2015 in review: Top albums and gigs

Below are two lists: my top 10 favourite gigs of the year, and top 10 favourite albums.

Top 10 gigs

1. Pokey Lafarge – Corner – 9 April – Brilliant stage presence, such a tight band and so, so much fun! Pokey was my gig of the year for many reasons, but mostly because it caught me off guard (going in with little idea what kind of show it would be). He is such a great performer with an endless, genuine energy, his band was spectacularly good, and the show kept a solid dance party going without a moment’s rest.

2. Paolo Nutini – Palais – 1 April – ‘Iron Sky’ gave me shivers and ‘Pencil Full of Lead’ had me dancing – such was the versatility in Paolo’s theatre show. This performance showed an evolution to headliner status, with huge stage presence and the songs to back it. This one also had some of the funniest heckling.

11.4 PAOLO

3. Florence + the Machine – Sidney Myer – 10 November – No one receives a crowd quite like Florence. She brought everything to this show, embracing the crowd both figuratively and literally. How anyone can run and dance so much while singing like that is incredible.

11.1 FLO

4. Father John Misty – Meredith Music Festival – 12 December – Pipping his own sideshow for a place in my favourites, the reception Father John Misty (rightly) received in the Sup played a big part in this rating so highly. Hilarious, sarcastic, soulful and what great hair…

5. Marlon Williams – Corner – 3 July – The most memorable encore of the year. Marlon loves a few covers, but the double of The Zombies ‘Time of the Season’ and Screamin Jay Hawkins’ ‘Portrait of a Man’ was perfect.

6. Montaigne – NSC – 6 November – Another real surprise of a gig. I knew Montaigne had a cool voice, but wow can she sing. This felt like the start of something massive.

7. The Basics – NSC – 24 February – 3 hours of tunes and silliness and working on the spot with occasional sheet music from the crowd, this was one of the more memorable Basics gigs I’ve attended.

11.3 BASICS

8. Flight Facilities & MSO – Sidney Myer – 17 October – This was a special and unique event, with the MSO breathing new life into the electronic numbers. Katie Noonan’s soaring vocals and Reggie Watts’ hilarious cameo were my highlights.

11.5 FLIGHT

9. Mumford & Sons + Future Islands – Sidney Myer – 12 November – Future Islands redefine rock performance with dancing like this show, while Mumford & Sons brought some of the loudest and most glorious singalongs I’ve heard.

11.2 MUMF

10. Jordie Lane – Toff in Town – 18 April – Jordie continues to develop as a poignant storyteller, through songs and banter. An intimate performance of one of our recent greats.

Top 10 albums

10 Maccabees - Marks to Prove It
10. Maccabees, The – Marks To Prove It

09 The Wombays - Glitterbug
9. Wombats, The – Glitterbug

08 Mark Ronson - Uptown Special
8. Mark Ronson – Uptown Special

07 Father John Misty - I Love You, Honeybear
7. Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear

06 Marina and the Diamonds - Froot
6. Marina & The Diamonds – Froot

05 Calexico - Edge of the Sun
5. Calexico – Edge Of The Sun

04 Marlon Williams - Marlon Williams
4. Marlon Williams – Marlon Williams

03 Everything Everything - Get to Heaven
3. Everything Everything – Get To Heaven

02 Florence and the Machine - How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
2. Florence + The Machine – How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful

01 Lianne La Havas - Blood
1. Lianna La Havas – Blood

Eat the World – Part 11

Week 43 – Paraguay – 6 December 2015

With the end of the year in sight, South America needs to get a move on. In order to see more of the continent, my Eat the World challenge has taken on a couple of extra countries in its final installment (suddenly the count by week won’t make a lot of sense).

This week’s addition to the menu came from Paraguay via a dish named Bori Bori. This recipe sounded fantastic and while my result certainly looks questionable, I promise its looks were deceiving (especially eating leftovers the next day).

Basically this dish involved cooking beef with bacon and vegetables until the meat was breakaway tender. The liquid from this cook then became the broth for the second major component – the dumplings. Made from cornmeal, parmesan, egg, butter and onion, these yellow fellas proved tricky to pull off. While in uncooked form they firmly held their shape, once boiling many of them came apart and made for quite a cloudy stock.

Altogether, the pulled beef and dumplings created something I don’t think entirely represented Bori Bori look wise. It went down well, though, so that’s all that matters.

Recipe available here.

43 Paraguay

Week 44 – Ecuador – 8 December 2015

So much garlic! This week Eat the World landed in Ecuador, where I decided to stick to basics and pull together a few staples to create a meal.

The meat was the main player: Fritada de Chancho. This is pork braised in orange and looots of garlic. Like the beef of bori bori last week, the pork was given plenty of time to soften (fall off the bone tender), before being washed in orange juice. This last step was supposed to provide a blackening of the meat (with all the sugar), but I may have added a little too much.

Alongside the pork, I served a cob of corn, avocado and South American coleslaw.

Recipe available here.

44 Ecuador

Week 45 – Cuba – 10 December 2015

Cuba’s addition was picked for its name: Mojo chicken. The magical charm of this dish – its mojo – is citrus, as the chicken is marinated overnight in lots of orange and lime. The chilli and citrus zest give the chicken a nice bite and tang respectively, and the meat went down well with some extra wedges of orange.

Together with the chicken, I served black beans – fried with red onion, garlic, cumin, vinegar and touch of sugar – atop rice and alongside corn on the cob.

Recipe available here.

45 Cuba

Week 46 – Jamaica – 12 December 2015

Mmm… Jerk marinade. I have consumed plenty of the stuff over the years, yet somehow never got around to making it myself.
“What Jamaican this week?” you ask? Jerk Fish! And served with one mighty brilliant salsa.

The beauty of jerk marinade is that despite the huge list of ingredients, there is only one instruction: blend. The recipe I used included chilli, garlic, ginger, onion, thyme, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper, sugar, oil, vinegar, soy, orange, lime and the winning ingredient: dark rum! Once blended, the fish just bathed overnight.

For the salsa recipe, I again only had to combine ingredients, but the combo was spot on to accompany the fish. I consisted of diced banana and pineapple, mixed with chilli, coriander, red onion and lime juice. The lime and onion cut the sweetness of the fruit and it balanced beautifully.

To cook, the fish was thrown on the BBQ until charred and cooked through, then placed on rice with the salsa over the top. Fresh, healthy, clever and delish!

Recipes available here (salsa) and here (jerk marinade)

46 Jamaica

Week 47 – Mexico – 14 December 2015

I’ve been holding on to this one and while the wait was worth it. The wait was also entirely stupid – why did I not make this earlier!? A late addition from Love to Eat, this Mexican beef taco mix is the best!

First you brown your beef, then you slow cook it in passata, Worcestershire, tequila and all sorts of other goodies for three hours.

The meat falls apart, you add beans, and voila! Beef tacos ahoy!
My tacos incorporated sour cream with lime zest, carrot, red cabbage, capsicum, coriander and lime juice. But honestly, I could just have eaten a bowl of the mix. Yum.

47 Mexico

Week 48 – USA – 16 December 2015

I made it to North America for the final round of 2015’s Eat the World! Having travelled to the States in June, there were plenty of ideas floating around in my head for this final number. However, how could one go past an American classic: the hamburger.

This particular hamburger was a little different, though, as it was inspired by Brooklyn DuMont Burger’s “DuMac and Cheese”. Yes, it’s a hamburger with the greatest of sides served within it! Excessive? Of course it is!

No recipes required for this one – you make your burger how you like it and your mac and cheese to the highest level of cheesiness you can handle.

Served on a bun with arugula (yes, I’ll call it that this one time only), tomato and ketchup and served with a burger staple – the pickle! This was a heavenly evil way to finish things off.

48 USA

All eaten up, an end to 2015’s Eat the World

48 countries later (and 52 recipes if you include Festival of the Pizza), Eat the World has made it through a solid 12 months. As a bit of a recap, I’ve included a list of my favourites from the year below.

Thanks for reading and happy cooking!

00-12 Eat the World Final

Liam’s Eat the World top 10:
1. Week 18 – Iran – 17 May 2015 – Fesenjān
2. Week 36 – Ethiopia – 18 October 2015 – Doro Wat
3. Week 30 – Spain – 6 September 2015 – Rioja Chicken
4. Week 25 – Czech Republic/Hungary – 2 August 2015 – Goulash
5. Week 17 – Afghanistan – 10 May 2015 – Kabuli Palaw
6. Week 5 – Vietnam – 15 February 2015 – Banh Xeo
7. Week 46 – Jamaica – 12 December 2015 – Jerk Fish
8. Week 29 – Italy – 30 August 2015 – Gnocchi with figs and gorgonzola
9. Week 38 – South Africa – 1 November 2015 – Bobotie
10. Week 9 – Japan – 15 March 2015 – Sushi

2015 Annual Quiz

Last year I posted an annual quiz, recapping the events of the year. In 2015, I’ve made one bigger and better!

Below are my 2015 News Q’s, followed by a range of downloads that include more 2015 trivia games, including Faces of 2015 (male and female), news in photos, films, music, headlines (fill the gap) and more.

The full shebang is enclosed in the PowerPoint; however, you will need PowerPoint 2013 for this to work correctly. The video round “iTuned in” is only available in this download.

Answers are provided on the attached answers PDF.

Feel free to download, share, pick and choose, and enjoy!

2015 News Q’s

1. January: What is the name of the French satirical magazine attacked by gunmen who killed 12 people?

2. February: Who won the 2015 Australian Open Men’s Singles Final?

3. March: On March 5, what event related to Ebola occurred in Liberia?

4. March: What was the name given to the natural disaster in Vanuatu, which resulted in 40 deaths?

5. April: What were the names of the two Australians executed in Indonesia for drug smuggling?

6. April: A 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck which capital city?

7. May: What was the most talked about vote in the May Irish constitutional referendums?

8. June: Nine people were shot dead at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in what city?

9. June: What unit of time occurred for the first time in 3 years?

10. Who became the first transgender person to appear on the cover of Vanity Fair?

11. July: What was the name of the spacecraft that completed a historic flyby of the dwarf planet Pluto?

12. August: Which celebrity announced he would be running for President in 2020?

13. August: Customer details were hacked and leaked relating to what website?

14. September: The President of the United States nominates Eric Fanning as the first what (secretary of the army)?

15. September: Malcolm Turnbull was sworn in as Prime Minister on 15 September. What number Australian prime minister is he?

16. September: Who won the 2015 AFL Brownlow Medal?

17. October: What is the name of the civilian NSW Police Force worker shot dead outside Police Headquarters in Parramatta?

18. November: A nightclub fire that killed 32 people and resulted in the resignation of Prime Minister Victor Ponta occurred in what country?

19. December: What significant international conference took place in Paris and what was the conference objective?

Downloads

PowerPoint (use the command buttons within the presentation to move around, select answers, return to “Rounds” page, etc. – no need to go slide-by-slide): 03 2015 annual quiz – final

PDF questions: 04.1 2015 annual quiz – questions

PDF picture rounds: 04.2 2015 annual quiz – picture rounds

All answers: 04.4 2015 annual quiz – answers

Eat the World – Part 10

Week 39 – Argentina – 8 November 2015

From Africa, across the South Atlantic to South America, this week Eat the World brought me to Argentina, which tied in very nicely with the final Festival of the Pizza edition. Argentina loves meat and while the cheesy fugazzeta provided a rare meatless option, there’s little else to choose from if you’re a vegetarian.

My dish for the week was Argentinian Locro, a soup so hearty it hurts. You can’t call this a pork soup, nor can you call it a pumpkin soup. It’s a bowl that actually celebrates five ingredients: chorizo, pork, pumpkin, butter beans and corn. Chilli, garlic and spices add to the flavour of what becomes a heavy, textural mishmash that tastes quite incredible and fills you up with little effort.

A nice start to South America, this soup might have set the tone for the meat-loving continent. The recipe was easy, although I would recommend holding onto this one as a winter warmer.

39 Argentina

Week 40 – Chile – 15 November 2015

More meat in store this week, albeit in a healthier option. Neighbouring Argentina, Chile presented yet another swag of meaty recipes. The one I chose to go with, Pastel de Choclo Chileno (Chilean Corn Pie) is like South America’s answer to the Shepherd’s pie. And it’s delicious!

Two layers are prepared for this meal: the meat and the corn. Onions, loads of garlic and minced beef make the base, altogether spiced with paprika, cumin and oregano. Stock and flour turn all of that into a thick beef base that completes layer 1.

Next, the three corn components – corn, cornmeal and cornstarch – are united and blitzed to a paste before being cooked on the stove top. This layer is placed atop the beef, sprinkled with brown sugar and then the whole thing is baked. Easy peasy.

The recipe is available here. Alongside the pie, I served sweet potato chips seasoned in paprika and cayenne pepper. Mmm.

40 Chile

Week 41 – Brazil – 22 November 2015

Meat central almost struck again, as I discovered a wonderful variety of recipes for Brazil’s national dish, Feijoada. The thing consists of pork ribs, pork shoulder, ham hock, bacon and various sausages all cooked for hours on the stove… I almost went with this, but changed my mind last minute.

Instead, I went for something that strayed a little from the South American ethos of “more meat, more awesome”. Sopa de Camarao, or more simply prawn soup, ended up on the table in place of Pig Pig Celebration.

This recipe was a lot friendlier and arguably more interesting than the alternative. Cooked in coconut milk, the prawn soup felt more like a South Asian dish. However, therein lay the intrigue for the week – a crossover of cuisine.

Combined with egg yolks and butter, the soup was incredibly rich. But, along with the huge load of garlic and lemony prawns, it ended up balanced and was certainly tasty. Quite unlike your first thought of soup, this was a thick and flavoursome feast that more than filled us up.

41 Brazil

Week 42 – Peru – 29 November 2015

There are many ways to roast a chook; but what way is more joyous than having one swim in beer for 24 hours prior? The recipes I came across for Peru were a series of easy ones, aligning with the common themes of its South American neighbours. While it was simple options abound, I chose a lengthier roast for some variation from stews and soups.

Pollo la braza peruano translates directly to the Peruvian chicken breaststroke, which is such a perfect description for this dish. Loads of pepper, cumin and garlic (and I mean loads!) mixed with sugar and salt in red wine vinegar, canola oil and beer to create a marinade for the chook to swim in overnight. The result was an intense flavour that battles in your mouth – fiery, salty, sweet and tangy!

And after spending an hour in the oven (I opted for a more traditional roasting method than the one in the recipe), the marinade thickened to a beautiful, sticky sauce that added to the pleasure of everything on the plate!

Rounding out the plate, I served the chicken with fresh corn and avocado, as well as plantain chips, which I simply sliced thinly and roasted in a little oil at 200C for 15-20 minutes.

This recipe is available here.

42 Peru