By the time you’re reading this, I will be mentally preparing myself for an evening of meat. I first met Iain, way back with his collaboration with The Liquorists, #mEAT. Since then, I’m proud to say we are firm friends and his cooking is no stranger to me, or my waistline.
On Friday, I will be attending his lamb themed evening, Flock and Roll. To give you an idea of the meaty goodness I will be enjoying I thought I’d relive on of his first events, The Joy of Pork.
As with any supper club, this was held at Iain’s home and with him in the kitchen (and his lovely wife out for the evening), it was Tania’s job to act as hostess and look after us. Greeted by her on arrival with a glass of fizz, laced with a little of Iain’s own raspberry infused whisky.
Our amuse then appeared as if my magic, chicharron – think pork scratching without the fat, crisp and light, but still deep-fried, and morsel (or they are by Drunken Butcher standards) of pork cheek, cooked in soy and chilli. These will always get your taste buds tingling – his soy pork cheeks are especially popular.
Onto our starter and I knew this was going to be special. Torchon of pig’s head with cherry sauce and Finnish mustard. The torchon takes an inordinate amount of time to make. Preparing the pigs head, cooking it for 3.5 hours, removing the meat, moulding it, breadcrumbing it and deep frying it. From a consumers perspective it is absolutely worth the effort and love. It’s tender, full of flavour and with the gentle spice of the mustard and sweet warmth of the cherry, every mouthful is perfect.
For the main course we were treated for quality and quantity. Crisp crackling, tender loin and roast t-bone of pork, roast potatoes, cauliflower cheese and gravy. This was everything a roast should be. Crackling crisp and perfect, roast potatoes crisp but fluffy, pork tender and juicy and cauliflower cheese that even Mr GFB couldn’t fail to enjoy. And he hates cauliflower.
We were treated to a take on a Finnish classic for dessert, plum soup with cinnamon ice cream. The soup is normally a Christmas dish and Iain has Anglicised it, so that the sweetness present in the original is toned down – making it more mulled and less Christmas pudding. With the ice cream you get the added contrast of hot and cold and it’s creaminess cuts through the sweetness of the soup, making it lighter and less intense.
Finally, if we weren’t full enough, we got a Drunken Butcher classic; Jim Beam milkshake and homemade Oreo cookies. The JB milkshake is something I’ve since tried to introduce to others – it’s now an out an out favourite. Thick vanilla milkshake, shot of JB, perfect. The Oreos are a revelation. Take an Oreo cookie – now put it back in the packet, back in the cupboard and try one of these. Thick and crisp chocolate biscuit with rich vanilla filling. What an Oreo should be.
So boys and girls, while you’re tucking into your dinner on Friday, I’ll be tucking into his take on the humble sheep. If I’m honest, I really can’t wait.