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Wednesday 31 August 2016

Recipe: Great night down to our - 5 star guests!

Thank you everyone for your patience last week! Thanks to Phil and Sam without who’s the night simply wouldn’t have happened!! I had a great time talking to all of you after service. It’s always such fun to engage with everyone, great conversation, and great humour, and a little ribbing! 

Thanks to everyone who joined us . . . photography of the evening by Sam, thanking you!!! (and well done!)

Big hugs to Flo (of Flo & Elle) and Stuart (can't thank you enough for the g&t at the end of the other night!!) thanks Flo for a really lovely post!! I read it on Monday night at the end of a gruelling weekend and it brought a great big smile to my face!! Thanks also to the Foodieboys nice to have a bit of a chin wag, sorry for getting dragged off, I have your twitter lets hook up! I got a great vibe from you guys especially from your post! Not sure I remember the roundhouse kick! Doesn't mean it didn't happen, I hope it was swift and fair! I had a great time talking to folk at the end of the evening, only a shame I missed Yifei and friends, it was a great buzz all round!

I've put up a few photos and your comments, and the answer a question that I got from a lot of people, but didn't have to do justice. . . .

So guys, what do you think the deal is with the blue hair?? Hmmm?
OK, OK, already! . . about the blue hair: I went to music an science festival called: BlueDot

Which is nod to “Pale Blue Dot - by Carl Sagan”  a really special read and even better as an audio book because of the timbre of Sagans voice resonating with a deep understanding of science bolstered by critical thinking. Just one passage which is a description of what is essentially a clockwork video recorder traveling at mind boggling speed past Saturn truly fires the imagination. (I think it was Saturn, one of the planets in our solar system anyway.)

But from a broader perspective . . . I think his words speak for themselves:

You can listen to it here 3m 31secs

Roughly:  “Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilisation, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbour life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.”

So dyeing my hair was a nod to Carl Sagan, and a pun on the title of the festival. Which was awesome, Underworld were SPECTACULAR live! Result! (As were the speakers at many of the lectures given at the festival) So there you go, back to the comments and thanks from the banquet!!

Apologies again for a slightly later start than billed. I really appreciated your patience, and your feedback!

Bigs hugs to everyone at the banquet last week!! Simon (aka ferdie) xxx..

I promise it will on the table in 5minutes!!!

'as always done with character and warmth'
'Show me the way to home . . . .'
'started too late! But . . absolutely delicious. Thank you! xx'
'Amazing food - great night!' - Sorry about the wait guys! My bad.
'Fantastic experience - more veal.'
'I thought the grapes were cherrries [SIC]'
'Food was amazing - late service forgiven'
'Every dish was amazing!'
'nuts yum! waiter yum! .. Great way to celebrate my birthday' - I cant take credit for that!
'great job!'
'its my third time - loving the new items on the menu'
'Delicious food as always'
'Heart the dessrt!'
'.. interesting blend of ingredients .. Serve up on time though hey!?' - Again my apologies.
'OMG Delicious, well flavoured dish'
'Yep yum - non offensive!'
'Yummy - Amazing'

you can't kill progress - specially if it doesn't exist!
same story different decade!

the snuggle for survival

Monday 15 August 2016

Experiment / Recipe: Sous Vide Ox Cheek w/ Salad of Palm Hearts

Lunch today has very much been a “let’s see what’s in the kitchen” kind of vibe. It’s really a test run to see how sous vide ox cheek comes out. I’d normally cook ox cheek slowly for 2 - 3 hours. This breaks down the fat and gristle, into an unctuous gelatine that really contributes to the stickiness of the sauce, and the vegetables and potatoes. That’s a classic and simple way to cook them.

For the sous vide test I wanted to keep the cooking process as isolated as possible to understand how the texture is affected, then have some fun experimenting with the accompaniments! Oh and get to use the pea shoots I planted a couple of weeks back : ) will post about that in the next post!

Pea shoots coming along nicely in the garden!

Sous Vide Ox Cheek w/ Salad of Palm Hearts 

check list:

Red pepper puree
Ox cheek sauce & spring onions
    (calçots style - Catalonian dish).
Miso creme fraiche puree.
Hollow palm hearts filled w/ miso creme fraiche puree.
Buttered rounds of Afghan sesame bread.
Lemon vinaigrette w/ spring onion.
Pea shoots (from the garden).
Seared spring onion.
Seared ox cheek.

ingredients (serves 2)
for the ox cheek
2 ox cheeks
2 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs rosemary
2 tsp garlic butter
Sear the ox cheek until golden brown.
Put all the ingredients into a vac pack or zip lock bag.
Sous vide at 80C / 9h.
After the ox cheeks cool, put them into the fridge until needed (or use immediately).
If they’ve come from the fridge gelatine will have set. Put the bag into hot water ~80C for 15-20mins to bring them up to temperature.
Take the cheeks out reserving the stock.
Sear them to finish it before serving. (They’ll be an awkward shape which is another good reason to brown before they go into the sous vide)
Do NOT put the remains of the back directly into the frying pan with the meat the gelatine will quickly reduce and stick to the pan!
Keep it for sauce!

for the ox cheek sauce
remnants from the sous vide bag (jelly, butter, leaves removed)
200ml chicken stock
200ml double cream
4 spring onion (bottom 2/3)
Peel the spring onions and cut the bottom 2/3’s off each.
Keep the tips for the vinaigrette.
Put stocks into the pot and bring to the boil.
Add the spring onions and boil for 2-3mins. Then remove them and put aside for later.
Add the cream and reduce the liquid until it reaches coating consistency.
Keep an eye on the saltiness as it reduces!

for the miso creme fraiche
15g miso 
200ml creme fraiche (hung for 24h)
lemon juice (as much as it will take!)
palm heart centres (optional)
Hang the creme fraiche in muslin over night.
Mix the miso & creme fraiche and season with lemon, salt and pepper.
It should be sharp as possible without being too loose.

for the palm heart salad
120g palm hearts (centres removed)
2 buttered toasted sesame afghan bread (cut into 6 rounds)
vinaigrette (lemon & spring onion)
50g miso creme fraiche
Cut the palm hearts into thirds (or halves).

Pop the centres out, these can be used in the miso puree or left as they are. They’re super soft!
Fill the hollow palm heart segments with miso puree after they’re plated.
Cut the Afghan bread through the middle, toast the sesame side, butter and cut into rounds.

for the garnish
pea shoots
lemon zest
maldon salt
black sesame seeds

apparatus / equipment
sous vide machine

to serve 
Pipe the red pepper puree onto a hot plate.
Place the palm hearts, fill them with miso puree & top with sesame seeds
Slice the ox cheek, and place it.
Add the crispy rounds & the seared spring onions, dress with spring onion vinaigrette & lemon zest.
Finally top with ox cheek sauce and serve immediately.

thinking ahead
The ox cheeks, red pepper puree, miso puree, vinaigrette will all last unto 5 days in the fridge.

The ox cheek had a lovely texture and great gelatinous element to it. I chilled them overnight, warmed them through and seared them a touch more. Cracking!

For the ox cheek sauce, less is more!! Otherwise it over powers the acidity on the rest of the plate! 

Maybe lightly pickle the palm hearts for a touch more acidity!

reference links & variations
SousVide Ox Cheek 75C / 20h - maybe try this time / temp combo next.
Food n Chef  82.5C / 8h 

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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