Monday, 27 April 2015

Robinson College ( Cambridge university) Korean Food Event, 22. 4. 2015

River Cam

Robinson College

Roasted pork shoulder for Bossam

Spicy grilled butternut squash( vegetarian dish) 

Chef, Stuart, Sam and me

Marinated short rib on the grill

Gutjuri ( new kimchi)

chef , Stuart making seafood pancake

Guest at the table

I was so surprised by the email from Dr Shin regarding the Korean food Event 2015 . I thought, the Korean Ambassador had offered help from the Embassy to organize this year's Korean food event of  Robinson College at Cambridge University.
 But I was delighted by this request. I love working with Dr Shin and College head chef, Gary.
I quickly agreed to do it, it is my 3rd Event with Dr shin.

We chose the menu,

Starter; Pajeon (seafood pancake) ( Spring onion with shitake mushroom for vegetarians))
Main;  Galbi gui ( grilled short rib of beef),  slow roasted pork for bossam  ( grilled spicy squash and double cooked tofu with spices ; for vegetarians)
            Kimchi ( slightly fermented and new kimchi ( gutjuri), rice
            Mooli, red cabbage and green apple salad. lettuce and ssamjang ( sauce) for Bossam.
Dessert: Lemon tart and fruits salad

I had a problem with short rib, the most popular Korean BBQ dish, because catering team has no slot to discuss prior of the event. 
I had to sent photos how to butcher traditional galbi ( short rib). 
Choose middle and meaty short rib part and cut through bone and open up like a book without detaching with bone , make long strip of beef with bone in the end.
I could not show to the butcher I sent photos and hope for the best.
Luckily head chef send me a photo that butcher made Galbi cut in Korean style, I was surprised they look good, needed only they should be a little thinner but we can manage  .

 This is an unusual cut for western butcher, regard as a cheap and chewy meat , but as a Korean dish this is the most popular and very clever way to use short rib in my opnion.
Generally we, love texture in any dishes specially meat dishes.

Short rib of beef needs slow, long cooking to be tender like stew  but Korean grilled rib needs special marinating sauce  and keep marinade  for at least 6 hours, then grill. meat will be tender and sweet and moist, and biting texture with good flavour with sweetness in the back. I think this is most clever way to cook.  We all love grilled on the charcoal fire, which gives smoky flavour.

When I arrived at Robinson college around 11 am on 21st April. as soon as I entered familiar Robinson's kitchen, I can see 2 chefs waving hands, they both work with me in the past, so glad they are both work with me for this event.

I had to start work strait away , looking at short ribs ( 100 of them) they are much thicker and not very neat I expected. I have decided marinate first thing in the morning and cook like rib steak, possibly medium to medium rare.
Made marinating galbi sauce, needs a lots of everything,
Soy sauce, conference pear, garlic, ginger, toasted sesame oil, grated black pepper, sugar and chopped
spring onion, mirin.

Made sauce and ready for use tomorrow morning , as for trial, I put 1 rib in the marinating sauce with vegetarian , grilled butternut squash as well. 6 pm I grilled with another chef, medium, pink inside , it was tasty as it should be, just need more soy sauce and pear for making meat tender and juicy.

All preparation has to be done today, for seafood pancake, I do not know how many box of spring onion has to thinly cut by Stuart along with baby squids, prawns, and mussels.

For bossam, ( wrapped pork in lettuce with spicy sauce)  2 big shoulder pork ( 8 kg each) ready to roast , made ssamjang. ( spicy sauce for bossam)
I love this way of Bossam rather than Korean classic way ( boiled with spices and press) because roast pork ( low temp. 120c for 8 hours) is tender , moist, easy to pull, most of all pork cracking goes so well with Bossam, give another texture to the dish.
English meets Korea kind of a dish,

Cooking for near 100 invited guests needs a good planning and good helpers who do work hard .
I had excellent chefs, Sam & Stuart who love Asian food and very keen, most of all they respect me.
They are so helpful, in every stage of cooking they always ask me  which is very important,
 after all it is my recipe !!

Next day I had to arrive at the kitchen 7:15 am , and prepare for the beef rib. Never cooked this huge quantity but it will be Ok , add more mirin and dark Korean soy, it has to be ok for mine and Dr Shin's sake.
Marinade beef at 7:30 am and put pork in the oven around 9 :00 am,
I was standing all day , very tiring, being a chef was not an easy job, let me tell you!

Finally made new Kimchi  , ready for Mooli salad for dressing for last minutes.
Had 30 minutes power nap in my room and ready for face the music.

We all ready by 6:00 pm, 8 hours roast pork and crackling was excellent, all kitchen chefs tasted and loved it , so tender and crackling was light and crunch, so tasty , like eating thin crisps.
It was historic! late Michael Winner ( food critic) would have said.

Grilled rib as medium , was so tender and flavoursome, I was more than satisfied.

Served at 7;00 Pajeon , follow my main.

I made 3 minutes speech of food. I am so glad to be finished and relived .

I had been standing at the kitchen all day but feeling elated by students and lecturer, professor's verdict.  had a chat with students, they all seemed enjoying the foods. Vegetarians were impressed my twice cooked tofu and grilled spicy butternut squash.

 9 pm I had much deserved a glass of white wine at Red brick bar with Dr Shin.
Perhaps I might do it again next year! If I will be invited by Dr Shin again!

ready for cook ( short rib)

Opening rib of beef

Chef , Sam

River Cam

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Visit IFE London ( Intenational Food Exhibition)


kimchi chip

Kimchi chip

Bamboo roasted Korean sea salt

Olive Ascolana

Air dried hummus chips

Selection of fruit crisps

Korean Pavilion

Healthy sea weed snack

9times roasted Korean sea salt

kimchi flavoured seaweed  snack

Chilli paste( gochujang) with blueberry
and Korean plum

Sugar free hazel nut and chocolate spread

Spreadable Nduja
This year's IFE was held at Excel London from 22nd of March to 25th. I was at 22nd and 25th.
It was very nice to see huge presence Korean foods and Italian ,they are my favourite food along with British.

This year IFE  trend was definitely Healthy Food (snack?), a lots of fruits sugar free non fried, low temperature oven dried crisps,  from all over the world.
Loved a few from here and Turkey but my favourite was from Korea, Hephzibah.
CEO, Kim ( also founder) got it right, thin and right bite size, not too thick and clumsy shape and not too crunch like others, slightly chewy and original fruit's flavour was not lost with low temperature  oven drying.
Unfortunately they are not available in U K yet. they would be an ideal snack for the children's lunch box.

Kim's new product, kimchi chip. what an idea!, tasted but it may too spicy for some. Not fermented, just freshly made and dried in the oven. I bet they are very popular in Korean specially with Muguli and beer drinkers.

Found another kimchi flavoured snack, seaweed with kimchi powder coated onto the seaweeds, but too spicy my liking. I can see they are selling as a healthy snack , combination with seaweed and kimchi, who can argue among Asians, but to the Westerners ? Perhaps they have to use less chilli for the Western market . Still I loved wrapped with rice.

Having seen all kind of healthy crisps I do wonder potato crisps are end of life in our food culture, but certainly in many Asian countries seemed so, as they do not have  the potato food culture as such as Western world.

Chocolate, hazel nut spread from Turkey ( Sarelle) was very good, no sugar version and bitter chocolate are very good, less sweet than Nutella.

Vegan foods are big at IFE but difficult find  tasty one for me , but bean pastas from Sweden ( a la eco) caught my eyes, specially black bean pasta,  just looked like squid ink pasta which I love , sadly I could not get any sample or buy to cook at home, they would be ideal for my daughter, 20 something generation.
Recent years all young lady seemed eating spiral courgette pasta, I think these bean pasta would be a good substitute .

Young Korean company called Woomtree made chilli paste ( gochujang) with blueberry and Korean green plum. they are so good adding fruits makes vitamin C rich Korean condiments, what a good idea. They will be must have items for poor students or singles.

Korean has a kind of obsession about Korean mineral rich sea salt, the company called Korean sea salt made roasted in bamboo case , 3time and 9times roasted bamboo salt.
Founder & CEO, Si-Woo Park told me 9 times roast salt has medicinal quality and drinks salt solution ( water) like daily medicine.
Very expensive,  $70 for 100g, no wonder it used as medicine.
I tried with steak , 9 times salt bring out beef flavour and got very clean salty taste but would I pay for it, No way!
Rich Koreans may use for the cooking, it may attract rich Chinese or Russians but I can not help thinking, all these minerals I can have through other food from sea ,like sea weeds, sea lettuce, kelp so on.

Sea lettuce powder was here too from Israel, China but for me sea lettuce powder is too small packet to use as I am a sea lettuce soup ( Korean) lover, sure it will be good with salad or just in the sauce.
I will think something better than just adding to the salad.

Loved organic  cultured milk drink , from grass fed cow's milk from Devon, tasty to drink and packed with live culture ( beneficial microorganism, you know this is good for your body) by Biotiful Dairy.

Delighted to see my favourite Italian foods were big here, cured ham, and ready made snacks for the drinks, like mini ravioli, olive Ascolana ( I was longing for tasting this since I saw BBC 2, food and art , Italy ) , take out olive seed and stuffed with meat and bread crumbed, fried. So dainty and so tasty.
Hope these are in our shops in Britain soon.

Finally Nduja ( Spicy, fermented pork and chilli kind of  huge sausage) now new Nduja is spreadable.
Loved it. I often make pasta with Nduja, onion and olive oil but this slightly runny Nduya on the thinly cut, toasted bread or bisquit was good for the drinks.

This year's IFE was full of small company with  good ideas and health minded products. I had a quite inspired by all these. looking forward to cook with  these new products.
Already a few ideas in my head when I left IFE with a few samples .