Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday Freebie - Free (& legalish) music

Now, if you're reading this blog, chances are, I'm preaching to the converted... however, if, like me, you have an insatiable appetite for music, particularly music you may have never heard before, there are multitudes of amazing music blogs that offer free, and usually legal, mp3 downloads.

If you're familiar with my other blog, which posts weekly mixtapes of a variety of music, will know finding new sources of musical inspiration is a big necessity.

Most musicians these days understand the value of giving away remixes or sample singles to their fans for free. Their songs get written about, talked about and played to no end... which is generally great for PR, and in turn, record sales and especially ticket sales.

There's millions upon millions of these blogs, many of them specialized, so one of the best ways to discover your favorite sites is to visit The Hype Machine, which aggregates blogs which post music, allows you to play the track and then gives you the link to the blog from which the post came - as well as links to purchase the track if you were feeling so inclined.

Generally these mp3 links are completely legal and actually sent to the bloggers by record companies/musicians as promotional material. However, I should note that not all the tracks found on blogs are legally put there... anyone dubious about downloading music, I've written my opinions about it on this blog in the past.

Some of my favorite spots to listen to and discover new music are here:
Nialler9 - Dublin-based music blog & podcasts... ahsome new music
Winnie Cooper - Canada based blog that posts great music new & old
Funky 16 Corners - Links to lots of great classic soul 45s
Garage Hangover - Garage! As in, 60s garage 45s
NME Daily Download - new promotional hyped up mp3s every day

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Spud Fail

I admit it, I like to pride myself in my 'invent-a-recipe' style of cooking... this is where I generally know how to cook something, and try my hand sans-recipe. Most of the time this works for a nice dinner... and sometimes the results are awesome (I'll have to post my sausage & pesto breadcrumb stuffed chicken breasts soon) but there is one area where I have nothing but FAIL, and have decided I need to edumacate myself - Potatoes!

As the future wife to an Irish fella, and an Irish fella whose dad is a chef and whose mom is a pastry chef (I know, big boots to fill!) I really really need to up the stakes in the land of spud. Not only that, but as this blog suggests, I make every attempt to eat food which is local and in season etc. etc. so I HAVE to get better at this staple of Irish-dom.

I'm fine at the basics: mash, baked, I even do a mean roastie... but as soon as I try to experiment, I have had nothing but embarrassment.

Below, my attempt at garlic/scallop potatoes. Yeah, they looked good, but everything bar the top layer was uncooked despite 70 minutes in the oven, and don't even get me started on the curdled milk.

Then there was my attempt at a potato cake/hash browns. Again, they looked good, but were completely flavorless and slightly undercooked as well... I blame not enough eggy mixture.

Anyways, I'm going to have a good study of some proper potato recipes. My food bible, The Joy of Cooking, has a whole section of them... and then of course, where better place to get more info but from an Irish food blog? So it's on to The Daily Spud for me.

Wish me luck! I'd hate to disappoint my adopted country with a new kind of potato famine! Eek!