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By The Numbers: Ageism In Hip-Hop Doesn't Exist

The argument that rappers must lose relevance after a certain age is as old as hip-hop itself, and artists like Rakim, 50 Cent, LL Cool J, M...

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..





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!


Easy Gluten Free Sourdough Bread Recipe

 Easy Gluten Free Sourdough Bread Recipe

 

 

Look, Gluten Free baking kind of sucks. It's trial and error, its touch and feel, it's hit and miss. My mum, who spent the better part of a decade baking GF bread, even occasionally makes a dud loaf. If you've ever baked with GF flour before, you are probably all too aware of the feeling that a giant door stop is lurking in your oven. It smells great, but it has the density of a Stephen Hawking book, and it's as chewy as the bits left in your mouth when you eat Celery.

However! The fact that all of this is true makes the successes all the more sweet. This recipe is by no means a fail-proof one. No Gluten Free bread recipe is, no matter what the blogger claims. You have to know your flours, know your oven, and know your atmospheric situation, as well as knowing your sourdough inside and out. Know how hydrated it is. Know how aerated it is. If you have a gooey mush that looks as bubbly as a 5 year old can of coke, you're not going to have great results no matter what you do. Nowhere else is it more important in Sourdough baking that you have a very active, very bubbly, very eager starter.

Now, because this is Easy Gluten Free Sourdough Bread Recipe, and because you are time poor and do not treat cooking like a science (like myself), I am not going to urge you to weigh and calculate the hydration of your starter. Who cares right? Life is too short. As long as it isn't runny, that it coats the back of a spoon when you dip it in (if it falls off the spoon that is perfect! A nice drop though, not a runny one), and it is very bubbly and puffy, you are good to go!



A quick note on ovens. My oven is about as hot as Kim Kardashian without makeup. So I have to add 10 minutes to cooking time to get a decent result. Pre-heat your oven, make sure it is pre-heated. Then, when 40 minutes passes, check your loaf for a number of things. Firstly, it should sound hollow when you tap it. Secondly, it should be solid and not break apart when you lift it. Thirdly, if you have a thermometer, check the internal temperature is around 95 degrees celsius. And finally, give it a very very slight bend in the middle.. If it come apart nicely, with a slight propensity to crumble, you've nailed it!

Also, I do not use Xanthan Gum in this recipe. You may use it if you wish, but if you have your flour mix correct you won't require it.

Easy Gluten Free Sourdough Bread Recipe

Time: 9 hours (20 min prep, 8 hours rise, 40 minutes in the oven)

Ingredients:

2 Cups Active Sourdough Starter (Nice and bubbly!)
2 Cups Gluten Free Flour Mix (I used 3/4 cup Tapioca Starch, 1/2 Cup Sorghum Flour, 3/4 Cup Glutinous White Rice Flour. Remember: A third needs to be a starch of some kind, like Corn, Tapioca or Potato, and 2/3 can be any flour you desire, with the exception of Coconut, which requires more liquid)
1 Tsp Salt
2 Tbs Sugar
2 Tbs Olive Oil
1 - 1 1/2 Cup of Warm Water

Method:

1. Prepare a loaf pan or other vessel in which to cook your bread, greasing it with butter or lining it with Baking Paper. Combine your flour mix and the salt and mix well, ensuring it is well incorporated.

2. Add your Sourdough Starter to the flour mix, and add the Sugar and the Olive Oil. Mix until just combined, or the mixture resembles big chunk bread crumbs

3. Add the water, 1/2 a cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. The dough will NOT be like a Wheaten dough, you will not be able to knead it. You are aiming for a thick, pourable batter, similar to a cake mix. The dough is ready when it comes easily away from the sides of the bowl when you stir it, and it coats the back of a spoon and runs off it. As you progress you will learn to get the consistency right, but basically you want to just be able to pour the dough from the bowl in to the prepared tray with a little help from a spoon. Not as runny as custard. Think of the consistency of Porridge.

4. Pour the Dough in to your prepared tray, cover with a damp tea towel, and leave in a nice warm place to rise for 8 hours. It should almost double in size. You don't want it to rise too high, or it will collapse. If you find it isn't rising, place it in a warm over, or microwave a mug of water and place the bread in the microwave, the steam will help it to rise.

5. Pre-heat your oven to 175 Degrees Celsius, 155 Fan Forced, or 350 Degrees Farenheit. Place the Dough in the middle of the oven and cook for around 40 minutes.

6. Check at 40 minutes. If the internal temperature is at least 95 Degrees Celsius (200 F), when you tap it, it feels hollow, and the top is nicely brown, remove it from the oven. If it isn't done yet, bake it for 5 minute intervals, checking every 5 minutes until done.



7. Turn out on to a rack and allow to cool completely until you attempt to slice it.

8. Slice it VERY CAREFULLY! If you are too rough with your Gluten Free Sourdough Bread, it will crumble, and your dreams of a lovely farmhouse loaf will be shattered..

Store it in the fridge for up to a week, or freeze it for 3 months.

If you want to make a traditional sourdough loaf with just flour and water, you can easily omit the oil and the sugar, and just add a couple more tablespoons of water to make up for that loss of liquid.







Gluten Free Sourdough Doughnuts Recipe

Gluten Free Sourdough Doughnuts Recipe


It was my mates birthday yesterday, and he loves sugar. I will never forget one year, we were camping together, and for breakfast our parents had cooked up a storm. Bacon, sausage, egg, beans, toast, avocado.. We all ate our fill, and decided to drive off our belly's by heading in to town. Half an hour later, my mate was at the local bakery, ordering THREE jam filled doughnuts AND a milkshake.

Can eat.

So it was his birthday, a 30th no less, what to get him? Easy. I've been desperate to add to my Sourdough recipe arsenal, and this was the perfect opportunity to road test my Gluten Free Sourdough Doughnuts Recipe!

Now.. There isn't a single recipe matching this description on Google. Normally, I would present you with a recipe and add a personal twist to it. Not so here, because no-one else has tackled this apparently important task. Sure, there are sourdough doughnuts. But they aren't gluten free. And there are gluten free doughnuts. But they use yeast. This recipe will allow you to use up that yummy sourdough starter you have fermenting away on your kitchen counter, hopefully influenced by my own recipe here. Yep, this is brought to you by my own Martin The Morose.

Now, a lot of GF recipes treat kneading like smoking. It's OK to do it once a year, but for everything else, don't overwork that dough. So, blindly I waded in to battle with a rough recipe that called for a nice, standard GF dough, i.e. very wet. Ha! Yeah right. Try cutting doughnut shapes out of oatmeal and you'll understand just why doughnut dough needs to be kneaded. Half an hour in to my task I literally had dough gloves on.. In fact, check out my work space:


Trust me. When I took this photo, my iPad looked like a square piece of dough. So I had to tweak. Clearly, the usual gluten free method was not going to work. So I added flour. And more flour. And more. Then I had lunch, then I added some more..

I must add, this is not my first foray in to the doughnut world. I have made many a batch, ranging from the light and airy to the frisbee variety. This was my first Sourdough batch however, and they turned out a treat! 

A note or two. Firstly, on the glaze. You can glaze it with whatever you wish! I used some frozen Butter Cream I had left over from my Gluten Free Pinata Cake. If you want to go for the whole Krispy Kreme experience, this will help, and Google can instruct you on the rest. This will produce a nice unglazed doughnut you can decorate however you wish!  The Sourdough will act as your yeast, so think of these as Yeast Risen Doughnuts. 

Also, for the oil, I used Peanut, but that's because I had it handy. I wouldn't recommend it, because some have allergies, so use Vegetable or your preferred frying oil. Make sure it's 350 Degrees Farenheit, or 175 Celisus before you dip your dough in.



Gluten Free Sourdough Doughnuts Recipe


Makes: 18 large Doughnuts
Prep Time: 30 mins + 2 hours rising
Cook time: 15 mins

Ingredients:
3.5 Cups Gluten Free Flour Blend (I used 1.5 cups of Tapioca Starch, and 2 cups of Buckwheat flour. Remember, 1/3 of the mix should be starch, the rest a flour, like Sorghum, Buckwheat, Besan, Brown Rice, White Rice etc. If you're using Coconut Flour, add another half cup of liquid)
1.5 Cups Active Sourdough Starter (Make sure you starter is nice and bubbly and suitably sour!)
1/2 cup Caster Sugar
2 tsp Xantham Gum
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Large Eggs
266ml Milk (any type is fine)
56 grams Unsalted Butter
Oil for frying (I used 500ml and a smaller pot)
Extra flour and water to adjust the texture of the dough. 

Method:
1. Combine all of the Dry Ingredients in a bowl, and either whisk them until totally combined, or using a stand mixer, mix until combined.

2. Combine the Milk and the Butter in a pot over medium heat. Stir until butter is melted, and milk is starting to simmer. Remove from heat, and allow to cool (cool enough you can stick your finger in it)

3. Whisk the eggs until bubbles appear. Add them to the dough, along with the Vinegar and Milk and Butter mixture. If you're using a stand mixer, mix until completely combined, and the dough comes together well enough to handle (fit your dough hook or paddle attachment for this task, and use a spatula to scrape the sides. Mix on medium setting).

4. Now you use your cooking instinct. Flour a hard surface and turn the dough out on to it. Start kneading. You want a dough that is a joy to work with. If it is sticky, add more flour. If it is crumbly, add more water. Work the dough like you would for a pizza. I broke my dough ball in to two pieces and kneaded them separately, until they were very smooth and easy to roll out. If your dough is becoming too hot, pop it in the fridge for 15 minutes to harden up.

5. Break your dough ball in to 4 portions. Place a portion on your floured surface, dust lightly with more flour, and roll out to 1 inch thickness.

6. Use a cookie cutter, a doughnut cutter, or anything round, and cut the dough in to a round shape, as big or as small as you like. Use your knife and cut a circle out of the middle. Gather the scraps and re-roll them. Continue this until you've used all the dough.

7. Place your doughnuts on a baking tray lined with baking paper and dusted with flour. Cover with plastic wrap, and place in a warm place to rise for 1 - 2 hours. Sourdough will rise slower than traditional yeast. When they are 1.5 times their original size they are ready to rock!

8. Pour the oil in to a pot so it extends about 2 inches up the side. Place it on medium-high heat, and heat until 350 degrees F, 175 degrees C, or until it is hot enough that when you drop a bit of extra dough or bread in, it browns up immediately.

9. In batches, carefully slide the doughnuts in to the hot oil, cooking for around 30 seconds on each side, or until brown and crispy. You don't want them to be a light brown, but you also don't want them to turn black. My Doughnuts cooked very quickly, so I had them 30 seconds each side, but you may need to cook them slightly longer.

10. When they are done, remove them with a slotted spoon and allow to cool and dry on a rack adorned with paper towel.

11. Allow to cool entirely before you attempt to glaze, otherwise you will ruin your glaze and get sticky sugar all over you!


As you can see, I attempted to glaze before my Doughnuts had totally cooled.. Also, my handwriting (or dough carving) is quite poor. But you can carve out any shape you wish with this dough. (And for the record, who cares what they look like? Wikipedia has this picture of a Doughnut and it ain't pretty)



That is why I added so much flour, and made it knead-able. You need to have fun with a Doughnut! And the beauty is that even if they don't taste so good, no-one will care anyway, because they would've instagrammed them already and gotten 40 likes within minutes, so everyone feels rewarded regardles!!

PS These taste awesome. I wouldn't present them to you if they didn't!

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