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Friday 17 September 2010

A day away: Angel Eyes & Hell Boy! Part I

by ferdie
Well last week was absolutely brutal, and I felt that I needed a little time away from the big smoke, so I organised to see friends in the country. A little afternoon tennis, (working that waistline!!), bit of blogging on the train, test a few menu ideas, bit of chit chat and back in time for bed! Yeay! Or at least that was the plan.

Woke up that day and it was raining for a kick off, and you know how you set yourself something to do, and be it your fault, or not, it always takes twice as long as it should? Specially if you're as ADHD as me.

Well that's what happened. So I'm rushing around like a  thing possessed, last minute ingredients collection and the like, then check that transport website, purveyor of constant bad news - consistent if nothing else - bus service only!! Bollooooooocks!

OK more than one way to skin a cat, I lob all me gear in Aunt Bessie (my beaten up old car) and hop in and look for a podcast to listen to. It's a good hours drive to I decided on the food programme. I fire up the podcast  hitch it up to my tape deck, which is the only bit of the stereo that works. Well that and one speaker!! Does anyone use tapes anymore? I found a bunch of my old tapes in me mums attic, but chucked them because I hadn't had a tape deck in years!! Doh! Anyway think thats a bit of ADHD creeping in there.

So off I went in hunt of some R&R. As I drove I learn't a few more interesting things about seeds, did you know it's illegal to sell seeds in certain places, and illegal to keep your own seed in others! I'll add a link to post when I write it.

Any way I digress meet the family:
Angel Eyes
Hell Boy!
The Ram

I settled in, and we talked about old times, and current affairs, you know chewing the fat.
Err . . .  eh tio! Esto no es paella
Next it was down to business putting together dinner for the five of us. OK here's a tip for anyone thinking about going into the business of cooking for dinners parties in other peoples homes. If you plan to do it professionally or otherwise; if you're using anything other than the most basic utensils probably worth asking if they are available.
It's unreasonable to expect a chinois for example, but no sieve?!! Ahem!!!! I know they say a bad workman blames his tools but you aint cuttin a steak with no finga and you can't carve a chicken with a spoon! Well not very well anyway, it's kind of a massacre, hmmm : / 

Luckily dinner wasn't too much of a massacre, but too busy learning new kitchen to get many snaps. 'Cept for the kids left overs.
So the kids liked it then!
We did the washing up and retired to the lounge! At which point I made mum and dad watch Food Inc which I recommend to everyone interested in where their food comes from. When I watched this documentary which was in the cinema a whole week - and a very select few cinemas at that - my jaw just dropped!
As if the images of CAFO's and automated pig slaughter weren't enough, at one point, what I assume is a biochemist puts his hand through a plug cut in the side of a live cow to pull out contents of it's intestines. The interviewer asks does that hurt the cow? "Oh no." he blithely replies! It was akin the (vile) heart plugs out of Dune. The system that is being built around us is coming scarily close to the dystopian vision in the cracking film Soylent Green.

Needless to say by the time we'd finished watching and discussing the documentary we were all exhausted, so I stayed over for the night.

I woke early the next day to a warm sunny day! Isn't it great when you wake up in good mood feeling productive and it's a cracking day to boot! Lovely!!  I made myself a coffee while the kids watched morning tv, and cracked on knocking out ideas for our next few menus.

The sun reached into the house ever further and after a while every one was up, and buzzing off the sunny day. Hell Boy and Angel Eyes had turned their attention to the garden:
What's this?
"Yeah it looks like carrots to me", my expert - ahem cough - opinion. "How long till you can harvest them?" shouts The Ram, holding back Angel Eyes, who's been waiting what is clearly to him an eternity for the day he could uproot his prize. "60 days, I think, when did you plant them?" I ask. "You mean it! There's only one!"  One? Ferdie marks awarded: must try harder!

The seed had been there couple of months!
Both Hell Boy and Angel Eyes agreed it was and absolute corker. Hell even Spiderman did!
Game of tennis monsieur?
Raquel looking after the mini super heros, and kicking our arses at the same time!

Oh No! Aaaeeeeey...
He he!
I cant watch! Maybe I can!
Good game! Good game!

We wonder back, I know that one of The Rams favourite biscuits is biscotti, and since I'm putting them on this weeks menu, thought it would be fun to make some with the heros of this story.

Turns out "biscotti mix hail storm" is one of their secret supper powers : )

to be continued…….

Tuesday 14 September 2010

A Day At The BBC With The Hairy Bikers

By Leluu
A couple of weeks ago, the BBC chose us to visit their studios and help the Hairy Bikers make a pilot for their new show coming to your screens in the Autumn. It was really exciting, Simon’s mum – Susan, came down from Hereford. They tested the amazing Paella. Recipe Here. We didn’t want to be televised so this was a great day out to discover what happens behind the scenes of one of Britain’s much loved cookery shows, featuring its much loved Hairy Bikers.
The preceding evening, we went to White City and stayed at The Ramada Hotel (would recommend their dirty breakfast sausages – awesome) because we had to be at the studio at 7am. We couldn’t sleep due to the mega excitement – both of us had ‘Inception’ dreams where we both dreamed we woke up at 1030 and were late!
We had been liaising with the Assistant Producers, Ingrid and Ben  for about two weeks prior, who are incredibly hardworking, friendly and very nice. They even visited us and Susan - all the way in Hereford; they asked us all sorts of questions about our past and present lives, really doing good research into who we are so that the Hairy Bikers and the Producers would know exactly who we were when they would meet us at The BBC.
And so the day started very early, we were transported to the studios. We had not been in there before, and we got to use the Green Room where they used to put Top Of The Pops guests! Imagine that – everyone from The Beatles, to The Rolling Stones, Duran Duran, to Madonna, to Kylie had been in there using the beaten up sofas and drinking tea. OK – probably something stronger…

We were prepped by Ben and Ingrid, with scripts and schedules. We even got our makeup done and someone who followed us all day making sure we were not shinny, our hair in place and our clothes good for continuity. And runners who always made sure we were neither thirsty nor hungry and treated us so nicely.
What I was really looking forward to was the food at the BBC Canteen – famous in many comedians speeches about how bad it is – made me wonder if its anything like our school dinners (which I loved). We got to eat in one called The Foyer. Simon and his mum, Susan, did well choosing the grilled tuna as that is just fried in the pan and done. I chose the lasagne. : ( and some tomato soup! Big mistake! Big! I think my school must have done really nice school dinners!
Nevertheless, it was such a great experience, to see how the Home Economist was at work and how the stage manager and production team dealt with everything.

What was great were those Hairy Bikers, Si and Dave were just fantastic. They are like they appear on TV – so generous in spirit and alive in conversation. We loved them and they loved Simon’s Paella.

We can’t reveal anything about the show or publish our photographs until after the first broadcast in the Autum.
Thank you, Ben Walton & Ingrid O’Reilly and everyone at The BBC and The Wonderful Hairy Bikers.

Monday 13 September 2010

Suggest a theme!!!

by ferdie
I'm looking for some inspiration!! When ever I'm designing a menu it's nice to have a theme, so I thought I'd put it out there and see if I get some funky feedback!!!

Pick 'n' Mix! What the hell is it? Life imitating art...

Our Christmas (Lemon) Tree

These are some of the themes we've already done:
Secret Italian Job,   Vietnamese Night (Pan Asian Menu, Something Eastern),   Lamb Banquet,   Spanish Inquisition, Fish Tails,   White Christmas,   Game On,   Chinese Lunar New Year,   Pick 'n' Mix (all colours of pick n mix sweets),   Spring Sprung(spring menu),  Eyes Wide Shut (ref venu),  Figs And Twigs (ref to star guest), Upside Down Inside Out,   Tip Tope Vietnamese Menu Shark Curry (U),  Croatian Menu.

Prawn Cocktail w/ Green Mayo

As you can see some are based on the season, a national or cultural holiday, some on colour the theme implies, and some are simply inspired by somewhere we've travelled or a national cuisine that we like. We'd love to hear your suggestions and ideas : )

That'll be us then!

You're welcome to comment on this post or you can mail me at:

hugs and love Simon : )

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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