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Wednesday 11 April 2012

Basics - Recipe: Liquorice Powder (Baked Liquorice Root)

by Simon Fernandez of ferdiesfoodlab

This is an interesting ingredient I started experimenting with for a Jamie Oliver fundraiser last March, I think it pairs fabulously with uncooked tomato, so I dust steak with it and serve it with a white tomato emulsion giving a fantastic mouthful of flavours. I’ll add links to the Jamie thing and the emulsion as I put them up, if you’d like to know about one of them in particular just pop a comment on the end of this post! Anyhoo, a number of people have been asking about where I get the liquorice powder. Short answer is, I make it! Here’s how . . .

Liquorice in raw format!

Liquorice sliced.



ingredients (makes ~80g)
for the liquorice powder
100g liquorice root 

apparatus / equipment
mortar and pestle
spice mill
super fine sieve

After baking - relatively uniform dark brown.


Lay liquorice  out  on  baking tray and bake @ G1/ 140C / 275F for 12hrs or until the liquorice is a dark brown throughout.

Pre-bake: Light in colour  After baking: Uniform dark brown.

If your liquorice is in sticks - usually is - probably a good idea
to break it up a little before introducing it to the spice mill.

Break the liquorice into pieces small enough to put in the spice mill using mortar and pestle.
Mill until a fine powder is achieved, this with contain small splinters that need to be sieved out, and put aside.
Sieve using a superfine sieve, and store in an airtight container.
Product: Liquorice Powder
I usually sieve it onto a piece of paper with a fold along the middle - makes it a lot easier to get into the tub!

Leftover "splinters" - back to the spice mill for you guys!

Take all the splinters (15-20g) and run them through the mill, sieve and add to rest of the powder.
Store in an airtight container.

thinking ahead
Keep in an airtight container. Will keep for more than 3 months.

100g liquorice yields 85g toasted liquorice
85g toasted liquorice yields 83g powder

Sunday 8 April 2012

SURPRISE!! : ) Birthday Party @ferdiesfoodlab

Well, what can I say what a great party!! On Thursday last just before the Easter weekend, in cahoots with Preet (birthday boy's lovely wife) I endeavoured to put together a fabulous TOP SECRET banquet. I've organised a few surprise parties in my time. I remember one in particular for an old girlfriend. I was getting a few too many calls, generating some awkward questions from my in danger of not being surprised girlfriend!! All sorts of things can go wrong, it's like herding cats, getting everyone in the right place for the right time without arousing suspicion ain't always easy!!!

I'm glad to say Preet managed a very tight campaign!! ; ) All the specials, allergy info and seating plan was done well ahead of time.  All the guest arrived at the main entrance hall well on time for pre-surprise drinks and mingling . . .

ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hallferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall
ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hallferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall
ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall
ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hallferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall

ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hallferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall

ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall

As the time approached the lights were turned off and and folks retreated into the shadows of the large hall assuming their surprise pounce positions . . . whuar har har!! heh heh heh!

ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall
Although they didn't rush him, I think he was genuinely SURPRISE(D)!!! : )

ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall
Awe shucks : ) thanks Preet!!!

With the pouncing done it was time to show everyone through to the main hall, and to the seating plan. As the guests entered, remarks like "wow what a lovely room", "didn't expect this . . ", "check it out!! where are we sat?" floated around the banqueting hall and as people found there seats I high tailed it to the kitchen to make sure things were running smoothly, which is where I stayed (with the odd check on the hall) until dessert.

ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall

ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall

ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall

ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall

ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall

After a couple of courses, with the edge taken off the hunger it's time for . . .

Speech me-thinks!

ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall

and on with the party . . . .

This is what I put on the menu for the night; 

Happy Birthday Rush, from Ferdie and the gang!


 Menu - ferdiesfoodlab - Early Spring '12

ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall

ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall
Salsa Picante!
Sweet Potato Tortilla w/ Oyster Mushrooms Noisette, Rosemary Bread & Salsa Picante(V)
 ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall


Pink Grapefruit w/ Star Anise & Basil - Amuse Bouche (V)ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall

Yum Salaad - Cambodian Inspired Chorizo & Celeriac Salad

ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall
Red Coss & Fruit Salad w/ Mustard, Honey & Balsamic(V)
ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall
(contains: pork)


Bacon Swirls and Invisible Tomato (V: Cheese Swirls)
ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall
(contains: pork)

Liquorice Dusted Roast Ribeye of Beef w/ Roasties, Ginger Carrots & Simple Salad, 
White Tomato Sauce & Horseradish Sauce
ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall
(contains: beef, rare meat, raw eggs)
ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall

ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall

Sage Infused Aubergine Stack w/ Roasties . . . . as above (V)ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall

Maple Oaty Cookie Popcorn Ice Cream Sandwich w/ Salted Caramel Sauce (V)ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall

Black Olive Ganache (V), Slightly Included Schnapps Marshmallows, Salted Lemon Fudge (V)
ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall


After the speech, there was more food and drink, and plenty of laughs by all accounts!

ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall

ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall
Uh oh I've been papped! Busted!!         Are you sure it was that big?

ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall
Thinking: "You're funny!! I don't believe a word of it mind you!!"    You can see someone about that you know!

ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall
I'm suspicious, really? that big???
ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall
Of course!!! Would I lie to you!!! Heh heh!

It was a fun night, and really lovely to talk to people. I'm so glad everyone enjoyed the food and the atmosphere, what a corker of a night!!!!

Hugs to everyone involved. I hope you all come back soon! (And don't forget to tell your friends!!!)

Simon xx

Tuesday 3 April 2012

Ski Series Recipe: Chorizo Crisps w/ Balsamic & Pomegranate Dressing served w/ Oyster Mushroom Noisette

by Simon Fernandez of ferdiesfoodlab

I threw this one together one evening when I realised I'd missed the starter section on my shopping list that afternoon, luckily we were in week 3 and by now I had built up a bit of a larder, had a few stock items, and some backup courses!

Second Attempt - A touch less on the chorizo and next time perfect!

ingredients (serves 4 as a starter)
for the chorizo crisps
200g chorizo (sliced)
50ml white wine
dash of grenadine
1/2 pomegranate (deseeded)
balsamic vinegar (garnish)
cress shoots (garnish)

for the oyster mushrooms
400g oyster mushrooms
150ml Noilly Prat (dry white vermouth or, failing that, white wine)
50g unsalted butter
extra virgin olive oil
parsley to garnish

2 heavy baking trays
2 baking sheets

oyster mushrooms
In a large frying pan make the oyster mushrooms noisette as in this post.
chorizo crisps
Make the chorizo crisps the same way as crispy chicken skins [post, and link to come!] just don't boil them, and check them after 15mins!
Mix the pomegranate seeds and the grenadine with a dash of extra virgin olive oil and season with Maldon salt, and a touch of ground black pepper.
Chop a little - 4 or 5 slices - of chorizo into small pieces, and fry in a small frying pan, letting the flavour and the fat seep out. Deglaze with 50ml of white wine and pass through a sieve. Put to one side - it should be a relatively thick and tasty jus : )

Original - Chorizo is perfect, just a little small for crisps!! Use a bigger sausage!

to serve
Lay the chorizo out in a strip, curved if you like. Spoon the pomegranate mix over the chorizo, place the mushrooms next to it and garnish with cress shoots. Serve immediately!

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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