Loïc’s awesome smoked beef

For us, the holidays are usually all about eating and drinking (and complaining about eating too much and then starting it all over again the following day). We are quite lucky that most of our guests are also food fanatics like us so we can spend hours upon hours talking about restaurants and recipes. This year, one of Loïc’s most popular holiday creations was the giant smoked beef we served on Christmas eve. Marinated for 24 hours with rock salt, Greek rosemary, zinfandel wine,  worcestershire sauce and a lot of love, this recipe was so rich in flavors thanks not only to the new recipe, but also thanks to all the little local ingredients such as coconut shells, sugar cane husks, banana leaves (and also apple wood chips hand carried from America…airport customs agents must have thought that we were nuts). Anyway, no more rambling, here is the recipe for you!

Ingredients:

2-4 kilos of Beef (Cube Roll if available)
Rock Sea Salt
Rosemary
1 bottle of Zinfandel wine
120-140 ml of Worcestershire sauce
 

Directions:

1) Gradually start massaging the rock salt and rosemary into the beef after cutting off any excess fat.  Depending on the size of the meat, this may take around 30 minutes to really work in the spices.

2) After the massage experience, place the beef in an airtight container and submerge the meat in Zinfandel wine and Worcestershire sauce. Be sure to use enough of both liquids to ensure that no part of the beef is exposed to air.  Seal off the container and place in the refrigerator for between 18-30 hours.

3) Remove the beef from the liquids but be sure to save all the marinade as it will be used during the smoking process

4) Light up your smoker and burn the charcoal for about 30 minutes or until the charcoal is hot enough.  After this (if you have access to it) begin adding coconut shells, sugar cane husks, banana leaves, and/or apple wood chips on top of the coals continually as you go along and add more charcoal as needed to ensure the temperature is sufficiently hot and smoky.

5) Once the fire is hot enough, place your beef in the smoker and let it slowly cook. The beef should have the remaining marinade brushed over it once after an hour and then re-brush the marinade over the beef every 45 minutes afterwards.

-depending on the size of the meat, total cooking time can vary between 3-4 hours on average but it can be useful to use a meat thermometer if available to ensure you don’t overcook the beef.

6) Remove beef from the BBQ, serve, and ENJOY!

 

Oh, you Glorious beef!

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The moment of truth…dsc_0510

When you can see the smoke oozing out of the beefdsc_0517

Our guests ask for a more well done version but you can also have to medium rare toodsc_0520

Holiday Season ’16

We often joke how funny it is that we hospitality people only start our holiday once our guests have gone back to work. This year, our holiday feels so much different though. As we hugged our new year groups good bye and slowly took down the holiday decorations, we all felt a slight holiday hangover. As if our holiday has been over too. As if we are sending our friends off after such a fun party and not really sure when would be the next time we meet.

For us here at Heron House, this holiday season was truly about reunions. It was a father and daughter visiting his other beloved daughter and son-in-law in Vietnam from Africa and Europe. It was a high school reunion of three friends with their wives and kids who were living all over the world. It was a long-overdue family vacation with a lot of board games and laughter. It was exploring new places and making new friends for a pilot’s family. And for us as well, we got to welcome our two Greek friends into our home after meeting them at their home in Leros in our last summer vacation.

It was a special time for all of us. We hugged and drank and laughed and shared stories. I know Loic felt quite sad for not being with his family and friends for yet another Christmas so it was comforting to realize the number of friends we have made over the holiday.

The weather was not so kind to us over the holiday and we apologize for any hiccups you might feel during your time in Hoi An. We would like to thank you again for being a part of our holiday season and spreading the laughter and love. 2016 was a year full of challenges and difficulties but it marked a special chapter in our lives and we are happy we got to welcome the exciting new 2017 with you!

And here are some photos from our Christmas BBQ in the villa. Sorry we were so busy cooking and drinking and laughing that we did not have time for more pictures with the other groups. And thank you Quyen for stepping in and capturing these precious moments.

Our little Christmas tree with decorations from our little guests

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Delicious mulled wine to start off the nightdsc_0449

 

Clara is making special cookies for Santa Clausdsc_0464

Loic’s signature mushroom soup with truffle saucedsc_0507

Slicing open the present, our 4-kilo smoked beefdsc_0509

Our lovely guestsdsc_0529

… with Santa’s little helpersdsc_0532

Happy Holiday!

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Dear friends,

Happy happy holidays from the Heron House team! Thank you for being a part of our journey in 2016. The year might have been rough and full of unexpected surprises, but now looking back, we are very grateful for all the new friendships we have gained, all the laughter we have shared, and all the memories we have made together. Heron House is a special chapter in our lives and we are glad we got to share this experience with the best group of friends we could ask for.

Wishing you a Joyous Holiday Season and A Very Happy and Peaceful New Years ahead, wherever you are in the world!

Best regards,

Loic, Van Anh and the whole Heron House team.

P/S: Van Anh tried to put real Santa hats on mama and baby buffalo but was getting really dirty looks from the mama so this is the best we can get, please excuse our poor Photoshop skill!)

Our First Summer BBQ

During our time living in Hanoi, some of our best summer weekends were spent BBQ-ing with our friends at our rooftop apartment. We would shift from swimming in our rooftop pool, eating bellini popsicles, to sitting around the little balcony waiting for Loic’s famous yogurt chicken and Greek burger, and eventually moving inside for some drinking games or random Youtube session. With such great memories, we decided to invest in a nice BBQ the moment summer began. What is summer without nice pool BBQ parties after all, right?

Loic chose a custom-made Texan BBQ from a company in Saigon, and as you can guess from the name, it is huge! The BBQ also doubles as a smoker, which makes us immediately dream of smoked salmon and smoked sausages and smoked everything. We were so eager to try out the big boy that the moment we met David and his family who were hugely into food and having a good time, we had to ask if they would like to let us test out the BBQ and prepare them a special meal.

You can tell Loic was dying to get back on track with his passion of cooking the moment he started brainstorming the menu. After going through what we could pick up at the local market and big supermarket in Danang, we settled on pita with hummus and tzaziki to start, continuing with Loic’s famous watermelon haloumi with tahini honey walnut sauce, and finishing with a grand finale of big coconut-smoked platter: beef tenderloin, red snappers, potato with sour cream, and fresh vegetables from the organic garden (more recipes to come on the blog soon!).

The whole meal was such a big hit, and the conversations that carried on the night were even better. There was so much laughter around the table. David, Arlene, Mel and Alex were another group of guests that turned into our friends. We were even invited to visit their beautiful Airbnb castle near London (yes, we have friends who own a castle!). This new adventure has certainly taken us to places that we never thought of before.

Thank you everyone for such a good night and we hope to see you again in the near future!

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