Fun 14pax RI Friends & Spouses Homecooked Dinner on 18Dec2014

invited my regular group of RI friends (this time with spouses) for a homecooked dinner on 18.12.2014.  we had 14pax = 5 couples + 4 guys. 🙂

i prepared mostly pre-cooked food that could be served buffet style, so we could all sit down & enjoy the food & conversation together. 🙂

planning was important. i intended several items which i cooked/made final preparations only when all the guests arrived – tagliata di manzo (angus striploin steak), dry wok prawns, pumpkin salad, fried rice.

in the end timing was quite well managed for dry wok prawns & fried rice. for the salad & the rockets/cherry tomatoes bed for tagliata di manzo, they were done too early & the rockets were soggy (unlike my recent lunch which the pumpkin salad & the rocket bed for tagliata di manzo were quite perfect).

#1 pumpkin tofu salad

#1 pumpkin tofu salad

#1 my wife’s pumpkin tofu salad was an excellent dish when i served during the recent lunch.

this time it was a bit lacklustre. seasoning with sea salt, olive oil & balsamic were done too early. somehow pumpkin was not as sweet.

#2 beer can chicken was good as usual – tender, moist, tasty. 🙂

#3 oven grilled miso salmon belly had been a favourite with my family (& friends also during recent lunches), and again a favourite this evening. 🙂

#4 teriyaki cod was good as cod goes. i made it very much less sweet & healthier (no sugar only mirin this time).

#5 the 6hr “sous vide” miso lamb shoulder chop was ok, very tender, with strong lamb flavours nicely masked by miso.

#6 tagliata di manzo (using angus striploin). the bed of rockets & cherry tomatoes were mixed too early so a bit soggy.

steak was medium rare & flavourful, but i was slightly distracted & the charring was somewhat insufficient to produce good enough mallard reaction. also the angus striploin, unlike ribeye, had a bit of tendon, not so ideal.

#7 spicy belly pork 蒜泥白肉 was simply wonderful. it was slow-braised using cold crockpot on low almost 6 hrs to 79degC. belly was very tender & the sichuan 麻辣 chilli mix was excellent. 🙂

#8 my dry wok prawns is of consistent good standard, charred & flavourful, taste of chilli padi & fish sauce.

#9 my spicy seafood fried rice will never get to crystal jade standard, but it is also consistently good, nice wok hae & flavours with lots of prawns & squid.

#10 stir-fried romaine lettuce

#10 stir-fried romaine lettuce

my helper cooked the romaine lettuce, one of our favourite vegetable dish.

#11 chocolate ganache vanilla banana cake

#11 chocolate ganache vanilla banana cake

a friend brought a #11 chocolate ganache vanilla banana cake.

#11 chocolate ganache vanilla banana cake

#11 chocolate ganache vanilla banana cake

#11 chocolate ganache vanilla banana cake

#11 chocolate ganache vanilla banana cake

it was a lovely 2-layer vanilla cake with banana in between & covered with chocolate ganache – a really standout first attempt by him! 🙂

#12 my no-bake tiramisu is now another crowd favourite. it was 1 of the easiest dessert to make.

healthy peanut candy

#13 healthy peanut candy

a friend brought a #13 healthy peanut candy (held together by maltose instead of unhealthy sugar), it was nice.

i had a #14 pumpkin cheese cake on standby. i sensed that the friends wanted to try, so it was served & we managed to finish 1/2 the cake. it was ok but not as good as the pumpkin cheese cake we had for our recent lunch which was really good.

c.h.e.f andy

10-course Homecooked 11pax Western Buffet for RI Buddies on 6Nov2014

did another of my homecooked meals for my friends for lunch on 6.11.2014.

usually for western dishes,  i did sit-down dinners serving course by course. but there’s advantage in having pre-cooked food & serving as buffet. though i enjoyed every minute of cooking (& often experimentation) for family & friends, the purpose is not just about food & cooking but to be part of the conversation & shared memories. 🙂

for this lunch, i did 10 dishes. 🙂

the best dish, most popular by far & winning hands down, was the #1 oven grilled miso salmon belly – marinated & kept in chiller for 3 days & in the oven for 15mins at 25odegC. taste was excellent, perfect combination of flavours.

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#2 miso belly pork

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#2 miso belly pork

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#2 miso belly pork

the #2 miso belly pork was an experiment. i used the same marinade for the miso salmon belly. i did slow braising using cold crackpot to 79degC, so the pork belly was very tender before marinate. however my marinade was just too little & did not infuse the flavours well. also i used the same 15mins oven grill to do the sliced pork (to save electricity). i think i need to use a hot pan on high heat then the searing could be done very quickly w/o overcooking the already cooked meat.

#3 the beer can chicken was another experiment! i brined a small 1kg whole chicken in usual sugar & salt (but boiled with a packet of chinese tea this time). i put sliced garlic under the skin & use a bbq meat dry rub. then i did the usual beer can chicken oven grill at 250degC for 25mins & 175degC for 15mins.

wa..this chicken was really tasty, moist & tender – my best roast chicken ever. 🙂 but no hint of any tea flavours though!

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#4 pumpkin tofu salad

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#4 rockets for tossing #4 pumpkin tofu salad

my helper prepared the pumpkin tofu salad. it’s a dish put together by my wife after dining at some place that served that. i could do this but my helper did this regularly for my wife’s packet lunch, so i got her to do it.

i did the extra virgin olive oil, balsamic, sea salt & honey (did not have agave nectar) mix, and did the tossing when about to start the meal. 🙂

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#5 striploin – slow crockpot braising to 52degC placed in fridge overnight then pan grilled

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#5 striploin – slow crockpot braising to 52degC placed in fridge overnight then pan grilled

#5 striploin was another experiment – slow crockpot braising to 52degC (rare) placed in fridge overnight then pan grilled. i did this before for my daughter’s packed lunch. she said it was very flavourful.

today though it was overshadowed by the #7 tagliata di manzo, which had a better usa harry’s grain-fed angus striploin cut & was done on the spot just before start of the meal. 🙂

#6 kurobuta was prepared in the same way – slow crockpot braising to 79degC (well done) placed in fridge overnight then pan grilled.

the meat itself was very flavourful so the dish was well received. this was an experimental variation of my usual pan-grilled kurobuta.

i wasn’t confident of the result of the slow crockpot striploin so had a back-up usa harry’s grain-fed angus striploin which i decided to cook anyway.

#7 tagliata di manzo is commonly served in italian restaurants. e.g. as 1 friend mentioned during lunch, capri, but also in say alborgo, valentino etc.

i did this #8 “monterosso miky” seafood risotto with a vegetable base & prawn stock, so it’s a tasty dish. the prawns & squid were fried in butter separately, and the live mussels were cooked separately in butter, chilli padi, sliced ginger & orange peel. mussels were very tender & tasty too.

the #9 squid-ink seafood linguine was good too. one friend liked it especially for the mango clams. 🙂

the #10 pumpkin cheese cake was my second try. a really lovely cake. the first i made for family dinner on 24.10.2014 was very good. and it’s great that this one was just as good.

a very nicely balanced cake. it was though a bulkier cake than the other lighter cakes i made, and while i liked it a lot, it was a cake that i would probably not take 2 helpings at one go.

c.h.e.f andy

Second 55ers Homecooked 11-course Dinner Buffet on 7Nov2013

See privacy & perspectives.

this the second RI 55ers homecooked dinner before 2013 runs out. the first RI 55ers dinner was on 5.5.2013. 🙂

27pax attended. 2 had to leave earlier, so did not manage to get in the group photo (though we could have had the cake & photo done earlier).

one friend brought a very nice cake for the 3 november birthday boys & the 55ers, wonderful chocolate & a nice biscuit base with contrasting texture. it was an excellent cake. that reminded me that another friend’s sister made excellent cakes (incredible camera cake & cupcakes during his 30yr wedding anniversary dinner last year! btw that dinner was better organised than most young couples’ weddings). we should order from mongstirs next time.

let the party begin – makan time! 🙂

thai prawn tanhoon appetizer

thai prawn tanhoon appetizer

beer can chicken

beer can chicken

teochew briased duck

teochew briased duck

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braised egg, tau kua, tau pok

braised egg, tau kua, tau pok

we had 11 dishes.

#1 the thai tanhoon by my domestic helper was good as always – tasty, spicy, tangy, just the right amount of chilli padi, lime & shallots.

#2 the teochew braised duck was 1 of my best (it was also very good the last 55ers dinner on 5.5.2013 though i did struggle a bit couple other times including cutting my fingers for the 1st & only time preparing meals). it was very “pang” ie flavourful & meat was tender & not “june” ie tough.

#3 the “pang” braising sauce was put to full use with the braised egg, tau kua, tau pok.

#4 the beer can chicken was i guess ok, tasty, but nothing special. the chicken was brined in sugar & little salt for 24hrs, rubbed with oyster sauce, & with herbs & garlic slices pushed under the skin. & roasted for 40mins “standing” on a 100plus can. this way of roasting enable all round browning (almost la!) w/o need to turn over the chicken.

miso belly pork

miso belly pork

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nonya curry chicken

nonya curry chicken

steamed black bean pork ribs

steamed black bean pork ribs

chilli sotong

chilli sotong

steamed red garoupa HK style

steamed red garoupa HK style

blanched HK kailan with shitake

blanched HK kailan with shitake

high heat dry wok garlic prawns

high heat dry wok garlic prawns

#5 the miso belly pork was inspired by a lunch at jason atherton’s pollen @ gardens by the bay. i was doing a good nobu miso cod & decided to use the same 3-day marinade recipe, and the char siew method (oven slow low temp cooking immersed in miso marinade so retaining the juices  & no drying out + high temp broiling). the meat was moist (as seen in the photos, just like the duck & chicken were moist) & tender & the miso flavour was excellent.

#6 nonya curry chicken was my consistently good dish, made w/o curry powder directly using a self-blended spice mix recipe, and of course unhealthy coconut milk, and so very fragrant in smell & taste. i love this curry.

the other dishes (plus #1 thai tanhoon) were ably done by my domestic helper.

#7 chilli sotong was excellent – a craving inducing dish.

#8 the steamed pork ribs looked so wonderful in the photo & was tasty with tender bite.

# 9 steamed red garoupa HK style was always good, & at 20% restaurant prices.

#10 blanched HK kailan was a good accompaniment after all the meat dishes. 🙂

#11 the last was my dry wok garlic prawns. wok needed to be dry & on open high heat to get charred flavour (so cannot cover as condensation would result in steaming the prawns). fish sauce is the chief ingredient to create the flavour & wok hae under high heat. prawns de-veined but not shelled so would bake in shell & not overcook & also not salty with reduced contact with fish sauce. 🙂

all fun moments come to a close. so this post is for memories, till the next get-together. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy