Monthly Archives: September 2013
Protected: 1st Homecooked Zi Char Dinner for 11pax @ 24Sep2013
8pax Dinner @ Satay by the Bay on 23Sep2013
the month’s organiser thought to vary the G15 dinner theme a bit & organised a walk/cycle/run night ending at satay by the bay at 7.30pm on 23.9.2013.
it just happened to be the day after F1 & there was some uncertainty regards road closures. 3 friends came in their lamborghinis, the 2 wheeler version. another was walking from his office at raffles place so we arranged to have coffee at cafe crema next the visitor centre at 6.30pm. in the end we were all delayed & it took me 15mins to get past the short viaduct stretch (keppel) from AYE to ECP.
satay by the bay was a food court with many stalls including satays. as we were approaching in dusk, crossing a short bridge the night view/photo was quite enchanting.
we ordered food to share. the bbq chicken wing was good. the rojak was good too & the satay included chicken, mutton, pork from the the chinese stall. there was no pineapple sauce though, and the pork wasn’t great, the mutton & chicken were ok. it brought back my memories on pork satay. now i remember the fatty ones properly charred were very good, though these days i don’t do much satay & almost always just chicken & mutton so i somewhat forgotten.
the deep-fried sotong was something i hardly eat these days. it was good though nothing special. the pengkang stingray ok too. the hor fun had good wok hae, tasty though not much ingredients. the fried rice was ok too, with wok hae & not mushy but single grains (in teochew we say “sun sun”) but again not much ingredients just carbo. 😉
fruits were good. the makan cost S$120 for 8pax, not much but also not exactly cheap for hawker food. 🙂
Protected: G10 “Healthy?” Dinner @ Satay by the Bay on 23Sep2013
Beer Can Chicken
was working on improving my oven roast chicken, so reading up on internet recipes and found this beer can chicken, 🙂
the well documented challenge about roasting whole chicken as c/w pan roasting a breast or hind quarter is that the white meat (breast) & dark meat (muscles in the drumstick) give different doneness. so if the breast is just done the dark meat is underdone with some blood redness & if the dark meat is just done, the breast is dry & overdone.
apart from using the beer can recipe which is supposed to steam up & moist the inside of the chicken & also create an all round browning instead of turning the chicken mid-way cooking, i also thought to use the brining method to give more moist & tender meat. also, like my curry chicken noodle version, i exfoliate the chicken skin by rubbing/massaging with salt.
the result was a very moist, sweet, tender & very tasty (from the brining) chicken & overall browning as seen in the above photos(though uneven as the oven temperature was uneven). 🙂
i cleaned the chicken & rubbed salt on the skin & inside to exfoliate & make the skin ultra smooth, and washed & cleaned. i then added 1 litre water in a large plastic container, mixed in about 1 tablespoon salt & 3 tablespoon sugar & stirred to dissolve, then poured in 15ml bottled lime juice or squeeze juice from about 2-3 limes. i placed the cleaned whole chicken into the container and placed container in fridge for >24hours.
to cook the chicken, i insert the rub of sliced garlic & rosemary under the chicken skin on both breast side & back, rubbed 1 tbsp olive oil over skin to make it crispy, opened a can of beer & removed 1/2 its content. & inserted the 1/2 filled beer can into the lower cavity of the chicken. i then placed the chicken standing upright on the beer can on an aluminium foil-lined baking tray & cooked 15mins at 175degC + 25mins in 250degC in a preheated oven. i removed from oven & let the chicken rest, and then deboned & serve.
- 1.1kg chicken from Giant hypermarket (if you sue a 1.4kg chicken or other size you will have to try out the ove timing or I guess use a meat thermometer which I have not yet learned to use!)
- (for brining) – 1 tbsp salt, 3 tbsp sugar & 15ml lime juice
- (for rub) – 3 garlic cloves sliced thinly & 2 tsp rosemary
- Prepare the chicken – clean the chicken & rub salt on the skin & inside to exfoliate & make the skin ultra smooth, and wash & clean. add 1 litre water in a large plastic container, mix in about 1 tablespoon salt & 3 tablespoon sugar & stir to dissolve, then pour in 30ml bottled lime juice or squeeze juice from about 5 limes. place cleaned whole chicken into the container and place container in fridge for 24hours to 36hours.
- Cook the chicken – insert the rub of sliced garlic & rosemary under the chicken skin on both breast side & back. rub 1 tbsp olive oil over skin to make it crispy,open a can of beer & drink or remove 1/2 of its content. insert the 1/2 filled beer can into the lower cavity of the chicken. place the chicken standing upright on the beer can on an aluminium foil-lined baking tray & cook 15mins at 175degC + 25mins in 250degC in a preheated oven. remove from oven & let the chicken rests, and then debone or carve & serve.
Cheap Good Prata & Mutton @ Mr Prata on 18Sep2013
wanted to have some good prata. also recalled that mr prata served very good mysore mutton, which i much preferred over mutton curry, i took a short drive to evans road & had a cheap meal at mr prata. 🙂
prata gosong came in pairs – 2 for S$2.20. it was very good, fresh prata can seen from the photos. 🙂 this was the doughy version though some might prefer the crispy version eg at 6th avenue coffeeshop.
the mysore mutton was S$4.50 & enough for 2pax really. it was tender & tasty. compare this with the S$12.90++ rogan gosht we had at jade of india recently (which was not good). i liked it over mutton curry which usually comes in a larger piece of mutton instead of diced cubes & often not as tender.
the whole meal include S$0.20 for iced water came to S$6.90. i looked at the menu a bit & the prices were a bit more ex than coffeeshops but a lot cheaper than restaurants. biryani were S$6 and dum biryani (meat cooked inside the rice & the version served at restaurants) were S$8. garlic naan though was expensive at S$3 about restaurant prices. butter chicken & chicken tikka masala were like S$5. chicken tikka kebabs S$8. the murtaba looked ex at $6 i guess if c/w coffeeshops. though prata gosong is cheaper at 6th avenue (i think maybe still 2 for S$1.60) they were a lot smaller & often either not fresh or long queue. anyhow i had not eaten there for a very long time so not really sure. 🙂
maybe will suggest to my G8 friends to have dinner here. 🙂
Grateful for What We Have
grateful for what we have is a very important mental state, it opens our hearts, makes us appreciative, caring, generous, see the positives about ourselves & others & not stifled by negative emotions.
even though i am not a christian, i enjoy very much the company of my many great christian friends, and especially the practice of saying grace before a meal, and before some events (as when 1 of my very dear dentist friend led a christian + dental mission to siantan pontianak to care for the children of an orphanage there. my youngest daughter, the only christian in the family had joined that mission). 🙂
saying thanks in earnest & humility for all the things that happen in our lives help us to appreciate, treasure & cherish what we have, instead of constantly chasing after what we do not have & missing out on every single moment of joy, happiness & peace that we have. it is of course easier said than done as we are swarmed by negative emotions every minute of the day & this is the same constant reminder to myself to awake to the joy of the moment, here & now, as spoken in an earlier post on live to eat. 🙂
so, thank you to my family, my friends and to Singapore! 🙂
Homecooked Buffet for 17pax on 19Aug2013 (Public)
we had 9 dishes with the usual thai tanhoon, spicy pork ribs, spicy seabass & HK kailan by my domestic helper. i did the other 4 dishes. it was quite easy as i did the buffet twice before. most dishes were precooked & only needed warming up. only the garlic prawn i cooked (only took 5 minutes) while everyone was tucked in to dinner,
we had lots of food, especially as a friend brought his brother’s famous chilli crab. 🙂
the thai tanhoon always good! spicy, tangy, tasty! & the miso char siew (belly pork) i perfected, and since then it is always good. the nonya curry chicken was very tasty & “pang” (fragrant), and this another quite consistent dish, so far good everytime. 🙂
i had my first accident since i started homecooking for groups in mar2012. its probably my own failure but i did exactly the same recipe & timing but i felt the braised duck was tough when cutting (bad workman blaming the tools,,haha). my friends were too polite to say the duck was tough. i thought the flavour was ok & also the lor neng, tau kua & tau pok were quite ok & well received.
the chicken was not cut/carved that well, but it was brined with salt & sugar & was very moist, tender & tasty. & spicy bean sauce pork rib – always good! 🙂
i did my usual dry wok high heat garlic prawns. this method produced a slight charred bbq taste. at the same time the prawn flesh was not directly in contact with the wok & was in fact baked in its shell & so very moist & tender. a key ingredient is fish sauce.when the wok was dry & very high heat, the fish sauce flavour was fully brought out giving the wok hae & because the prawns were in the shell it was not too salty. 🙂
the spicy tau jeon seabass was a excellent recipe. it turned the seabass which had “mud” taste & a mushy not firm texture into a very flavourful dish! 🙂 & the poached HK kailan with shitake as a perfect accompaniment to all the meaty stuff. 🙂
a fried brought watermelon. very sweet – he sure knew how to pick. others brought strawberry & cherries.
we all had a wonderful evening chatting & chilling.
Shiok Curry Chicken Noodles @ Ah Heng on 16Sep2013
was in the area so dropped by hong lim food centre #02 for ah heng curry chicken noodles on 16.9.2013. there was no queue at 11am & i got my S$5 medium bowl with thick beehoon & mee right away. 🙂
i had tried the other stall heng kee at #01. could not really tell much difference (maybe ah heng’s chicken & curry were slightly tastier?) anyway so i stick with ah heng.
today like most days, both the chicken & curry were very tasty. i think i will still have to admit that the chicken is still better than what i made for curry chicken noodles & of course there was straightforward hands down no comparison when it came to the curry (though my curry was quite tasty too). also i haven’t got any chilli (have not tried making any yet!).
for S$5, it was really satisfying – everything from chicken, curry to taupok, fishcake, noodles & potato, could only describe as “shiok”, & like everytime. 🙂
Protected: Homecooked Buffet for 17pax on 19Aug2013
Wife’s Awesome Healthy Packed Lunch on 13Sep2013
my wife makes awesome packed lunches. she brings to office most days and they are much healthier of course than eating at the cafeteria. sometimes she packed for 1 or 2 colleagues as well. 🙂
the centre-piece of the healthy packed lunches are the salads & vegetables. these could be standalone simple salad lunches, or often enough also, some meat items were added as a counter-point. sometimes i would cook miso cod, miso salmon, miso char siew (belly pork), miso ebi yaki (grilled miso prawns) or my pan roasted brined chicken breast for her. today she made oven grilled big prawns for herself 🙂
the pumpkin salad (top photo) was excellent tasting – sweet australian pumpkin with cherry tomatoes, deep-fried tofu, red onion. the pan grilled portobello (low heat slow dry grilling) was super, packed full of flavours, and together with the mesclun salad made for a very healthy delicious lunch.
Jalan Tua Kong Meepok Tar @ 6th Avenue on 12Sep2013
decided to stop by good good coffeeshop at 6th avenue for the jalan tua kong teochew meepok tar today on 12.9.2013. i don’t take this so much these days, but had a nice teochew fish ball noodles at mei chin road last week with son, & this stall was nearer & i like meepok tar more than fish ball noodles. 🙂
the stall has been at this coffeeshop for several years, apparently the owner had previously worked at 1 of the jalan tua kong stalls and now pays a fee to use the name.
i like this teochew style more than the tai wah type mushroom sauce bakchormee & fish ball noodles (though i like them all..haha). the noodle is qq with a nice bite (al dente) and not mushy. there were 2 fishballs, pork, prawn, fishcakes & minced pork, and most important the chilli & of course the fried lard (lar pok). love it! 🙂
Average Indian Lunch @ Jade of India on 10Sep2013
i had not had indian fish head curry for several years. the recent fish head curry lunch at banana leaf apolo with my RI friends triggered my craving. saw the deal.com voucher S$12 for S$20 & bought 3 vouchers for 3pax lunch on 10.9.2013. 🙂
i ordered a fish head curry, chicken biryani (since 3 plain rice cost S$9), rogan gosht & 1garlic naan + 1 tandoori roti. liked the papadum & the dip! 🙂
the red snapper fish head was small but whole (not 1/2) & very fresh & sweet. the curry though tasted quite good was gluey (starchy). i didn’t mind it but the usual ones like what i had at banana leaf was much better & i would not go back if i were looking specifically to have fish head curry! the chicken biryani was very good – tender tasty chicken & flavourful rice which was not too oily, 🙂 the rogan gosht was disappointing – both the curry & mutton. this was a common dish i had taken many times in different indian restaurants and almost always good so this was quite a let down in taste. the garlic naan was also not great. thinking back i probably made the wrong order of mutton. the fish head & biryani were southern indian & i would probably do better with mysore mutton. naans & roti were better with thicker curries so was ok with rogan gosht but less with fish head curry.
the meal cost S$65.70 for 3pax after 10% service & GST. with the vouchers it was S$41.70 nett. so price-wise it was good for the food we ordered. but the fish head though ok did not satisfy my craving for good fish head curry & the rogan gosht did not give me confidence that other curries would be good. don’t think i would go back anytime soon even with discount vouchers.
Coffee & Pies @ Windowsill Pies on 8Sep2013
we were going for a family photo taking at a studio at king george avenue on 8.9.2013. the children had this thing about windowsill pies & of course they knew there was a horne road outlet which was just short walk from the studio.
we were early for the photo shoot so we had a nice afternoon tea break at windowsill. 🙂
my daughters ordered the popular pies – a banana almond, strawberry lemon & a coconut lime vodka. all the pies were very nice really. the strawberry lemon (which my daughter said was their best) was nice too but just a little too sour for me. my favourite was the banana almond, though i agreed with the others that the lime vodka was very good, as the sourness as tempered by the vodka, and had more of a lingering after taste. 🙂
also, here my flat white was very good, latte art barrista standard, unlike the 1/2 cup very “flat” white i had at bar bar black sheep.
well overall i thought it was a really great place to chillax & catch up with friends & family, have a relaxing cuppa & enjoy a bit of good pies. i am not much into desserts so you will not see me frequenting such places. if friends want to have a cuppa together with some bites, then this is quite great place to chill out! 🙂
Light Meal @ Bar Bar Black Sheep at Cluny Court on 7Sep2013
i was joining couple nadal fan friends to watch the nadal-gasquet & djokovic-wawrinka us open semi-finals on 7.9.2013. we were gathering at 11pm to stay up for the unearthly hour (singapore time) matches. i intended to skip dinner to limit my calorie intake as we would be munching tidbits over the long night! 🙂 anyhow my daughter wanted to go bar bar black sheep so i decided to just tag along & not eat. 🙂
my wife & daughter ordered a butter chicken & garlic naan to share. my daughter’s friend ordered a mutton biryani & i ordered a flat white for myself. i had one bite of the garlic naan, a piece of butter chicken & 1 teaspoon of biryani with mutton to taste the food.
the biryani & mutton were very average & the price was expensive for indian dishes, either S$16 or S$18. the butter chicken tasted ok but had a strange red colour. the butter chicken i had previously were all yellow curries. price was S$12. i guess this was bar price, it would be like S$8 or S$9 at most indian restaurants in serangoon. 🙂 the naan was good.
i had previously had burgers & indian at bar bar black sheep at cherry avenue (old holland road). cannot remember the prices, but i think burger was good & indian food was also good & didn’t think the price was high. here at cluny court, it occupied the previous da paolo restaurant premises with a nice courtyard ambience. i guess rents are high so the food prices.
the food i tried was limited but based on what i had & the price (my flat white i think cost S$5 & it was not good too & initially i was served a black then it was replaced by 1/2 cup flat white in a very small cup), i would not come back again!
For Old Time Sake @ Xin Lu (新路) Teochew Fishball Noodles on 3Sep2013
decided to drop by xin lu (新路) teochew fish ball noodles (formerly from margaret drive) at mei chin road food centre with son after sending car for servicing on 3.9.2013.
this one of the popular stalls relocated from margaret drive (see another relocated stall why we queue? @ hai kee cha kuay teow). i had frequented a few times after they relocated, though these days i am less enamoured with this style of pure fishball noodles c/w the teochew meepok tar type or the bakchormee, both which i like.
the price was S$3 for noodles with 5 fish balls. i ordered my usual 1/2 portion noodles to reduce my carbo intake haha (but made sure i had the same amount of chilli) & they gave me 1 more fish ball. whatever!
for me the noodles were just as good as before, qq, & the fish balls were excellent – bouncy & “shouk shouk”! i love the chilli & to go back to old times pouring the soup into the chilli after eating the noodles. it’s just that i don’t take this much nowadays and my preference is anyway for meepok tar or bakchormee. will be back after a while. 🙂
Genuine HK Standard Roast Meats & Beef Noodles @ Noodles Restaurant on 6Sep2013
a friend organised lunch at noodles place restaurant at centrepoint on 6.9.2013. it’s a prima group restaurant, i could hardly recall when i last visited.
we were only 3pax so we went with the classic hong kong fare. each of us ordered a beef brisket noodles 牛腩面, and we ordered a roast duck & char siew combinations (双拼) to share. 🙂
we were there at 1pm & the open cafeteria styled restaurant was only 1/2 full, but it filled up a bit more later. i must say i was pleasantly surprised that the food was really genuine hk standard. the roast duck was fatty but really flavourful, perhaps even better than some places in hk. the char siew was also top quality in texture & taste, though the bbq pork collar at imperial treasure teochew was more marbled & textured.
the beef brisket noodles 牛腩面. i was lamenting that we were missing hk standard 牛腩面. the shanghainese/ taiwanese version 牛腩面 at crystal jade lamian xialongbao & sicc were well & good, but not my preferred hk version. the ones here though were excellent. they did not quite serve the beef belly type cut, but the brisket was indeed very good & it is true that most Singaporeans would prefer this leaner cut. 🙂
my friend bought lunch. i estimated the price would be about S$48nett for 3pax. i liked the roasts & the noodles and i will back for sure. 🙂
Recipe = Miso Char Siew (or Miso Belly Pork)
N.B. subsequently i did a wonderful melt-in-the-mouth miso belly pork dish for a homecooked japanese-themed dinner on 12.12.2013, but finished by pan-charred over butter instead of oven broiled.
i can call this a self-invented recipe. 🙂 basically, after i started making a rather good Nobu miso cod, i was trying to re-use the miso (didn’t want to make miso soup all the time and didn’t want to discard the miso after 1 use). also i was having a hard time making char siew both getting the texture right & also charring the outside. & not to forget the very lovely miso belly pork we had for the wonderful set lunch at pollen @ gardens by the bay! 🙂 just a note – though i started my experiment by reusing the miso, for best effect the proper way of course is 1 use & discard (or make miso soup..haha..) & for sure i would not use the miso cod miso for belly pork or vice versa, so if reuse then use second time only for the same meat!
anyway i put the belly pork to marinade in miso for 3 days as i would when preparing miso cod. before that i rinsed the belly pork with boiling water, then cleaned up in cold water & then cut off the skin. unlike miso cod which you don’t want it to be too sweet, i added one more heap tablespoon sugar to the marinade. when cooking, i took out the belly pork & placed it in an oven dish with lid with the marinade just covering the pork for 1 hr to get it to room temperature. i then placed it in the preheated oven at 90degC for 1 hr. after removing it from the oven, i placed the pork on a rack over an aluminium foil lined baking tray, and preheat the oven to the highest temperature at 250degC. i then turned it to broil & cooked the pork for 11 minutes, turned over & broiled for another 5 minutes=total broiling time 16 minutes.
i did this for 600g of belly pork + pork collar combined about 3/4 portion was served as in the top photo. i did a second time for about 250g (the belly pork portion in the 2 photos below which included kurobuta steaks), and i had to adjust the timing to 8minutes + 5minutes=total 13minutes. if you have a meat thermometer, you can also check for 170degF or 77degC .
the result = a very tender consistent inside texture & a charred & flavourful layer outside (with miso helping the charring) & overall a very tasty dish! 🙂
note the broiling time is key – though it is important to char the outside the inside will overcook if the timing is wrong!
- 2 long strips of belly pork (about 600g)
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp miso paste
- 1/2 cup mirin
- 1/2 cup cooking sake
- boil saké and the mirin in a medium saucepan over high heat for 20 seconds to evaporate the alcohol, turn to low and add the miso paste, stirring to dissolve the miso completely, then turn to high again and add the sugar, stirring constantly so that the bottom of the pan doesn’t burn. cool down marinate mix to room temperature.
- rinse belly pork with boiling water, then clean in cold water & then cut off the skin. place belly pork strips in a ziplock bag & pour in the cooled marinate and leave in fridge for 3 full days. turning over once in the morning & once in the evening to ensure all sides are fully coated.
- take out belly pork & place it in an oven dish with lid with the miso marinade just covering the pork for 1 hr to get it to room temperature. place it in the preheated oven at 90degC for 1 hr. after removing it from the oven, place the pork on a rack over an aluminium foil lined baking tray, and preheat the oven to the highest temperature at 250degC. turn to broil & cook the pork for 11 minutes, turn over & broil for another 5 minutes=total broiling time 16 minutes.
Why We Queue? @ Hai Kee Teochew Cha Kuay Teow on 3Sep2013
as some hungrygowhere reviewers said – lost & found! 🙂 see also for old time sake @ xin lu fish ball noodles.
used to frequent often to buy back when the stall was at margaret drive. though i knew it had moved to telok blangah crescent, i had not bothered to go look for it – somewhat less craving for cha kuay teow of late.
anyway decided to go last evening on 4.9.2013. everything was as before! 🙂
the cha kuay teow man looked as “young” & healthy as before. the queue was as long as before – about constantly 10+ pax & on average 3plates/packets per pax & our friend cooked 1 plate at a time just as before, so long time to wait – we waited 40 minutes as before! 🙂 the “hum” (cockles) were as huge & plump as before, and the taste as good & “pang” (fragrant) and quite a bit of “la pok” (fried lard) as before. 🙂
price was S$3 which was very fair for a large plate with lots of “hum”. where this was concerned, i was a risk taker so i had my “hum”raw (uncooked & just place on top of the noodles).
Great Ribs & Pig Trotters @ Song Fa Bakuteh on 5Sep2013
went for early lunch with son & his friend at song fa at new bridge road on 5.9.2013. first time there though heard about & saw the place when dining at jumbo riverwalk & la chasseur. 🙂
we went at 11am on a thursday & roadside parking was a breeze. there were 2 outlets closeby each other – no. 11 north bridge road which was a coffeshop & no. 17 north bridge road. we chose the latter which was aircon though it was not switched on. we left before 12pm & the crowd were only starting to arrive.
soup was good. the prime ribs were very sweet & tasty. texture was good too, falling off the bones & yet not overcooked. my favourite until recently was rong cheng at sin min road. lately had couple times good baukteh at ng ah sio @ chui huay lim. i thought song fa was better, and price-wise we had 3 long prime ribs for S$8.50+GST vs 2 for S$9.80++ at ng ah sio & S$7 for 1 long rib plus 2 odd bits at rong cheng. the braised trotters were good too & we ordered a second S$6 serving. the fatty collagen bits were just right & even the lean parts were tasty & not sinewy. still i thought it was as good or better at ng ah sio & i had better serving portion for S$8++ shared by 2.
we had 3 prime ribs, 2 braised trotters, 1 youtiao & 1 kailan (medium S$5.50). total price came to S$48, couldn’t say it was expensive but not cheap either. i often buy 1kg pork rib at chinatown for S$7.50 & make very nice bakuteh myself very easily – not quite comparable of course but good enough for my fix. 🙂