Homegourmet 8-Course Lunch @ 14Mar2013

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I had another homegourmet 9pax lunch with friends recently.

I had quite some success on the pan-roasted brined chicken breast recipe, and was raring to try it on duck. 🙂 I wanted to test it once before I dumped the dish on my friends.  I did this using both the pan-roasted chicken quick-roast method & the prime rib slow-roast method successfully, the slow-roast method producing an even more tender meat.

The slow-roast pork belly was still a work-in-progress. It turned up very well for my daughter’s 14pax friends lunch on CNY 3rd Day, but I felt it was still mostly touch & go. I would not have time to do on 14Mar if it turned up poorly so I did it in the evening of 13Mar & as it was passable if not great so I kept it in the fridge to warm up & serve the next day.

For the soup. I had been doing a “kick-ass” …self-praise haha…Basque seafood soup using prawn shells but was a bit tired of doing the same soup every time. I looked up some creamy mushroom soup recipe and thought it could not go too far wrong and was worth a gamble, since I had on hand willing devoted risk-taker volunteers high on faith. 🙂

skin-on pan-roasted brined duck breast

skin-on pan-roasted brined duck breast

We started off with 4 tapas – (a) pan-roasted brined chicken breast (b)slow-roast brined duck breast (c)slow-roast pork belly & (d) Margaret River wagyu MBS6/7+angus striploin.

I think all were happy with the brined chicken breast & duck breast (except that I was rushing a little & destroyed the crispy skin of the chicken quite badly, I relaxed and did it right for the duck). They were moist, tender & tasty! 🙂 The belly pork was a bit iffy. This was a rather fatty piece & though the fat & meat were quite soft, the skin was still a tad tough to the bite, so the “mouth feel” 口感 wasn’t quite right. Fortunately, the natural jus was quite tasty & the Spanish spicy mustard sauce was a very good dip to go together with.

I thought the wagyu was below par. I had better marbling for MBS4/5 striploin from the same supplier mmmm previously for the “Best of” dinner on 28Jan2013 (of course my friends would say its the bad carpenter..haha). The rockets were also not good. I forgot to buy on 13Mar & there was no time to get it on 14Mar so went at 1am the night before to Sheng Shiong’s 24hr mart at Ghim Moh & the only ones there were quite old & not fresh. 😦

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I had a separate portion of 3 pan-seared Hokkaido scallops for WL as he does not take beef. It should be quite ok now that I learned the simple technique=very hot pan +very dry scallop (scallops & fish etc contain a lot of water & if not bone dry, pan temperature will drop sharply & you will be steaming/poaching & will not have a hardened seared layer so it will stick to the pan). 🙂

pan-seared Hokkaido scallops

pan-seared Hokkaido scallops

After the tapas, we had a pasta item, which was my seafood alio olio spaghetti with white wine. I was quite confident on the taste department as this dish mostly turned up quite well but I thought the texture was not enough al dente this time. 😦

seafood alio olio spaghetti with white wine

seafood alio olio spaghetti with white wine

Next came my very first attempt at creamy mushroom soup, and gratefully it turned up very well indeed – really quite smooth in texture and tasty – though from the photo below, I could see the caramelised mushrooms but NOT few drops of extra virgin olive oil.

creamy mushroom soup

creamy mushroom soup

The pistachio rusted rack of lamb was also my very first attempt, and this was quite an excitement for me actually. The lamb rack looked fabulous & tasted great! although I found it slightly overdone as I would prefer medium rare. It was moist, tender and did not have much of  the strong lamb gamey taste. 🙂

pistachio crusted rack of lamb

pistachio crusted rack of lamb

The 8-ribs lamb rack was good for 4 serving, and being my first attempt it was actually a stand-in for my more “established” Spanish 2-hr slow-braised beef ribs. This had been very good the few times I served previously, but the taste was a bit off this time, & we were at a lost to explain (other than bad carpenter). The vegetable base ratatouille (celery, carrots, yellow onions) should be sweet & balancing the beefy taste, the Chinese sausage added some sweetness & the chorizo (though may not be everyone’s favourite) had combined very well previously.  I thought that it could be the chuck rib itself, though I bought it from Giant the day before, but I could not be sure how long it was on their shelves. Photo below still looked ok but looks deceived 😦

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Spanish 2-hr slow-braised beef ribs

We had the usual chocolate lava cake.  I was getting a bit bored though, hoping to try out a new soufle recipe next time.

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WL brought very nice tarts and CH his usual strawberries & this time it was especially sweet. All the leftover tarts were polished off by my daughters soon enough. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Basque Seafood Soup

basque seafood soup

basque seafood soup

This a very enjoyable, intense, tasty soup!

I had it at La Cicala with my son in Aug2012, and thought I would do this. I looked up the internet and found this basque seafood soup recipe.

My family use a fair amount of prawns mostly in pasta & some Chinese dishes, and used to discard the shells & heads. For this dish, I save the heads & shells and boil them for 3 hours. You could blend the shells & liquids in a blender in batches, but it required much effort and at the time I was not yet using blender much, so I just passed the liquids through a sieve & pushed hard, and then disposed the boiled heads and shells. That provided the prawn stock for the bisque. I learned then you needed shellfish or crustaceans to give the bisque that depth of flavour & intensity. 🙂

basque seafood soup

basque seafood soup

I next prepared the vegetable base. I sautéed the leeks, onion and carrot for 5 minutes to soften, stirring frequently. I turned to high heat and added the prawn stock, and then added brandy (it might flame as the saucepan was very hot). I then added white wine & diced tomatoes, just 1 teaspoon of tumeric for colour. I then turned to low heat & let the soup simmered for 40minutes to bring out the vegetable base sweetness. Then I add chicken or vegetable stock and add sea salt to taste.

Before serving I added the prawns and squids to poach them, and lastly the mussels for just about 3minutes. I then take out the prawns, squids, mussels and distributed them to individual bowls before topping them up with soup, and serve.

c.h.e.f. andy

Ingredients:

  • heads & shells from 1 kg small or medium prawns – serves 8
  • 2 leeks chopped
  • 1 carrot chopped
  • 1 yellow onions chopped
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 large tomato diced
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • sea salt to taste
  • 8 medium prawns (or 16 small prawns) – about 300g
  • 1 large squid skin removed cut into rings (about 16 rings) or into large curls with cross-cuts (8 pieces)
  • 8 large shelled mussels or 16 small ones

Directions:

  1. Prepare prawn stock for the bisque – boil the heads and shells for 3 hours. blend the shells & liquids in a blender in batches OR pass the liquids through a sieve & push hard, and then dispose the boiled heads and shells.
  2. Prepare vegetable base for soup – sauté the leeks, onion and carrot for 5 minutes to soften, stirring frequently.  turn to high heat and add the prawn stock, and then add brandy (it might flame as the saucepan is very hot).  add white wine & diced tomatoes, &  tumeric for colour. turn to low heat & let the soup simmer for 40minutes to bring out the vegetable base sweetness. add chicken or vegetable stock (if required) and add sea salt to taste.
  3. Before serving, add the prawns and squids to poach them, and lastly the shelled mussels for just 3minutes. take out the prawns, squids, mussels and distribute to individual bowls before topping them up with soup. Serve.