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. 🙂

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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

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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

 

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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.

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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. 🙂

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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