A few months ago, I enjoyed a wonderful grey morning at Tim Hayward‘s house. Tim is a food writer and is the Editor of my favourite publication Fire & Knives – not only is it about food but it is written so well, I slot a time in the calendar to enjoy it and only it!
He invited me to pop by his wonderful town house to show him how to cook the delicious and most famous Vietnamese noodle soup, Pho. He wanted to make it from scratch as it was for an article he was writing for The Financial Times.
I was indeed, very honoured! I first met Tim when he came to the supper club in June 2010 when Simon and I worked together. At the time, he was doing a show that featured supper clubs on The Food Programme for BBC Radio 4. He loved the food we served him, his face lit like a beaming sun and thought the combination of the Vietnamese/Spanish menu was “bonkers”. It truly was bonkers, as Fernandez & Leluu are!
I demanded Tim pour the Squid Fish Sauce down the sink
…as I bought him Three Crabs Fish Sauce – the only one to use.
I have been cooking pho for quite a while now, frequently for the supper club and cooking classes. It has become one of the signature dishes – it is the staple dish of Vietnam after all. Every pot tastes different depending on the sort of bones, meat you get and the quality, freshness of it. But it also depends on how much you spend nursing and tasting the pot you are making. As Tim says on the article, “its an experience in building and tasting rather than a simple recipe, it will always be astonishing if enough care is applied.”
I showed Tim how to do it: you can read it in www.ft.com
Please note, I recommend you should leave the broth for at least 4 hours. Here is a recipe I wrote a while ago.
(somehow, I forgot to take the money picture of what we made as was too busy enjoying it) here is another bowl I made at home – just to make you drool! Go and make a pot and keep some in the freezer to have anytime you want.
TIP: Remove all the vegetables and spices from the pot after simmer or the broth will go off and you’ll be very sad.