Tag Archives: pork

Mom, Dad and BeanPie Turn 150. We Celebrate with Roast Pig, Crack Pie, and Butter.

It was a grand occasion in the Li family household on Sunday for an epic once-in-a-lifetime event: the 150th birthday party! Once-in-three-lifetimes, to be exact – it was a springtime celebration of our mom’s 60th birthday, Irene’s upcoming 20th birthday, and our dad’s upcoming 70th. Obviously, 60+20+70 = BADASS PARTY TIME. And no badass party would be complete without roasting a 50 lb pig in the backyard.  Or grilling a 30 lb fish. Or baking 10 desserts, including 4 crack pies. Or making 3 kinds of homemade pickles. Not to mention the ridiculous amount of beef brisket, pulled chicken, barbecued ribs, sweet potatoes, mac & cheese, three bean salad, collard greens, and sandwich rolls from Lester’s Barbecue and three sheet trays of cornbread from Andy’s restaurant Harvest.  And an accompanying approximately 20 cubic feet of alcohol. How else would you celebrate such a once-in-three-lifetimes occasion?

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A Southern Spread at Rambling Restaurant: Pulled Pork, Pineapple Upside-Down Cake and Squirty Cream!

With an American-themed meal at our last Rambling Restaurant, we just had to do a dessert featuring the never-ending source of birthday party fun for all ages:  shakeable whipped cream in a sleek metal canister. They have it over here in the UK, except they call it…squirty cream. I thought that it might be just an affectionate nickname, but nope.  It even says so on the packaging.

Hilarious. Say hello to the squirty cream and a slice of sweet potato pie.  But wait, dessert first? Nothing wrong with that, but let’s rewind a bit to cover this Southern-inspired feast from the beginning. Sadly, I failed to take photos of the slices of warm cornbread with chunks of sweet corn and a dusting of paprika. You’ll just have to imagine them stacked in cute little baskets and served with pretty rounds of colorful green, red, and yellow jalapeno-chile butter.

Next up, shared ramekins of creamy mac & cheese with a crunchy cheddar and ciabatta breadcrumb topping, served up baked, browned, and bubbling.

The main course was a stomach stuffing plate of pulled pork with homemade barbecue sauce on freshly baked rolls, dirty rice (made satisfyingly, mouthwateringly dirty with chicken livers sauteed in the trinity of green pepper, celery, and onion), and a light lemony cole slaw.

We had an extreme overabundance of pulled pork, which is never a bad thing, although this picture’s a bit extreme. WARNING: GRATUITOUS PULLED PORK PICTURE AHEAD.

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A Rambling Aphrodisiac Dinner, Complete With Searing Loins and Gin & Tonic Jelly

Hooray! It’s time for another Rambling Restaurant Singles Night featuring an aphrodisiac dinner, so you know things are bound to get hot.  Particularly when you have five people in a veryverycozy kitchen and have fresh bread baking in the oven, a giant vat of soup bubbling on the stove, and ten large pork loins popping and fizzing boiling oil all over the place.

Really. Hot. Temperatures. Luckily, there was also a dining room full of really hot people (yes yes, as in extremely attractive) all mixing and mingling on the other side of the curtain.  To get their taste buds primed and hearts racing, we served four courses featuring ingredients thought to have aphrodisiac qualities.  Of course, both dessert courses featured what is inarguably the most guaranteed aphrodisiac of them all – a large quantity of alcohol. Which is how we started the night as well, with glasses of passionfruit, raspberry and rosebud fizz.

Each cocktail came with a little tag marked with a suit denoting where to sit for your first table, along with some silly icebreaker questions inside to spark conversation or incite passionate debate.  Our eleven brave men and eleven brave women scattered amongst four tables to wait for these shiny happy braids of dough…

…to toast to perfection into these lovely browned plaits with a soft and fluffy white interior.

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Random Food Porn, or, What I Accomplished in Sophomore Fall

As the spring semester starts up, I find my mind wandering back to all the things I did in the fall. Remember the fall semester? Walking up the slope without getting my face windburned off? Four months of classes and pouring money into this lovely Ivy League institution? Learning about things like neuroscience, psychology and the legal system, human development, and so on? Brutalizing your savings account and learning how to bake flourless chocolate torte, braise pork belly, poach eggs, make hollandaise sauce, butcher a deer, french ribs, and so on? Becoming a shameless fan of the blood-spatter-style plating of sauce (pictured below)? Do I remember all that? Not really. Good thing I took pictures, and we’ve got recipes coming in future posts.

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this little piggy got roasted at the market (with fresh homemade applesauce)

people-enjoying-the-market-scene

i absolutely love markets. farmers markets, flea markets, even supermarkets in countries other than my own always bring a smile to my face no matter what kind of mood i’m in. things have been a teeny bit frustrating here in london what with the backwords hurdling werewolf chase of setting up a business. it’s been quite exciting but a bit exhausting, and going to the market is a great way to slow down and clear my mind.  we are sloooooowly moving towards signing our lease, but as non-citizens with no proof of UK employment, this process moves at about the brisk pace of the yearly expansion of finland‘s land mass thanks to post-glacial rebound. yes, post-ice-age isostatic recovery always provides me with an endless source of entertainment.

post-glacial rebound aside, i am here to talk about the endless excitement of markets. to tantalize your tastebuds and stimulate your imagination as to how ridiculously wonderful our apartment will be once we actually get it, i’ll show you some photos from last week’s broadway market. our hopeful new place is sandwiched right in between this phenomenal saturday market, chock full of independent food retailers and fashion stalls, and the famous sunday morning columbia road flower market. my first visit there will be to stock our new flat floor-to-ceiling with bouquets and plants and loveliness in bloom.

thus, we will have a one-two punch of back-to-back weekend marketing within a five minutes walk radius of our place. this idea makes me happy as a pig in sh*t.  or,  happy as me with a roasted bit of pig in bun in hand. miraculously, this exact item happened to be on sale at the first stall of the market. this poster, and the accompanying smell, called to me with  caressing words of love and promises of porky perfection.
roast-hog-menu-at-broadway-market

yeah. for reals. i’m obsessed with this stand. they have a huge metal grill with a slowly rotating hog on a spit. when you order, they grab a ciabatta from a stacked pyramid of rolls in a cute wicker basket and slather it with homemade applesauce. it’s soft on the inside, but hardy enough to contain an massive helping of sandwich innards. then goes in a handful of roquette (which i assume =  rocket, which also = arugula…where are we, europe or something?) and then a generous serving of succulent moist pork. the crowning detail that swiftly buys my adoration? a few carefully selected pieces of crackly pork skin, artfully placed on top of this work of art.

roast-hog-with-arugula-and-applesauce-on-ciabatta

HELLOOOOOOOOOOO BEAUTIFUL.

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