Chicken Rice Chicken 白斩鸡

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Chicken Rice Chicken 白斩鸡

#1 poached chicken

chicken rice chicken

the 白斩鸡 or hainanese wenchang (文昌) chicken (i just call it chicken rice chicken) is a cheap popular ubiquitous hawker dish in singapore.

so it’s really a challenge to make the dish – it has to be as good if not far better than the good ones you can get in many chicken rice stalls, hawker centres or food courts. 🙂

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Chicken Rice Chicken 白斩鸡

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Chicken Rice Chicken 白斩鸡

i started cooking 2 years ago & did not try this for 1 year+. subsequently when i wanted to try out curry chicken noodles (the ah heng hong lim hawker centre style which basically used chicken rice poached chicken) as i make a good flavour nonya curry chicken & wanted to use it as the soup base, i decided to do my own curry chicken noodles.

for a time, i used the method that boiled/simmered whole chicken for 30minutes & then placed it in ice water bath (to taut the skin & stop further cooking).

recently i found that poaching – by cutting the chicken in halves then boiling/simmering both halves & leaving it in the hot water for 20minutes with the fire off – was a better method that produced more tender chicken. 🙂 you can do this with whole chicken w/o cutting of course. however w/o cutting in halves (a) you have to lift the whole chicken up & down several times while boiling to allow boiling water inside the cavity w/o temperature drop (b) it is easier to pull out 1/2 chicken w/o tearing the beautiful yellow skin. 🙂

the yellow skin colour was from turmeric, just small amount (1 teaspoon) in a bath with spring onions, red onions, ginger & salt. boiled (just slightly above simmering) 10 minutes over medium heat, another 20 minutes fire off, then placed in ice bath (to have taut skin & stop further cooking), then in fridge.

i also brined the chicken (3 tablespoon sugar, 1 tablespoon salt & 1 tablespoon lemon juice in 1 litre water) for 2 days (this is an important step to get water molecules into the chicken – diffusion; and to infuse the sugar & salt – osmosis). this made the chicken moist, sweet & tasty.  i also added fish sauce, very very slight drizzle, just using a teaspoon & slightly touched the deboned chicken pieces. this brought out the very sweet taste of the chicken. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

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27pax RI Buddies Homecooked 13-course Buffet Dinner on 28May2014

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#1 aunty bes spicy, tangy thai prawn tanhoon salad=lao nuah liao

my turn to organise may G20 dinner. 🙂

thought i would do a homecooked buffet which was more casual than having 3 tables in a restaurant, and unlike 20 years ago, these days i stopped walking around tables…lol. 🙂

there were 29pax initially, but in the end we had 27pax.

we had 2 may birthday boys. i made 2 tofu cheese cake (though my daughters reserved a quarter), so we just put on 1 candle & sang happy birthday…forgot to also sing auld lang syne…

everyone loved the tofu cheese cake. it was light, very mildly sweet & slight zesty with a bit of lemon juice & lots of yogurt. 🙂

for the dinner, i had 13 dishes, 5 (tanhoon salad, pork ribs, spicy seabass & 2 vegetables) were ably prepared by aunty bes. 🙂

#1 the thai tanhoon 1 of my favourites, very good appetite teaser. 🙂

#2 nonya curry chicken

#2 nonya curry chicken

#2 this nonya curry chicken was made w/o curry powder using a recipe blend. very fragrant & sweet curry. 🙂

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#3 “sous vide” char siew

#3 the “sous vide” char siew (90degC oven for 5hrs in a marinade bath marinated 3 days before) was below par this evening. the belly was too lean. i had to marinade 3 days before & only saw that it was too lean when preparing. also this was a much larger portion than my usual & my marinade amount was somewhat insufficient to infuse the pork with the usual deep flavours.

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teochew braised duck

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#4 teochew braised duck

#4 the teochew braised duck was the usual, quite tender, moist & “pang” = tasty.

lor neng = braised egg

#5a lor neng = braised egg

braised tau kua & tau pok

#5b braised tau kua & tau pok

#5 the braised egg, tau kua & tau pok was just to put to good use the flavourful lor (braising sauce). 🙂

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#6 aunty bes spicy pork ribs – a favourite

#6 aunty bes fried the pork ribs then placed in the steam oven, so the pork ribs was very tender & also tasty with the spicy bean sauce. when aunty bes went back to philippines, i did this myself, pretty ok but of course not as good as hers.

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chicken rice chicken

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#7 chicken rice chicken – favourite too

#7 the 白斩鸡 or hainanese wenchang (文昌) chicken (i just call it chicken rice chicken) was a favourite for the evening, tiang chye, chee hong etc all liked it, very tender, moist & sweet. the yellow skin colour was from turmeric, just small amount in a bath with spring onions, red onions, ginger & salt. boiled (simmered) 10 minutes medium heat, another 20 minutes fire off, then placed in ice bath (to stop cooking), then in fridge. i also brined the chicken in sugar & salt for 2 days (this is an important step to get water molecules into the chicken – diffusion; and to infuse the sugar & salt – osmosis). 🙂

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#8 蒜泥白肉-another favourite

#8 蒜泥白肉 was the other best dish for the evening. the sauce was the key. this sauce i prepared was very mildly sweet & hardly spicy but very flavourful. the belly pork was done different from the char siew using the cold crockpot on low method for 4.5hrs (i used the cooled chicken stock for cooking 白斩鸡 for the water bath starting on cold crockpot), creating a very tender, juicy pork & skin.

#9 aunty bes spicy bean sauce seabass

#9 aunty bes spicy bean sauce seabass

#9 the spicy, zesty seabass was another very appetising dish. local seabass usually has “mud” taste & the meat is “hu” (not firm & falling apart – not a great texture). this method of preparation musked all that & produced a very tasty fish. 🙂

#10 dry wok prawns

#10 dry wok prawns

the dry wok prawns was a very simple dish i cooked on the spot. the non stick pan was on high heat with a lot of minced garlic & 1 chilli padi for 1 kg prawns. the prawns should be dry & at room temperature, otherwise pan temperature would drop significantly & you would not get the very nice charred flavours. it was dry wok as you could not cover otherwise condensation would steam the prawns instead. the shells were on so in fact the de-veined prawns were baked in high heat & retained moisture not touching the pan, and lastly fish sauce was added & you could feel the fragrant smell wafting in the kitchen. 🙂

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#11 blanched HK kailan with shitake

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#12 romaine lettuce 油麦菜 - a popular zi char dish

the final 2 dishes were blanched HK kailan with shitake & romaine lettuce. the latter is a favourite dish in many zi char stalls in singapore & daipaitong in hong kong, either simple garlic fried or with fermented bean curd. 🙂

it was a very enjoyable get-together. some wanted G20 to become G30. for this evening we had 27pax…anyway maybe the actual numbers (the more the merrier) is not really that crucial. what is important is we have a ongoing forum to get together that people can just join whenever their schedule permits. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

 

 

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Pesto Pasta

pesto spaghetti with grilled eggplant, zucchini & mushrooms

pesto spaghetti with grilled eggplant& cherry tomatoes

first came across pesto pasta when i had wild rocket’s laksa pesto almost 10 years ago. was pretty impressive at the time. 🙂

i had mostly associated pesto pasta with vegetarian, and since i only started cooking 2 years ago & i mostly prefer meats, so i had started with seafood alio olio, later experimented on pink sauce (creamy tomatoes), chilli crab pasta etc. i have not yet attempted a carbonara myself (though my son makes a pretty good one & it should not be hard to do also).

recently during my lake como, cinque terre, milan trip, i tried some pesto pasta & they were really good, especially the one at fresco in milan. so i thought i might try out a pesto recipe & if it worked out, i would include in a grand tour tasting menu (haha…just kidding) for my good friends, now planned for 1st week of july. 🙂

i looked through several internet recipes e.g. how to make a tasty pesto pasta

i tried the recipe first on a small pasta dish, as i was reminded that pine nuts were very expensive…haha. 🙂 the first attempt was top photo above, which i grilled the eggplant & cherry tomatoes first, then tossed with the spaghetti & the pesto sauce. it was very flavourful, the nutty fragrance with the spinach & basil, and very tasty eggplants & tomatoes. it was though a little salty.

pesto spaghetti with grilled eggplant, zucchini & mushrooms

pesto spaghetti with grilled eggplant, zucchini & mushrooms

on the next occasion i prepared a larger portion as 1 of 3 pastas for a 6pax homecooked family dinner. this time i included zucchini & also caramelised some button mushrooms.

for the pesto sauce, i added basil, spinach, 1 clove of garlic & 1/2cup olive oil, some salt & pepper. i used chopped toasted almonds as proxy to the pinenuts & i added some shredded parmesan. it was a really excellent pasta.

pesto spaghetti with prawns & chicken

pesto spaghetti with prawns & chicken

pesto spaghetti with prawns & chicken

pesto spaghetti with prawns & chicken

and i had some leftover pesto sauce. so on the next day i added prawns & chicken (first fried in butter) & tossed with the spaghetti & pesto sauce, and it was excellent too. so, no need to be entirely vegetarian, though the vegetarian version was very good on its own. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Ingredients:

  • spaghetti (300g)

pesto sauce-

  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1/2 cup basil
  • 20g chopped toasted almonds
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan

Directions:

  1. cook spaghetti 1minute less than instruction, & drained in colander
  2. add spinach, basil, almonds to blender & blend. then add olive oil & grated parmesan & blend.
  3. add spaghetti to pesto sauce in a pan & toss. add salt & pepper to taste. serve.

“Sous Vide” Char Siew

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sous vide char siew

as i mentioned in my recent post on a homecooked 11pax 11-course dinner for RI buddies on 5.5.2014, i always find chinese cooking to be much more challenging than western (re my “worthwhile to do?” philosophy). peking duck for example requires such fine & painstaking preparation as air-blowing the skin to produce a very crispy skin peking duck, and xiaolongbao (小笼包) & 石榴包 are such intricate dumplings c/w ravioli served in modern european fine dining. & while perhaps not quite fine dining, teochew braised duck, chicken rice chicken, 蒜泥白肉, char siew & roast pork are such simple, tasty & very cheap food one can buy anywhere in singapore that it is really challenging to make home-cooking such dishes “worthwhile to do?”. anyhow, i did have quite successful recipes for very cheap & easy to do teochew braised duck & chicken rice chicken, but am unable to make a good crackling belly pork thus far. char siew also was not easy, and i had made quite a few attempts. anyhow finally, i think i have developed a really good “sous vide” char siew recipe, that made for a truly fabulous dish. 🙂

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sous vide char siew

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sous vide char siew

i scalded the belly pork as usual to remove scum. then i cut into several 3in pieces & placed in a ziploc bag when cooled. i prepared a very good marinade after much scouring through internet recipes plus some adjustments of my own. this method is similar to my very good miso belly pork except that the marinade is an adapted char siew marinade & not miso. like miso belly pork, i let it marinate for 3 full days to infuse the wonderful flavours. then i placed the belly pork fully covered/drenched in a marinade bath in a pre-heated oven at 90degC for 5hrs. 90degC is the optimum temperature (fastest) for conversion of collagen the tough connective tissues to gelatine with excellent texture & flavours. 🙂 this made the char siew especially the fatty parts, totally tender & delicious, & melt-in-the-mouth, such wonderful texture & flavours combined. 🙂 the final step was just to char over a non-stick pan on high heat. i used butter (if you want higher temperatures, use vegetable oil). i then charred the char siew on all sides which took just minutes. that imparted even more intense flavours to the char siew. 🙂 c.h.e.f andy Ingredients:

  • 500g belly pork

char siew sauce

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp dark sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp cooking sake
  • 2 tbsp brandy (or 2 tbsp shaoxing wine)
  • 3 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic – 3 to 4 cloves
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • pinch of black pepper

Directions:

  1. scald belly pork as usual to remove scum. then cut into several 3in pieces & place in a ziploc bag when cooled. make marinade by combining all the ingredients
  2. marinade for 3 full days to infuse the wonderful flavours. place belly pork fully covered/drenched in a marinade bath in a pre-heated oven at 90degC for 5hrs. 90degC is the optimum temperature (fastest) for conversion of collagen the tough connective tissues to gelatine with excellent texture & flavours. this made the char siew especially the fatty parts, totally tender & delicious, & melt-in-the-mouth, such wonderful texture & flavours combined. 
  3. char on a non-stick pan on high heat. use butter or if you want higher temperatures, use vegetable oil. char the char siew on all sides, just few minutes. that will impart even more intense flavours to the char siew.

Excellent 5pax Birthday Dinner @ Sun with Moon Wheelock on 16May2014

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bara chirashi don set

daughter booked 5pax dinner at sun with moon @ wheelock to celebrate the birthday of our domestic help on 16.5.2014. 🙂

i really enjoyed the excellent lunch here on 7.5.2014. this the first time i came for dinner.

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salmon fish miso soup for bara chirashi don set

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bara chirashi don set

the bara chirashi don was very tasty, both the fresh sashimi & rice. i supposed in terms of quality of ingredients, it’s hard to beat the S$20 chirashi don lunch set at ginza kuroson, but that was lunch, this dinner. 🙂

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dobin mushi (teapot soup)

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okonomiyaki

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salmon maki

wife & another daughter did not want a heavy set, so ordered a dobin mushi plus a okonomiyaki & salmon maki to share. 🙂

dobin mushi was ok, competent.

okonomiyaki was very good.

& salmon maki was good.

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tori nabe for my unagi kebayaki set

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unagi kebayaki

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salmon sashimi with my unagi kebayaki set

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my unagi kebayaki set

i ordered a unagi kebayaki set for myself. we shared the food of course. 🙂

it was very good. the chicken nabe came with a ball of collagen, made the soup very tasty.

the unagi kebayaki was fresh eel. i had not taken unagi for a while & this one was good! 🙂

the salmon sashimi side dish here is always good. i always add that to my lunch set for S$3.

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teriyaki cod & tempura set

our domestic help ordered a teriyaki cod & tempura set. i did no try. the cod looked great & the tempura had 3 large prawns, really good set! 🙂

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great tea parfait

we were all greedy & ordered 2 parfaits to share for 5pax. this our favourite dessert here! 🙂

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tofu cheese cake

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tofu cheese cake

we were attracted by the tofu cheese cake so ordered take-out to bring home as birthday cake for our domestic helper. 🙂

after eating this tofu cheese cake, i googled & found an excellent internet recipe & made my own very good tofu cheese cake. that was really fun. 🙂

for me, both lunch & dinner sets here were excellent value for money. the 5pax dinner cost S$150 though we only ordered 3 dinner sets plus some ala carte to share.

c.h.e.f andy

Tofu Cheese Cake

tofu cheese cake

tofu cheese cake

had an excellent birthday dinner at sun with moon @ wheelock for my domestic help on 16.5.2014 & bought back a tofu cheese cake as her birthday cake. 🙂

it was really good. we enjoyed it so much i decided to try making one myself.

i googled & found a very simple & truly wonderful no bake tofu cheese cake recipe. i had frequent homecooked dinner for friends & overly relied on my chocolate lava cake for dessert. i tried apple pie couple times & though it was ok there was no wow factor, nothing exciting. tofu cheese cake sounds exciting (at least to me & my children!) so i thought i would give it a try.

tofu cheese cake

tofu cheese cake

tofu cheese cake

tofu cheese cake

tofu cheese cake

tofu cheese cake

tofu cheese cake

tofu cheese cake

tofu cheese cake

tofu cheese cake

tofu cheese cake

tofu cheese cake

it was really a simple easy to make recipe & it turned out, well, ever so delicious & pretty too! 🙂

1 practical logistic problem was i could not find a 6″=15cm spring form cake pan with bottom release. anyway i did not know what it was until i googled. i found a 8in=20cm one at phoon huat at clementi avenue 3 costing S$7.90 so i bought it.

as the recipe was for the 15cm cake i basically doubled the recipe quantities.

go try yourself. enjoy!

c.h.e.f andy

Ingredients:

  • 105g digestive biscuits (7 pieces)
  • 60g melted butter – i used unsalted
  • 200g cream cheese (cut to 2cm pieces)
  • 200g silken tofu (cut to 2cm pieces)
  • 200g plain yogurt
  • 100ml whipping cream
  • 60g Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 3 tsp gelatin powder (15g)
  • 50ml warm water

Directions:

  1. put a wax paper over the bottom then tighten the springform cake pan & ensure bottom is smooth.
  2. put digestive biscuits in ziploc bag & break & roll to powder. melt butter in microwave (40sec) & add to biscuits. mix well then empty into cake pan. spread evenly to form an uniform flat base. put in fridge.
  3. add plain yogurt, tofu, cream cheese, whipping cream, lemon juice & sugar to a blender, pulse & blend
  4. add 3 tsp gelatin powder to 50ml warm water & stir to dissolve completely. add to blender & blend.
  5. empty into the cake pan & place in fridge for 4hrs. when serving release the springform & remove from the bottom. voila!

Good Mexican Food @ Magarita’s Dempsey on 14Apr2014

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roast pork taco

wife organised a 4pax family dinner at magarita’s @ dempsey on 14.4.2014. 🙂

i was never quite into mexican food, but i guessed this was as good a time to start…haha. 🙂

seemed it was quite difficult to get a booking. 3 of us went early at 630pm, among the first few tables. JH came later as he had to work late. the place was quite full actually, just couple tables unoccupied at 730pm.

the reviews in hungrygowhere wasn’t too great, the few in 2014 commented it was expensive. tripadvisor had more good reviews.

i still learning to tell burritos, fajitas (pronounced fa-hee-tas), enchiladas & what not.

my initial impression hearing about the place was more drinking than food. but as it turned out, food was quite good really. we ordered a nachos, crab enchiladas (their specialty), a mixed chicken & prawns fajitas and a i think roast pork taco, and a 3-milk cake. 🙂 we also had 2 magaritas, 2 mocktails & a beer.

need to try out other places though to compare. heard that cafe iguana is good.

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nachos

nachos picture was too dark. 😦 my wife & i both did not bring our hp. after JH arrived, he used his hp (torch app) to shine the light on the food for my daughter to take, so photos turned out better. all these phone apps are really useful. 🙂

the nachos (a tortilla chip usually served as snack) with melted cheese, refried beans, jalapeno pepper etc was very good i thought. the word refried black beans intrigued me, so i googled. according to wikipedia, apparently the word is a mistranslation=in mexican spanish, re is an informal emphasis for very or well, so refried means very fried or well fried & refers to cooked and mashed beans. learn something everyday! 🙂

the roast pork taco (top photo) was good too. the meat was more like braised than roast, and the texture was a pulled pork. braised & pulled textures not my favourite. the seasoning & taste was good. the corn tortillas were served separately (5 pieces) in a cloth warmer.

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prawns & chicken fajitas

& so was the prawns & chicken fajitas. the prawns were really nice & bouncy & the chicken was tasty & tender. the wheat tortillas were served separately (5 pieces) in a cloth warmer.

all the food were really much above my expectations, though i did not actually expect much to start with…haha..but for me its fun to know new food. 🙂

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crab enchiladas

the crab enchiladas was the restaurant’s specialty & was very good. crab meat & sauce were tasty & overall a very good dish. 🙂

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3-milk cake

we ordered the tres leches (3-milk) cake, with the exuberant encouragement/ suggestion by i think the proprietor. he said everyone thought it was good, especially that it was not too sweet.

cake was ok, quite good. i learned afterwards that you could buy a carton of tres leches mix (say) from belmontemex, let it soaked through a cake for at least 24hrs to make a supposedly luscious 3-milk cake. cake was more dense than a normal cake as a result but still fluffy not dense like a cheesecake.

i quite ok with it but not my favourite c/w (say) my own chocolate lava cake, cheese cake, some chocolate cakes & especially the passion fruit meringue from the patissier. 🙂

service was good & friendly. bill was S$234nett, or about S$154nett less the drinks. we had an enjoyable evening & i got to quite like the food. 🙂

will be back. but maybe will try out cafe iguana or others first.

c.h.e.f andy

Seafood Risotto

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

did another excellent seafood risotto for my friends on 31.7.2014.

was trying to copy/recreate monterosso restaurant miky’s incredibly tasty flamed seafood risotto. couldn’t do the flamed pasta part of course, so just the seafood risotto. 🙂

i used my favourite chef john of foowishes.com shortcut oven-baked paella method.

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

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littleneck clams (“la la”)

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razor clams

medium prawns & squid fried with butter

medium prawns & squid fried with butter

for seafood, i fried shelled prawns & cross-cut squid(lightly seasoned with fish sauce & white pepper) in butter.

i also very lightly fried the razor clams which i had earlier removed from shell, cut away the innards & cleaned.

i fried ginger & some orange peels & added the littleneck clams to a pan over high fire, adding a little white wine. then cover & let the shells open. discarded any unopened clams.

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

for the stock i sautéed the heads & shells of 10 medium prawns in olive oil & tumeric & added 500ml of vegetable stock & boiled for a hour. as i was preparing lobster pasta, i added the lobster shells to the shellfish stock as well. 🙂

i sauteed carrot, celery, onions, then leek & garlic in olive oil as a stock base, added turmeric for colour, added 1 cup of arborio rice (which i bought recently at monterosso) & then added the prawn stock & bring to boil. then i placed the oven-proof pan in a preheated 210degC oven for 10mins. i tasted the risotto. the flavour was excellent, and in this case as the stock already had some salt in it & mindful that the prawns & squid were also seasoned i did not add more salt. the risotto was about 85%-90% cooked with the centre slightly hard.

i set it aside. when ready to serve, i added remaining stock & juices from the fried prawns, squid, razor clams & just some from the littleneck clams enough to cover the risotto & placed on high fire w/o cover, added salt & paprika to taste. once risotto was almost cooked i added all the ingredients & covered for 1 minute. this cooked the risotto to al dente. the taste was excellent, super tasty from the sweetness of the vegetable, stock & also the prawns, squid, razor clams & littleneck clams. 🙂

miky's famous flamed seafood risotto

miky’s (monterosso) famous flamed seafood risotto

miky's famous flamed seafood risotto

miky’s (monterosso) famous flamed seafood risotto

sure, it’s not really comparable to miky’s famous flamed seafood risotto which we had at monterosso during our recent amsterdam, lake como, cinque terre, milan adventure 13-24apr2014. still it was a supremely enjoyable dinner. 🙂

c.h.e.f anfy

Ingredients-

  • 10 medium prawns (shelled & de-veined)
  • 1 large or 2 medium squid (cross-cut)
  • 300g razor clams shelled with innards removed & cleaned
  • 500g of littleneck clams cleaned
  • 1 yellow onion (chopped)
  • 2 stalks celery (chopped)
  • 2 stalks leek (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • 500ml prawn & vegetable stock
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1 teaspoon tumeric (or saffron)

Directions-

  1. fry shelled prawns & cross-cut squid(lightly seasoned with fish sauce & white pepper) in butter. very lightly fry razor clams (after removing shell, cutting away the innards & clean). fry ginger & some orange peels & add the littleneck clams to a pan over high fire, adding a little white wine. then cover & let the shells open. discarded any unopened clams.
  2. stock – sauté heads & shells of 10 medium prawns in olive oil & tumeric & add 500ml of vegetable stock & boiled for a hour.
  3. cook risotto -saute carrot, celery, onions, then leek & garlic in olive oil as a stock base, add turmeric for colour, add 1 cup arborio rice. add prawn stock & bring to boil. place oven-proof pan in a preheated 210degC oven for 10mins. taste the risotto & add sea salt, paprika to taste. risotto should be about 85%-90% cooked with the centre slightly hard. set it aside. when ready to serve, add remaining stock & juices from fried prawns, squid, razor clams & just some from the littleneck clams enough to cover the risotto & placed on high fire w/o cover. add salt & paprika to taste. once risotto almost cooked add all the ingredients & covered for 1 minute & cook the risotto to al dente. serve.

Lobster Bisque – Simply Done!

lobster bisque

lobster bisque

was doing a lobster pasta, so made use of the lobster shells to make a lobster bisque. 🙂

625g live lobster S$39.90/kg=S$24+

625g live lobster S$39.90/kg=S$24+

bought a 625g live lobster from sheng shiong. price was S$39.90/kg so cost S$24+.

there is supposed humane way to kill the live lobster – i am cooking lobster bisque & lobster pasta & killing a live lobster for the first time – so i followed the steps.

after killing & cooking the lobster for lobster pasta, i set aside the head & tail & put the remaining lobster shells into the shellfish stock.

i felt that the lobster shells alone were not sufficient to make a intense, flavourful stock for the lobster bisque. so i fried in butter prawn shells & heads (from about 1 kg of prawns) then added 600ml vegetable (or chicken) stock & the lobster shells. i added some water & let the shellfish stock boiled lightly over 2 hrs, then sieved & reserved the stock for the lobster bisque & seafood risotto.

lobster bisque

lobster bisque

i added chopped yellow onions, celery & carrots to olive oil & butter, softened the vegetables & added chopped leeks & diced tomatoes, some salt & paprika. i added 1 tablespoon of flour to thicken. then i added 400ml shellfish stock (kept 200ml for my risotto) & 1/3 cup brandy & added water & boiled for another 1/2hr & reduced to about 600ml. then i used immersion blender to blend to a very smooth, rich soup, then added 3 teaspoon heavy cream & sea salt to taste.

it was a very intense, tasty soup, smooth & consistent, sweet with lobster & prawn stock & vegetable base, & with a nice mellow brandy flavour. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Ingredients:

  • lobster (i used 625 maine lobster)
  • 1/3 cup brandy
  • heads & shells from 1 kg prawns (for shellfish stock)
  • 600ml vegetable stock
  • 1 yelllow onion(chopped)
  • 2 stalks celery (chopped)
  • 1 carrot (chopped)
  • 2 stalks leek (chopped)
  • 1 diced tomato
  • sea salt, coarse black pepper & paprika (to taste)
  • 3 tsp heavy cream (to taste)

Directions:

  1. prepare shellfish stock – kill & cook lobster for lobster pasta. set aside head & tail. fry in butter prawn shells & heads (from about 1 kg of prawns). add 600ml vegetable (or chicken) stock & the lobster shells. add some water & let the shellfish stock boil lightly over 2 hrs, then sieve & reserve the stock for the lobster bisque & seafood risotto.

  2. cook lobster bisque – add chopped yellow onions, celery & carrots to olive oil & butter, soften vegetables & add chopped leeks & diced tomatoes, some salt & paprika. add 1 tablespoon of flour to thicken. add 400ml shellfish stock. add 1/3 cup brandy water & boil for another 1/2hr & reduce to about 600ml. use immersion blender to blend to a very smooth, rich soup, then add 3 teaspoon heavy cream & sea salt to taste. result = a very intense, tasty soup, smooth & consistent, sweet with lobster & prawn stock & vegetable base, & with a nice mellow brandy flavour.

Lobster Angel Hair Pasta

lobster angel hair pasta

lobster angel hair pasta

had always wanted to try my hands on lobster pasta. having looked at several online recipes & videos, and also how to kill a live lobster (two i referenced were lobster bisque by chef john of food wishes.com & lobster spaghettini by dude food), supposedly humanely, something one can only take on faith.

10271529_10152382775309494_299706022723981815_n

625g live lobster S$39.90/kg=S$24+

10352398_10152382775234494_7707648137585897976_n

625g live lobster S$39.90/kg=S$24+

i went to sheng shiong & bought a 625g live lobster. price was S$39.90/kg so cost S$24+. lobster was really quite large & could not fit into the usual metal basin, so i placed it in the roasting tin. poor lobster, looking miserable. 😦

there is supposed humane way to kill the live lobster – i am cooking lobster pasta & killing a live lobster for the first time – so i followed the steps.

lobster angel hair pasta

lobster angel hair pasta

lobster angel hair pasta

lobster angel hair pasta

i cleaned & placed the lobster in the freezer for 30minutes. lobster was supposed to be knocked out – like in deep sleep?  then you plunge the knife just behind the back of the head & just cut the head in 1/2. i watched the videos. it was not difficult.

i removed the head & pincers & cut the lobster tail in 1/2.  i lightly browned some garlic to flavour the olive oil, took the pan away from the fire & added the lobster head, tail & pincers, then turned up fire to high. i then added 1/3 cup brandy & let it flamed & burned off the liquor to leave the sweet taste. i cooked the lobster for about 4 minutes (slightly undercooked), then removed from fire. when cooled, i cracked shelled the lobster pincers & knuckles. i set aside the head & tail & put the remaining lobster shells into the shellfish stock.

(i had earlier fried in butter prawn shells & heads (from about 1 kg of prawns) then added 600ml vegetable (or chicken) stock. i added some water & let the shellfish stock boiled lightly over 2 hrs, then sieved & reserved the stock for the lobster bisque & seafood risotto).

when ready to serve dinner, i removed the lobster tail from the shell & cut into 2.5cm serving size & added back the lobster head & shells to the pan. i then add diced tomatoes plus a 14oz canned tomatoes & white wine & reduced, and added sea salt & paprika to taste. lastly i added the prepared angel hair (slightly less cooked than al dente) & the lobster tail pieces to the pan, added about 3 teaspoon heavy cream & tossed, and garnished with coriander. voila!

c.h.e.f andy

Ingredients:

  • lobster (i used 625 maine lobster)
  • 1/3 cup brandy
  • heads & shells from 1 kg prawns (for shellfish stock)
  • 3 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 diced tomato
  • 1x14oz canned whole tomatoes diced
  • sea salt, coarse black pepper & paprika (to taste)
  • 1 tsp sugar (to taste)
  • 3 tsp heavy cream (to taste)
  • 300g angel hair pasta

Directions:

  1. killing lobster humanely? – place lobster in the freezer for 30minutes. lobster supposed to be knocked out – like in deep sleep? plunge a sharp knife just behind the back of the head & cut the head in 1/2.
  2. cook lobster – remove head & pincers & cut the lobster tail in 1/2.  lightly brown some garlic to flavour the olive oil, remove pan from fire & add lobster head, tail & pincers. turn fire to high. add 1/3 cup brandy & flame & burn off the liquor to leave the sweet taste. cook lobster for about 4 minutes (slightly undercooked), remove from fire. when cooled, crack & shell lobster pincers & knuckles. set aside the head & tail.(fry in butter prawn shells & heads (from about 1 kg of prawns) then add 600ml vegetable (or chicken) stock, & put the remaining lobster shells into a shellfish stock. add some water & let the shellfish stock boil lightly over 2 hrs. sieve & reserve the stock for the lobster bisque & risotto).
  3. when ready to serve, remove lobster tail from the shell & cut into 2.5cm serving size & add back the lobster head & shells to the pan. add diced tomatoes plus a 14oz canned tomatoes & white wine & reduce, and add sea salt & paprika to taste. add the prepared angel hair (slightly less cooked than al dente) & the lobster tail pieces to the pan, add about 3 teaspoon heavy cream & toss, and garnish with coriander. voila!

Mykuali Penang White Curry Noodles on 9May2014

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mykuali’s penang white curry noodles with belly pork

didn’t think i would be blogging about instant noodles, but the penang white curry noodle by mykuali which i bought recently from sheng shiong was really hot stuff (pun intended). 🙂

it has not taken root in singapore yet, but the koreans regularly buy & eat instant noodles at the grocery stores & at street-side “sarabat” stalls which sells them with all kinds of toppings, just as they do in indonesia. 🙂

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slow-cooked belly pork (japanese chashu standard)

i added very thinly sliced slow-cooked belly pork. the whole thing looked very like a very delicious craving-inducing chashumen. 🙂

i found a quick way of making very good tender & tasty belly pork. you can brine the belly for 1 to 2 days in sugar & salt or just add garlic, shallots, spring onions etc for flavours at time of cooking. anyway place the belly pork (after scalding with boiling water to remove the scums) in a crockpot COLD & add either the brine OR the other flavouring ingredients. turn crockpot to low & in about 3 to 4hrs you get a very tender belly pork just like the japanese chashu. it is that simple! 🙂1507033_10152381320064494_6440200458511359462_n10308084_10152379373874494_1604373033650047404_n

10341477_10152379374094494_862234557622178249_n

mykuali’s penang white curry noodles

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mykuali’s penang white curry noodles

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mykuali’s penang white curry noodles with belly pork

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mykuali’s penang white curry noodles with belly pork

i used belly pork but could have added prawns & squid, maybe even cockles. of course like jap ramen, it could be chicken or tonkatsu (breaded pork cutlet) as well. 🙂

a most satisfying meal.

c.h.e.f andy

The Enchanting Villa Carlotta on 16Apr2014

10252148_10152108866445662_1904424028743536863_n the enchanting villa carlotta is located in tremezzo just past the grand hotel tremezzo palace. there is an open carpark free parking area next to it, and the jetty for the lake shuttle for bellagio & varenna ia also located nearby. 🙂

we had sometime before dinner after returning from pigra cable car at argegno, & villa carlotta fits in the schedule well. 10308133_10152108866380662_250614155345170435_n1609925_10152108866295662_6784631393572576435_n

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the villa sat on hilly terrain at the lakefront. there was a massive gate & a beautiful fountain area with pruned hedges that were 6m tall! little bit like a maze. looked beautiful especially from the lake view balcony on level 3.

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the enchanting villa was built in the late 17th century, and bought in 1843 by Princess Marianne of Nassau, Albert’s of Prussia wife, who gave it as a present to her daughter Carlotta in occasion of her wedding with Georg II of Saxen-Meiningen. Hence the name Villa Carlotta. Georg II was fond of botany, & the fascinating romantic gardens were well known for its century old cedars and sequoias, rock garden, ferns valley and bamboos garden, and the many varieties of azeleas & rhododendrons. 🙂

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my wife & daughter felt that villa carlotta gardens were more attractive than keukenhof gardens. in the sense that there were 100 year old cedars & sequoias & bamboo patches spread over rolling knolls in an outdoor natural landscape setting extending over 7hectares, it did have its unique beauty.  keukenhof though was 4times in size about 32hactares. 🙂

we were looking forward to dinner, quite expecting a delightful evening at la darsena, the dinner recommendations by our b&b proprietress. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Pigra Cable Car at Argegno Lake Como on 16Apr2014

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after a wonderful lunch at pizza balognett, we took a short 15mins drive to argegno & managed to park right below the pigra cable car entrance on 16.4.2014. 🙂

pigra cable car, 1 of the steepest in europe, was opened in 1971. it took you from 200m to 850m in less than 5 minutes, or about 8km/hr.  it is actually capable of 5m/s or about 18km/hr. of course if you c/w taipei 101 just regards speed, that lift goes up at 60km/hr! 🙂

the adult return fare was 3.90euros. see the tariff & schedule here. 🙂

1800190_10152327729799494_9126539496991963834_n 10153777_10152327730109494_592732826163528019_n 10176243_10152327729314494_6313502652942671007_n 10247204_10152327729099494_652937324420852057_n 10252129_10152327728964494_3130944391966407907_n

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the view at the top was awesome, such a beauty to behold. 🙂

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it was like a top-of-the-world feeling. you could see the small town of argegno populating the shoreline. 🙂10258768_10152327729449494_610356105448171779_n 10265614_10152327730844494_4234315811545095709_o 1484662_10152108856140662_5038915772151073548_n

1174566_10152108855710662_7039183454059797680_n 1415189_10152108856085662_8311536729532577727_o 1620852_10152327730004494_2927172016864043285_n 1277188_10152327731409494_4701470555314764381_o 971289_10152327729674494_4600685924054025258_n 885810_10152327731059494_3115266488492155179_o 1530564_10152327732049494_4638354074174271988_n 10269058_10152108856515662_8730816767041652726_o 10312005_10152108856015662_8327047963765080833_n 902021_10152327730654494_6240034584639060692_o

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10312005_10152108856015662_8327047963765080833_na wonderful liberated feeling! 🙂

we did not have time to do the trails to belvedere. so we took the 4pm cable car down & drove back to tremezzo & made a short tour of villa carlotta before a nice dinner at la darsena. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

 

Pre-Mother’s Day Homecooked 5pax Dinner on 10May2014

lobster angel hair pasta

lobster angel hair pasta

this was a really fun dinner.

lobster angel hair pasta

lobster angel hair pasta

we usually do not eat out on mother’s day or other festive occasions OR would go to places that serve their usual menu & not charge hefty premium prices for usually poorer food & poor service. anyway for mother’s day tomorrow, wife has already decided to go cycling & go to hawker centre for dinner afterwards. 🙂

i decided to try out lobster pasta, having looked at several online recipes & videos, and also how to kill a live lobster (2 i referenced were lobster bisque by chef john of food wishes.com & lobster spaghettini by dude food), supposedly humanely, something one can only take on faith.

10271529_10152382775309494_299706022723981815_n 10352398_10152382775234494_7707648137585897976_n

i went to sheng shiong & bought a 625g live lobster. price was S$39.90/kg so cost S$24+. there were no mussels today but i managed to get some littleneck clams (“la la”) & also razor clams, so decided to cook seafood risotto. tried this once recently very successfully, emulating the incredibly tasty flamed seafood risotto we had twice at miky at monterosso.

lobster was really quite large & could not fit into the usual metal basin, so i placed it in the roasting tin. poor lobster, looking miserable.

there is supposed humane way to kill the live lobster – i am cooking lobster pasta & killing a live lobster for the first time – so i followed the steps.

#1 i cleaned & placed the lobster in the freezer for 30minutes. lobster was supposed to be knocked out – like in deep sleep?  then you plunge the knife just behind the back of the head & just cut the head in 1/2. i watched the videos. it was not difficult.

i removed the head & pincers & cut the lobster tail in 1/2.  i lightly browned some garlic to flavour the olive oil, took the pan away from the fire & added the lobster head, tail & pincers, then turned up fire to high. i then added 1/3 cup brandy & let it flamed & burned off the liquor to leave the sweet taste. i cooked the lobster for about 4 minutes (slightly undercooked), then removed from fire. when cooled, i cracked shelled the lobster pincers & knuckles.

i set aside the head & tail & put the remaining lobster shells into the shellfish stock. i had earlier fried in butter prawn shells & heads (from about 1 kg of prawns) then added 600ml vegetable (or chicken) stock. i added some water & let the shellfish stock boiled lightly over 2 hrs, then sieved & reserved the stock for the lobster bisque & risotto.

when ready to serve dinner, i removed the lobster tail from the shell & cut into 2.5cm serving size & added back the lobster head & shells to the pan. i then add diced tomatoes plus a 14oz canned tomatoes & white wine & reduced, and added sea salt & paprika to taste. lastly i added the prepared angel hair (slightly less cooked than al dente) & the lobster tail pieces to the pan, added about 3 teaspoon heavy cream & tossed, and garnished with coriander. voila!

lobster angel hair pasta

lobster angel hair pasta

a really, really tasty lobster angel hair pasta. really excellent! 🙂

lobster bisque

lobster bisque

#2 for the lobster bisque, i added chopped yellow onions, celery & carrots to olive oil & butter, softened the vegetables & added chopped leeks & diced tomatoes, some salt & paprika. i added 1 tablespoon of flour to thicken. then i added 400ml shellfish stock (kept 200ml for my risotto) & added water & boiled for another 1/2hr & reduced to about 600ml. then i used immersion blender to blend to a very smooth, rich soup, then added 3 teaspoon heavy cream & sea salt to taste. 🙂

lobster bisque

lobster bisque

it was a very intense, tasty soup, smooth & consistent, sweet with lobster & prawn stock & vegetable base, & with a nice mellow brandy flavour. 🙂

10313760_10152382775374494_4904191956997481621_n 10330506_10152382775349494_4010066414812128438_n

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

#3 for seafood risotto, i cooked the same carrot, celery, onions, then leek & garlic in olive oil as a stock base, added turmeric for colour, added 1.5cups of arborio rice & then added the prawn stock & bring to boil. then i placed the oven-proof pan in a preheated 210degC oven for 10mins. then removed & set aside.

meanwhile i fried shelled prawns & cross-cut squid in butter, and also very lightly fried the razor clams which i had earlier removed from shell, cut away the innards & cleaned. then i added ginger & some orange peels & added the littleneck clams to a pan ove high fire, adding a little white wine. then cover & let the shells open. discarded any unopened clams.

when ready to serve, i added remaining stock & juices from the fried prawns, squid, razor clams & just some from the littleneck clams enough to cover the risotto & placed on high fire w/o cover, added salt & paprika to taste. once risotto was almost cooked i added all the ingredients & covered for 1 minute.

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

i am very proud of this risotto actually. it was still far from the super tasty one we had at monterosso, and today, as my wife & daughters said, it was not as tasty as my first as i had to split the stock between the lobster bisque & the risotto, it was still a very sweet & tasty dish. will improve next time. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

 

Good Ala Carte Buffet @ Peach Garden Miramar on 8May2014

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drunken chicken

went with sis, b-i-l & a friend to peach garden miramar on 8.5.2014. they were having a 3paying 1 free promotion for 4pax at S$30.80 weekdays. 🙂

#1 the drunken chicken was 1/2 frozen & did not look great (my one looked better..haha) but the taste was good! much better than mine. 🙂

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pork floss with deep-fried eggplant

#2 we all liked the pork floss & also the light battered egg plant, very nice dish! 🙂

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deep-fried soon hock

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deep-fried soon hock

#3 deep-fried soon hock was ok, above average, perhaps a little better than the recent one at ban heng on 25.4.2014, but not the best.

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pork ribs

#4 the pork ribs were flavourful. meat not the most tender, just slightly chewy, taste was good.

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crab sauce tofu

#5 crab sauce & tofu were good. look-wise seems something missing in this dish..maybe some garnish or greens.

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pating fish

#6 pating my favourite fish. this method of preparation not the best. the minced ginger or HK steamed style much better.

roast pork - below par!

roast pork – below par!

#7 it seemed really odd that a roast pork dish in such a restaurant could be bad, but it was, much below par!

char siew

char siew

#8 we were already very full when i spotted the char siew later & had to order it. this was very good! almost imperial treasure standard. 🙂

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losbter claw sharksfin soup

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sea cucumber sharksfin soup

#9 each diner was only allowed 1 order of soup. i had the lobster claw sharksfin soup. it was very average soup (not even as good as any lie tong aka soup of the day from tonglok restaurants or imperial treasure), and the sea cucumber sharksfin seemed no better.

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hotplate venison

#10 venison was very average, like any zi char stall.

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pan-fried kurobuta

#11 kurobuta itself was tender & tasty. this chinese way of preparation though not my favourite.

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dried scallop eggwhite fried rice

#12 fried rice was good, fragrant! 🙂

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yuzu prawn fritters

#13 these were very nice, much better than wasabi mayo prawns preparation. 🙂 may try these at home.

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fried scallop with french beans

#14 this was like a joke. the scallops turned out to be like 1 medium scallop (or maybe 1/2) sliced into 10 pieces. you need real skills to slice it so thinly. a case of disappearing scallop dish. 😦

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indonesian prawn

#15 surprisingly, the indonesian prawn dish was very good. prawn was good & fresh & the curry sauce was very good.

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tofu with vege

#16 this was ok, pretty standard.

brocoli & cauliflower

brocoli & cauliflower

#17 brocoli & cauliflower was very well done, very tasty! 🙂

overall food was quite good for an ala carte buffet, a lot better certainly c/w ban heng.

the service was good, efficient & friendly throughout except when paying the bill. we were charged a really hefty S$1.50pax for ice water & S$1pax for towels, so there was an extra S$10++ tab on the bill. it was a bit high but ok except that we asked specifically at the beginning when deciding whether to order tea & was told by the server that water was FREE, and tea was S$2.50pax. i told the girl closing the bill. she said water was as charged (next time i need to record the conversation. haha!). anyway, the total bill after 1pax free came to $120nett=S$30nett per pax so i was quite ok to just pay it.

i would come back again but buffets were very heavy & not ideal for me to do too often. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Best Meal at Lake Como @ Alle Darsene on 17Apr2014

7 lake fishes done in different ways

7 lake fishes done in different ways – 15euros

had the best meal at lake como at alle darsene on 17.4.2014. 🙂

alle darsene is located next to villa melzi, but it is on the other side, so a rather long walk from the bellagio ferry jetty. we had a leisurely morning & visited varenna (& the shopping). we walked on the narrow road just bordering villa melzi to reach alle darsene. on the way back we decided to just pay 9euro each & walk through villa melzi. ok la..it was but a pleasant stroll through the gardens. 🙂

our first order was the lake fishes (top photo), since we were at lake como. it was excellent, better even than that at daserna. all the 7 fishes, cured or smoked or pickled, as well as the roe, were all excellent. 2 thumbs up! 🙂

grilled octopus on a very tasty broth

grilled octopus on a very tasty broth – 15euros

and the grilled octopus, that was the best i had during this trip, better even than miky at monterosso, cinque terre. the broth was really good! i would recreate this at home, that is if i can find the octopus. 🙂

beef tartar with burrata & truffle - 15euros

beef tartar with burrata & truffle – 15euros

& the beef carpaccio was again par excellence. so sweet & tasty. my daughter & i loved it(though my wife was a bit off beef tartare). i could have this again! 🙂

fillet of sole pan seared then baked with lentils & mussels - 20euros

fillet of sole pan seared then baked with lentils & mussels – 20euros

and the fillet of sole was so good. even the lentils (though i don’t like too much of it) was very tasty with the sweet, lovely mussels. such great dish this! 🙂 i not so successful with western fish dishes except for my quite excellent cod, but i might try to do this as well. 🙂

very good catavelli with octopus, clams & muscles, excellent seafood broth - 16euros

very good catavelli with octopus, clams & mussels, excellent seafood broth – 16euros

the catavelli pasta was likewise excellent, and the octopus, clams, mussels & the seafood broth. 🙂 this i would also try to recreate.

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my daughter ordered a chocolate – so pretty

every single dish was excellent. this a restaurant i would not miss if i come again. 🙂

because of the location, it is inconvenient though for dinner if not staying at bellagio as there is a ferry to catch! 😦 that was why we changed our prior booking from dinner to lunch.

c.h.e.f andy

Good Dinner Set @ la Darsena Tremezzo on 16Apr2014

45euros pax menu darsena #1 selection of 5 lake fishes done different ways

45euros pax menu darsena #1 selection of 5 lake fishes done different ways

la perla’s proprietress was very friendly & enthusiastic. she made 2 restaurant recommendations for dinner on 16.4.2014. we picked la darsena, restaurant at hotel la daserna located at the road junction entering the main road coming from la perla b&b, and she made a reservation for us. 🙂

we went to pigra cable car at argegno after lunch & still found time to wonder through the beautiful villa carlotta and got back to la perla 6-ish, so dinner at darsena at 8pm was ‘perfecto’. 🙂

the owner’s son waited on us. a very friendly & helpful guy. he recommended some of their signature dishes & as couple of them were already on the 45euros pax 4-course menu darsena, we ordered 2 sets plus 1 order of pasta to share among the 3 of us.

food was overall good, quite above average, just did not bowl us over.

#1 the selection of 5 lake fishes done different ways (top photo) was their signature dish & really good, though personally i felt the one at the alle darsene lunch the next day was even better. this a dish i would pick if ordering ala carte. this seemed to be a popular starter dish in restaurants here & also in cinque terre.

45euros pax menu darsena #2 crispy perch fillet risotto

45euros pax menu darsena #2 crispy perch fillet risotto

#2 the crispy perch fillet risotto though was below expectation. texture-wise risotto were always done very well al dente in all the restaurants including darsena. taste-wise though we were expecting a bit more. the perch tasted quite dry & flat & the risotto was quite plain. portions in italy were quite large & i ended up taking more than i should 😦 to make up the smaller quantities my wife & daughter took.

seafood pasta - ala carte

seafood pasta – ala carte

the seafood pasta, also 1 of their recommendations, looked good but also tasted average or just better. spaghetti was the thicker version & somewhat less al dente. the dish was ok just not as tasty as expected.

45euros pax menu darsena #3 lemon sorbet

45euros pax menu darsena #3 lemon sorbet

#3 this 1/2 eaten lemon sorbet was excellent. the owner’s son said he owned a gelato stall further down the road & he made these himself & brought them over to serve at darsena. 🙂

45euros pax menu darsena #4  fillet of pork

45euros pax menu darsena #4 fillet of pork

#4 the fillet of pork was good actually. unfortunate not sure what was the combination of factors, i had either tired from the driving or taken too much of the risotto & pasta, or the wine, i was feeling drowsy & also not comfortable. in the end i took only 1 quarter off my plate & my wife & daughter were also too full to take any. the portions were also truly huge in italy. 🙂

45euros pax menu darsena #5 trio of desserts

45euros pax menu darsena #5 trio of desserts

#5 the dessert combo of custard with some crumble inside, apple tart & chocolate mousse was excellent. 🙂

overall, except for the crispy perch, i think it was actually a very good set for the price 45euros. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

 

Good Dinner (not Great) @ Fleur de Sel on 7May2014

le homard - poached lobster with lobster bisque

le homard – poached lobster with lobster bisque

had a pleasant & relaxing dinner chat with a close friend at fleur de sel on 7.5.2014. he was going to do some hiking at cinque terre & could not find his walking stick so i brought mine along for him. 🙂

i heard about fleur de sel from my wife’s good friend (who bought us an excellent dinner recently at the very artisan singapore fusion restaurant started by a 29 year old investment banker, labyrinth on 30.4.2014). seemed that the whole lobster, completely shelled at S$49++ was very good here. 🙂

my wife came by 2 nights ago with the same friend and took the S$88pax 4-course set menu. she felt that the escargot was not good, and it was not the cooking but the quality of the escargot itself – not sweet, tasty. 😦 she also felt the soup was average, the cod was ok good & the rhubarb dessert was good.

i was decided on the lobster for myself. when my good friend arrived, i gave him my wife’s feedback & suggested he took the other S$108 set instead, as the dinner was a belated celebration of his recently past birthday. anyhow he decided to join me to order a lobster each. looking at the menu i was not attracted by the appetisers, so i suggested we ordered a cod (main) & a lapin (rabbit) risotto main to share before starting the lobster. my friend though wanted only the cod. i got him to order a wine so he got himself a cloudy bay (white).

semi sour dough served with butter & del (salt)

semi sour dough served with butter & sel (salt)

we were served semi sour dough with butter, and advised we could dab the sel (salt) too. the restaurant name fleur de sel means flower of salt, apparently hand harvested (haha..what a description!) by workers who scrape only the top layer of salt before it sinks to the bottom of large salt pans. 🙂

one salt was flavoured with rosemary, the other with citron & something else. good fun…lol. 🙂 we tried the salt but our palate not sophi enough & they felt non-descript. the butter was ok average so we asked for some olive oil, which was very good, very fragrant extra virgin olive oil. 🙂

crab meat - amuse bouche

crab meat – amuse bouche

the amuse bouche was some crab meat, pretty good. 🙂

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pan seared atlantic cod

the pan seared atlantic cod was pretty good, though the cod was firm but did not feel so smooth & bouncy, somewhat different from the texture of cod i was accustomed with. it was served with some sauce so more a wetter version (not knowing how to describe!).

my own Nobu miso cod

my own Nobu miso cod

my own teriyaki cod

my own teriyaki cod

i  guessed it was a very good cod regards this method of preparation but for me personally, the satisfaction was not at the level i had with my own nobu miso cod & teriyaki cod (whereas by comparison the teriyaki cod at mikuni & at keyaki would of course be better than mine).

le homard - poached lobster with lobster bisque

le homard – poached lobster with lobster bisque

the shelled whole lobster in lobster bisque was very good (the dark photos above & top taken with my samsung s4 did not do justice to the dish). meat was fresh, sweet, tender & very tasty with the bisque. excellent dish this! 🙂

apple crumble with granitee dessert

apple crumble with granitee dessert

complimentary mini birthday cake

complimentary mini birthday cake

service was very good. server knew we were celebrating my friend’s birthday so brought a small cake with 1 lit candle. 🙂 it might have been expected of a good restaurant. still it was much appreciated as an important guesture that defined good service & training for a good restaurant. 🙂

the apple crumble was very average non descript.

Chef Alexandre Lozachmeur at work

Chef Alexandre Lozachmeur at work

the bill was S$198 for 2pax including 1 glass cloudy bay white & dessert.

overall, with the exception of the lobster, i would consider the food just average for this level of dining & prices. of course it would be much better than a usual eat. 🙂 on the lobster while it was really good & competitively priced, many restaurants, both chinese & western, are able to & indeed does the same, equally good & inexpensively priced.

if I made a comparison with labyrinth, the latter was a lot more artisan, creative, able to reproduce the flavours from ingredients that were beautifully assembled, tasted similar but looked entirely different from the usual singaporean dishes like chilli crab etc. however, some may consider paying (say) S$90nett for whole lobster etc better deal than paying for same for labyrinth’s set, creative or not! it is a very subjective thing.

won’t be back soon, but probably will have another go a bit more time later.

c.h.e.f andy

 

 

Enjoyable Lunch @ Sun with Moon on 7May2014

unagi & gyudon kamameshi set with kurobuta

unagi & gyu kamameshi set with kurobuta

went with wife to sun with moon at wheelock for lunch on 7.5.2014. last came to sun with moon wheelock 4 months ago on 7.1.2014. 🙂

there was a 20% discount promotion for kamameshi set so i picked the unagi & gyu set & picked a kurobuta side dish (came with the set including soup & pickles). we also added a chawanmushi & a salmon sashimi (S$3.50 for each item). my wife ordered a maki & a green tea mochi parfait. we shared all the food.

kurobuta side

kurobuta side

the kuobuta side dish was very good. there were 4 large slices of pork which came in a tasty broth. 🙂

unagi & gyudon kamameshi

unagi & gyu kamameshi

the kamameshi (釜饭) pot had a thick wooden cover, and they placed an hourglass for accurate timing….maybe 5mins not sure…

it was a very large helping. the rice was very fragrant, tasty & the unagi & beef were all good. 🙂

red bean mochi dessert

red bean mochi dessert

i ordered ice green tea which was included for the set & my wife added S$1 for her hot green tea. 🙂

green tea ice cream mochi parfait

green tea ice cream mochi parfait

the mochi parfait was still nice though the price went up from $4.90 couple years back to $6.80 now.

forgot to take photos of the maki (S$15) but it was quite good though not a must have item for us. after 20% discounts, the kamameshi set cost S$24. all in we paid S$60. the other place i used to go was kuriya dining at great world city. however recently, prices there had gone up quite a bit, and the lunch sets i liked are now priced at S$68pax instead of S$58pax, a 15% increase.

will come back for sure. the 20% discounts on kamameshi promotion will expire 31.5.2014.

c.h.e.f andy