Cooking With The Beautiful Girls – Mat McHugh
What were your food influences when you were growing up and what kind of food did you eat at home or with your family?
I can’t really remember when I was really little but my mum, sister and I moved to the beach just before I was ten. My dad wasn’t around and my mum worked hard so we mostly ate simple, healthy things. Lots of fish, lots of seafood in general. Fruits, vegetables. I was lucky to always have the opportunity to eat healthy.
What dish or cuisine do you most like to eat on tour and why?
I LOVE Thai food (any Asian food really). I developed a pretty crazy shrimp allergy after an nasty bout of dysentery in India (weird huh?) so I tend to play it pretty straight to try and avoid being taken down by the black prawn.
What type of food do you hate, and what is the most disgusting thing you’ve ever eaten?
I HHAAATTTEEE cheese. When I was about 4 years old I went to a pre-school where, before naptime each day, they would give us fruit and processed cheese sticks. Everytime I crashed out I would have a recurring dream where I would fall in a pool of milk. I would get so scared that I would flap my arms about which would turn the milk to yoghurt and then, eventually, I would end up trapped in a pool filled with solid cheese. To this day I literally cannot even touch the stuff. Not on pizza, not anywhere.
What type of food do you make sure to avoid before a gig or going on stage?
I try and avoid big meals. Once I had a giant burrito half an hour before showtime and all the blood in my body, including my brain, rushed to my stomach to help digest the thing. Having no blood in your brain doesn’t help when you have to play guitar and sing at the same time. Hahaha.
Imagine for a second you can request anything on your rider at a gig. What food do you put on it?
There used to be an insane sushi bar in Manly a few years back where I would get take away every single day I was home. Literally everyday for years. It closed down and I got super sad. I would kill for one of their sushi platters to miraculously appear backstage.
What has been your biggest cooking disaster to date?
I used to be a breakfast cook in a little healthy cafe on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. I would have multiple cooking disasters every day. Unfortunately.
When you tour overseas, what food from home do you miss the most?
Vegemite. Without question. Vegemite.
This is your last day on earth, what is your final meal?
Catch The Beautiful Girls on their mammoth farewell tour. Full info and dates here
- 1 bunch English spinach, trimmed
- 1/3 cup (80ml) olive oil
- 2 onions, chopped
- 1 leek, finely chopped
- 12 sheets filo pastry
- 125g butter, melted
- 500g fresh ricotta
- 2 cups (160g) grated parmesan
- 200g semi-dried tomatoes
- 2 eggs
- Salt & freshly ground pepper
- 1 tbs olive oil, extra
- Salad, to serve
1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Blanch spinach in boiling water and drain well, squeezing out excess moisture. Chop finely. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Cook onions and leek, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until golden. Cool.
2. Meanwhile, cut pastry sheets in half width ways so you have 24 sheets. Layer 12 sheets on top of each other, brushing each with melted butter, and placein the base of a greased 30cm x 24cm baking dish.
3. Combine spinach, onion mixture, ricotta, parmesan, tomatoes and eggs in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Spread over pastry base. Repeat process with remaining filo and butter, and place on top of ricotta mixture. Brush top with olive oil. Cook pie for 40 minutes, or until pastry is golden. Serve warm or at room temperature with salad.
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