Stuck on Repeat… May and June 2017

These past two months have been full of music, mainly due to hours and hours of radio on an epic Californian road trip (blog to follow soon!) and it's festival season!

Here's what has been #stuckonrepeat – full playlist is here.

Slave To Love – Bryan Ferry

I'm not quite sure why but recently I've been loving the 80's classic sound of soft rock, synth and romance. This is such a sensual song, the beat could almost work for kizomba and you can't beat a classic!

Favourite lyric: We're too young to reason / Too grown up to dream

Amar Pelos Dois – Salvador Sobral

May isn't complete without The Eurovision Song Contest, one of my favourite nights of the year. Fiiiiinally, after what felt like a million years and on the day the Pope visited Fatima, Portugal won. The song deserved a win in my opinion; beautiful lyrics and a pretty melody. It's not a traditional Eurovision song (see Verka Serduchka – which I LOVE) but it felt completely different and what was needed for 2017.

Favourite lyric: Eu sei que não se ama sozinho / Talvez devagarinho possas voltar a aprender — I know that one can’t love alone / Maybe slowly you might learn again

River – Leon Bridges

I first heard this beautiful song in Big Little Lies and have been obsessed with it ever since. I sang it constantly on our road trip, following the great rivers of Kings Canyon and Yosemite National Park and now I sing it when I'm in the water swimming. It calms me, it gives me a rhythm, it transports me to a different place and it talks about the cleansing power of being in water.

Favourite lyric: In my darkness I remember / Momma’s words reoccur to me /"Surrender to the good Lord / And he’ll wipe your slate clean"

Here We Go Again (I Love Lake Tahoe) – A

This song takes me back to being a teen with low slung baggy jeans and hearing about this mythical land called Tahoe in California. Fast forward twenty years and I was actually here, playing this in my head the whole time. The most beautiful place, I wish I could've explored more of it!

Favourite lyric: All is quiet on New Years day / think I'll try and impress my mates / So I jump into the lake / I won't do that again (I know why now – IT'S BLOODY FREEZING!)

Fistful Of Love – Antony & The Johnsons

A controversial song, in that it's the view of an abused lover knowing the person they love can't express their love other than by leaving bruises. Awful, but juxtapose this with the bluesy jazz and the soaring brass section and it oddly feels like a positive experience, like someone coming to terms with their situation, understanding why other people react in a way.

Favourite lyric: And I feel the whip / And I know it's out of love

Shoop – Salt n Pepa

I blame an advert for this – Three Mobile ran an ad with a Giraffamingo or some such creature and I can't help but smile with "Snap, Chat, Pose, Post" and I've had this on repeat ever since. It's so upbeat, it's an instant mood lifter!

Favourite lyric: I'm not shy so I asked for the digits / A ho? No, that don't make me / See what I want slip slide to it swifty

Can't Get You Out Of My Head – The Sweeplings

So I may have heard this version on Love Island (don't judge me) and instantly Shazam-ed it. I actually hated this song – I've heard it nonstop since 2001 but this was beautiful, haunting and ethereal. I love the harmonies and you can usually hear me caterwauling along.

Favourite lyric: Every night, oh, every day / Just to be there in your arms / Won't you stay?

The Pretender – Foo Fighters

That EPIC set at Glastonbury (which I watched from my rock n roll sofa) reignited a love of all things Foo. I had one request – that they play my three favourite songs of theirs: My Hero, Best of You and this, The Pretender, a song that is more than just an amazing rock song. The layers of riffs and chords give me shivers and it reminds me of an excellent Bond score.

Favourite lyric: We are not permanent / We're temporary


Let me know what your earworms are on social or in the comments below!


We’re jamming…

I have a massive sweet tooth. In fact, I’m pretty sure all my teeth are sweet. I love sugar and sugar loves me – sort of. So it’s no surprise that I like to smother it all over a tasty scone/crumpet/croissant/slice of toast in its most delicious form as J A M.  fig & apricot In the past few years I have eschewed the usual strawberry for different fruits. My favourites of recent times have been fig, quince and apricot.

Figs may deserve a post all of their own, I SO adore this fruit. I have mistakenly gorged myself on one too many once or twice and felt the unpleasant side effects, who hasn’t?! The joy of having a full bowl of recently picked, cool from the fridge, beautifully ripe and juicy green figs is one of life’s simple pleasures. They’re nature’s succulent sweeties. Made into a jam so I can eat them at breakfast is a delight. Honey sweetness, a burnished gold colour, with a little crunch from the seeds. YUM. 

Where to buy: Jamie Oliver did a delicious fig jam, bought from one of his Recipease eateries, but I can’t seem to find a link to the product. My recent taste of it has been the Bonne Maman Fig Conserve, available from all good supermarkets. 

Quince is another beauty of a fruit, looking like an apple-y pear, golden yellow in colour and with a sweet scent. Near my Avó’s house in Portugal was a school that had quince trees dotted around the perimeter and I remember seeing branches heavy with strange fruit. I can only remember to have tasted quince in preserve form though, or rather as I know it, marmelada. 

“You mean marmalade, right?” WRONG. As a bilingual kid I couldn’t seem to get my head round the difference between the two. One is made from quince, the other from citrus fruits with bits in it. Nope, I don’t mean Paddington Bear’s favourite spread, I mean this: marmelada The above is known in English as a quince cheese and basically is a solid, sliceable form of quince jam/preserve. It’s delicate but has a very slight grainy texture, almost like a dryish pear. It gets its reddy-brown colour from being slowly cooked with sugar for a long time. It has ancient roots too, with a recipe found in a Roman cookbook.

I remember cutting thin slices from a tub and eating in between Rich Tea biscuits, or eating in papos secos but the sweet tart flavour is also delicious with some fresh cheese or a gorgeous hunk of bread. 

Where to buy: available in tubs from all good Portuguese deli shops. Check out Café Sintra in the Stockwell/Brixton area in South London.

Apricot jam is often overlooked. Sometimes it’s used as a base for sticking marzipan to cakes, so not seen to be as glamorous as its other fruity counterparts. Personally, I love the delicate taste and I like that it’s so versatile. Slightly sweet, slightly tart, for me it’s a lovely balance. 

Where to buy: on a recent long drive to the coast we stopped by the amazing Eggs to Apples in Hurst Green. This gorgeous little farm shop had beautiful fresh products that were either British or locally sourced (try the Cornish mussels and the carrot cake, both divine!) I picked up a Martha and Ed’s jar which was scrumptious. I love their ethos of making smaller batches, thus meaning a higher fruit content without need for additives or preservatives.  We recently picked up a Sunberry jar (a raspberry/blackberry cross) which is gorgeous. 

The holy grail of jams for me is tomato. “What?!?” I hear you say, “what madness is this?!” Tomato is a fruit, n’est pas? It is. The sweet yet tart flesh yields the most beautiful taste. Doçe de tomate takes me way, way back to my childhood and long summer holidays in Portugal that were filled with food and sunshine. Visits to grandparents and bringing back tomatoes the size of a small loaf, known colloquially as coração de boi or Ox heart tomatoes. These giants, grown in the quinta just a few yards away would usually be strange and misshapen, different to the grocers and supermarkets back home in London. Their colours ranged from rich reds to acidic yellows and everything in between. They were perfect for jam making especially as there was always an abundance whenever we visited. 

I can still hear the whistle of the pressure cooker in Avó’s kitchen. I can still see the pantry cupboard stocked with jars ready for my stay, for me to have with a papo seco roll for breakfast or an afternoon snack (no wonder I’d come back with such chubby cheeks!) and there’d be extra for me to bring back in my suitcase carefully wrapped in newspaper and clothes. 

Where to buy: sadly those halcyon days of being fed sweet treats by my grandma are gone and she’s not made jam for many, many years. I’ve been getting my tomato jam fix from jars bought at Lisbon airport carefully rationing them and saving for special occasions – I have a quarter of a jar left, it’s reaching a critical level!! I’ve not found any tomato jam for sale here yet, only the horrible chutneys that insist on adding chilli, peppers or other nastiness to my beloved jam. I’m guessing it may be on sale in a Portuguese deli shop and when I next visit one, I may need to clear their shelves. However, if anyone wants to either make me some from their large tomato crop, or pick some jars up next time you fly from a Portuguese airport I would be SO HAPPY and grateful!

Let me know if you’ve tried any of the above or have any suggestions for me to try in the comments below!

Catherine x