Monday, 28 May 2012

Mr Fabulous Mission's Summer Grill

Back when it was still horrible winter weather in summer, some food gave me the impression of summer. This summer grill, consisting of polenta, tomato and red pepper kebabs with a yogurt dressing and cucumbers allowed me to believe I was on a patio on the Med. You know the terrible cliche, "it's summer on a plate," well let me give it to you, as this is.

This looks more like the portions for a starter, and while I do think it would make a highly satisfying starter, I had a couple of the kebabs with a big salad, the cucumber tzatziki and some bread. If you know what's good for you, make it a meal. Grilling the polenta caramelizes it and crisps it up- put it on the BBQ if you prefer. The juice and sweetness from the tomato and pepper seep into the polenta. You could easily marinade the kebabs in an oil and herb dressing (I'm thinking of pesto) and obviously use whatever vegetables you like. Still, the cucumber, garlic, lemon and mint yogurt dressing is more than enough of a compliment and flavour to make you eager to eat.

Recipe for a Summer Meal for Two
1. Chop up a block of polenta, tomatoes (I quartered 3 Roma-sized tomatoes) and a red pepper into suitable sized chunks. Put onto kebabs to resemble the 1970s classic, pineapple and cheese on a stick.
2. For the tzatziki, finely chop 1/2 clove of garlic and 1/3 of a cucumber. Add to about a half a cup of yogurt (I used low fat Greek style), the juice of half of a lemon and a small handful of mint leaves (chop the bigger ones).

3. Grill/BBQ on each of the four sides. The first two sides take longer as they're getting everything cooking. The first side took me about 8 minutes; the second side about 5 minutes and the others about 3 minutes on a high grill. If you like more of a subtle golden colour, go for a medium or low grill. I was going for the BBQ effect. 

4. Serve with a salad.

Happy BBQ season.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Bruce Almighty

Bruce Springsteen, The Boss. I'd like to rename him, though he'd never accept my title. I'd rename him the Prophet, or The Wise Man, or The Voice of America. Superlatives don't quite touch Bruce Almighty. His latest album, Wrecking Ball, is a kind of clarion call to care. I'm inspired.

He declares in 'This Depression:'

     This is my confession
     I need your heart    
     In this depression

Sprinsteen seamlessly blends the personal with the political. His lyrics hint at a troubled, dying America that he wishes to be reconstructed, noting that 'we've been travelling around rocky ground' (in 'Rocky Ground'). The album's title track seems to invite a revolutionary (Obama? Civil society?) to destroy what has long been in shambles. He proposes: 'if you've got the guts and you've got the balls/bring on your wrecking ball.' Instead of this seeming dark and destructive the record has an uplifting, healing, optimistic  sound to it, with rousing choruses. If you're an adult rock radio listener you've probably heard the single 'Death to My Hometown.' On paper, this title sounds like an eerie terrorist cry to destroy New York City. As a song, it's like a traditional American march, demanding change for the right reasons.

You can certainly interpret this as a protest record. Bruce rails at the fat-cat bankers, sympathises with  honest employment and the underclasses and tries to suggest that the land of hope and dreams needs to stop punishing the innocent. Even though this isn't an E-street record, the instrumentation is lush and full of empowering rhythms. You'll hear the last notes from sax stunner Clarence Clemons completing the sound of loveliness on a couple songs too. Without exception, the songs are singable and memorable.     

In short, this is perfect father's day gift for your Dad. The brothers/boyfriends/classic rockers you know would be equally thrilled with your most excellent taste.

The best album I've heard in years. 5/5.

Albums seem to have died with itunes. Do you have any album recommendations? (I love most things with some catchy rhythms, so don't think it has to be too 'worthy' or 'deep.')