Tuesday 23 August 2011

ferdiesfoodlab - first review

by Simon Fernandez of ferdiesfoodlab
When I put the menu together for the test run opening, there were a number of things I was bearing in mind, first and foremost was that the only working equipment in the Toynbee Hall kitchen was a 6 ring burner and an oven. The next thing was that it may be a total disaster!

I certainly don't advocate thinking like that, but you cant help those little moments, when you're exhausted - partly because you've been so busy you've forgotten to eat and partly because 16 hours in front of a computer or stove will do that to you - and then one of those sneaky doubts creep in, I certainly find it's when I'm most tired!

So it might be the only one I do so I'm going to put some things on the menu I'll possible never get another chance to cook with again, question is what!?

I remember sitting down in the restaurant at the hotel I was staying in in New York, and a friend of mine who'd stayed in the same hotel recommended I try the King Crab, he said it was the biggest crab he'd very seen! Well, I had my doubts, but I tried it anyway - I'd had a good day in the office and decided I could do with a reward : )

In typical American style, it was also the biggest crab I'd ever sean, I couldn't possibly ; ) eat a whole one!! Really quite beautiful to behold, and a delicate sweet tasting meat . . . hmmm!

As I reminisced, I thought, that's got to go on! Later . .  fek it's expensive! Sod it, it's the first and possibly only run, I'm putting it on! Can't pic that up in the super market I can tell you . . . 

Anyway needless to say I put my heart and soul into creating ferdiesfoodlab.

This is what the London Foodie thought of it. . . .

I don't know what to say, except thank you Luiz, and Toynbee Hall! 

Friday 19 August 2011

Recipe: ferdiesfoodlab - building a new supper club from scratch

by Simon Fernandez (@ferdiesfoodlab)

I've spent the last month creating ferdiesfoodlab and it's been a very, very, busy month I can tell you. There's been a lot of hecticness (it's a real word), and a fair amount of, is this really going to work? Anyway, here's the recipe. . .  

INGREDIENTS (serves 28)
1 passionate ferdie (with an idea and nowhere to do it)
1 passionate organisation (with a venue and nothing to do with it - Toynbee Hall)
some willing friends in the kitchen and front of house (Albert, Jo, Marc)
2 extra chefs (Jen aka Cook School Cat & Robbie of NoReservations)
2 photographers (Jo Maynard, Steve Berryman)
1 wine connoisseur (Nathan Nolan of Mr Drink n Eat)
1 bar of self belief (broken into chunks and snorked at regular intervals)
a pinch of doubt (to keep it real)
a small dose or terror
      (again to keep it real - you can substitute with fear but doesn't keep it as real)
as much luck as you can get hold of (very scarce ingredient, seems to come in packs of 3)
1 surprise concert pianist
1 table of guests (not the grumpy sort - good quality ingredients are critical!)
      (including London Foodie, Claudia of Whiteroom Supperclub & Gail of A Girl in Walthamstow)
small hoard of unknown quantities (these are a bit like luck and really add to the depth of flavour)
I'm sure I've forgotten something . . .  : ? oh yes, a menu!

1 6 ring burner
1 convection oven
1 blender
10 baking trays
sharp chefs knives
various kitchen utensils
white board pen (not permanent!!)

Be invited by passionate organisation (in this case Toynbee Hall) to use their venue. Go to look at venue and meet the passionate custodians of the hall.
ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall

Be blown away by the venue, and spend the weekend cooking for friends at their engagement party and talking about it.

Return to Hereford (or other homely sunny place), and get some sunshine on your face. I remember one time a very long time ago, a friend of mine told me, "If you stand facing the sun all the shadows fall behind you". I love the sun on my face it always puts me in such a good mood!

I love you sunshine! Please don't take my sunshine away!!
Facing the sun! You're not doing it right!

Now use those positive thoughts to work some ferdie magic and go and find some cool things that would create a nice atmosphere in the venue.
Harry Copper! : ) Ferdie magic! Get it? - I couldn't help myself
Once you've found them get to work restoring them so they're all nice and shiney!

A bit of elbow grease, a drill and some rotary sand paper.
It didn't look much in the reclaim yard. . . .
We served 5hr "will you marry me" slow roast lamb in it  -  Photography by Steve Berryman

to be continued . . .             
don't forget, upcoming dates Fri 9th Sep, and Fri 23rd Sep 
at Toynbee Hall near Aldgate East.

in the next episode . . . .

Barents Sea King Crab - Stunning Ingredient
ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall
A really lovely crowd came to help test run : ) Photography by Jo Maynard (Artist)

Tuesday 9 August 2011

A cut above!!

by Simon Fernandez (@ferdiesfoodlab), in partnership with East London Steak Co for The Jamie Oliver Foundation

Introduction to East London Steak Co:  The East London Steak Co. is a new online delivery concept launched by acclaimed chef Richard Turner and butcher James George. This new venture offers the finest naturally reared beef from selected rare breeds to customers within the M25 area.

The East London Steak Co. source the highest quality beef from British farms. Every animal is hand-picked and selected using strict criteria, which ensures all cattle are grass fed, have been traditionally farmed and reared in an environment which meets the highest standards of welfare.

The East London Steak Co. only use five main rare breeds of beef, including Dexter, Galloway, Longhorn, Shorthorn. The beef is dry-aged on the bone for a minimum of 28 days or longer on request.

Richard Turner, director of the East London Steak Co. is a restaurateur and chef who has worked with renowned chefs including Michel Roux Jnr, Pierre Koffman and Marco Pierre White.  James George, also director of the company, has worked as a butcher for over 10 years; their professional background brings a unique partnership to the business, as they both understand first-hand the necessary components needed to enhance the quality and taste of the beef.

The Experience
I was expecting delivery of the meat in between 5am and 8am. At around seven I received a text msg to inform me that my meat was 20 mins away, and delivery was imminent.

Got up, had a shower and got a coffee on the go . . .  and waited with baited breath.

It arrived in a very cute van! And I don't mean that it was a nice colour or anything like that. It was a micro van, and clearly with green credentials.
A very polite - and frankly, for that time of the morning, quite cheerful guy handed over a couple of boxes: nicely packed, and in tact - had clearly been treated with care.

It's nice to know where your meat is from, the type of animal it came from and it's provenance, how it's been reared and butchered.

Types of steak that we used - before I go any further it's important to note that East London Steak Co sponsored the event and the beef, both for some of the test runs and on the night were contributed by them. The quality and taste of the beef was the amongst  the highest I've ever encountered, the marbling and fat content of the fillet and the forerib gave them both astonishing flavour and tenderness.

For the test run I picked cuts that I've been meaning to use but just haven't had occasion or time to - things like ox cheek, hanger steak (onglet), forerib and bone marrow.

Here are some of the things I tried out:

Ideas, recipes and ingredients tested for supper club - posts to follow
Liquorice "Smoke Cured" Hanger Steak

Hanger Steak, Chips and Ginger Carrots w/ Tarragon Sauce and Horseradish Sauce

Fore rib with to be served w/ roast potatoes and ginger carrots

Ox Cheek - and Garlic
Braised Ox Cheek

Roast Bone Marrow

Briased Oxtails w/ Onions & Green Beans

Fillet Roulette - something I came up with in the Alps at Christmas thought I'd share!

Recipes for each one to follow . . . . . look out for the Jamie Oliver Foundation fundraiser series. 8 fab recipes!!!

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 bookings@ferdiesfoodlab.co.uk and I'll put up a post about it!!


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