Friday, March 19, 2010

Meet Jim Haynes

When Simon and I were asked by Sian Meades at Qype London and Editor of DomesticSluttery.com to host an event with Jim Haynes, we did a double take. We re-read the email. Then we started yelling!  We were dancing, like the dancing baby from Alley McBeal, like MC Hammer, Vanilla Ice, Salt & Pepper – not mastering the moonwalk just yet!

Today, the invites are sent out and you can put yourself down to attend here on Qype. There will be 40 of us - plus Jim!

When we started to do supper clubs in October 2009, we had no idea at the time or even hoped or dreamed that in six months time, the godfather of Supper Clubs – Jim Haynes would host an event with us. How coool is that? !!!

Jim Haynes has opened his Paris apartment every Sunday to around 70 strangers for over 30 years, apart from some summer weeks, ‘when I am at the Edinburgh Festival’, says Jim on his website.
The king of networking describes how he likes having people standing around so that they are not stuck with each other the whole night and how people have formed relationships and families by meeting at his supper club events.

Jim did a TV commercial for After Eight late last year for their new campaign but apparently, no one believes that Mr Haynes is a real person. You can watch a small clip where Jim talks about his supper clubs here or you can also view more about Jim and his life and works on his website.
For this event, we are going to do it Jim’s style and get rid of all the tables and chairs. Guests can mingle around and meet others. There will be a mixologist who will be shaking lots of cocktails and we will be serving food that you can enjoy standing up. We’re going to play Bossanova, Sergio Mendes & Dusty Springfield and create the atmosphere of Jim!

Hopefully the spring weather will be kind to us and we can flow into the garden where the herbs will bust lovely smells all around and the flowers are blossoming in their  pots and the lemons are saying – squeeze me squeeze me! And we can all chat to Jim whose coming from Paris that morning just to attend this event.

This is more than an honour. What a great man. We’re going to shake his hand and I hope he will kiss mine.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Squid Squash

Menu

-Sage & Butter Frogs Legs w/ Sweet Basil Seed Sake















-Beetroot, Red Cabbage & Goats Cheese Salad W/ Leluu's Secret Dressing                                       
















-Cold Octopus, Sweet Potatoes Tortilla & Garlic Turkish Bread















-Tuna Sashimi & Ferdie Chips With Salad, Pickled Shallots & Wasabi Mayo















-Squid Squash Risotto















-Vanilla, Orange & Vodka Panacotta







































 

These Photographs are courtesy of The London Foodie - Copyright 2010


We love cooking seafood - somehow, its fast and we can get the food out on time. This menu is one of our favourite menus to create, cook and serve. We had so many happy people electrifying the room with their good spirits and character.

Luiz from The London Foodie and Chris & Lacey visited for the fourth time, bringing new friends and creating wonderful memories for themselves at Fernandez & Leluu. It was lovely! When we first started out, this is exactly what the objective was - that people can find a place they can come enjoy good food and company.

We even had a waitress on Friday, called Anna,  and she made me wonder - how did I ever do it before without one but on Saturday, I had to do it all again because she couldn't make it - ahh thats how...

The dates we did last weekend were dates we added in recently as all the later ones were all booked up. It is interesting to experience this "fad" of underground supper clubs being the recent trend. We discovered how unreliable and unthoughtful some people could be by cancelling their booking (or ignored it til prompted) at the last minute when we have bought all the food and reserved places for them when in actual fact, other people would have loved to attend if they had any notice at all.

We had 40% of our bookings cancelled on both days, due to all sorts of reasoning. We were able to fill most places when given at least one or two days notice but not the one at 3pm! It was really stressful as we had to prep, we had to clean, we had to turn our flat into a supper club etc etc as well as having to find people to take places. 

A lot of our friends on Twitter - retweeted the places - we had so much support - it gave us both smiles on our faces despite it all. Thank you guys!

In the end, it all turned out good and thats what counts.
We have been assessing how we will take bookings from now on. Our place is about eating good food and being with good friends. We have to make more effort to let people know what efforts we put into our events and the impact everyone who attends or does not attend has.

99% of everyone who has walked through our door has been brilliant - there is just the 1% or so who "forget" its someone's home and has no respect for it whatsoever. 

We don't have clowns, musicians or entertainers. Nor do we create any gimmicks or compete with other supper clubs/ pop ups/ underground restaurants or whatever you want to call it. We just cook - from the best ingredients we can find (this time we tried using Marky Market who got us the freshest fish from Billingsgate)- you can come and eat it. Good food, wine, great company - Fad or no fad - we don't care what the fad is - we like the way we are and we don't want it changed because of the 1%.

Check here for another great post about last week's dinner: EPHEMERETTE

Monday, March 15, 2010

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

PASTRY FIRST then THE WELLINGTON!

Ingredients
3oz (85g)           margarine
3oz (85g)           lard
8oz (225g)         plain flour
½ level tsp        salt
Cup                     iced water

OK lets start with the important theory, the flakyness of the flaky pastry comes from the layers of the flour and mixed fat. To make sure those layers stay intact try and keep the process cold to maintain the integrity of the layers of fat. If something isn’t in use keep it in the fridge.

First mix the two fats together. Easiest way is to take the fat and cut  it into smaller chunks and mix it with knife (or fork).  Divide this into quarters and put ¾ into the fridge. 


Cut the remaining quarter into the plain flour and work it in with your fingers. Or using a plastic dough blade use a food processor – 4 seconds and check it, if it even grained that’s perfect. Remember the longer you have anything in a food processor the hotter it get so keep it to an absolute minimum!

(If you’ve used a food processor pour the mix into a mixing bowl)

The next step is to add the ice cold water and keep mixing the dough until there’s no loose flour in the bowl, it’s ok if it’s very slightly sticky but don’t get it gloopy – that’s a technical term for when you’ve added too much water! – or you’ll have a lot of trouble with the rest of the steps and you’re baked things will come out looking like the joker after he’s fallen in the chemical works, messy!



Once you have your dough, put it in the fridge for 20mins. Then roll it out on a floured surface until it’s ¼ to ½ an inch thick, but more importantly it should be 3 times as long as it is wide. Don’t forget we want to keep it as cold as possible so handle the dough as little as possible. Next take one of the remaining 3 quarters of the fat and paste it in small blobs over 2/3 of the dough. 


Fold the uncovered third of the dough over half the fat and fold what remains in towards you. This is forming the first 2 layers. Turn and roll out to the same size as before.

Repeat the above steps another 2 times with the remaining 2 quarters of fat.


Once all the fat is worked in repeat the folding process 4 more times, seal in a dry plastic bag and put in the fridge for at least 20mins before using. 
The great thing about pastry is you can make a big batch I usually use 1kg of flour and appropriate amount of fat (4:3 flour:fat) – which is the absolute capacity of my blender!! – and freeze it as 4 blocks in their own separate bags.

TIP: If the blocks are relatively thin, around 1 - 1.5 inches, they defrost faster which is a lot more convenient. (Under no circumstances should you use a microwave to defrost the pastry, the unevenness of a microwave will play havoc with your lovely work!)

It will keep in the freezer for 2 months : ) Great thing to have in the freezer over the winter months to make fantastic energy food: jam puffs, eccles cakes, bacon swirls, pies, cream horns, and the greatest pie of all the Wellington!
Love and Hugs Simon : )

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Eyes Wide Shut

 
We went to see a secret location on a rainy February night for an event coming up in May and it was like walking into a place where Sherlock Holmes would have his eyes wide shut! Secrets are always so naughty! We are ever so excited about doing what we do but in a new secret location - even more so! - even if its just for one night!
 
 
 
 
















If you have fun places for us to consider for an event you would like to hold, please email us.

Onion Tip

 
Cutting onions is no one's favourite task - especially not mine! We have to slice, dice, cut, peel a lot of onions! My eyes are so sensitive, it looks like I am crying over the unimaginable! Every time!

Being like an onion, the handsome Simon, whom I am sure has been prone to making a few girls cry himself has discovered a great way of slicing onions without the pain and the tears.

Do it under the extractor fan! It really works - not a tear! Try it! : )

Monday, March 1, 2010

Pick 'N' Mix

Our twentieth and twenty- first supper club events were held this last days of February. We thought we would experiment with colourful food and themed it as 'Pick N Mix'. Some people thought that this theme was about making old favourite and successful dishes for our 21st Birthday - good idea - we should have done that!

But we didn't, we thought we would create something new altogether and still live a little dangerously. Once we have tried menus and discover that if they are successful, we just like to live by the edge of the sword and try new things. After all, we are so lucky to have full bookings and guests are all willing to try our experiments.

Despite working on it all week, and prepping all day and night for two days before hand, Fernandez & Leluu were once known again for being 'not fast food'. On the first evening, our guests had to wait a long time in between courses. We are so sorry about that. Although we should be much more experienced by now, we managed to be like when we first started - mismanaging time completely!

But, importantly,  I think everyone still really liked the food and had a great time. We almost got it right on the second night (the last course was a bit delayed). Overall, we had such a great time doing Pick N Mix. It was and always is very tiring and loads of hard work but its really rewarding to see happy faces enjoy our food and to be experimental with our cooking.

Many clinks of glasses came between Simon and I, congratulating ourselves for making it, sticking with it and still enjoying it, loving it. We love food!

Over curry at Tayyabs, we read a great review from Feast On Scraps - now thinking about writing a post about my collection of our social atmosphere at the supper club.

(Beetroot, Red Cabbage & Goats Cheese Salad In Honey Soy Dressing)































 
Menu
Friday 26th & Saturday 27th February 2010
-Sweetcorn Veloute w/ Chorizo Foam
-Fish And Chips
-Beetroot, Cabbage and Goats Cheese Salad
-Black Risotto W/Squid
-Rack of Lamb with Butternut Squash Terrine and Mustard Cabbage
-Croissant Butter Pudding
or Chocolate Custard Slice W/ Pick N Mix Sweets
 
(Rack Of Lamb W/ Lemon Thyme)
   
 
(Butternut Squash Terrine)
 












 
 




















(Chorizo - For Chorizo Foam On Sweetcorn Soup)





































 
(Our Famous Fish & Chips)
 
 (Black Risotto W/ Calamari & Pink Salmon Mayo)
 














(Chocolate Custard Slice With Pick N Mix)
















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