I ever saw around age 5 - 42nd Street - to the Big Apple Style and hushed reverence of the city from the Baby Sitters Club's Stacey McGill, to my heedless love of the musical RENT from which this blog gets its name, to every single cool restaurant there is being there...But wait: we're also going to New Orleans, the place I've had a geographical crush on since about age 14, and Nashville, grand home of many a music-related thing. Thrilling. It's all happening in October, so this space, be watching it.

Back to the chocolate sorbet. Not ice cream: the various elements of Berry and Biscuit are not blurred by cream or other dairy, instead only water, sugar, and a little cocoa is used to turn them into an icy mass of excellence. Not that I have anything against pouring cream into everything I see: I wanted to try something different here, and let the chocolate itself shine. Also note, I only used 3/4 of the block because it seems excessive to use the whole lot - if you're shelling out for the good stuff, you might as well have some for fun nibbling times too. 

Whittaker's Berry and Biscuit Sorbet

A recipe by myself.

1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3 1/2 cups water
 4 tablespoons dark, dark cocoa (around 20% fat content is ideal for flavour and texture. However, use what you have!)
175g Whittaker's Berry and Biscuit Chocolate

In a decent-sized pan, bring the sugar, cocoa and 1 1/2 cups of the water gently to the boil, stirring often - as much to get cocoa lumps out as anything - until it has been bubbling for a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the chocolate till smoothly melted. Stir again, pour into a freezer-proof container. Freeze overnight. Stir halfway through if you like, but frankly I didn't find that large ice crystals formed with this much. 

Note: if you use any of Whittaker's dark chocolate range, or any dark chocolate that you're confident has not seen dairy products during its production, then this recipe becomes vegan. If Whittaker's Berry and Biscuit isn't available where you are, use a 'black forest' style chocolate or really any unfilled chocolate you like. 

How I got to this delicious point is a bit chequered; I tried making this sorbet first time round but used too much sugar and the mixture refused to freeze. Because sugar slows down the freezing process. Since this meant I couldn't feed it to my friends on the date I'd anticipated, before the second feeding opportunity I hastily tried adding more water to it to dilute the sugar and allow it to freeze. In the process dropping a significant, tears-worthy amount of the mixture on the floor. By the time it finally froze sucessfully I had no idea what the actual method and ingredients quantity was. I bravely started again.

Melting chocolate into water might sound a bit weak, but the simple background really allows the beautiful milk chocolate to shine, with the brown sugar and cocoa giving it a helping hand flavour-wise. The biscuit and berry pieces disperse, leaving a hinty trail of crunch and raspberry extract in their wake. Every spoonful dissolves intriguingly in the mouth. It's not as intensely smooth as the sorbet you might find in a tub at the supermarket, but on the upside it tastes brilliant and is spoonable straight from the freezer. And look how easy it is to make! As long as you're careful not to drop it on the floor, it really shouldn't give you any trouble at all.

The only thing that could embiggen this already life-embiggening substance: edible glitter.

Instead of being used to feed friends post-Beirut concert two weeks ago, the fixed-up mixture was taken along to a Gossip Girls and Gin evening, and it actually nearly made someone cry happy tears, it was that good. So even if my words leave you unmoved, let their happy tears be the recommendation you need: this sorbet is just lovely. 

We're heading up home this weekend for my little brother's 21st! It's music themed (Tim and I are going to be the White Stripes, my Halloween Elphaba wig getting a reprise here...for both of us) and I'm also making his cake. Can't wait. All the significance of it being a family member, none of the stress of it being your own party. Not that mine was all that stressful, it was amazing fun. Perhaps my favourite part: the next day mum bought out a kilo of ham which had been hidden in the fridge behind all the other food, forgotten at the party. A bonus kilo of ham! Best birthday ever.
Title via: In the Heights, a musical set in NEW YORK, CONCRETE JUNGLE WHERE DREAMS ARE MAAAADE OF (did I mention we're going there?) with beautiful music and story by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who rapped for Obama and won many Tonys and is basically one of the most amazing people on earth. 
Music lately:

Anna Calvi, Desire - am sad to be missing her show at Laneway on Monday, there's something about her rich voice and rumbly music that I really love.

Annie Golden, Hang Up The Phone - such a crime that they went and cast her in the disappointing Hair movie and then didn't even let her sing! This song's subject is awesomely redundant in this day of multiple ways to communicate, but even more awesome is how every single second of the video is choreographed. Not one natural movement!
Next time: *shrugs* we'll see when I get back on Sunday night what I have the energy to make and whether it's worth sharing. 

22 January 2012

super duper, come let's mix where rockefellers walk with sticks

I've already professed my affection for the sadly late Hudson and Halls (they made a chicken salad and named it after a New Zealand beauty queen!) but it's the kind of thing that I can easily re-profess without feeling like I've exhausted my capacity for...professing stuff. Their cookbooks were so full of enjoyment and playfulness and humour. Which cookbooks often completely lack. They'd write "nothing is more boring to do than pickled onions, but despite this, these are worth doing", beside a recipe for pickled onions. Cute, right? Always remembering, they were figures of entertainment at a time when being themselves - being gay - was illegal. As I've said, we're not exactly in a progressive wonderland these days, but I wonder what their lives together could've been under a somewhat more supportive environment. While your time wouldn't be misspent just reading through their cookbooks tittering at their formidably late-seventies recipes - Tomato Sorbet, Egg Mayonnaise with Olives, Tripe Fritters, Steak Tartare Balls with Caviar...Coffee...there are also heaps of practical, easy, fun recipes that you could try making. 

Recipes like their Super-duper Pancake. I promise you it's totally deserving of that intensifying "-duper" suffix on the end there. That grammatical flourish was not in vain. 

It looks like there's a benignly smiling bearded face in that pancake, right? Is it just me projecting my loving feelings towards the pancake, onto the pancake? I think yes. And yes. Also please excuse my unpleasingly granular photography, it must've been darker than I thought when I took the photos. It'll make you appreciate it more when they improve, though!

This is really your average Yorkshire Pudding - you could always use it for that - and I love that H&H suggest it as a meal in itself, "with lemon wedges and sugar, or little bits of fried sausage and pickles"...very cool. They recommend using a paella dish but I don't have one of those, or a frying pan that can go in the oven, but I suspected that my ancient pie plate would do the trick. It did. Which makes me think you could make this in nearly anything ovenproof and round, as long as it has walls - a caketin would probably work just fine.  

Such little effort and you end up with this puffy, crisp disc of daffodill-coloured, comforting goodness. Somehow it tastes like french toast, pastry, scrambled eggs and yes, pancake, all at once. That's some high-level complexity from just eggs, flour, milk and butter. I served it alongside steak and an avocado-spinach salad but on its own it'd be brilliant. 

Super-duper Pancake

From Hudson and Halls Gourmet Cookbook.

25g butter
3 eggs
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup flour

Put the butter in your chosen pan and place it in a 225 C oven to heat up and sizzle away while you mix the batter. Beat the eggs till light and fluffy, then gradually beat in the milk. This is what's going to make it puff up so try not to be lazy with the whisking effort at this stage. Whisk in the flour, making sure there's no lumps, then quickly pour the batter into the hot, buttery tin. Place quickly back in the oven, bake for 20-25 minutes and serve immediately in the pan. Just slice it up or rip bits off, as you please. 

Two things happened when I made this which might have something to do with the pan I used. First: some of the butter pooled on top in the centre of the pancake. To the uninitiated it might look a little terrifying, I took it within my stride (the only alarming butter situation I can think of is if there is none) and reframed the pancake as 'considerately self-buttering.' Also some of the surface coating of the pan flaked off and stuck to the pancake. Slightly disturbing, but...I ate it anyway. Hope it doesn't happen to you.

The recipe on the page opposite the Super-duper pancake is equally compelling - Scrambled Eggs with Vermouth. How good does that sound? I'd need to actually get some vermouth first, the last time I had it was in 2008 - you can see it in the header photo - before I could even pronounce it properly. They say "As this is rather nice for breakfast, serve it with some chilled champagne and follow with fresh fruit and cream laced with a liqueur." Wherever you are, Hudson and Halls...cheers.

Talking of luxuriating in food, I recently had my misanthropic tendencies gently sieved out when something really lovely happened: I got invited to try out 'The Deg' degustation at Matterhorn, one of the fancy-pantsiest joints in the whole country. Yes, invited. My first degustation. Very exciting. Eventually Tim and I hope to feel like we're not in some kind of Home Alone 2-esque heist whenever things like this happen. The food was ornately exquisite the whole way through, with matched cocktails - beautifully dry - and wines - nicer than we've ever drank - and not in an intimidating way either, but also not so unintimidating that you leave thinking you could've done it yourself, you know? The person in charge of us was charming and engaging and gave us plenty of exposition on each course and - this always puts me in a good mood, so keep it in mind - they talked to us about the food and wine as if they thought we knew exactly what they were talking about. Did I explain that right? We weren't talked down to, is what I'm saying. So if you're really comfortable with your bank balance I do recommend it because it was an absolutely glorious evening. Fun fact: on our first course we raised a toast. To the internet. For getting us to dinner at the Matterhorn. Truly, we clinked our glasses and said "thank you, Internet." (It was my suggestion, Tim might not've been so enthusiastic or loud.) Also, even though it sometimes feels like one of those things you do to prove you're having fun, we spent some time making up dialogue for various diners around us, which was all very humourous until this couple opposite us had such gloomy body language that it wasn't as fun anymore. Where was I? Matterhorn. Delicious.

It's been a simple weekend, but I've managed to spend much of it with beloved friends, which is worth more than a billion degustations laid end to end so they reach the sun, or something.
Title via: Puttin' On The Ritz, that intriguingly arranged song which hoofer Fred Astaire totally owns - his subtlety and assuredness in this tap dancing number is utterly brilliant. Fun fact: I once ambitiously choreographed, taught and danced in a dance to this for some choir performance thing in primary school, when I was about ten. It wasn't, er, quite as good as Fred Astaire's, and our canes were bits of dowelling, but if I remember right it was quite well received.
Music lately:

Be warned: Will Swenson (erstwhile cast member of erstwhile Broadway show Hair) is one of THE most beautiful people on earth. And in this song Donna from Hair, he's NOT WEARING PANTS. So. Also he has an amazing voice and we both dance very similarly, which is always something that endears me to people. (A further fun fact!)

R.I.P Etta James.
Next time: I've been working on some sorbet using Whittaker's Berry and Biscuit chocolate. That is all.

16 January 2012

caramel, i'll love you forever, caramel

For the first time in a long time on this blog, I found myself writing paragraphs and deleting them, venturing forward with sentences and then frustratedly reeling them back in with the backspace button. I'm not sure what's more annoying - this whole process, or the fact that what I'm trying to write isn't even a revelatory thing or big news, it's just trying to knead it into the right shape that's annoying me. But because I don't have time, I'll just try, and hopefully people pick up on what I'm putting down. I'm pretty sure some version of this question was voiced in an Anastasia Krupnik book, but is there a point in your adult life where you suddenly become a proper grown up? Where things fall into place?

I'm not claiming I'm the only person in the world to be constantly forgetful, concerningly clumsy, bafflingly untidy, bad with important papers/remembering dates/doing tasks by a certain date, constantly turning up to appointments at least a week early and heart-thumpingly anxious (Not to undersell myself, book-deal people. You're different. I can deliver you a sparkling diamond of a manuscript by like, six weeks ago.) I also am not seeking perfection or anything, I suspect the answer to all of this is "you learn from your mistakes and you make lists and just be tidy already", and the fact that it doesn't seem fair that some people are just more developed and self-assured in these areas naturally confirms in my head that I'm just not grown-up yet. It doesn't help that people always think I look years younger than I am - I'm not quiiiite old enough for it to be a compliment - am I ever going to get it right?

Well, colour me introspective. 

If I'm not personally up for it - and my three-ish hours of sleep on Saturday night (admittedly, I was going to have a pretty late night anyway but then I got woken up by a whole lot of noise out of my control at 4pm, so it wasn't all self-inflicted) at least this duplex of salted caramel sauces can deliver you some sweetness and light. And isn't angsty person + caramel sauce > annoyingly happy person + no caramel sauce? (Mathematics, finally relevant to me!)

Yes, duplex. One recipe for plain Salted Caramel Sauce and one recipe for Vegan Salted Caramel Sauce. The former is about as perfect as it can get, the latter was an experiment I'm not sure I've properly perfected, but it's still great enough that I'll share it with you confidently. Salted caramel seems to be quite the bandwagon these days but it's so uncomplicatedly delicious that I don't even care. Will it become the pesto of the 2010s? I hope so, because that means it'll be on everything, everywhere.

Above, vegan, below, not-vegan. Why both? Because I think the trinity of butter, brown sugar, and cream is easily the most unsurpassed in history, a salute to simplicity and the joyfulness of each ingredient. But if you don't eat dairy products then it's really not going to be as fun for you. And I want to spread the joy of caramel sauce, not hold it back. (Literally. Look at that sauce dripped on the teatowel. So symbolic.)

Caffeine shakes from downing great quantities of icy fretta coffee at Customs Brew Bar threatened to ruin all these photos but luckily I managed to salvage some non-blurry ones. If you look carefully in the caramel sauce above you can see my reflection looming! Self Portrait As Salted Caramel Sauce... 

Salted Caramel Sauce

120g butter
120g brown sugar
500mls cream
Salt - the nice flaky sea salt is good here, but use what you have

Gently melt the butter and sugar together till it forms a cohesive and alluring paste. Raise the heat a little and allow it to bubble up and boil. Remove from the heat and stir in 1/2 the cream (1 cup). It will likely bubble enthusiastically at this point. Stir till smooth, then stir in the second 1/2 of the cream. Once it's cool enough to taste, try adding 1/2 a teaspoon of salt and then move up from there. It will thicken as it cools.

Vegan Salted Caramel Sauce

This uses the magical properties of cornflour to give smooth texture to the sauce, and a little coconut oil for body. You could use custard powder, but the fake vanilla flavour's a little intense. Coconut oil can be a bit expensive, but I figure if you're not buying butter or milk...

1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 tablespoons cornflour
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed in
1 tablespoon golden syrup
500ml (2 cups) water
Salt (as above, soft flaky sea salt is nice here.)

In a large pan, whisk together the sugar and cornflour so that any large lumps in the cornflour are dispersed. Then whisk in the coconut oil - just to mix it in roughly, be aware this is going to look a bit weird for a while. Set the pan over a low heat so that the sugar starts to soften and caramelise a little and the coconut oil melts into everything. It doesn't need to be anywhere near liquid, just good and hot, when you add the first 250ml (1 cup) of water and the golden syrup. It will hiss and bubble, so stir it well till it's smooth. Don't worry about any cornflour lumps, they should disperse eventually. Add the second 250mls water, bring it to the boil, and then let it bubble away until syrupy and somewhat reduced in volume. Remove from heat, and once it's cool enough to taste, add salt till you're happy.

Sauce one: Look, butter is just the best thing in the world, okay? It's not a competition between the two, but while I'd happily pour the vegan one on my ice cream or other suitable catching nets, I could even more happily drink a pint of the other one. From a pint glass. Every day for a year. For all its simplicity, this sauce bears a deep, aggressive caramel flavour and luscious thickness, with hints of butter's nuttiness and the brown sugar's fudginess roughing up the cream's own clean richness. I didn't hold back on the salt - any more and it might be a little bit too soy-sauce marinade - but it's perfect, a slight shock to the tastebuds, stopping it from being too straight-up sweet but delivering the dizzying flavours to you even faster.

Sauce Two: Oh no, I've used up all my adjectives for the word caramel describing the last one! This clever sauce has a double life - if you use it hot, straight from the pan, it's a rich clear syrupy sauce, the kind that soaks well into spongy puddings. Once cooled it's opaque with more body and a slow-moving texture thanks to the custard-thickening effect of the cornflour. Without the dairy to dilute and enrich it, the sweetness is a little more upfront - but when you've got the sticky toffee flavours of brown sugar and golden syrup providing the sweetness, this is no bad thing. 

Despite the random acts of uselessness, my weekend was fantastic, and a bit of a reunion with everyone we went on holiday with over summer. The high point was Saturday night, which saw a group of us going to see Beirut, a band that sounds like a place, at the Opera House. They were just wonderful. The show was made even better by having said friends at our house both before and after for snacks and drinks. I had planned on feeding them all this caramel sauce but the chocolate sorbet I made for it to be poured over didn't turn out as planned...but it's a decent excuse to orchestrate other fun times. Or to drink the sauce by the pint!

I said to Tim last night, and I'll claim the excuse of sleeplessness-induced clarity, "at least when things go wrong they sometimes don't always go wrong'.  I think I can extract some kind of take-home message out of that. Like running towards a rainbow, I guess the more I flail about not being all cool and on to it, the further I'll push that state of being away. Just gotta keep running up that hill (only, and I mean only, in one of the following ways: as a metaphor for the journey through life, or as a quote from a Kate Bush song. I will not be running up a hill literally. That would ironically be a step backwards for me.) 
Title via: Oh Blur, with your handsome handsome frontman and your song Caramel, so perfectly suited to my blog post.
Music lately:

Laurie Beechman. She died in 1998 so there'll never be anything new from her, but luckily her incredibly powerful voice was commited to some albums and cast recordings. There's precious little of her work on youtube but watch her sing On A Clear Day - I cried. If you don't think you can sit through a Streisand cover, try Seth Rudetsky's loving deconstruction of why her voice is amazing.

Beirut! And their song Santa Fe. Not all their stuff is geographical (oh gosh, they must get that a lot. Not that they're reading this.)
Next time: I've been re-reading my glorious Hudson and Halls cookbooks so there might be something illuminated from within their pages...

8 January 2012

mushrooms and roses is the place to be

Disliking, and having zero aptitude for science at school doesn't preclude me coming up with several scientific theories, the hypothesis and measurement both being "I think it's real and so...yeah." One such theory being: Time totally, without doubt, speeds up when I'm with people I love. Fact. For example, Tim and I spent our New Year at Raumati Beach with the sort of amazing friends we only ever get to envy other people having. Between the beautiful blanket fort, the nail painting, the guitar playing, the Point Break watching, the homemade liqueur and gin and wine drinking, the feasting, the dancing to Wuthering Heights (alas caught in real time on video somewhere), the nail-painting, the swimming, the reading of many books, the frying of many potatoes, the crying of many tears with laughter and the taking of one stroll, well it shouldn't be surprising to anyone that time would unfairly speed up during all that.

Time also speeds up a little if one of your friends has cleverly made cat ears in your hair made of plaits and pipe cleaners and bobby pins. It whooshes right through your cat ears with increased aerodynamics.

I've always, since day dot, been hopeless at saying goodbye. Memories of crying when things are over - anything from great big emotional ballet performances to visiting an older, cool and magnanimous girl from down the road to play for the afternoon - all blur into one another. Luckily there was less of the actual tears and more of the joking about tears (to keep from the actual tears fighting through, you see) when the Raumati Beach times started to wind up, but I couldn't help be reminded of all the times I'd been bad at accepting things are over. If you're hanging out with me and I make yawny noises and comment on the time, instead of wild-eyedly suggesting we bust into the good whiskey, then you can either be disappointed...or, I guess, shiny with relief-sweats.

I made this marinated mushroom recipe four times in the last two weeks, and every single time it has been perfect. This is a sneaky lazy blog post, as I've already basically given the whole recipe in this story I wrote for 3news.co.nz on what to cook when it's too hot to think about cooking. However I am tired and frankly a bit sneaky and lazy at the best of times too, plus, putting the recipe in two separate places on the internet shows you just how strongly I love it.

Speaking of things I love, wasn't I lucky to score these knives and forks and bowl from Mum! The knife and fork have been in the family for generations and the plate just looks like one that has been in the family for generations, which is good enough for us. You don't even need a knife to eat these mushrooms but I like how it looks, so it stays in the picture.

I made this for myself on the 29th, for the aforementioned friends on New Year's Eve, for family on the 7th, and for myself again last night. Something about the name Marinated Mushrooms makes people nervously say "Oh no! You should've started it six weeks ago! We'll have to have it another time" but this is actually good to go as soon as you stir it. It's at its peak deliciousness after about 12 hours in the fridge, but truly. I tend to eat half of it while I'm making it, that's how good it tastes.

Marinated Mushrooms

I came up with this myself, but with a little inspiration from recipes belonging to the wondrous Nigella Lawson and the also quite wondrous Yotam Ottolenghi. Quantities are vague because I never once thought to weigh or measure the amount of mushrooms I was using. Just guess though. Science can't get you here.

Mushrooms; as many as you'd normally feed people - maybe a heaped handful per person though if you're stuck. Use the cheapest white button ones you can find.
1/2 cup rice bran oil or olive oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup or golden syrup
Juice and zest of a lemon or 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon or American mustard

Wipe or peel the mushrooms - dirt will cling, and though it sounds fussy sometimes peeling's much easier. Slice thinly and pile into a bowl. In a small cup or bowl mix the dressing ingredients together, tasting often and adding more of whichever ingredient your tastebuds feel it requires. Pour over the mushrooms, mix carefully. If it looks like it's not dressed enough, drizzle in some more oil. Taste for salt - I add quite a lot - then either eat immediately or cover and refrigerate. 

Maple syrup on mushrooms might sound a little too daring, sure. But raw mushrooms are quite mild and almost like tofu in that they can absorb into their porous surfaces nearly every flavour that passes them by. However, not to the point where you might as well be sucking salad dressing dejectedly (or happily!) from a sponge soaked with it. Their delicate, rain-on-cut-grass freshness is mighty fine with the smoky maple syrup and sharp mustard, and the polystyrene texture becomes even more pleasingly yielding to the tooth the longer it sits there in its dressing. Basically: this stuff is addictive so watch out. I've never eaten so many mushrooms in one sitting, in my life.

Needless to say, camping at this place with whanau for the 25th year in a row made time speed up significantly again. Somewhat grounding was how I got bitten to pieces by mosquitos, feasting away at my apparently delicious blood till my legs looked like bubble wrap. However I've bought some antihistamines and am hoping for the best, and now that I'm back in the world of Monday mornings and routines and so on, heck, they're a reminder that summer holidays did happen and they were amazing. Until I got bitten.

What did you all get up to over the Christmas/New Years era? I've missed this blog a bit while internet was intermittent, but I've loved sleeping properly, seeing family and friends, eating well and reminding myself of the good things in my life.

Title via: Janelle Monae, Mushrooms and Roses from her album The Archandroid. This song's a bit ridiculous (like what does that title even mean?) but I like her stuff and the melody and intense chorussing does pull you along in a dreamy fashion. And it does have the word mushrooms in it. 

Music lately:

Pat Benetar, We Belong. I've always disliked every single song Pat Benetar has ever called her own - except this one. It's so annoyingly alluring and floaty and lush and I can't honestly say I don't like it. In fact...without quadruple negatives to hide behind...I like this song.

Stephanie J Block, Get Out And Stay Out. Her voice is stunning. Everything from the emotional, shuddery talk-singing at the start of this song to the crystal clear, exhilarating but not over-extended belting at the end is just so very listenable. 

Next time: Something new, something you've never seen before, something highly edible, for starters.  I guess this is the last time I can get away with saying it before it gets too weird, so...Happy New Year, everyone!