17 Courses of Delectable Dishes for 16pax Homecooked Dinner on 26Aug2015

#1 friend's 清汤牛腩 - my favourite

#1 friend’s 清汤牛腩 – my favourite

had an exciting evening with my friends on 26.8.2015. ^^

we had 16pax. i planned to serve asian dishes mainly buffet style, and a pasta, beef & lamb dish during the course of dinner. 🙂

a friend brought 清汤牛腩. it was my favourite for the evening. i had a good beef brisket noodles at imperial treasure nanbei few days back on 23.8.2015, one of the few authentic ones. still, that was a bit more beefy. i personally prefer this 清汤牛腩 style. sometimes homecook is the best! ^^

my wife could not join dinner this evening. she organised the quinoa pumpkin tofu salad for me & i mixed in the rockets when serving (so that rockets would not be soggy).

everyone loved the salad. 🙂

i did the spanish omelette. did not do this a the longest time & recently revived it when i served a 10-course vegetarian dinner for 8px for my niece’s birthday.

this was a very popular dish among my diners.

i recently tried out a new preparation for cooking char siew & maybe found the right combination to reproduce easily very flavourful & tender, moist char siew. it is also easy to do, just put on a rack in a preheated oven for 20mins.

& it worked well, very tasty, well charred & quite tender inside. the ends were a bit harder than what i made previously because this roll of pork collar was thinner, so need to adjust the timing say to 18mins for thinner rolls.

i made a  ter kar tan 猪脚冻. it was a bit meaty & not as good as my head cheese terrine 猪头冻, but still a friend who cooked this also thought it was very good. i think the taste was good, i should use either pig’s head meat or a lot of pig skin as pig’s trotter is overly meaty & heavy. & the colour should be lighter, means less or no dark sauce.

my chicken ballotine was very good today, mostly finished.

the thai yellow curry grilled chicken thighs were very good.

there was a bit left though, and when i heat the curry sauce in the microwave & applied it to the cold chicken the next day, for me it was still excellent. 🙂

the thai red curry sotong (squid) was just as lovely. it’s a bit spicier & very good with the rice.

i did the vietnamese chargrilled pork collar w/o the beehoon, just with pickled carrots & peanuts. i tried it after cooking. it was very tasty. i think it was just as good as what i had at mrs pho recently. i think better actually.

but for this evening, maybe there were too much food, it was only 1/2 taken.

#10 braised belly pork & bits of some unused trotter

#10 braised belly pork & bits of some unused trotter

the braised belly pork was done together with the ter kar tan 猪脚冻, so it was just a small portion. the braise was very tasty & the texture of the belly pork was superb by those who take belly pork. nothing was left.

#1 friend's 清汤牛腩 - my favourite

#1 friend’s 清汤牛腩 – my favourite

the friend made 3kg of beef briskets & tendons. so i guess we did have a lot of food.

i am not complaining as this was my favourite dish for the evening. 🙂

#1 friend's 清汤牛腩 - my favourite

#1 friend’s 清汤牛腩 – my favourite

there was some leftover, so i ate the next day & enjoyed it just as much.

#11 helper's spicy black bean sauce pork ribs

#11 helper’s spicy black bean sauce pork ribs

my helper made the spicy black beans pork ribs. it was braised in the pan & then steamed in the steam oven. very tender & great sauce & flavours. it’s one of my perennial favourites. not much left afterwards.

#12 helper's sambal sauce seabass - this everyone's favourite

#12 helper’s sambal sauce seabass – this everyone’s favourite

my helper’s sambal sauce seabass was another dish that was everyone’s favourite. seabass has a slight mud taste & powdery texture, but with the sambal sauce, it was a very appetizing dish. nothing left.

#13 helper's blanched hk kailan with shitake

#13 helper’s blanched hk kailan with shitake

likewise the blanched hk kailan with shitake.

it was time for the pasta, beef & lamb dishes. my friends were all very full so we decided to forgo the pink sauce prawn pasta dish.

my tagliata was just simply fabulous. it was sooooo much better than the ones we had the other evening at the zafferano wine dinner, and haha i will say it again!^^ all my friends at zafferano were here this evening anyway. 🙂

& the pistachio crusted rack of lamb. everyone just loved it! those who eat lamb anyway.

actually we had the lamb at foc the next, and that lamb was a bit more tender than mine, but my lamb was a lot tastier. 🙂 also my pistachio crust was so good it was all mobbed up!

#16 queenie brought chempedak cake from singapore swimming club - very nice

#16 another friend brought chempedak cake from singapore swimming club – very nice

another friend brought a chempedak cake. i like the intense chempedak flavour. it’s a cake i like but won’t take often.

the banoffee (banana toffee) cake was a bit of a failure. the whipping cream was frozen & i heat it up just so lightly, a cardinal sin of laziness. should have just waited for it to get back to room temperature. it did not whipped well & caked up when set.

fortunately the cake itself was quite excellent & many friends liked it. it is indeed a very good combination of texture & taste, banana & toffee. i used very small amount of caramel so it was not too sweet.

it was a very fun get-together. i enjoyed doing all the dishes, and i also had my friend’s excellent beef briskets & my helper’s nice dishes.

c.h.e.f andy

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Excellent Dimsum Lunch @ Imperial Treasure Nanbei on 23Aug2015

beef brisket noodles

beef brisket noodles

family went to have dimsum lunch at imperial treasure at taka on 23.8.2015.^^

we used to come here many times when children were younger. i was telling son i had not been here >2.5yrs, probably much longer than that. how do i know? well, i started blogging on mar2013, & i have not blogged about imperial treasure nanbei yet. 🙂

beef brisket noodles

beef brisket noodles

daughter ordered a beef brisket noodles. this was very good as it used similar belly cut with the collagen layer. very much better than the noodles restaurant or the brisket king.

beef brisket noodles

beef brisket noodles

texture was excellent! the braise was a bit more beefy, c/w what a friend made for my homecooked dinner recently. i would prefer my friend’s briskets actually, but not a lot of difference that.

chargrilled pork collar 炭烧猪项肉

chargrilled pork collar 炭烧猪项肉

the chargrilled pork collar 炭烧猪项肉 was really good. we like it every time.

chargrilled pork collar 炭烧猪项肉

chargrilled pork collar 炭烧猪项肉

i recently started to make char siew again, and i made a very good char siew both times. was trying to feel the taste, maybe can make some adjustment in my marinade. 🙂

har gao 虾饺

har gao 虾饺

har gao 虾饺 was good.

har gao 虾饺

har gao 虾饺

but i didn’t think it was better than crystal jade or canton paradise. think crystal jade’s still better.

prawn fun cheong

prawn fun cheong

prawn fun cheong good too.

prawn fun cheong

prawn fun cheong

smooth & good tasting light sauce.

radish pastry

radish pastry

son loved the radish pastry.

radish pastry

radish pastry

still good as before.

spicy dumplings 抄手

spicy dumplings 抄手

spicy dumplings 抄手 was good.

spicy dumplings 抄手

spicy dumplings 抄手

but still think crystal jade’s better.

steamed chicken feet

steamed chicken feet

steamed chicken feet very good.

steamed chicken feet

steamed chicken feet

as good as any here or in hong kong.

steamed pork ribs

steamed pork ribs

same for the pork ribs.

steamed pork ribs

steamed pork ribs

among the very best.

xiaolongbao 小笼包

xiaolongbao 小笼包

& the xiaolongbao 小笼包 – that’s the best of all! maybe better than crystal jade’s.

xiaolongbao 小笼包

xiaolongbao 小笼包

very sweet broth inside. skin was thin, smooth & don’t break.

daughter was telling us how it was made. the broth is small frozen block, then wrap inside then steam. smart girl!

fried yellow croaker 煎小黄鱼

fried yellow croaker 煎小黄鱼

we used to always order the fried yellow croaker 煎小黄鱼. it was S$7 then, now S$10.

fried yellow croaker 煎小黄鱼

fried yellow croaker 煎小黄鱼

we all enjoyed it.

crabmeat dried scallop egg white fried rice

crabmeat dried scallop egg white fried rice

fried rice still good.

crabmeat dried scallop egg white fried rice

crabmeat dried scallop egg white fried rice

and they still have the haebeehiam chilli. really good. now though i prefer the spicy seafood fried rice at crystal jade lamian xionglongbao a bit more.

salted egg custard bun

salted egg custard bun

salted egg custard bun was excellent! very good salted egg flavours.

salted egg custard bun

salted egg custard bun

the best i think, much better than timhowan, crystal jade, canton paradise etc.

c.h.e.f andy

Thai Red Curry Sotong (Squid)

thai red curry sotong

thai red curry sotong – 25.7.2015

when i was looking for the right curries to make my thai yellow curry grilled chicken thighs & bought the “dancing chef yellow curry”, i also bought the thai red curry.

thai red curry sotong

thai red curry sotong 25.7.2015

i did that for my daughter’s recent party on 25.7.2015 for 30pax. it was an excellent dish! ^^

i used 3 large sotongs (squids), cross-cut them, & fried them in butter.

for the curry, i fried 1 sliced yellow onions with 2tbsp red curry powder & 100ml coconut milk. when the onions softened, i added a cut red pepper & added about 300ml of chicken stock. i added cherry tomatoes last.

#8 thai red curry sotong

thai red curry sotong – 26.8.2015

when serving, i heat up the red curry, and added the cooked sotong.

this is a really nice lemak, tasty dish, which i enjoyed thoroughly.

c.h.e.f andy

Ingredients-

  • 3 large squids cross cut

sauce-

  • 1 sliced yellow onions
  • 1 cut red pepper
  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp red curry powder
  • 100ml coconut milk
  • 300ml chicken stock

Directions-

  • cross-cut the sotongs (squids) & fried them in butter. 
  • fried 1 sliced yellow onions with 2tbsp red curry powder & 100ml coconut milk. when the onions softened, add a cut red pepper & add about 300ml of chicken stock. i add cherry tomatoes last.
  • when serving, heat up the red curry, and add the cooked sotong.

Quinoa Pumpkin Tofu Salad

wife's quinoa pumpkin tofu

wife’s quinoa pumpkin tofu

wife’s quinoa pumpkin tofu salad is always a great accompaniment for my dinners. the pumpkin & tofu with rockets made a very good salad on its own (wife made this after a lunch at marmalade pantry some years back), and addition of quinoa gave it more texture & some savoury touch.

wife's pumpkin tofu salad

wife’s pumpkin tofu salad

we bought the red quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”) in london (son ordered it on amazon.com).

wash the quinoa & sieve in a fine strainer, boil in water with some salt (2cups water to 1 cup quinoa) for about 15mins, drain & then let in sit in the hot saucepan for 15mins to dry it out.

add some sea salt afterwards to taste.

wife's pumpkin tofu salad

wife’s pumpkin tofu salad

sprinkle sea salt & 1 tbsp olive oil & roast a 1/4 pumpkin in a preheated 205degC for about 20mins.

pumpkin tofu rockets salad

pumpkin tofu rockets salad

fry the tofu in olive oil all round till slight brown. set aside to cool & cut to small 1 cm cubes.

wife's quinoa pumpkin tofu

wife’s quinoa pumpkin tofu

wife's quinoa pumpkin tofu

wife’s quinoa pumpkin tofu

i season the quinoa, pumpkin, tofu mixture with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic, sea salt & honey (or agave nectar) mix, and toss the rockets separately also with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic, sea salt to taste before adding to the salad when serving the meal.

c.h.e.f andy

Head Cheese Terrine (猪头冻)

#4 headcheese terrine

headcheese terrine on 5.8.2015

i tried a ter kar tan (pork trotters jelly) 猪脚冻once. it did not turned out too good.

what are important-

  1. the flavour of the sauce that makes up the gelatine jelly
  2. the taste & texture of the meat
  3. the jelly holds together & don’t melt too quickly.

at the first try, the pig trotters meat texture was ok. the flavour of the sauce was not tasty enough, and the jelly melts rather quickly.

#4 headcheese terrine 猪头冻

headcheese terrine on 5.8.2015

i am not particularly motivated to do ter kar tan (pork trotters jelly) 猪脚冻.

but for a recent very enjoyable 12pax 12-course dinner for my friends on 5.8.2015, i was going to try out the ragout of pig’s ears on toast inspired dinner by heston blumenthal, so i bought 1/2 a pig’s head which came with 1 ear for S$4 at sheng shiong.

i varied my usual kueh chap braising sauce recipe & added 1 cup of red wine. i used the slow crockpot roast method (starting from cold on low heat) for the 1/2head+ear i bought from sheng shiong, and texture for the pig’s head was perfect in about 6 hrs, very tender & gelatinous.

i cut the pig’s head into small chunks about 5cm pieces & lay the bottom of a long plastic container. i mixed & dissolved 2 tsp gelatine powder in the braising sauce while it was still hot, and added to the container when cool. i left it in the fridge overnight. when the pig’s head terrine 猪头冻 was set. i scrapped away the top layer of fat. cut into slices to serve.

 ter kar tan 猪脚冻 on 26.8.2015

ter kar tan 猪脚冻 on 26.8.2015

i tried the same recipe on pig trotters to the same effect. however there was too much meat so the overall effect of the terrine was not as good as the pig’s head terrine 猪头冻。

looking at the photos of ter kar tan (pork trotters jelly) 猪脚冻 in restaurants like say-

i see theirs’ a lighter colour & had more pig’s skin than meat, more like a 猪皮冻.

so what i will do if i cook this dish again (not too often), i will –

  1. reduce the dark sauce or 1 tbsp or not at all (replaced by light soy sauce to taste)
  2. add pig’s skin if using pig trotters

c.h.e.f andy

Ingredients:

  • 500g pig head meat
  • 100g pig ear

OR

  • pig trotters + pig skin or belly pork (use the skin)

braising sauce

  • 0 -1 tbsp dark sauce
  • 5-6 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp zhengjiang black vinegar
  • 1 tbsp heap sugar
  • 1 cinnamon bark
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 bulb peeled garlic
  • 3cm sliced ginger
  • 1 tsp 5-spice powder
  • water to cover meat

Directions:

  1. mix the braising sauce.
  2. scald the pig head after cleaning (use a large kitchen knife to scrap off hair from the belly & face) to remove the scums. place pig head & ear in the crockpot, add the braising sauce to cover the meat completely, then turn on low & braise for about 6hrs. you can also use a meat thermometer. set it at 83degC. the mild low temperature braising results in a gentler, moist & tender meat.
  3. cut the pig’s head into small chunks about 5cm pieces & lay the bottom of a long plastic container. mix & dissolve 2 tsp gelatine powder in the braising sauce while it was still hot, and add to the container when cool.
  4. leave in the fridge overnight. when the pig’s head terrine 猪头冻 is set,scrap away the top layer of fat. cut into slices to serve.

Now My Favourite Laksa @ Weiyi 唯一辣沙 Tanglin Halt Food Centre on 25Aug2015

S$5 weiyi laksa 唯一辣沙

S$5 weiyi laksa 唯一辣沙

went to sheng shiong @ commonwealth mrt to get some items for tomorrow’s dinner.

walked by tanglin halt food centre & saw the queue at  weiyi laksa 唯一辣沙 was just about 7pax. still it took about 15mins.

my last post on  weiyi laksa 唯一辣沙 was on 24.3.2015.

S$5 weiyi laksa 唯一辣沙

S$5 weiyi laksa 唯一辣沙

after trying a few places like teck hin @ food loft clementi which is sometimes inconsistent (i had a very bad one once recently), decided that this is still the best.

the sungei road laksa is good of course but it is somewhat different, not as substantial & savoury.

there are many combinations, i chose no.6 (chicken, cockles, fried beancurd) & S$5 option. cockles were big & plump and quite many, chicken meat was sweet, very nice & the bean curd & laksa gravy was excellent.

yum yum! (as a korean pal said on facebook 배고파요^^=i am hungry) ^^

c.h.e.f andy

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Weiyi Laksa 唯一辣沙 @ Tanglin Halt Food Centre

Address

#01-20,Tanglin Halt Food Centre, 48Tanglin Halt Road, 142048
Contact

+65 97821012
Opening Hours

5.30am – 2.00pm

(Closed on Mon & Fri)

Whole Eggplant with Minced Meat Onion Sauce

whole eggplant with meat onion sauce

whole eggplant with meat onion sauce

i first came across this interesting preparation at 富记大排档tai wai in hong kong.

eggplant with minced pork (1 look) HK$68

富记大排档’s eggplant with minced pork (1 look) HK$68

it was an impressive presentation.

whole eggplant with meat onion sauce

whole eggplant with meat onion sauce

i washed & steamed the whole eggplant first, about 10mins.

whole eggplant with meat onion sauce

whole eggplant with meat onion sauce

i used about 120g minced pork and cut 1 small red onion & 1/2 large tomato.

whole eggplant with meat onion sauce3

whole eggplant with meat onion sauce

when serving, i browned some garlic in 1tbsp oil, added onions & minced pork then tomato, mixed 1 tbsp oyster sauce, 1 tbsp tomato sauce, 1tsp fish sauce (to taste) & 1 tsp cornflour in 2/3 cup water. i added to the pan & reduced. then i drenched them over the steamed whole egg plant.

this really an excellent dish!^^ eggplant was firm not mushy yet sweet & tender when cut, & combined perfectly with the sauce.

i basically had the inspiration & was recreating the dish from 富记大排档tai wai.

but seriously i think my dish tasted much better. 富记’s meat sauce was purely tomato sauce. by adding oyster sauce, the taste was very much better, at least for my palate haha!^^

c.h.e.f andy

OK Wine Dinner @ Zafferano on 19Aug2015

poached & pan-fried octopus

poached & pan-fried octopus

wife & i joined a group of friends for a west cape howe wine dinner at zafferano on 19.8.2015.^^

we had 7pax this time. the last time i joined a wine dinner she organised at halia @ raffles hotel was in dec 2013. we had a larger group then.

i had not been to zafferano before. it’s located on level 43 at ocean financial centre & the terrace outside the restaurant had a good view over marina bay.

zafferano west cape howe wine dinner menu

zafferano west cape howe wine dinner menu

i saw the food menu & thought it was quite ok for the price of S$88++, even minus the wine, as i do not take much wine at all.

canapes - tuna, salmon & cheese tomatoes

canapes – tuna, salmon & cheese tomatoes

we started with a chardonay & some canapes.

canapes2 canapes - salmon

the tuna was best!

focaccia2 focaccia\\

dinner started with some focaccia.

hokkaido scallop carpaccio

#1 hokkaido scallop carpaccio

#1 first course was hokkaido scallop carpaccio.

hokkaido scallop carpaccio

#1 hokkaido scallop carpaccio

scallop was fresh, sweet, very good slightly gummy bite texture & nice artsy presentation. 🙂

poached & pan-fried octopus

#2 poached & pan-fried octopus

#2 for me, the poached & pan-fried octopus was the best dish for the evening. octopus was very tender almost like a sous vide or low temperature braise preparation but just only poached according to the chef. for me it was very as good indeed –

as good as that at monterosso miky in italy, &

almost as good as that at alle darsene at lake como, the best i had.

again presentation was elegant…was it more of the same?

after the dinner though, one friend said his octopus was tough. odd! not sure why?

veal ravioli

#3 veal ravioli

#3 3rd course was veal ravioli, veal reduction.

veal ravioli

#3 veal ravioli

it was a good pasta, great ravioli texture, maybe a bit beefy, not really my favourite. 🙂

cheese ravioli

#3 cheese ravioli

the restaurant replaced it with a cheese pasta for a friend who doesn’t take beef. she said it was very good, and perhaps that would actually be a better choice than the veal ravioli. 🙂

black angus tenderloin tagliata

#4 black angus tenderloin tagliata

#4 next black angus tenderloin tagliata, served with pan-fried foie gras.

the dish sounded good. unfortunately for me & my friends, it was donwright poor!

foie gras

foie gras

the foie gras was not creamy enough & did not come with some citrus matching palate.

black angus tenderloin tagliata

#4 black angus tenderloin tagliata

& i don’t understand the beef.

it is hard to damage a good beef, and this was black angus tenderloin.

black angus tenderloin tagliata

#4 black angus tenderloin tagliata

beef was hard, not tasty, not flavourful.

black angus tenderloin tagliata

#4 black angus tenderloin tagliata

tenderloin not much marbling but should at least be tender & sweet.

sorry to say, but i think my own tagliata di manzo is many times better than this, taste & texture wise, cannot match the presentation of course.

did not have photo of the cod which the restaurant replaced for a friend who does not take beef. she said it was very good.

chef marco of zafferano

chef marco of zafferano

the chef came to talk to us.

55% dark chocolate & hazelnut mousse

55% dark chocolate & hazelnut mousse

dessert was ok, but not my favourite.

55% dark chocolate & hazelnut mousse

55% dark chocolate & hazelnut mousse

overall, my wife & i had derived much lower satisfaction than we expected from reading the menu.

S$88++ was ok with the canapes & wine. for the food, octopus & scallop were my best dishes, veal ravioli neutral, tagliata poor & dessert indifferent.

i don’t know how much the wine dinner we had recently at da luca cost, but the food was superior to this, and i thought the wine this evening was also mediocre.

c.h.e.f andy

Ragout of Pig’s Ears on Toast

#5 pig's ear ragout served on toast

pig’s ear ragout served on toast

first came across this dish (this preparation) at the fabulous lunch at dinner by heston bluemnthal in london on 15.5.2015.

ragout of pigs ear

ragout of pig’s ear @ dinner by heston blumenthal

& it was an outstanding dish. the pigs ear gelatinous texture was exquisite & the sauce & flavours in this preparation was simply special. 🙂

it was robust but very tasty & also not satiating as expected. 🙂

pig’s ear of course is a fairly common chinese & teochew dish, and i have done braised pig’s ears couple times eg a very good kueh chap lunch for my friends on 4.8.2014.

#5 pig's ear ragout served on toast

pig’s ear ragout served on toast

i did not have heston blumenthal’s recipe, so i basically used my kueh chap braised pig’s ears recipe & added 1 cup of red wine. ^^

#5 pig's ear ragout served on toast3

pig’s ear ragout served on toast

my dish looks nothing like the very fine dining dish at dinner by heston blumenthal of course.

still, it was a very tasty dish & excellent as a tapas or served as a appetizer platter for a course dinner, which i did recently at a very enjoyable 12pax 12-course homecooked dinner for my friends on 5.8.2015.

i varied my usual kueh chap braising sauce recipe & added 1 cup of red wine. i used the slow crockpot roast method (starting from cold on low heat) for the 1/2head+ear i bought from sheng shiong, and texture was perfect in about 6 hrs.

for the pig’s ear ragout, i took out the ear & minced/chopped it, took out some sauce & heat the minced pig’s ear & reduced the sauce.

flavour was excellent & the gelatinous texture was just wonderful!

i do not really see this dish though as a full appetizer dish though for my dinners, so it is not worthwhile to be more elaborate. instead i was already making the head cheese terrine with the same preparation, and the pig’s ear ragout was part of the appetizer platter & i used ordinary plain bread toasted in a desktop oven & cut into tiny 6cmx6cm pieces so diners can scoop just small amount of pig’s ears ragout & try a very small tasting portion. my friends though ended up making more toasted bread for themselves & finished up the ragout.

c.h.e.f andy

Ingredients:

  • 500g pig head meat
  • 100g pig ear

braising sauce

  • 2 – 3 tbsp dark sauce
  • 4 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp zhengjiang black vinegar
  • 1 tbsp heap sugar
  • 1 cinnamon bark
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 bulb peeled garlic
  • 3cm sliced ginger
  • 1 tsp 5-pice powder
  • water to cover meat

Directions:

  1. mix the braising sauce.
  2.  scalding the pig head after cleaning (use a large kitchen knife to scrap off hair from the belly & face) to remove the scums. place pig head & ear in the crockpot, add the braising sauce to cover the meat completely, then turn on low & braise for about 6hrs. you can also use a meat thermometer. set it at 83degC. the mild low temperature braising results in a gentler, moist & tender meat.
  3. take out the pig’s ear & minced/chopped it, take out some sauce & heat the minced pig’s ear & reduced the sauce.
  4. put the pig’s ear ragout in a ramekin. when serving, cover with kitchen towel & heat for 30s in microwave.
  5. toast 2 white bread in a toaster, cut away the ends & cut each slice into 4 pieces. serve the ragout on the bread.

Flamed Squid in Spinach Veloute

#6 flamed squid in spinach veloute

#6 flamed squid in spinach veloute

wife & i had a really good holiday in cornwall in may this year 2015. ^^

we had many good eats & 1 of them was at porthminster cafe at st ives.

st ives porthminster chef michael smith's flamed squid

st ives porthminster chef michael smith’s flamed squid

i saw the photos of flamed squid (above) at michael smith’s porthminster cafe at st ives. did not try the dish & cannot find the recipe on google. i guess the chef is not that famous. so i tried to recreate the dish w/o the recipe. 🙂

torch - present from a friend diner

torch – present from a friend diner

my wife’s friend who came for dinner twice bought me a kitchen torch. that was more than a year ago. and i have never used it yet.

i tested it, pretty easy to use. 🙂

my first attempt was on 20.5.2015, experimenting some dishes for my anniversary dinner. ^^

i followed that up with the actual anniversary dinner & then the best one yet at a really fun 12pax homegourmet 12-course dinner this month on 5.8.2015.

flamed squid - learned to use the torch very first time

flamed squid – learned to use the torch very first time

i cross cut (very closely) a large squid into 4 pieces (about 9cmx6cm), i flamed it on a frying pan. quite smooth going. i knew it was not sufficiently cooked. so i fried in butter over high heat. the key was not to overcook the squid or it would become tough & chewy.

#3 spinach sauce

#3 spinach veloute

for the sauce, again i created my own spinach sauce recipe. i used lots of vegetable to make it so very tasty.

#6 flamed squid in spinach veloute

flamed squid & spinach veloute

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 chicken stock & 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil & salt & pepper to taste.

flamed squid in spinach veloute

flamed squid in spinach veloute

such a wonderful & tasty veloute complementing the flamed squid.

#6 flamed squid in spinach veloute

#6 flamed squid in spinach veloute

when serving i heat up the veloute, plated the sauce, added the flamed squid & topped with a coriander branch. 🙂

flamed squid in spinach veloute

flamed squid in spinach veloute

flamed squid had excellent bbq flavours & looks, and was done just nice, not rubbery.

the veloute was really good. first class!

flamed squid in spinach veloute

flamed squid in spinach veloute

i subsequently did a vegetarian version for my niece’s birthday dinner by replacing the flamed squid with a shallow fried silken tofu, which was crispy outside & soft inside.

tofu is not squid of course, but nice also, & the veloute is marvellous & the whole dish presentation just very charming. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Thai Yellow Curry Grilled Chicken Thighs

thai yellow curry grilled chicken thighs

thai yellow curry grilled chicken thighs

i was motivated to try this thai dry yellow curry grilled chicken after my son introduced me to the excellent busaba grilled chicken green curry fried rice.

it was so lemak, intense & flavourful.

dancing chef thai red & yellow readymix curries

dancing chef thai red & yellow readymix curries

i went to look for thai readymix curries & bought the “dancing chef” at sheng shiong.

son was back for summer break & asked why i used yellow instead of green curry.

i tried green but it was more suited for the usual thai green curry chicken, the soupy dish. red curry was spicy & excellent. i used it for my thai red curry sotong, more of a drinkable gravy.

i find the yellow curry most suited for dry curry, like a sauce dip. it was excellent with the grilled chicken especially with sweet yellow onions, very intense, sweet & lemak.

thai yellow curry grilled chicken thighs

thai yellow curry grilled chicken thighs

for the grilled chicken, i cut & deboned chicken thighs. i seasoned with fish sauce & white pepper. then i placed the chicken skin down on a non-stick pan with just a little butter on medium heat (more fat will render out of the chicken). then i covered & turned heat down. it would take a while to cook the chicken, turned over when brown (maybe about 5 mins on each side).

#7 thai yellow curry chicken

thai yellow curry chicken (on 25.7.2015)

for my daughter’s recent party for 30pax+, i made 6 thighs & they disappeared in no time.^^

#7 thai yellow curry chicken

thai yellow curry chicken (on 25.7.2015)

for the curry, i cut 1/2 large onions, fried in the pan with just bit of chicken oil & added 2 tsp thai yellow curry powder & 3 tbsp coconut milk. i added 3 tbsp chicken stock & reduced.

i must say this is such a wonderful dish, very flavourful curry especially with the onions & tasty chicken.

c.h.e.f andy

Recipe = Japanese Miso Salmon

jap miso salmon

jap miso salmon

i do a very good nobu miso cod.

after some experimenting, i came up with a good recipe also for oven grilled miso salmon belly.

some months back, wife bought japanese miso salmon (some with mentaiko) at isetan hokkaido fair. at the time i decided to try to replicate the japanese styled miso salmon.

& so i made a miso salmon, the best i have made..after a few tries, it’s now nearly perfected. wife said same as those bought from japan & from isetan..almost, i guess..^^

the key about the japanese marinated salmon (which i really like) & are often included in bentos at railway stations in japan, is that it is dry, texture is firm & very flavourful! 🙂

miso salmon

miso salmon

to recreate this, i marinated 300g salmon with 1 tbsp (heap) miso, 1tbsp light soy sauce, 1 tbsp mirin, 1 tbsp sake, 1 tbsp brown sugar. then put on a rack in the fridge (or chiller compartment) for 2days. then i put in 55degC oven for 3hrs.  then 20mins in aluminium foil tabletop oven 250degC (include 5mins open foil to grill skin),

the idea was to dry out the salmon & marinade. this is only major difference from my usual miso salmon preparation. because i see the miso salmon or mentaiko salmon in Japan were all dryer preparation.

with this preparation, my miso salmon was almost same as those we bought in Japan. a lot cheaper, haha!^^

lunch

lunch

we had this for a simple family lunch at the time (apr2015).

and also at a 19pax homecooked dinner for my RI friends on 24.4.2015.

it is different style from the miso salmon belly which is also very good. i like both, and both can be taken with japanese gohan (rice).

c.h.e.f andy

Very Nice Char Siew

char siew

char siew

i have tried char siew quite a few times using different meats & preparations.

a rather successful one was almost 2 years ago using belly pork & an oven “sous vide” method at 60degC or 70degC over 4 hrs to 6hrs.

i used the same method for miso belly pork which was very nice too.

i must say while the miso belly pork is a more unique dish the char siew by the “sous vide” method is a bit more tedious & not really my favourite as one can buy cheap & good char siew easily outside.

char siew

char siew

but now i think now i found the right combination to reproduce easily very flavourful & tender, moist char siew, like so. a really excellent char siew. ^^

char siew

char siew

the key is (a) the marinade to produce the right flavour (b) the meat & preparation to produce a tasty, tender, moist meat.

so far, pork collar is the best choice. i tried the same recipe on belly pork but it was quite inferior by comparison.

char siew

char siew

i marinated the meat for 3 days in the chiller.

then i placed the meat on a rack in a preheated 250degC oven for 20mins.

it was as easy as that.

char siew

char siew

& the result was just perfect!

c.h.e.f andy

Ingredients:

  • 400g pork collar (i used frozen pork collar from sheng shiong S$9.90/kg)

marinade

  • 2 tbsp dark sauce
  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp heap sugar
  • 1 cinnamon bark
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • 2 chopped shallots

Directions:

  1. scald the pork collar & wash under slow running water to remove scum.
  2. add the marinade & transfer to a ziploc bag & place in the chiller for 2 or 3 days.
  3. bring out of chiller for 1/2 to bring to room temperature.
  4. place on a rack over a aluminium foil lined tray & place in a preheated 250degC oven for 20mins.

Spanish Omelette – simple & great tapas!

#1 spanish omelette

spanish omelette

first made spanish omelette more than 2 years ago when i was doing the slow-braised spanish beef ribs, spanish seafood paella & a spanish seafood broth. ^^

it was pretty good, but i have not done it for a rather long time since.

recently i was doing a 10-course vegetarian dinner for 8pax at home my niece’s birthday, and decided to include spanish omelette when i was planning the 10 dishes. 🙂

#1 spanish omelette

spanish omelette

when i first made it, i looked at some internet recipes at the time, like the one here.

in any case it was just egg, onions & potatoes.

i sliced the 1/2 yellow onion & 1 .5 large potatoes. i fried in olive oil over medium to low heat the onions till softened & just starting to caramelise, and the potatoes till it breaks easily when pressed with the spatula (then it won’t be overcooked & mushy but still have the bite). i sprinkled sea salt on the pan. 🙂

i beat 2 eggs & added 2 teaspoon fish sauce (or light soy sauce if making vegetarian) & white pepper. then i added the potato & onions.

6" omelette pan

6″ omelette pan

i used a small 6″ omelette pan & added 1.5 tablespoon oil, & added in the the egg mixture when hot, & lowered fire to medium. i then flipped over a flat plate & eased the other side of the omelette back to the pan.

#1 spanish omelette4

spanish omelette

it is really a very simple dish to make. ^^

and nice & tasty! one omelette was good for serving 8pax as a tapas item, and it’s easy to make another omelette if required. 🙂

#1 spanish omelette

spanish omelette

it was crispy outside, and very important, the potatoes were not mushy & had a good bite, & tasty with the onions & egg.

#1 spanish omelette

spanish omelette

a very easy to do dish that delivers great satisfaction! ^^

c.h.e.f andy

10-course Homecooked Vegetarian Dinner for 8pax on 17Aug2015

made a 10-course vegetarian dinner for 8pax on 17.8.2015. ^^

it was a belated birthday for my niece who is a buddhist & vegetarian. it’s also the first time i planned & executed vegetarian dishes. 🙂

my niece & her husband are ovo-lacto vegetarians, which means they can take eggs & dairy products like milk, butter & cheese. they are also not strict vegetarians, but they will abstain & avoid meats if they can, and take only the vegetables if it comes with the meat. i like the practical, unassuming, unimposing approach.

but i wanted to do a all-vegtarian course dinner for them. for me that was quite exciting & fun to do. 🙂

for me, my interest was not about mock meats or fusion, just to make something that taste good & look good. & if they are not the usual run-of-the-mill chinese stir-fried vegetables and incorporates some non-chinese styles or good matching of taste, texture or presentation, then so much the better! 🙂

#1 first course was a spanish omelette. it’s a really simple dish.  just 2 eggs, 1.5 sliced large potatoes & 1/2 sliced yellow onions. the ingredients were already vegetarian. i just have to light soy sauce instead of fish sauce for the egg. this dish is also perfect as a tapas, a small bite, for a multi-course meal, so quite nicely each had a good slice of omelette.

#2 wife’s quinoa pumpkin tofu salad is always a great accompaniment for my dinners. the pumpkin & tofu with rockets made a very good salad on its own (wife made this after a lunch at marmalade some years back), and addition of quinoa gave it more texture & some savoury touch. 🙂

#3 shallow fried silken tofu in spinach veloute.

i created this dish (flamed squid in spinach veloute) from looking at a photo (w/o the chance to taste the dish) at porthminster cafe at st ives in cornwall, england. it was an excellent dish & i served it at 12-course dinner for 12pax 2 weeks ago.

this time for vegetarian dish i replaced the squid by a shallow fried silken tofu, so that the texture was crispy outside & soft inside. not a flamed (torched) squid but still very nice! 🙂

#4 for soup, i made a cream of carrot soup. this was tasty & smooth & very popular & everyone had a second helping & finished all the soup.

i used 1.5 large carrots, but also 1 red pepper, 1 stalk leek, 1 small yellow onions & vegetable stock which i prepared the night before. & about 4 tablespoon of cream. its a similar recipe for all my creamy soup.

#5 this the first time i attempted spaghetti alla nerano (zucchini pasta). we first tried this in fresco & cummino in milan & this was 1 of the best vegetarian pasta i had, though i like funghi pasta equally. 🙂

i followed an internet recipe, & blended 1/2 yellow zucchini with some onions after softening them in olive oil. i added some butter when tossing the pasta to give it more body.

it was a very good pasta, al dente & tasty. everyone liked it. son said more parmesan shavings would be good. i think overall it can be improved. for now i would prefer my fungi pasta over this, maybe just slightly.

#6 steamed egg plant with peas & onion sauce

my sis & i had a nice daipaidong 大排档 dinner at 富记大排档tai wai where they served an entire steamed eggplant in minced meat & onion sauce. i had recreated this & made a much better tasting one by adding oyster sauce to balance off the tomato sauce.

for the vegetarian take, i cannot use oyster sauce so only light soy sauce + tsuyu sauce, and i replaced the minced meat with frozen peas i bought from sheng shiong.

the presentation can be improved. the key to this dish is the texture of the eggplant, which has to be just cooked & not mushy. i cut it with kitchen sears (scissors) & if it were mushy it would not hold up. 🙂 the pea onions sauce with corn flour was pretty tasty too.

#7 the egg fried rice was basic, no “wow” dish, but it was good accompaniment for the last 3 dishes – steamed egg plant, thai red curry & the brocoli with cauliflower.

it had good “wok hae”, individually rice grains “tioc tioc” we say in teochew, quite good la. 🙂

#8 the thai red curry vegetables was a variation of my thai red curry sotong (squid) which i served for the 30+pax lunch party for my daughter last month.

i just replaced the sotong by vegetables. i had potato, egg plant, onions, yellow pepper, tomato. for me, a non vegetarian, it was no comparison with the red curry sotong of course but still an excellenty flavoured curry dish.

#9 brocoli with cauliflower

#9 brocoli with cauliflower

#9 the 3rd dish to be eaten with the egg fried rice was brocoli with cauliflower. i actually asked if the guys wanted eat or they were full..haha! ^^

#9 brocoli with cauliflower

#9 brocoli with cauliflower

my wife, daughter, everyone wanted it. my son said there is no discussion. 🙂

#10 i made a banoffee (banana toffee) cake for dessert. we have been having tiramisu & tofu cheese cake so i wanted a change from usual.

it was a really nice cake. a great combination of flavours – very nice biscuit base, a thin tasty layer of caramel so not too sweet & nice whipped cream topped with chocolate shavings.

D-24 durian...also had 2x maoshanwang durians (forgot to take photo)

D-24 durian…also had 2x maoshanwang durians (forgot to take photo)

and we had D-24 & maoshanwang 猫山王 durians!

D-24 durian...also had 2x maoshanwang durians (forgot to take photo)

D-24 durian…also had 2x maoshanwang durians (forgot to take photo)

an excellent finish to the 10-course vegetarian dinner. i forgot to take photos of the maoshanwang durians though. ate too fast! haha! ^^

c.h.e.f andy

My Favourite Restaurant Mikuni on 16Aug2015

mikuni chirashi don

mikuni chirashi don

son was back for summer vacation. we were all thinking of having a good chirashi don.

for me the 2 best chirashi don in singapore are at mikuni & also at kuriya dining. so we went to mikuni for 4pax family lunch on 16.8.2015. ^^

prawn crackers

prawn crackers

we were served the usual prawn crackers.

sake

sake

wife ordered a sake.

salmon, eel & deepfried eel bone

salmon, eel & deepfried eel bone

usually we order ala carte but this time there was a very good special unagi course lunch menu at just S$120pax. son went ahead & ordered his chirashi don & added a kagoshima wagyu sukiyaki konabe.

3 of us ordered the set.

with 50% amex FAR (feed at raffles) discounts, the set was S$60pax. if you compare the dishes, this was far superior to the S$68pax GOTO omakase lunch.

salmon, eel & deepfried eel bone

salmon, eel & deepfried eel bone

the sakizuke(先附) – a selection of small appetizers, was exquisite! ^^

there were 3 salmon wrapped in radish – sweet salmon combined with a cool, juicy radish texture. 🙂 there 2 pieces of eel was superb, very flavourful, and i finished the deep fried eel bone. 🙂

special eel set dinner

special eel set dinner

the other items were served like a bento & not individually.

sashimi moriawase - otoro, uni, ika, hamachi, hirame

sashimi moriawase – otoro, uni, ika, hamachi, hirame

the sashimi moriawase was top quality.

sashimi moriawase - otoro, uni, ika, hamachi, hirame

sashimi moriawase – otoro, uni, ika, hamachi, hirame

very good uni & otoro. ^^

sashimi moriawase - otoro, uni, ika, hamachi, hirame

sashimi moriawase – otoro, uni, ika, hamachi, hirame

sashimi was one item that attracted us to take the set. we all liked the unagi kabayaki in the set but sashimi was one of the main attraction. 🙂

eel sunomono

eel sunomono

the sunomono (vinegared dish) was great too! very nice vinegared eel, ginger flower, tomato etc. 🙂

unagi kabayaki don

unagi kabayaki don

the unagi kabayaki was a large serving.

if there is one complaint about mikuni, we thought the rice was somehow not as good as (say) kuriya dining!

pickles

pickles

there were the usual pickles that came with a gohan (rice) set. these though were one of the best quality pickles we had. not salty at all & excellent in sweetness & juicy texture. 🙂

mikuni chirashi don

mikuni chirashi don

my son went for the chirashi don. i would have done the same but this time we were attracted by the set.

mikuni chirashi don

mikuni chirashi don

it’s easy to see why, all the top quality sashimi cuts, which i described in some details here.

kagoshima wagyu sukiyaki konabe

kagoshima wagyu sukiyaki konabe

son added the kagoshima wagyu sukiyaki konabe, which is also one of my favourite dishes here.

kagoshima wagyu sukiyaki konabe

kagoshima wagyu sukiyaki konabe

such excellent beef.

there was a good dessert too, but i forgot to take photo & we were chatting away & i cannot recall what items were in it.

c.h.e.f andy

Enjoy Everytime – Chai Chuan Tou Chinese Mutton Soup 柴船头羊肉汤 on 15Aug2015

chai chuan tou chinese mutton soup 柴船头羊肉汤

chai chuan tou chinese mutton soup 柴船头羊肉汤

went to people’s park complex to make some remittance.

i decided to drop by chai chuan tou at bukit merah view for some chinese mutton soup on the way back on 15.8.2015. ^^

chai chuan tou chinese mutton soup 柴船头羊肉汤

chai chuan tou chinese mutton soup 柴船头羊肉汤

it was 11am, & the queue was like 10pax. but service was quite fast.

chai chuan tou chinese mutton soup 柴船头羊肉汤

chai chuan tou chinese mutton soup 柴船头羊肉汤

i enjoy mutton soup here at chai chuan tou chinese mutton soup 柴船头羊肉汤 everytime. this time was no exception. 🙂

recently i had chinese mutton soup at chinatown beef noodles stall @ food republic at vivocity. i thought then that the soup was not as good as chai chuan tou.

but having tried chai chuan tou again today, i thought both were equally good. chai chuan tou’s is more intense, but the one at chinatown beef noodles stall @ food republic at vivocity was smoother with nice herbal balance, and the meat was thicker & meatier though higher price. so that’s a stall i would want to take mutton soup at again. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Below Par Toa Payoh Lor 7 Teochew Fishball Noodles @ Food Republic at Lido on 12Aug2015

S$5 fishball noodles

S$5 fishball noodles

went with friends to watch fantastic 4 at lido at 12.30pm on 12.8.2015. ^^

show was a bit lacking storyline, basically just an intro of how f4 got their powers, this time via teleporting to another dimension instead of exposure to cosmic rays, whatever…

after the show went down to food republic in the basement for a bite. the last time i had the beef noodles at brisket king 牛腩大王 here. this time i decided to try the fishball noodles stall, toa payoh lor 7 teochew fishball noodles.

S$5 fishball noodles

S$5 fishball noodles

i took the S$5 meepok tar. it came with 5 fishballs. fishballs were bouncy, sweet, easy to the bite.

fishballs were as good as xin lu (新路) teochew fish ball noodles (formerly from margaret drive) at mei chin road food centre.

S$5 fishball noodles

S$5 fishball noodles

the noodles though were a let down. they were not QQ!

S$5 fishball noodles

S$5 fishball noodles

there were a bit more sauce & colour c/w the one at xin lu (新路) teochew fish ball noodles.

the look & colour was more like the one at food opera at ion orchard, which i also thought was poor.

and of course it was S$5, c/w with S$3 at xin lu.

anyway it a very average stall and not one i will pick.

c.h.e.f andy

Great SG50 5-course Dinner @ Oso on 11Aug2015

braised veal cheek with beetroot - stracotto

braised veal cheek with beetroot – stracotto

organised a belated birthday for a close friend at oso on 11.8.2015. ^^

oso SG50 5-course menu

oso SG50 5-course menu

we took the SG50 5-course dinner menu. we had 7pax.

bread tray

bread tray

we were served some rye bread & focaccia with olive oil & balsamic. quite ok.

cured salmon with caviar

cured salmon with caviar

first was a cured salmon with caviar & some shaved fennel. 🙂

cured salmon with caviar

cured salmon with caviar

it was nice. not exceptional but a great starter. 🙂

cream of cauliflower

cream of cauliflower

we had cream of cauliflower soup.

soup was smooth, quite tasty, a bit thick. pretty ok but no better than my own cream of cauliflower.

amatriciana - bacon, red wine, tomato pasta

amatriciana – bacon, red wine, tomato pasta

pasta was also average.

amatriciana - bacon, red wine, tomato pasta

amatriciana – bacon, red wine, tomato pasta

good pasta certainly, but quite ordinary, no stand out.

dory fillet in lobster-orange sauce

dory fillet in lobster-orange sauce

we had 4 orders of veal cheeks & 3 orders of fish. dory not my choice fish.

dory fillet in lobster-orange sauce

dory fillet in lobster-orange sauce

i tried some from my friend. it was pretty ok. i guess good for a dory fillet.

braised veal cheek with beetroot - stracotto

braised veal cheek with beetroot – stracotto

the braised veal cheek with beetroot – stracotto was excellent though.

braised veal cheek with beetroot - stracotto

braised veal cheek with beetroot – stracotto

tender, totally consistent & not very beefy, quite gentle & quite excellent bite, not the sinewy stewed meat type. i would say one of the best braised meat.

croatata - choc lava tart

crotata – choc lava tart

& the crotata – choc lava tart was marvellous.

croatata - choc lava tart

croatata – choc lava tart

it’s like any good choc lava cake, with the tart giving it very good combination of texture.

tiramisu - buon compleanno

tiramisu – buon compleanno

the restaurant was told that it was a birthday celebration, so they provided a tiramisu cake for the birthday, a good gesture practiced by most good restaurants.

however, when i called to reconfirm the reservation on the day, the person who answered told me he reserved a nice quiet corner for us. but in fact we had 7pax seated on a table 6 with 1 chair at the end & next to the kitchen with a lot of traffic. that would have been quite fine if the restaurant was full but it was just 50% occupied, so i think that was not quite the level of service for a good restaurant.

anyway we had a great evening. food was good, especially the braised veal cheeks & the choc lava tart. the cured salmon was pretty good as well.

dinner was S$50pax for 5-course. we were all quite happy with the meal & ambience.

c.h.e.f andy

Decent Food @ Balestier Food Centre on 28Jul2015

chicken rice

chicken rice

went with some close friends to watch the movie “ant-man”. quite enjoyed the movie. quite entertaining.

after the movie we went over to balaestier food centre for some dinner makan on 28.7.2015. 🙂

poached chicken feet

poached chicken feet

there were 4 of us. we ordered our separate dishes.

one friend ordered chicken rice, with chicken breast, liver & some chicken feet. i tried some it was ok.

laksa

ah hui laksa

i decided to try the laksa stall. the stall, ah hui fishball noodles, seemed to be also owned by ah hui prawn noodles.

laksa

ah hui laksa

bad choice. it was mediocre. can eat la..but not really worth eating.

got the ingredients. but flavour-wise simply no comparison with weiyi laksa at tanglin halt food centre.

nor the laksa at teck hin fishball noodles stall at the food loft at clementi.

猪杂汤 pig inards soup

猪杂汤 pig organ soup

another friend had the 猪杂汤 pig organ soup. he said it was good. i guess must be competent enough.

prawn noodles

ah hui prawn noodles

another friend took the ah hui prawn noodles. i had the S$5 few months back & it was not bad.

but it’s a matter of comparison. my friend ordered the large one S$8 i think & she didn’t think it was all that good. and we both agreed that c/w “why eat har”, the soup base did not have the same flavours, smoothness & intensity.

c.h.e.f andy