Fundonate – Share, Give & Receive

who is my wise friend who said “money is NOT yours until you use it or give away…”? 🙂

in Feb2012, 3 friends & I started Fundonate = Do Something for yourself or loved ones & raise donations for the needy & less fortunate while you commit to achieve your personal goal.

Straits Times reported briefly = Raise money for charity and group adds to the fun(d)…whatever helps the cause. 🙂

this year, I turn 55 & am doing 550km run to raise donations for children of special needs at Rainbow Centre via Fundonate. it is also just to get friends together & share with my friends who are 55 this year to share their 55yrs as a fun contribution to children of special needs.

while c.h.e.f is a food & travel blog, for me perspective (like Live to Eat), sharing, giving, receiving, fun are all embodiment of friendship, eating, cooking, & travelling. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

hi friends & 55ers
my 2nd update –
on 27Jun2013, i completed 320km of my 550km to raise donations for children of special needs at Rainbow Centre.  the 550km run is to get 55 or more of us friends here to celebrate our 55yrs as a fun contribution to children of special needs at RC, I will be writing to 12 more friends to donate $55 each if they wish to.
 so far 22 friends have donated $3270. guys – am really thankful for your strong participation & support.
for those who wish to donate rightaway, the link is here=https://www.give.sg/TeamGIVE/andyquak/celebrate-55-years-of-joyful-living-donate-to
You may already know Fundonate’s objective is just to share our experience that giving is really a “fun & feel-good” thing to do, and while every $ donation is important to the beneficiary children, Fundonate is more about sharing & involvement & not just the absolute $ raised. So do donate to share our 55yrs & the many years we will have before us with the children of special needs at RC. 
the next update will be on completion of 550km.
brgds
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Curry Chicken Noodles – Part One

chicken for curry chicken noodles

chicken for curry chicken noodles

see also shiok curry chicken noodle @ ah heng on 16.9.2013. 🙂

my friends were talking about doing a hawker food tour.

my favourite is bakuteh (Rong Cheng bakuteh at Sin Min, though lately price went up from $6 to $7 & standard seemed to have gone south – which is usually the case when price goes up, sign! – and Lao Ah Ti at Boon Keng Road, in that order). & my second favourite is Ah Heng curry chicken noodles at Hong Lim. 🙂

bakuteh is easy to do at home, but curry chicken noodle is something else…I googled but there is no internet recipe for curry chicken noodle..the closest I got was a channel 8 面对面 program youtube video on Da Po curry chicken noodles at Golden Mile Beach Road. 🙂 they don’t tell you the recipe of course, but it was mentioned that some special ingredients included dried prawns (虾米) & lemon grass (香茅). 🙂

so it looked like i have to be inventive to reconstruct my favourite Hong Lim curry chicken noodles.

to me the 2 things special about curry chicken noodles (which is NOT throwing noodles into a curry chicken dish) is (1) the chicken which is chicken rice standard (2) the curry. though the curry is somewhat different & sweeter as mentioned in the video, my nonya curry chicken recipe approximates somewhat. so that’s what i did! 🙂

i used my nonya curry chicken recipe, and added (1) 2 lemon grass (white part) to the paste & (2) dried prawns. since I was cooking the chicken the chicken rice way & not the curry chicken way I needed to flavour the soup, so I used the carcase of 1 chicken as stock base. subsequently after i cooked & debone the whole chicken, i use the bones/carcase to add to the soup – so there were 2 chicken bones/carcases to provide the soup stock flavours. 🙂

butcher twine to secure & lift chicken

butcher twine to secure & lift chicken

i cleaned the chicken & rub salt on the skin & inside to exfoliate & make the skin ultra smooth. i used a string (butcher twine) to secure the chicken neck & tied it to a ladle so that i can lift the whole chicken when it’s cooked w/o tearing the skin. 🙂 in the above photo, i did not cook curry, so it was just chicken stock with scallions, garlic & ginger.

curry for curry chicken noodles

curry for curry chicken noodles

the photo above is the curry soup for the curry chicken noodles. 🙂 I later added (1) dried prawns (2) lemon grass (3) 12 dried chilli instead of using chilli padi in my nonya curry chicken recipe. the soup became redder & it was very tasty just like in my curry chicken recipe. it was still not Hong Lim curry chicken standard of course, but it was pretty ok. 🙂

i added enough chicken stock so that when it was boiling on high heat & i lowered the whole chicken, it was just completely submerged. once the soup was boiling again after lowering the chicken, i turned the fire to low & simmer for 1/2hr. i was using a 1.4kg chicken from Giant & 1/2hr was about right. you can also use a meat thermometer & set at 170degF (77degC). 🙂 when chicken is cooked, i lifted it out & deposited it in an ice bath to stop the cooking & to produce a very pretty taut skin (top photo).

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my chicken though, i think, was the same standard as Ah Heng, and as good as most good chicken rice chicken, self-praise haha. 🙂 it was moist, tender, very sweet & tasty. 🙂

chicken for curry chicken noodles

chicken for curry chicken noodles

chicken for curry chicken noodles

chicken for curry chicken noodles

& yes, i am quite proud of my chicken. 🙂

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i prepared the ikan parang (西刀鱼) fish cake – grilled them in my toaster oven, let them cool & then slicing them.

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for the curry soup, i added potatoes to add to the body of the soup & cooked till i can break the potatoes by pressing against the side of the saucepan. i added taupok (dried bean curd) nearer the end of cooking. 🙂

i boiled yellow noodles & thick beehoon for laksa till just cooked (al dente) and put in ice bath to stop cooking so noodles were QQ. when everything was done, i served the yellow noodles & thick beehoon in bowl & added the fishcake & cut chicken. then add boiling curry soup with taupok & potatoes & serve.

though it was not quite Hong Lim curry chicken, i must say it was very enjoyable. i served it to my friends for the 11pax Homegourmet Dinner on 11Jun2013, & everyone loved it. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken (I use 1.4kg from Giant hypermarket OR Sheng Shiong)
  • 200ml thick coconut milk or to taste
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 clove
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 100g dried prawns boiled in chicken stock
  • 10 pieces of dried taupok
  • 2 potatoes peeled & diced
  • 3  ikan parang (西刀鱼) fish cake

for spice paste (ground – in my case I mince & pound them):

  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 18 shallots
  • 12 dried chilli (soaked in water & removed seeds)
  • 10g coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp tumeric powder
  • 2 stems lemon grass (white part)

Directions:

  1. Cook the chicken curry – stir-fry star anise, cinnamon stick & cloves over low heat. add in the spice paste and stir-fry till fragrant. add the curry leaves and fry them really well. add chicken stock with dried prawns & bring to boil. use the carcase of 1 chicken as stock base. subsequently after cooking & deboning the whole chicken, use the bones/carcase to add to the soup – so 2 chicken bones/carcase to provide the soup stock flavours. add diced potatoes to add to the body of the soup & cook for about 1/2hr or till they break by pressing against the side of the saucepan. add sea salt & sugar & add 200ml thick coconut milk OR to taste.
  2. Cook the chicken – clean the chicken & rub salt on the skin & inside to exfoliate & make the skin ultra smooth. tie a string (butcher twine) to secure the chicken neck & tie it to a ladle. add enough chicken stock. bring soup to boil on high heat & lower the whole chicken so it is just completely submerged. once soup is boiling again after lowering the chicken, turn fire to low & simmer for 1/2hr. i use a 1.4kg chicken from Giant & 1/2hr is about right. one can also use a meat thermometer & set at 170degF (77degC). when chicken is cooked, lift it out & deposit it in an ice bath to stop the cooking & to produce a very pretty taut skin.
  3. Condiments – grill ikan parang (西刀鱼) fish cake in a toaster oven, let them cool & then slice them. add taupok (dried bean curd) nearer the end of cooking.
  4. Serve with noodles – boil yellow noodles & thick beehoon for laksa till just cooked (al dente) and put in ice bath to stop cooking so noodles are QQ. when everything is done, serve yellow noodles & thick beehoon in bowl & add the fishcake & cut chicken. then add boiling curry soup with taupok & potatoes & serve.

Pan-fried Kurobuta Steak

pan-fried kurobuta steak

pan-fried kurobuta steak

just realised that i did not put up the recipe for pan-fried kurobuta steak.

i was looking for a main course item to add to Nobu Miso Cod to cook for my wife for the Mother’s Day 6-course Homegourmet Dinner. 🙂

the technique is largely what I use for pan-fried angus or wagyu steak in tagliata di manzo – a good dry steak at room temperature seasoned with sea salt & coarse black pepper, and a very hot pan, & voila! the only difference being that for a beef steak, i mostly do it medium rare whereas for kurobuta (i use either iberico or yorkshire black pig bought from mmmm) i do it well done.

pan-fried kurobuta steak

pan-fried kurobuta steak

my understanding of pan-fried steak (or say scallops) is basically one of temperature. once you get the temperature right not much can go wrong & you just have to get the doneness right. So the pan has to be very hot (& well greased with olive oil & butter), and the meat has to be dry (air dry in fridge or pat dry with kitchen towels) and at room temperature, so that the steak can be seared quickly to seal in the juices, and to achieve maillard reaction. if the meat is wet, the pan temperature drop sharply & you will be poaching instead of searing.  the only other thing to remember is to let the steak rest for 5-10mins to redistribute the juices, before you cut it. 🙂

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we find the kurobuta from mmmm to be excellent in some way equal or better than angus striploin, but of course not comparable with the wagyu MBS 4/5 striploin. of course these things are very much a matter of personal taste preference. 🙂

it seems to me that anyone can cook an excellent steak at home with a good piece of meat. so i don’t do steaks out often these days unless it is at a very good restaurant. it is surprising though that many restaurants sometimes deliver a mediocre or poor steak when they get the temperature wrong, which is something they should never do!

c.h.e.f andy

Directions:

  1. remove kurobuta (1/2in to 3/4in think cuts) from fridge & leave at room temperature for 1/2hr.  pat dry & season with sea salt & coarse black pepper on both sides.
  2. heat a non-stick skillet. add 1 tablespoon olive oil & add 10g butter. when the pan is very hot & just begins to smoke. add the steak (say 2 pieces) w/o crowding the pan. making sure the places where the steaks are sitting are well greased. turn heat to medium after 1 min. when the steak is cooked 1/2 way up on the side, turn heat to high & flip over and turn down to medium after 1 min.
  3. remove meat from pan to cutting board & rest for 5mins before serving.

Expensive Average Buffet Great Ambience @ The Edge Pan Pacific Singapore on 24Jun2013

grilled aussie beef tenderloin (medallion)

grilled aussie beef tenderloin (medallion)

my dining quartet had this sudden spell of interest in hotel buffet. for this round, our hostess selected The Edge @ Pan Pacific Singapore, which had last year undergone a major renovation. lunch was S$58pax and there was an ongoing 3paying 1 free promotion for various credit cards, so the price worked out to S$43.5++pax. 🙂

i (& i think in fact all my dining quartet friends) had no fondness for buffet – yet there we were! I always thought buffet main courses “sucks” (pardon the language) & if I went to buffet I would just take very selected items from the appetizers or antipasti & the cheeseboard if they had.

The only buffet I thought worth going was the semi-buffet lunch at Equinox which served a selection of good fine dining main courses & great appetizer buffet/cheeseboard at S$59pax (so S$29,50pax for 50% Feed at Raffles discount for 2pax). Lately I have added One-Ninety @ Four Seasons, which I now think serves a higher quality semi-buffet than Equinox and at S$38pax w/o main course suits me fine (S$48pax with main course). 🙂 The other very good buffet is Basilico at Regent Hotel. I went during RestaurantWeek in 2012 & the antipasti was excellent. I think I should go back there to try again soon, talking about not having too many buffet..haha.. 🙂

I had tried The Line st Shangri-la & Carousel at Royal Plaza at Scotts but sad to say I didn’t think much of them even at 50% discount! I saw The Edge’s menu and didn’t think it was going to be any different.

kajiki (swordfish) sashimi with pickled ginger

kajiki (swordfish) sashimi with pickled ginger

the sashimi section was very limited for lunch! the kajiki (sword fish) sashimi was good, the salmon was ok, just average same as other buffet & not the best ones. I went back for a second helping of kajiki w/o the salmon. real nice! 🙂

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there wasn’t much to pick in the sushi section so I just picked 1 maki (one of my friends liked the inari aburaage sushi though). that’s quite the same in most buffet. In Equinox I would pick a unagi (eel) & a ika (squid) sushi, and in One Ninety I had smoked duck but that’s about it.

chinese station - laksa was very good

chinese station – laksa was very good

the laksa at the Chinese station was very good – gravy was excellent only regrets no “hum” ie cockles.

roast duck & roast chicken at chinese station

roast duck & roast chicken at chinese station

I also took a slice of roast duck (very crispy skin & flavourful), & also 1 slice of roast chicken (good but ordinary, the ginger sauce was good)..

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I did not take any from the malay/peranakan? station. there was a beef rendang and my friend thought the steamed rice (basmati?) was “super aromatic”. 🙂 I took 1 stick each of beef & mutton satay (above right photo). One friend thought the mutton satay was very good. it was kind of average ordinary to me. there was no pineapple sauce with the satay gravy.

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there was salmon and grilled aussie beef tenderloin (medallion) at the western station (above left photo).

I asked the station chef who replied that the beef were medium to medium well. I ordered rare & he grilled on the spot for me.  it was super (top photo) – very sweet, tender, flavourful, well beyond my expectation of buffet main courses, even though tenderloin not my favourite. 🙂

I skipped most of the Italian station – the pasta, pizza & pork rib. My friend who bought lunch thought the rib was good & healthy lean. the other friend thought it was too dry. The 1 item i thought was excellent was the roast pork. I had 3 slices. 🙂

oysters, scallops, prawns

cold entre=oysters, scallops, prawns

my plate of oysters.scallop, prawn salad

my plate of oysters, scallop, roast pork, prawn salad

& not forgetting the cold entre station. I took 4 oysters (very sweet) & 2 scallops (good). the station chef told my friend the orange ones were female & tasted better than the all white male ones..lol. 🙂  i skipped the prawns but took the prawn salad – it was kind of  limited selection.

dessert - 9 layer cake & angkukueh

dessert – 9 layer cake & angkukueh

the dessert station was quite ordinary, and included chocolate fountain & nonya cakes.  i took my fav the 9 layer kueh (good) & angkukueh (not good – don’t like the shaved coconuts flakes, that one better for tutu kueh). I also helped myself with some brie at the cheese section & we all took quite a bit of nuts (macadamia, walnut, pistachio, pine nuts, sunflower seeds etc).

the ambience was great. there was good drinks like calamansi juice with sour plum, very good coffee & also tea selection. it was a fun lunch, food & company & trying out a new place (it was first time there for all of us).

At S$43.50pax after 25% discount, would I come back though? regrettably answer is no or very unlikely!

c.h.e.f andy

It’s a Joy to Receive!

hohoho!

received my first old age pensioner’s allowance from my daughter today. 🙂 what a joy! 😮

my eldest daughter started work almost a month now & this was her first pay cheque. we had the first conversation on this in my post Happy to Give & Receive when we were in Tokyo. 🙂

the work is tough, stressful, & very long hours. my daughter though is quite a workaholic, and she seems to enjoy her work challenges and also getting along well with her colleagues. those are what counts!

I am sure it must feel “shiok” (elated) to have a sense of financial independence and to be able to give, though it is just as important & joyful to receive. 🙂

my lovely daughter – I wish her all the best in life!

c.h.e.f andy

Oven Slow-braised Chashu (Japanese Braised Belly Pork for Ramen)

chashumen

chashumen

have not done any blogging on recipes for a while.

lately, after seeing some internet recipes on cooking Japanese chashu (see a very good one by http://www.seriouseats.com on chashu pork), I did a few attempts myself, with some reasonable success. 🙂

I had also in fact undertaken a 10pax homegourmet dinner recently on 11.6.2013, where I also served 10 bowls of chasumen, which was rather well received. 🙂 the top photo (and the one right at the bottom) were taken during that dinner. 🙂

chashu (Japanese oven slow-braised pork belly)

chashu (Japanese oven slow-braised pork belly)

now on the cooking. I blanched a 300g belly pork in boiling water to remove the scums & then rinsed with slow running water.  I then used a string (butcher twine) to tie the pork belly to make the semi-circular shape. 🙂 I prepared the braising sauce which comprised 1/2 cup sake, 1/2 cup mirin, 1 tablespoon sugar, 3 tablespoon light soy sauce and 1 cup water. I added sliced ginger (3cm block), 4 peeled garlic cloves, 1 stalk spring onions, 1 shallot quartered and heat till boiling. I added the belly pork & transfer to a preheated oven at 130degC for 1/2hr. I then let the oven cooled and set to 90degC and left the belly pork to slowly braise over 2hrs. 🙂

chashu (Japanese oven slow-braised pork belly)

chashu (Japanese oven slow-braised pork belly)

the result was a very tender texture of belly pork including the skin. 🙂 & it was sweet & tasty from the sauce marinade. 🙂

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the above photos were from my very first attempt.

just to add – I have now perfected the 6 minutes runny yoke egg (will make a separate recipe post later!). also though the chashu would go very well with the regular ramen, I prefer the much lighter version using the thin Japanese noodles, especially when this carbo item is served as part of a 8-course menu. 🙂

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the bowl on the right with the runny york egg was from the recent 10pax homegourmet dinner on 11.6.2013. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Ingredients:

  • 300g belly pork
  • 1/2 cup mirin
  • 1/2 cup sake
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 4 cloves peeled garlic
  • 1 shallot quartered
  • 1 stalk spring onions
  • 3cm ginger (sliced)

Directions:

  1. blanch 300g belly pork in boiling water to remove the scums & then rinse with slow running water.  use a string (butcher twine) to tie the pork belly to make the semi-circular shape.
  2. prepare the braising sauce which comprises 1/2 cup sake, 1/2 cup mirin, 1 tablespoon sugar, 3 tablespoon light soy sauce, and 1 cup water. add sliced ginger (3cm block), 4 peeled garlic cloves, 1 stalk spring onions, 1 shallot quartered and heat till boiling.
  3. add the belly pork & transfer to a preheated oven at 130degC for 1/2hr. let the oven cool and set to 90degC and leave the belly pork to slowly braise over 2hrs. serve or store in fridge for future use.

Marvellous Thai @ Patara Fine Cuisine on 19Jun2013

curry NZ sirloin

curry NZ sirloin

see also 29.7.2013 Patara update. 🙂

my wife bought some Creative Eatery vouchers. our favourite in the group is Patara Fine Cuisine @ Tanglin Mall. they serve 1 of the best tomyam talay (seafood) and olive rice.

when Patara was part of palate benefits with 1 person dining free, we went there often. for Thai food though, it is harder to order for 2pax to get the 50% discount, so we sometimes went in 3pax & had 33% discounts. The vouchers we used this time were purchased at 50% of the voucher value so it’s a better deal even. 🙂

tom yam talay

tom yam talay S$23 for 1 pot serving 2-3pax

we loved the tom yam talay here. 🙂 an earthen pot serving 2-3pax costing S$23 came with 2 plump scallops, 2 large prawns and many pieces of sliced squid, and the flavour was wonderful. 🙂

Thai betel nut skewers

Thai betel nut skewers – S$18

my wife liked the betel but skewers, like a Thai satay. it’s not my favourite but it was a nice dish nonetheless.

olive rice

olive rice – S$19

my other favourite dish here was olive rice, another superb flavourful dish, 1 of the few rice (carbo) dishes I would clean up the plate..haha. 🙂 the other place I would do that is (the fried rice at) Imperial Treasure. 🙂

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Thai stuffed chicken wings also not my favourite. however this one here was 1 of the best I had, the chicken was very crispy but NOT dry & the minced chicken stuffing was tasty.

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another look at my 2 favourite dishes. 🙂

curry NZ sirloin

curry NZ sirloin – S$27

& the best dish par excellence we had this time had to be the curry NZ sirloin (above & top photos). the beef itself was great, tender & done slightly medium rare, and the curry added such a wonderful combination of flavours. 🙂

we also had their delightful durian sticky rice dessert. the one here was a touch of class. it came in 2 aperitif glasses, 1 containing the durian sticky rice with coconut milk, the other with a coconut ice cream (regrettably I forgot to take a photo). they were heavenly taken together. 🙂 it cost S$15 & we shared among the 3 of us.

the lunch, 5 dishes + 1 dessert cost S$150, so it’s S$75 using the vouchers. I do find Patara a bit steep in terms of normal pricing (but I guess no more so than Thanying etc), but with the discounts it was a great deal! 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Pork Shabu Shabu Dinner at Azmaya & Coffee Chocolates at Laurent on 18Jun2013

had a wonderful evening out with a few great friends. 🙂

we were going to do Indian but the restaurant we decided to try, Balle Balle Cafe, was closed on Tuesday! (odd!), so we picked Azmaya. It was a great choice!

I had the A5 Japanese wagyu shabu shabu at Azmaya previously so I did not take photos this time. 🙂  we took the pork shabu shabu 2hrs 放题 (all you can eat) which was S$12pax after 50% discount (promotion extended till end Jun2013).  the same for A5 Japanese wagyu + pork which was S$45pax after 50%, till end Jun2013. 🙂 there is 1 catch – you have to order 1 drink, which starts at $5. that was fine really, our dinner came to $173nett for 7pax inclusive of 9 drinks (2 beers, 1 red wine + 6 non alcoholic drinks), and ice water was free. 🙂

the pork came in 2 very thin machine cuts (we could see the machine slicing away on the countertop near the kitchen) – a belly cut & a (I am guessing) collar cut. they were very good really. we had 2 refills of meat as well as vegetable basket which included leek, golden mushrooms, Jap glass noodles, chinese cabbage, bean sprouts etc. there was no room left for udon which was also included but we did not order. 🙂

after dinner, one of us introduce the group to Laurent (pronounced lor-hon) Cafe & Chocolate Bar. they had a tiny aircon area that just about squeezed in 4 small tables, 3 of which were occupied; but there was a persistent one amongst us & we managed to pounce on it the moment a second table was vacated & put the tables together to sit the 7 of us. 🙂 we didn’t want to breathe the 108PSI air at the alfresco area. 🙂

we ordered the favourites – a pure chocolate which was “heavenly sinful”, a chocolate tart which had an excellent texture combination, & 2 others. they went very well with coffee though some of us had hot chocolate & ice creams etc. the bill came to S$90nett for 7pax.

& we had wonderful conversation hahaha.. 🙂 from Loire Valley misty chateaus to Cinque Terre to San Sabastian to Amalfi Coast (the last a friend’s very selective 3 bucket list items-all completed), capital & inheritance tax considerations when buying foreign properties & living in Kowloon or Discovery Bay, walking the trail from Wan Chai to mid-levels, dental surgeon (NOT one of us) & probiotics, being educated by our all-round sportsman on the difference between complete & finish (not to be repeated!). all in all, an evening to remember & savour. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Whole Suckling Pig Birthday Dinner Set @ Hung Kang Teochew Restaurant on 14Jun2013

longevity buns

longevity buns (寿桃)

was organising a birthday dinner for my brother & sister.

Whole Suckling Pig Birthday Set Menu

Whole Suckling Pig Birthday Set Menu

saw that Hung Kang Teochew Restaurant (韓江潮州酒楼) had a whole suckling pig birthday set for S$438+ so decided to do it there. Hung Kang is 1 of the old names like Yuan Xing (Guan Hin) & Tai Seng, but we had not been there for a while.

dinner started with longevity buns (寿桃).  nice touch for the mood so I didn’t mind it though everyone seemed to avoid carbo these days, but can always “ta pao” (take out) right? 🙂

appetizer platter

appetizer platter

the appetizer (& later even more so the longevity noodles & orh nee dessert  – oddly the start & the ends haha..) I would rate the poor dishes. the jelly fish was ok, spring roll was crispy so quite good, the pressed pig head meat was not my favourite but ok with the “kek you” (桔油) citrous dip & I took couple pieces. but the chicken didn’t quite belong there. should just have a salad prawns etc like most others do.

sharksfin with crabmeaat & fishmaw

sharksfin with crabmeat & fishmaw

the sharksfin with crabmeat & fishmaw was tasty, not the watery type so maybe in the “quite good” category. haha. 🙂

whole suckling pig

whole suckling pig

and the main event – the suckling pig – was good! I guess that was most important. many restaurants now do this very well, so it was not out of the ordinary but it was a great dish which everyone enjoyed. 🙂

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the teochew steamed pomfret (斗鲳)  was very good too.  Many restaurants do not serve pomfret in the cheaper sets, and pomfret has a stronger taste (ie more fishy) than other more delicate textured fish, so its not easy to do it well. but this pomfret was excellent! real tecohew stuff! 🙂

cereal prawns

cereal prawns

the cereal prawns looked great & tasted good too.

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teochew stewed chinese cabbage

this teochew slow stewed chinese cabbage was wonderful, really nice – another excellent dish!

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longevity noodles

I didn’t quite like this longevity noodles. somehow it was far too sweet? too much sugar? places like say Chui Huay Lim do their teochew fried seafood beehoon so well & flavourful. this one was carbo we didn’t really need.

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looking at the photos, the orh nee (yam puree dessert) actually looked quite ok. unfortunately taste not there! it was not “pang” ie flavourful as orh nee went (maybe too healthy no lard?) so another carbo we didn’t need!

whole suckling pg

whole suckling pig

well, some misses but we did get to have our fix for suckling pig, and a had few other great dishes too! 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

S$19pax Indian Lunch Buffet @ Yantra at Tanglin Mall on 10Jun2013

chick pea curry

chick pea curry

See also my Yantra Update on 1.8.2013.

my turn to buy lunch with 2 friends I started some business together in 2000. seems like yesterday. 🙂

Yantra @ Tanglin has a S$19pax lunch buffet monday to thursday (S$25pax friday-sunday),  I like the nice, classy ambience,  and I don’t have too many kakis for Indian food – so we decided to go there. 🙂

food was good flavour-wise, the spread was small but ok really except it lacked a lamb dish like rogan gosht, & a tandoori chicken, and (say) a bharta (eggplant).

the chick pea curry was good with the naans, like all the sauce curries & the dal. 🙂

green chicken curry

green chicken curry

I guessed the buffet was a vegetarian paradise. this green curry murgh & another chicken dish were the only meats (there was a fish tikka & great curry prawns though). I don’t really like both the chicken dishes. a butter chicken (murgh makhani) would be perfect or a tandoori whether whole chicken or tikka.

some mixed vege

some mixed vege

the vegetarian dishes were great. this mixed vege.

aloo gobi (cauliflower) & potatoes

aloo gobi (cauliflower) & potatoes

& also the potatoes aloo gobi. 🙂

prawn curry

I liked this prawn curry & had a few helpings. It went well with the garlic naans.

dal

dal

as did the other curries & dal. 🙂

paneer tikka

paneer tikka

the paneer tikka was the usual tofu texture but not so flavourful.

some squash? & zucchini

some squash? & zucchini

not quite sure what this was, like cucumbers with some squash?

mango pickles etc

mango pickles etc

the mango pickles was nice. 🙂

my plateful of eats

my plateful of eats

did not take a photo of the fish tikka. it’s next to the prawn & potatoes in the above photo – my plate full of food. it was quite good. 🙂 the green chicken & another anemic  looking chicken were at the left.

dessert

dessert

Indian dessert doesn’t work for me. anyhow I am not a dessert person so I did not try any.

overall the food was good, not pricy & ambience was excellent. but somewhat lacking “shiok” factor for me. must go find another Indian food fix. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

11pax Homegourmet Dinner on 11Jun2013

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experimented with chashumen & curry chicken noodles recently with some success. 🙂

chashu is Japanese braised pork belly in mirin, sake, soy sauce & sugar. it is commonly served with ramen as chashumen & can come with tonkotsu, soyu or miso tonkotsu soupbase. 🙂

for curry chicken noodle, the aim was to recreate or model the famous Ah Heng or Heng Kee curry chicken noodle stalls at Hong Lim Park hawker centre. The curry for curry chicken noodle is somewhat different from the usual curry, and there is no internet recipe to be found. so I had to improvise. The chicken is not curry chicken but more like Hainanese chicken rice chicken. anyhow, I cooked quite a good nonya curry chicken so I varied the curry by adding dried prawns (虾米), lemongrass (香茅) but I did not have the special chilli they had.

so I invited my usual gang of friends & this time including the few of us who went together for the Hong Kong Trip 10-13May2013. I designed a menu which included braised duck, curry chicken, spicy bean sauce pork prime ribs, wok fried prawns & HK kailan to go with the 2 carbo dishes, namely the chasumen & curry chicken noodles. 🙂

the top photo was the braised duck. I did a very good one for a 22pax homegourmet buffet dinner on 5May2013. For this one I made some small mistakes but managed to rectify it & the end product was quite flavourful duck & nice colour & presentation too. 🙂

nonya curry chicken

nonya curry chicken

the curry chicken was also very tasty & flavourful. I took off 1/2 the curry though to make the curry for the curry chicken noodles.

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we also had a very good spicy bean sauce pork prime ribs dish made by my domestic helper. she had mostly perfected the wonderful dish. 🙂

dry wok medium prawn

dry wok medium prawn

poached HK kailan with shitake

poached HK kailan with shitake

I cooked the high heat dry wok prawns (kind of my very own speciality recipe) which never fails to please. 🙂 & my helper did the poached HK kailan with shitake mushrooms. 🙂

the braised duck, curry chicken & spicy pork ribs were pre-cooked & only needed warming up. The prawn & poached kailan were whipped up when all the guests arrived, and so we were able to start a relax evening dining with 5 piping hot dishes & plain rice. 🙂

chashu (Japanese braised pork belly)

perfect 6mins runny yoke egg

perfect 6mins runny yoke egg

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the Jap chashu was also done beforehand. So was the perfect runny yoke egg – direct from fridge into boiling water & simmered for exactly 6mins. 🙂 instead of heavy ramen, I used small pinch of thin Japanese light noodles that was cooked just al dante & dropped into ice water to stop after-cooking to ensure the “qq” effect. 🙂

chicken – hainanese chicken rice method

for the curry chicken noodles, I had a really nice, tender & sweet chicken done the Hainanese chicken rice style with smooth, taut skin, again courtesy of the ice-water bath. 🙂

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& we had taupok, potatoes & fishcake added to the yellow noodle & thick beehoon.

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my friends brought durian puff (unfortunately it was frozen though I took out of the freezer for 1/2hr but it was not enough), ice cream & very sweet strawberries & rambutans. 🙂

what a fun evening, company, conversation & food! 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

“Michelin Star” Homegourmet Peranakan Feast @ Friend’s Place on 7Jun2013

assam fish head

assam fish head

I was among a privileged group to be invited for a peranakan feast at a friend’s house on 7.6.2013. 🙂

scrumptious peranakan spread

scrumptious peranakan feast

last year this same friend did an incredible teochew spread complete with all the dips like ‘kek you’桔油, seng ni chor 蒜泥醋(minced garlic vinegar) & also buay jeun 梅酱 etc. this time round it was a peranakan feast like no others…haha. 🙂

there were assam fish head, babi ponteh, gado gado, chap chye, bawan kepiting, ayam buah keluar, itek sio, ngoh hiang, incredibly delicious penang laksa, and apom berkuah. 🙂

The assam fish head (top photo) was totally awesome. one of my friends parked herself right in front of the dish..haha. 🙂

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I will never attempt this gado gado. just look at the effort – 4 vegetables, egg, tau kua, potatoes, peanut sauce. I feel exhausted just counting them..eating them was quite ok though. haha. 🙂

chap chye

chap chye

ngoh hiang

ngoh hiang

the chap chye was very good, but regrettably got to keep space for every other super good dishes leh..same with the ngoh hiang…

I had 3 rounds before I started on the penang laksa. some fellas had 5 rounds, but of course he had to work on a phone conference while the rest of us were feasting so he deserved to be rewarded. 🙂

itek sio

itek sio

itek sio was a new dish according to my “michelin star” chef friend. it’s very tasty taken with the sauce…well he could keep adding new dishes if they all tasted like that. 🙂

bawan kepeting

bawan kepeting

ayam buah keluar

ayam buah keluar

the bawan kepiting was a very tasty soup..the only dish I had not dived into was the ayam buah keluar, but then a few friends said the buah keluar was really good..I didn’t remember liking this but I tried anyway, scooping out the soft flesh from the nut..it was good indeed though I am unlikely to crave this.

babi ponteh

babi ponteh

this one I could not resist, had 3 helpings with pick of collagen rich pieces. 🙂

regrettably I did not take picture of the penang laksa. I was never keen on penang laksa as I preferred the lemak laksa with cockles to the sour version, but this one was really delicious & flavourful, not too sour & lots of fish.

apom berkuah

apom berkuah

& we had an awesome dessert too -apom berkuah. and some more, we got to ta pao back nonya bak chang & kee chang with kaya, more of the apom berkuah & penang laksa. 🙂

later I was chatting with another friend on Facebook. and I observed that a mark of a true chef=perfection ie no small miss in every dish. I had many  “homegourmet” (not to be taken seriously we just say all these for fun) dinners myself, and I would have 1 or 2 misses in some dishes. and in all honesty what we had was better than most good peranakan restaurants – so michelin star it was for me. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Sumptuous Semi-buffet @ One Ninety at Four Seasons Hotel on 30May2013

roast suckling pig with stuffing was sooooooooo good!

roast suckling pig with stuffing was sooooooooo good!

It’s my turn to buy the monthly dining quartet meal. I had not been to One Ninety @ Four Seasons Hotel for years but I recalled they had a good semi-buffet. & there was a 1 free for 3 paying promotion using DBS card ending May2013, so we went there for lunch on 30.5.2013, in time for the promotion. 🙂

& it was a super, super lunch. I would go again w/o the promotion. 🙂

the appetizer & dessert buffet was priced at $38pax, and $48pax if we added a main course on the menu, which we did.  & on saturdays & sundays, they throw in a Moet champagne buffet at $58pax.

The suckling pig with stuffing (top photo) was nothing short of fabulous – sooooooooooo good! it was so flavourful, tasty. I always felt nothing beat chinese roast suckling pig. still do. but this was as good as it gets, perhaps different (as the focus was not just on the crispy skin but overall flavours) but on par. 🙂

langoustine or scampi - sweet, quite good

langoustine or scampi – sweet, quite good

snow crab legs

snow crab legs

the langoustine or scampi was sweet, quite good but I actually thought the snow crab legs were better. though not the very best but still very good quality, and a few of us had a few helpings. it was sweet & not so salty as what Kuisinbo & some poorer buffets served.

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the pork terrine in above left photo was the poorer one- could skip as there were so many good dishes. there was a better one with pig ears, which I had forgotten to take picture.

sushi – most sushi in buffet were a waste of time! this one I only took the aburi mayo prawn & smoked duck (twice I took meaning quite good..haha..). 🙂

pork pate below & pressed foie gras on top

pork pate below & pressed foie gras on top

the pork pate was extremely good – I took 3 pieces. 🙂   I did not take the pressed foie gras which according to my friends were even better.

excellent roast duck & stuffing

excellent roast duck & stuffing

the excellent roast duck was almost as good as the suckling pig – both the duck & stuffing – & yet tasted different. 🙂

1st of my 3.5 plates haha!

1st of my 3.5 plates haha!

nobody would believe me after this if I tell people I generally do not go for buffets. haha! 🙂

we didn’t really need to take the main course. we tried to cancel the main course but to be fair to the restaurant they said they already prepared the items once the order was placed. and the waiting staff here were really exemplary – they even “ta pao” for one of us the main course as we really could not finish. we would really not expect to ta pao for a buffet but it was a great gesture so we accepted happily! 🙂

we thought the main courses might be 1/2 portions like the French servings, but here they came in full portions. 🙂

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I had a medium rare rack of lamb (above left) – it was very good. I thought it didn’t look great – my first impression was that the sauce might kill it -but it turned out to be quite complementary.  the medium rare tenderloin was very good too.

glazed beef ribs - kind of braised then pan seared

glazed beef ribs – kind of braised then pan seared

WH had the glazed beef ribs – kind of braised then pan seared. I guessed it was good too but braised items were usually too heavy even for normal-sized meals. 🙂

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my dining companions were thrilled with the dessert spread..they seemed quite average to me though. i was told the chocolate mousse was very good.  the macarons were a bit too sweet for me. I did enjoy the cheese spread & condiments though. 🙂

I certainly plan to come back for this again (w/o the main course), with or without the promotion. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Dinner Get-Together @ West Coast Seafood (Joyden) Restaurant on 5Jun2013

we had our usual monthly get-together of RI friends at West Coast Seafood (Joyden) Restaurant on 5Jun2013.  another evening of fun & laughter, this time with 3 bottles of wine thrown in by our generous organiser. no corkage here! 🙂

we had 12pax for the evening.

appetizer platter=mayo prawns, ngoh hiang, some rolls & topshell salad

appetizer platter=mayo prawns, ngoh hiang, some rolls & topshell salad

we started with an appetizer platter of mayo prawns, ngoh hiang, some rolls & a topshell salad. quite good. 🙂

seafood fishmaw soup

seafood fishmaw soup

next up was a seafood fishmaw soup. quite ok. comparing the appetizer & soup with what we had at Roland, I would think Roland’s was better in both instances.

wasabi mayo prawn fritters with Thai kailan

wasabi mayo prawn fritters with Thai kailan

this was followed by wasabi mayo prawn fritters with Thai kailan. I was not sure a prawn fritter could be better than the usual wasabi mayo prawns (say at Majestic or Tung Lok, though Peach Garden made a singularly bad one heavily coated with green mayo), but this one was pretty good! 🙂

garoupa HK steamed 港蒸

garoupa HK steamed 港蒸

the tiger garoupa HK steamed 港蒸 with light soya sauce was excellent as expected. In the absence of Chee Hong, our undisputed chief fishhead eater, I had the honour to conjure up the disappearance of the fishhead, being the next-in-line “ngeou” person around the table. 🙂

coffee ribs with yam basket

coffee ribs with yam basket

next on the menu was coffee ribs with yam basket. tasty & the yam was suitably fluffy. 🙂

roast chicken

roast chicken

roast chicken was good. skin was crispy & meat quite ok dabbed with some 5-spice salt. I would put Roland’s as better than this & Yuan Xing’s as worse.

scallop, brocoli, mushrooms & macadamia nuts

scallop, brocoli, mushrooms & macadamia nuts

the scallop, brocoli, mushrooms & macadamia nuts was a very good dish.

chilli crab

chilli crab

butter crab

butter crab

both the chilli crab & butter crab were very good. the sri lankan crabs were meaty & both the chilli (not spicy enough) and butter sauces were very good. 🙂

yee fu noodles

yee fu noodles

the yee fu noodle, though run-of-the-mill, was a good ending to the sumptuous dinner. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Really Fun Hong Kong Trip 10-13May2013

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this final instalment concludes my travelogue on our really fun Hong Kong trip. 🙂

thanks to the characteristic eagerness of our trip leader, who booked this 2-room serviced apartment at Ovolo Hotel 256 Tung Chau Street West Kowloon at Sham Shui Po >2 months before our 10-13May2013 Hong Kong trip, we checked into the 25th floor “penthouse” (top floor) on 10.5.2013. 🙂

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there were 2 tiny bedrooms with queen beds but a huge living area. the only complaint was that the toilet & bathroom facility were kind of small & not well designed.

& we had a free refillable mini-bar (like a hotel Club Floor) – a waste as we were all teetotallers & the Singha beers stayed put in the fridge in our 3 nights stay. 🙂

this trip had come about as someone wanted to redeem his expiring krisflyer points (though he could not make it in the end for important reasons), and with a trip leader perpetually nosing for good travel deals, and a couple other eager recruits, things kind of came together easily. 🙂

as there were 4 of us and my – everyone is a lighter traveller than the other! – we took a cab (which cost in total HK$272, the maths gymnastic had somehow baffled our national schools gymnast champion) from the airport to Ovolo doorstep instead of the usual Airport Express.

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busy street at Sham Shui Po

though I usually stayed at Tsimshatsui for convenience, Ovolo was about 10mins walk from Sham Shui Po MTR station, and I found it quite ok. besides there were other untold advantages to sharing a 2-room apartment (such as juicy gossips even for a lazy me..haha). 🙂

Sham Shui Po area was also a flea market heaven for apparel and pc/electronic products, though my interest was limited to snapping a few pictures to capture the vibrant street scene. 🙂

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Hong Kong’s beef noodles 牛腩牛杂面.

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I am an unabashed sucker for HK’s 牛腩面. 🙂 unlike Singapore 牛腩 which are brisket with connective tissues, HK’s 牛腩面 uses the belly or parts nearest the belly.

I felt bad this time though as JK wanted to have wanton noodles, and for some reason the street leading from Ovolo to Sham Shui Po MTR stations though dotted with 牛腩面 stalls which also sold wanton noodles but somehow did not have the type of 牛腩 I was looking for. & my friends had to patiently walk up & down the streets with me in order to locate a stall that did. I got what I wanted but JK’s wanton noodle was below the standard of Jordan stall which she craved.

we had completed both the 5.7km Dragon’s Back hike (and another 5.3km hike of the Pak Fu Lam park & reservoir route at The Peak which was more than what we planned for) all in 1 day on 11.5.2013. On Sunday 12.5.2013, we decided to go for the mid-level escalator walk. 🙂

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1/2 Roast Goose 烧鹅

we did not want to go Yung Kee 庸记, and having earlier read Robyn Lee’s recent visit to Yat Lok 一乐, we decided to start at Central MTR and walked to Stanley Street (rather than IFC Mall at the start of the escalator at Hong Kong MTR station side).

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we were not disappointed. we ordered 1/2 roast goose for HK$200 and I think HK$80 for a plate of char siew & siew yoke to share among the 4 of us.  they were very good – goose was crispy & fragrant (tasty), so was the pork. 🙂

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mid-levels escalator (from IFC Mall to Conduit Street)

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parts of the escalator were under maintenance..

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Tai Cheung egg tarts

we came down from the escalator at Lyndhurst Terrace & found the famous Tai Cheung egg tart shop, apparently a Chris Patten favourite. 🙂 we each took a HK$3.50 egg tart each. it was good. egg tart not something I particularly fancied or craved for but I enjoyed it all the same. 🙂 and we had a bean curd drink each as well, I think it was like HK$5 for each bottle if you also bought the egg tart. 🙂

we walked a bit along Hollywood Road. none of us was like really must see temple type so we gave Man Mo Temple  文武庙 a miss. 🙂 JK was looking for bicycle shops & found one for accessories. 🙂

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good street map that shows the mid-levels escalator route

we walked further up the escalator & passed SOHO (South of Hollywood) & the mosque & ended at the Conduit Road mid-levels residential area which was 135m above the start point. here we took the bus & got back to Central MTR 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Kaiseki Dinner @ Kuriya Dining on 4Jun2013

scallop with truffle,anago,miso prawn,lily bulb & cucumber

scallop with truffle,anago,miso prawn,lily bulb & cucumber

see also the superb november lunch kaiseki on 16.11.2013.

wife & I went for the June kaiseki course dinner at Kuriya Dining. 🙂

the starter platter include scallop with truffle which was good, conger eel (anago) also good, miso prawn (nondescript), lily bulb & cucumber (to make up numbers???). overall a rather average starter.

hamachi,tai wrapped over negi toro topped with caviar,mirugai

hamachi,tai wrapped over negi toro topped with caviar,mirugai

the sashimi plate consisted of very thick-cut hamachi, tai wrapped over negi toro topped with caviar, and the mirugai was tiny but very sweet – not expensive ingredients but the cut was good. 🙂

grilled salmon with foie gras sauce & miso & french pastry

foie gras & miso on grilled salmon with french pastry

the next dish was grilled salmon with foie gras sauce & miso & french pastry – nice dish. 🙂 not sure if its some attempt at fusion?? now the Japs have added to their kaiseki & course meals some western touch eg the very nice teppanyaki course at Gozanbo. 🙂

awabi (abalone) & nori (seaweed) tempura

awabi (abalone) & nori (seaweed) tempura

the awabi (abalone) was excellent – it was braised first to a tender texture then deep-fried in tempura batter. 🙂 & the nori (seaweed) tempura underneath & ginger were very nicely done too…

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the nabe dish was tuna neck (sashimi quality) – nice & I enjoyed it. 🙂 but miso kimchi soup was not quite the best matching dish for kaiseki. 🙂

very marbled otoro topped with uni

very marbled otoro topped with uni

the sushi moriawase was superb! it had this very marbled otoro topped with uni – scrumptious! 🙂

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the akagai was very good & so were the 2 other fish I did not identify. 🙂

fruit & cake dessert

fruit & cake dessert

the fruit with cake dessert platter was quite nondescript…another feeble attempt at fusion?? 🙂

Kuriya Dining June Kaiseki Course

Kuriya Dining June Kaiseki Course

at S$138pax, it’s among the cheaper kaiseki, a bit more ex than Hachi*, but cheaper than Keyaki or Kumo, but then the ingredients were cheaper too, no Jap wagyu in the set.

overall a very satisfying dinner even at this price. 🙂

unless Kuriya bring back their much more value offerings like their monthly S$88 promotion set, I won’t be doing this often though as I can get a lot more value-for-money & really top quality offerings at Mikuni. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

* i had an excellent meal subsequently at hachi on 9.11.2013.

Great Dinner Chat with Friend @ Jumbo Riverwalk on 3Jun2013

steamed cod

steamed cod

my daughter arranged this dinner at Jumbo Riverwalk with a good friend of mine who has been giving her guidance & good advice. 🙂

I generally like the food at Long Beach & Jumbo. I ordered a 6-course set for 4pax. we had a good chat, most enjoyable dinner & pleasant evening.

lobster with ginger & scallions 姜葱

lobster with ginger & scallions 姜葱

the menu said we start with a 姜葱 lobster with ginger & scallions – this was good standard as expected & I ate a lot of the scallions too. 🙂

sambal spinach

sambal spinach

seafood fried rice

seafood fried rice

for this night though, the restaurant served us the seafood fried rice & sambal spinach first. the menu item was asparagus but the restaurant said they ran out so we chose 蒜茸garlic spinach. when it came to the table it was sambal spinach. not ideal, but the spinach was nice – that’s what counted! 🙂 the seafood fried rice was just ok, average – too average i think for a popular restaurant

the steamed cod (top photo) was very good! 🙂 i think I must try doing it at home.

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the chilli crab was decent in taste but for me it had no kick. all the foreign tourists in the crowded restaurant were dutifully ordering this and clearly relishing it, so it was good! anyway, my wife could not take too much chilli this evening so nothing lost. 🙂

ice fruit sago dessert

ice fruit sago dessert

the ice fruit sago dessert was very refreshing, a little sweet but no sweeter than usual ice jelly at the hawker centre.

restaurants filled with tourists enjoying chilli crab

restaurants crowded with tourists enjoying chilli crab

there were lots of foreign tourists trying out chilli crab so even the mild version was quite good though I liked it to be better. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Dragon Back’s Hike @ Shek O Country Park on 11May2013

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view of Shek O from dragon’s back trail

we came Hong Kong ostensibly to eat & hike, so I better put up something to show we did la..hahaha. 🙂

one thing the Hong Kong weather forecast was utterly unreliable. this day (11.5.2013) was supposed to be a mostly wet day & since we had a bit of showers on 10.5.2013 – the day we arrived – we were expecting maybe we had to do this on Sunday. anyhow we woke up to glorious sunshine, so no excuse! 🙂

we had the free continental breakfast of croissant, bread, fruit, coffee etc at Ovolo where we stayed and set off for our morning hike at Dragon’s Back @ Shek O Country Park, voted the Best Urban Hike in Asia (Times Magazine 22 Nov 2004 Asia Issue). Sam Shui Po MTR was a 10mins walk from our hotel. we took the Tseun Wan line to Admiralty and changed to Island line to Shau Kei Wan and took the A3 exit to the Bus Terminus. Here we were queueing up for the No9 bus to Shek O when a private bus tout got into the good books of our adventurous trip leader who thrives on unknowns, and we got shepherded to a private bus waiting nearby. fortunately we were the last passengers they were waiting & the bus took off rightaway. The price was kind of irrelevant (like HK$7 vs HK$7.90 on the public bus) but I guess it was another experience. why not? – except this bus truly “took off” and was like hurtling through the winding country roads at >70kmh! phew – fortunately this time it got us faster to where we wanted & not some place else..heng ah! (means lucky) 🙂

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we started the hike at 9.11am from the point further down Shek O road (you could also start the hike mid-way at To Tei Wan).

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the ground was a bit wet from the rain the night before. as we got onto higher grounds we captured the first views of Stanley.

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we came to the first fork – the one facing outwards which we took was the dragon’s back trail (4.9km ending at Tai Long Wan).

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and we got a great view of Shek O (top photo & above). 🙂 panning back we also had a better birds eye view of Stanley.

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more views of Shek O! we took quite a few group photos here for memories. 🙂

looking back at the dragon's back trail

looking back at the dragon’s back trail

& the view of the dragon’s back trail looking back. 🙂

view of Tai Long Wan

view of Tai Long Wan

more walking, and Tai Long Wan unfolded just ahead! 🙂

Shek O peak 284m

Shek O peak 284m

and then we were at Shek O peak at 284m. 🙂

mid-way exit to Shek O road at To Tei Wan

mid-way exit to Shek O road at To Tei Wan

we were not planning to go to Tai Long Wan as the return journey would take 5 hrs, so we made a mid-way exit to Shek O road at To Tei Wan Village and that was just a nice 2hrs 5.7km hike. 🙂

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we had some time to kill, so we walked around the wet market at Shau Kei Wan. there were live seafood of all description – the rarer ones like conch 海螺, abalones, razor clams (we only see in restaurants in Singapore), mantis prawns, braised goose (we hardly could find in restaurants here).

as we were still in good time and having already made prior reservations, we decided to make our way back to Tsimshatsui & had a very pleasant dimsum lunch at 迎Joyous One.

we did not do the Peak Circle walk the day before because of the rain. so after lunch & a short walk around Tsimshatsui, our trip leader herded us to Central bus terminus where we took No15 to the Peak. I had taken the Peak Tram the last few times when I went to the Peak. The bus offered a very good alternative really -cheap & excellent views during the journey up. 🙂

small fall along Peak Circle route

small falls along Peak Circle route

we were surprised with this mini falls along Peak Circle Walk as usually there was no water flow but maybe the overnight rain brought enough water. 🙂

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we were planning to do a casually 1hr walk on paved roads with round-island views of Hong Kong skyline (and would have if we had stuck to Lugard Road) . however we got distracted and decided to take Harlech Road & pursue the Pak Fu Lam park & reservoir route. that became another 2hr+ hike over terrain with quite steep slopes & another 5.3km. 🙂

another excuse for big eats! 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Homegourmet 6-course Dinner for belated Mother’s Day on 1June2013

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usually my wife & I & family avoid the actual days of public holidays or commercialised offerings like Valentine Day, Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day etc to dine out. 🙂 while there are good reasons to do on certain occasions, mostly it does not make sense to spend atrocious amount of monies for lesser service & food quality experience, which is what you get when the restaurants are jam-packed & servers are harried.

on those occasions we would either go on an earlier or later date or select a restaurant that served the usual menu or the very few which served a better menu at better prices on special occasions – Majestic was one which served great ala carte buffet for Christmas & New Year but for this year seem to have stopped doing for Mother’s Day & Father’s Day (not to forget they served an excellent World Gourmet Summit Dinner recently). 🙂

for this time, since I cook a decent meal at home these days, we thought we would do Mother’s Day at home instead. However I was called away by the Hong Kong Eat & Hike group and was in Hong Kong on 10.5.2013. and after that I was away in Kyoto/Osaka with my sis & my wife was away with daughter & her friend also. so we decided on a belated Mother’s Day home dinner on 1.6.2013 which also coincided with another special day for us. 🙂

there were only 4 of us for dinner. I wanted to do the Nobu miso cod for my wife as she was never into lamb & now less into beef . so I designed a 6-course dinner but reduced the quantity. 🙂

calamari (by auntie Bes)

calamari

first we had a very good calamari – this one was done by aunty Bes. she did this quite many times now and was becoming very good at it. I added this dish as my eldest daughter does not take some of the other dishes.

pan-roasted brined chicken breas

pan-roasted brined chicken breast

pan-fried kurobuta steak

pan-fried kurobuta steak

the pan-roasted brined chicken breast & the pan-fried kurobuta were served together with the calamari as a tapas – for eating & chatting around the table. 🙂 chicken was good as always & the kurobuta from mmmm was very good (though I think wagyu is still better but this kurobuta is better than the normal ribeye & striploin). 🙂

chashu for chashumen - Japanese braised belly pork

chashu – Japanese braised belly pork

chashumen - runny yoke egg & Japanese braised belly pork

chashumen – runny yoke egg & Japanese braised belly pork

next I had a pre-prepared chashumen dish ready to serve – only have to boil the soup from the braising sauce & pour over the noodles. 🙂  The chashu or Japanese braised belly pork was done the usual standard fare for ramen style & I am now able to consistently produce a 6minute runny yoke egg. I used very small quantities of thin white Japanese noodles instead of ramen so it was less “je lak” and also to reduce the carbo. 🙂

vongole fettucine

vongole fettucine

I did a really splendid spicy vongole fettucine in white wine the last time in my first attempt. this time the littleneck clams were again super, the pasta was tasty but not as good as the first time. 🙂

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Nobu miso cod

Nobu miso cod

the Nobu miso cod was again super -so tasty, and such wonderful bite & texture. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy