Welcome to my website. I am the author of ‘Vietnamese – Simple Vietnamese Food To Cook At Home’. I am a photographer and film maker. You can book into my supper club, Vietnamese cooking classes, buy my book, check out my photography and lots more here.
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You know sometimes, you are in town, the shops are shut and you walk by a fancy kitchen shop and you stare in like a hungry poor Prince Akeem and dream and plot your ideal kitchen, in your ideal home, in your ideal life. Then sometimes, you walk by and there is a little party going on inside and you wish, just wish you could be inside nibbling at the canapés and drinking all the fine prosecco – with all those nice looking people and have a good time.
Well, for once, we were on the other side of that window at a Miele Showroom in Cavendish Place at an event held by Green & Blacks and it was simply wonderful!
As soon as we entered, we were greeted with warm welcomes and met so many blogger friends; it just felt like it was the right place to be at the right time in life. Since we have been blogging and supper clubbing, we have just met so many lovely people who share the same passion and love for food, drink and together-ness. Events like these are fantastic and educational for sharing because Green & Blacks weren’t out to hold a regular event, they wanted to be a bit different and they wanted it to be something we can all learn and talk about.
For the taste challenges, we had to taste the secret ingredient in the Green & Blacks chocolate and cocktails made by Drinks Fusion (they were at our event with Jim Haynes – so we were all very pleased to see them). The challenges were really tough and bought us to shame: hardly anyone got it right.
Johann (Drinks Fusion) & Simon
The reason for the challenges is that Green & Blacks are looking for an Assistant for Micah Carr-Hill– the Head Of Taste and they are going through so much campaigning to find ‘the one’. Applicants will go through the same tests at their interviews. Imagine if you applied and got this job, to know that you were really sought after must give you such a massive boast in your new career that they were looking high and low for you.
Who is this person going to be? Its like dreaming up the perfect candidate, hoping for a great relationship – somewhere, they are out there looking at the moon… ; )
There were prizes, this what made this event fantastic – it bought out the competitiveness in us all. If you imagine a bunch of singletons at a wedding trying to catch the bouquet – well it happened here with a Kitchen Aid!
Meemalee completely surprised that she had won! : )
And Meemalee won it – for making the best dish cooked in 15 mins AND the taste challenge! Clever woman (she got a hubbie too)! I wonder if she was bribing someone before hand for that marvelous Kitchen Aid! – Even if you are not a baker (like me) you still want it!
Simon made Duck Breast in Quince and Red Peppercorn Sauce, with Cassoulet, Green Beans and Edamane in a Light Basil Emulsion. (recipe to follow) After our adventures at the BBC with The Hiary Bikers, Simon was like one of those pros on Masterchef with all his pots and pan ready and things on its marks.
We all stood around the contenders supporting our friends and watched them like we watched a cookery show. There is something so addictive about watching someone cook, see how they do things and see them go!
In the meantime, people were chatting to the guys who were all about smells. The first taste of the palate is through the nasal paths. He told about what and where taste receptors are on the tongue. They passed around nice vanilla smells to that of a stinky cheesy foot. I particularly liked the horse sweat smell, reminds me of my dog’s ears (only dog lovers will understand this). Such fun was had and this turned out to be one of the best events we’ve been to since we have started our blogging careers.
The Boy Who Bakes – Winner The British Bake Off – Edd Kimbers
Matthew Stokes knows about smells
Green & Blacks hold such interesting events, like the one they did at Tapped & Packed– pairing chocolates with tea (See The Grubworm’s insightful accounts here). Back then, we were all supposed to guest flavours and teas – this is what’s really great about this brand – they are all about good flavours and obtaining the right balance – that’s Micah’s job and what a fun way to spend your days – tasting! And writing recipes for their fab book ‘Green & Blacks Organic Ultimate – Chocolate Recipes – The New Collection.’
We got a signed copy from Micah when he took us among a bunch of bloggers out to dinner at Bistrot Bruno Loubet during The London Restaurant Festival/ Chocolate Week (we are really really lucky I know). He talked about what he generally does day to day with Green & Blacks – It was such an honour and a privilege to know the man behind this great brand of chocolate.
Green & Blacks started in 1991 when environment columnist for The Times and confirmed chocoholic, Josephine Fairley, found a bar of chocolate on her husband, Craig Samms’ desk, (founder of a leading organic foods company). She thought it was the best bar she ever tasted and felt all chocolate lovers would agree. And there it started – how wonderful that something so big and recognized today grew from such a small seedling. It’s inspirational!
When they went on holiday to Belize in 1994 and met a group of Mayan farmers growing cocoa plants, who were let down by a large company who withdrew the order, Jo and Craig decided to buy the farmer’s cocoa at a fair price. The rest is history.
At the end of 2011, every bar of Green & Blacks will be fair trade and we can eat happily because the skills and business bought over to the Mayan farmers have helped their families come out of poverty and let their children go onto further education which has made the product we love in the Western world make such a huge difference to those who produce it for our enjoyment. Green & Blacks is used and loved by so many top chefs, as well as us home cooks and is recognized to be the ethical brand with a great taste tag.
They sent us 12kg of chocolates for use at the supper club; here look what Simon made – from churros to Ferdie’s Chocolate Factory. (Chocolate Delice with White Chocolate Sauce, Dark Chocolate Frozen Strawberry and Pistachio Wafer).
Thank you to Gail Haslam for all the invites, for the great events. Thank you to Green & Blacks for all the lovely chocolates, the book, the dinner, and the lovely cocktails – we love you!