Seeing as we produce musical acts here in Ireland with the same pace and fervour that Apple knock out new iphones, how does one keep up with who’s wonderful and who’s wogeous? Everybody wants to know who the next big thang will be, but ideally without having to conduct all the legwork by trolling through multiple bandcamps and “intimate” Monday night gigs. Well we can thank the good folk over in Hard Working Class Heroes for doing all the exhaustive research for us.
Since 2002, they’ve been keeping their ears close to the ground to find the finest upcoming and emerging acts and feature them on their autumnal weekender of aural delights, industry seminars and good old fashioned organized rants, otherwise known as “discussion events”. And out of all these meticulously hand picked artists, the one that I highly recommend you check out, is Elaine Mai. Her one lady show of beautiful vocals dressed onto perfectly matched beats is just brilliant. We caught up the other day to chat about her big love of pizza, coffee and of course, HWCH. Her favourite spot for a latte is The Decent Cigar Emporium on Grafton St, her top tips for the festival are Daithi and Leanne Harte. When it comes to pizza, hers is a veggie option and she maintains that “it must have a thin base, not too much sauce and a soft crust from the oven. And make sure you actually turn the oven on when cooking the pizza. I had a fail quite recently where I turned the grill on instead, and spent an age scooping out melted dough from the oven. No fun.” Let that be a warning before you attempt her scrummy Italian delight.
ELAINE MAI’S SPINACH & FETA CHEESE PIZZA
INGREDIENTS & METHOD FOR PIZZA DOUGH
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 packet dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 2 ¼ cups of type 00 flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon polenta
Get a large bowl and mix the water, yeast and sugar. Mix it gently for about 30 seconds with a wooden spoon. Then lash in the flour and salt. Knead all this for about 15 minutes.
On a flat, dry surface with a little flour on it, roll out the dough. Place the dough into a greased bowl and cover with a clean towel. Leave in a warm, draft free place for 1 hour to 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll to about 10 inches in diameter.
INGREDIENTS & METHOD FOR PIZZA
For each 10 inch pizza, you will need:
- 1 ladle of passata
- 1.5 ladles of dried mozzarella cheese
- 1 tablespoon of crumbled feta cheese
- 10 baby spinach leaves
- 6 black olives
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. After you’ve rolled out the pizza, smear the passata evenly all round the dough. Then place the mozzarella, followed by the feta, spinach and olives. Slide pizza into oven and cook for about 8 minutes.
Elaine Mai plays HWCH in The Button Factory on October 4th.
This piece is also available to read in The Irish Times.