Booking the Cooks at Hard Working Class Heroes: Elaine Mai

The electropop star spins a pizza with a difference


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 organised 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-woman 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 Daithí 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.”


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 gently mix the water, yeast and sugar for about 30 seconds with a wooden spoon. Add the flour and salt and knead for about 15 minutes.
On a flat, dry surface sprinkled with flour, 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 one to two hours, or until the dough doubles in size. Turn out onto a floured surface and roll to 10 inches in diameter.

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 the oven to 200 degrees. After you’ve rolled out the dough into a base of roughly 10 inches, 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 eight minutes.


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