Open House London 2013 and Homecooked Tonkotsu Ramen
Open House 2013 in London. Had to weigh, painfully, my curiosity about the innards of various buildings around the city, and the opportunities to serve Christ at our own church building. Ended up covering all shifts over the weekend for the joy of meeting visitors and cleaning the loos.
It hadn’t occurred to me how strange our church building and our church body must be to outsiders. Not official replies but my best attempts at answering visitors:
“Where is the altar?”
There isn’t an altar in this church. The beliefs of the church (that is the people of God gathered together in community) are reflected in the architecture of the building. What happens at an altar? An altar is where a sacrifice occurs. But the Bible tells us that no more sacrifice is necessary. Yes God is angry at humankind because they sinned. Sin is reflected in the bad things that we do to each other, but ultimately, the worst thing that we do is to refuse to acknowledge God as God.
God’s anger at us is righteous, because we as creatures deliberately decide not to worship the Creator. And if we have offended the most powerful person in the universe, there is no way of being saved except if God himself will forgive us. But how can he be righteous and just in punishing us for this offence, and yet merciful in forgiving us?
The answer is that he sent his son to take the punishment for us. That was the sacrifice that was made once and for all, so that sins will be forgiven. There is therefore, no weekly sacrifice on any altar in the building, because there is no re-sacrifice after that event in history when Jesus died on the cross for us.
“Why are there no pews?” or “Why has this church been refurbished in this way?”
The open space and moveable chairs enable us to use this space to suit the needs of the church. The architecture of the building reflects the beliefs of the people who use it.
We believe that Christians should meet together to encourage each other under the word of God. So we arrange chairs for Sunday meetings so that they face the pulpit, where the word of God will be taught. We ensure that this space is well-lit and also place a Bible on each chair so that as people hear the person on the pulpit speak, they can check that what he says is what God is saying in the Bible.
During the week, people come here after school or work to read the Bible together and encourage each other to live with Jesus as master over our lives. So we set up chairs around tables where we can study God’s word together and so understand the truth about our world and about our God better.
“I would like to give you some money.”
Thank you, but please do not give us any money. We are very happy to have you visit us. And God says it is the duty of the church family to support the work of the church and to feed the vicars.
“My church at home is dying. What is the secret to your success? Is it that young charismatic vicar over there?”
[Discussed this briefly with a curate who, having given the sermon at the morning meeting, was sitting in the church office, surrounded by yellow Danger! Large Hole in Ground! Risk of Falling! signs. He asked if we needed to uglify said “young charismatic vicar”.]
Haha, no. In God’s grace, he has given us good faithful men who have preached only what the Bible says, and not something they have made up. They have not swayed from the straight word of God in Scripture; they have not tried to speak to win the crowds; they have not been ashamed of speaking against the things that God is against. They have not taught what the congregation wanted to hear but what God wanted to say in his word. And God promised that his word does not return empty, and also that his sheep will hear his voice and follow.
Quite famished by Monday from not having eaten much over the weekend, what with the incessant chatting with people and identifying tombs and monuments and the like. A proper bowl of ramen would set me right.
Honey and Stout Pork Belly (recipe from Junya Yamasaki of Koya)
braising sauce mix:
1. Cut belly pork into big brick size, or buy the bricks of pork belly. Sear them all around in hot frying pan.
2. Boil them with medium strong heat in water for about 1.5 hours (this is to render the fat and leave only collagen in belly). Let them cool down till the room temperature in the boiled water and keep in the fridge. The water will be set like jelly and the belly meat will be kept in it easily for a week if it is properly refrigerated.
3. Take the amount of belly blocks as you want to cook from it. In Koya, we cook quite a lot everyday, but at home you can accommodate with the size of casserole that you have. Cut them into chunk of cubs (3-4 cm) and layout in your casserole. Do not lay one on top of the other.
4. Cover the belly with the braising sauce mix with some ginger and whole small onions, then braise with medium heat till the sauce gets reduced and you get the silky texture. It will usually take around 2 to 3 hours.
[5. Serve with hot mustard.]
pork belly liquid (from recipe above)
1 tub of discounted beef stock
2 chicken carcasses (£0.25 each from Borough Market)
2 leftover pheasant carcasses
1. Brown bones.
2. Add water to bones and boil for 5 hours.
3. Add pork belly liquid, beef stock and kombu and boil a little longer.
Ramen egg or hanjuku or ajitsuke tamago (based on J. Kenji López-Alt’s recipe for Japanese Marinated Soft Boiled Egg for Ramen and Joycelyn’s recipe for Perfectly Soft-Boiled Ramen Eggs)
ingredients (yields 6 to 7 nice ones)
10 eggs, room temperature not cold, each weighing about 60 gm, preferably free-range and 7 days old
3 litres water
1 tbsp coarse sea salt
2 tbsp rice vinegar
for the marinade
75 ml light soy sauce
75 ml sake
75 ml water
75 ml mirin
3 tbsp caster sugar
1. Combine water, sake, soy, mirin, and sugar in a medium bowl and whisk until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
2. Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Carefully lower eggs into water with a wire mesh spider or slotted spoon. Reduce heat to maintain a bare simmer. Cook for exactly 6 minutes. Drain hot water and carefully peel eggs under cold running water (the whites will be quite delicate).
3. Transfer eggs to a bowl that just barely fits them all. Pour marinade on top until eggs are covered or just floating. Place a double-layer of paper towels on top and press down until completely saturated in liquid to help keep eggs submerged and marinating evenly. Refrigerate and marinate at least an hour and up to 3 hours. Discard marinade. Store eggs in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in ramen soup to serve.
Miso Butter Corn (recipe from David Chang of Momofuku’s Corn with Bacon and Miso Butter)
1/4 lb thick-sliced bacon (about 3 slices; preferably Benton’s bacon)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon white miso (fermented soy bean paste)
1 small onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
10 ears corn, kernels cut from cobs (6 to 7 cups)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions (2 to 3)
Cut bacon crosswise into 1/8-inch strips. Cook bacon in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer bacon with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain, leaving fat in skillet.
While bacon cooks, stir together butter and miso in a small bowl.
Cook onion in bacon fat over moderate heat, stirring, until golden, 5 to 8 minutes. Add corn and pepper and increase heat to moderatley high, then cook, stirring constantly, until some of kernels are pale golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Add water and butter mixture and cook, stirring, until corn is tender and coated with miso butter, about 4 minutes. Stir in bacon, 1/4 cup scallions, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve sprinkled with remaining 1/4 cup scallions.
Mayu (black garlic oil) (based on Marc’s tonkotsu ramen recipe at, err, No Recipes)
1/4 cup sesame oil
5 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1. Add the sesame oil into a small saucepan along with the garlic. Put the pan over medium low heat and let the garlic cook stirring occasionally until it is very dark brown.
2. When the garlic is very dark, turn the heat down to low and let it cook until it is black.
3. As soon as it hits black, turn off the heat and transfer the hot oil and garlic to a heatproof bowl.
It will taste burnt and slightly bitter, but this is okay as you only add a little bit to each bowl. Put it the oil in a container and refrigerate until you are ready to use it.
Tonkotsu Ramen (makes 2 bowls)
3 cups tonkotsu base (from recipe above)
1 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon strained braising liquid from stout and honey pork belly
2 cloves garlic, finely grated (not pressed)
1-2 teaspoons kosher salt (to taste)
1 teaspoon mirin
1 teaspoon red miso
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 batch homemade ramen noodles
2 teaspoons mayu (from recipe above)
sliced pork belly
2 scallions finely chopped
1. Cook ramen noodles according to instructions.
2. Heat the tonkotsu base in a saucepan.
3. In a bowl whisk together the tahini, braising liquid, garlic, salt, mirin, miso, and white pepper. Add this to the hot broth and whisk to combine. Taste and adjust salt as needed. Bring to a simmer.
4. Split the cooked noodles between two bowls. Pour the tonkotsu soup over the noodles. Top with pork belly, egg, corn, beansprouts, scallions and whatever else you want to add. Finish the ramen with a drizzle of mayu on each bowl.