2018: A Year In Food
In 2018, my gym coach assigned me to keep a food blog so he could track my meals. Through developing healthy eating habits to satisfy all of my nutritional needs and a rigorous exercise programme, I lost the 21 kg between January-August 2018 I'd gained on anti-depressants.
I wanted it to be somewhere more private rather than being shoved down people's throats (literally) through Instagram/WhatsApp. Hence I've posted my culinary creations here.
Being vegetarian and/or vegan always presents a challenge in terms of hitting the protein target so this was particularly the most interesting challenge for me.
I made a conscious decision to stop food blogging in 2019 (due to time restraints), but it's useful to have a year's diet documented as a reference and a source of inspiration!
RD’s London Jazz Festival Picks
Y&S member Rory Duffy looks back at the highlights of what has been a memorable London Jazz Festival.
5) Samara @ 606
Being a lover of Brazilian music, I was immediately attracted to see this band, and when I saw them at last year’s London Jazz Festival, they had the entire club up on their feet dancing. The band, led by Steve Rubie (alto saxophone, flute), fronted by Jandira Silva (vocals), and starring Ivo Neame (piano), Dill Katz (bass), Nic France (drums), Dawson Miller (percussion) and featuring Michael Roydon (soprano saxophone), samples some of the finest talent from in and around West London - combining heavy, rock solid percussion with clinging, clamouring piano soloso and an explosive melt of saxophone, flute and vocals. Samara play a cracking mix of Brazilian music and jazz, with a great rhythmic style, every last Friday of the month at 606.
4) Matt Roberts Big Band @ Spice of Life
I was lucky enough to witness this band last year as part of the freestage event curated by last year’s Young & Serious in the Queen Elizabeth Hall Front Room. A year later, Matt Roberts and his big band have returned with more ingenious writing, fresh soloists and a special guest, Julian Siegel. The feature that I like most about this big band is that, during the shout choruses, the band moves as one unit, joining the dots and landing on the same points; creating the impression of something with such weight and density behind it, moving so tightly and effortlessly. The structures, orchestrations and harmonies are compelling and delightful in ways that are contemporary, without resorrting to atonal, free improvisation. Matt Roberts is a remarkable writer and director. His music is progressive; luring you into its gardens and enclosures, constantly surprising you, and leaving you questioning - where is it going to go next?
3) Snarky Puppy @ XOYO, Shoreditch
Snarky Puppy brought the roof down at XOYO, Shoreditch, only a week ago. There are no words to describe Snarky Puppy - they are, simply, indescribable. Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, the band is unique for two reasons. Firstly, it is completely undeputisable. This means that every member is as important as the next, and each individual contributes in equal measure to the whole. When one member is absent, the band cannot perform. It is this level of commitment and dedication, not only to the project, but to its binding musical and social relationships, that set this band apart from the rest. Secondly, none of the music is written. Themes can be played in a multitude of different ‘modes’ and still be the same, and the music is in constant flux from tour to tour. This means that the same composition can bring about new circumstances and challenges that make it sound completely different. Ontologically, however, it is the same composition. The compositions are formulated on musical ‘germs’ that grow and develop outwards from within themselves - it is these processes in which lies the magic… These characteristics reveal the profound universality of the music; that the compositions are merely the adjustments of perspective that interrogate and interfere with forces that are already present. Today, the band preaches a new, optimistic ethos in composition and large band direction.
2) Ara Dinkjian @ Southbank Centre / Purcell Room
It is very rare to chance upon a band of musicians that are both phenomenally talented, yet extremely heart-warming and play music of such beauty that it melts your heart and leaves you soaking in the sun of their radiance. This band is my second favourite, because I was moved and humbled by their heart-warming soul, roots and personality, despite their virtuosity, technical accomplishment. Appearing with top musicians from Greece, Sokratis Sinopoulos (lyra), Vangelis Karipis (percussion) and Yannis Kirimkiridis (piano and keyboards), Armenian-American oud player Ara Dinkjian organically fuses together intricate melodies, whirring rhythms and lush string harmonies. it is easy to understand how some people - relatives or not - travel the world to hear his music. We are fortunate enough that, through London Jazz Festival, these rare pleasures are sitting, waiting for us, on our doorstep. And we do not need to travel; simply discovering this music is enough to turn us into armchair travellers… The perfect culmination to a whirlwind musical odyssey.
“Dinkjian shines as an instrumentalist, carrying the listener away in the unique musical world of this Armenian in America” - Songlines
… and the winner is …
1) Jan Garbarek @ Southbank Centre / Royal Festival Hall
This show was something else, it took me somewhere else entirely. I have been a fan of Jan Garbarek for many years, and this is the first time that I was actually able to see him live (the last few times, it was sold out - quite understably). Enchanted and moved are two words that sum up my feeling after this show - such a remarkable, magical thing. Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek collaborating with Indian Trilok Gurtu, with Rainer Brüninghaus on piano and Yuri Daniel on bass guitar. For the first time ever, this festival, I felt the need not to write during the performance, but instead to simply let myself drift off and be whisked away on a musical voyage through heart and homelands. The show took me to many places… Not only Norway, other parts of Scandinavia and the Indian subcontinent, but also to Scotland, Cuba, Puerto Rico, The Himalayas, North and South America, Iceland and the Middle East, all in one heady two hours’ flight. Through it, I experienced many different emotions - some painful and disturbing, yet others intimately moving, surreal and unpredictable… The concert was a true mystery, and, by the end of it, the discourse and logic reached a summit whereby everyone in the hall had reached the same goal - resolution and order triumphing over exploration, development and apparent meaningless. After a standing ovation, the ballad at the end, in its simplicity and sincerity, made me cringe with sadness at its beauty. At this point, nothing much more was to be said. It was the perfect ending to ease oneself back into the linear present.
“40 years after his ECM debut, Norway’s Jan Garbarek remains one of the most recognisable voices in jazz. He has been fundamental in creating a distinctly European perspective on the music, as well as in establishing the so-called ‘Nordic tone’. Yet the saxophonist negotiates his expansive, ethereal soundscapes with rare humanity, his sound like warm breath floating in frosty air.” - Serious
“Neither classical nor jazz, neither new nor old, this music simply exists, for everyone’s wonder and nourishment” - The Times
London Jazz Festival 2013 will take place between 15 - 24 November 2013. www.londonjazzfestival.org.uk
Meanwhile, here’s a video for you…
Rory spent the first few years of his life in an ice cave, carving out his palace of wonder. He's a bit of a love doll, but he who melts the ice shall have their reward.