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Monday, 7 May 2012

Recipe: Never Mind the Bollocks

Photography Fredrik Solstad (unless otherwise stated)

ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall
cuisine is an act of love . . .

Well, the last three weeks have been a bit of a nightmare, thus the lack of posts. The first of the three saw me resurrecting a software project I had been working on when I started Fernandez and Leluu, I didn't want to see a project I'd put so much work into die so I thought I'd put together "a guide", basically, architecture documents for the software I'd written, for the guys who said they'd take it over. I sat down to "rehydrate" the software process, i.e. read my notes, get my head around where I was with the design and update the docs for folk to run with. It would only take a day or so. (honest) Crap! I'd forgotten how much code there was, larger crap, crap no.2 my notebook decided to die, hard disc and DVD drive failure, . . . . . arse biscuits! I'll post a recipe on those later, a recipe that matures in the mail! I won't bore you with the details but needless to say it wasted a lot of my time that week. Got it all together just in time to make sure the supper club went without a hitch, in fact, the comments and feedback were really very good. It was held at Toynbee Hall: Here's what folks said.

I didn't really have time to breathe after that since I'd offered to help with another event. Anyway the following 8 days turned out to be rather more gruelling than I imagined. I'm not a complainer I get on and get things done! (I have to admit I can get a bit distracted by blue sky thinking) but when you have 40-50 people waiting for dinner in the banqueting hall there' isn't a lot of opportunity for that. (It's already been done!)

I have to be frank though - this week's events have left me feeling more than a little "I told you so" than I'm comfortable with, and the result is I've slept very little this bank holiday weekend. Partly because I had so much to do and partly because I've been so mindful about the future.

It was only last night I realised I had an extra day this weekend to get things done. I think this morning some part of me just thought "fuck it, I think it's time to re-assess, have a look over the last 9 months (squeeeeze -  puff puff - hooo hooo - sweat puff hoo - screeee . . . pop . . . . whuar whuar whuar - it's a boy! ) Where did that come from???"

So I thought I'd look through this year's not yet finished posts (all in various stages of disarray - and morcilla is coming next I promise @donalde @finandflounder @brunofrenchbake) and I came across the photos taken by Fredrik Solstad  who'd come along to one of the banquets that I'd been meaning to write up . . .  much better than I could take - obviously - and I think captured the mood quite well!

Reflecting . . .

ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall
cracking evening - it's always the guests who complete the atmosphere - electric

ingredients (serves: as many socially-minded, tolerant people as will fit in the room!)

for the kitchen (maybe FoH too)
1 KP / solicitor (with a sense of humour - Bernard CAB)
1 writer & graduate chef (Jen's great blog here: Hungry Tiger Thirsty Dragon)
1 writer (Iranian "humour saucier"  - Sabrina Ghayour)
1 writer / pastry chef (Susan's buzzing blog here: Susan Eats London)
1 superb photographer (Fredrik Solstad)
1 cracking journalist (Nilas Johnsen)
1 well planned menu (ahem err, me)
1 ferdie (to prop up the front door, yip that was me too!)

for the banqueting hall
2 FoH / trainee chef
40 guests (all in - as it a happens - a great mood)
Some tunes (chosen by the guests - always uber varied!)
Nice table decor, place settings etc.


ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall
there's 40 people right behind me waiting for the 1st course! it's all totally under control! honest! : )

ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall
seconds later getting that steak out for the 1st course

ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall
assembly: sabrina, jen, me and bernard keeping the whole place spotless - trooper



ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall
a light fillet of beef and roast baby pepper starter with rosemary infused crusty bread


ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall
champagne vanilla and pear married w/ serrano and a little punch of water cress


ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall
cut here, here & here. be gentle accurate and fast susan! puff of deep sea essence emanates from the crab pot


ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall
steamed using white wine, succulent, sweet, style and substance served w/ jus of blended oysters king crab & samphire 

ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall
i'm going in for the crab, it doesn't look so bad you know! ; )


ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall
patience and time - hours later



ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall
this is the perfect roast potato - we never let them leave the lab - for our guests only! - there's a potato detector on the exit
ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall
passion fruit sorbet, white choclit & whiskey sauce w/ banana tatin

for the garnish
A jolly good mood from everyone,
1 chef wandering the banquet hall to find out what peoples favourites were.

what could go wrong?
Now there's a question!! There's always a snag list on the whiteboard!
Bit by bit it's been getting smaller, and the balance between snags and missing stock has been getting smaller!

Needless to say, if I let lots of small setback get on top of me - a couple of weeks back some idiot drops a stone onto my windscreen as I drive under an underpass at 70(ahem)mph - the car's got a problem with the electrics so when it rains the windows and the sunroof open and it won't start! - just read a post on another web site that's a rehash of one of my own [I guess copying is the greatest form of flattery] - mindless trolling etc etc etc . . . .

Ah well . . . . Never Mind the Bollocks!!! 

I'll leave you with a question, I was wandering around a historic castle recently and I noticed a piece of chewing gum stuck to one of the pieces of artwork. I couldn't believe my eyes! Some people are simply without any moral fibre whatsoever! Nothing really surprises me anymore and I wonder if I'm just getting a little jaded!? As I ambled about the magnificent building I wondered how someone could possibly justify such an act. "That man offered me £50, mum" said this 8 year old behind me. Now I don't think the two incidents were associated, but imagine they were:

Is being offer £50 justification enough to stick chewing gum to a piece of 200 year old art, or someone's skirt or anything at all?

? ? ?

He was a bit too big for my domestic oven so I did him in two halves . . . This one's one of my menu development snaps I'll post more later . . .

ferdiesfoodlab at Toynbee Hall
COMING SOON - roast suckling pig -  i think I'll put it on for new year with the alaskan king crab!



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