Monthly Archives: May 2015
6-course Early Anniversary Dinner for 4pax at Home on 28May2015
wanted to do an anniversary dinner for my wife & children. the logistics was such that it would be easier to do it earlier & then have dinner out with my wife on the actual day. hence 28.5.2015.
during our recent cornwall travels, we had great lunch at porthminster at st ives on 14.5.2015. we had a superb mussels & a charming roasted pineapples dessert.
also i saw the wonderful photos of a flamed squid in spinach sauce and a curry monkfish. so those were the dishes i had initially planned to do. i experimented on some dishes prior to 28.5.2015. 🙂
my mussels though did not turned up so great(blame it on the cheap local mussels from sheng shiong..haha!), so i decided on a carrot soup.
i tried a thai yellow curry for the first time, planning to replace monkfish with cod. & though the curry turned up beautifully (both looks & taste), my wife & i felt that cod was such a nice fish we should not overpower it with strong curry. so i decided to do a steamed cod instead.
#1 calamari & oyster fritters
as i was doing carrot soup, i decided to pair it with some oyster fritters, and since i am already at it (oil for deep fry, cornflower, egg & breadcrumb), might as well throw in some calamari.^^
i rolled the lightly seasoned oysters & calamari (squid) in corn flour, then egg, then breadcrumb. then placed them (just 4 or 5 pieces) in about 5cm hot oil a small sauce pan (to use less oil).
the oyster fritters were excellent, i must say, and first time i made them this way. i liked the calamari too, just cooked right nice texture, not rubbery & tough.
#2 cream of carrot soup
i have done-
this was the very first time i did cream of carrot soup.
& it was excellent!^^ it was silky smooth & tasty, among the best soup i made.
i added a lot of sliced/cut vegetables – 1 onion, 1 stalk leek, 1 red pepper, 2 carrots (plus some leftover stems from spinach). i fried them in butter till soft, added 2 cups of chicken stock & boiled for further 20mins. then i used a blender to blend & added salt & pepper to taste.
when about to serve, i added 3 tablespoon thick cream, and i have some chopped basil from my garden.
#3 flamed squid in spinach sauce
this was the best dish of the evening, quite exquisite if i may say so, maybe alongside the soup.
the squid was done just right, excellent texture & taste, and with the bbq flamed flavours. & the sauce was exquisite. ^^
i only saw the photos in the cookbook at porthminster. when i tried to google, there was nothing to be found, perhaps porthminster’s australian chef michael smith is not so famous. haha!
so i invented the recipe myself. practice made perfect though, so i had 1 practice some days before.
i cross cut (very closely) a large squid into 4 pieces (about 9cmx6cm), placed them on a pan & torched. i knew that’s was not enough to cook the squid, so fried them in butter afterwards.
for the sauce, again i used lots of vegetable to make it so tasty. i fried in butter 1/2 onion, 1/2 stalk leek, 1 green pepper & a bunch of spinach leafs. then i placed them in a blender & added 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil & salt & pepper to taste. such a wonderful sauce complementing the flamed squid.
#4 steamed cod with olive oil &soy sauce + wood fungus
there was not much to do regards the cod. i had done this once before & i know the simple olive oil with light soy sauce with chicken stock made a terrific stock base for the steamed cod.
the cod was really wonderful. wife & children liked it very much.
for me & for my youngest daughter though, we still like the equally tasty teriyaki cod better.
one mistake i made was with the wood fungus. first time i was doing this. apparently this was the wrong fungus. it was the crunchy type & not suitable. if i had looked more thoroughly i would have found the small ones in the shelves.
#5 pan-grilled lobster
this was an easy dish to make. however i did not do it right this time & the lobster was overcooked & just slightly tough. wife & daughters said lobster was very tasty & flavourful but i knew meat being just right & being tough made a whole world of difference.
i bought 2x375g frozen canadian cooked lobster=S$26.95 at cold storage.
i cut the lobster in halves & shelled the pincers & legs. i put a lobe of butter in the pan & when it was very hot, i placed the lobster flat on the pan. then i added 2 tablespoon of brandy & flamed. the method was right, but i just did it a bit too long.
#6 roasted pineapples
i tried to reproduce the roasted pineapples. this i didn’t practice, just use my imagination. unfortunately it was nothing like what we had at porthminster. haha!
i torched the thick sliced pineapples. then i stewed them in lychee syrup.
i served it with surprising coconut from daily scoop & lychees, and wife roasted some coconut flakes.
i guess it was immensely edible. anyway we were just eating fruit & ice cream so didn’t quite know what it was about.
nothing like the experience of the real thing – st ives porthminster chef michael smith’s roasted pineapples.^^
6-course Wagyu OR Seafood Set @ En Grill & Bar on 28May2015
saw on groupon a S$38 6-course wagyu set at en grill & bar & decided to go with a friend.
happened that another friend from sydney was in singapore at the time. my friend got his wife to join also, so in the end we had 4pax dinner at en grill on 28.5.2015.^^
i made sure i made the reservations before i bought the groupon deal. 🙂
the last time i came here was in 2008 & my family sat at the bar area. i remember because there were flat screens & i watched safina & ivanovic for the first time & ivanovic won her one & only grand slam at roland garros that year. never been the same since.
today we sat at the restaurant side. 3 of us picked the wagyu set (okinawan wagyu) & 1 the seafood set.
6-course wagyu set
#1 wagyu salad
we started with the standard japanese salad with ponzu dressing which i always like. there were like 3 thin slices of wagyu, quite marbled & sweet i guess, not much impact.
#2 wagyu meatball, tataki & misoyaki
very tiny helpings. they supposed to add up i guess.
wagyu meatball was ok. the crouton went pretty ok with the tomato sauce too.
wagyu tataki was excellent, marbled & flavourful.
the misoyaki? quite odd..didn’t taste anything, like any roast beef.
#3 wagyu foie gras &mini burger
this was quite excellent!
liked the roasted sweet potatoes.
the wagyu was well marbled & tasty. not everyone agreed though. 1 friend thought it tasted like satay beef. i didn’t feel that though, & the beef was great for my taste. 🙂
and the grilled onions infused much of the taste, very good. didn’t feel much of the foie gras, maybe we were busy talking.
the wagyu mini burger was excellent!^^
i can have this again. good that it’s so small, i finished all the carbs. haha! 🙂
#4 wagyu roasted sumiyaki
a slightly thicker slice!
don’t know about the orange sauce. the wagyu was well marbled & flavourful. i felt the orange sauce diminished it. not that the sauce was not nice, but i rather have the grilled, intense wagyu taste.
#5 wagyu ragu pasta
it’s more braised beef than ragout tagliatelle. i guess it was ragout sauce + braised beef. well, as good as a braised wagyu could be. very nice pasta really.
6-course seafood set
#1 sashimi salad with truffle miso
1 friend had the 6-course seafood set. didn’t ask but it looked like the same salad with cube-cut sashimi maguro, salmon & maybe kajiki (swordfish). looked good.
#2 tako carpaccio, hotate bainiku &oyster salsa
this looked very appetising. the sliced scallop with plum jelly on cucumber quite interesting.
#3 gindara teriyaki &mini chicken burger
the friend was very impressed with the chicken mini burger she mentioned several times during dinner & afterwards on FB that it was one of the best burgers she had.^^
the gindara like some of the wagyu servings was really thin to feel much impact.
#4 seafood mentaiko yaki (prawn, oyster & hotate)
japanese shellfish grilled in shells not my favourite preparation. for me, oysters should be taken raw, though occasionally breaded oysters can be quite nice, and scallops pan-fried. however, all these looked grilled (& maybe flamed) & may in fact have been grilled with mentaiko then plated on the shells. if so they should be quite tasty & flavourful.
#5 uni angel hair pasta
the uni & ikura capellini was excellent. ^^
this the only one from my friend’s set i tasted. very flavourful, matching gordon grill’s and other places. i would be quite happy overall to take this seafood set.
#6 cheese cake with yuzu sorbet
both sets came with cheese cake & yuzu sorbet. the yuzu sorbet was superb, just love it!^^
cheese cake was the usual soft textured japanese cheese cake, which i like also. 🙂
overall, it was very good value set for S$38nett. as a great set meal i will certainly do this again.
for the purpose of having a good steak fix, the wagyu set did not really deliver a steak experience, not like what we had at-
- arossa (closed), or
- me@oue or
- at prime society
i guess that’s not comparing apple for apple.
A Relaxing Birthday Dinner at Tunglok Signature @ Central on 27May2015
last evening, my close dentist friend and godsis & her husband arranged a birthday dinner for another close friend at tunglok signature @ central on 27.5.2015. ^^
my wife & i & another friend joined dinner so there were 7pax.
birthday was several weeks before but some of us were away, anyway it was just fun to get together.
godsis was feeling rich & happy, and displayed great teamwork with her hubby, and managed to best my dentist friend to grab the bill at the end of dinner. 🙂
i just had salted egg prawns & roast pork烧肉 at a 13pax RI friends G20 dinner at peach garden @ metropolis the evening before, and that was good too.
we can see from the photos that the presentation & colours of the 2 dishes at tunglok were better. taste-wise they were close – the roast pork烧肉 about same, the salted egg prawns maybe tunglok a tad better. 🙂
we had the deep-fried cod fish fillet that seemed to be salted egg flavoured also. it was a well executed dish, somewhat oily. not really a preferred preparation for me.
the same dentist friend & mei mei had a birthday dinner for me in 2013 here at this same tunglok outlet. we had star garoupa fillet with broccoli & lily bulbs & that was very good. of course for me, steamed fish is the best. haha!^^
we had the elegant 三层楼, which is a tunglok’s long standing dish of fried bean curd on spinach & shimeji mushrooms.
there was a newer dish of charcoal tofu with lily bulbs 百合.
both tofu dishes were very nice!
next was a string beans with egg plant. just mildly spicy (if any at all) & quite nicely done.
another dish was a bit unusual combination, some squash with japanese edamame & slightly sweet sauce. can’t figure out this dish.
as it was a birthday, the restaurant provided complimentary longevity buns 流沙寿桃.
they were presented together with the cake mei mei bought, and handwritten “calligraphy” by a talented restaurant manager. haha!
the message changes according to occasions, so the guy must have a whole bookcase of them. haha!^^
i didn’t know the price as mei mei paid for it, estimate about S$175 or S$25pax
RI Friends G20 13pax Dinner at Peach Gardens @ Metropolis on 26May2015
had a fun dinner get together among RI friends at peach garden @ metropolis on 26.5.2015. ^^
happened to be the same friend who organised G20 dinner 2 years ago also at peach garden (@ novena), aug2013.
come to think of it, this was the 3rd time we had G20 dinners at peach garden in as many years. the most recent was at peach garden @ miramar on 30.6.2014, almost 1 year ago.
many of us had not been to metropolis. 1 who had been associated it with MOE as he is a professor at NUS. for another in a brokerage firm, it was CDP that came to mind.
i parked at the openair carpark before metropolis building, very well located next to the bus stop & MRT. there was a lift that took me to level 2 right by peach garden. 🙂
place was new so looked somewhat better than previously at novena & also at miramar. the ala carte buffet menu with 1 free for 3 paying is for steamboat, so we decided to take the ala carte menu instead.
we ordered the roast pork烧肉, a recommended dish. it was good, same standard as the usual places like crystal jade, imperial trasure, tunglok & canton paradise.
we were deciding between peking duck & roast duck. they were same price , i think S$56 for 1 duck. more went for roast duck, which was also my preference.
roast duck was good too, very flavourful & tender, & skin was crisp. it was no better than canton paradise. i think the latter still more fragrant & tasty, my gold standard. haha!^^
soon hock was S$9/100g. we had 12pax (+ one who came a bit later on), so we ordered a 1kg fish.
i always preferred steam for a very fresh live fish to deep-fried, which is like second best. soon hock was excellently done, very tender, smooth, tasty.
i was quite wary i.e. distrustful (& weary) of peach garden’s wasabi prawns. it once came with a ton of green wasabi mayo. but looking back at the 2013 photos actually it was not bad. anyhow we ordered the salted egg prawn, which was very good too, though not quite my favourite. 🙂
a friend ordered the claypot tofu with naibai 奶白. a simple dish but really quite well executed!^^
& we had the chinese cabbage (jinbai 津白i think) with enoki mushrooms. again a very simple dish & very tastefully (both sight & taste) done indeed! 🙂
egg white dried scallops fried rice is quite a standard dish in many good chinese restaurants. i used to love it a lot at imperial treasure nanbei, especially with the xo chilli sauce.
somehow this one didn’t wow, quite average to me, not much wok hae. i think i can do better than that myself. my favourite now is the spicy seafood fried rice at crystal jade la mian xiaolongbao.^^
a friend managed to reach when we were down to the second last dish, so he ordered a fried kuay teow. looked ok i guess, like the usual fare.
the sesame red bean pancake was another standard dish. it was done pretty nicely – look & certainly taste also.
the last item was the custard bun. pretty good but i kind of tired of them (like i was tired of the crispy charsiew bao at timhowan).
a very enjoyable dinner & evening with friends.
the price came to S$414 nett for 13pax after a 15% credit card discount=S$32nett. of course we did not order much food too. we did not order expensive ingredients so these were average dishes but very well executed. price was ok, about there i guess.
Land’s End Hike from Sennen Cove on 9May2015
after a wonderful hike at porthgwara, we rested at porthgwara cove cafe & enjoyed some crnish cream tea. ^^
actually i was less than enthused.
this cornish cream tea/devonshire cream tea thingy is just scones & clotted cream. when i read up, they say in america the fat content of clotted cream will make it by definition butter!
it was already nearing 2pm. the weather was holding out. we were uncertain if the glorious sunshine would continue, so we decided to drive on to sennen cove and hike to land’s end. ^^
on the way we stopped by for a very cheap but mediocre (i guess not much to complain about) £5 cod & chips at a pub. 🙂
when we reached sennen cove, parked & started hiking, the sky started to become downcast though. 😦
a very pleasant hike along the southwestern coast path.
looking back at picturesque sennen cove & towards the north, cape cornwall was in the distance.
looking southwards is land’s end, the most westerly point of cornwall and england. ^^
there was a steeper short climb up mayon cliff to the mayon old coastguard lookout.
nearer to land’s end peninsula.
lots of rock formation & geology. 🙂
a relaxing walk, a bit overcast sky.
looking north to cape cornwall in the distance. 🙂
the craggy coastline to land’s end peninsula.
we could see land’s end, dr syntax’s head on peel point further out to sea & dr johnson’s head.
we did not venture for a closer look, but apparently there a rock formation that looked exactly like a head with a protruding chin, and somehow named after a fictional headmaster.
the first & last house resting point at land’s end. 🙂
looking at land’s end & dr syntax’s head northwards from the other side.
at land’s end, we rested a while at the first & last house. 🙂
the glorious sunshine in the morning had passed, sky was overcast, foggy & photo lighting a bit low.
we walked back to sennen cove.
it was a very nice hike even though we could not keep the sunshine.
we had a coffee & shared some bites. after that we drove back & was happy to be back at our very nice glencree house b&b. 🙂
glencree house proprietor booked tolcarn inn at newlyn for us. having rested, we drove a short distance to newlyn & had a really great fish dinner at tolcarne inn!^^
Fish & Chips on 9May2015
after porthgwarra, we took a short drive to sennen cove on 9.5.2015.
it was past 2.30pm. sun was still bright.
we saw a sign for fish & chips. we turned into a carpark next to a pub restaurant & saw a sign lunch specials:£5 cod & chips outside the shop.
inside, a blackboard said the same thing.
it was a nice pub. wife ordered a draft beer.
the £5 cod & chips was still available even though past lunch time.^^
it was just average. & a huge portion. chips were not tasty, peas not great here too. i added a lot of vinegar & salt. haha!
fish was actually ok, but like wife said, cod here is just white fish, somehow a low grade white fish. i wonder.
still, this was no worse than poppies fish & chips, the best in london, maybe this was better!
Cream Tea & Porthgwarra Hike on 9May2015
porthgwarra (in cornish means a very wooded cove) is in fact quite accessible from porthcurno, probably an hour’s walk along the southwest coast path.
we were not certain of the weather & the terrain, so decided to head back to our car after reaching st leaven’s church.
so after minack theatre & the short porthcurno hike, we took a drive instead to porthgwarra. the access road is tricky as for quite a long stretch it is only 1 car width. it seems pure chance that 2 vehicles do not ended head to head & having to reverse (couldn’t imagine how?) but i guess probability of that is low because so few vehicles. there are intervals where there are wider space for 2 vehicles to cross. still we manage to reach & leave portgwarra w/o any difficult manoeuvres.
apparently porthgwarra cove & the winch & slipway are privately owned, though public are allowed to use them.
porthgwarra cove cafe is left of this building & there is a large carpark beyond that which the cafe proprietress charged £2 for the parking. quite ok.
we followed the signs & got up to the southwest coast path.
looking down, some kids were playing hide & seek at a cave tunnel below. seems that there were more tunnels at the foot of the cove’s slipway is a tunnel dug by tin miners from St Just to give farmers horse-and-cart access to the beach to collect seaweed to use as a fertiliser.
we were blessed with glorious sunshine. the walk was very pleasant, good wind, not too chilly.
for this section, the walk was quite gentle, not too much difficulty.
we reached the gwennap head lookout station (national coast watch institution).
maybe in the distance is land’s end. the southwest coast path would lead us to land’s end. at our slow progress maybe 1.5hrs. but we were being conservative, uncertain about the sudden change in weather & not wanting to trek back to the car if we went too far. so we decided to turn back & drive to sennen cove afterwards & walked from there to land’s end.
there were these red & black cones along the ridge. we were wondering what they were & the use?
it was until later that i learned that they are “Trinity House navigation daymarks on Gwennap Head”, and “When the red cone obliterates the black and white one the observer at sea is directly above the dangerous Runnel Stone”. wow!
we shared one £5.25 cream tea at the porthgwarra cove cafe.^^
we were not so enthused with this cornish cream tea/devonshire cream tea thingy. just scones & clotted cream. when i read up, they say in america the fat content of clotted cream will make it by definition butter! i do like butter & especially homemade name/fruit preserve etc so i am ok with scones & butter/jam. one is quite enough though. these scones a bit of the crumbly type & not really so “pang” aka tasty.
The Best Breakfast, Excellent Host & Stay at Glencree House B&B on 9-12May2015
after picking up our car from keddy upon arrival at penzance station, we drove 1.1miles (according to googlemap) to glencree house bed & breakfast in like 5 mins.
wife booked this place for the next 3 nights, 9-12.5.2015. it was an excellent choice.
andrew, the host, was really friendly, cheerful & helpful. he was very busy of course managing the breakfast. the settee was not occupied, and later as he cleared 1 table, he welcomed us to take from the breakfast spread. we took some coffee.
lynsey guided us to couple maps from the bookshelf & andrew told us we could take them with us in our car. we forgot to return the maps when we checked out on 12.5.2015 for st ives. so on 14.5.2015, after leaving st ives, we passed by glencree house & returned the maps. 🙂
breakfast was as good as shown on the B&B website!
we later checked into trevose harbour house B&B at st ives, which was another excellent & much more luxurious B&B. breakfast was almost identical though trevose had a bit more expensive stuff, but we both agreed the breakfast at glencree was better. must be andrew’s cooking!^^
we had breakfast for 3 days. for the first breakfast on 10.5.2015, my wife had the smoked salmon on scrambled eggs.
it was good, but obviously my big breakfast was better, so my wife switch to that for the next 2 days.
no need to ask why big breakfast? 2 sausages, 2 back bacon, 2 over easy, good helping of button mushrooms, 1 large tomato, & beans.
the farm sausages & baked beans i could do without so i skipped those the next 2 days. this guy’s over easy really good standard. haha! 🙂
i liked the kellogg’s fruit & fibre very much.
well, actually i liked the strawberries & blueberries very much!
& they go so well with the kellogg’s fruit & fibre.
on the second day i also had the bread. i liked especially the homemade jam, fruit preserve.
we had a really excellent & enjoyable stay at glencree house. 🙂
room was ok. ours on level 3. room was not big but quite ok. bed & bedding were ok. good coffee bags & lots of tea. toilet was small but ok. towel reel was heated in the evening. we never used the tv. wifi in room was ok, sometime a bit slow. basic room really, well provided for the price. we were happy with it.
Minack Theatre & Porthcurno Hike on 9May2015
we were greeted with a morning of glorious sunshine on 9.5.2015. ^^
after depositing our luggage at the glencree house B&B, excellent place we would be staying for the next 3 days, we drove 9miles to minack theatre. 🙂
there was a large free carpark. we paid the £4.50 entrance fee. these days we view entrance fee as contribution to upkeep a place people want to visit (which is exactly what is for!), so we think only whether we want to visit a place, not the entrance fees. haha!^^
minack theatre is literally an open-air theatre carved out of granite cliffs at porthcurno!
it’s the most famous cliffside open-air theatre in Britain, possibly in the world.
we could see the lizard peninsula & lizard point in the distance. 🙂
& porthcurno beach. 🙂
it was the work & devotion of rowena cade, who owned & started the project in the 1930s.
many concerts were held at this place & continues to do so. 🙂
there is a route leading down to porthcurn0 beach. 🙂
very small beach!
we took the southwest coast path, access from the minack theatre carpark. such a wonderful walk! 🙂
the meadows. i learned that meadow is an unwooded grassland primarily for making hay & not for livestock grazing.^
this is porthchapel beach.
we walked through the farm.
& arrived at st levan’s church. 🙂
we took the road back to minack theatre.
that’s the view of st levan’s church from up the road.
it was a short walk back to minack theatre, like 1/2 mile.
we arrived where we started, the garden landscape & carpark entrance to minack theatre. such a wonderful morning walk.
after porthcurno, we drove further to porthgwarra. it was a bit of a u-turn in terms of the route, about 3.5miles.
Sleeper Train & Car Rental – Cornwall Holiday Planning on 8-9May2015
wife planned the cornwall trip & the journey to penzance.^^
we took the sleeper train from paddington at 23.45pm on 8.5.2015 & arrived next morning 7.55am at penzance, cornwall. 🙂
it was a good plan. penzance is a great base to explore cornwall. we walked-
the minack theatre, porthcurno, porthgwaraa, sennen cove & land’s end on 9.5.2015;
cape cornwall, botallack mines & dined at gurnard’s head restaurant on 10.5.2015;
the lizard peninsula, starting from kynance cove to lizard point to lizard village & back kynance cove 11.5.2015;
st michael’s mount in the morning before driving to st ives on 12.5.2015.
after day we spent 2 nights at st ives.^^
the advantages are that –
(1) the day journey london to penzance takes 5hrs & cost £215 while the sleeper takes 8hrs, we arrived fresh & no time lost & it cost £100 more per trip (i.e. per night). we had separate cabins (connecting cabins onward journey non connecting return journey). the double bed sleeper cabins were full otherwise the cost is £70 a night no more than a B&B. 🙂
breakfast was like irrelevant.
(2) we did not want to drive long distances & picking up car from penzance, we drove less than 200miles in 6days, very short distances & quite perfect for us at our age.
we picked up a VW Gold at europcar located right at penzance station. it was a manual car. the automatic cost like 2x more!
we booked the car from rental cars.com which is like a broker/consolidator. the actual rental company was keddy (euorpcar). we guess keddy is like a second brand for europcar.
the car rental price was not that much different, however the waiver of excess insurance by rental cars.com was like 1/2 of keddy & europcar. actually we can claim excess from our usual travel insurance, but usually we just took up the insurance anyway to have less hassle. in this case we found out only at keddy that it does not actually, so it served no purpose to take up the insurance. this was because it was not excess insurance by keddy but by a third party rental cars.com so we would have to pay excess of £1000 & still claim from rentalcars.com. might as well claim from amex.
anyway, journey was smooth & not a scratch. i made sure i took all the photos for record when we returned the car & dropped the key at penzance.^^
Son Made Dinner for Mom & Dad on 17May2015
son made a really yummy dinner for us on 17.5.2015. ^^
we were flying back to singapore on 18.5.2015. 🙂
2 days before he went to chinatown to buy the guo tie 锅贴 because my wife wanted it. 🙂
the guo tie 锅贴 was really yummy! i wonder if i could get the same from qoo10?
apparently son had a ottenlenghi cookbook. he was telling us about pan charring the broccoli on high heat. 🙂
he also made some carrots & onions.
& cooked the quinoa. that’s who my wife learned from, so these days we cart back the quinoa & wife cooked that often for her packet lunch & my dinners.^^
the quinoa, broccoli, carrots & onions dish was really good! not sure if it is a ottolenghi recipe?
but the guo tie 锅贴 was the best.
i didn’t know the cooking method previously until i last visited son in august2014 & he cooked guo tie 锅贴 for me. son said just follow instructions. 🙂
you actually add water & oil in a frying pan (seems counter intuitive but that is the standard method) & place the guo tie 锅贴. so the guo tie 锅贴 is cooked as the water evaporated & when oil is left guo tie 锅贴 is cooked & browned.
so simple. so yummy!
after the guo tie 锅贴 & quinoa & wine, we had cheese jam & frozen grapes.
a most enjoyable dinner with wife & son before departing for singapore next day.
Anniversary Dinner Dishes Experimentation on 20May2015
i am doing 5 dishes for our coming 29th anniversary.^^
flamed squid in spinach saucy
pan grilled lobster
4 of the dishes (excluding lobster) were inspired by our lunch @ porthminster cafe at st ives.
i experimented on 3 of the dishes today on 20.5.2015.^^
i saw the photos of the monkfish curry & flamed squid at michael smith’s porthminster cafe. cannot find the recipe on google. i guess the chef is not that famous. so i tried to recreate the dishes w/o the recipe. 🙂
my wife’s friend who came for dinner twice bought me a kitchen torch. that was more than a year ago. never used it yet.
i tested it, pretty easy to use. 🙂
after i cross-cut the squid & seasoned with fish sauce & white pepper, i flamed it on a frying pan. quite smooth going. i knew it was not sufficiently cooked. so i fry in butter over high heat. the key was not to overcook the squid or it would become tough & chewy.
i created my own spinach sauce recipe using 1/2 onions finely sliced, 1/2 green pepper cut into small pieces, and a bunch of spinach (only the leaves). i fry in butter the green pepper & onions, & added 1tsp of garlic & 1 tsp light soy sauce. when the onions & green pepper softened, i added the spinach leaves. then i emptied them into the blender & added 2 tablespoon olive oil. i did not have chicken stock so i opened a can of straw mushrooms & used about 2 tablespoon brine from the canned mushrooms.
the sauce was really good. first class!
when serving, i heat up the spinach sauce, plated it & placed the flamed squid on top.^^
hasn’t got the looks of st ives porthminster chef michael smith’s flamed squid. the dish overall was superb!^^
to give bulk & colour, i cut 2/3 of a yellow pepper to small pieces, 1/2 onions thinly sliced, & the leftover stalk of the spinach in small 1cm cuts. i fried them in butter to soften, added 1 tsp light soy sauce & 1 tsp chopped garlic, 2 tablespoon olive oil & some brine from the straw mushrooms and then blend.
i added 2 tablespoon of coconut cream to a pan, heat to boil then added 1.5tablespoon of thai yellow curry bought from sheng shiong, and fried the paste to get the aroma. then i added the blend & more coconut milk.
the yellow curry (above photo) was really flavourful & yummy!^^
i bought mussels & manila clams from sheng shiong. there were no more mussels in the aerated water so i picked up a packet mussels from the chiller display section. they were supposed to be still live but evidently not as fresh.
when serving i heat the curry gravy on high heat, added the manila clams & cover to steam the clams, & added chopped tomatoes, then spinach leaves.
i think i made a mistake by adding white wine & a bit more brine from the straw mushrooms.
the curry clams (above photo) looked lemak & beautiful. taste wise it was still flavourful but somewhat diluted & not as intense as before.
this (above photo) how the st ives porthminster chef michael smith’s curry monkfish looks.
i made the mussels my usual way, just adding more butter, fry the sliced onions, ginger & orange peel then added white wine & steamed the mussels in the covered pan over high heat.
we took the mussels at porthminster cafe (above photo). it was excellent. my version was nowhere near in taste.
the flamed squid was excellent! squid was tender, succulent, tasty & my own green pepper, onions, spinach blended gravy was super. this dish is good!
the curry manilla clams was intended to be the curry base for my curry cod (replacing the monkfish) was very tasty & flavourful before i added the clams but became diluted, still tasty but less intense…need to make it thicker next time.
the mussels not so great. did not have fresh live mussels at sheng shiong today bought the packet ones which claimed live but not as fresh…anyway my recipe need some rethinking.
Bricklane Market & Street Eats on 17May2015
son brought us to brick lane market in shoreditch on sunday 17.5.2015.^^
this the first time here for my wife & me. 🙂
we took the hammersmith line to liverpool street. the last time i came here was with my son in jan2011 when i came with him for his college interview & we went to dine at marco pierre white steak & alehouse (so so only, i only started blogging in mar2013).
we passed by old spitalsfield market on the way. 🙂
bricklane market. my youngest daughter kind of place.
& my music buff friend’s heaven – beatles, pink floyd, kate bush, sex pistols. ^^ i what sapped the group..”lau nuah” he said.
broing me only interested in food. 🙂
the vietnamese food looked delicious, and the aroma wafted as you walked past.
we had the vietnamese pork baguette, £4.95 cut into 3 pieces. quite ideal really. pork was really good, flavourful. & baguette was good too. i can probably eat one myself though i usually would not. too much carbs. taste was similar to my own vietnamese pork.^^
thai food trolley looked good too, the curries looked attractive & yummy. 🙂
we walked down brick lane. wife took a smoothie. nice.
there was a coffee stall serving out of an old london cab. 🙂
there was a obviously popular salt beef bagel stall.
queue was like 25-man long, from outside into shop & u-turn back. either it’s really good or a queue just attracted more to queue. 🙂
and it was good! bagel itself nowhere as nice as the baguette for vietnamese pork. but the salt beef (with texture & taste of corn beef. i guess it was in fact corn beef) was good. wife didn’t like it as she said it tasted like the student days luncheon meat kind of. for me & son it was good.
we did not try the ones at borough market last time as we already ate the other food, but this looked just as good & cheaper at £3.70.
we walked to the junction & walked to busaba shoreditch where we had an excellent thai food lunch.^^
Excellent Thai Food @ Busaba Shoreditch on 15May2015
wife & son had been talking about busaba eatthai food, especially the grilled chicken green curry fried rice. i had googled too, & that was 1 most recommended dish by many reviewers.
on 17.5.2015, son took us to brick lane markets at shore ditch, 1st time my wife & i were there. he found a newly open busaba shoreditch down the road. we were early, the first customer. service was excellent.^^
place had great ambience. we sat at a glass conservatory section with good sunlight. 🙂
son had chang draft beer. it was good, light & fragrant.
wife had white wine. think it was £3.50. good serving, very affordable. 🙂
the grilled chicken green curry fried rice was a truly outstanding dish. grilled chicken was so flavourful with the bbq flavours, & the fried rice was fantastic!^^
we ordered the calamari. it was nicely grilled, very tasty. it was not much of a fritter. batter was very light. for me, squid was just a wee bit tough (meaning overcooked). both wife & son liked it though. & i liked the flavours too, though i think texture wise a tender squid would do a lot better! 🙂
the massaman duck curry was a great surprise!
i would instinctively go for fish. but the reviews for the tilapia fillet curry was kind of between neutral to negative. the lady server also recommended the duck, so we had that.
it was very nice indeed. i understand it is a “thai” dish mostly muslim origin, the curry texture was closer to rendang, slightly denser & powdery, but the herbs made the dish very flavourful, a bit strong i guess for those not used to it. i liked the dish. 🙂
i was equivocal about the cod.
cannot really understand the cod fish in UK. cod seems to be among the cheaper fish here. its common in cod & chips (& very poor the worst i ever taken at poppies fish & chip at camden) & our UK friend & UK folks we talked to at say tolcarne inn newlyn thought so too & it’s a cheap fish you get at the super mart too. it is nothing like the premium cod we are used to in singapore or the chilean seabass (patagonian toothfish) which is my favourite.
anyhow this cod preparation at busaba was good, very tasty, credit not with the fish but with the preparation. my wife said just consider cod here as any white fish & anyway indeed we were paying the price for just any white fish.
this was a superb dining experience. i may yet try the grilled chicken green curry fried rice, and possibly the massaman curry at home. the main thing is to get the curry taste right. 🙂
Good Value Lobster Sashimi Boat @ Eat Tokyo Holborn on 16May2015
son brought us to eat tokyo holborn for lobster sashimi boat on 16.5.2015.^^
my wife had went with him before. for me it’s the first time. his flatmate joined us so we had 4pax.
eat tokyo has 5 outlets in london & 6 branches in tokyo with 40yrs history. 🙂
we ordered the £50 lobster sashimi boat.^^
well basically we came to take this lobster sashimi boat & son confirmed they had it on this day when he made the reservation. 🙂
i think it was fantastic value. there was live lobster sashimi. may not be a very large lobster, but it should be 450g – 500g or so. 🙂 the pincers & legs were cooked & the rest sashimi. the head was used to make 4 bowls of miso soup afterwards, and it was a well done soup, very tasty!^^
it was a large serving. in addition to lobster, we had atlantic surf clams, tako, hotate & clams. the clams below the hotate was similar to mirugai (geoduck) but since it was sitting on a large clam shell, i guess it was the large clam variety.
& there was like 6-7 slices of toro and very good helping of the rest – tai, saba, ika, salmon, hamachi (pardon the poor photography) sitting on a whole sea bream!
£50 is fantastic value. in singapore the lobster sashimi alone would cost that & 2 slices of otoro (maybe equal to the 6 small slices) would be S$60.
spider maki & salmon maki were inexpensive, about £4 and £8 or so.
this may not be top of the range sashimi but it was far above average quality certainly singapore restaurant standards maybe 50% price. 🙂
Best Meal this UK Trip @ The Ledbury on 16May2015
wife booked the ledbury for lunch today on 16may2015.^^
ledbury is always full, so she had to like try everyday in order to get an empty slot.
wife’s very close friend who lives north of london came to join us for lunch.
the ledbury is 2-michelin star, just as dinner by heston blumenthal is. from past experience, wife thought it is better. i went to both restaurants for the first time. 🙂
we were served 3 amuse bouche. first was a smoked eel with meringue. great stuff!
second was a foie gras mousse in a cracker. it was literally bursting with flavours on the bite! super!^^
third was a dumpling with braised veal. yum! 🙂
we had the crusty fluffy bread.
first course was lobster in tea jelly. this was excellent, top draw, as good as the jelly dish we had at jaan. 🙂
& it came with a tasty crispy roll, similar to the one taste paradise served for their stone bowl sharkskin soup. 🙂
the second course was a flamed mackerel. mackerel was very nice. somehow over here it is not as fishy as the mackerel & saba we had in singapore (though i love the oily saba equally).
& there was a mackerel tartare which was so very tasty with the light sauce dressing.
my wife & i both thought on the flamed mackerel alone the one we had at tolcarnes inn was even better than this. obviously that did not have the mackerel tartare & overall dining experiences & refineness were not the same.
we thought the strange cucumber with roasted sesame did not belong. maybe it was intended as a cool cucumber to cleanse the palate after the flamed mackerel?
the herdwick lamb must be the best lamb loin i had ever!^^
lamb loin was so tender & sweet & zero gamey taste. the end bit was just as flavourful with the lamb taste which i like anyway.
the onions were excellent & the leek flower (first time i ate one) was superb.
strawberry sorbet was good.
the petite four was pretty ok too.
the ledbury is 2-michelin star like the dinner by heston blumenthal.
dinner’s 3-course set lunch is £38 & ledbury’s 4-course set lunch is £50. so i guess it’s a toss-up & depends on the menu at the time. the ledbury offered 3 amuse bouche & dinner none.
just comparing what we had, the meat fruit at dinner had wow factor both the presentation to look like the perfect clementine & the bursting of flavours of the foie gras parfait. likewise ledbury’s lobster in tea jelly pleases in every department. given a choice i would pick the lobster jelly over the meat fruit.
the mackerel at ledbury was very good starter, especially the mackerel tartare. it was more ordinary & less unusual & pleasing as dinner’s ragout of pig’s ear. i liked both almost equally much.
the lamb loin was common dish exceptionally prepared. the sous vide belly pork is becoming a staple in fine dining also exceptionally prepared.
the desserts were just good & ordinary.
the overall dining experience at ledbury though trumps that at dinner. the amuse bouche & dishes were more refine & the ones at dinner were robust. i enjoyed both places & would return next time when i can get a reservation.
Shiok Indian Dinner @ Dishoom King’s Cross on 15May2015
we decided not to go far for dinner. & we decided we didn’t mind to queue for dinner this time.
still it was a long queue at dishoom on 151.5.2015 = 1.5hrs. son went to queue outside the restaurant first. when wife & i arrived 15minutes later, we got inside & waited at the bar area.
wife & son ordered a cocktail each.
it is a very pleasant & happening place. a great place to socialise. the bar is not quite the place for me as music is loud (not so loud here but still loud) and it is noisy with everyone talking. i can see why people love this place. i would not come myself (the bar place) but with family it was quite fun as they enjoyed the drink too. son’s drink was quite good actually. i would take it next time.
we started before 9pm & got our table at 10.25pm.
we ordered quite quickly, couple of finger foods like calamari & prawn fritters. the chutneys were served for general use & another one came with the prawns.
there were good. and we wondered why the restaurant would not serve them at the bar waiting area??
there were only 2 curries. son knew well both were good so we ordered both.
the paneer was good & the chicken was outstanding, very tasty & flavourful. i enjoyed both curries very much. 🙂
& we had a lamb biryani.
the biryani was tops. really fragrant, not oily, and fantastic aroma, herbs & all!^^
the lamb was good, tender, a bit understated, felt like a good western or middle eastern lamb to me. i actually prefer some of the singapore ones with more intense flavours.
& we had one naan to share.
we were having a good laugh that it took us 1.5hrs to wait for dinner & just 15mins to wolf everything down. haha!^^
Fabulous Lunch @ Dinner by Heston Blumenthal on 15May2015
wife booked a 3pax lunch at 2 michelin star dinner by heston blumenthal at mandarin priental hyde park on 15.5.2015.^^
it was difficult to book, so we reserved in advance some weeks before.
dinner has 2 michelin stars, was the first restaurant outside bray by blumenthal started in 2011. blumenthal started the 3 michelin star fat duck in bray in 1995 & earned his first michelin star in 1999 when he was 33! fat duck was rated no1 of the world’s 50 best restaurants by pellegrino & second on several years after the french laundry & farren adri’s el bull etc. 🙂
ambience was first class.
huge open kitchen with many chefs. i did not read up on dinner, but at fat duck there had 42 chefs to 42 tables, like 1 chef per table!
good bread & butter. the crusty kind & very fluffy inside. 🙂
i read a wee bit on meat fruit & recipe only lately before this trip. wasn’t quite sure what the fuss about a chicken liver pate. i was just saying to my wife “it’s just a chicken liver pate” before we ordered it.
it turned out that it was simply magnificent!^^ .the best i ever taken…
it was a parfait as it was mousse like in texture light & very smooth & there was slight citrus tanginess..
well what do you expect when it’s the the famous meat fruit by heston blumenthal. ^^
son had the hay smoked salmon, with smoked beetroot.
the lightly smoked salmon was delicious & quite refine.
but we were sold by the server, so my wife & i both ordered the ragout of pigs ear on toast. 🙂
& it was an outstanding dish. the pigs ear gelatinous texture was exquisite & the sauce & flavours in this preparation was simply special. 🙂
it was robust as the salmon was understated, but very tasty & not satiating as expected. 🙂
for the mains, again my wife & i went for the more adventurous belly pork.
actually belly pork is these days staples in most fine dining restaurants & nouveau cuisine, still this was quite special, 30hrs sous vide at 60degC. the texture was very tender & totally consistent
i am not a fan of peas, but the combination of belly pork, the sauce & the peas was quite sensational.
my son decided to take the pollack. it was supposed to be cod like with flaky texture. it was pretty good really but could not really count as my favourite fish like chilean seabass. & neither was it better than the fish we had at-
(1)tolcarne inn at newlyn, cornwall
for dessert i went for the rhubarb ice cream with custard tart. it was a very good quality dessert. rhubarb had the lovely slightly sour flavours & the custard tart was smooth, not too sweet & the creme brûlée burnt top finish was quite nice.
my wife ordered the tipsy cake. according to the server this was the most difficult dessert to make as the pastor chef had to manage the temperature & to add liquor to the brioche at specified intervals. the roasted pineapples was the easy part.
for us though this was good but ordinary so in a way quite disappointing (unlike the meat fruit). the simple, incredibly pretty & much tastier combination of roasted pineapples at porthminster cafe was so much better than this!
Another Enjoyable Dinner @ Tolcarne Inn Newlyn on 14May2015
our london sleeper leaving penzance at 9.45pm & we planned to return the car to europcar penzance station & drop the key at 9pm. that left us sometime to kill so we decided to go back to tolcarne inn for dinner at 7pm on 14.5.2015.
dinner was as enjoyable as our first here on 9.5.2015 though we were nearing our quota of fish having eaten mostly or almost exclusively fish in this cornwall trip. haha!^^ we left st ives at 4pm as planned & drove to mouse hole (pronounced “mowzul”) and walked around the small town a bit. had sometime before dinner, so filled up the car with unleaded & parked at a newlyn carpark (£1.50 after 6pm) & went to mackerel sky newlyn for a flat white before walking over to tolcarnes inn for dinner.
as before there was no menu & we just ordered from the blackboard, since they do their daily menu depending on what they got from the newlyn market. we each ordered a scallop. this time there was no scallops with apple sauce, which was excellent last time. the scallops were just as well done, and the broad beans were very sweet & combined well with the tasty scallops. still the scallop apple sauce last time was an unmatched experience.
wife ordered a ray & potato terrine. 🙂 we shared all the food anyway!^^
the ray & potato terrine was really good, quite exquisite, somehow the combination of fish & potatoes & herbs was really perfect. there was the aioli sauce (like alio olio butter) & some vegetables. hmmm…maybe i will try cooking this! 🙂
the last time we had john dory. we were having a discussion to the server & the next table old couple who were served the last piece of turbot then about plaice & lemon sole & turbot & they were saying turbot was like the top of the range. probably so, i recalled we had that in jaan’s 8-course degustation dinner as well.
this time they have turbot, no john dory.
it was a very good dish, very well done & the sauce with a bit of tangy lemon & sweet date was good…better than the john dory i guess, though both dishes did not blow me away.. the next day son had a pollock at dinner by heston blumenthal which had a flaky, cod like texture. i guess all the fish were as good as they get already, though i still think they were no better than the chilean seabass (patagonian toothfish) at les amis or indeed that which i was served on board SQ!