Thursday, 3 May 2012

Guest Post - Cooking Tips from Uyen Luu (LoveLELUU)

I am really thrilled to have a guest post from the lovely Uyen Luu. An expert in Vietnamese food, Uyen demonstrated the basics of Vietnamese food to Jamie Oliver in an extended film shoot.  Uyen is currently working on her first book, a collection of classic Vietnamese recipes. An artist, photographer and filmmaker, Uyen is a woman of many talents. I am delighted that she was able to take some time for this post, in amongst her work of writing, running cooking classes and her hugely popular supperclubs. Uyen's fascinating blog can be found here:

Over to you, Leluu!

Food writer, great cook, blogger, cooking tutor, and all round talent, Uyen Luu

The best way to cook is when you really feel like doing it and you are making something for someone you like or love. Even if you are just cooking for yourself, that you enjoy the outcome and you try to make it with love and enthusiasm. Otherwise, it will never taste as good as it should. If I don't feel like cooking, I would get a takeaway or eat out. I cook badly when I don't feel like it.

It also helps if you are calm when cooking as being hectic, nervous and disorganised is going to make you stressed and brings the enjoyment of cooking to a low.

Vietnamese Beef Stew (Bo Kho)
When I set out to make a meal, say a roast dinner, I like to take all the ingredients I need out and place it to one side. I would put on an apron, have a couple of clean tea towels at hand. I sharpen all the the knives I need to use and make sure I have a clean surface to work on. Clearing away all dirty dishes, wiping down all surfaces. I have a bowl to collect waste from garlic peels etc so I don't have to move back and forth to the dust bin or make my surfaces messy.

I usually plan the outcome of the meal, for instance, pre heating the oven, putting a pot of water to boil. If you plan and have a strategy for the preparation, everything will be much faster. By the time you've peeled your potatoes, the water will be ready to put them in etc (although I heard you should always boil potatoes from cold water). If something can happen while you are doing a task, don't waste the opportunity.

Always clear up after you have used something, by putting it in the dishwasher or wash it. This makes cooking much more efficient and less stressful.

Prep all your ingredients, then cook it. Don't start a stir fry and only have chopped half the ingredients, then you'll be rushed or one thing may be over cooked and something else won't be cooked enough.
A woman of many talents

Always taste your food when seasoning and don't entirely rely on recipes.

Always set a timer because you're bound to forget something, especially if you have guests who will try to distract you and you don't want something to burn or over cook.

If you have guests, do as much as you can before they arrive so you can spend time with them, and I try to make unfussy meals when I have friends come over or if I don't have much time. 

(Words and pictures by Uyen Luu)


  1. Great tips! I agree, Uyen is a talented lady and I can't wait for her book to be available!

  2. Hi Kavey!
    Great minds think alike!

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    1. Dear Leon

      Apologies for having overlooked your comment for a little while.

      Thank you for letting me know about your cooking school.

      I am delighted you enjoyed this post.

      best wishes