Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Happiness Is Knowing How To Celebrate

The question most people ask us is: "why do you do these supper clubs?"
We do it because it makes us happy.

Making lovely food, using good ingredients and enjoying what we are eating is the most primative thing we can do. What better than to do this and sharing it with others, loved ones, close ones, new friends, old friends, strangers… this has got to be one element of happiness – that we all want in abundance.
 A few weeks ago, our faithful friends tomeatsjencooks celebrated Tom’s 30th birthday at our supper club. It had got to be one of the most memorable nights at Fernandez & Leluu.

The door bell rang and in came all the girls stepping out of cabs dressed as members of The YMCA. Then the boys arrived all dressed in drag. The effort each person went through was astounding and so it should have been, in honour of their friend’s 30th birthday. Although it was amazingly surreal to face people dressed in costume (when you are not)– sometimes a bit frightening - What a night of great celebration, conquering happiness.
Here is what they had: (was too excited by all the costume and forgot to take any pictures of the food)

Best Of Junk

Pea & Ham Soup
When we first started the supper club – Simon & I both made each a different pea soup – for our best pea soup competition and blind tested it to a couple of people. I didn’t like it because I didn’t win – he did – and rightly so – this has got to be one of them most talked about dishes. It’s a Pea, Basil, Cream & White Wine based soup with Pork Scratchings and Parmesan Shavings.

Mini Ham Burgers
Simon’s Pork Burgers made from his terrine recipe – turned into burgers and shallow fried. Served inside Turkish bread with Cherry Tomatoes and Gems Lettuce

Fish & Chips
Fresh Sashimi Grade Tuna, with Uyen’s Ginger, Soy, Mirin & Wasabi Dressing, Simon’s Chips, Pickled Shallots and Wasabi Mayo

Sweet Potato Tortilla & Ferdie's Ketchup
Typically Spanish Fast Food – and one of Tom’s favourite things. Simon’s Spanish Omlette has got to be one of the delights in life with his spicy home made ketchup adding a small jump of joy – in the mouth.

Bacon & Egg

The egg is cooked to perfection and set in a Tarragon & Chicken Jelly and served with a  Bacon Pastry – that has Cream Cheese and Cheddar Cheese sizzling around in a swirl with Spring Onions.

Slow Roast Spring Lamb With Cous Cous
Our healthy version of a lamb kebab after a night of drinking and drinking and drinking…

Lime Mousse w/ Chilli Chocolate Topping
Something sharp to wake up the senses.

Our other very memorable event was held back in January, in the cold stark Winter. Tom’s dad had booked the whole place out – for no reason at all than just to enjoy good food and company- with 24 of his friends.

The memory of opening the door to your home to a queue of 25 stranger seniors in a formal line is one that will always bring a smile to my face.

And so does this picture - its got nothing to do with anything - just Simon looks very happy here:
Happiness is being with the people you love, people who love you and people you will love and love you back.

What is ever so rewarding for us is when someone really really enjoys what they have bitten into – perhaps a surprise, a delight, a recognition… good food brings out the best in us and makes us joyous and cheerful despite what we have on our shoulders.

Last week, Simon and I both decided that we needed a break, from each other and from some troubles – in general. So we both decided to go away, separately and gather some thoughts together. Without knowing where the other one was going or if anyone was going anywhere at all, we both went to Barcelona.

In Barcelona, of course, we bumped into each other and there, we figured how important good food and the environment you are in affects your moods and behaviour.

When we were in a dark room, we were not very happy, but as soon as we walked into the sunlight and our faces began to warm up, smiles broke all around. We found some great tapas places recommended by local people in bars where we ate wonderful bits of fillet steak, potatas bravas, gambas, and so on…
We found that through the succulence of each bite and as the flavours are bursting with exquisite relish in our mouths, we can see things much more differently and positively than if we hadn’t eaten these wonderful things. Should we have eaten greasy, rough bits of food, everything would be of the reverse and we would have been in a very bad mood.

A simple cup of tea and your feet up provides us with so many moments of joy and happiness. From being at home, tidying your garden and taking care of your plants to making a big celebration – even if its for the heck of it – (I got this from a Rom Com (that’s quite boring) but) sometimes, we just have to remind ourselves that “if life gives you a lemon, you can make it bitter or you can make lemonade”.

This post is inspired by a recent read called, 'Hector & The Search For Happiness' By Francois Lelord


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