Supper Club – Family Style

In anticipation of our Sweet & Sour Food Power event at Baltic Bakehouse, pao’s founder and Head Chef, Shelly has written this passionate piece about how and why we do what we do!

Socialising around food and mealtimes is very important to the Chinese, and Chinese family life revolves around the dinner table. In fact, “Have you eaten yet?” is a common greeting, indicating prime concern for the state of fullness of another’s belly.

Their obsession with food, and the simple act of sharing a meal with family and friends is what captured my curiosity with all Asian food.

Each meal is an event for the Chinese, each plate carefully considered for its ying/yang qualities, encouraging the Chinese to find balance in their life, including with the food they eat. This would include using ingredients in their cooking that are known for their natural abilities to cure ills – such as ginger and garlic.

While preparing meals, the Chinese strive for a balance in not just the types of food they eat, but also the colours and textures of each dish. In contrast, meal time for many of us over usually involves sitting on the couch with a plate of food on their lap whilst catching up on some recorded TV, or looking at our smart phone.

The next couple of supper clubs we are doing come from a desire to try authentic Chinese recipes, use ingredients that I have never heard of or seen before, and to bring people together, eating family style!

Our aim is to create menus that use traditional ingredients in each dish – no cutting corners, no jars of sauce! For me it is important to look to original recipes and methods, to enjoy the depths of flavour and range of textures the ingredients offer. I love Asian food for this reason – where big and bold flavours make me stop and take note of what I am eating!

I f you want to find out more, this blog has some great recipes and a glossary of ingredients for anyone wanting to take on the challenge of cooking real Chinese food:

http://thewoksoflife.com/chinese-ingredients-glossary/

Shelly Turner – Head Chef and Creative Director of pao!

Chinese mealtime traditions:

  • Traditionally, Chinese believed it was impolite to talk too much while eating. A good meal was regarded as too special to be spoiled by conversation.
  • Chinese prefer round dining tables because more people can be seated around the table. A round table allows people to eat facing each other without differentiation. In other words, when seated at a round table every one is equal, regardless of their status and wealth.
  • The use of chopsticks dates to ancient times when most Chinese were farmers and peasants. At mealtimes their hands were usually dirty, and the food was hot. The farmer didn’t want to use his dirty hands to pick up the food, nor did he want to burn himself, so he began using twigs to pick up the food.
  • In most traditional Chinese dining, dishes are shared communally

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Sweet & Sour Food Power

  We have just got back from a lovely catering job for the LaunchPad project organised by the Beautiful Ideas Co. at the Invisible Wind Factory. Some great things are in the pipeline and we can’t wait to play our part in it.

But you all know that we like to keep busy and keep our irons in many fires and feed as many of you as possible! A while back Sam from the Baltic Bakehouse asked us if we wanted to take over for an evening, which of course we would, and now it is happening!

On Saturday 12th December, we are putting on “Sweet & Sour Food Power” at the bakery and cooking up a storm of your chip shop favourites, with some high end surprises thrown in. It’s going to be a brilliant night and we have a license for the evening, so we will be able to make you proper drinks with booze in them! 

 We are in the process of getting the menu designed, but if you e-mail me, mia@paofoodpower.com, I will send you out a menu. 

If you want to jump straight in there and book, you can pay via PayPal or there will be some tickets for sale at the Baltic Bakehouse. 

  

Tea & Dim Sum

We really miss the Baltic Triangle and all of our lovely customers!

During our summer residency at District we had the pleasure of forming some great friendships and collaborations. Two of our regular customers have become collaborators, and indeed friends, the lovely Alison and Helena Appleton.

We love working with people who are as passionate and dedicated as we are, and we had been talking about doing supper club events for some time. As Alison Appleton has opened up the gorgeous Tea House on Lark Lane, we have got together with the mother and daughter team and combined two of our favorite things – dim sum and tea!

We want to recreate a traditional Chinese Tea House experience, making some of our favorite dim sum, and serving it with Alison Appleton’s beautiful tea ware and leaves.

I have been doing some extensive dim sum research, saved countless recipes and watched Youtube videos, to unpick the art of the dim sum. It is amazing to watch – perfect, delicate parcels filled with such simple ingredients.

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Tea House

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Tea Trivia

  • According to legend, tea was first discovered by the Chinese Emperor Shennong in 2737 BCE, when a dead leaf from a tea bush fell into his cup of hot water. Today, tea is considered one of the seven Chinese necessities, and is drunk throughout the day. Green is the most popular variety.
  • Traditionally tea drinkers were regarded as the academic and cultural elites of the society because the practice of drinking tea was considered to be an expression of personal morality, education, social principles, and status. Increased enthusiasm for tea drinking led to the greater production of tea ware, which significantly popularized Chinese porcelain culture.
  • Folding the napkin in tea ceremonies is a traditional action and is done to keep away bad qi energy in China as tea was regarded as one of the seven daily necessities, the others being firewood, rice, oil, salt, soy sauce, and vinegar.
  • To apologize in Chinese culture, people make a serious apology to others by pouring tea for them. For example, children who have made a mistake or have misbehaved may serve tea to their parents as a sign of regret and submission.
  • Drink it slowly. Some types of tea cost thousands of RMB per bag.
  • Never ask for ice or sugar for your tea.
  • If you ever pour tea for someone else, fill the cup 3/4 full. (When pouring alcohol, top it off, brim to the rim.)
  • When someone hands you a cup of tea, take it with two hands. When you give someone a cup of tea, use two hands. (One hand on the bottom, on hand on the side).
  • When drinking tea, it is polite to use two hands.
    When someone pours you more tea, it’s polite to touch the side of the teacup as they pour it, and be sure to say “Xie xie”, or thank you.

The Art of Dim Sum

Whilst researching I came across this short documentary, a little insight into the world of a man who has made dim sum for 50 years. Getting up at 3 am everyday to make dim sum from scratch. The precision, speed and efficiency of these men are incredible. With a one-week holiday a year, they live and breath for dim sum – their customers travel far to eat there.

Sadly, this art is dying out, the traditional tea houses, where people go to socialize, drink tea and eat dim sum are disappearing and being replaced with international chains like Starbucks. A steep decline in interested students, willing to dedicate the time and devotion to the art of making dim sum, also contributes to this glorious art one day being lost.

I still have a long way to go to master this delicate art – but I am going to put my time in – hopefully this Saturday will be a start!

We have already sold out of tickets for our first supper club! We were of course very nervous and worried that no one would come, so we are very grateful and excited to delivering our first supper club to a full house! If you have missed this opportunity, don’t fret! We are have more events coming up in the near future. First off we are doing a pop-up that we have named Sweet & Sour Food Power at Baltic Bakehouse on the 12th December – tickets for that are available on Eventbrite. Secondly, we have a great night planned with Claremont Farm on Saturday 13th of February to celebrate Chinese New Year and see in the year of the monkey!

Tickets and further details will be available in the near future!

Alison Appleton – Lark Lane

Tea House - 24 Lark Lane
Tea House – 24 Lark Lane

Our blog is a day late this week, I apologise, someone trod on my router and so I have no internet at home – which is extremely inconvenient. However, it has meant that I am now sitting in the cosy, bustling warmth of The Bagelry, using their very reliable and speedy WiFi.

We have exciting news! This Saturday evening, the 14th of November, we are making a guest appearance at Alison Appleton’s beautiful new Tea House at 24 Lark Lane and we are hoping it will the first event of many with Alison and Helena. For Saturday’s event we have put together a five course Dim Sum menu – there is a method and a reasoning behind it, Shelly will reveal all on the night!

There will be the chance to pair teas with each course, as well as a range of drink – alcoholic or non. If you have room by the end of the meal, the Tea House have a glorious selection of cakes and delicious desserts.

To find out more or to Buy Tickets, visit Alison Appleton. Please make sure you alert the Tea House to any dietary requirements at least 48hrs prior to the event!

Alison Appleton Dim Sum Menu
Alison Appleton Dim Sum Menu

The Bagelry

The Bagelry
The Bagelry

Tuesday sees the opening of The Bagelry on Nelson Street in China Town. We’re not just saying this because they are friends of ours and we are super happy and proud for them – but they do produce the best goddamn bagels this side of the Atlantic.

We went to their preview on Thursday and had were royally entertained by great live music from the Stealing Sheep ladies and ace DJ sets, and we were treated to superb homemade bagels, cream cheeses and cheesecakes.

Rhonda, Natalie and a whole team of friends and family have helped The Bagelry get off the ground after a long, hard slog. The place looks beautiful, the product is fantastic and the team behind it all are such a admirable and dedicated bunch. Gushing a bit, I know…

We are really looking forward to seeing The Bagelry finally get the opportunity to flourish.

looking ahead!

Shelly & Anna at the Japanese BBQ
Shelly & Anna at the Japanese BBQ

We have had a great summer at District, we have had a couple of weeks off to catch up with the boring bits and now we are looking forward to some great events and interesting collaborations. Our best news is that we have the excellent Anna Brown on board with us!

Anna has been helping us out at our events and brings with her a truck load of experience and good ideas and we are very lucky to have her.

Over the next few months, we have a series of exciting events and collaborations coming up. First of all, we are catering for the 2015 Visible Award hosted by Tate Liverpool at Liverpool’s spendid Town Hall on October 31st. We are really looking forward to it, it is a beautiful venue and a great occasion!

We are also planning a supper club event with Alison Appleton‘s at the new venue on Lark Lane, to take place on the 14th November – look out for tickets! On the 12th of December, in the middle of advent, we will be “popping up” at the Baltic Bakehouse to offer an evening of seasonal cheer, pao! style.

In the New Year we will be heading over to Claremont Farm on the Wirral to see in the year of the monkey in style with seasoal ingredients done the pao! way.  We would love you all to come along to all these events, so stay in touch on social media (Twitter, Facebook & Instagram) or pop your e-mail in the form below!

Banh Mi


Banh MiOriginating on the streets of Saigon, the Banh Mi sandwich is a hybrid of French and Vietnamese cuisine, consisting of an airy baguette, pickled daikon and carrot, coriander, spicy chilli and a cool slivers of cucumber, accompanying a number of protein options. Our version is mixture of our favourite Vietnamese flavours – classic Vietnamese carrot & mooli pickle (our house pickle as it happens!) a pork and chicken liver pate, coriander, cucumber, chilli and slow roasted Vietnamese style pork belly and one of our most popular sauces, sriracha and lime.

We never leave the veggies out, everyone needs food joy! Our take on a vegetarian Bánh Mì includes crispy slices of tofu, house pickle, cucumber, shiitake mushroom pate and the powerful, homemade black pepper ketchup.

Both versions are enveloped within a French Corner baguette – let’s face it, if you’re going to make a sandwich, you may as well make it properly!

“Where can you get your hands on such a glorious thing?” I hear you ask. At the Food Slam this Friday, is the answer! So make your way down to Camp & Furnace for Friday’s Food Slam and get a Banh Mi in your face!

 

Summer 2015 – Cheeky Look Back

Mad Hatter Brewery
Mad Hatter Brewery
Sam & Shelly
Sam & Shelly
Zap Graffiti
Zap Graffiti
the merch arrives!
the merch arrives!
pao! bento box
pao! bento box
after work drinks at the Gin Garden
after work drinks at the Gin Garden
Rhonda & Nat
Rhonda & Nat
Penny & Alex
Penny & Alex
full house
full house
BBQ Thursdays
BBQ Thursdays
Tour de France bunting
Tour de France bunting
The Festival
The Festival
Red Door pop up
Red Door pop up
Baltic Fleet pop up
Baltic Fleet pop up
Anna & Shelly at Liveprool Food & Drink Festival
Anna & Shelly at Liveprool Food & Drink Festival
we finished at District with Psych Fest
we finished at District with Psych Fest

pao! at Liverpool Food & Drink Festival

DeliverooWhoah! We are very busy this week prepping for the Liverpool Food & Drink Festival in Sefton Park.

We are teaming up with Deliveroo to help them raise money for The Clatterbridge Cancer Charity on the Wirral. Clatterbridge provide outstanding cancer care to around 27,000 patients each year. They have a satellite radiotherapy centre in Aintree and a network of chemotherapy units in local hospitals across our region.

The money they raise helps offer the most up to date treatment, support vital research, treat patients with world class equipment and provide life-changing support services that would otherwise be unavailable.liverpool-food-and-drink-festival

So, all the profits will be donated to Clatterbridge and if we have any left-overs will go to The Real Junk Food Project in Everton. Amongst other things, they take the city’s unnecessary food waste and use it to create delicious and nutritious meals serve food to members of the public on a “Pay As You Feel” basis.

It’s a win-win situation – we get to show our faces at the Food & Drink Festival, you get to eat lovely food, the profits go to charity, there will be no waste and we’ll all have a grand old time all thanks to the lovely, generous people at Deliveroo!

If you can’t make it to the festival but you would like to support Clatterbridge or The Real Junk Food Project, just follow the links below.

The Clatterbridge Cancer Charity

The Real Junk Food Project