RI Buddies 11pax Homecooked 11-course Chinese Dinner on 5May2014

wanted to try out some chinese dishes, so got my usual RI gang to be guinea pigs once again for an 11-course dinner for 11pax on 5.5.2014. 🙂

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500g paradiso cake from swissbake at 5th avenue

got a paradiso cake too from swissbake at 5th avenue to celebrate 1 of our friend’s birthday. 🙂

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#1 蒜泥白肉

i always find chinese cooking to be much more challenging than western (re my “worthwhile to do?” philosophy). i do a good steak, Nobu miso cod, teriyaki cod, and good pasta & paella, risotto etc, and sometimes comparable to a good restaurant even, sans the artisan garnishes, sides & plating etc. 🙂

many good chinese dishes are equally hard to do but not associated with fine dining (e.g. serving up a very good whole steamed fish does not usually evoke fine dining but serving a steamed cod fillet chinese or fusion style is somehow fine dining? or i guess there is a reason in that fine dining is about the entire experience & not just the food). much of it though i suspect is market forces & cultural programming about what fine dining is.

#1 蒜泥白肉. this a new dish for me. tried once with belly pork, and this evening with lean pork. i realised that the key was getting the right sauce recipe. the sauce this evening was excellent as everyone commented, mildly sweet, spicy, tasty sauce (we all used it for the 白斩鸡 which meant the 白斩鸡 was not tasty enough..lol). 🙂 need to improve on the dish & plating though. may try loin or neck, not sure, or go back to belly pork. 🙂

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#2 drunken chicken 醉鸡

#2 drunken chicken 醉鸡. this was done the same way as 白斩鸡 but 1 day ahead for the shao xing wine marinade (绍兴酒) to infuse. the new recipe i used produced a more tender juicy chicken with nice yellow colour. for this i cut chicken in 1/2, placed in boiling water (with spring onions, red onion, garlic, salt & some tumeric) & turned down to just more than a simmer for 10 minutes, left in the hot water for 15mins to 20mins, then transfer to a ice water bath. then marinade in 1 cup 绍兴酒 1/2cup chicken stock, 1 tablespoon sugar. 🙂

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#3 sous vide char siew (1 of 2 best dishes)

#3 sous vide char siew. this was 1 of 2 best dishes for the evening, i think everyone’s favourites. (the other was poor man’s buddha-jump-over-the-wall). 🙂 again the char siew marinade was key. i had the char siew marinated in a ziploc bag for 3days, then cooked in a marinade bath in oven at 90degC for 5hrs.

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#3 sous vide char siew (1 of 2 best dishes)

hmmm…ok i am still ogling this now. it had such wonderful flavours & melt-in-the-mouth texture. 🙂

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#4 白斩鸡

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#4 白斩鸡

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#4 白斩鸡

#4 白斩鸡. same method as drunken chicken, but i brined the chicken in water with salt & sugar first for 2 days. water molecules would infuse the chicken by diffusion & sugar & salt molecules by reverse osmosis, so the chicken would be moist (as in above photos) & tender & also tasty. 1 friend commented the texture was very good, better than the drunken chicken. however in managing so many dishes i forgot to add a touch of fish sauce to bring out the taste further. i did this the next day on some leftovers for a portion i kept for my daughter & it was excellent. 🙂

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#5 盐水鸭

#5 盐水鸭. this dish was my very first attempt & it turned out superbly well, a wonderfully flavoured dish, which everyone commented. 🙂 again the marinade was the key. i googled a recipe & marinated the duck for 24hrs. was initially supposed to do a tea smoked duck using the 5hr liquid bath sous vide method (like the char siew) but it worked better with breast & i always had leftover duck legs so decided to experiment the new 盐水鸭 dish with leftover duck legs. 🙂

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#6 poor man’s buddha-jump-over-the-wall (bjotw)

#6 poor man’s buddha-jump-over-the-wall (bjotw). this was my best attempt so far, excellent, very flavourful & intense, as all my friends commented. 🙂 just pig trotters, mushrooms, belly pork, and limpets masquerading as abalones..lol. 🙂 the soup was running low for 11 bowls but i did not want to add chicken stock which would dilute the intense flavours.

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#7 HK steamed garoupa

#7 HK steamed garoupa. this had been like a reliable, “always good”, “staple” dish & the garnishing & sauce were still good but unfortunately the fish was somehow not the best. i had gotten it from chinatown 2 days before & they had always been good & but let down on this occasion. sigh. 😦

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#8 romaine lettuce with fermented bean curd 腐乳油麦菜

#8 romaine lettuce with fermented bean curd 腐乳油麦菜. this was what was served in almost all zi char restaurants & a really excellent one i had was at kok sen at kiong siak street. 🙂 this evening my version was quite ok with some wok hae, not too salty & still with the nice taste of the fermented bean curd.

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#9 my version of pineapple prawns

pineapple prawns

the real thing – shin yeh’s pineapple prawns

#9 pineapple prawns. was trying to rehash shin yeh’s dish…lol. both prawns & pineapples tasted ok i guessed. plating was million miles behind…haha. 🙂 satisfaction as a dish i guess was quite behind my dry wok prawns, but good to have variation and not same dish everytime.

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#10 miso lamb chops

#10 miso lamb chops.  this my very first attempt. i do a good pistachio crusted rack of lamb but no other variations, so decided to do a 3day miso marinade on a cheap frozen lamb cut & coincide the 5hr sous vide bath in 90degC oven with the char siew (to save electricity). 90degC is also the optimum temperature (fastest) for conversion of collagen the tough connective tissues to gelatine with excellent texture & flavours. 🙂

the result was a very tasty flavourful lamb. the miso was not enough to cover or remove the very strong gamey taste (or we say “hiang” or “bah woo” in teochew=not a good thing) but it was tasty nonetheless though many who did not take lamb for that reason would likely not like this. 🙂

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#11 HK steamed chicken, mushrooms, chinese sausage rice

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#11 HK steamed chicken, mushrooms, chinese sausage rice

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#11 HK steamed chicken, mushrooms, chinese sausage rice

#11 HK steamed chicken, mushrooms, chinese sausage rice. this was a very easy dish to make. the key again was the marinade for the chicken & the drizzling sauce, & i took my wife’s feedback & bought some xo chinese sausages (cost 2x the red wine sausages but nothing c/w – like 25% the cost of – spanish chorizo..lol..). chicken was marinated 1 day before, and once rice cooker starts to steam just add in sausage, chicken & mushrooms. and voila! the chicken was extremely tender & tasty & the sausage super nice…could see how 1 friend was walloping them…haha. 🙂

can improve further. anyway a very fun evening with very good friends & very shiok ie satisfying for me. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

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Trip Planning, Airbnb, Holland Pass, Restaurants & Sights 13-15Apr2014

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haarlemmerplein at night

this my last post on amsterdam.

wife did good trip planning & reserved a haarlemmerdijk apartment via airbnb. it was a huge apartment with 1 bedroom, big hall, full kitchen (with great coffee maker & coffee & tea provided) & dining, great toilets & showers, and was located in amsterdam’s famous jordan district. its a diverse happening place, filled with fashion boutiques, interior decor shops, cheese, specialty food, dining, cafe & of course amsterdam’s famous coffeeshops, just a stroll from amsterdam central station along haarlemmerstraat linking into haarlemmerdijk. 🙂

we purchased the holland pass online, and i bought the 5 tickets pass for 49.50 euors (5% discounts online). it came with a free train connection from schipol airport to amsterdam central (4euros) & a free 24hr city bus ride (7euros). considering that i had used 2 gold tickets for keukenhof (15euros) & rijksmesuem (15euros), & 2 silvers for schipol-keukenhof return bus connection (9euros) & 100 highlights canal cruise (15.5euros), i would say it was well worth it.

we brought a huawei 3g/4g mifi with us (lent to us by my wife’s good friend) and bought a lebara 1gb sim card at schipol (it’s also available in shops around town). so we stayed connected throughout & my daughter became expert in google map guiding us to beulings & zazas (we took the trams) where we had made prior dinner reservations, and also during the waterland cycling trip. 🙂

we made some miscalculations & was not able to get the bikes at zaandan station to cycle at zaanse schans, but otherwise everything went smoothly. 🙂

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cheese - really excellent cheese here

cheese – really excellent cheese here

we were slightly early on checking in. fortunately haarlemmerdijk had many cafes around every corner. 🙂  cheese shops too.

the cruise terminal next to amsterdam central

the cruise terminal next to amsterdam central

multi-storey bicycle park next to amsterdam central

multi-storey bicycle park next to amsterdam central

beautiful amsterdam central station opened in 1889 & handles 250,000 passengers/day

beautiful amsterdam central station opened in 1889 & handles 250,000 passengers/day

after visiting zaanse schans windmill country on my first day arrival on 13.4.2014, we went to holland international terminal in front of beautiful amsterdam central train station, & queued 45mins for the 100 highlights cruise.

rihksmeseum - taken using my samsung s4 4x magnification from tram

rihksmeseum – taken using my samsung s4 4x magnification from tram

i amsterdam in front of rijksmeseum

i amsterdam in front of rijksmeseum

nightwatch

night watch

an old woman reading

an old woman reading

after seeing the dazzling keukenhof gardens on 14.4.2014, we went to rijksmeseum, saw rembrandt’s night watch & an old woman reading, such incredible details. 🙂

city trams - we got quite used to taking them

city trams – we got quite used to taking them

we used the trams a lot to get from our apartment to amsterdam central & to get to the restaurants beulings & zazas, so made full use of the 24hr pass. 🙂

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herons scavenging in the streets – on our way to zazas

we saw herons scavenging on the streets on our way to zazas on our second evening on 14.4.2014. flea market or something in the day?

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dam square – on the left is madame tussaud’s

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dam square

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dam square

after 1/2 day cycling to waterland on 15.4.2014, we had some time to spare before dinner. wife & daughter went to madame tussaud’s at dam square to use up the last 2 holland pass tickets.

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down the road from dam square toward de wallen, the red light district

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canal along oudezijds voorburgwal where de wallen is located

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canal along oudezijds voorburgwal where de wallen is located

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canal along oudezijds voorburgwal where de wallen is located

hashish & marijuana meseum

hashish & marijuana meseum

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sex shops in de wallen

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sex shops in de wallen

i took a stroll down towards the canal to see amsterdam famous de wallen red light district ( i was last here in 1980 after my final exams when studying in england). it was late afternoon so no activity only sex shops & weed museum…haha. 🙂

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back to dam square

walked back to dam square. was walking across the road & tripped & fall mid way.  had a cut at the brow & bled, broke the frame of  my new specs (fortunately i brought spares), and had 2 balukus (swellings) on my chin & below the eye. fortunately it was just a shallow cut and only thing that was badly bruised was my ego. passersby were very helpful & a shopkeeper gave me tissues & let me cleaned up in his toilet. getting clumsy too soon. sigh!

c.h.e.f andy

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