Iceberg Thai Pork Wraps

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Shangaan Electro Dancers from South Africa

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Fluoro Roses I photographed on my way

My route to meet my friend Ayca on Saturday led me through Gillett Square, the location of London’s best jazz club, the Vortex. As I entered I heard some frenetic African electronic dance music and I couldn’t believe it when I realised that it was a DJ playing New Wave Electro from South Africa from the Shangaan Electro record I bought in 2010. Dancers from the videos I had only watched on youtube were there performing on stage. It was awesome. Shangaan Electro is defined by a really fast pace – 180 BPM – and a distinctive style of dancing, imitated by Beyoncé in her video for Run the World (Girls), and is mostly performed by men. It is really fun to dance to – if you can keep up.

After this, pootling around eating ice lollies, and reading the papers with Ayca and Rob at their house, Ayca and I made supper together fuelled by Sangria and A’s pink gin and tonics (angostura bitters provide the extra colour and flavour). Between the two of us it was a breeze to prepare this meal while Rob scrubbed weeds from their yard, and we sat outside with friends eating and drinking until very late, so warm we almost mistook it for an evening in another country.

Pork Burgers

1kg pork mince

200g smoked streaky bacon, finely chopped up

1 stick, lemongrass, finely chopped and bashed in pestle and mortar

3-4 lime leaves, finely chopped (or juice of 1 lime)

1 medium red chilli, finely chopped

8 spring onion tops, finely chopped

finely chopped coriander stalks – save the leaves

2 tablespoons, fish sauce

1 teaspoon, toasted sesame oil

Cucumber Salad

2 cucumbers, peeled and grated and drained of excess water

½ red chilli, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed with salt

1-2 teaspoons, sugar

juice of ½ lime

hefty pinches of salt

handful, toasted crushed peanuts

Garnish

bunch of fresh mint

coriander leaves

1 iceberg lettuce, large leaves carefully separated

½ lime

chilli sauce (your preferred type)

spicy mayo – mayo mixed with a squeeze of lime and chilli sauce and pinch of cumin

bowl of cooked white rice, or vermicelli (rice noodles) – cook rice by placing desired about of rice in a pan of cold water, with water until 2cm above rice in pan. Cook with lid on until all the water is absorbed (about 20 minutes)

How to make:

In a blender or in a bowl whizz or mix all the finely chopped burger ingredients together well without the pork. Then mix well with the pork and shape into small burgers. Leave in the fridge for 10-15 minutes, or in a cool spot.

Heat a grill or light a barbecue – we barbecued ours. But either is fine.

Make the rice and when ready leave warming somewhere, covered with a teatowel. Make the cucumber salad – mix all of the ingredients together, and add more salt, sugar or acidity to taste – start with the levels suggested and go from there. For the garnish toast dry peanuts in pan, then crush or chop and add just before serving.

Mix up the mayo and prepare the lettuce leaves.

Cook the pork burgers turning every few minutes, not allowing them to get too charred if on the barbecue. Check if cooked – should be juicy, but not pink, apart from the odd bit of bacon which will keep its colour. If your grill or barbecue is hot, they will only take 12-15 mins.

Serve with:

In a large iceberg leaf, place a pork burger, some rice, fresh mint and coriander, some spicy mayo, cucumber salad, a squeeze of lime and chilli sauce if you wish.

Eat with lots of Ayca’s pink gin and tonics (gin, tonic water, ice, angostura bitters, mint leaves) 

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