May 10th, 2011
Part of the food brief was to incorporate images from the show into the food. To my mind this worked best with a pork belly, which I got from my favourite butcher. The pork belly was boned and cut into 3 large pieces, which were scalded and cooked individually for about 2 hours. Normally I would salt the fat to aid in making crispy crackling, but we were concerned about the picture embedding itself, so we didn’t want it to crunch up too much. Interestingly, it now seems that the piece of pork with the best crackling and Simon Tyszko’s image, looked best!
Next up came my version of summer rolls, which had photos printed onto the rice paper that they were rolled in. In the rush to make the summer rolls, I neglected to photograph the first batch with the photos…
The summer rolls contained sticky Japanese rice (seasoned with Mirin and Thai fish sauce), cos lettuce, wasabi and either prawns or mixed seafood cooked in garlic and mixed chilli. The first 4 or 5 rolls went out with only rice or rice and lettuce – they were the mock-ups and shouldn’t have been eaten, though nobody complained! I’m indebted to Jemma of the Cardboard Book Project, who leapt in to help at 6.00 pm – the rolls were complicated and I couldn’t have done them without her.
The summer rolls were followed by baby octopus, cooked in a little olive oil, mixed chilli, Thai fish sauce, garlic and lemon juice. I flash fried them until they turned pink. Ideally, baby octopus should be cooked quickly or it turns rubbery.
The pork was probably the favourite of the night, but the frogs’ legs came a close second. They come in pairs, which I separated and flash fried as per the octopus. Once the legs had taken some colour, I tested one of them to see that they had cooked through. I believe most frogs’ legs bought in England come from Vietnam.
The final dish of the evening, was a mixture of prawns, octopus, squid and muscles, cooked as per the other fish, with the addition of a little white wine.
We washed everything down with a Sangria, made from brandy, cava, grapes, lemons, limes, oranges, strawberries and ginger beer. To our delight, Viviana Rullo of The Lean Times, turned up with 100 vodka and tequila Jell-O shots.