10pax Homegourmet 9-course Dinner on 1Jul2013

had a wonderful dinner get-together with friends on 1.7.2013. 🙂

got the usual faithful to come over to try out a few new dishes like Nobu miso cod, simmered crispy skin salmon &  kurobuta steak. 🙂 few other dishes like Jap chashu belly pork, funghi risotto, pistachio lamb etc, some have tried before but many have not.

10pax Homegourmet 9-course Dinner Menu

10pax Homegourmet 9-course Dinner Menu

i did a 9-course dinner – the first 4 were served as tapas for sharing, followed by baked funghi risotto & spicy seafood alio olio with white wine, and then 2 main courses Nobu miso cod & Spanish slow-braised beef ribs OR pistachio crusted rack of lamb, and finish off with the usual chocolate lava cake. 🙂

as i had learned earlier, everything was about planning, so planning what could be precooked & the cooking/reheating. serving sequence was the key. the kurobuta steak & wagyu of course had to pan-fry on the spot when all the diners arrived. likewise tossing of the mesclun salad with olive oil, balsamic vinegar & sea salt only when about to serve. the best that could be done for risotto was to precook (mine was a baked version in oven) but still needed to add stock & cream, reheat & reduce w/o overcooking the rice. for the seafood alio olio, the prawn & squid & spaghetti were pre-cooked but the wine, reduction etc & tossing was best done on reheating, again to keep the pasta al dente w/o overcooking. 🙂 likewise the rack of lamb took 22mins in the oven, and i had to start that while reheating the risotto, so that the lamb could be served not too long after the spaghetti which came after the risotto. the beef ribs was precooked but needed reheating and the miso cod which took 11 mins had to be done after the lamb. 🙂

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first 2 tapas were pan roasted brined chicken breast & thigh (i used to serve only breast but seemed like many preferred thigh) and a sampling of pan-fried kurobuta steak & Japanese chashu oven slow-braised belly pork in mirin, sake, sugar & light soy sauce. these served together with mesclun salad. 🙂 after resting the meats & cutting, i saw that the kurobuta was slightly pink so i decided to re-fry 2 of the 3 pieces. that delayed the start of the dinner a bit, but seemed that many friends actually did not mind the less well done piece, so i think would be better to serve it just slightly pink (about medium well) next time. 🙂

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next up was pan-fried MBS 4/5 wagyu steak. the above left photo showed the kurobuta steak which looked more marbled than the wagyu. i did the wagyu medium rare at the centre, so it was a bit well at the ends. i think i would do it rare the next time. 🙂

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ebi miso yaki

as WL did not take beef (everytime he had to repeat the story, this time to Oonch), i did ebi miso yaki (the medium prawns were marinated in miso for 3 days & stored in the chiller) for him from the miso i made to use for Nobu miso cod. 🙂

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i did 2 fillet of salmon first simmered 8 mins skin-up in mirin, sake, sugar, then pan-fried to get the crispy skin. this dish was quite easily done & just needed to heat up before serving. i cut the 2 fillet into 10 bite-size pieces & served in a white bowl & just poured the slightly sweet tasty sauce over it.  the salmon did look nice & tasted quite ok, but i think it was kind of a “nothing” dish that just looked good but could do with or without. 🙂

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everyone liked the baked funghi risotto which had nice, intense mushroom flavour from button mushrooms & shimeji. this time the rice (i used a cheaper USA sushi rice & not real stuff – italian arborio rice) was al dente. JK felt it was too wet. that was because i did not estimate well the stock + cream to add on reheating but had to leave it wet as it would overcook before i could make it drier. 🙂

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next, spicy seafood spaghetti alio olio. so far this had turned out quite well in taste everytime & visuals too. 🙂

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then we had a choice the pistachio crusted rack of lamb (i cooked only 1 rack of 8ribs to serve 4) OR Spanish slow-braised beef ribs (which had 2x3ribs to serve 6). 🙂

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the Spanish ribs were inspired by a lunch last year at La Cicala with my son. my son preferred La Cicala’s beefy brown sauce. i decided though to pick up an internet recipe with a sweet vegetable ratatouille to balance the beefy ribs. i used carrots, celery, yellow onions, & red pepper, i did not get chorizo so substituted with chinese sausage & also used tumeric for the colour in place of expensive saffron. 🙂

Nobu miso cod

Nobu miso cod

the last main course was Nobu miso cod. like the rack of lamb, kurobuta, & wagyu, i got the cod from mmmm at West Coast Plaza. the key was to marinate in miso for 3days or more. the result was a very “jit bee” 入味 tasty cod.  the cod was firm, tasty & quite tender. my personal preference is a firm & springy (& oily) fish, so i like cod but i like chilean seabass a bit better, though it is not so environmentally correct to consume them. 🙂

chocolate lava cakes with cherries, strawberries & grapes

chocolate lava cakes with cherries, strawberries & grapes

the last up was chocolate lava cake. this took just 3mins 40secs in the oven so anything could go wrong. this time it was my phone timer (phone was in silent mode! OMT!) so i thought the first batch might turned out to be brownies.  but it turned out to be ok with quite a bit of lava. the second batch though had lots of lava.

c.h.e.f andy

Homegourmet 6-course Dinner for belated Mother’s Day on 1June2013

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usually my wife & I & family avoid the actual days of public holidays or commercialised offerings like Valentine Day, Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day etc to dine out. 🙂 while there are good reasons to do on certain occasions, mostly it does not make sense to spend atrocious amount of monies for lesser service & food quality experience, which is what you get when the restaurants are jam-packed & servers are harried.

on those occasions we would either go on an earlier or later date or select a restaurant that served the usual menu or the very few which served a better menu at better prices on special occasions – Majestic was one which served great ala carte buffet for Christmas & New Year but for this year seem to have stopped doing for Mother’s Day & Father’s Day (not to forget they served an excellent World Gourmet Summit Dinner recently). 🙂

for this time, since I cook a decent meal at home these days, we thought we would do Mother’s Day at home instead. However I was called away by the Hong Kong Eat & Hike group and was in Hong Kong on 10.5.2013. and after that I was away in Kyoto/Osaka with my sis & my wife was away with daughter & her friend also. so we decided on a belated Mother’s Day home dinner on 1.6.2013 which also coincided with another special day for us. 🙂

there were only 4 of us for dinner. I wanted to do the Nobu miso cod for my wife as she was never into lamb & now less into beef . so I designed a 6-course dinner but reduced the quantity. 🙂

calamari (by auntie Bes)

calamari

first we had a very good calamari – this one was done by aunty Bes. she did this quite many times now and was becoming very good at it. I added this dish as my eldest daughter does not take some of the other dishes.

pan-roasted brined chicken breas

pan-roasted brined chicken breast

pan-fried kurobuta steak

pan-fried kurobuta steak

the pan-roasted brined chicken breast & the pan-fried kurobuta were served together with the calamari as a tapas – for eating & chatting around the table. 🙂 chicken was good as always & the kurobuta from mmmm was very good (though I think wagyu is still better but this kurobuta is better than the normal ribeye & striploin). 🙂

chashu for chashumen - Japanese braised belly pork

chashu – Japanese braised belly pork

chashumen - runny yoke egg & Japanese braised belly pork

chashumen – runny yoke egg & Japanese braised belly pork

next I had a pre-prepared chashumen dish ready to serve – only have to boil the soup from the braising sauce & pour over the noodles. 🙂  The chashu or Japanese braised belly pork was done the usual standard fare for ramen style & I am now able to consistently produce a 6minute runny yoke egg. I used very small quantities of thin white Japanese noodles instead of ramen so it was less “je lak” and also to reduce the carbo. 🙂

vongole fettucine

vongole fettucine

I did a really splendid spicy vongole fettucine in white wine the last time in my first attempt. this time the littleneck clams were again super, the pasta was tasty but not as good as the first time. 🙂

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Nobu miso cod

Nobu miso cod

the Nobu miso cod was again super -so tasty, and such wonderful bite & texture. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

RI Celebration of 55 Yrs of Our Lives Dinner on 5May2013

we had our RI celebration of 55 years dinner on a cool pleasant evening on 5.5.2013. 🙂 it was good fun, great company, enjoyable makan, and strawberries brought by Tiang Chye, and we had our 55th birthday cake courtesy of Choon Hung lit with 5+5 candles. 🙂 all 55ers were singing birthday songs for Chong Lee & Kum Heng, the 2 with the nearest birthdays, and later for ourselves..haha.. 🙂

I cooked a 21pax buffet dinner. I must say that this the best I have done, every dish turned up very nicely. 4 of my 5 dishes (& 2 of aunty Bes’ dishes) were precooked & ready to serve, and I only had to do the prawns (& aunty Bes the fish & kailan) when friends were already tucked in, so it was very relaxed and at the same time a really shiok, thrilled feeling! 🙂

55yrs Get Together - Andy Homecooked 22pax Buffet Menu 7pm Sunday 5.5.2013

Dinner was a  homecooked 9-course buffet + birthday cake courtesy of Choon Hung. 🙂

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we started with a layout of 6 dishes. aunty Bes’s thai tanhoon salad was a great appetizer – spicy, tangy, tasty.

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the pan-roasted brined chicken breast was moist, tender & sweet-This is a great tapas dish I always do for sit-down dinners. 🙂

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teochew braised duck

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I was especially proud of my teochew braised duck today. Chong Lee liked this especially. the flavour was superb & the colour & looks were great! the cutting was also good w/o torn edges,pieces etc. 🙂 the lor neng was just putting to good use the braised duck sauce & was quite a homely addition.

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I also did chashu, which is a Japanese style slow oven-cooked belly pork. This is commonly used in ramen (for chashumen) where the meat is rolled up & cut into thin circular pieces. 🙂 It was much better than the kakuni I did previously (which was also a good Japanese styled slow-braised belly pork), both the texture/bite & the taste. 🙂

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nonya curry chicken

this was a good day for me. my curry chicken were usually quite ok, and today’s curry chicken was truly my best, really tasted like Zion Road nasi padang green curry, sweet, fragrant & lemak. 🙂

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next up – aunty Bes’ spicy bean sauce prime ribs, always good! 🙂

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I cooked my usual dry wok high heat garlic prawns at this point. Wee Woon liked this especially. 🙂

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aunty Bes then brought out her very good spicy tau jeon seabass – quite remarkable that it turned seabass which had mud taste & mushy not great texture to a very different tasty dish.:-)

forgot to take photo of Choon Hung’s very nice chocolate cheese cake, and also aunty Bes’ blanched HK kailan with shitake mushrooms in oyster sauce. 🙂

everyone had a really, really great fun time together. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Homegourmet 8-Course Lunch @ 14Mar2013

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I had another homegourmet 9pax lunch with friends recently.

I had quite some success on the pan-roasted brined chicken breast recipe, and was raring to try it on duck. 🙂 I wanted to test it once before I dumped the dish on my friends.  I did this using both the pan-roasted chicken quick-roast method & the prime rib slow-roast method successfully, the slow-roast method producing an even more tender meat.

The slow-roast pork belly was still a work-in-progress. It turned up very well for my daughter’s 14pax friends lunch on CNY 3rd Day, but I felt it was still mostly touch & go. I would not have time to do on 14Mar if it turned up poorly so I did it in the evening of 13Mar & as it was passable if not great so I kept it in the fridge to warm up & serve the next day.

For the soup. I had been doing a “kick-ass” …self-praise haha…Basque seafood soup using prawn shells but was a bit tired of doing the same soup every time. I looked up some creamy mushroom soup recipe and thought it could not go too far wrong and was worth a gamble, since I had on hand willing devoted risk-taker volunteers high on faith. 🙂

skin-on pan-roasted brined duck breast

skin-on pan-roasted brined duck breast

We started off with 4 tapas – (a) pan-roasted brined chicken breast (b)slow-roast brined duck breast (c)slow-roast pork belly & (d) Margaret River wagyu MBS6/7+angus striploin.

I think all were happy with the brined chicken breast & duck breast (except that I was rushing a little & destroyed the crispy skin of the chicken quite badly, I relaxed and did it right for the duck). They were moist, tender & tasty! 🙂 The belly pork was a bit iffy. This was a rather fatty piece & though the fat & meat were quite soft, the skin was still a tad tough to the bite, so the “mouth feel” 口感 wasn’t quite right. Fortunately, the natural jus was quite tasty & the Spanish spicy mustard sauce was a very good dip to go together with.

I thought the wagyu was below par. I had better marbling for MBS4/5 striploin from the same supplier mmmm previously for the “Best of” dinner on 28Jan2013 (of course my friends would say its the bad carpenter..haha). The rockets were also not good. I forgot to buy on 13Mar & there was no time to get it on 14Mar so went at 1am the night before to Sheng Shiong’s 24hr mart at Ghim Moh & the only ones there were quite old & not fresh. 😦

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I had a separate portion of 3 pan-seared Hokkaido scallops for WL as he does not take beef. It should be quite ok now that I learned the simple technique=very hot pan +very dry scallop (scallops & fish etc contain a lot of water & if not bone dry, pan temperature will drop sharply & you will be steaming/poaching & will not have a hardened seared layer so it will stick to the pan). 🙂

pan-seared Hokkaido scallops

pan-seared Hokkaido scallops

After the tapas, we had a pasta item, which was my seafood alio olio spaghetti with white wine. I was quite confident on the taste department as this dish mostly turned up quite well but I thought the texture was not enough al dente this time. 😦

seafood alio olio spaghetti with white wine

seafood alio olio spaghetti with white wine

Next came my very first attempt at creamy mushroom soup, and gratefully it turned up very well indeed – really quite smooth in texture and tasty – though from the photo below, I could see the caramelised mushrooms but NOT few drops of extra virgin olive oil.

creamy mushroom soup

creamy mushroom soup

The pistachio rusted rack of lamb was also my very first attempt, and this was quite an excitement for me actually. The lamb rack looked fabulous & tasted great! although I found it slightly overdone as I would prefer medium rare. It was moist, tender and did not have much of  the strong lamb gamey taste. 🙂

pistachio crusted rack of lamb

pistachio crusted rack of lamb

The 8-ribs lamb rack was good for 4 serving, and being my first attempt it was actually a stand-in for my more “established” Spanish 2-hr slow-braised beef ribs. This had been very good the few times I served previously, but the taste was a bit off this time, & we were at a lost to explain (other than bad carpenter). The vegetable base ratatouille (celery, carrots, yellow onions) should be sweet & balancing the beefy taste, the Chinese sausage added some sweetness & the chorizo (though may not be everyone’s favourite) had combined very well previously.  I thought that it could be the chuck rib itself, though I bought it from Giant the day before, but I could not be sure how long it was on their shelves. Photo below still looked ok but looks deceived 😦

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Spanish 2-hr slow-braised beef ribs

We had the usual chocolate lava cake.  I was getting a bit bored though, hoping to try out a new soufle recipe next time.

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WL brought very nice tarts and CH his usual strawberries & this time it was especially sweet. All the leftover tarts were polished off by my daughters soon enough. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

“Best Of” Dinner on 28Jan2013

ANDY'S HOMECOOKED 10 COURSE 10PAX -BEST OF- DINNER MENU MONDAY 28 JANUARY 2013 c.h.e.fandy

Gathered my gung-ho friends for a meal at my most recent homecooked dinner on 28Jan2013.

“Best Of” refers to the different dishes (French, Spanish, Italian, fusion) I was trying out in the MENU above, NOT that I was best in any of them..lol..I had 3 pan-seared Hokkaido scallops made for a friend who couldn’t take wagyu, & mercifully they turned up very well after I learned of the very simple technique from chef John of foodwishes.com (just make sure the scallops are bone dry at room temperature & the non stick pan is very hot – scallops & fish etc tend to have lots of water & if not dry, then pan temperature will drop instantly and you end up steaming & NOT searing the meat!). 

This was also the first time I tried my skin-on pan-roasted chicken breast on my friends and they all loved it. The slow roast belly pork was still very much a work-in-progress BUT the saving grace was the spicy, sour Spanish mustard sauce. 🙂 This, together with the original sauce from the belly pork made very lovely dips.

Skin-on pan-roasted brined chicken breast

Skin-on pan-roasted brined chicken breast

The Margaret River wagyu striploin with marbling score 4/5 (while pale in comparison with Japanese wagyu), was 1 of the dinner highlights & garnered many supporters. 🙂 I did it the GR (Gordon Ramsay) way – leave steak at room temperature for 1/2 hr, greased non-stick pan with fat from striploin, very high heat, turnover once & add butter, then rest for 5minutes before cutting.

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Margaret River wagyu MBS 4/5

The garlic jumbo prawns (these are 130g size – 10 prawns=1.3 kg) is one of my regular dishes, done with just minced garlic & chilli padi in a dry wok in very high heat, and only adding fish sauce at the very end before removing & serve.

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Garlic jumbo prawns 130g each

I also had a very smooth & sweet tasting Basque seafood soup using stock from prawn shells + chicken stock + leek, carrot & onions strained, adding poached prawn, sotong (squid) and mussels when serving.

Next up were the 2 pastas. The seafood alio olio spaghetti with white wine is my usual fare, and this time I added a fusion pasta using a chilli crab sauce I prepared from the prawn shell stock.

The main course was a Spanish 2hr slow-cooked beef ribs with chorizos, celery, carrots, red peppers, yellow onions & using just a dash of tumeric for the colour. They all loved this very tender & tasty dish.

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Spansh slow-cooked beef ribs with chorizos

And after all that, we still had room for a very nice chocolate lava cake (my usual fare) to round out the evening.

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Chocolate lava cake oozing lava served with strawberries

c.h.e.f andy