karohemd: Gentoo penguins in Antarctica, by me (Hungry)
A few months ago Burmese food blogger MiMi Aye and Tim Anderson (MasterChef 2011 winner, among others) got together and planned an homage to the food of David Chang who at the time ran a short popup at St. John's in London. They joked they would be able to do it better or at least definitely cheaper. Encouraged by friends and twitter followers they planned a one-off lunch event and this is what happened yesterday.

Danny, Tim and MiMi
The team in the kitchen (with fellow blogger Danny Kingston on the left), eager to get going


Five spice pork belly bun
First course: Five spice pork belly bun, mustard daikon. The meat was incredibly tender, the daikon crunchy and the sauce had a pleasant warmth to it.


Crispy brawn
Second course: Crispy brawn, chicory, Gochujang mayonnaise. Another celebration of the "cheap" parts of the pig. The meat inside the crispy coating was soft and moist and the spicy mayonnaise went really well with it.


Spicy sausage and rice cakes
Third course: Spicy sausage and rice cakes, Mandalay Mohntee sauce, crispy leek root. I really liked this, too, but I had to be careful of the tiny slices of green chillies that were really hot. The rice cakes were crispy on the outside and chewy in the middle, an interesting texture.


Frozen foie gras
The next course was a bit different: Frozen foie gras, Gewürztraminer gel, pickled lychees, pine nuts. This was interesting but overall a bit too sweet for me.


Bo Ssäm
The "main" course was Bo Ssäm (slow roasted and pulled pork shoulder) with a variety of Shan style kymchee amd sauces. This came on a large platter with lettuce so each guest could assemble their own wraps. Needless to say, the meat was tender and moist and the accompaniments worked really well.


Cereal milk, avocado gelato, chocolate and hazelnut thing
Dessert: Cereal milk, avocado gelato, chocolate and hazelnut thing. The set milk was malty and the avocado gelato worked really well with the crisp. The idea of avocado ice cream sounds bizarre but it worked because it was neither sweet nor savoury, more earthy.


Overall, the food was excellent and there was a huge amount. I had skipped breakfast and was glad for it, I also didn't need dinner in the evening. Everybody I spoke to or overheard loved it, too so the event was a definite success.

Here are a few more photos from behind the scenes. You can click them to view them larger on flickr:

MiMi's crackling MiMi's dishes in diagram format The buns are served

Crispy brawn Kitchen action

Kitchen action Kitchen action Brawn is ready!

Rice cakes Kitchen action

Kitchen action Sausage dish on the pass Kitchen action

Kitchen action Kitchen action

Happy diners Doggy duck

The heroes of the day


Still more photos on flickr.
karohemd: Gentoo penguins in Antarctica, by me (Hungry)
On Wednesday I took a train to London and then a tube to Highgate to take part in Porklife, a celebration of the pig by last year's Masterchef winner Tim Anderson and co-finalist Tom Whitaker.
The two nights only event was held at The Bull, a lovely brewpub in Highgate. I arrived well on time so could pick the table with the best light. People arrived very slowly so we didn't get started until after eight but I had my kindle so waiting wasn't so bad.

Tom and Tim

Tim and Tom appeared briefly to introduce themselves and then headed to the kitchen again.

Starter selection

The first course was the "little board" with deep-fried crumbed brawn and a spicy Korean mayo, a blood pudding roll (genius idea), a shotglass of "pea soup" and "hoggis". The first two were my favourites, the brawn soft with a crunchy coating and the roll with a well flavoured, crumbly black pudding. The hoggis (pork haggis) came with pickled neeps and whisky tatties, sitting on a biscuit. This was a nice idea but could possibly have had a bit more flavour. The pea soup contained bone marrow and pulled smoked hock. Very tasty indeed but probably not that healthy. ;o)

"Sandwich and Soup"

The "Soup and Sandwich intercourse" consisted of a nicely flavoured broth with pulled pork, savoy cabbage and butter beans served in a glass tumbler and rillettes of smoked hock, slithers of homemade guanciale wedged between thin toasted slices of bread. Especially the guanciale was superb but I enjoyed every element.

Then, the main event. First, there was a complimentary pint of Old Major, a "Bock Ale" created by Tim and the Bull's brewers specifically for the event. It wasn't as strong as a German Bock but had the typical sweet notes and a nice hint of smoke. I liked this a lot, if they sold this in bottles, I'd buy it regularly.

Mains selection

The main board had a portion of smoked, slow cooked belly which apart from the smokiness was rather similar to what you would get in Germany. Then there was slow cooked jowl with excellent meat wrapped in a rather tough skin. The spicy andouillette sausage would have been very nice if it hadn't been for a rather sharp sourness which put me off a little. The fact that it's offal stuffed into the large intestine didn't bother me at all.
Then there was a salad with crispy bits of ear and trotter, peanut, chilli and a fish sauce dressing. This was mainly a texture thing and pleasant enough. Other accompaniments were a fennel cream, barbecue sauce, apple mash, cornichons and a sort of coleslaw (called parsnip and celeriac remoulade) I really liked as well as a handmade caraway pretzel that tasted very similar to the ones from our baker in my German hometown.
There were some timing issues serving the mains, various items arrived a bit late but I was lucky that my food was still warm, I think a table or two were less lucky. Granted, there were a lot of items, though and I really enjoyed most of them.

By that time I was thoroughly stuffed but the desserts were still to come and of those I got a double helping for some reason.

Desserts

The cinnamon sponge wasn't stodgy and a little bit sticky, just enough for me and the boozy cherries were a nice contrast. The rhubarb jelly could have been a bit tarter for my taste (I don't have a sweet tooth) but the vanilla and fennel ice cream was lovely with just enough aniseedy flavour to make it interesting. The bits in the ice cream was "crackling praline with walnuts" which, strangely enough, actually worked.

I briefly considered trying a shot of Chauvinist Pig, Tim's bacon infused bourbon but I had to walk back to the tube and then my train and wasn't sure what it would do to me. ;)

I also had a brief chat with Tim and Tom afterwards. They are both really nice blokes who clearly love what they're doing and were happy to chat about the food and beer and things.
While there a few hiccups along the way and not all dishes worked brilliantly, it was a great celebration of the allegedly so humble pig. Pork doesn't have to be just loin, chops and big roasts but you can use every part of the animal to make something tasty, you just need to spend some more time on the more unusual cuts.

A few more photos on flickr

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