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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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