Words and photos by Ola Mazzuca
Happy New Year skids! I’m back with the 11th edition of Blasphemous Meals, delving into three dishes that are hotter than hell, perfect for frigid weather and snow-covered, kvlt landscape – straight outta Hellbent for Cooking: The Heavy Metal Cookbook by Annick Giroux, via Bazillion Points.
Spin some vinyl, grab a blanket, pour a pint, and savour.
Montalo of WITCHFYNDE – England
If it’s below 30 Degrees in your ‘hood, what better way to start the day than with an English breakfast of Satan’s finest porridge? Witchfynde delivers a truly delicious bowl of hearty oats blended with piping hot milk. Blended with brown sugar (and a touch of cinnamon), topped with chopped walnuts and whole pitted dates from Saudi Arabia, this dish is sure to get you going in one way, or another, as Montalo suggests in the book: “I came across a munitions factory in Gretna, Scotland, where they used to make an explosive paste for WWI. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, had named it ‘Devil’s Porridge.’ That’s where I got the name for my concoction. Believe me, a bowl of it has exactly the same explosive effect on your bodily functions!”
I recently returned from a trip to the UK, and believe me, those Brits love their grits.
Here’s a track from Witchfynde that exudes a quintessential NWOBHM sound:
Bijažic of DEVASTATION – Croatia
Where my family is from, this is called ‘Minestrone.’ You know, that bean soup with veggies and pasta? Change the location and the language; you’ve got ‘Minestra.’ Typically ranging from broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, carrots, celery and more, this Croatian version hailing from Pula, which is not far from Italy’s Adriatic Coast, includes different ingredients.
Devastation’s recipe requires a homemade broth of dried cured ham hock. I was in a bit of a rush on the evening I made this dish, thus took a shortcut and used beef stock. However, I did add the smoked ham, which would have never been a personal choice. This recipe asked for ‘brown beans’ so I opted for Romano. Peaches and Cream corn kernels, potatoes and Italian Roma tomatoes added so much flavour as the soup simmered. The bay leaves, garlic and parsley were aromatic. The cubed, smoked ham pieces were a great source of protein and blended well with the foundation of veggies. Pasta shells were added for extra volume, and the soup was perfect for a cold night in.
Devastation was established in 1986. Following their breakup in 1990, they reformed as Hatross (remember them?) before Bijažic reconciled the gang. Nonetheless, their sound is pure, relentless European thrash metal.
Here’s “Atomic War” from their epic 1987 release, The Upcoming Mayhem – a heavy tune with raspy vocals, intense riffage and visions of long, blond wavy hair windmilling in a dingy bar, somewhere in Pula.*
Guláš à la Root
Big Boss of ROOT – Czech Republic
In my opinion, no plate of Goulash can ever beat the one by the Coffee Mill. No plate. Not mine, not your’s. Sadly, the now defunct Toronto landmark, known for its authentic, traditional Hungarian dishes, amazing apple strudel, palacsinta, patio, vibe, etc. only lives on in memory, phantom-taste and the greatest antique of all: two original plates that held the famous goulash since 1963. My father, who took my mother there for dinner and dessert in their dating years, begged longtime waitress Ildika for a couple. And so, he copped a few with a goal to serve homemade goulash – Mazzuca style.
When winter really hit Toronto this week, I thought it was time to put Root’s recipe to use. Big Boss’ Czech variation is a simple dish of beef cubes, diced onions, mushrooms, paprika and marjoram. Yet, no tomatoes or olive oil? When I think of traditional goulash, I see those bubbles of olive oil amidst a red orange broth filled with tender beef and vegetables. Just like the Coffee Mill. So, I followed the Root recipe, but added some Roma tomatoes and diced green pepper for colour and texture.
To complement, Big Boss suggests potatoes or knedliky (dumplings). Instead, I paid tribute to serve à la Coffee Mill by adding slices of perfectly buttered rye bread.
Sour cream cuts the rue. Stout or porter is the preferred beverage of choice.
Check out this wicked, primitive black metal video and track by Root – Big Boss’ corpsepaint is on point, too.
* Edit: Devastation description and link updated.