Tag Archives: horror movie

Phantasm Pasta Birthday Dinner

Phantasm Birthday Dinner: duck terrine bruschetta, homemade spinach linguine with sausage broccoli basil sauce

Phantasm Birthday Dinner: duck terrine bruschetta, homemade spinach linguine with sausage broccoli basil sauce

For my boyfriend’s birthday, I wanted to make him something special.  He often jokes that I haven’t made him homemade pasta since our third date.  He is half Italian, so I was totally trying to impress him, and I guess it worked!  In any case, I decided to bring out the pasta maker for his birthday.  My go-to recipe is Martha Stewart’s spinach pasta, which I turn into linguine.  The dough is very easy to make, the pasta is a bit time consuming but it’s SO worth it.  The difference between box pasta and fresh pasta is like night and day.  Make sure you have a lot of baking sheets, wire racks and wax paper handy – you need plenty of space to lay out and dry the sheets of pasta in between each stage.  Be careful not to over boil fresh pasta, it only needs a few minutes before the noodles starts to float to surface.

Martha Stewart's Fresh Spinach Pasta Dough

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Prep Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Yield: 1 pound fresh pasta dough

Martha Stewart's Fresh Spinach Pasta Dough

Ingredients

  • 1 block of frozen spinach, defrosted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2.5 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • coarse salt

Instructions

  1. Squeeze out excess liquid from spinach using a clean kitchen towel or paper towels. Puree with hand blender or food processor.
  2. Add eggs and yolk to puree in food processor and process until combined. Or us a mixer on the lowest setting. Add flour and 1 heaping teaspoon salt, and process until dough just comes together, about 20 seconds (10 seconds in the mixer).
  3. Transfer dough to a well-floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, 5 to 10 minutes, adding up to 2 tablespoons flour if dough is too sticky, or a tablespoon water if dough is too dry. Place on a piece of parchment, and cover with an inverted bowl, or wrap tightly in plastic; let rest for 1 to 2 hours.
  4. Cut dough into 8 pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time (keep the remaining pieces covered with the inverted bowl), flatten dough into an oblong shape slightly thinner than the pasta machine's widest setting (number 1). Dust dough very lightly with flour, and feed through machine. Fold lengthwise into thirds and rotate 90 degrees. Repeat twice on same setting to smooth dough and increase its elasticity.
  5. Turn the dial to next narrower setting. Pass dough through twice, gently supporting it with your palm. Continue to press dough, passing it through ever-finer settings, two passes on each setting, until sheet is almost translucent and very thin but still intact (number 5 of 8 on a KitchenAid pasta roller). The dough will stretch to about 16 inches long. If dough bubbles or tears, pass it through again, and dust with flour if the dough is sticking.
  6. Place dough on a drying rack until slightly tacky, 10 to 15 minutes, and then use a pasta machine or cutting attachment to cut into strands. Drape over rack until strands are semi-dry and won't stick together, about 20 minutes.
  7. Bring 4 quarts of water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil.
  8. Shake pasta loose and gently place in boiling water using tongs. Cook approximately 1.5-2 minutes or until pasta floats to surface.
  9. Remove from water and drain immediately. Toss pasta with some olive oil.
http://iseehungrypeople.net/2016/05/02/phantasm-pasta-birthday-dinner/

My boyfriend is a big horror fan, but had never seen Phantasm, a must-see horror cult classic.  So I added the film to the menu.  When Phantasm was released in 1979, the film was ahead of it’s time in terms of how bizarre and surreal the premise was.  Two orphaned brothers live in a small town in Oregon that is plagued by mysterious deaths.  The local ice cream vendor Reggie, teams up with the brothers to pursue their suspicions that the local mortician, nicknamed the Tall Man is the one responsible for the unexplained deaths, including the deaths of their parents.  Throughout their investigation they are pursued by shrunken dwarf-like minions, discover a gateway to another planet and try to take down the Tall Man without getting killed by flying Sentinel Spheres.  These flying, metallic spheres contain the shrunken brains of the Tall Man’s victims that allow them to be controlled with his mind, and kill whomever is in their path with any number of drills, blades and lasers.

The film was a labour of love for the director, Don Coscarelli who also wrote, shot and edited the film.  The budget was estimated at $300,000 and was filmed over weekends for a year, with the script changing frequently or being re-written on set.  The process was as indie as you can get with even Coscarelli’s mother helping out with costumes, special effects and makeup.  Despite the film’s many flaws, Phantasm became a cult film because of the way it dealt with the themes of death and mourning, themes that were unexplored in horror at the time, and for the use of iconic imagery from Angus Scrimm’s haunting portrayal of the Tall Man to his uniquely deadly Sentinel Spheres.

For appetizers I drizzled some olive oil over a toasted French baguette and topped it with duck terrine and a tomato, lemon, basil & olive oil mixture. I served the spinach linguine with a tomato based sauce that included broccoli, sausage and basil.  I paired our dinner with a Hillier Creek Estates 2012 Gamay Noir – a bottle I had been saving for a special occasion.  This slightly sweet Gamay paired well with the bruschetta, and the ripe acidity cut through the richness of the pasta sauce with hints of black pepper and blackberry tying the whole meal together.

We had a fun, relaxing evening and my boyfriend loved his special birthday dinner.  One can never go wrong with homemade pasta, the Tall Man, flying hooded dwarves and deadly drilling spheres!

 

Basking in Turkey: “Baskin” & a Turkish Meal

Turkey was one of my favourite trips.  Not only was the trip the first one with my boyfriend, but it was filled with such variety: busy cities, historical ruins, relaxing days on the sea, and adventure.  I loved learning about Turkey’s many different cultures and religions, meeting so many nice people and of course, eating Turkish food!  When I look through this gallery, I still cannot get over the variety of food I ate on this trip – I don’t think I had the same meal twice!

We were so inspired by the food we had in Turkey that we made our own Turkish breakfast.

View from Hotel Bella, Selcuk, Turkey

Breakfast view from Hotel Bella, Selcuk, Turkey

While Turkey is beautiful, the country has a dark side too.  The country’s past is filled with many bloody conquests, wars and sieges as the land was overturned by various cultures and religions.  The powerful Ottoman empire ruled Turkey for the longest period from the 14th right up to (in various forms) the 20th century and it was during World War I that the Ottoman government committed ethnic cleansing against their Greek, Assyrian and Armenian citizens.  It wasn’t until 1922 after the Turkish War of Independence that monarchy was finally abolished, and the modern Republic of Turkey was established in 1923.  Since the formation of the modern State of Turkey, the Kurds have accused the Turkish government of suppressing their identity and mistreatment.  This has resulted in many revolts, uprisings and an ongoing Kurdish-Turkish conflict that is present to this day.  Political protests are common in Taksim Square in Istanbul, and along with Kurdish rights, groups have also protested for women’s rights, LGBT rights, freedom of the press, freedom from torture and other human rights violations.

Police brutality has been the subject of many recent protests, and is explored in the Turkish horror film Baskin, which I reviewed after seeing the movie at the Toronto Film Festival.

"Baskin" Property of Film Colony, Mo Film, XYZ Films

“Baskin” Property of Film Colony, Mo Film, XYZ Films

While the state of Turkish politics makes me really sad, I want to remember all the amazing experiences I had while visiting this fascinating country, and keep trying to make more delicious Turkish food at home.  More to come!

Baskin Film Review

"Baskin" Property of Film Colony, Mo Film, XYZ Films

“Baskin” Property of Film Colony, Mo Film, XYZ Films

I saw the Turkish horror film “Baskin” a few months ago at the 2015 Toronto Film Festival, but after traveling to Turkey I feel as though I understand the political context behind the film a bit better.

Baskin is a horror film by first time filmmaker Can Evrenol and is based on his 2013 short film by the same name.  The film is a surreal nightmare of hellish images in a gritty, bloody landscape and is a real treat for any one who is a fan of Hellraiser, HP Lovecraft and Nightmare on Elm Street – so, that would definitely be me!

The plot centers around a group of police officers at a restaurant who receive a distress call from a small town with a strange reputation.  Their van gets into an accident when an officer has a vision of a bloody figure and drives the van into a ditch.  Stranded, the officers continue on to the town where they come across an abandoned warehouse.  What they discover is a labyrinth of unthinkable horrors, and each of them is subjected to various nightmarish scenarios.  They soon realize they are trapped in Hell, and this version of Hell is run by a cannibalistic cult led by a super creepy, bald leader named The Father.

The film cuts back and forth between the police officers at the restaurant to the terror they now face, blurring the lines between reality as we are never quite sure which bizarre world is real.  While the story line isn’t the strongest, one can fully appreciate the film as an art house horror, with Dario Argento being an obvious influence.  The art direction and FX are pretty impressive for an independent film, with extensive torture set pieces and bloody gore dripping from every corner of the warehouse.  The cinematography is also reminiscent of Italian horror, highly stylized with sharp contrasts and rich blacks and reds.

The star of the show though is Mehmet Cerrahoglu who plays The Father.  During the Q&A at TIFF, we learned that this was the first time Mehmet had acted, and needless to say he’s found his calling.  His unique look and way of speaking makes him so engaging as the leader of the cult, and despite his short height, his presence is commanding and he steals every scene.

The political connotations behind the main characters make this film unique as well.  Subjecting the cops to such torture can for sure be seen as a commentary on the long history of police brutality in Turkey.  The police forces in Turkey have often been criticized for their excessive use of physical force, tear gas, pepper spray and water cannons on peaceful protestors.  The public response culminated to a police brutality protest in 2013, which was when the short was released.

“Baskin” isn’t out to scare you, the film just wants to give you a little taste of hell.  The visuals are so grotesquely beautiful though that you won’t want to look away, until it’s too late.