Monday 25 October 2010

Charity Dinner For Action Against Hunger With Unearthed

Back in the day of long sizzling summer, when our toes were hungry for ultra violet and our knees became a shade darker- we had mega picnics, one at Henley Royal Regatta and secret garden parties with champagne on tap. To top it off, we won a holiday to Croatia! It has been great.

One morning, we were sent a whole box of Unearthed goodies because we had tweeted how wonderful their Parma and Serrano ham tastes. For foodies, something like this is like being in seventh heaven. We got to play around with the ingredients and simply just enjoyed them too.

One thing lead to another and we were asked to host a special charity dinner party by Unearthed, using Unearthed products (any way we see fit) to raise money and awareness for the humanitarian organization - Action Against Hunger. (wow – what an honour).

Heidi Drummond, Head of Events at Action Against Hunger, comments:  “Based on our long-standing relationship with the foodie industry, we were keen to offer an eat-in option to our annual restaurants campaign, encouraging foodies to host a dinner party and invite their friends to make a donation in return for the delicious meal. Hosts simply have to pick a menu, invite their guests and get cooking. We have prepared lots of helpful tips and materials including invites and recipes for people to download; it’s an easy, fun way to make a difference.”

Back in September, culinary luminaries such as Raymond Blanc, Marcus Wareing, Francesco Mazzei, Giorgio Locatelli, Vivek Singh, Cyrus Todiwala, Jun Tanaka, Mickael Weiss, Oliver Rowe and Tristan Welch came together to launch Fight Hunger Eat Out - the UK’s biggest foodie fundraising campaign - to help fight child hunger in some of the world’s poorest countries.

To raise awareness for Action Against Hunger, we have invited foodies of London town for a one off dinner party event at home, at our supper club – It will be hosted by Simon Day – the founder of Unearthed®

Simon Day is such an inspiring figure, he travels the world and brings back the most flavoursome ingredients for his selection. There is Chorizo from Catalunya, Duck Mousse from Brittany, Rillettes from Le Mans, Prosciutto from Como and Feta from Volos, olives from Palestine amongst many others–

"while unearthed was born out of the enjoyment of food and flavours we’re also aware that for many people in this world, food remains a worry and a necessity in short supply, rather than a joy. We share Action Against Hunger's vision of a world without hunger and are proud to be the first National Ambassador Brand of their latest foodie initiative. The charity's work has begun to inspire our team already and we look forward to making food less of a concern and more of a pleasure for others in future."

Our Menu will be something like this:

Sweet Corn Veloute w/ Chorizo Film

Potato Omelette and Picante Sauce w/ Duck Mousse, 
Oyster Mushrooms and Garlic Bread

Serrano Ham w/ Champaign Poached Pears and 
Watercress Mixed Green Leaf


Pork Meatballs in Chipotle Sauce w/ Russian Salad

Baked Rice

Dessert: TBC

As usual, we are spinning with excitement! The cold is starting to kick in and its time for more dinner parties – we hope that many of our friends, readers, followers and guests will be inspired to host their own dinners to raise money and create awareness for Action Against Hunger to help build, maintain communities and health care in places like Zambia where Unearthed are supporting long term solutions to hunger.

We will be reporting back. If you have any questions you would like to ask Unearthed or Action Against Hunger, please use the comment form and we will be sure to ask them for you.

Thank you to Wild Card PR for the opportunity to do something very worth while and meaningful.

Friday 8 October 2010

Ferdie learns Vietnamese: Basics, Herbs, Roots & Bits - Part 1 of 3

by ferdie

Well I don't know about you folks but walking into a Vietnamese shop if you're not Vietnamese (and you've never been in) it's a little bit daunting. Specially if all that's going to happen is you walk with a bag of funny shaped vegetables of unknown tastes and textures!!! Yikes! I'm outta here.

Anyway I'm pretty at home with most of the occidental bits and pieces but further east hmm, not so sure. ('cept Japan that is) What the hell is a Mooli anyway? I mean it looks suspiciously like Daikon to me!! ; )

So here goes green things first!

Thai Sweet Basil  (Rau Hue)
This in all sorts of dishes, either sliced up or as a garnish, we use this in pho, summer rolls, has a distinctive aniseed, relatively strong flavour specially compared to regular basil. (that we use in our pea soup, one favourite dished post coming soon I promise!)
Now you'd be forgiven when you get to shop for saying which mint was I after again?
Reminds me of Resevoir Dogs, I could never remember which was which, or how many there were!!

; ) You've got to be careful though because Fish mint will give you a slap, whereas Cockscombe mint will aromatise you - yes that is a real word! (honest)

Mint (Normal Mint!)
Yep! Get it at any supermarket or good vegetable shop. I love to freshen up our summer rolls with a good wedge of this, balances out the pork belly and the other meats and when combined with the dipping sauce wowza!
Cockscomb Mint (Kinh Gioi) This a light aromatic mint with delicate lemon zestyness about it, Le (Uyens mum) made a Bun Bo Hue (hot and spicy beef noodle soup) for me one night. The key flavours are that of the lemon grass in the broth, and the Cockscomb mint in the garnish. It has delicate lemony flavour which is quite simply a stunning combination. We've since put it on the menu.

Hot mint (Rau Ram) or aka Vietnamese Mint aka Vietnamese Corriander
Quite a strong flavour minty yet meaty.
Looks nothing like normal coriander, larger leaves will have a slightly purple tinge around the edge slightly bitter, pungent flavour. We grow this in our back yard with no problems, we got it from a herb seller in Columbia Rd market (where we got our lemon grass actually).
We use this in our summer rolls, and chicken salad.
Hot Mint aka Vietnamese Corriander

And at this point thing get really confusing because this bad boy has quite a few aliases. It's known as Vietnanese Corriander (took me a while to realise this), also known as Laksa leaf, and Cambodian Mint!!! What the hell have you been up to to have so many aliases, hmmm? Late breaking news easiest just to call it 'Rau Rum'.

Fish Mint (Dap Ca)
This is rather an acquired taste and when I first took a bite I did wonder what on earth it could be good for, but used sparingly it can add a depth and a little je ne sias quoi to the flavour! Err . . . gone all Dell boy there scuse me!
Fish Mint
Vietnamese Spring Onion (Hanh La)
I've sat these next to a bunch of european spring onions for comparison, they taste nothing like each other despite their similarity to chives, you find them in Vietnamese pancakes which are lovely!!
In fact had some of those on Tuesday night. Tried them in Vietnamese stall for that authentic understanding of what to aim at.
 Lemon Grass (Xa Cay)
A fantastic fragrant flavour, can be used as bruised or sliced sticks to infuse into a broth, or finely chopped to add to meat pastes, salads or sauces  
We use this in: bun bo hue, pho, beef in vine leaves, prawn name but a few.

Lemon Grass Leaves
We have lemon grass in the garden, and it's leaves also have similar but more delicate flavour and can be used in salads and to make infusions. It does have quits course strands running through though and needs to be finely chopped or you end up chewing on a big ball fibber like a ruminating cow!! Probably why it's not gone main stream!!! ; ) Smells lovely!! (sorry no photo note to self)

Well where would be be without it I say, this has a gorgeously refreshing, but like a lot of things opinion is divided on this one some people find is flavour a little too strong for them!! They is crazy brother!

Vietnamese Parsley
Tastes like a crunchy coriander but more potent. Used sliced up in in noodle soups like Pho as a garnish.
Vietnamese Parsley
Pandan (La Dua)
Long leaf looks like a pond leaf but it actually comes from a tree. It's a sweet leaf used to make tea and for  for desserts - blended into cakes and jellies. This ones a new one to me, bumped into it in a Dried Logan Berry and Lotus Seed dessert.
Pandan Tree Leaf

Stir Fry and Garnish Vegetables
Pak Choi (also known as Bok Choi or Peking Cabbage), Choi Sum, similar but greener and with a longer stem, make nice additions to a stir
Flowering Pak Choi
Pak Choi
As you can probably tell from that rather brief coverage of the choi family, I think a cor blimey, I'm exhausted is due! But there's no garlic or fish sauce on this list!!?
to be continued . . .

Monday 4 October 2010

Some Guests Of Honour

A few weeks ago, we had some top guests at the supper club - people whom we admire and look up to.
The Food Urchin came to help in the kitchen!
 And so did Stuff Ya Face - whose become part of the furniture these days - we love having him around the place and bringing his smiles and positive energy to our home.
 Then we had The London Foodie bring a Brazilian TV crew round to film a documentary about the London food scene and about him, himself, Luiz Hara, Brazilian born, great foodie and cook and having great influence on how and where we should eat.
 It was a mad evening, people were everywhere, plus the crew and all their equipment. There is always something rocking in this house - we loved it!
Luiz Hara always smiles like this whereever he goes - it always brings a smile to our faces to see him like this.
Leonid, aka, Bob from Bob Bob Ricard also came with Mrs Bob to dinner! Imagine that! its Bob in the dinning room - OMG - we love his restaurant and him and how he is wonderful at making his guests feel very welcome in his beautiful place.
We also met Rachel McGormack from Catalan Cooking. Its always a bit scary and nerve wracking to have guests such as these mega foodies. Hope she enjoyed the night.
 This is Anna - she comes to the supper club all the time, he he, love to you and Vinnie
We had the beautiful Ute from Hungry In London and Vicky and H from Ephemerette
The Brazilian Crew and Luiz singing and dancing away as the Director plays the paino!
And finally, lovely Mimi from Meemalee's Kitchen came with her husband, Mr Mimi. We met her at our picnic in Henley Regatta and was lovely to have her in our home.
Supper clubbing has been so special. It is wonderful to be able to fill the house with so many wonderful guests and people who love food equally, if not more than us. It is a true honour, to cook and to serve to people who really appreciate being there and loving the whole experience. Its why we do it, over and over and over and people keep coming back again and again... Thank you for coming, its been a year since we started.
Sweet Corn Veloute w/ Chorizo Film
Bacon Swirls w/ Invisible Tomato
Seafood Lollipops 
Carrot, Coriander & Chicken Salad
Pulled Lamb w/ Vanilla Lime Mash and Jus
Lemon Biscotti & Coconut Sorbet

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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