Thursday, 27 June 2013

Ribstock 2013 - Photo Overload

This summer (summer, ha) is the first time we went to Ribstock. I found out about Ribstock earlier in the year when researching for BBQ festivals as my brother is obsessed with it. Luckily for us they decided to do it all again this year! Tickets cost £50, which you might think sounds a bit steep but it covers all ten portions of ribs, 2 beers and a massive cocktail. And if you think one rib from each chef doesn't sound like a lot...think again people...I didn't even finish. At least, I don't think I did... I was fairly drunk by the end and I think I made it to number 7 or 8 - I can't tell you the actual number because I lost my voting card on the train...I think.

So, organised by Tweat Up,  there's 10 chefs, 10 portions of ribs, free drinks and also a hot sauce competition and 3 lovely judges, one of which was the be Gizzi Erskine, I love her. So I was really gutted when she couldn't make it as she was really poorly, half the reason I went was so she could sign something like my face :) But to be honest the food, drink and atmosphere was all so amazing it was a brilliant day anyway. 

By the way, there's a lot of photos here.... just needed to warn you.

"We’ve invited 10 of the UK’s best rib chefs and restaurants to battle for the title of 
‘Great British Rib Champion 2013’. Each will cook their own version of ribs, which will be blind tasted by our panel of judges. Guests will be able to taste a rib from every competitor and place their vote for their favourite.

The winning chef will take home a £3,000 prize. Rib tasting will take place from 1-5pm, 
with the winner announced at 6.00pm."

So the competitors:
BBQ Whisky Beer
Blue Boar Smokehouse
Carl Clarke / Rotary
Nanban / Tim Anderson
Neil Rankin
Prarie Fire BBQ
Red Dog Saloon
Roti Chai Street Kitchen
The Rib Man

The first rib we tried was from Neil Rankin. Although this was the first one, it was by far my favourite. A HUGE fried rib, everything is better fried right? It was a Texas/Korean mash-up BBQ. Chicken fried pork spare ribs with Korean buffalo sauce and ginger & lime mayo. I literally can't explain how good it was... I actually want the sauce alone by the bottle. It was ridiculously juicy and the only downside was that it didn't come with a spoon...I had to physically restrain myself from licking the plate like an absolute fatty...though kinda regret that I didn't! #wantthatsauce

See below for the ultimate epicness. It also came with a tote of Kraken rum and cola.... and so the drinking began.

The next stop was The Rib Man. My brother's been going on about him for ever. He found him on Brick Lane once and has never been the same since. I was told to 'go and engage with him when you're there, listen to everything, then come back and tell me everything he said to you". He is seen as a rib god and I wasn't disappointed. Famous for his Holy Fuck sauce that won the hot sauce competition the previous year and this time around he kept the title too! You can see them here hand-making the fresh tortillas that are filled with slow-cooked baby back rib meat, apple, balsa mela & Holy Fuck... and I kid you not, without prompt the only thing I could manage to say was indeed 'HOLY FUCK', in fact, I mouthed it. So in addition to the wrap you also got two rib bones dipped in the two sauces for those brave enough to go for a second hit.

 Elvis bingo dabbers!! I actually have these.

Also check out the many stages of Holy Fuck below.

Next came Nanban/Tim Anderson - Spare ribs rubbed with brown sugar, sansho, & shichimi 
mopped with soy sauce, rice vinegar, pickled ginger, awamori, & katsu sauce. I like that they had the ingredients on the counter... and he was quite easy on the eye while shouting 'RIBS!', which never hurts does it? I got an end rib, so while it looks small, it's all about what they did with it ;) The mop sauce was incredible, I really didn't expect it, and actually it was quite nice to have a slightly smaller rib at times as you soon great extremely full. I've been wanting to try some 'mopped' ribs and it didn't disappoint!

Marvel in the beauty....

Testing the bite mark factor.

Hello to Prarie Fire BBQ:
Apple & hickory wood smoked pork belly rib, fire kissed in a Kansas City sweet 'n' smoky sauce.
Served with beans, corn bread and a little shot of jelly for dessert. I loved all of the little extras you get with the ribs, the corn bread was probably my favourite. This was probably my second favourite sauce, if you love sweet ribs then this is the one for you, I could easily have devoured a whole rack.

Ah Cattle Grid, another beautiful rib, another beautiful man... no photo unfortunately. 
They also served it with a wet wipe, very, very clever. I see what you did there. 
Thick cut baby backs slow-cooked and fast-finished with Cattle Grid sauce.  
It also came with some home made coleslaw, can't go wrong right? This was actually just a really good rib, everything you expect, the typical BBQ rib, covered in sauce, falling off the bone, 
pure filth (good filth)... ok I could easily have a rack of these. I also got two ribs for some reason, 
who cares right? I took it and ran.

Who doesn't love a blackboard.

Inside the tent. You do kind of forget there is a world in Merchant Yard outside the tent, you get caught up in the world of smoke, meat, pig masks and country music.

The free of my many downfalls that day. Seriously strong but delicious, 
leading you to buy more cocktails...and loose 4 hours of your life.

Blue Boar Smokehouse - Chunky and juicy baby backs with a fiery Blue Boar dry rub. Slowly smoked then slathered in a zingy barbecue marinade.

This is where things start to get a little hazey, all I really remember is that I LOVED it. The dry rub was brilliant and you got a pot to take home with you, along with a pig mask (of course) and a shot of gin granita which I could easily have had a few more of, strange but worked really well with the ribs. Clever move people!

I don't like it when they lock eyes with you.... but nice beard :)

Loved this ice cream truck... I've said 'loved' too much I know, but it was really funky and retro 
and if I'd been a bit more sober when I'd left the tent I would have had a picture of me in front 
of it with my victory rolls in.

 Cheeky pic of Rob Beckett... sorry about the bad pose, you photobombed me. 
Little view of the check list...before I lost it.

This is where things got seriously hazey... this poor man had to pose... and they kept giving me free tequila.. technically not my fault. 

 Carl Clarke/Rotary - Smoked Oxford Sandy belly ribs, seaweed & sesame crunch, ‘next level slaw’, chilli peanut praline. Also came with a tequila shot and chilli chaser.  The crunch really was interesting, in all the right ways and the sauce was spot on I didn't expect the praline to be as good as it was but it totally worked.

I'm upset I don't have better pictures of this one.
Roti Chai Street Kitchen - 'Plantation Pigs' British belly ribs, tandoor-smoked and slow-cooked, with pineapple & red Naga 'ghost pepper' chilli marinade.  I've never had ribs with these spices before, the sauce was to die for and I was sure they'd be a front runner for winning, an unexpected surprise.
There really aren't many more pictures after this... you can just about see a shot in this picture, 
I was told it was cinnamon whisky...all I know is that they gave me A LOT of them and this is where it all goes dark for a few hours.

I didn't even get to the winners! BBQ Whiskey Beer! Shameful, hopefully they'll be there next year.

Or Red Dog Saloon for that matter. But 8/10 isn't bad right?

So that was Ribstock 2013. Everything we expect it to be, and in a little yard in Hackney. 
 will definitely be back next year, with a spoon, wet wipes and a decent camera.

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Sunday, 16 June 2013

Cath Kidston Inspired Cake Pops

It feels like months since I've made cake pops, and probably because, it actually has been months! Which is a shame as I love making them, I've just been too busy so it was nice to have time to do some properly when asked to make a batch.

This particular batch were to be very pretty, pastel, floral and Cath Kidston inspired. Who doesn't life a bit of Cath Kidston? The colours, flowers, polka dots... it's all too cute and I love it.

I made three designs, two floral ones which were similar but with different base colours and one with polka dots standing up in floral cases. The two floral ones were made from being dipped in coloured white chocolate. Half in pink and half in pale blue.

For the floral part I cut out circles of fondant and set them on the cake pops with royal icing, for the flowers I cut out red fondant with flower plungers, added a gold pearl for the bud and again placed them on with royal icing. For the stalk and leaves I piped on green royal icing and to finish piped white pearls around the design.

The polka dot ones were sooo easy to make and look super cute. I saw these mini cupcake cases in the garden center and the floral design fitted in so well I couldn't pass them by. So when I had dipped the cake pops in white chocolate, just before they were set I put them head down in the cases so they stood up. To make them even sweeter I piped pink polka dots around them and boom, they were finished.

To make them look more professional I wrapped them up in their own little individual cellophane bag and silver tie. When they were finished they looked great and like something out of Laura Ashley and I hear they went down a storm.

I even got to use my Wilton cake pop decorating stand that I got for Christmas for the first time. This shows you just how long it's been since I made them.

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