I’m going to show you how to cook green beans in a Turkish style savoury tomato sauce. It’s a really simple, tasty dish and the sauce can easily be adapted to accompany other ingredients.

Ingredients

  • Green beans, 500 grams
  • Onion, 1, medium
  • Garlic cloves, 2-4
  • Tomatos, 4-6, small to medium
  • Olive oil, some
  • Tomato puree, 1 tablespoon (you can use pepper or mixed puree)
  • Salt, 1 teaspoon
  • Water, 1/2 glass
  • Additional vegetables optional (see preparation step 4. below)

Preparation

  1. Snap the beans into lengths of around 1.5 inches (around 4cm), getting rid of any withered bits and/or the stalky ends. You can keep these in water until you need them.
  2. Finely chop the onions and the garlic. You can crush the garlic and/or throw it in whole (if you like to chew on chunks of cooked garlic…)
  3. Chop the tomatoes.
  4. (Optional) Slice any other vegetables you want to add; typical Turkish favourites include potatoes and carrots.

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Cooking

  1. Reduce the onions over a medium heat with a healthy amount of olive oil – around one wooden spoonful – I’m of the opinion you can never use enough olive oil in this (or any other) dish.
  2. Just as they begin to brown, add a tablespoon of tomato, pepper or mixed puree. Mix this evenly in.
  3. Immediately after, (to save your onions from burning) add the chopped tomatoes. Note: I’ve never tried chopped tomatoes from a tin in this recipe; they inevitably add an undesirable acidity, which clashes with the slight sweet aroma of the beans. If you go down this route however, I have found that more expensive brands tend to be less acidic. I would recommend experimenting until you find a brand you like.
  4. Add the salt. When the pan contents begin to bubble, adjust the heat to a slightly-above-gentle simmer. Add the beans (and any other vegetables), add half a glass of water, then cover and leave to cook for around 40-45 minutes. I like to set a 10 minute timer, stirring the dish each time it goes off. Check it’s ready by tasting a bean. If you chew on any stalky bits, it’s not quite ready.
  5. When its ready, turn the heat up to maximum and bubble through for 30 seconds, while stirring rapidly. Then set aside to cool before serving.

Side Dish Suggestions

The dish works equally well with fluffy white bread, crusty brown bread or rice. I like to cook a bowl of rice just before the beans have finished cooking so they are ready at the same time.

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siege-rhinoMagic

A couple of my friends flew to Milan last weekend for the M:tG Modern Gran Prix. None of the guys made it to the second day, but a friend from our testing group came away with a respectable 6-3-0 record (6 wins, 3 losses, no draws), which is really good for his first professional all-day tournament abroad. I can see our weekly testing continuing in the new year, and it’s fair to say me and the guys want to compete in more tournaments next year.

I’ve spent a lot of time this year getting back into M:tG, and have picked up two complete tier one decks to play with. I have just got the hang of the ever-changing meta of the Modern format (it helps that I have printed nearly 10 proxy decks of the formats more popular decks), and I’m really enjoying the experience of regular weekly testing and competing. I used to have a lot of competition in my life when growing up – karate tournaments took up a very large portion of my weekend time, not to mention the regular evening training sessions on the lead up. It’s good to have that thrill back, the camaraderie and the collective focus on learning and sharing.

Gold Flake Paint

Gold Flake Paint

Thank you to the people over at goldflakepaint.co.uk, who have taken the time to find, listen to and post a review of our recently launched album Paper Wallpaper. The review itself is a positive one – as you might expect when someone posts it on their site – starting with the line: “A sweet collection of hushed acoustic musings…”

I’d say it’s a fair and accurate assessment of the music. Go and read the rest here (it’s the second review down).

It’s great that people are taking the time to listen to and appreciate the music on the album, because a lot of time and energy was spent making sure it was an enjoyable listening experience. If you feel that it is, remember to share it with your friends – our goal is to get as many people to hear it as we can.

I’d like to share a recipe that I’ve been cooking a lot recently. As usual with the recipes I try to pick out, it’s a simple dish to follow and replicate, and it tastes really good. OK, here goes…

Penne Arrabiata

Penne Arrabiata

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 500g chopped tomatoes (fine or coarse – I prefer fine)
  • 250g pasta (penne style for ‘penne’ arrabiata – but seriously, go with what you know)
  • 2-4 table spoons olive oil
  • half a small onion, finely chopped
  • some garlic cloves
  • small chilli peppers (if you want it hot)
  • fresh basil
  • seasoning (salt, pepper, oregano, rosemary, marjoran)
fresh basil

fresh basil

blended tomatoes

blended tomatoes

pasta

pasta

Instructions

Make sure you have all the above ingredients ready. Chop the onions, garlic – and if you’re using them – the chillis. If you follow these instructions for simultaneously cooking the pasta and the sauce, you should have everything ready inside 20 minutes or less.

chopped ingredients

chopped ingredients

Preparing the pasta pan; I use a kettle to boil the water. Keep the heat fairly high (so the water is bubbling). Add some oil, salt and the pasta to the boiling water. Make sure you stir occasionally throughout.

pasta in water

pasta in water

Now for the sauce; heat a large pan (full heat, or nearly full heat). Add the oil, onions, garlic and chilli and stir fry together.

stir-fry ingredients

stir-fry ingredients

When the onions begin to brown, stir-fry a little more (I prefer them not too brown – but go with what you know) and add the tomatos. I use fine blended tomato from a carton – I’ve tried a few varieties. You’ll find the cheapest varieties will taste acidic while the expensive brands will generally have a better flavour. Honestly, tomatoes are an important ingredient for this dish, so don’t go too cheap on them.

add the blended tomatoes

add the blended tomatoes

The tomatoes will reduce the temperature in the pan. When it begins to bubble again, reduce to a simmer and stir occasionally.

Season to taste, and add some herbs – any or all of the herbs mentioned in the ingredients above will do, though if you have to stick to one, GO WITH BASIL for this dish!

season with herbs

season with herbs

Keep stirring both dishes occasionally. When the pasta is ready, so is the sauce (unless you’re using insane 2 minute boil stuff). As I said earlier, this dish will be ready in less than 20 minutes (it usually takes me around 15 minutes to cook once I start with the pasta).

drain the pasta

drain the pasta

How do you like your pasta? Once you’ve added your herbs to the sauce pad, taste the pasta. It should be a little too hard. Stir both pans occasionally, and taste/test the pasta every few minutes. When it’s ready (the pasta is as hard/soft as you like), drain and mix it into the sauce pan, making sure it’s all nice and coated. At this point you can take your pan off the heat.

mix the pasta and sauce

mix the pasta and sauce

Serve in a bowl and garnish with fresh basil and/or parmesan cheese.

Enjoy your (slightly spicy) Penne Arrabiata…

Penne Arrabiata

Penne Arrabiata

After months of work I can finally buy that foot-long cigar I promised myself upon releasing my first album:

Paper Wallpaper - by paper wallpaper

We made the tracks available earlier today and people have already been listening and downloading the tracks, the early response we’ve had has been great.

I have to thank everyone who was involved on the project, this has been a massively educational experience for me and I couldn’t have done it without the support of my musical friends and family.

Special thanks go to:

Clancy Hood – you have been my friend and confidant throughout this and I hope we can continue to support each other on any project in the future – musical or otherwise.

All the people who listened and provided their feedback on the earlier mixes of the tracks – thanks for your patience and valuable comments.

OK, enough of this stuff: go and listen to it!

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Song for pomegranates, the first single from paper wallpaper’s debut album has been released today on Bandcamp. The Song was written in England (Oxford and Brighton) and recorded in Sound Farm Studios in Turkey this summer. The bandcamp artist page, which can be found here, also includes a bonus B-side track remixed by DJ Triple M.

Rather than writing my own message to thank people individually for their help (which I’ll save for the album release post), I’ll just copy/paste the credits on Bandcamp:

song for pomegranates

Dominic Remmerswaal – lyrics, guitar, vocals, co-producer
Patricia Corredor – backing vocals, moral support
Baris Tosun – additional instruments, mastering, producer
Alex Matthews – violin, prancing
Amylin Loglisci – single cover design

the wayfaring stranger (Triple M studio edit)

Lyrics – unknown
Dominic Remmerswaal – guitar, vocals
Triple M – remixing, co-producer
Baris Tosun – mastering, producer

How to get the songs

The songs are available on a pay what you like basis, yes, that means you can ‘buy them’ for free. You can get either song individually or get both songs by acquiring the whole album, here are the links:

Also, for those of you who are that way inclined, here’s the paper wallpaper facebook page.

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