felt immense satisfaction with a near perfect dinner for my RI buddies on 24.3.2014. 🙂 nothing can ever be perfect of course, that i am indifferent to as i do not need perfection. it’s enough to feel happy & contented. 🙂 the 5hr sous vide crispy skin canard a l’orange & the seafood paella were quite well done, sufficient for my lowly standards anyway. and the teriyaki cod was just heavenly! i had planned 4 tapas = 5hrs sous vide miso belly pork, teriyaki cod, tea smoked chicken &pan-grilled grain-fed ribeye (plus a few pan-seared giant hokkaido scallops for couple friends who had missed the last dinner). then the seafood paella. then 2 mains, the duck & a fusion pot roast sirloin kuay teow terng (flat rice noodle soup). and to end the evening, a jam crumb cake, served with delightful ice creams from my regular ice cream supplier friend, & ditto strawberries from another friend. 🙂
i had also tried an onion bread recipe for the first time (second time i did bread my whole life). in fact, i tried too many new things this time so was just slightly late in my timings. so while i was preparing the first tapas, my friends gobbled up the fresh-from-oven savoury onion bread (forgot to take photos)..hahaha..
#1 tapas no 1 was a 5hr “sous vide” miso belly pork, about 600g. i didn’t have a sous vide machine, so this was an imposter along with the duck. anyway i had successful adapted Nobu miso cod 3-day marinade recipe to belly pork sans skin, and this was a crowd favourite everytime, very “jit bee” i.e. flavourful. then it went into oven in the miso marinade bath 2hrs at 65degC + 3hrs 60degC, and pan seared afterwards. to save electricity, i did my “sous vide” duck a l’orange together at one go.
#2 tapas no.2 was teriyaki cod. i made the teriyaki marinade (mirin, sake, sugar, butter, garlic) & marinated 550g cod in a ziploc bag in the chiller for 3 days, and pan grilled over high heat. this was the best for me for the evening, melt-in-the-mouth heavenly. 🙂
#3 tapas no. 3 was a tea smoked chicken. since i already had duck a l’orange & i wanted to try out the new “tea smoked” recipe, i experimented this with my friends’ indulgence. i brined the chicken in sugar & salt solution for 2 days to keep the chicken breast moist & tasty, pan-roasted over high heat to get the crispy skin, then placed the breasts on a rack inside a covered pot with aluminium foil laid with rice, brown sugar, chinese tea (铁观音), anise seed & cinnamon bark & smoked for 15mins in medium low heat. meat was moist & tea aroma & fragrance were wonderful. quite a few friends liked this, not really a favourite for me.
#4 the pan-seared scallops was a subplot. i had only 3 giant hokkaido scallops left in the fridge & i had cooked these for 2 recent 8pax dinners and a bit tired of scallops for time being, didn’t want to get a new packet. also it’s not easy to do a seared scallop. it needed to be bone dry & a very hot pan, so to do for 10pax would need cooking in 2 batches so as not to crowd the pan, lowering the temperature.
#4 i did the grain fed ribeye (2 pieces 570g) beautifully this evening. it was not the usual wagyu i served. could not get the wagyu at QB Food & mmmm did not have promotion, whereas the ribeye was a great promo at S$2.99/100g. the steak was sweet & tasty, between rare & medium rare, with a nice maillard reaction ring. very pleased with the cheap steak this evening. will do wagyu next time. 🙂
#5 seafood paella was up next. this the second time i tried this new paella recipe picked up from my favourite chef john of foodwishes.com. i tried couple times with other web recipes a year ago but could not get it right. this time it was a breeze, and using the prawn shells & head combined with chicken stock plus a very sweet base of vegetables (onions, celery, leek, red pepper) & the juice from the prawns & squid offered up a very tasty dish. though i used a cheap shokaku US short grain rice to substitute for the aborio rice (which cost an arm & leg), the rice was nicely done, not mushy & just slightly al dente (above photos). it was actually not as tasty as my first attempt but this was twice the amount of rice for 10pax, not perfect, must be improved, but i was pretty happy with the result. 🙂
#6 the first “main” (actually smaller serving than the tapas, imagine 2 duck breast for 10pax). this was a favourite at the 2 recent 8pax dinners. duck was fatter so after 5hrs sous vide bath quite a bit left not rendered out so i decided to use the cold pan method to render out the excess fat at low heat. once the fat were surrounding the duck, i turned to high to sear the skin. this was the best of 3 attempts, very beautiful crispy skin & tender consistent sous vide meat. the citrus orange sauce was excellent to enhance the experience, and quite beautiful to behold (top & above photos). 🙂
#7 the second main was another experiment. this one though was not quite there. i did a great sirloin pot roast last time, & when i added the leftovers the next day to instant noodles, it was excellent. so i thought maybe i will do a HK beef noodle type affair & add the pot roast. the result = my medium rare pot roast was quite ok, but my soup stock was insufficient & not flavourful enough even with the daikon & carrots & beef brisket. will need to reduce the soup & used chicken stock instead for more tasty base, not sure though if i might do this again.
#8 hmmm…very proud of my jam crumb cake. like it a lot. 1 friend though still hanging on to past memories of my chocolate lava cake, which i had gotten tired of making. this the second time i made this cake, and i made all the right adjustments = reduced the sugar in the cake & crumbs, increase the jam, & increase the crumbs. excellent! my next adventure is planning a “fine” chinese dinner. my menu is going to look like this = ter kar tang (pig trotter jelly), drunken chicken, garlic pork (蒜泥白肉), tea smoked duck, poor man’s buddha-jump-over-the-wall, the shin yeh pineapple prawns, steamed garoupa, a HK style steamed sausage, chicken, pork rib rice, several vegetable dishes & orh nee (yam puree dessert). hmmm..looking at the menu, like not very “fine”, still anyhow the fun of doing it is fine enough for me. 🙂