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Wednesday 28 October 2009

Imitation is the highest for of flatery: Bong Lau Soup

My introduction to Vietnamese food was at the Viet Garden on Liverpool Road, Islington. I tried their "Bong Lau" soup and loved it immediately. There's quite a few things on their menu that are really good! I went home and scribbled some notes down, following weekend I went shopping and had a crack at it, I was really quite pleased with my first attempt, years later I made one for Uyen and it immediately found it's way on to the next Fernandez and Leluu menu! Can't be bad if you can impress a Vietnamese person with Vietnamese food!! Uyens write up and lessons from her mum are here.

Tuesday 27 October 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 26 October 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!

Monday 19 October 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 12 October 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 10 October 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!

Tuesday 6 October 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."

Monday 5 October 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


The Love Of Orange & Vodka Panna Cotta W/ Berry Sauce

The favourite course on Secret Italian night.
Simon will post his recipe very soon...

Secret Italian Job

Saturday 3rd October
Our opening night. It was not the first time Simon nor I had fed 19 people. In fact, we have both cooked for a lot more but it was the first time we had tried to do like they do in a restaurant.

We had spent many previous days and nights prepping, cooking, shopping, organising, inviting friends, chasing up on friends and cleaning. Dividing tasks between the two of us and promising not to bicker was extremely helpful and efficient. Nothing like good team work!

Simon was responsible for all the food from listing it to knowing how much to buy, budgeting and shopping. (And cooking it all superbly).

My job was to turn the flat into a restaurant. Making sure that we had enough crockery and cutlery for the 9 courses we going to be dishing out. Enough chairs and tables to making a itunes playlist, sorting out the garden as a smoking area etc.


Chicken Spiedini - With Lemon Thyme (there was not a bit of chicken left on the tables)
Salmon Mayo & Chives Dip
Blushed Tomatoes Basil & Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Pea & Basil Soup - (one of the favourite dish of the evening)
Meatballs In Cider With Prunes & Apple (clean clean plates, we could use these guests as dish washers hehe )
Baked Goats Cheese and Figs (the room made a hmmmmm noise)

Tiger King Prawns, Tomatoes, Garlic, White Wine & Parsley With Linguine (we are not doing this again - too many shells and made us run out of bowls as forgot about needing finger bowls - yum though)

Carpaccio Fillet Rolled in Fresh Black Peppers Served With Rocket & Lemon Salad (the nicest we ever had)

Orange & Vodka Panna Cotta With Berry Sauce (so many comments from people wanting it to be only vanilla to people loving the vodka and orange. Over all, everyone loved it and ate it all!)

I couldn't believe that at exactly 7pm on the dot, I had just finished writing the menu on the French mirror when the door bell started to go off and all the guests turned up. The place was surely ready for everyone but it was like being on Ready Steady Cook, putting the finishing touches at the last second when the bells rings.

I served all our guests drinks and showed them to their seats with their name cards already in place and began our Italian mission. It was a hit in the end and everyone was very happy.
The evidence being most of the plates coming back clean. And Simon got on a real high about how everyone complimented everything he had made!

Simon will be posting his recipes when he gets a chance so you can cook his great dishes at home and impress your friends as we will be serving different menus and food for each supper night. We would want you to re create and enjoy good food, coming back to our supper club for a great night as well as getting more inspiration.

How To Book / Attend

How To Book / Attend
Fancy getting stuck in? Click on the image above and to see how : ) . . . hope to see you soon.

More Techniques, Basics and Corker Recipes

More Techniques, Basics and Corker Recipes
If there's something you've tried at ferdiesfoodlab or a technique you want to know about drop us a line at and I'll put up a post about it!!


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