Thursday 18 December 2008

Food, Music, Food, Music, Food, Music, Food, Music, Ad Infinitum...

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.

Lentil Dahl


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
1/4 teaspoon
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.

By the way, this is the music I was cooking dahl to. If you choose to eat it whilst listening to it and you end up holding your sides and in stitches, don't blame me, blame Salva. Thanks.

Copyright 20008


  1. Mr. Cuban, I love the way you weave food and music together like a tapestry. Your lentils sound wonderful.

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  2. Wow excellent post! It shows that you can definitely multi-task!!! And lovely recipe...

  3. Dear Cuban,

    I came over to see you yesterday and was distracted by the audio clip on your profile. I'd never noticed one before, so of course I clicked. What magic! Oh, what magic.

    And, I was gone. Traveling from link to link, poking around Amazon, thrilled to have found some new and perfectly perfect music. So, thank you.

    My original plan was to thank you. Your comment was probably the best comment I've been given in a long, long time. That's just exactly how I want my blog to feel. Thank you for the smiles, the kind words, the warm feeling. And, for the wonderful recipe to try. I'll be back soon. ~ R

  4. In that long, long comment, I meant to say best compliment, not best comment. Though it is that, too.

  5. Lentils, FatBoy Slim and St. Germain in the same post?! I'm all over this recipe and the music (as soon as I'm 100%)

    I caught the aside on multi-tasking, it's a wonderful thing isn't it?

  6. De hecho es Edward Hyde en la pelicula de Mary Reilly o como le pusieron en español; El secreto de Mary Reilly.

  7. Thank you very much for your lovely comments.

    Greetings from London.

  8. That video was quite entertaining.

    The recipe looks like perfection.

  9. Oh yes, London (sorry, everybody calls you Cuban but you know why I call you London), this is good music.

    I just have to come, click on play and enjoy it while I'm editing photos.


  10. I love dahl! I've never made it with cardamom before; I will definitely give your recipe a shot. btw, the ingredients list asks for 1 tsp. of coriander seeds and the instructions speak of cardamom seeds. Did you mean to say cardamom instead of coriander or in addition to?

    The video was very entertaining!

  11. P.S. I couldn't stop thinking about La Lupe and how she was silenced by her own country's regime. It reminds me of my days as a child in Java, where President Sukarno ran a regime of silence as well.

    Thank you for bringing all this beautiful music into the light.

  12. Que rico!!! Gracias por la receta! Y por la musica y por siempre llenarnos de alegria.

  13. Hello, everyone, thanks a lot for your kind comments.

    dutchbaby, I should have written coriander seeds all the way through. Sorry, the cardamon seeds are optional. My slip :-).

    Greetings from London.

  14. Love your taste in music and food!!!

    I'm just about to eat my dahl...seriously.. lol

    Its a staple for all sri lankans too...

    Great songs

    Peace brother, M

  15. Pues bien,
    No EstAmoS solos, tenemos buenas recetas y buena MúSica. Ese video me pone contento, me hace mirar a la gente de al lado con complicidad.
    Al fin y al cabo, la música es una forma de romper la distancia y los silencios....

    Oye, nos pillamos cuban.

  16. Thanks, maithiri and asere for your kind comments.

    Greetings form London.

  17. first, i don't know why but i always loved the word dhal

    second i admire your multitasking sir !

    third, i've got to print this recipe illico presto !

    have a great week end

  18. Ciao Cuban :)

    Tausend Dank Cuban!!!!
    heute mal auf deutsch ;-)

    Gestern hab ich noch nach dem schwierigen Renovieren meines Zimmers, mit Freuden über deinen Blog geredet und über deinen exzelenten Geschmack der Musik. Heute lese ich
    Was habe ich gelacht als ich deinen Post gelesen habe. Gelacht und mich sehr gefreut....dir dass angetan zu haben. Linsen, linsen linsen, Mutter hat die immer gemacht. In der sizilianischen Variante, mit pasta :)

    Aber ich liebe auch die klassische türkische Linsensuppe. Rezept supereinfach, und es gibt kaum was besseres für lange Winterabende.

    Hier das Rezept:

    Rote Linsen, olivenöl, knoblauch, Suppenwürfel, salz, pfeffer, petersilie, fladenbrot.

    Etwas Olivenöl in den Topf, kleingeschinttenen Knoblauch darin anbraten, etwas Salz, pfeffer, wasser und linsen reintun. Dazu maggiewürfel (nach Geschmack) und kochen lassen. Bevor es fertig ist, Petersilie hinzugeben. Servieren!
    Auf dem Tisch kommen dazu Zitronen, die man etwas auspresst und damit die Suppe würzt (ungewöhnlich aber es schmeckt wirklich). Fladenbrot warmmachen im backofen und dazu tunkend in der Suppe essen.

    Ich trinke immer sizilianischen Wein dazu, oder Vinho verde aus Portugal.

    Mit einer guten Gesellschaft und etwas Hintergrundmusik, ein Genuß ;-)

    Probier es einfach mal, bin sicher dass du dieses Rezept lieben wirst.

    Viele Grüße aus dem kalten Köln,

  19. Gracias, castle y salva, especialmente salva por ser la inspiracion detras del post, por sus comentarios.

    Saludos desde Londres.

  20. yum...sounds good. and fatboy slim--wow, u brought me back.

  21. Es precioso como traduce "potaje le lentejas" DAHL... suena a masaje oriental. Es una interesante variación, la probaré.

    Es genial la música, hay quien pone cara de ARE YOU NUTS O WHAT?.

    He entrado en desde el blog de Salva,

    Un saludo desde el sur de España.

  22. Hello, shine, welcome back.

    lys, es uan de las tantas formas de decir "potaje". Gracias por tu comentario.

    Greetings from London/Saludos desde Londres.

  23. Food, Music, Food, Music, Food, Music and Poetry too!
    Feliz Navidad again. Que algun dia todos los cubanos puedan cocinar un dahl tan sabroso como este en sus casas. Que mira, hasta tenemos la misma tierra colora donde crecen esas especias y esos frijoles en la India (lo se porque la vi con estos ojos).
    Y ahora, un regalito, para cuando vuelvas a hacer lentejas te acuerdes de otra cubana que cocina mucho dahl chez elle aussi:

    A lentil, a lentil, a lentil, a stone.
    A lentil, a lentil, a lentil, a stone.
    A green one, a black one, a green one, a black. A stone.
    A lentil, a lentil, a stone, a lentil, a lentil, a word.
    Suddenly a word. A lentil.
    A lentil, a word, a word next to another word. A sentence.
    A word, a word, a word, a nonsense speech.
    Then an old song.
    Then an old dream.
    A life, another life, a hard life. A lentil. A life.
    An easy life. A hard life. Why easy? Why hard?
    Lives next to each other. A life. A word. A lentil.
    A green one, a black one, a green one, a black one, pain.
    A green song, a green lentil, a black one, a stone.
    A lentil, a stone, a stone, a lentil

    "A Woman Cleaning Lentils" written by the Istambul-based late Armenian poet Zahrad

  24. oh, this is gooood. lentils *anything* makes me happy.

    well almost anything.

    i'll have to remember to check for the "soul food" song and a couple of the others mentioned, since the computer i'm on is acting goofy. you've got me wanting to hear them.

  25. Oh, Adriana! Eso fue excelente. De momento estoy metido en google buscando a esa mujer. Me encanto el poema.

    Fly, 'Soul Food' is a brilliant track and I loved Martina's first album. I've yet to buy her second one, though.

    Greetings from London.

  26. ¡Zahrad es un hombre!
    ¿No es maravilloso? Un hombre escribiendo poemas sobre una actividad tan antigua y tan femenina como es escoger frijoles. ¡Qué nostalgia me da eso! Escoger frijoles fue lo primero que me dejaron hacer dentro de la cocina. Y lo que me gustaba! Me hacía sentir muy útil e importante.
    Oye si encuentras algo de él por ahí me avisas. En el internet no nada practicamente. Lo poco he visto traducido de él es en un librito que tuvo muy pocas tiradas a juzgar por la cantidad de volumenes que veo en la base de datos que recoge el material de todas las bibliotecas que hay en los Estados Unidos. Pero ahora que está muerto (se murió el año pasado) seguro que sacarán algo más.
    Si te sirve de algo mira a ver si encuentras algo bajo Zareh Yaldizciyan, que es el verdadero nombre de este poeta.
    Suerte!! Y hazme saber si encuentras algo más, ok?

  27. Gracias y disculpa por la confusion. Mira tu que al autor del libro que estoy leyendo ahora lo llamé también por un nombre de mujer, por lo de la "a". Pero no, es hombre.

    Te prometo que voy a buscar algo en internet. Quizas alguna de la gente con los que trabajo hayan oido hablar de él.

    Saludos desde Londres.

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