tex mex red chicken

tex mex red chicken

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They call it the graveyard shift or gravy for short. All-nighter at the studio. It’s the cheapest time on the clock. Midnight to 8 in the morning. Just me, the engineer and the click track hour after hour. It can make you crazy. The drum machine playback in the headphones. Like getting boxed in the ears 120, 140, 165 beats per minute. I’m humanising. What’s that? Well, its when they need a human to play percussion over a machine drum line to give it some life. Been giving life all night and now I’m dead. Beating on the kit till my arms fall off and my heads been jack hammered to mush. I’m punchy, I feel drunk. I don’t see straight.
I’m starving hungry too.

The over-bright fluorescent tube lights in the store burn into my head after the cave-like gloom of the recording booth. I’m staggering under the weight of my cymbal bag, percussion box and snare case. Yeah! Thinking maybe my mum was right when she sent me for violin lessons when I was 5 years old.

Wow!, they’ve got everything in here, but what do I want? I grab some red chillies, limes, cilantro and a pack of fresh chicken breasts. I’ve got cooked rice and beans in the fridge at home. Got onions, garlic and olive oil too. Just need a can of those lovely little cherry tomatoes. I bend down to reach them off the bottom shelf then stand up too quickly. The aisle bends and warps. Sudden white noise hissing in my ears. My eyes flicker out of focus and the floor rushes up to meet my teeth. A cascade of cans rains down, clattering and chasing each other across the floor. They sound like wind chimes in a thunderstorm on race day. Vague shapes move and mumble, far away I’m sinking. [Read more…]

tomato and rosemary stew

tomato stew

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What to cook for eight people – a big dish on a strict budget. I stood in a decent local supermarket, looking down at the items rattling around my basket. Three red peppers, a big bag of carrots. Raising my head, my eyes locked onto a row of tinned tomatoes. Plum tomatoes. A dim memory of Charley’s wise face telling me from above a cauldron of bubbling, dark red stew ‘Plum tomatoes, that’s the trick.’ That’ll do for me, I thought. Knocking a few tins into my basket I headed towards the meat aisle. [Read more…]