Friday, August 31, 2012

5 Star Makeover August 2012: Tea Party Round-Up

This month we get together to makeover the traditional British Tea Party.  The ladies really went all out and created a marvelous menu for what would be the quintessential Tea Party.

Please pull up a chair and enjoy these amazing ladies as they showcase their considerable talents.


Tennessee Tea Cakes
Angela from Spinach Tiger

High Tea in a Cuban House
Bren from Flanboyant Eats

Tea & Sherry
Lori from Taste With the Eyes

Stilton & Cucumber Sandwiches
Debi from Table Talk

Salmon Roe & Creole Cream Cheese Tea Sandwiches
Jessica from Cajunlicious

Duo of Sweet & Savory Cheesecake
Joan from Foodalogue

Tea For Two
Norma from Platanos, Mangoes & Me!

Mini Victoria Sponges
Victoria from Mission:Food

Tea Cakes Fit for a Princess
Marisa from Cook's Book

Salmon Duo Napoleon with Creme Fraiche
Evelyne from Cheap Ethnic Eatz

Peach Cardamom Scones
The Incomparable 5 Star Foodie Jr.

Fried Cucumbers on Cardamom Madeleines with Creme Fraiche and Herring Roe
Natasha from 5 Star Foodie

Cherry-Vanilla Sour Cream Scones with Vanilla Cream Spread
Faith from An Edible Mosaic

Bakewell Tart Samosas and Sticky Toffee Pudding Purses
Maya from Foodiva's Kitchen

Curry Leaf Infused Lime Custard Tartlets
Trixie from Tasty Trix

Strawberry Basil Scones
Shannon from Tri to Cook

Pressed Crispy Pork Belly, Brie, Apple Jelly, Pickled Shallots & Apple Brandy Reduction
The Kitchen Hack

Claridges Tea Time & Strawberry Fraisiers
Deana from LostPastRemembered

Quinoa Olive Cake Cucumber Sandwiches with Cilantro Cream Cheese
Alisha from The Ardent Epicure

Monday, August 27, 2012

5 Star Makeover: Pressed Crispy Pork Belly, Brie, Apple Jelly, Pickled Shallots & Apple Brandy Reduction

You are formally invited to a virtual British afternoon tea party...just stop.

The notion of me at a tea party conjures up a few things in the mind.
  • Uncivil
  • Improper
  • Bull in a China shop
  • WTF?!
Or as my eloquent wife put it...

Lawyer - Really?!  Who would invite a blunt instrument like you to a Tea Party?


Lawyer - (laughing) Oh I'd pay to see you at one of those.  What are you making chicken wings?!

Kitchen Hack - Chicken wings for a group of sophisticated ladies?  Not very subtle.

Lawyer - (Quizzical look on face)  Subtle?!  You?!

Kitchen Hack - C'mon, it's a tea party.

Lawyer - What did you have in mind?

Kitchen Hack - Pork belly.

Lawyer - Ah yes, much more subtle.

Pressed Crispy Pork Belly, Brie, Apple Jelly, Pickled Shallots & Apple Brandy Reduction

In my world this is finger food.

One lovingly perfect bite.

Listen, nobody loves their pork belly more than the Brits, so this would be spot on with some afternoon tea.  No?!

Pressed Crispy Pork Belly is star here.  The cooking is quite easy...

  • Coat the pork belly in a mixture of equal parts, sea salt, cane sugar, & smoked paprika.
  • Cook the belly at 450 F for 30 minutes.
  • Baste with the rendered fat.
  • Cook the belly at 450 F for 30 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to 250 F.
  • Cook the belly for an additional 90 minutes.
  • Allow to cool to room temp.
  • Place the belly in a hotel pan.
  • Place a second hotel pan on top of the belly.
  • Add dried beans or cans to the second hotel pan to weight the belly down.
  • Fridge for 12 hours.
The bit with the hotel pans makes slicing the belly precisely much easier.
  • Reheat the belly at 425 F for 5 minutes before service.
Apple is carried throughout the dish to compliment the belly pork.  

The construction of this course is as follows.
  1. Toasted Italian bread on the base
  2. Melted brie
  3. Crispy pressed pork belly
  4. Apple jelly
  5. Sliced Fuji apple
  6. Pickled shallots
  7. Apple brandy reduction
Obviously I was going for a good balance of sweet, tart, & fat in this one bite.

My apple brandy reduction is easy to make and has many uses in the kitchen.  Reduce together to desired consistency...
  • Apple juice
  • Calvados apple brandy
  • A dash of the pork belly rendered fat
If that does not get you excited, well, then there is just no pleasing you.

Please check back here this coming Friday, for the wonderful ladies of the 5 Star Makeover Group's proper British Tea Party creations.

Mine was not so proper or wonderful for that matter.

That's it for now...till we exchange a few words again...Peace!