Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hot, Sweet & Sour Clear Catfish Soup W/ Tomatoes, Pineapples, Beansprouts & Okra

This is one of the most traditional Southern Vietnamese dishes and the fish used is mainly from the Mekong Delta - such as catfish. You can also use fish such as seabass or salmon - catfish is better as it gets softer the longer you cook it which would therefore enhance the fish flavour in the soup. If I were to use bass, only add towards the end.

We will add this to our Halloween menu on Sat 31st Oct

Ingredients (For 4- 6)

One cutlet per person x Catfish (scrape skin with knife - lots of blackness comes out - scrub with lots of salt and wash clean - it looks clean but its not)
1 x Onion halved
1 x Litre Water
Half Bulb Garlic - sliced
3 x Tomatoes - cubed/ sliced - as you like
Third of fresh pineapple or canned
1 x Glass Pineapple Juice
6 x Chillis
4 x Lime Leaves
3 x tsp Tamarind Powder
Fish Sauce
1 x Juice of Lime
1tbsp x Brown Sugar
2 Handfuls x Beansprouts
5 x Okra Sliced (optional)

Thai Parsley or Corriander or Thai Basil or all
Finely Sliced Spring Onions

My Method (this is how my mum tell me to do it).

Over the years of trying to perfect this soup, I find that it requires a certain amount of love and attention. One time, (when there is love) it tastes like the perfect concoction. Do it mechanically, and you might as well have not bothered, no one will enjoy it.

If you have time, try to marinate the fish with onions, garlic and fish sauce (We did it over night but 30 mins or so in the fridge will be fine)

In hot pan, add all the garlic, onion and the catfish cutlets to brown with some fish sauce and brown sugar to caramelise.

Then add the tomatoes & pineapple. Stir. Add Pineapple juice.

Add Water.
Bring to boil.
Simmer with lid on. Add tamarind powder (for the sour), sugar & season with fish sauce.
Squeeze in juice of lime for a fresh taste. Add 6 whole chillis uncut. And the lime leaves
Keep watch and simmer, tasting and seasoning as you go along to make the perfect balance of hot, sweet and sour. Add any more seasoning ingredients as you wish.

Remember that the herbs at the end will make most of the fresh flavour.
After about 20 mins of simmering, the soup will almost be ready.
Add the okra. Add the beansprouts
Serve one cutlet per person, making sure there is equal amounts of tomatoes, pineapples, okra, beansprout in each bowl.
Garnish with finely chopped herbs

Served as a starter or with steamed rice - then you can dip some fish into fish sauce with some crushed chilli - this is a great meal - very healthy and wholesome.

Traditionally, Vietnamese families share a big bowl that is placed on the middle of the table as an accompanying dish to refresh your palette, like pouring some in your rice bowl to clear up any left grains before you eat another bowl or at the end of the meal.

You can make this with chicken, eels and shrimp, squid etc- its up to you. Its whats so great about this soup is that you can change it every time or you can use as little or as many ingredients as you wish. You just have to get that perfect balance of texture in the soft meat/ fish to the crunch of the beansprouts. The sweet of the pineapple with the sour of the tomatoes. The chillis kicking in with a sharp hint of lime.
The herbs drawing it all in, holding together such a pleasurable taste of sunshine and happiness.

I am lucky enough to go back to Vietnam regularly as my cousin and I produce my fashion collection in Saigon. Canh Chua is always one of the first meals I get for lunch, with lots of other fish dishes & steamed rice. Its heavenly. - LELUU

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Trials with Terrine . . .

We've been asked how the terrine was made, by a number of people, so here goes . . .

We did got a bunch of different terrine recipes, that used different meats and different cuts, varying types of onions, and bacons, and seasoning quantities, and did some double blind testing, well sort of, I wrote letters on the bottoms of the terrine clays and got Uyen to take them out of the oven so no one knew which was which until we looked at the key after tasting!

125g rind less smoked streaky bacon, (plus 70g to finish)
200g chicken livers,
500g coarsely minced shoulder of pork
1tbsp of parsley, sage, thyme chopped
2 echelon shallots finely chopped
1 garlic cloves crushed
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp port,
3 egg yolks,

This is the simplest thing to prep, put the diced pork shoulder in a blender and pulse a few times (about 6-8 sec) until coarsely minced consistency, put into a mixing bowl, finely blend the bacon (8 sec), and the same with the liver. The liver will liquefy very quickly so don't go mad! (3-4 sec)

Then mix everything together and put in baking dishes, lay streaky bacon over the top of the mix, then cover with tin foil.

Bake for 60m @ 180℃ and remove from oven.

At this point the terrines look a bit scary and not very presentable!!!!
Don't worry. The terrine will have shrunk and now be quite solid, drain off the juices and tidy up edges then put back in the oven with out foil to brown for 15m @ 240℃

If you have a fan assisted oven it'll take less time. Serve with good quality crusty bread and cornichons (gherkins), or as we did with a light and tangy dip! : )

Monday, October 26, 2009

Autumn Lamb Banquet

-Egyptian Beetroot Dip with Paprika, Coriander & Cinnamon

-Parsley, Sage & Thyme Country Terrine Of Bacon, Chicken Liver & Port
-Artisan Mushrooms in Butter & White Wine
-Pan Fried Lemon & Garlic Chicken
-Autumn Salad w/ Pomegranate, Pears & Apples
-5 Hour Slow Roast Lamb w/ Roast Potatoes, Vegetable and Curly Kale
-Chili Chocolate Topped Lime Mousse

5 Hour Slow Roast Lamb
1 whole shoulder of lamb
3 carrots
4 onions
1 parsnip
½ bunch rosemary (about 15g)
¼ bunch thyme (about 8 stalks)
½ bulb garlic
1.5 stock cubes
extra virgin olive oil

Slice garlic and insert into meat with rosemary.
Place thyme spread evenly whole stalks and cut veg, and stock in tray add water up to 1.5 inches.
Put in the shoulder of lamb drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Cover with tin foil – this keeps the lamb moist and stops it drying out.
Roast for 4 hours @ 180°C. Turn once after 2 hours.
Remove the shoulder and separate jous from onions and veg.
For the last hour roast at 240°C, tuning the meat twice, and adding stock - that was removed – a little at a time. Only enough to stop things burning, this last hour is to crisp up the meat and veg and give them a lovely golden colour and partially caramelize the onions.
Makes a great centre piece served whole and carved at the table.

Our third supper night was another hit! I didn't know anyone. Simon knew one person. The guests were mainly big groups of friends - turned out to be a great girls night out that I, myself, was envious that I could not sit with them all and enjoy a quality time together. It really made me miss my friends who are now dispersed right across Europe- Anja in Berlin, Fatima in Barcelona, Dirk in Frankfurt, Bela in Zurich, Aggie only in Highbury but is always away.

They appeared to have such a good time, chatting, chatting non stop about their lives. It felt like some got so deeply in conversation and were given support and love back as you would expect at a get together. Perhaps great bonds had been created and established or re-kindered. The room felt full of atmosphere, friendship and love.

Two groups of friends who coincidently booked to come on the same night, a girls night out, a date, a mother & daughter (fellow supper clubbers - Joginder Supper Club) & a reviewer of our home restaurant. How lucky we are to have such lovely people enter our home.

These pictures, although taken before the event remind me of all their ghosts - (though highly under pressure at the time) I really enjoyed serving each guest and remember the delightful faces of each I bought food to and where they had all sat.

The menu seemed to be enjoyed by all - we gave doggie bags to all those who couldn't finish the roasted lamb and stayed talking with all the guests til the early hours. We were invited to go to The Dolphin Pub nearby (my karaoke suggestion) which we normally would never turn down but we were just completely completely exhausted.

We managed to have a really nice meal afterwards - where I thought - we still have so much to learn and master but still so proud of us already- we created a really nice place.

2am - eating all the leftovers



"Thanks for a great evening. Supper club was amazing ...
The doggy bags were great, thanks. Hate to waste good food. Looking forward to saturday and seeing you again!


"That was fantastic thank you so much both of you, so much fun! Proper langourous leisurely feast. Bring on the next one!"

"Fantastic food and great company last night...You guys did an incredible job. Better than restaurant quality"

Agreed! Thanks for an amazing meal - can't wait for the next one!"

"Saira and I had a fantastic evening and will be sending some photos soon. Fantastic food."

"thank you for a really good evening. We thoroughly enjoyed the food and the company. We will be back!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Risotto - Thin Peeled Squash, Cubed Courgettes, Lemon & Parmesan

Ms Marmite Lover - who has her own supper club is attending our Autumn Lamb Banquet on Sat 24th Oct even though she is a vegetarian!

Ingredients: (For 2) Prep & Cooking Time: 30 mins

Olive Oil
Half Onion
50g Risotto Rice
2 Cherry Tomatoes Halved
2 Garlic Cloves
White Wine
Parmesan Cheese
Vegetable Stock - Swiss Boullion is good (boiling water -add a heaped teaspoon)
Half Large Courgette - Cut into cubes
Quarter of Small Squash - Use a peeler to get thin cut slices (about 20 will do)
Optional Herbs: Parsley or Basil

How I do it:
Heat pan - add olive oil when hot and onions
Add about 50g of risotto rice
Stir until all the oil and onion covers the rice
Pour in a generous splash of white wine
Add 2 halved cherry tomatoes & garlic
Keep watching it and add more white wine once it evaporates and seeps into the risotto
Add a mug full of vegetable stock
Keep watching, don't let it dry out - add more white wine if neccessary
Add Parmesan about 15 mins in
Then stir in the squash slices and courgettes
Taste and season. Usually the cheese seasons the risotto nicely and I never have to much or any salt - just pepper and more cheese if I want.
Then about 23 mins in - the rice should be perfect and the vegetables still nice and crunchy.
Add a bit of butter - as much as you would like on a slice of toast or if you are naughty - more.
A squeeze of fresh lemon
Stir well and take off heat

If you have some herbs laying around, parsley is great with this - add in just before you take off the heat.

Serve and enjoy! I enjoyed it so much I ate 2 portions! Pot belly today. Uyen x

Monday, October 19, 2009

Bring Your Own Wine

We are looking into wines and beers that we can recommend you bring along to our suppers.
Please feel free to recommend wines to us so that we can share the goodness with others and would love to learn more about wines other than just drinking it!
You may use our fridge to chill your drinks - just ask.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Vietnamese Night Silliness : )

We had an amazing time with everyone on Friday: Here are some emails we got which really cheered us up again! Big Smiles!!!

"He he, what a night! Remind me, next time, that when Simon suggests I have a shot of gin that I say no.
Looking forward to the 7th. Will confirm guests this week."

"Thank you so much for tonight, you were perfect hosts and wonderful chefs. Excellent food too ;) "

"Cheers for a lovely time on Friday!!.... thanks again to you both for a wicked night!"

Matt: "I can confirm it actually IS that good. I went last friday......i would go on the 24th but it's someone specials birthday and we're going to the zoo. My rave review is on it's way tho;)"

Lindsey: "Aw, I'm so sad I wasn't feeling well and had to go home before we had a chance to get chatting properly. Wonderful, amazing food, I will certainly be coming again x"

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Franco Vietnamese Night

Friday 9th October 2009

Vietnamese Menu With A Colony Of French Influence.


-Black Thai Basil Seed In Rock Sugar Water & Seaweed Jelly

-Banh Mi - Vietnamese Hams Selection With Pickles & Herbs Baguette

-Fresh Summer Rice Paper Rolls With Grilled King Prawns in Lime/ Chilli & Honey Sauce, Vermincelli & Herbs

-Pan Fried Frogs Legs In Sage & Butter

-Green Leaves Salad With Papaya, Dragon Fruit, Pomegranite & Grilled Aubergines

First Course
-Beef Flank 'Pho' Soup With Fresh Flat Rice Noodles & Herbs

Main Course

-Hue Basil, Corriander, Lime & Chilli Chicken With Prawn Crackers
-Rock Sugar Caramelised Catfish in Coconut Juice & Fish Sauce W/ Steamed Rice

Rice Pudding With Red Beans, Fried Bananas and Coconut Custard

We had a good few cancellations which made us feel like there was a little bit of injustice in the world after buying our ingredients and had been prepping 2 days and nights before. We wanted everything to be on time. I found out that despite being very tired and exhausted from our day work as well as our new Supper Club venture, Simon and I are excellent at co ordination and organising. Our love for this supper club meant that we put everything else in our lives just a little to the left and we paid the utmost attention to every detail on getting the menu correct and to make the evening fantastic.

When our guests arrived (a mixture of friends and people we found on Twitter – who were lovely!!). We welcomed them with Rice Wine and a refreshing cocktail of Sweet Basil Seed Drink With Seaweed Jelly. It was a good icebreaker. I knew that no one would have had this before. It is a Vietnamese Entree to seduce hunger and quenches it at the same time. Some loved it and some were clearly, bemused. But that was the point.

As the plates and bowls went out and the diners were entranced by our lovely food and each other’s company, we heard roars and roars of laughter. People kept coming to say hi to us in the kitchen as well as talking to each other, finding out there there were 3 people in the room who can make prosthetic limbs, one can make explosives, one takes money from the rich to help the poor in developing countries and whatever else!

Despite there being 9 courses or so, everybody ate everything. Only one didn’t eat the beef from the Pho because she doesn’t eat red meat. The frogs legs were a great talking point (it went well with the Sweet Basil Seed Drink – as they actually look like little tadpoles). We always bring one big platter to share between a table so people have to interact with others, just like when you come round for dinner.

Everybody bought massive smiles to our faces and the compliments kept coming. We joined our guests for dessert and bought wine, beer, sake, gin (whatever we had) to our guests and half of them stayed up with us til 6am – mainly laughing and talking about all sorts of funny business. Even our next door neighbours joined in. It was brilliant!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

About Fernandez & Leluu

Love Leluu Boutique Owner, Uyen Luu – from Carnaby, London has teamed up with avid foodie, Simon Fernandez and opened up the doors to her home in Hackney to create a ‘pop – up” restaurant in her living room.

The Fernandez & Leluu Supper Club was launched on 3rd October with a nine course Italian menu, including Proscuitto Over Baked Figs With Goats Cheese, Argentianian Fillet of Beef Carpaccio, Apple & Prune Meatballs Cooked In Cider, Pea & Pesto Soup, serving up to 20 guests, donating a minimum of £30.

Through Twitter, Facebook & their blog, all book in advance by friends and friends of friends as well as Love Leluu customers from the famous little independent boutique that Uyen runs and designs for as part of her day job. Simon is a freelance software developer. Neither have had any professional chef or hosting experience. Their passion comes though experimenting with food, varying menus and feeding close friends.

Uyen and Simon’s love of food and travel reflects the fact that every week a different menu will be on offer. From Uyen’s native Vietnamese to Simon’s Spanish Tapas, all home cooked and prepared with a twist of their own on offering to anyone who loves to have an evening spent with good company and delightful food.

Guests are welcomed with cocktails as they enter their setting and seated among a collection of vintage and modern crockery and furniture. As well as being welcomed to hang out in the kitchen, guests explore old celluloid cameras, darkroom equipment and the 16mm film edit machine, graffiti the bathroom mirror or sit on the garden sofas exploring its toys, potted plants and making friends with all the other guests.

A unique and intimate dining experience is happening at Fernandez & Leluu – its like being at someone’s house party. You bring your own wine and you eat what is given to you - but you eat well – like in a good restaurant.

Bookings can be made via email

Once confirmed, diners are sent an address and a time in which they should turn up and expect to leave happy and full bellied.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fed List

Maz Schmittzehe
"Thank you for the most amazing soiree! I loved it all from your gorgeous flat full of amazing things to the delicious dinner. I've been telling all my friends about it!"

Georgina Gurnhill
"Fabulous evening - thank you! Delicious food - wonderful hosts - and such pretty crockery too!! Glad to meet someone who has more vintage plates than me! xx"

Nadia Naimi
"We had a great time and the food was fantastic. Thank you!!! Can't wait for the next one."

Bits & Bobs At Fernandez & Leluu

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Day After...

We finally got to eat what we made for the Supper Club
and made a real meal out of it!
What a good life!

Pea & Basil Soup With Lemon Thyme Chicken & Blushed Tomatoes

Meatballs With Apples & Cider Cooked in Cider w/ Rosemary Bread



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