RSS Feed

How To Make A Chicken Breast Linguine By Hannah Gray

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Serves: 2

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 whole red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can of chopped tomatoes
2 whole chicken breasts, pounded to even thickness
black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
grated cheese
a load of linguine, cooked at al dente and drained
1 teaspoon olive oil

Preparation Instructions
1. Heat medium frying pan over medium-low heat. Add olive oil. When warm add diced red onion and stir.  Cook slowly for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, then stir and cook for one minute. Pour in diced tomatoes with their juice. Add chopped olives. Stir and cook for a minute or two.

2. Splash in wine, then stir and simmer over low heat for 15 minute, stirring occasionally.

3. While sauce is cooking, sprinkle salt and black pepper over the chicken breasts. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a separate frying pan. Cook on both sides until golden brown and done. Set aside.

4. Toss cooked linguine in olive oil and arrange on a small platter. Spoon 3/4 of the sauce over the pasta. Place chicken on top, then spoon the remaining sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle on cheese and serve immediately.


How To Record A Good Cover Version Of A Song By Tom Jordan

One of the finest ways to pay tribute to a favourite singer or band is to record a song of theirs to show your appreciation. Or you just think you can do a song that you think is okay a lot better. Regardless of your reasons for recording your cover, there are some important rules that can help you on your way to record a good cover.

  1. Make sure you are Johnny Cash. Seriously, the man did not record a single bad cover. Have you heard Hurt? It’s astounding. However, it’s extremely unlikely that you are Johnny Cash, on account of him being dead, so there are some other steps that can help you on your way.


  1. Choose your song carefully. For example, if you want to stand out from the crowd, don’t choose Yesterday by The Beatles. It’s got over 1,600 versions out there, and you will not stand out from the crowd when some of those cover include Elvis to Bob Dylan, and Bob hated the song. Make sure it’s marketable though, as no one wants to hear a cover of Captain Beefheart unless Tom Waits does it. Good tracks to choose are popular singles, but not iconic ones; good album tracks or just your favourite song. So long as you think you pull the song off, you should be fine.


  1. Make sure the song is within your range. This one is so obvious I almost didn’t include it, but you really need to, as the numerous covers of Cee Lo Green’s Fuck You show that if you don’t have the vocal range, don’t do it. This applies to a large number of Freddie Mercury songs, especially when he hits those high notes. If you can’t hit those, you may have to rethink the song.


  1. Think about what sound your cover should have. Obviously, you can’t do it the same way as the original artist – that would be boring. One good method is to strip it down to basics and do a Johnny Cash on the song (see Step 1). Another good method is to see what’s missing from the original and bring it into the song. Julian Velard’s album Mr. Saturday Night, though very good, lacks a big produced sound to it. Mark Ronson, if you’re reading this, your big brassy treatment of his otherwise excellent songs would be a great bonus. Sometimes it’s as simple as doing it in your own style, such as Mr. B’s Chap-Hop History.


  1. Don’t be afraid to change the lyrics. This version will become your version, so you can do what you like. Change the personal pronouns from ‘he’ to ‘she’ if you like. Cash changed ‘Crown of Shit’ to ‘Crown of Thorns’ in his cover of Hurt, so it isn’t unheard of. The important thing here is to personalise the song to you.


  1. This isn’t a cover anymore – this is your song. We need to feel the emotion behind it, as if it was your song to sing, just so we can love it. Find what that song means to you, bring that out and sing that. This helps if you ignore the original. Don’t be afraid of your song choice. One of my personal favourite covers is Somewhere by Tom Waits from the album Blue Valentine, and otherwise unremarkable album. But because he sings his emotional connection to it, it becomes wonderful. Similarly, Wait’s cover of Heigh Ho is terrifying, because he sings exactly his interpretation of the lyrics. Have the confidence in your version, and you’ll be fine.


  1. Don’t cover Across the Universe. No, really. Don’t.


How To Ask Someone On A Date by Hannah Gray

This is for boys AND girls. I don’t believe in the old fashioned thing of only boys asking girls and not the other way around. In fact, I reckon that boys probably find it quite sexy when a girl uses her initiative and asks them out. 

1. First introduce yourself to the person that’s caught your eye.

2. Now ask for their phone number. Or, if you fancy working the modern day angle, ask for their last name and see if you can add them on Facebook!

3. Message them or call them at a decent time, you don’t want it to be too late but not when they’re at work either.

4. Reintroduce yourself because no one likes to say “I’m sorry who is this??”

5. Ask them if they want to meet up. Listen for the signals! If they don’t want to, get out of there fast.

6. Arrange a casual meet up, something short like a cup of coffee. That way there’s no pressure and very little expectations.

How To Design A Small Urban Garden by Hannah Gray

You don’t need to be a pro to try this one and it’s just as easy to start from scratch. The main part is the design, which is what we’ll be focusing on. Don’t try too much at once, just follow these simple steps.

1. What will you be doing in your garden? Is it just for you or will the whole family be over? Will there be children around? Do you want something pretty to look at or something that you can actively experience?

2. How much spare time do you have? Will you be able to maintain the garden regularly or do you want it to look good with minimum upkeep?

3. Look at the space that you have. It’s no use planning a huge garden to fit in a tiny allotment! Sketch out an idea of what you’re looking for and use a kit to test the acidity in your soil so you know what kind of plants to buy.

4. Watch your garden to see where the shadows fall at different times in the day. If some areas are in the sun or shade all day then you have to buy plants that cater to those needs.

5. Set a budget! Gardening can be expensive, don’t plan for something that you can’t afford.

6. Start drawing out your design. You need to think about the location of plants and tiles, do you want decking, do you want to move or build a shed? This is the creative part.

7. Think of how you will move through the garden. If it’s small perhaps a bench at the centre and a pathway through could be nice. If it’s bigger you may want to make it more of an exploration.

8. Plan your boundaries. This can be very important, especially if your neighbours are close by. Think about fences, hedges, trees and the height of these.

9. Plan where and when you’re going to plant things. Some flowers need to be planted at a very specific time in the year and don’t bloom until much later so keep that in mind when deciding on locations.

10. Make a schedule. It can’t all be done in a day!

How To Make Macaroni And Cheese by Hannah Gray

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 6

512g dried macaroni pasta
1 whole egg (beaten)
4 tablespoons butter
32g plain flour
850 oz whole milk
2 teaspoons dry mustard
As much grated cheese as you desire
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Optional spices: cayenne pepper, paprika, thyme

Preparation Instructions
1. Cook macaroni until very firm. Macaroni should be too firm to eat right out of the pan. Drain.

2. In a small bowl, beat egg.

3. In a large pot, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together over a medium-low heat. Cook mixture for five minutes. whisking constantly. Don’t let it burn!

4. Pour in milk, add mustard and whisk until smooth. Cook for five minutes until very thick. Reduce heat to low.

5. Take 1/4 cup of the sauce and pour it into beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking the eggs. Whisk together until smooth.

6. Pour egg mixture into sauce whisking constantly. Stir until smooth.

7. Add in cheese and stir to melt.

8. Add salt and pepper. Taste sauce and add more salt and seasoned salt as needed. Do not undersalt.

9. Pour in drained, cooked macaroni and stir to combine.

10. Serve immediately (very creamy) or pour into a buttered baking dish, top with extra cheese and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top.