Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Gluten Free Golden Gaytime Cake

Gluten Free Golden Gaytime Cake



So Tinman and his Golden Gaytime cake have been setting Instagram and Pinterest alight lately. Unfortunately, his recipe is gluten-filled, and no-one has yet attempted a gluten free version. Well I did, and it turned out significantly better than Tinman's cake (which doesn't appear to have a trace of honey anywhere, inexplicably) and I would recommend my recipe over his, personally. 

But this isn't Cupcake Wars.

You have a choice to make before you begin the cake. You can purchase gluten free biscuits from Woolworth's or Coles, and crush them for the outside of the cake, or you can make your own. There are positives and negatives to both. Making your own takes longer, and is much less convenient, but they taste better than store bought cookies.

If you buy your own biscuits, may I suggest Coles Gluten Free Anzac Biscuits. They have a delicious flavour and really add another element to the cake. Any plain, sweet gluten free biscuit will do though!

Whatever route you decide, this recipe is guaranteed to delight. I have switched the butter cake with a sponge, because sponge cake is just better, and I made it for my Grandma's 90th birthday, so the idea of a heavy cake with heavy icing didn't appeal. 

You can start making the biscuits a day before, and refrigerate the dough overnight, which is what I did, or you can do it on the day. The refrigeration allows the flavours in the dough to develop (apparently), and I did notice a difference in texture and taste between those I cooked straight away, and those I cooked the day after. Day after were more dense and the honey really came out.

Ingredients:

Cookies:
1/2 cup shortening, softened and chopped roughly
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup white sugar
2 cups gluten free flour (all purpose or your own mix. If there's no xantham gum in your mix, add half a teaspoon)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tbs vanilla
2 eggs

Cake:
1 cup white sugar
3 tbs water
4 eggs, separated
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups cornflour (gluten free)
1 tsp baking powder (gluten free)
1/2 tsp salt

Filling:
115g butter, softened, chopped
2 cups icing sugar
4 tbs Top n Fill caramel

Icing:
190g butter, softened, chopped
2 cups icing sugar
4 tbs milk
4 tbs cocoa powder

Method:

Cookies:
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius (160 fan forced)
2. Cream the sugar, honey, and shortening together in mixer until wet and sticky, about 5 minutes on high speed
3. Add eggs individually, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla
4. Combine flour and baking soda in a bowl and mix well. Add flour to the wet ingredients gradually, beating on medium until combined. You won't be able to knead the dough, it will be too sticky, but it shouldn't be so wet that it falls off the back of a spoon. If it's too wet, add flour by the tablespoon. Too dry, add milk by the tabelspoon.
5. Refrigerate dough until firm, about half an hour
6. Dollop tablespoon portions of the dough on a baking sheet on a tray, flattening slightly. They will spread out alarmingly so leave enough room.
9. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until, golden. Cool on the tray for 5 minutes then transfer to a rack.

Cake: 
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius (160 fan forced)
2. Line 2 spring form pans with baking paper
3. In a saucepan place the sugar and the water, and bring to a boil, sitrring every now and then to dissolve the sugar
4. Beat the egg whites with a mixer until stiff. Beat hard on a high speed
5. Slowly drizzle the sugar mixture in with the mixer running on a medium setting. Beat hard for 3 minutes, then add the egg yolks and vanilla and beat until combined.
6. Sift cornflour and baking powder and salt, and carefully fold in to the egg mixture. Watch this video for a bit of instruction. You want to make sure there are no visible pockets of flour, but don't disturb the egg mixture too much or it will collapse
7. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Drop the pans heavily on the counter when they are done to stop them deflating (google that if you're unsure). Turn cakes on to baking paper to cool

Filling:
1. Beat butter in a bowl with electric mixer until pale, add caramel and beat until combined
2. Beat in sifted icing sugar
3. If the mixture is too firm add milk by the tablespoon to soften. If too wet, add more icing sugar

Icing:
1. Beat butter in bowl with electric mixer until pale
2. Beat in sifted icing sugar, milk, and chocolate until combined

Assembly:
1. Take one of your sponge cakes and flip it, so the top is on the bottom and the smooth bottom is facing up. IMPORTANT: Place the cake on whatever you plan to serve it on. It is difficult to lift and move a gluten free sponge cake once you've already filled and iced it
2. Spread the caramel filling on top of the cake to desired thickness. I spread it about 1cm thick, but you can vary this depending on your taste
3. Crush your biscuits. You cna crush them any size, it depends on your preference. Spread a small amount on top of the caramel filling, enough to provide a slight crunch when you bite in
4. Place the second sponge on top of the first, with the bottom facing up again
5. Ice the outside of the cake with the chocolate buttercream icing. See this link for instructions. Spread the outside first, spinning the cake as you go. It helps to have the cake close to your eye-line and on something that is easy to turn (I just used the cake stand I was presenting it on). Fill in all the gaps and make it nice and smooth with a spatular, knife, or Mike Elder if you can get hold of him
6. Adding the biscuits is the hard and fun part. Make sure they're crushed, they don't look as good if you just place them on the cake fully formed. Sprinkle them over the top, and then grab a handful and gently massage them in to the sides, cleaning up as you go. It's a long process, but tilting the cake can be an exercise fraught with danger and isn't advisable
8. Serve :) 

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Gluten Free Anzac Biscuits Recipe

Gluten Free Anzac Biscuits Recipe



You don't need wheat or even oats to enjoy the satisfying, delicious crunch of a well-made Anzac bikkie. Follow me..

If you don't have GF self-raising flour, it's easy to make. For every cup of flour, add 2 tsps of baking powder, and a little salt.

Ingredients
125gm Unsalted  Butter, chopped
1 Tbs Golden Syrup
1 Tbs Honey
1 Cup Gluten Free self-raising flour
1 Cup Rice or Quinoa flakes (can be found in the health section of your supermarket)
1 Cup Dessicated Coconut
3/4 Cup Almond Meal
3/4 Cup firmly packed brown sugar
1-2 Tbs hot water

Method:
1. Place the butter, Golden Syrup and the Honey is a saucepan and cook over medium heat, until melted and combined
2. Combine the Flour, Rice or Quinoa flakes, Coconut, Almond Meal and Sugar in a bowl. Stir to combine. Add the Butter mixture and the hot water (1 Tbs at a time until you have a workable, not sticky, cookie dough). Mix well to combine, and knead gently so it comes together in a ball.
3. Wrap the dough up in plastic wrap and pop it in the freezer for 15 minutes to harden up. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius (160 degrees celsius for fan forced ovens).
4. Arrange the dough on baking trays lined with baking paper. Cut them in to whatever size you wish, and they can be as pretty or as rag-tag as you want. Place them on the baking trays so that they aren't touching, and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden. When they are done, allow them to sit in the trays for 5-10 minutes, until they are solid enough to handle, then transfer them to a wire rack.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Fast and Furious 7



Rating: 9/10

When you review a movie, it is often prudent to reproduce some of the plot in order for those who haven't seen it, or have no intention of seeing it, to be able to follow what you are saying. Judging from the fact I went to a showing a week after it opened, at 1:30pm on a Wednesday, and it was sold out, it's safe to say you've seen it. I will spare you.

The movie is pure insanity. Imagine giving the kid at your school who played with matches, an entire arsenal of flamethrowers. Then, throw him in a room with every other kid who ever played with matches, with similar arsenals, and let them do whatever they want. The chaos that ensues might come close to describing exactly what happens in Furious 7.

Ever since the third movie in Tokyo was met with a lukewarm response, the Fast series has endeavoured to pile on top of each iteration the kind of special effects that would make Star Wars seem like a plausible occurrence in the 1970s. In much the same way that The Rock stacks his pancakes of a morning, the Fast series has gotten more and more outrageous. From the beginning of Fast Five, when Dom is encased in a miliatry spec bus on his way to prison, and the team hijack it, basically destroy and explode it, as Dom casually walks out of it with nought but a scratch on him, the director has pushed the envelope of just how much absurdity an audience is willing to handle in order to be entertained. If you thought that ridiculously long runway in Fast 6, at the end of which they shoot down a plane (with Dom in it) whilst Dom walks out free as a bird was a little bit implausible, you may find yourself scoffing at the brilliance of Fast 7.

I say brilliance, because it genuinely is. I mean, who in the world sits at their computer and thinks that Paul running up the side of an overturned bus as it slides off the edge a cliff isn't quite exciting enough? Who then decides to have Letty turn up, 4 wheel drifting her American muscle car so the back wheels are inches from that same cliff, whilst Paul flies through the air, grabbing hold of the spoiler, and miss death by mere milimetres? Who decides to jump a Lykan between 3 sky scrapers? Who decides that Hobbs should turn up unnanounced and drive off a bridge, crashing in to a drone, and surviving in good enough health to then shoot down a helicopter with a hand gun? I mean come on!!! Maybe one or two of those things, but there's about 10 in this movie that just defies conventional imagination!

If you're tired out just reading that, Fast 7 is not for you. The plot is not laughable, but it's more unlikely than a Vin Diesel lean bulking cycle. Who is that weird man who drinks Belgian beer? Why is he so intent on helping Dom and his crew, to the point where he almost lays down his own life? How did Hobbs know where the drone was in order to take it out? How, if they were able to manually override the security system of an entire Abu Dhabi sky scraper, is that system then able to override them? And how does everyone else get out of that situation? How does Deckard keep turning up all over the place? Who in the world is Mando? If you thought any of those things during the movie, you thought waaaaaaaaaay too hard.

The problem is if you scratch at the surface, the whole thing begins to fall apart. The acting can be, at times, just truly horrible. Vin Diesel is like a slug on valium unless there is a fight scene. He delivers lines as if he has been the victim of a botched lobotomy, and his words of wisdom about family are fresh and emotional only due to the horrible implications of what they mean off screen. The Rock is The Rock. He is like Arnie. He delivers these incredible one liners that, in isolation, sound ridiculous, but in the context of the movie they are like a shot of adrenalin, they pump you up and have you jumping out of your seat screaming "Fuck yeah get that up ya!!". (Don't do this cause they may ask you to leave the cinema if you do it too many times). Letty is even slower than Dom though.. Her performance is static and wooden, she is the action version of Nicole Kidman. Her facial expression barely changes, and if she has ever experienced joy in her life, it was many many moons ago, because she seems incapable of portraying that on screen. The saddest part is the marginalisation of Tyrese and Ludacris. Luda is actually a decent actor! If you watch him closely he rarely misses a cue and rarely seems out of place amongst his more experienced cohorts. Tyrese is hilarious! He does get a role in this movie, but it is just comic foil, whereas in 5 and 6 he was one of the leading lights, his personality shining through the cold steel of Dom and Letty. Almost every line he delivered was met with laughs, and, in contrast to Dom, Letty and even Hobbs at times, it feels natural and organic rather than scripted.

Paul Walker, and I refer to him as Paul throughout this review and not his on screen character of Brian because to all of us Brian is now Paul. His performance is on par with that of his performance in the rest of the series. That is to say, he is stellar, and he stands out against the rest of the crew. The movies have been cast so brilliantly. Paul is the energetic, loveable, relatable guy who takes the route most of us would take. The way he gets out of conundrums and dangerous situations is not based on crazy plots or insane ideas, he does it using common sense and intelligence. His energy is infectious.

On Paul, the director and his staff must be commended on an incredible performance. It is obvious at times that he wasn't there for some scenes, but in no way does it take away from the movie, and if you didn't know the back story, you wouldn't recognise it at all. It's brilliant.

I just listed a bunch of negatives, and yet gave this movie a 9/10. It's an absolute riot. The action, the energy, the absurdity. If you go to the movies to be entertained, this will satisfy. You will be happy paying your $25, or whatever Event Cinema decides to gouge you out of. It's more fun than a Rock cheat meal! The cinematography is just awe-inspiring. How you can make a car jumping between sky scrapers look real is beyond me. The plot is fine. There are no 'OMG I didn't see that coming' moments outside of the insane action, but it moves along very nicely. The only truly poor part was when Dom is 'brought back to life' not by resuscitation, but by Letty regaining her memory. It loses a solid point for that. Despite that fact that tears were running down my face at that point, it was more due to the fact I knew what was coming rather than what was happening on screen.

The tribute. The whole movie is a tribute to Paul Walker. The way he illuminates every single scene he is in. It's not heavy handed in the slightest. If you think Paul telling Mia he loves her over and over is out of place, you haven't seen the previous movies. Their love, whilst not a focal point or even a particularly well-executed out plot point, has always felt genuine and real and never forced. It's a testament to the two strongest actors in the franchise that they have skirted around some poor script writing and cobbled together a believable relationship.

The ending is a tear jerker. It is the best thought out, best written part of the entire movie series, period. It isn't sappy, it isn't heart-wrenching. It isn't even part of the movie. Think of it as an additional ending, separate from the movie. But it's brutal. If you have invested as much time and emotional energy in to this film series as I have, Paul's death was already a difficult thing to deal with. Seeing him on screen like that, and knowing the relationship the actors had off the screen was serious.

RIP Paul Walker. What a way to be immortalised.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns Recipe

 Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns Recipe


 If this is your first time baking Gluten Free, caught up in the holiday spirit and the fact that buying commercially produced GF Hot Cross Buns is irreversibly expensive, you're in for a treat. Not only are these infinitely better than buying them from some faceless corporation (like Grandma's Gluten Free Bakery, pfft I'm better than that old woman!), the sense of achievement is unmatched. Well, in the world of first time baking it isn't. They're devilishly easy to make!

I won't bore you. Except to say that the first batch I made I burnt because my oven is incredibly temperamental, and these can be easy to burn (apparently). The second and third batches were perfect. Thankfully I now have a fridge full of them. Not for long..

Ingredients:
3 Cups GF flour blend (I used 1 cup Tapioca starch, 1 cup Buckwheat flour, 1/2 cup Sorghum flour, 1/2 super-fine white rice flour)
2 tsp Xantham gum (omitt if your GF flour blend has it already)
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1 satchet instant yeast (about 4 tsps)
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp cinammon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp apple cider vinegar (any vinegar will do)
3/4 cup warm milk (100 degrees F)
2 extra large eggs + 1 egg yolk (room temperature)
4 tbs of Butter, melted, cool
3 tbs of coconut oil (in liquid form, can substitute for butter if you don't have any)
1 cup of Sultanas (or currants, dates, choc chips, whatever takes your fancy. I used M&Ms I had leftover for my last batch)
1 cup icing sugar mixture
1/4 cup cream

Method:
1. Combine half the sugar and the warm milk together, stirring to dissolve. Add the yeast, and allow to stand for about 5 minutes whilst the yeast proves (it is ready when it starts to become bubbly and smells yeasty).
2. Combine the flour blend, the xantham gum, the rest of the sugar, the spices and salt in a stand mixer bowl, and mix until completely combined
3.  Add the Lemon Juice, Vanilla, Vinegar, Eggs, Butter, Oil and the proven yeast/milk mixture to the bowl.
4. Mix on a low speed with the Dough Hook in place to combine. Once combined, mix on a high speed for about 6 minutes, brushing down the sides with a spatula to ensure it all gets incorporated. The aim is to have a very stick dough but not runny, like traditional GF bread dough. You want to be able to shape and form it, but if you touch it it's very sticky. Alternatively, you can do this by hand. I usually use a fork (I know..), and it takes some elbow grease but you must work hard to combine everything. Once the dough looks right, add the Sultana's, and mix briefly until they are distributed throughout the dough.
5. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Using a 1/3 cup as a scoop, and a wet spoon to shape, scoop the dough out and shape it in to the form of a small roll. Space them about 2 inches apart. You should make around 9.
6. Place in a warm place to rise. You want them to be about 150% of their original size.
7. Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees (170 fan forced). Brush them buns with the cream. Place them on the same shelf if possible, in the middle of the oven, and cook them from 20-30 minutes. You will know they are done when they sound hollow when tapped, the top is a nice light brown, and they don't collapse or fall apart when you try to bend them. Keep an eye on them, lest they burn!
8. Cool on a wire rack. When they are cooled, combine the Icing Sugar mixture with enough water to form a thick paste. I didn't bother piping the crosses (cause I am terrible at piping), but if you are a perfectionist, fit a plain tip to your piping bag with a relatively small circumference, and pipe your crosses on. If the mixture is too runny, add more sugar, if it is too stiff to pipe, add more water.

Enjoy

Friday, 20 March 2015

Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp A Butterfly

Rating: 10/10

2Pac famously said "I'm not saying I'm gonna change the world, but I guarantee I will spark the brain that will change the world".

No-one is in a better place to to that than Kendrick Lamar. He is born of the age of information. Whilst his spiritual and revolutionary ancestors; Mandela, Malcolm X, and Tupac himself, all battled to have their message seen and heard and felt by as many people as possible, with the advent of the internet and the wildfire that is social media, Kendrick has the entire world at his fingertips.
To Pimp A Butterfly is an extension of the narrative that was so beautifully described on good kid, m.A.A.d. city. We were introduced to a young, naive, intellectual soul who, through experiences like Swimming Pools (Drank), The Art of Peer Pressure and Money Trees grew in to a figurehead of hood mentality. In much the same way that E-40 presents himself as hood famous through literal depictions of ghetto life, Kendrick used his mother and father to ground him and his actions in reality, with the brilliant closing remarks from his mother on Real a precursor for exactly what To Pimp A Butterfly is trying to achieve.


Opening with the sample of Every Nigger is a Star, by Boris Gardiner, is a more subtle way of re-stating the classic 2014 track by Lil B; "No Black Person Is Ugly". It sounds dated at first, until the incredible production from Flying Lotus, Thudercat and Sounwave gives way to a menacing, futuristic funk odyssey, in which Kendrick lays his feelings on the table from the drop: "At first I did love you, but now I just wanna fuck". Fame, fortune, violence, "fugazi" thuggery is all housed within this judicious intro. The scene is set..


If you haven't been able to follow the narrative, it is one of immediate simplicity, but the further you dig around in it, the more complex it becomes. During 2014, Kendrick appeared on The Breakfast Club to 'spruik' his polarising new single "i", which had blogs and heads alike wondering if Kendrick had, in fact, done exactly what he preaches against on this record. Rather than get in to the mechanics and specifics of the song, he explained that since the success of his first record, he felt he needed clarity of thought. So he travelled. He travelled the world as a successful hip hop artist, something only a blessed few have the luxury of doing. During that time, rather than soaking up his surroundings and living in the moment, Kendrick thought. He observed, he pondered, he noted and he filed each experience away in his memory bank, and he took them out again and considered how to apply in a way that would benefit his culture and his people. The message of To Pimp A Butterfly is one of hope and empowerment of a culture and a race; the same kind of thing that rappers have been focused on since the art of rap was created. But the conversation has gotten muddled along the way. When Jay Z rapped "If you put crabs in a barrel to ensure your survival / You're gonna end up pulling down niggas that look just like you", it was instructive of an entire generation of kids in the street, which Kendrick addressed even more potently on The Blacker The Berry, with "So why did I weep when Trayvon Martin was in the street? When gang banging make me kill a nigga blacker than me? Hypocrite!". 


The release of that song prior to the album was almost an act of defiance by Lamar and his label. For anyone lost in the throes of racism, it was inflammatory, and stand-offish. When you consider that Drake sold nearly 500,000 copies of his record in it's first week, with nothing more aggressive than a youthful phone hustle scheme, the bravery of Kendrick to put something like The Blacker The Berry out in to a world of diminishing album sales and diminishing returns was huge. In fact, it's a bravery that is echoed throughout the entire record, although rarely can he be accused of a lack of humility. On the despondent "u", in fact, he takes sharp aim at himself, "I place blame on you still, Place shame on you still, Feel like you ain't shit, Feel like you don't feel confidence in yourself". It's a moment of raw introspection that is not uncommon, but more viscereal for the words that follow, "I fuckin' tell you, you fuckin' faiulure, you ain't no leader".


It's during these moments that the beauty of TPAB comes forth. Whilst 2Pac was a visionary and a revolutionary who was hell bent on sparking change, his self-doubt was not over his actions, but rather what would become of them. Kendrick is chastising himself in much of this record. When he turns his focus inwards, such as on "These Walls", the results are startling, "wall tellin me they full of pain, resentment, Need someone to live in them just to relieve tension". The deeper you scratch away at the message of cultural empowerment, the more you expose the open wound that is the personality of Kendrick Lamar.


It would be remiss if this review didn't mention the incredible bomb that he drops on the music industry as a whole. Kendrick's admission on The Breakfast Club was a disillusionment with the fame he worked so hard to achieve, and on King Kunta he thrashes industry vets, "The yam is the power that be, You can smell it when I'm walking down the street" "Now I run the game, got whole world talkin' King Kunta, Everybody wanna cut the legs off him". This is, essentially, an extension of the title, as explained in the outro to Mortal Man. Kendrick is the butterfly, or "the talent", and the faceless men (think Lyor Cohen if you need a face) are using him and his beauty, in essence pimping him, and rappers as a collective. On For Sale? (Interlude) he spins a tale on just how seductive the lifestyle can be (just check out 50 Cent's instagram if you need proof), detailing all the way in which Lucy (Lucifer, or an extension of the rockstar lifestyle that comes with selling your soul for record sales) attempts to seduce him.


Kendrick will not be seduced.


Why is this record perfect? It's probably quite easy to sit back and say "well of course he was going to be critically acclaimed, look at his subject matter, he basically walked in to a classic". True, speaking from the heart, rejecting violence and embracing cultural revolution in a time of incredible racial upheaval will probably win you some fans. But I bet you haven't heard CyHi The Prynce's new mixtape have you? Did you hear Killer Mike's R.A.P Music? Did you go out and buy Tetsuo and Youth? The point is that not just anyone can do what Kendrick has done here, and a lot of it can be attributed to the brilliance of those around him. Sounwave, Flying Lotus, George Clinton, Rahki, Thundercat and LoveDragon are all on hand to soundtrack the movie that Kendrick is acting in. The wonderful funk throwback feels so much more immediate than anything Prince has done lately, and the only person you can truly compare it to on the same mainstream scale is D'Angelo. The way that Institutionalized begins almost like a slow burning Marvin Gaye song, but morphs so stunningly in to a Parliament riot (complete with yet another Win for Snoop Dogg). The way in which These Walls provokes a crazy inner groove, and yet still grounds itself with a swelling of orchestral dark clouds every now and then so the party atmosphere doesn't pervade too much. The free-reign jazz of For Free? then bleeds in to the effortless SWAGGER of King Kunta, which makes so much more sense as part of the record than a single. Kendrick has a team of writers around him, and major label backing. CyHi doesn't. In an interview last year, he was asked whether Dre was on the record (he is, but only via phone on Wesley's Theory). Kendrick replied that Dre was a consultant, and that he was such a useful resource because he "knows the frequency of a snare drum that listeners enjoy hearing on the radio". The sonics on TPAB are just dirty enough to have you reaching for your afro comb, but so wonderfully polished that they do not once sound dated, and probably still won't in a decade's time. Try telling that to Joey Bada$$.


Will Kendrick be the champion of change he seeks to be? Probably not. G-Unit will come out in a few weeks with a tape about beating people up for their chains and flying in G6's. It is ironic that in such an age of enlightenment and information immediacy that people like Kendrick have even less of a voice than 2Pac and Malcolm X. Whilst the power of words appear to become more important with time, their true power to provoke action seems to diminish the more we are exposed to them. Everyone likes to be seen doing something. No-one seems to enjoy doing it. 


As he said on Institutionalized: "Fuck am I s'posed to do when I'm lookin at walkin licks? / The constant big money talk about mainsions and foreign whips / The private jets and passports, presidential glass floor / Gold bottles, gold models, sniffin up the ass for / Instagram flicks, suck a dick, fuck is this? One more suck away from wavin flashy wrist / My defense mechanism tell me to get him, quickly because he got it / It's the recession, then why the fuck he in King of Diamonds? No more living poor, meet my four four / When I see em put the per diem on the floor" Institutionalized. It's going to take more than a hit record to reverse indoctrination, but if this is the first step, it's been made by a true genius.

 

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Lil Wayne - Sorry 4 The Wait 2


Rating: 8.5/10

October 28th and December 9th... Wayne fans know. These weren't enjoyable days. As hype built towards the expected (initial) release date of Tha Carter V, which was to be Wayne's magnificent return to form after the frankly laughable IANAHB2, keyboard residents were sent in to a nervous fervour. But the day came, and passed, and as is par for the course with Young Money, Cash Money, whoever they now are, a pushback was inevitable. By December 9th it became clear that this was a project destined for the Detox joke circuit, and we were desperate for new Wayne material, overplaying his offcuts like Gotti and Off Day until the individuals words lost all meaning.

Thankfully, through a couple of PSA's and videos, Wayne teased and tormented us but ultimately delivered, and Janury 20th we were graced with a huge 15 tracks of new Lil Wayne music.

And holy hell did the boy deliver..

We were all a bit concerned. I am a reviewer first, but I am also a Wayne fanatic, and despite constant ribbing from my rock-oriented friends, I am regularly seen driving around Sydney with my windows up and the aircon blasting, rapping along to Wayne. So I was worried. His voice on Off Day was back to his auto-tune heyday of the mid to late 00s (think Lollipop), but he was rapping about SEX!!! Sex sex sex. The man has more ways to describe a vagina than there are words in the dictionary. We all know what happened on his last studio album.. Wowzers. Enough said.

Still, with the impending implosion of Cash Money records, and the bad blood between Wayne and his father and mentor Birdman, we were awash with new material. And boy, did Wayne not disappoint. The opener, Coco, a remix of the OT Genasis track of the same name, went in. And I mean he went in hard. The first verse went something like this:

Who kept this shit together? Nigga, me, that's who
Who was there when niggas left us? Nigga, me, that's who

Cash Money is an army, I'm a one man army
And if them niggas coming for me, I'm going out like Tony

Now I don't want no problems, I just want my money
Ain't gotta hold no conversation or my luggage
Tell whoever's countin' that I'm on a hundred
Woo, Birdman Jr., more like Ugly Duckling

Yeah. Hardcore. Birdman just spat in to his double cup. To put this in to perspective, Wayne and Birdman have been tight since Wayne was a snotty nosed kid. He took him under his wing at the age of 9, and Birdman sat by and watched Lil Wayne become the best rapper alive, and then slowly decline, all the while selling truckloads of records, truckloads of trukfit, and signing certifiable superstars like Drake and Nicki Minaj. Basically, Wayne and Birdman built an empire from the ground up, one that has stood the test of time and remains the one true label that has endured (think of the death and decline of Rocafella, Shady Records, G-Unit Records, Murder Inc etc and you realise how much of an achievement this is). So for them to part ways was dramatic.

That's not to say S4TW2 is an expletive based tirade aimed at Wayne's father and mentor. In fact, the situation seems to have snapped Wayne out of his vagina-induced perma-haze, and finds him at his most lyrical since the classic mixtape No Ceilings. We missed mixtape Weezy.. Whilst Dedication's 4 and 5 were solid projects, they lacked the energy and enthusiasm that he displays here.

Some of that can be attributed to his delivery and his auto-tune, although anyone who claims Wayne is aping the style and delivery of Young Thug needs their head examined. Wayne and T-Pain fathered the auto-tune generation. But it's more than just that.. He sounds vicious, he sounds hungry. When he claimed the throne of Best Rapper Alive on Tha Carter II, you felt it, you felt he was embodying that role, he believed he truly was, and that no-one could touch him. On S4TW2 he is in peerless form.

"I don't know how you like your steak but I'm in rare form"

Indeed. On Trap House, he is breathless, relating his hectic lifestyle back to the imperious Michael Jordan. On Selsun Blue, over the top of All About The Money by Troy Ave, Wayne goes in and murders the original, spitting an elongated single verse about his lyrical abilities and the crack dealing past he sometimes revisits. Lines like "li li li lick my lollipop like it got gum inside / miami in the winter, cali in the summertime / my bitch independent, she don't ask me for a dime' is just straight on the fly brilliance, in the same vein as classic A Milli or Upgrade U.  On centrepiece Fingers Hurting, a thumper produced by Metro Boomin, he again follows the narrative of cocaine selling, cocaine taking, and just general free association rhyming.

The thing about Wayne is that he just raps. He goes in the booth and raps, and he has bars for days and days. He doesn't stop, he doesn't quit, he works, he doesn't even bother writing his words down because it slows him up. Watching him work during The Carter Documentary was intriguing. He would work through the night, carry a microphone with him so that whenever inspiration hits he lets it flow out of him. It's been years, though, since he has spat with such quality, for so long. The way he trades verses with both Drake (Used 2) and 2 Chainz (Preach) is indicative of his status. He murders them. And their verses aren't bad, but Wayne, as he said, is in rare form.

"Never seen my car before, it’s like a unicorn in traffic
Too much fucking talent, rap Shakespeare go Hamlet
You other boys could kiss the game goodbye, be romantic
Please don’t worry Nancy, all my weed is organic
If my children end up smoking
I'll whip they ass if they don’t pass it
"

What also becomes evident is a large part of his initial run of wins during the mid 2000s, syrup, or lean, has come back in to his life. No Type is a straight love song in the vein of Pussy Money Weed, or I Feel Like Dying, and whilst it contains the odd corny line (It was love at first sprite), it's easily the equal of more famous dual-meaning love stories, like Jay-Z's I Know, or 50 Cent's Baltimore Love Thing.  He even shouts out Katniss Everdeen.. I mean come on!

The only downside to the tape is the beat selection. Most of these beats have been played ad-nauseum, and remixed repeatedly. Whilst Wayne's versions are generally better quality, it does get tiring listing to Hot Nigga again, or Tuesday. The only other true misstep is Drunk In Love, with his new girl Christina Milian. Whoever is telling those two that they have chemistry in the booth is straight lying. Their previous collaboration, Start A Fire, did anything but, and in fact may have been the very reason Carter V was not released on it's new date of December 9th.

What can we take away from this tape? It is more coherent and focused than the original S4TW. It features a rejuvinated Lil Wayne. It features a Wayne that is at his most lyrical for years, and it once again solidifies him at the very top tier of the rap game. He is a punch line rapper, so he cannot be mentioned in the same sentence as Lupe Fiasco or Joey Bada$$, but as a punch line rapper he is absolutely top of the tree.

Sorry for the wait? Thank the gods for it. Carter V, if it is anything like this, will be well worthy of his Carter series, and could possibly be the best installment yet..





Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Homemade Gluten Free Sourdough Pizza Dough

Homemade Gluten Free Sourdough Pizza Dough

 

OK this recipe is an absolute star in my current line up. And I think it will become one in yours too.. It's so cheap, so delicious, and so easy to turn in to a Michelin star meal that you will be making pizza at least twice a week if you have a nice and healthy Starter.

 First things first, do you have a Gluten Free Sourdough Starter? If not, fear not! I have got you absolutely covered right here on my How To Make Gluten Free Sourdough Starter Recipe. It's super detailed and has everything you could ever want.

Now, we know that Gluten Free food is ridiculously expensive in the super market. A single Gluten Free pizaa crust from my local supermarket? $7.76. No joke. That is abhorrent!!!! This Homemade Gluten Free Sourdough Pizza Dough will cost you a tiny little fraction of that. I am talking.. Less than 50c. And I am all about saving money right now, so this is a value hero for me, because if you make two of these crusts, it is easily enough to feed a hungry family of four.

This recipe takes about 9 hours all up (8 hour+ rising time), and it makes up one very large pizza crust, enough to feed two people. If you have four people to feed, double it up.

Ingredients:
1 Cup Gluten Free Sourdough Starter
1/2 Cup Warm Water
1 Tbs Salt
2 Tbs Oil
1 1/2 Cup Gluten Free Flour Blend (Again, remember, 1/3 of this must be starch, the other 2/3s can be anything) I personally use 1/3 Tapioca Starch, 2/3 Glutinous White Rice Flour

Method:

1. In a large bowl, stir together Sourdough starter, Water, Salt and Oil.

2. Add the flour gradually, mixing well after each addition.

3. The dough needs to be kneaded properly, like wheat dough, so add more flour or water accordingly. When the dough is the right consistency to handle, cover your hands in flour and get to kneading! Knead until you have a nice smooth dough ball.

4. Sprinkle a generous helping of flour back in to your bowl, making sure to coat the sides well. Place your dough ball back in to the bowl, cover loosely with cling film, and place it in a warm place to rise for 8-24 hours. It should just about double in size during this time.

5. If it isn't rising, give it some help. Place it in your oven and set it to its lowest setting, or, microwaves a mug of water for 1 minute, and then place the dough in the microwave with the mug.

6. When it has risen, you can do 1 of 2 things. You can freeze it for future use, or press it out and cook it now. I like to make 2 'dough's' at a time, and freeze one for later in the week, it's much easier.

7. When you are ready to cook, pre-heat your oven to 200 degree celsius (180 fan forced). If you have a pizza stone, congratulations! Use that. If you don't, just line a baking tray with baking paper. Sprinkle some flour on to the baking paper. Place your dough ball in the centre, and press it out to about 1-2cm thickness. Use your fingers, not a rolling pin, as this dough tends to be sticky. Flour your hands if the dough is sticking to them.



8. Brush your pizza crust with a little bit of olive oil, and maybe half a teaspoon of salt, just to make it even more delicious. Now, pop it in the preheated over for 10-12 minutes, or until it is firm and starting to brown.

9. The most fun part of all. Top your pizza! I've been using puree'd pumpkin lately instead of traditional pizza sauce, but you can top it with absolutely anything and everything (although don't over-crowd it). Keep it relatively simple.

10. Place it back in the oven for a further 15-20 minutes, depending on how crispy you like your crust. Take it out, serve, enjoy!