I blame Salva.
There I was, minding my own business a couple of Sundays ago when I decided to check the feedback on my last Song for an Autumn Sunday Morning. I was cooking at the same time and helping my children with their homework (yes, I can multitask, thanks for asking). Salva left me a link to a clip that used music by Martina Topley-Bird and suddenly my Sunday was turned upside down.
But in a positive way, mind you, so thanks, Salva. I was cooking lentil dahl, so that recipe became the theme for my regular Food, Music, Food, Music, Food, Music, Food, Music, Ad Infinitum... and as for the music, the minute Salva mentioned Topley-Bird, my mouth began to salivate.
I love Martina's music. I bought her debut album Quixotic a few years ago and it's never been out of my CD player. My favourite track so far is 'Soul Food' (this is the original album version). So, guys, fasten your seatbelts, this is going to be a bumpy and funky ride. And yes, this is another vegetarian dish, sorry my carnivorous brethren and sisters, dahl is one of the regular food staples chez moi.
200g red lentils
1 large onion
2 cloves of garlic
150g runner beans
1 tin tomaotes (or 2 large, fresh tomatoes)
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
About 1 litre water
Peel the onion. Chop it in half and then slice finely. Peel and crush the garlic. Crush the cardonom pods to remove the seeds. Discard the outer pods. Heat a thick bottomed pan on the hob until it is hot. Add the spices and cook for 2 minutes, stirring regularly. Put the spices in a pestle & mortar and crush. Heat the oil in the same pan as you heated the spices in. Add the onion and garlic and saute, covered, for 5 minutes. Add the spices and stir well. Cook for another 2 minutes. Add the lentils and about 3/4 of the water. Mix well. Cover and simmer gently for 1/2 hour. Check and stir regularly. If it looks like it's drying out, add a little more water.
Prepare the runner beans by trimming the ends and cutting off any stringy bits on the sides. Then slice diagonally into fine strips, about 5mm wide. Drain the tomatoes (if from a tin) and chop roughly. Once the lentils are softened, add the runner beans and tomatoes to the pan. Stir well and cook for a further 5 minutes.If it looks like it's drying out, add a little more water. Serve with rice or nice, crusty Tiger bread.
Now, a dish with so much heart and soul in it, deserves an equally ardent and spicy playlist. We kick off with Fatboy Slim's 'Praise You', purely because it's got one of the silliest and funniest dance routines I've ever seen in my life. This is followed by one of the most eccentric and charismatic Cuban singers ever to roam this planet, La Lupe, and her take on this old classic 'I Did it My Way'. She was too hot to handle for the Cuban government post-1959, which banned her music from commercial radio until the early 90s. My beautiful island is still present in the next track with Mongo Santamaria on congas covering 'Afro Blue'. Nick Cave's powerful lyrics give our bodies a much needed respite, but not our minds, though; the prisoner's plight is still ringing in my ears by the end of his masterpiece 'Mercy Seat'. And who can forget one of the better intros ever? That'll be The Temptations 'Papa Was a Rollin' Stone '. St Germain's one of my favourite musical outifts for when I am cooking, especially soups, dahls or any kind of broth. They fill me up completely and 'So Flute' is one of my favourite tunes by them. I love the video, too. Martina Topley-Bird follows quickly after and despite the sound not being top quality in this clip, I seriously recommend it, 'Soul Food' is contagious and catchy. We finish as we began, with Fatboy Slim and who has he brought with him this time? None other than Mr Christopher Walken, he of that famous monologue in 'Pulp Fiction'. Oh, yes, you know, the one about the watch. Mr Walken happens to be also one of my favourite actors (when he's in the mood to perform, mind) and his cameo on this video is a pleasure to watch. 'Weapon of Choice', ladies and gentlemen.