Look Out Honey, Cos I’m Using Technology

So Triple J have been asking listeners for their top ten songs. Ever. And seeing as I’m pretty sure only two or three of mine will make it anywhere near their Hottest One Hundred of All Time, I thought I’d share the rest with you. By which I mean, it’s my blog, and I’ll cry if I want to! (And on the same note, you may notice my interpretation of 'ten' is somewhat liberal...)

Oddly, if I made a top ten list of artists or albums, I'm not sure there'd be that much crossover. I went for songs that are really good at being songs.

Animal Collective – The Purple Bottle. I cannot keep track of how often I’ve listened to this song. My iPod is positively embarrassed. It’s like a choose your own adventure, but in a song! You can hear it a hundred different ways. It’s mechanical, repetitive, dynamic, melodic, intricate. And it’s a love song.

Augie March – The Honey Month, live with the WA Orchestra. I could have done a top ten purely of Augie March songs. Count your lucky stars that I didn’t! While you’re counting, listen to this exquisite little number.

Broken Social Scene – Anthems for a Seventeen Year-Old Girl. This song got under my skin. It’s like a little bouquet of musical motifs that I love: repetition, minimalism, simplicity; but it builds and builds and becomes something else. A quiet revelation one day walking home from school.

The Flaming Lips - Suddenly Everything Has Changed. Even thought The Flaming Lips were one of my best live experiences, I don't listen to them much these days. This one's an old favourite, though, and it's perfect in its own small way.

Iggy Pop – Search and Destroy. There is some kind of genius here. Thrills me all the way down to my toes. Makes me air drum. Magical.

Lou Reed – Coney Island Baby. Actually my favourite Lou song is probably Andy’s Chest, it makes me ridiculously happy (“The funny thing is what happened to her nose - it grew until it reached all of her toes! Swoop swoop, oh baby, rock rock!”) – but this song is something else. It talks to you, and it gets you when you’re not looking…

Mt Eerie – I Hold Nothing
. This song reduces life to its simplest parts, moves like clockwork, and thrills me like science. I could listen to it forever.

Joanna Newsom – Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie, from the Ys Street EP. I love Joanna’s longer, more complex songs, but this one is pretty special. Stripped back, simple, sweet and starry, starry, starry.

World's End Girlfriend - Birthday Resistance. The only instrumental track to make it on here, but golly it's a good one. Playful and sublime.

Songs: Ohia – Farewell Transmission. “Mama, here comes midnight with the dead moon in its jaws.” My deep and abiding love for blues and country had to be represented somehow, and if it wasn’t Townes Van Zandt it was going to be Jason Molina.

The Smiths – I could have done a top one hundred of just The Smiths. I nearly went for I Know It’s Over or There is a Light: honesty, melody, brilliant articulation of human anguish, etc. but one of my favourite things about The Smiths is their sense of humour. So I’ve gone with Sheila Take a Bow because it is just the right about of self deprecating and irreverent, it makes your head think and your booty shake! Much like the wonderful Pictures for Sad Children comic below:

Bonus Question:

Radiohead – Pyramid Song. If aliens came to earth and wanted to hear some of our Earth music (it’s likely, right?) I think I’d play them Radiohead. I’m pretty sure that’s what universally awesome means.

Actually I lie, I think I’d play them Love Cats because A) Resulting confusion about human biology would give us an advantage in the inevitable intergalactic war and B) I wanna see aliens dance, and you gotta dance to that song, man. You just gotta.

P.S. No Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Love, Cat Stevens, Beach Boys or Simon and Garfunkel. This kills me a little bit. And I feel like my dad will be disappointed in me!

A Farewell to Soup

Well guys, I hope you enjoyed soup week. I know we did! Never forgetting this is a food and music blog, I’d like to present our final thoughts in song form.

I don't think anyone has articulated the nation's, nay, the world's, feelings about soup quite so elegantly.


Traditional Lamb Shank Soup

My next contribution to Soup Week is a delicious Lamb Shank soup. My Nan served this soup up for Sunday Lunch when I last visited, and I enjoyed it so much that I asked for the recipe. Nanny tells me that this is one of her mother's recipes, and it makes me feel all warm inside to think that I'm enjoying this dish so many years after my great-grandmother first prepared it. It's traditional and delicious, perfect winter fare.

What You Will Need:
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 large sticks of celery
  • 1 large potato
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 large or two small zucchini
  • Any other vegetables you'd like to add to your soup (I included a tin of diced tomatoes in the soup pictured above)
  • 1 cup of pearl barley
  • 3 or 4 lamb shanks depending on how far you'd like your soup to stretch (I'd suggest four if you're feeding four or more people, especially if the shanks themselves are small)
  • Approximately 1.5 litres of vegetable stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup of fresh parsley, and any other herbs you might like to add to your broth
  • Salt, pepper and parmesan cheese to taste
What You Will Need To Do:

1. Dice all the vegetables, brown them slightly in a little olive oil, then pour over the vegetable stock (and tinned tomatoes if you're using them) Bring the lot to the boil.

2. Add the lamb shanks, pearl barley, bay leaf and any other dry herbs to the soup mix. Turn the heat down so your soup is simmering gently. You may need to add more stock to the soup here, depending on how much liquid the pearl barley absorbs as it cooks.

3. Simmer your soup until the lamb begins to fall from the bone. Remove the lamb shanks and roughly carve up the meat, then add back to the soup along with your chopped parsley. Serve hot with a little pepper and parmesan cheese on top.

This is the first ever meat recipe to appear on our little blog, I'm clearly not a vegetarian but I try to eat ethically, and I buy my meat from rare breed and organic butchers who source their produce from smaller farms that aim to minimise their impact on the environment. If you're a fellow inner-city Melburnian who is looking to support ethical farming, I'd suggest shopping at The Queen Victoria Markets in town, as a few of their butchers sell rare breed and organic meats from smaller, local producers. In addition, the Rare Breeds Trust of Australia is a useful resource if you're concerned with buying ethically sourced meat, and they support the lovely Collingwood Children's Farm, a worthy project operating out of Melbourne, and a gorgeous spot to enjoy breakfast too.

Flow Chart Pumpkin Soup

I had some trouble transcribing this recipe, because I’ve never made it the same way twice.

Which is the joy of pumpkin soup, really: pumpkin + stock + various herbs = delicious. There are no two ways around it! But much like skinning the proverbial cat, there are many ways to do it. So, because I can’t really remember how I made the one I photographed, and because my new office job has given me flow chart skills I rarely get to utilise in the real word, here is Pumpkin Soup Three Ways.

Sweet Roast Pumpkin Soup


Curry Pumpkin Soup


Winter Vegetable Pumpkin Soup

What You Will Need

These guys: 1 sweet potato, 1/2 a butternut pumpkin, 1/4 jap pumpkin

Roast Soup:

  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 - 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • 100 grams cream cheese

Curry Soup:
  • Curry powder, or your favourite blend of curry spices
  • 1 tsp dried chilli seeds
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3-4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 225 ml tin of coconut cream
  • Fresh coriander
  • Fried shallots
  • *optional: boiled, soaked or tinned lentils for some extra protein.

Winter Soup:
  • I brown onion
  • A couple of cloves of garlic
  • Not essential, but quite nice: any carrot, leek, or celery you might have
  • Butter and olive oil
  • Dried or fresh parsley and thyme
  • Chicken or beef stock
  • Sour cream
  • Croutons

What You Will Need to Do

Attempt to make sense of the following, hideously coloured flow chart:

Hopefully your flowchart adventures will end up looking something like this:

And tasting something like delicious.

Soup Week Leek Soup


While I'm not exactly rockin' the student lifestyle like Tara is, I am rockin' the recession. Well, not so much rockin' it as resenting it, really... my job security is low, my income is lower, and all this talk of consumer confidence indexes makes me want to crawl under my doona and sleep the doom and gloom of the 'GFC' away. Sadly my job requires me to get out of bed each day, so I've turned my recession fear from a cowering desire never to look at the news again into a new found frugality, lest I suddenly find myself in need of that thing, what's it called? Oh. Savings.

Today's soup costs next to nothing to make, it's damn well recession proof and a worthy contribution to Soup Week 2009.

Cheap and Easy Potato and Leek Soup

What You Will Need:
  • 5 leeks (or is it just leek?)
  • 2 large potatoes
  • Lots of garlic
  • A big sprig of fresh rosemary
  • Salt reduced vegetable stock (about a litre and a half, I think)
  • Salt, pepper and parmesan cheese to taste. Maybe some croutons too, if you're feeling fancy.
What You Will Need To Do:

1. Thinly slice the leek and dice the potato.

2. Heat a generous lump of butter in the bottom of a deep saucepan, then add the leek, potato, rosemary sprig and a couple of big garlic cloves, stir so the veggies are coated in butter and cook on a low heat until the leek is sweating.

3. Once the leek is limp and sweaty (I know you're all licking your lips at that delicious description) and is tender rather than tough, add the vegetable stock and bring the whole lot to the boil.

4. Simmer for at least fifteen minutes, then remove half of the soup mixture - leaving the rosemary sprig in the pot -and blend until smooth. Pour the blended soup back in with the chunky stuff and stir the lot to combine.

5. Serve hot hot hot with parmesan cheese on top, and some buttery toast on the side. You can blend the soup up completely if you prefer your soup smooth rather than chunky, but I quite like some of the potato and leek to stay chunky, for a bit of dimension.

I wouldn't recommend this recipe to anybody who doesn't enjoy the taste of leek, for fairly obvious reasons. Leeky in taste, leeky in smell. This is an altogether leeky sort of a meal. The soup is really creamy and delicious, and if you lose the cheese and use olive oil in place of butter the recipe is also vegan. It's really cheap to make, the last time I cooked it the only ingredients I had to cough up for were the leek themselves, the rest I had sitting in the pantry. So if you're worried that capitalism is about to come crashing down around us and we'd better start squirelling away the pennies before we're unemployed and starving, don't reach for the migoreng just yet! It is possible to prepare a meal on the cheap without compromising on taste or nutrition.

Check back soon for more delicious soupy goodness, and while you're here please enjoy this lonely little number. The perfect accompaniment to a day spent hiding under one's doona...

Roast Tomato and Capsicum Soup, Oh My

Oh my god, you guys! Welcome to soup week. Or, Week O' Soup, as I think of it.

It seems right to have our first themed week dedicated to soup. Who doesn’t love it? If you're rocking the student lifestyle, it’s perfect for either entertaining, or feeding you for a week, whichever you prefer. And it’s so adaptable – get some delicious base ingredients, and play around with methods, herbs and spices and you can get fantastic variations out of one simple recipe.

Which is what I did with the following – craving something with tomato and capsicum one chilly winter evening I got on my internet machine and hunted up a recipe. Souvlaki for the Soul didn’t disappoint with his Roast Capsicum and Tomato Soup. The perfect accompaniment to a winter night on the couch with friends indulging in the Jurassic Park trilogy.

The first time I made it was to the letter, with a sweet, rich tomato soup as end product. The second time I made it I adjusted to what was in my cupboard, substituting fresh flat leaf parsley for basil, paprika for chili, and using fennel and oregano to season the roasting tomatoes instead of balsamic vinegar. I ended up with a lovely robust winter soup, with vegetable stock flavours that really brought out the potato and capsicum, and a delightful warm red colour that really brought out the carnage in Jurassic Park 2.

Tomato and Capsicum Soup
Original recipe here.

What You Will Need
  • 8 roma tomatoes, halved lengthways
  • 2 large red capsicums
  • 1 large or 2 medium desiree or red rascal potatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Olive oil
  • 2 tsp Fennel seeds
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1 generous tbsp ground paprika
  • A few good shakes dried oregano
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • Good ole salt and pepper

What You Will Need to Do

  • Preheat your oven to 160 degrees C
  • Chop capsicum into pieces that sit relatively flat on a baking tray.
  • Halve your tomatoes and place face down, with capsicum, on an oiled baking tray.
  • Drizzle with oil, minced garlic, fennel seeds, dried oregano and salt and pepper.
  • Place in oven, set timer for at least 45 minutes.
  • If you have extra time, my suggestion is the longer the better!

Your veggies should look something like this going into the oven (if you mood lit them, like I apparently did) :

And something like this coming out:

Mmmm, wrinkly.

  • About ten or fifteen minutes before the tomato and capsicum is done, cube the potato and fry in a soup pot, with a little bit of salt, pepper, paprika, and olive oil.
  • When potato is tender add tomato paste, and fry for a further minute.
  • Add the fresh parsley, roasted tomato and capsicum, stir together.
  • Add stock and bring to the boil.
  • Blend it to hell with a bamix, or until smooth.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

You soup should look something like this before you blend it:

And something like this, after:

Speaking of things from the '90s that make me happy (dinosaurs on the big screen, mostly!) if you've been meaning to get into Pavement, now is the time:

We Dance - from Wowee Zowee
Embassy Row - from Brighten the Corners
Billie - from Terror Twilight

Soup Week 2009

Hello readers, and welcome to the first ever A Whistle and A Milkshake Soup Week! Tara and I are looking forward to bringing you a week of warm liquid goodness, with lots of delicious soup recipes to see you through the next few chilly months.

My lovely fellow blog-mistress and I decided to have a crack at Soup Week 09 on the back of a long e-mail conversation that revolved around soup, in many tasty incarnations. I've had soup on the brain these last few weeks, and in my tummy too. It is perhaps the ultimate comfort food, it banishes that freezing wintry feeling and warms the kitchen while it boils on the stove. I can't think of a more comforting meal than a big bowl of something warm with a buttery bread roll on the side. Mmmmm... soup. We hope you enjoy! 

PS. We will never, ever serve up 'Cream of Beefaroni'. We will always love Natalie Dee.