Tuesday 8 November 2011


I think it's about time I wrote about one of my most beloved beverages: coffee. Contrary to popular belief, coffee is quite beneficial to your health. Among other things, coffee can increase your alertness, is rich in antioxidants, which prevents high blood pressure and pre-mature aging and, according to a study done by Harvard Medical School, regular coffee drinkers are 50% less likely to suffer from certain types of cancer!! (Oh and by the way, I'm not a qualified medical professional so don't take any of the above statements as gospel, I just read them online! So I take no responsibility for any coffee-related health issues!)

The history of coffee goes at least as far back as the 13th century. It is believed that the Ethiopian ancestors of today's Oromo people were the first to discover the energising effect of the coffee plant. From Ethiopia, coffee was said to have spread to Egypt and Yemen. By the 16th century, it had reached the rest of the Middle East, Persia, Turkey and North Africa. Coffee then spread to Italy and to the rest of Europe, to Indonesia and to the Americas.

Well, enough about history! Where do you source the grounds for your morning 'cup o' Joe'? I stumbled upon a wonderful little establishment as I was walking around Cork city, one day. It's called 'Little Buddha', it's located at:
 21 Mc Curtain Street,
Cork City,

They have a huge selection of coffee beans ( as well as premium blended tea leaves, among many other items.) ranging from Columbia and Nepal to Peru and Ethiopia. On top of this selection, they have flavoured coffees, including 'Baileys' flavour, 'Belgian Praline', 'Hawaiian Nut' and 'Hazelnut'. The woman who runs this establishment is also very helpful. 100g of ground or whole bean coffee will cost you, on average, €4.00 but it is definitely worth it! 
I recently bought 100g of 'Vesuvius', a full-bodied, aromatic, strong coffee and 50g of 'Panama', grown in Panama itself, this fruity, slightly tangy coffee is a great choice fr those not too keen on the stronger blends. Starbucks House Blend is a blend I really like as well. Very flavoursome. It's available in any good Tesco.

Now onto the drinks themselves. My favourites are the classic black or 'Americano' coffee and a good, strong espresso. 
I make my Americano in a French press, which works pretty well, I think. I enjoy my espresso after a meal. On top of tasting great, it also aids your digestion. I invested in a stainless steel , Bialetti, two-cup, espresso maker last summer. One of the best investments I ever made! It works like a dream and produces excellent espresso. I use Simon LĂ©velt, Roma, but I've almost run out now. Segafredo is a brand I enjoy too. Anyone ver heard of 'Badger & Dodo'? They're an Irish coffee roasting company, whose espresso blend smells amazing from the bag (I haven't actually bought any yet!).
I have tried making lattes lately. A double espresso mixed with heated frothed milk, which I froth in the French press, is a nice change from your ordinary espresso.

That's about all I have to say on that matter for the moment! If you know any good coffee brands or small, unique roasting companies like 'Badger & Dodo', I'd love to hear about them. Also if you know any variations of lattes, espresso recipes or other coffee-based drinks, leave a comment below and I'll be sure to try it out!
Until next time,
Happy coffee drinking!


Friday 21 October 2011

Ready for Strangeland?

© Strange Music
 Not long after the 'All 6s and 7s' album was released last June, the King of Darkness' 'Welcome to Strangeland' album will be let loose on the 8th  November 2011.
For Technicians, this is a big thing! The album promises to be an epic one, possibly even topping previous collabos such as 'Misery Loves Kompany' and 'The Gates Mixed Plate'. From what I'm hearing, there is huge anticipation for this album and the teasers on YouTube aren't helping to ease the tension! Tech recently realeased the tracklist for the album, which will feature: Krizz Kaliko, Jay Rock, 816 Boys, ¡MAYDAY!, Brotha Lynch Hung and more.
The tracklist is as follows:

1. Stars
2. Welcome to Strangeland (featuring Krizz Kaliko)
3. Unfair (featuring Krizz Kaliko, Ubiquitous of Ces Cru & Godemis of Ces Cru)
4. Kocky (featuring Kutt Calhoun & Jay Rock)
5. Who Do I Catch
6. My Favorite (featuring Prozak & Brotha Lynch Hung)
7. Retrogression (featuring ¡MAYDAY!)
8. Bang Out (featuring 816 Boys)
9. Beautiful Music
10. Won't You Come Dirty (featuring Young Bleed & Stevie Stone)
11. Sad Circus (featuring Brotha Lynch Hung & Courtney Kuhnz)
12. The Noose (featuring ¡MAYDAY!)
13. Slave (featuring Krizz Kaliko & Kutt Calhoun)
14. Overwhelming (featuring Jay Da 3rd)
15. Gods (featuring Krizz Kaliko & Kutt Calhoun)
16. I Need A Drink
17. The Real Thing (featuring Liz Suwandi)
18. EMJ

Judging by this alone, it's going to be a massive underground hit!
Personally I can't wait to hear the entire album and once I get it, won't stop listening to it for days!

Make sure to stay up to date with news of new releases by following the Strange Music blog
and following Strange Music on Twitter: @StrangeMusicInc

Monday 17 October 2011

Bay Area Dubstep Vol. 2

Photo © Full Melt Recordings.
I recently came across an album entitled 'Bay Area Dubstep Vol. 2' and was pleasantly surprised when I sat down and listened to the album all the way through.
The first track,'Tip Tap Toez' by Djunya is an absolute banger! The combination of the crisp melody, the dubbed-out beat and the crushing yet gentle bassline made this track a feast for the mind!
As track one faded into 'Evolution' by OSC I continued to be amazed by the quality of the dubstep producers in the Bay Area. I had never before really explored dubstep from West coast of America except for Flying Lotus and Burial, both of which are well worth checking out, but I was impressed with this album. Anyway, back to the album, 'Evolution' is followed by 'Oh Contrarians' by Spit Brothers. At first this track sounded like more of a top-notch dub concoction, but after listening to it again and paying close attention to it, you will notice a subtle but effective bassline. Another great plus in this track is the guitar 'riff' or 'chord' that occurs throughout the piece. Correct me if I'm wrong as I'm not a guitar player myself so I'm not very clear on the difference between chords and riffs! I feel this high-pitched chord-riff adds to the track greatly. By the way I'm not going to mention all the tracks on this album, just my personal favourites. OSC delivers again, this time accompanied by DJG with the track, 'One Mile High (Featuring Budros Gali)'. I love this one because of the brassy samples all the way through, not to mention the highly pleasing wobble! A definite favourite of mine!
'Rambo Style' from Antiserum erupts through your headphones/speakers, in my case headphones (Marshall Majors), with a kick and vocal sample that promises great things to come. It does not disappoint! Not long into this track the bass drops and, I promise you, you will never look back. This bass, mixed together with a space-y, ethereal melody, the odd greeting from a steel drum and suitable vocals, makes for a track I could see being a dub-pit classic! 
Moving on we have another distinctive sound bite. 'Airbag', the creation of Blackheart is not something to sneeze at! The tense build up to the drop is very effective and when the bass does indeed drop, the ensueing oscillation is well worth it! A very well put together track, in my opinion.
Finally to the closing track. The atmospheric sounds of Ripple with the track 'Sunday Morning Dub' is a fitting conclusion to one of the most impressive dubstep compilations I have heard. The continuous wavering bass is accompanied by haunting vocals and a foot-tapping beat which leaves the listener chilled-out, relaxed and ready for whatever life could throw at him/her.
I would highly recommend this album to anyone with an interest in electronic music. You can find it on iTunes: HERE. 

I hope you have found this helpful, and I hope you check out the album!


Thursday 13 October 2011

A Beautiful City..

One of the reasons that I love to travel is the feeling you get from seeing somewhere new! That excited feeling as you set your eyes on a totally new landscape, previously alien to you cannot be matched! The first time I traveled to America I wasn't looking forward to it at all but as we left Chicago, O' Hare airport I was speechless at the sight in front of me. I could clearly see the John Hancock building and Sears Tower from the airport, it was amazing. A family friend collected us from the airport and brought us to his house for a bite to eat before he gave us a quick tour of Chicago, and then took us to where we were staying. The volume of traffic downtown was incredible. Cars were bumper to bumper the whole way in on Lake Shore Drive (or LSD for short!!). We passed by Wrigley Field, the home stadium of the Chicago Cubs, and then to Hyde Park, where we stayed with another family friend. Walking around downtown the next few days was incredible, Chicago is an amazing city. The combination of the downtown metropolis next to the beachfront of Lake Michigan  is the perfect combination of city life and relaxation. The cool breeze from the lake ensures the temperatures in Chicago in summertime are never too unbearable. One thing I would recommend is the sunset architecture tour on Lake Michigan, because it brings you around Chicago by boat, all the while educating you on the city's greatest architecture and then brings you out i nto Lake Michigan for a full panoramic view of the city. It's a sight for sore eyes!

 My experience of Chicago was so good that it would be my first preference of a place to live over anywhere else in the world! I'm hoping that someday I'll fulfill this dream!

I would advise anyone to visit Chicago at some point over the course of their lives, if possible!

I hope you found this interesting,

Wednesday 12 October 2011

Intelligent Music..

What is it about pop music and other mainstream music genres that is so off-putting? The shallow meaningless subject matter? The monotony of the genre? Whatever happened to the days when music used to have intelligent lyrics? It is at least reassuring that there are still artists who havent sold out to the masses and who compose works of value. One such artist that springs to mind is Zion I. I find that the song 'Leader' has quite an inspirational subject. 'No Regrets' by Aesop Rock is another intelligently written piece. It inspires the listener to  always follow their dreams and not just give up on them. It's reassuring to know that artists still value the importance of the love of music over the money it will make the artist! Long live the underground!

Don't settle for low-grade music,

Tuesday 11 October 2011

An Easy Meal..

One of my favourite meals to prepare with  mix and match ingredients is an omelette. These protein-rich delicacies are extremely handy for using up leftovers and other items in your fridge you don't know what to do with. I like to chop a tortilla into small strips and toast them in the pan before i add in anything else as it gives the omelette an added bite. You should use about two eggs per person depending on your own taste and hunger levels! 
This is a recipe I like to use:
You need (for 3 - 4 people): 
4 eggs (beaten), 1 onion (chopped), 1 red pepper (diced), 3 - 4 handfulls of mixed salad leaves or spinach, 1 tortilla (cut into strips), a handful of cherry tomatoes, a pinch of oregano and a pinch of smoked paprika (not essential).
Heat some rapeseed oil or any other cooking oil in a pan, add in strips of tortilla and toast until crispy. Next, add in the chopped onion and pepper and fry with the tortilla until the onion is soft. Tear the salad leaves and add to the pan. Allow leaves to wilt and then add the oregano, paprika and the beaten eggs. Ensure the entire mixture is covered by the egg. Turn on your grill to a medium heat and when the base of the omelette is cooked, add the whole tomatoes and put the frying pan under the grill to cook the top side. When the omelette is ready, remove from the heat and cut into portion sized segments. Serve with a side salad, a slice of brown wholegrain bread and a slice of lemon. 

I hope you have found this interesting and helpful!

Monday 10 October 2011

Why Not Try..

This evening as I was whipping up something simple for dinner I decided to experiment with a steak. I gathered together three basic ingredients that most people would have in their kitchen: lemon, pepper and brown sugar. I proceded to season the steak quite thoroughly on both sides  ( I like pepper quite a bit), then squeezed about a tespoon of lemon juice onto it and finally rubbed approx one teaspoon of brown sugar into it which made a paste with the lemon juice. Massage this paste well into the steak fry on a ridged frying pan for best results. (Quick tip for frying steak: Wait until your pan is smoking hot to fry the steak as this will ensure it is cooked to perfection.) Fry until golden brown on each side and thoroughly cooked. I like to serve this with a large mixed salad consisting of raw spinach leaves, rocket, diced cucumber, red pepper and spring onion. Dijon mustard is a great addition to this dish also.

Hope you try and enjoy!