Popstrami: Redux. Wednesday 5th December

Yes the rumours are true, the team behind 2011’s storming Popstrami event in Bournville have reunited to bring you the magic of an authentic New York Deli, right here in Stirchley. Check out the details below – dinner on Wednesday, is sorted…

Cajun Cook-Off Pics

The popstrami reuninon cajun cook-off BBQ was amazing on Sunday – thoroughly stuffed with a fridge full of amazing leftovers. All of it was great of course but highlights of the food were Lap’s andouille sausage, Nick’s smoked brisket, and Hannah’s apple pie (with smoked ice cream). Here’s a few pics of my prep and some of the finished dishes. Next popstrami likely to be January – to be confirmed nearer the time.

Popstrami Reunion

20110722-043437.jpgI’m very excited about this weekend. Not only am I celebrating a friends 30th Birthday and going to see the excellent Goodnight Lenin at their EP launch party, but I’m heading over to Harborne for a reunion with the team behind the highly successful ‘Popstrami‘ pop-up NY deli that we put on back in March. Chief popstrami conspirator, bank-roller, and long-time Loaf customer Nick Loman instigated this get-together, and not content with a mere chinwag over a curry, has challenged us all to a southern BBQ cook-off that we have to document in film, photo and word!

My original plan of doing a proper pit-roast suckling pig has fallen by the wayside for now, but I am equally excited by the three side dishes that I’ve opted to prepare to go alongside pork ribs, smoked brisket, barbecue beans, apple pie etcetera. After borrowing the excellent Real Cajun by Donald Link from Nick, I’ve spent the week getting acquainted with the cuisine of the southern states, and opted for hush puppies, boudin balls, and slaw.

Boudin is a traditional rice and pork sausage, which I believe has it’s roots in spanish Morcilla black pudding sausage though I’m happy to be corrected on that. As I’ve not bothered to look for another one, I’m going to do the recipe just as it is from Real Cajun. I’ve ordered the pork liver and shoulder from Rossiters and plan to make the mix fresh on Sunday morning. As I don’t have a sausage stuffer and Rossiters is closed on a Sunday I’m going to make these into bread-crumbed-and-deep-fried boudin balls instead.

As I’ll be heating up some oil anyway, it makes sense to do hush puppies too which also require deep frying. I managed to pry a recipe out of Soul Food Project’s head chef Carl Finn during the week, so I’m planning to play off his recipe against Donald Link’s and see what comes out top. Link’s recipe is described as a batter, whereas Carl said his is more like a scone mixture. Carl’s also includes ale, which is automatically drawing me in that direction, specially with the fab selection of USA ales currently in stock at Stirchley Wines.

I haven’t found a decent slaw recipe yet so may just make something up. If i have time I’ll make a homemade BBQ sauce to dress it though.

I am salivating already. Hopefully i’ll post some pictures of experiments and the cook-off on Sunday too.

Popstrami round up

I get to do some pretty exciting things these days, and a lot of them I get to call work, which is really a huge pleasure. The latest of these things, and probably the best to date, was ‘Popstrami’, a pop-up NY style kosher deli that I helped to run yesterday in Bournville. It was the brainchild of friend and long-time customer of Loaf Nick Loman, who was inspired by trips to such places on his American travels, and I think just wanted to get himself a decent meat sandwich in Birmingham! The date was set, the venue was changed (twice), the team was assembled, and the recipes were tested, adjusted, re-tested, re-adjusted, re-re-tested, and finally multiplied up to feed the hoards.  We all started the day at about 8am – me to bake the bialy’s, Nick to get the meat steaming, and Hannah, Amy, and Mark to turn Leverton and Hall’s into an American Deli. Gordon, the babka-touting barista, swung by my place in his Landy defender and gave me a ride with my rye loaves and bialy’s at about 10am, and we were followed by Lap and his awesome vanilla cheesecakes half an hour later.

We swung open the door at 11.30 and the customers trickled in for the first half hour, sampled the sandwiches and gave us some lovely feedback. Come 12 noon, 3 or 4 people had started to queue to get in, and by 1.30pm the queue stretched to the corner of Mary Vale Road, about 50 people long. We owe you guys a lot for bearing with us, thanks so much for sticking around in the queue – we had to wait for the meat to be suitably steamed so it was warm and tender for you, we didn’t want to rush and serve anything substandard. The feedback remained good all day, despite some customers queuing for 2 hours for a sandwich. The team grew from 5 to 7 to 10 by  the end of the day (thanks so much to Mark, Amy, Mike, and Nick’s parents for jumping in head first). The vibes were great with fab American music in the back room (see playlist at the bottom of this post), and the American soda’s going down a treat (Wild Cherry Pepsi was so popular!). We killed the queue at 4.30 as we were running out of food – I even had to run home and grab some more bread to feed the last few people in the queue. We ended, over 180 sandwiches later, at about 5pm with champagne and meat sandwiches for the team. What a flipping day!

A couple of people asked on Twitter for the playlist, so here it is, in full (click to download pdf): popstrami playlist. Or check it out on spotify.

Popstrami, Sunday 13th March

popstramiThis weekend I’m proudly helping to serve up the best meat sandwiches ever served up in Birmingham, probably. Several months ago one of my bakery customers Nick Loman suggested we have a crack at running a pop-up Jewish New York Deli, ‘just-for-the-hell-of-it’. We kept the idea in the bank for a while, but when a potential venue came up in Stirchley we started baking and brining like nobody’s business in preparation for this weekend. As it happens the venue is now in Bournville, and Nick has enlisted three others onto the team, but we’ve all been perfecting our various recipes in preparation for serving you a perfect meat sandwich, and other accoutrements, on Sunday.

I’ve made several test batches of what I’m calling a New York Deli Rye, and settled on a 20% rye recipe that also includes caraway seed and grated raw onion. I’ve also been trying to create the perfect sized loaf, giving lots of equally sized slices to minimise wastage, and ensure you have a suitably sized bready handle to hold onto on Sunday. This has involved careful shaping and lots of linen tea towels.

This week I’ll be perfecting my bialy recipe (kind of like a bagel without a hole), which’ll be stuffed with lox (cured salmon) come Sunday, and deciding how to pasteurize the sauerkraut that’s fermenting in the utlity room.

We’re calling this crazy event ‘popstrami’, and you can see the when and where below. Hope to see you Sunday, don’t miss it!!


Sunday 13th March

11.30am to 6pm


Leverton & Halls Deli and coffee house

218 Mary Vale Rd, Bournville, Birmingham, B30 1PJ

You can check out the full menu and other details at http://popstrami.co.uk