Thursday, January 27, 2011

Recipe: Bò Lá Lốt

By Leluu
These are among many favourites at Fernandez & Leluu Supper Club, these are rolled in La Lot (Betel Leaves) with minced beef, blended lemongrass, peanuts, garlic and chilli. Getting the perfect balance of sweet, sour and salty is crucial. These are great to make in advance for a dinner party because you can roll them and only bake them 20 mins before you are ready to eat.


(For 8 - 12)

800g minced beef
50g sesame seeds

100g blended peanuts
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce
6 lemongrass stalks 

4  birds-eye chillis - de seeded
4 garlic cloves

2 tbsp honey
1/2 tbsp pork flavouring granules
2 or 3 packs  La Lot leaves
1 tbsp sesame oil

-Blend peanuts or cashew nuts until coarse
-Finely blend lemongrass, then add the garlic and chilli and continue to blend until all is fine grain.
-In a bowl, add lemongrass, garlic, chilli to the minced beef, nuts, honey, sugar, salt, pepper, pork granules  and sesame oil and mix well together with your hands.
-Test your mixture by frying up a mini burger. Adjust to your balance. If too salty add more sugar, if too sweet add more salt.
-Leave to marinade for 20 minutes in the fridge.
-Break the La Lot leaves off the stalks and wash thoroughly and dry.
-Spoon onto the leaves the mixture and roll - should make finger sized  rolls
some leaves will be larger or smaller than others.
-Place on a baking tray, drizzle with seasame oil and bake in a preheated oven at 180C for approximately 15 minutes. Serve hot.

Peanut Sauce
4 x garlic & 4 x birds-eye chillis - blend together
4 tbsp cider/ white wine vinegar
4 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp blended peanuts
4 tbsp fish sauce (Three Crabs brand)

Mix all the ingredients together, if too sweet add more vinegar, too salty more sugar, too sour add more sugar - balance your sauce to your taste.
You can eat these with vermicelli and herb salads, add to summer rolls or enjoy on their own.
If you can't get betel leaves, make patties/ burgers and have in a nice light baguette with thai basil, coriander and cucumber. It makes a delicious Banh Mi.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Restaurant Recommendation: Tohbang

By Leluu
The Grubworm and I usually have a quick bite together and he has recommended this place: Korean food in Clerkenwell Road, very close to Back Hill where I used to go to college at St Martins. I was of course dubious, because since I had traveled to Korea a lot, (Com Sa Me Da) I grew less and less in love with their food, too much kimchi and red pepper sauce on everything.

However, I do really love it when I am actually served really fresh, just made food and thats what they do here. We ordered, pork and vegetable dumplings which were massive and the filling was just moorish, flavoursome and the edges were nice and crispy.

For a main, I had Bibbimbap - Korean style rice cooked in a clay pot and served in the clay pot with pickles and minced pork with a fried egg on top. What you are meant to do is, mix it all up, careful not to burn yourself on the hot pot. The Grubworm a hot and spicy looking soup with silky tofu, tasted divine!

Korean food always comes with lots of condiments such as pickles and sauces. For 6.90, we had soup as well. Excellent value for lunch. I slotted lunch/ dinner dates in the diary and can not wait to come back here. Drop in. The food is great!

164 Clerkenwell Road, London, EC1R 5DU

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Brill Recipe Idea For A Dab Supper!

By Leluu
Just been to Fin & Flounder, Adam the fish monger there happened to ask if I have ever filleted a fish before. Of course I had, but badly, so I said, no. Simon is usually the one with all the chef skills. So he offered to teach me how to do it and it was entirely satisfying to use a fishmonger's sharp knife slicing through the body of a mackeral like a sworded samurai. Its almost animalistic to feel the flesh tear apart as if with your teeth.

Last week, I bought a carp from here. I had never eaten carp before because of course they don't really sell it in the supermarkets and all the fish mongers died out (thank you Fin & Flounder for opening up near where I live). So I pan fried a steak with some salt and pepper and ate it with some white bread and butter. My favourite simple food of all time.
And then, for further inspiration, I had a look at Rick Stein's Far Eastern Odyssey due to a request for what to make at Vietnamese Cookery Class and found that he made fillets of fish, fried in tumeric and dill so we decided to make pouting and carp pieces in lemongrass with a sweet and chilli fish sauce
Ingredients for Sauce:
1 x Sour, Unriped Mango cut into thin sticks
4 Sugar
4 Fish Sauce (Three Crabs Label)
4 White Wine or Cider Vinegar
4 Cloves of Garlic
4 Chillis
Dill to garnish (optional)

Mix all together, add more sugar if too salty, add more sugar if too sour, add more sugar if too salty.

Ingredients for Marinade
4 Lemongrass Stalks finely sliced
4 Garlic Crushed
Pepper to season

Marinade the carp, pouting or coley with lemongrass, garlic and black pepper and pan fry until golden brown in shallow vegetable or olive oil.

Place on plate, pour over the sauce and sprinkle mango and dill (optional) over the fish. Serve with steamed rice.
(BRILL. will have better pictures next time)
You can also use this sauce for a pan fried brill or any other sustainable flat fish like Dab. Brill is currently in season in the Winter and has more meat than say, Lemon Sole.

I've got to say, the Brill was the most favourite dish at the table. I can eat pan fried Brill  just with bread and butter but try out this sauce - its amazing. You can chose to marinade your fish in lemongrass or not - its great either, or.
This sauce is the basic secret to many Vietnamese dishes. A touch of lemongrass, or any other herb like dill, mint, coriander changes it ever so slightly.

Whilst we are talking about Dab, there is #OperationDAB, when you are at your fishmongers and supermarket, ask for Dab, ask for Brill, ask for fresh Mackeral (I only ever see smoked), ask for Coley, ask for Herring. Tell all your friends to do the same. Then they will bring in the good fish and we can help to reduce the amount of discard by fishermen not bringing back the Dab because no one is buying it.

If you haven't already done so, please Join Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Fish Fight here and petition against Shark Finning. Every vote counts, we can each all make a difference to our seas and oceans.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Gideon's Terrines

By Leluu
I am a supporter of independent businesses and would source locally and independently as much as I can because I am also an independent business woman myself.

Thanks to TomEatsJenCooks, I came across Gideon's Terrines. Gideon used to live with both and I had heard many stories of homemade terrines and the gunk of blood and offal hanging around in Jen's kitchen as Gideon is boiling liver and baking hock.

I always imagined some sort of crazy scientist boy sweating away in terrine passion, in his white apron covered in gore, his wellies up to this knees, holding a butcher knife in his black gloves.

But Gideon's pursuit came about when him and his friends used to do cook offs, and every week, they would of course have to out do the other one. Gideon found his calling when he started to make terrines. To better this competition, he decided to make really intricate terrines and had such fun deciding what to put in them and how to layer them that he became obsessed with them ever since.
Gideon is an architect by day and a terrine maker by night and weekends, "I love the versatility of a terrine," he says with a smile that runs from ear to ear, "and I love the way that, when you slice through, the interior can look completely different from the exterior or even reveal hidden layers of ingredients and flavours that can be very unexpected.  That was part of the thought process behind the Ham Hock terrine.  I loved the contrast of the bright green leaves and the pink flesh of the ham with veins of green parsley jelly running throughout.  You can create some really beautiful compositions."
I love that someone gets so passionate about something specific. Its like the Tracklements guy, who couldn't buy the mustard he really wanted to eat, so he made his own, jarred it, sold it and now has over 50 pickles and condiments. I hope this for Gideon - its wonderful to see something budding.

"I also revel in the fact that anything can go into a terrine - fish, meat, veg and the pieces of ingredient can either be large chunks, minced, battoned, whatever shape you need to create the desired cross section.  I'm currently designing some vegetarian terrines which I'm hoping to take to the market this weekend.  I think beetroot would be a great ingredient to use for its colour.  I could imagine staining Vietnamese rice paper a dark dark crimson with beetroot juice, lining a terrine with the paper and filling the inside with layers of spiced colourful veg.  Would look amazing when you cut it open".
I bought the rustic, duck and peppercorn and ham hock terrines for my Sunday morning breakfast and I absolutely love the intricate flavours of the high quality cuts of pork. I love the way, you can see the different ingredients and how pretty appetising it looks on my bread and how it all collates to how much love Gideon has put into his amazing project.
He also does preserves in beautiful jars of Pork & Cider, Venison & Armagnac, Duck & Juniper. Gideon's Market stall is in the School Yard bit at Broadway Market, London Fields in Hackney on Saturdays.
Look, he is even there when it snows - that is dedication for you. Bring him a cup of tea, see the smiles for yourself and buy Gideon's delicious, succulent, finger licking terrines.

Facebook: Gideon's Terrine
Twitter: @GideonsTerrines

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Big Fish Fight: Fin & Flounder

By Leluu
Firstly, please note that I am not a fish expert and I am writing this post with what I have gathered from documentaries, literature and talking to fishmongers.
Trout Stock (Simon's Photo)
We've always known that the world is devastatingly low on fish. If man does not change their ways, one day, 40 years or less, there will be no more fish stocks left in the world - if we were to carry on the way we are carrying on.

The story of fish is so huge, and the policies are wildly complicated and there is so much to learn about what is actually going on with our oceans, fish, fishermen, livelihoods and societies.

This week, Channel 4 are show-casing documentaries called The Big Fish Fight with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Gordan Ramsay, Jamie Oliver & Heston Blumenthal to engage and shock the public into their campaign of  the awareness of the world's diminishing fish stocks.

I've watched ‘Hugh's Fish Fight’ a fascinating, shocking and gripping documentary about common fisheries policy and saw how the reality of the matter is, fishermen and scientists are not seeing eye to eye. The fishermen are at sea, throwing away tons and tons of cod that seem to be in abundance (and not scarce) because it is illegal for them to bring back to shore more than their year's quota. The footage has bought outrage and anger in me – I had always known that this happens but I have never seen it in the light of day like that. (Not sure how I could have coped seeing it in real life.)
It was sobering enough to watch the powerful The End Of The Line, a film made by one of our guests, Christopher Hird. "Where has all the fish gone? We've eaten them!"
It points out the destruction of sea beds being trawled about 7 times in a year. Imagine if a farm land is trawled so much, how would anything ever grow back? This has completely changed and messed up the sea’s ecosystems.

What to do? We love fish, eating fish is just one of the greatest pleasures. But we must do it with so much more consciousness than ever.
We often buy fish and discards from Richard Hayfield, the owner of my local fish shop on Broadway Market, The Fin & Flounder. He has been educating Simon and I on how fish is caught, who catches them, where his fish comes from, which sort of boat it was caught on, what is endangered as well as about fish discards.

By-catch can be anything from blue fin tuna, dolphins, whales, sharks and turtles but they all have to be thrown back into the sea - dead and wasted. If miles of net is cast into the ocean, you can not help what is being drawn in.
Photo By Simon Fernandez
Photo By Simon Fernandez
Photo By Simon Fernandez
Photo By Simon Fernandez
Once we bought Tope which is a shark from Fin & Flounder. It was not intentionally caught, it was a bycatch and got caught up in the nets as do all things under the ocean. Of course, we would never use caught shark or any endangered fish but we bought the discards that are allowed to be sold from Fin & Flounder because they were caught on day trip boats, which  are small fishing boats –who are only allowed to sell their by-catches.

The shark was absolutely delcious - just pan fried. The beautiful fish would have been thrown back into the sea - dead - for the seagulls if caught by anything other than a day boat. To thinks tons of it is thrown back.

Richard buys fish from Cornish families. You can view more about here on Hubbub where it all comes from. The day boats don't usually reach their quotas and end up throwing fish away because they target better as they do not just trawl the ocean/ sea. Is this the way forward?

He has all knowledge of fish and sustainability and is an extremely interested and passionate about what he does/ his business. We need more fish shops like these, and yes, the fish comes with a price tag, but we mustn't forget that fish is scarce. The price is right for what you are eating.

Richard ensures that the fish they sell is sustainable by following advice from local fishermen and recommendations from leading bodies on sustainability. For example, MCS / Pisces Responsible / Seafish. They will always try to source via seasonal, hand dived, day boat and line caught fish and avoid bottom-trawled, beam-trawled or dredged which are the most destructive.
The variety of fish in this little fish shop is just inspiring for any keen cook. I love going in there and deciding what to cook for lunch or dinner as a special treat or just meal for one or for the supper club. Sometimes, Richard advises me on any by catches for some experiments and adventures in cooking.
Photo By Simon Fernandez
Photo By Simon Fernandez
We must prevent from buying fish from places like giant supermarkets who only sells about three types of fish: tuna, salmon and cod as if they are the only fish you can eat. This causes so much of a domino effect. The issue is so huge and complex that I am having trouble of where to think, what to write and how to say it. If we are going to eat fish, we have to wipe our consumer ignorance clean, we have got to eat a more diverse range of fish!

I may be niave and do not know too much about what is happening. All I know is to throw dead fish back into the sea is WRONG! There are many nations who have nothing to eat at all (sometimes because the richest countries in the world are coming to their shores with massive ships and stealing their fish) and how could that help levels of fish? How could this make sense to any of the decision makers and scientists?

We would like to plea to all our readers to click on this link, Hugh’s Fish Fight and join the campaign.

And if you have another 2 minutes, please kindly copy and paste the sample letter on Client Earth’s website, print it and sign it and send it to your local MP to to sign the Fish Fight EDM. You can easily find the name and address of your MP by entering your postcode. Its so easy! Lets try to make a difference.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Blogger's Christmas Lunch At The Ship

By Leluu
Meticulously organised by The London Foodie and One Million Gold Stars - (two very generous and social spirits), I was on the invite list to The Ship in Wandsworth for The Christmas Blogger's Lunch. Whoo! I don't venture to the south of the river unless I had to, but with this one, we even had to get the train. Gah! But it was indeed a memorable and wonderful day.

As it had snowed so much that week in December, there was mention of sleighing over but resided to conventions of using public transport. I had met up with Things Wot I Have Seen in Bethnal Green, it was a freezing, wet Sunday morning and her hair was still wet from the shower because she had been up entertaining dinner guests til the early hours of the morning. The tube journey was one of those grumpy-don't-even-look-at-me things. Funny how we can reserve the right to be unsociable on the tube: I love the English for this.

However, as we got to Vauxhall to catch a train, we bumped into Cooking The Books, The Grubworm and An Unusual Chinaman - it turned out to be like a fun school trip as we were all talking about Chinese sausages, pork belly and all things from food heaven. As we stepped off the train, there was everyone else, nearly all 50 of us taking a pilgrimage to The Ship, from the likes of Miss Immy's London, Hungry In London, Feast On Scraps, Kavey Eats, He- Eats, Rocket & Squash, Curiosity & The Cupcake, Slow Food Kitchen , Maison Cupcake to mention but a few! If only there was enough time to chat to everybody.
The Ship was heaving with people despite it being a snowy cold Winter's morning. Thats a good sign for any eatery. We had a room reserved for us, and I sat on a long table with fellow food bloggers as we were being welcomed with Bloody Marys which were spikey, saucey and yelled in your face-snow!

This blogger event only cost £25, of which £3 went to charity (Variety Club - for a three course meal, plus cheese with wine matching. How good was that!

The London Foodie & One Million Gold Stars had managed to co ordinate 50 bloggers as we all had to email them our choices from the menu. I had the Poached Ham Hock Pressed with Roast Shallots, Bury Black Pudding, Celeriac Remoulade and Spiced Kumquats and then Roast Rump of Beef with Roast Potatoes, Yorkshire Pudding, Cauliflower Cheese and Swede Mash and then Sticky Toffee Pudding, Vanilla Ice Cream.
The food here was utterly utterly brilliant and I recommend anyone like me who doesn't tread across the river to do so - just to eat here. Every ingredient was cooked with love and care, you can taste it in every bite. It was all delicious and it proves why the place just got jam packed full. People were pressed against the window!

The bar looked like a good place for single twenty somethings - girls were baring more than half their flesh and the boys were very pretty. Ah...why didn't I come here in my twenties?

The wine that was matched with the food was perfect. The food, need I say again was ever so good and the service was fantastic. Thank you to The London Foodie & One Million Gold Stars for organising. What a brilliant way to spend a Sunday afternoon and even more brilliant it was lovely to get together with fellow bloggers. It was like a work Christmas do, except our job in blogging is much more fun!

I would recommend (again) that one would eat here as often as possible!
The Ship
41 Jew's Row,
London. SW18 1TB
Telephone: 020 8870 9667

Other blog posts on this event
The London Foodie
Miss Immy's London
One Million Gold Stars
From Chopsticks 2 Steak Knives

The London Foodie, The Grubworm, He Eats, Cooking The Books and Curiosity & The Cupcake and I were one of the last people to leave (at 730ish). We liked it too much and there, around the fire, the wine, the whisky started to come out ... chatting chatting - and then the real hardcores trekked to Islington and continued to have dinner at the newly opened Antepelier even though we were very full. Never too full for flavours. Never.


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