“Best Of” Dinner on 28Jan2013


Gathered my gung-ho friends for a meal at my most recent homecooked dinner on 28Jan2013.

“Best Of” refers to the different dishes (French, Spanish, Italian, fusion) I was trying out in the MENU above, NOT that I was best in any of them..lol..I had 3 pan-seared Hokkaido scallops made for a friend who couldn’t take wagyu, & mercifully they turned up very well after I learned of the very simple technique from chef John of foodwishes.com (just make sure the scallops are bone dry at room temperature & the non stick pan is very hot – scallops & fish etc tend to have lots of water & if not dry, then pan temperature will drop instantly and you end up steaming & NOT searing the meat!). 

This was also the first time I tried my skin-on pan-roasted chicken breast on my friends and they all loved it. The slow roast belly pork was still very much a work-in-progress BUT the saving grace was the spicy, sour Spanish mustard sauce. 🙂 This, together with the original sauce from the belly pork made very lovely dips.

Skin-on pan-roasted brined chicken breast

Skin-on pan-roasted brined chicken breast

The Margaret River wagyu striploin with marbling score 4/5 (while pale in comparison with Japanese wagyu), was 1 of the dinner highlights & garnered many supporters. 🙂 I did it the GR (Gordon Ramsay) way – leave steak at room temperature for 1/2 hr, greased non-stick pan with fat from striploin, very high heat, turnover once & add butter, then rest for 5minutes before cutting.


Margaret River wagyu MBS 4/5

The garlic jumbo prawns (these are 130g size – 10 prawns=1.3 kg) is one of my regular dishes, done with just minced garlic & chilli padi in a dry wok in very high heat, and only adding fish sauce at the very end before removing & serve.


Garlic jumbo prawns 130g each

I also had a very smooth & sweet tasting Basque seafood soup using stock from prawn shells + chicken stock + leek, carrot & onions strained, adding poached prawn, sotong (squid) and mussels when serving.

Next up were the 2 pastas. The seafood alio olio spaghetti with white wine is my usual fare, and this time I added a fusion pasta using a chilli crab sauce I prepared from the prawn shell stock.

The main course was a Spanish 2hr slow-cooked beef ribs with chorizos, celery, carrots, red peppers, yellow onions & using just a dash of tumeric for the colour. They all loved this very tender & tasty dish.


Spansh slow-cooked beef ribs with chorizos

And after all that, we still had room for a very nice chocolate lava cake (my usual fare) to round out the evening.


Chocolate lava cake oozing lava served with strawberries

c.h.e.f andy


Capri Challenge Dinner on 20Dec2012

ImageI had this Capri Challenge dinner after going to Capri Trattoria & Pizzeria couple times with friends & family. Capri’s $18 cold cut platter is a real quality & value-for-money deal. The $36 tagliata di manzo (sliced beef) is quite ok but pricy for the size & cut of meat. The pastas are maybe 3/4 the price of Valentino, however both times I thought the pastas were very average.

Anyway,  after testing out a belly pork arrabiata and a fusion chilli crab pasta, I decided to string together a 4 pasta dinner and got my obliging “kakis” (aka mates in Malay) – namely Choon Hung, Chong Lee & the lot – to come as guinea pigs as usual.

I started with a tagliata di manzo with rockets & cherry tomatoes using a mock fillet mignon recipe for cheap chuck tender. It involves tenderising the meat with sodium bicarbonate, grilling both sides in a 210degC oven for 25minutes, then slow-cooking at 90degC for 1.5hrs. This recipe is ok but I still prefer to go with the usual costlier striploin & ribeyes.


tagliata di manzo (Italian sliced beef) using chuck tender as mock fillet mignon with rockets, cherry tomatoes & roast potatoes

Next I have my usual roast chicken, tender & tasty & quite moist, but kind of boring as noted in the post on pan-roasted brined chicken.


roast chicken rubbed with salt, pepper, herbs, oyster sauce & olive oil

A medley of 4 pastas followed. My usual seafood alio olio spaghetti with white wine is by now a very popular dish amongst family & friends. Next I have a belly pork arrabiata (spicy tamato) spaghetti. I cooked the belly pork the Japanese “kakuni” way, at low heat using an induction heater for 1.5hrs, then added in canned whole tomatoes (cut into small pieces) and sauce, yellow onions and soy sauce and cooked for another 1/2 hr. This can be put aside for tossing with the pasta when required.


belly pork arrabiata(spicy tomatoes) spaghetti

A more interesting experiment is with the chilli crab pasta. I found a chilli crab sauce recipe & substituted the crab with prawn shell stock – the crab or prawn or shellfish flavour is needed to make the sauce taste genuine like real chilli crab sauce. This turned out very well indeed at the first attempt & by the time of the dinner I had 2 previous successful tries.


chilli crab spaghetti with prawns & shelled crab pincers

My attempt at a creamy funghi pasta though is rather forgettable, will have to revisit at a later time as I am quite keen on funghi pasta & risotto. Garlic king prawn ia one of my usual fare and very good really so I find little incentive to try out other recipes like the Spanish garlic prawn tapas.  A dinner highlight is the angus striploin. I attempted aging the striploin in the fridge (it is supposed to intensify the flavours and also tenderise). The one below is aged 48hrs in the fridge. I cooked the striploin by the usual GR (Gordon Ramsay) method. It is very good with distinct maillard reaction brown ring, though I cannot say after trying this aging a few times that it really is better than the same meat w/o the aging.


pan-fried medium rare angus striploin aged 48hrs in fridge

Afterwards we had the usual chocolate lava cake. Choon Hung has by now become our regular ice-cream supplier & thanks to him, I do not have to drive to Daily Scoop at Sunset Way to pick up the Salted Mr Brown & Coconut Fantasy ice-creams – both are very good and even better when taken with chocolate lava cake..lol.

c.h.e.f andy

23 Pax Buffet Dinner for My Raffles Institution (RI) Friends on 26Nov2012


I tried out a few Asian dishes such as nonya curry chicken, braised duck and kakuni (a Japanese braised belly pork) and decided to attempt a buffet dinner. 23 of my old classmates and schoolmates from RI (Raffles Institution) gallantly responded, and we had a most fun evening ferreting lost memories of youth(ful) years (or was it memories of lost youth), special thanks to PH for her largely uncorroborated recollections. 🙂

The buffet layout includes the following –

  1. very nice Thai seafood tanhoon appetizer prepared by auntie Bes.
  2. tagliata di manzo (Italian sliced beef) using chuck tender as mock fillet mignon with rockets and cherry tomatoes
  3. teochew braised duck
  4. nonya curry chicken
  5. black bean sauce pork prime ribs prepared by auntie Bes
  6. kakuni – Japanaese braised belly pork
Auntie Bes famous Thai seafood tanhoon cold dish

auntie Bes famous Thai seafood tanhoon appertiser


tagliata di manzo with rockets and cherry tomatoes


teochew braised duck


nonya curry chicken made from herbs w/o curry powder

Auntie Bes famous black bean sauce prime ribs

auntie Bes famous black bean sauce pork prime ribs


kakauni – Japanese slow-braised belly pork in mirin, sugar & soy sauce

We also had spicy tao jeon (fermented bean sauce) seabass and poached HK kailan with shitake mushrooms prepared by auntie Bes.

Another highlight of the evening was undoubtedly the Cordon Bleu (“call them blur”) “atas” cake PH brought. It was a truly wonderful cake.

Choon Hung, Chong Lee & gang were well-trained in serving the chocolate lava cakes. The newbies Tet Soon & Cheow Ghee looked suitably enthralled.

PH was the undisputed cake taster since she has such classy association of the Cordon Bleu variety.

c.h.e.f andy