A love for music and a dish that just sings - chicken al ajillo with bread
If you've been reading this blog for some time you already know there's quite a few things that move me. Besides food, that is, and photography, besides writing and browsing Instagram for inspirational images, I go slightly nuts with wines - I am in no way a conoisseur, but boy, do I like a good wine!! I also go nuts with reading (yes, let's simply ascertain Stephen King still rules this realm and no one gets hurt) and I have this long lasting love affair with music, and it is such a love affair. I can't go without music. I really think music saves lives, or at least it saves minds?
I can't carry a tune, though, you know? Worst singer ever, not that it will shut me, though. If you walk by my window on a morning or an afternoon while I'm blogging or writing or editing photos, you might catch me howling away to Adele, sounding like a drowning cat or a dying pig, that is. Not that I am an Adele fan, mind you, but the woman's got a pair of lungs to her, and quite frankly I do like two of her songs. It's as far as I concede. But you might also catch me doing my best impression of a wailing banshee along with Within Temptation's old works, or sounding quite butch as I yell the lyrics to "Hallowed be thy name" either to Bruce Dickinson's powerful voice or Dani Filth's harrowing screams. I like to sing along, always did and always will. Even though I sound like someone's butchering me. If you'd walked by my window yesterday you'd have heard me yelling along with Chris Cornell to the sound of "Like a stone".
There are songs I just won't sing, though. Not that I don't want to, but I simply can't. My throat catches and tears stream down my face if I try to sing those songs. It mostly happens with - damn her!!! - Loreena McKennit, and there are a couple of her tunes which turn on my waterworks like there's no tomorrow, being "The Highwayman" (kinda my fave!), "The Lady of Shallott" (if Tennyson doesn't make you cry, you're preeetty heartless, so there) and "Dante's Prayer" (jeez, just writing down this one's title makes my eyes water, what is it with this song!) the foremost. I usually find myself writing to the sound of Loreena - amongst other things - because I know I won't be distracted into sing alongs, see, I wear make up most days and do not like the panda look at all.
Sometimes I find myself wondering what is it in music that speaks to me, so to say. Is it the tunes? Is it the lyrics? I'm not keen on classical music, I must say. I like Chopin (pretty much like that italian bloke who sang that tune, remember?) yes, I like St. Saens, some of his stuff at least, I do love Debussy, for no particular reason other than it drives me into a trance, much like the band Sunn O))), and I do adore Tchaikovski, though I'm pretty sure that one stems from my having danced ballet for eight years. I used to be such a ballet buff, and Tchaikovski was the emperor of ballet partitions for me. But as for the rest of classical music, meh. I'm that dowdy!
So maybe it is the lyrics, you know, that speak to me, when it comes to music. Being a writer and a lover of words and word play, it's only natural that lyrics would have a deep impact over me. And in certain cases they do, let's say Simon and Garfunkell, for instance. I still say to this day that "I am a rock" is my song, it's so me. But so is "The Boxer", if you care to read it through, especially the bits that aren't present in the version recorded for "Bridge Over Troubled Water", and here is another song I cannot sing without crying my eyes out, it means that much to me. So lyrics do hold this enormous power over me when it comes to music, as I find myself in some of them, or recognize my inner feelings and thoughts in others. And yet, that's not always true.
Because there's quite a few songs that drive me into spasms of emotion, songs I so, so love, and still the lyrics don't really mean that much to me, like Megadeth's "Mary Jane", or King Diamond's "Abigail" - although the whole album, being a concept album, something he was very much into doing, has some of the best lyrics ever, since they tell a horror story through songs. There's the melodies and the music to take into account, to, and here I must give in to the allure of the electric guitar solo. Because I know that, more than the lyrics, when it comes to bands like Iron Maiden, it is those guitar solos that do turn me on. Still, there's one Maiden song I always say it's very much me, and their lyrics are always quite good as well. But it's the guitars that have me by the proverbial balls, pretty much like with Helloween.
So what's all this gotta do with chicken in a thick dark sauce, a chunk of baguette and one of the best spanish wines I ever drank? Beats me. Frankly, I have no idea how this post came to be all about music and how I love to sing along, or get emotional over some songs. And I didn't even mention Faith No More, nor The Doors, though there was a time in my life when I really thought I must have been Jim Morrison on a previous life - I still kind of do! And if I were to say anything on FNM, well, I'll just say that "Just a man" is the kind of song that makes me wanna kidnap Mike Patton and hold him in a cellar somewhere, where he is forced to sing to me every day. I would even serve him this chicken al ajillo that is such a staple here at our home, being one of my kid's fave dishes. It's perfect for a Friday or Saturday dinner, where you can eat it with bread to dunk into this delicious heady sauce!
You can either use red or white wine for this dish, the original recipe called for white wine, but one day I didn't have any whites at home and I really wanted to eat this, so I used red wine and it became a favourite, I hardly ever use the white now, but feel free to do as your like!
- one chicken, free range, cut into pieces
- one garlic bulb
- five cl olive oil
- 2,5 dl wine - like I said, red or white the choice is yours
- two or three laurel leaves
- salt, pepper and paprika to taste