Thursday, May 31, 2012

Basic Vietnamese Herbs In My Kitchen (& Chilli)

By Leluu

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The Vietnamese use herbs in abundance. They don't just sprinkle a little on here and there, they use it like salad leaves and they love their herbs. The general term for herbs is "rau thơm" meaning, fragrant leaves. Full of perfume, flavour and health benefits herbs are used in almost every savoury dish I can think of. Coriander, sweet basil and mint are the most common herbs you can buy, so if in doubt or you can't find the required herbs use those. READ MORE HERE

Monday, May 14, 2012

Recipe: Never Mind the Bollocks

Photography Fredrik Solstad (unless otherwise stated)
ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall
cuisine is an act of love . . .

Well, the last three weeks have been a bit of a nightmare, thus the lack of posts. The first of the three saw me resurrecting a software project I had been working on when I started Fernandez and Leluu, I didn't want to see a project I'd put so much work into die so I thought I'd put together "a guide", basically, architecture documents for the software I'd written, for the guys who said they'd take it over. I sat down to "rehydrate" the software process, i.e. read my notes, get my head around where I was with the design and update the docs for folk to run with. It would only take a day or so. (honest) Crap! I'd forgotten how much code there was, larger crap, crap no.2 my notebook decided to die, hard disc and DVD drive failure, . . . . . arse biscuits! I'll post a recipe on those later, a recipe that matures in the mail! I won't bore you with the details but needless to say it wasted a lot of my time that week. Got it all together just in time to make sure the supper club went without a hitch, in fact, the comments and feedback were really very good. It was held at Toynbee Hall: Here's what folks said.

I didn't really have time to breathe after that since I'd offered to help with another event. Anyway the following 8 days turned out to be rather more gruelling than I imagined. I'm not a complainer I get on and get things done! (I have to admit I can get a bit distracted by blue sky thinking) but when you have 40-50 people waiting for dinner in the banqueting hall there' isn't a lot of opportunity for that. (It's already been done!)

I have to be frank though - this week's events have left me feeling more than a little "I told you so" than I'm comfortable with, and the result is I've slept very little this bank holiday weekend. Partly because I had so much to do and partly because I've been so mindful about the future.

It was only last night I realised I had an extra day this weekend to get things done. I think this morning some part of me just thought "fuck it, I think it's time to re-assess, have a look over the last 9 months (squeeeeze -  puff puff - hooo hooo - sweat puff hoo - screeee . . . pop . . . . whuar whuar whuar - it's a boy! ) Where did that come from???"

So I thought I'd look through this year's not yet finished posts (all in various stages of disarray - and morcilla is coming next I promise @donalde @finandflounder @brunofrenchbake) and I came across the photos taken by Fredrik Solstad  who'd come along to one of the banquets that I'd been meaning to write up . . .  much better than I could take - obviously - and I think captured the mood quite well!
Reflecting . . .
ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall
cracking evening - it's always the guests who complete the atmosphere - electric

ingredients (serves: as many socially-minded, tolerant people as will fit in the room!)

for the kitchen (maybe FoH too)
1 KP / solicitor (with a sense of humour - Bernard CAB)
1 writer & graduate chef (Jen's great blog here: Hungry Tiger Thirsty Dragon)
1 writer (Iranian "humour saucier"  - Sabrina Ghayour)
1 writer / pastry chef (Susan's buzzing blog here: Susan Eats London)
1 superb photographer (Fredrik Solstad)
1 cracking journalist (Nilas Johnsen)
1 well planned menu (ahem err, me)
1 ferdie (to prop up the front door, yip that was me too!)

for the banqueting hall
2 FoH / trainee chef
40 guests (all in - as it a happens - a great mood)
Some tunes (chosen by the guests - always uber varied!)
Nice table decor, place settings etc.

ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall
there's 40 people right behind me waiting for the 1st course! it's all totally under control! honest! : )

ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall
seconds later getting that steak out for the 1st course

ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall
assembly: sabrina, jen, me and bernard keeping the whole place spotless - trooper

ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall
a light fillet of beef and roast baby pepper starter with rosemary infused crusty bread

ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall
champagne vanilla and pear married w/ serrano and a little punch of water cress

ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall
cut here, here & here. be gentle accurate and fast susan! puff of deep sea essence emanates from the crab pot

ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall
steamed using white wine, succulent, sweet, style and substance served w/ jus of blended oysters king crab & samphire 

ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall
i'm going in for the crab, it doesn't look so bad you know! ; )

ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall
patience and time - hours later

Simon Fernandez now runs ferdiesfoodlab in Aldgate East at Toynbee hall follow the his new blog here 
Check out what people are saying about it HERE!
Check out the new menu here : )

ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall
this is the perfect roast potato - we never let them leave the lab - for our guests only! - there's a potato detector on the exit
ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall
passion fruit sorbet, white choclit & whiskey sauce w/ banana tatin
for the garnish
A jolly good mood from everyone,
1 chef wandering the banquet hall to find out what peoples favourites were.

what could go wrong?
Now there's a question!! There's always a snag list on the whiteboard!
Bit by bit it's been getting smaller, and the balance between snags and missing stock has been getting smaller!

Needless to say, if I let lots of small set backs get on top of me - a couple of weeks back some idiot drops a stone onto my windscreen as I drive under an underpass at 70(ahem)mph - the car's got a problem with the electrics so when it rains the windows and the sunroof open and it won't start! - just read a post on another web site that's a rehash of one of my own [I guess copying is the greatest form of flattery] - mindless trolling etc etc etc . . . .

Ah well . . . . Never Mind the Bollocks!!! 

I'll leave you with a question, I was wandering around a historic castle recently and I noticed a piece of chewing gum stuck to one of the pieces of artwork. I couldn't believe my eyes! Some people are simply without any moral fibre whatsoever! Nothing really surprises me anymore and I wonder if I'm just getting a little jaded!? As I ambled about the magnificent building I wondered how someone could possibly justify such an act. "That man offered me £50, mum" said this 8 year old behind me. Now I don't think the two incidents were associated, but imagine they were:

Is being offered £50 justification enough to stick chewing gum to a piece of 200 year old art, or someone's skirt or anything at all?
? ? ?


He was a bit too big for my domestic oven so I did him in two halves . . . This one's one of my menu development snaps I'll post more later . . .
ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall
COMING SOON - roast suckling pig -  i think I'll put it on for new year with the alaskan king crab!

Simon Fernandez now runs ferdiesfoodlab in Aldgate East at Toynbee hall follow the his new blog here check out what people are saying about it HERE!


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