Saturday, 13 August 2016

Tin Can Forest

Here is a selection of Pam Grossman's supernatural Tin Can Forest illustrations. Her book What is a Witch looks well worth checking out. Perhaps I am anticipating autumn with its enchanted nights drawing in, unearthly staring moons, tortured wisps of log fire smoke pierced only by the spectral hooting of owls in the woods. Maybe even during the long summer haze there is a piece of us that never thaws and belongs to autumn. Knowing the dark dance of Halloween is waiting for us at the other end of summer's dying days makes the descent into the underworld all the more bearable. I know, "get some vitamin D, right?"

North Utsire

One Straw Revolution: The Movie

Following on from my previous post The Natural Way of Farming featuring a quote from Masanobu Fukuoka's One Straw Revolution, I found this short film originally titled "The Close To Nature Garden" which neatly summarises Fukuoka's permaculture system. It was filmed in 1982 and produced by Rodale Press (I'm assuming attached to the Rodale Institute in some way), which gives it a pleasantly earthy retro feel.

North Utsire

Monk Without a Sense of Humour

Another cartoon from The Book of Zen: Freedom of the Mind (Asiapac Comic Series) by Chih Chung Tsai (Illustrator), Koh Kok Kiang (Translator)

By North Utsire

Baked Haddock in Greens with Anchovy “Butter”

You should never leave stuff in the hands of a creative person. I mean, don’t say to them “just mind that Magnox reactor for us, see its safe”, or “don’t press that red button whilst I’m away”. That’s how accidents happen. But also, occasionally, good things. This is a  recipe I came up with after changing another internet recipe I’d found totally beyond recognition. I cant even remember where I found the original. There certainly wasn’t a haddock in sight. I know it had anchovy and unsalted butter in it, but mine has got “butter” in it. In this case that means a 50:50 mixture of ghee and coconut oil. Of course you can go back to plain old unsalted butter after you’ve tried this, but quite honestly, what would you do with the other half of the butter packet? I mean, sprinkling salt on toast just isn’t right. Its positively delinquent. So give this unlikely mix of flavours a go and see what you think.

The recipe is quite flexible, I’ve found. You can take the asparagus and green beans mixture and use it with anything, ranging from toast, to omelette, to dahl. In this recipe it finds itself on top of haddock and roast peppers with mushroom.

1 lb green beans
1 lb asparagus tips

Any greens will do, such as pak choi, cabbage, lettuce leaves, etc.

Steam the greens for 20- 30 minutes and take off the heat. Prepare the other ingredients whilst waiting.

4 haddock fillets
half punnet Mushrooms
2 sliced peppers

Prep these ingredients and set to one side ready to receive the greens as garnish.
2 Tbsp coconut oil
2 Tbsp ghee

Put on a medium heat in a large pan, sufficient to melt the oils.
1/8 tsp ginger powder
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
¼ tsp garam masala
1/8 tsp fennel seeds
1/8 tsp kolonji seeds
¼ tsp mustard seeds
2 minced gloves garlic

Add in the spices, stirring quickly.
½ cup fresh orange juice
1 Tbsp lemon/ lime juice
½ tsp anchovy paste

Before the spices stick to the bottom of the pan, or burn, add the fluids and the steamed vegetables.
6 tinned oil packed fillets with oil discarded

Add in the anchovies. Allow to cook thoroughly through for 5- 10 minutes, stirring frequently. By that point the dish should have sufficient body but not be too runny.

Cover the haddock & vegetables. Oven bake for 20- 30 minutes until the fish is cooked through & flakes succulently.

Mixed Seeds
Olive oil
Use seeds and oil as a dressing. Whole thing goes well with potatoes. Serves 4

North Utsire

Grannie (1971)

Here’s another album all but lost in the depths of time until rediscovered circa 1993, and re- released by Wooden Hill in 2010. It’s been described as "guitar-dominated heavy progressive" but I disagree. Its more like a connosieur blend of psychedelic prog- rock, reminiscent of Uriah Heep and Iron Maiden, with a hint of Led Zep thrown in. They seem to defy definition, but are undeniably British psych- rock:

“Very cool music that screams London underground at the turn of the 60's into the 70's. Too bad the production isn't cleaner. If you like T2, Clear Blue Sky, Fuzzy Duck, Hard Stuff, Pink Fairies etc you'll dig it.”

In 68/69, guitarist Phil Newton saw an advert in Melody Maker for an all-inclusive deal at David Richardson’s SRT (sound recording technology) business that offered 8 hours of studio time, a master tape and 99 finished LPs for £100. In 1971 the band booked SRT (established as Sky Studios in 1968) and within 8 hours had recorded the full album - mainly for themselves, plus gigs/friends and family. Incredibly, no copies were sent to major labels/impresarios, and only 99 copies were ever pressed. The band began to play on the London club circuit at venues like The Greyhound, The Marquee and even the Roundhouse. They had a residency at the Speakeasy in London, but had their gear & music equipment stolen whilst traveling (including one of the first Mellotrons). Which put an end to things. Bloody shame.

Some random 70's dude with a Mellotron to his left

The recording quality is not brilliant, but given its with us at all is nothing short of miraculous. In its December 2004 edition 'Record Collector' valued an original vinyl pressing of the album at £850.


Romany Refrain
Tomorrow Today
Saga Of The Sad Jester


Dave Holland
Johnny Clark
Jan Chandler
John Stevenson (tracks: B3)
Lead Guitar 
Phil Newton
Dave Richardson (2)
Dave Holland, Fred Lilley, Jan Chandler, Phil Newton

North Utsire