3 Days of Non-stop Feasting @ Chinese New Year 2015 (19-21Feb2015)

as usual, had a very foodful chinese new year. it was just a spate of continuous eating, meals & snacks. no matter if i skipped meals, as there were continuous munching of snacks to fill the gaps, so weight watching was quite simply a lost cause.

my happy chinese new year blessings to all my friends here

CNY Eve

for CNY eve we had our reunion dinner at my elder brother’s place.

this year i made buddha-jump-over-the-wall(BJOTW), 1/2spicy duck 盐水鸭 & using the same marinade, a spicy belly pork.

buddha jump over the wall ingredients

buddha jump over the wall ingredients

buddha jump over the wall ingredients

buddha jump over the wall ingredients

the BJOTW was a poor man’s version. apart from a can of 6 pieces small abalones & good thick mushrooms, the other ingredients were cheap (limpets) and mostly unhealthy (pig trotter, pig ear, belly pork, pig head meat).

look was impressive (top photo), taste was pretty good. but i was not overly impressed with my own effort. there was too much food anyway & didn’t really need more unhealthy food – will skip this next CNY.

pencai 盆菜

pencai 盆菜

pencai 盆菜

pencai 盆菜

my sis brought the pencai 盆菜. flavours was very good, and the small abalones much better than what i had. this year pencai 盆菜very expensive everywhere. hers was a very much cheaper one only S$138 for 6pax.

hoe see fat choy2 蚝屎发菜(好事发财)

hoe see fat choy 蚝屎发菜(好事发财)

hoe see fat choy 蚝屎发菜(好事发财)

hoe see fat choy 蚝屎发菜(好事发财)

my wife made her usual hoe see fat choy 蚝屎发菜(好事发财), and as usual very nice, though the ones she made later on Day2 was even better, tastier.

braised pig stomach

braised pig stomach

my s-i-l’s mom made the braised pig stomach (though nowadays the person actually making it was the helper). this a dish i always like.

char siew & roast pork

char siew & roast pork

my niece made very good char siew & roast pork. she made a small business of it, selling 20kg of the tasty dish over the internet.

my spicy duck 盐水鸭 was good too. it was a lighter version c/w my teochew braised duck. in fact this dish is served as appetiser in shanghai, nanjing, jiangnan locality.

spicy belly pork

spicy belly pork

i used the same spice to do the spicy belly pork. this was ok but not great. i did this again on Day2 & that was miles better!^^

mantis prawn

mantis prawn

chilli mantis prawn & pomfret

chilli mantis prawn & pomfret

my brother bought very large mantis prawns, 5 pieces for S$35. i did not take any. it wasn’t too great also but certainly looked nice. the chilli though was very good, better than most chilli crabs. 🙂

pomfret

pomfret

pomfret was usual. i did not try it either, just too much food.

tofu with leeks

tofu with leeks

tofu with leek, and broccoli

tofu with leek, and broccoli

i liked all the vege.

my brother tried eating out for 3 years for CNY eve. we went to joyden (previously called west coast seafood). food was quite good & not too expensive, however with say 13pax or more, it still came to >S$600. all of us cook, so it was so much more fun just to cook some dishes & bring over. i definitely preferred our own homecooked CNY eve dinner. ^^

CNY Day 1

breakfast spread

breakfast spread

again our family tradition, on CNY Day 1, we went over to my brother’s place for breakfast.

hoe see fat choy2 蚝屎发菜(好事发财)

hoe see fat choy 蚝屎发菜(好事发财)

tanhoon fungus

tanhoon fungus

many of the dishes were leftover from CNY eve dinner.

rabbit fish & salmon sashimi

rabbit fish & salmon sashimi

there were too much food on CNY eve, so we kept the prawns for Day1 breakfast, and added the rabbit fish知县鱼 (very sweet) & the salmon sashimi my wife bought (very good too!).

tofu & leeks

tofu & leeks

leftovers from last evening!

mushrooms & greens

mushrooms & greens

& some more vegetables. ^^

CNY Day 2

CNY Day2 is my wife’s tradition. she would invite her brothers & sister & their families (nephews & grand nephews & grand niece).

this year we took a family photo. & there are 26pax + our dog rusty. ^^

i made my usual poached chicken 白斩鸡. this time it was especially good – colour, texture, sweetness! everyone just loved this dish.^^

the miso pork was very good too. this the longest i put in the oven, 8hrs at 90degC/85degC.^^ the result was excellent. the miso marinade gave it excellent flavours & the slow low-temperature braise an excellent texture. i have learned that 90degC is the optimum temperature to convert collagen to tasty gelatine & texture, so this made the miso pork texture & bite really good!

flavoured pork 风味五花肉

flavoured pork 风味五花肉

i did the same for the flavoured pork 风味五花肉, and this was excellent too, with a different sichuan spice marinade.

tanhoon fungus

tanhoon fungus

we had the same tanhoon fungus.

chilli pork ribs

chilli pork ribs

& my helper’s chilli pork ribs.

deepfried chicken wings

deepfried chicken wings

some chicken wigs for the young ones.

funghi linguine

funghi linguine

funghi linguine

funghi linguine

funghi linguine

funghi linguine

for my niece & her husband who are vegetarians, i made a funghi linguine. also for my wife’s sister. it was really good. they all loved it, and there was a bit of leftovers for the nephews.

after that it was my tofu cheese cake & tiramisu, which disappeared in no time.

ice jelly with longans, palm fruits

ice jelly with longans, palm fruits

i especially liked the ice jelly with longans, palm fruits my wife’s sil made. she always bring that for our gatherings. very refreshing. i had several helpings.

c.h.e.f andy

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Scrumptious Lunch at Friend’s Home on 19Dec2014

scrumptious spread

scrumptious spread

a friend organised for us to watch exodus (& we had light dinner at timhowan at west gate mall after the show). got homecooked lunch thrown in some more. fully fed before crossing the red sea. haha. ^^

there were 6 of us joining lunch on 19.12.2014. we had a scrumptious lunch..truly a labour of love.. 🙂

another friend came later & brought back the thai curry & some other food which they then had for dinner after “dry swimming” & was singing praises on how good the thai curry was over whatsapp.

our superbred teochew ah hia who knows everything under the sun about teochew food, culture & whatnots brought some teochew cooked fishes from chong boon market at amk ave10.

buddha jump over the wall bjotw

buddha jump over the wall bjotw

we had buddha jump over the wall bjotw. there were thick mushrooms, fish maw, chicken & sliced abalones.

糖醋排骨 sweet sour pork ribs

糖醋排骨 sweet sour pork ribs

the 糖醋排骨 sweet sour pork ribs was excellent, very tender & mildly sweet, great texture & taste.

claypot rice

claypot rice

i loved the claypot rice, very nice flavours. the chinese sausage & duck liver sausage were just wonderful. had a second helping for someone who eschew carbs.

thai curry hicken

thai curry chicken

thai curry was ok for me. nice aromatic thai curry using pre-packed sauce bought from beach road.

dried oysters with moss

dried oysters with moss

& there was dried oysters with moss or 蚝屎髮菜 or 好事发财 all ready for chinese new year.

cooked treadfin & yellow cracker

cooked treadfin & yellow croaker

cooked treadfin & yellow cracker

cooked treadfin & yellow croaker

cooked silver fish

cooked silver fish

the teochew ah hia bought some “her poon” cooked fish (鱼饭) = 1 “gnor soon” (treadfin), 2 “ang huay tor” (yellow croaker or 小黄鱼) & some silver fish. the friend prepared some bean paste 豆浆 & some “sng ni chor” 蒜泥醋 for fish dip. great stuff!

i am teochew & though i like cooked fish (i mostly prefer mullet 乌鱼) i am not overly enamoured with them. we managed to finish 1 treadfin & 1 yellow croaker & some silver fish among us.

egg pancake

egg pancake

egg pancake used some thai vegetables (looked like dill). nice, i liked it.

buddha jump over the wall bjotw

buddha jump over the wall bjotw

buddha jump over the wall bjotw

buddha jump over the wall bjotw

buddha jump over the wall bjotw

buddha jump over the wall bjotw

claypot rice

claypot rice

dessert

rosella jelly with mango dessert

& we finished off with some rosella jelly with mango dessert. i finished 1 whole lot. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

12-course Homecooked Dinner for 9pax on 15Jul2014

#1 cured salmon

#1 cured salmon

an update for memories.

did a 12-course chinese dinner for friends on 15.7.2014. what’s notable this time were 3 new dishes – salted egg prawns,  steamed japanese seabass 小黄鱼 & seafood fried rice. dishes all good, except lava cake was disaster as lava cake though taste was good (for a brownie…haha..). 🙂

#2 steamed oyster with light soy sauce & olive oil

#2 steamed oyster with light soy sauce & olive oil

#1 cured salmon & #2 steamed oysters were quite new dishes too, served for the first time during my recent lake como, cinque terre, milan grand tour tasting menu for RI friends on 2.7.2014.

the very fresh salmon fillet was bought on the day itself & brined in salt & sugar solution for 4 hours. nice colour & tasty.

the large oysters were IQF (individual quick frozen) from sheng shiong just S$11.95 for 1 kg pack, steamed with 2 teaspoon light soy sauce, 2 tablespoon olive oil, sliced ginger & chilli padi for 2 minutes.

#3 poached kampong chicken

#3 poached kampong chicken

#3 poached kampong chicken was quite sweet & tasty. this time though the chicken tasted a bit gamey. i used kampong chicken from sheng shiong for the first time couple weeks back. no gamey taste then.

#4 盐水鸭 spicy dry brined duck

#4 盐水鸭 spicy dry brined duck

#4 盐水鸭 was dry brined with sichuan spicy chilli sauce, sugar & various spices for 48hrs, simmered for 15minutes & poached for 1/2 hour. it was tender & tasty. i liked it. 🙂

#5 蒜泥白肉 sichuan spicy garlic pork belly

#5 蒜泥白肉 sichuan spicy garlic pork belly

#5 蒜泥白肉 sichuan spicy chilli sauce

#5 蒜泥白肉 sichuan spicy chilli sauce

#5 蒜泥白肉 – the pork belly was done 5hrs using the crockpot braising method starting cold & on low, so the very slow braise from slow rising temperature produced a very tender belly pork, thinly sliced & drizzled with the mildly sweet sichuan spicy sauce, which was key in this preparation. this was a crowd favourite. 🙂

#6 miso lamb

#6 miso lamb

#6 miso lamb was the best i did, better than the last 2 times & w/o the gamey taste. 3 day miso marinade & 5hrs in 90degC oven. many liked this. 🙂

#7 shorthand buddha jump over the wall

#7 shorthand buddha jump over the wall

#7  the poor man’s buddha jumps over the wall was another favourite. this time (also last 11pax dinner on 14.6.2014) was the best. it had very tender pig trotters & belly pork, thick mushrooms & limpets. 🙂

#8 salted egg prawns

#8 salted egg prawns

#8 salted egg prawns. was quite excited doing this for very first time. prawns was deep-fried. paste was done using salted duck egg york, curry leaves & milk. prawns were very fresh but less crispy as it was done at 4pm like 4hrs before serving & set aside with paste added on in pan before serving. too much milk, paste not viscous enough & salted egg flavour was too dilute. will improve next time. 🙂

#9 steamed japnese seabass 小黄鱼

#9 steamed japanese seabass 小黄鱼

#9 steamed japanese seabass – another first time dish, basically repeating the steamed oysters method on the fish, using light soy sauce, olive oil, sliced ginger , orange peel & chilli padi. quite successful this one, fish very fresh & tasty w/o fishy taste (even though the fish was frozen for more than 1 month in freezer). 🙂

#10 fermented bean curd romaine lettuce

#10 fermented bean curd romaine lettuce

#10 romaine lettuce was good as usual. 🙂

#11 seafood fried rice

#11 seafood fried rice

imperial treasure lamian xiaolongbao seafood fried rice

crystal jade lamian xiaolongbao seafood fried rice

#11 seafood fried rice was another new dish, and it turned out to be a crowd favourite also. 🙂

buttered prawns & sotong were done separately. the key was again the sichuan spicy chilli sauce. rice was also pre- fried & set aside. when serving, rice was returned to pan then seafood added, heat & served. 🙂

no comparison with the real thing of course – seafood fried rice from crystal jade lamian xiaolongbao! haha. 🙂

tofu cheese cake

tofu cheese cake

#12 tofu cheese cake was good as usual. 🙂

chocolate lava cake

chocolate lava cake

lava cake was outright bad though even if the taste of the “brownie” it became was good. 😦

not much lava leh, even though i followed the same timing as my much earlier efforts (checked back the records, last time was on 28.8.2014) which were mostly good ones much also had a few failures then.

mango flan

mango flan

friends brought a very nice mango flan, small seeded lychees & strawberries. 🙂

a very fun evening get-together! 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Below Par (for the Price) 4pax Dinner @ Restaurant Home on 25Jun2014

mini buddha jump over the wall

mini buddha jump over the wall

was truly disappointed with the S$59.80+ ala carte buffet at restaurant home on 25.6.2014. 😦

probably had to do with wrong expectations, as the award winning chef tan yong hua has so many accolades, not least the first singaporean chef to win against iron Chef Thailand. also the price of S$59.80+pax would be quite ok if the dishes were good & not just mediocre.

mini buddha jump over the wall

mini buddha jump over the wall

#1 the mini buddha-jump-over-the-wall(bjotw) had a light decent soup base (not intense & maybe that was intended), a good flower mushroom, a quite small abalone which was ok & lots of chicken plus a cheap fish maw (not 花胶). i supposed average ingredients were quite ok if the soup was really tasty. it was not a bad soup. 1 of us commented any lie tong (例汤) soup of the day by tunglok or imperial treasure would beat this, so there was nothing much to say.

8-head abalone, mushroom & spinach

8-head abalone, mushroom & spinach

8-head abalone, mushroom & spinach

8-head abalone, mushroom & spinach

#2 the bite/texture & flavour of the 8-head abalone & also the flower mushroom were quite good. the spinach was just average, and perhaps it was more the method of preparation, but any brown sauce braised chinese abalones (ah yat, tunglok, xin restaurant etc) would be a better overall taste experience than this (not a better abalone). i guess this dish would be above average to good whereas the mini bjotw was just average.

salmon & maguro sashimi & mayo prawns

salmon & maguro sashimi & mayo prawns

#3 the salmon & maguro (tuna) sashimi were ok, the lobster was buried in mayo. a wasabi or salted egg prawn would be better. the dish was ok but nondescript.

herbal drunken prawns

herbal prawns

#4 the prawns were big & fresh & quite tasty. i guess it was about as good as a herbal prawn could be. it was not a dish i would much fancy though, unlike the wow factor with the golden prawns at mikuni.

deep-fried soon hock

deep-fried red garoupa

#5 the deep-fried red garoupa was competent, good even. but as 1 diner commented, it was no better than ah yat though the garoupa tasted better than soon hock. i also thought it was not much better than peach garden miramar, not counting ban heng’s deep-fried soon hock which was very average.

roast duck

roast duck

#6 the roast duck was to me about the best dish for the evening (& it was not among the chef selected dishes above limited to 1 serving). skin was crispy, meat was tender, moist not overcooked & very flavourful.

cabmeat brocoli

crabmeat brocoli

#7 the crabmeat broccoli was another better dish, looked good, tasted great, more like the standards of tunglok or imperial treasure.

sichuan beef with rice crackers

sichuan beef with rice crackers

rice crackers (for sichuan beef)

rice crackers (for sichuan beef)

#8 the sichuan spicy fish fillet (i forgot to take a photo) was ok edible not good but as 水煮鱼 it was a disaster! even the NUS canteen foodgle hub just above average S$6 水煮鱼 was better than this.

#9 the sichuan spicy beef with rice crackers was worse than the fish! beef was bad by any standard, the sinewy quite tasteless like rubber type. even the artificial tenderised beef at coffeeshop zi char stalls were better! not sure the thai type rice crackers qualified as 锅巴. if it were any zi char stall, i guess one could argue that’s just a choice of words.

osmanthus jelly

osmanthus jelly

#10 the osmanthus jelly was pretty good, i guess not so far off timhowan which was better, but it’s just jelly.

fruit jelly

rosella jelly with diced mango

#11 the rosella jelly was ok for a jelly but really a poor dessert c/w any of tunglok, xin, imperial treasure, i guess better than having red beans & green beans at ah yat.

#12 3 of us ordered the almond jelly (no photos). this was good restaurant standard.

i had earlier booked en japanese dining @ alocasia to try their S$56++pax queen crab wagyu ala carte buffet, but had canceled that to try this new restaurant. it was a manifestly wrong decision to take this ala carte buffet. it was not near as good as peach garden miramar’s (S$30.80++pax 3 paying 1 free) which was 1/2 the price. this 4pax dinner cost S$264nett. my recent fabulous 4pax dinner at mikuni cost only S$195nett. there was totally no comparison at all regards the food! 😦

1 Facebook friend who dined there recently commented that the ala carte orders –  lychee wood smoked peking duck, claypot steamed fish, tofu egg, braised pork knuckles vermicelli in oba leaf – were pretty good. i guess a sound opinion & i am not totally ruling out trying ala carte here if there are takers among my friends(but i think not likely), but the ala carte buffet is totally out for me! & i think really the organisation is still not in groove to put up this below par level of cuisine for a S$59.80 ala carte buffet. 😦

c.h.e.f andy

11pax Homecooked 11-course Family Birthday Dinner on 14.6.2014

chicken rice chicken 白斩鸡

chicken rice chicken 白斩鸡

time passes us by. my brother’s & sister’s birthday fall on 14June.  since i had started cooking for 2 years hence, and had hosted many homecooked dinners, i wanted to do a homecooked chinese dinner for my brother & sister. 🙂

the chinese dishes i planned were simple stuff like chicken & duck & belly pork. there’s also fish & 2 vege as they both like vege. i added a lamb as my sister like lamb. my niece & her husband are buddhist & vegetarian, so i cooked a pesto pasta for them. also i had the tofu cheese cake. 🙂

chicken rice chicken 白斩鸡

#1 chicken rice chicken 白斩鸡

#1 chicken rice chicken 白斩鸡 was a favourite when i did my 27pax homecooked buffet for my RI friends recently on 28.5.2014. it was brined in sugar & salt water for 48hrs, then 10minutes simmering & 20 minutes poached in hot water, and placed in ice water bath to taut the skin & stop cooking. this time though i only tried a small slice of breast meat, but it did not seem as sweet, juicy & tasty as it usually were. 😦

dry salt spice brined duck 盐水鸭

#2 dry salt spice brined duck 盐水鸭

dry salt spice brined duck 盐水鸭

#2 dry salt spice brined duck 盐水鸭

dry salt spice brined duck 盐水鸭

#2 dry salt spice brined duck 盐水鸭

#2 the 盐水鸭 (dry salt spice brined duck) though was very good this time. it was flavourful yet not too intense, and the meat was tender as the boil-poach preparation (similar to 白斩鸡 but 15mins+30minutes for duck) produced a more gently cooked meat. i applied a dry brine of salt, sugar, cinnamon bark, anise seeds, clove, bay leaves, and sichuan chilli pepper for 48hrs. 🙂

when cutting & tasting the breast which was thicker than the thigh, i felt the breast meat was less flavourful. so perhaps i will reserve thigh meat for this preparation & breast meat for the sous vide duck a l’orange. 🙂

"sous vide" char siew

#3 “sous vide” char siew

"sous vide" char siew

#3 “sous vide” char siew

#3 “sous vide” char siew was a bit too fat but melt-in-the-mouth tender after 5hrs at 90degC in the oven & quick pan-grilled with butter.  it was marinated for 3 days & well infused & tasty, but after many attempts i felt the marinade recipe i used was still not the best tasting & not comparable with my miso belly pork, which marinade requires a much simpler preparation. 🙂

spicy garlic pork 蒜泥白肉

#4 spicy garlic pork 蒜泥白肉

#4 my brother loved the 蒜泥白肉 ( spicy garlic pork). this was also a crowd favourite during my recent 27pax homecooked buffet dinner for RI friends. 🙂

actually i over added the sichuan chilli so the sauce was overly spicy. i had to drizzle less sauce than i usually did. the sauce was made from light soy sauce, sugar, chopped garlic, chopped onions, sliced ginger,  cinnamon bark, anise seed, dash of cumin & sichuan chilli. the belly pork was done using the crockpot method – in cold water on low for about 4hrs. this another inventive method of slow cooking as it starts from room temperature & very slowly gets to boiling & remain simmering not hard boiling thus retaining the moisture. pork & skin were very tender. 🙂

miso lamb shoulder chop

#5 miso lamb shoulder chop

#5 my sister like lamb so i did a miso preparation for a cheap lamb shoulder chop. the lamb was marinated for 3 days in miso to infuse the flavours. it was then placed in the marinade bath in the oven at 90degC for 5hrs. this meat has lots of connective tissues & so very tough & not easy to make tender. 90degC happens to be the optimum temperature to convert collagen (the tough connective tissues) to tasty excellent texture gelatine. this time though i forgot to remove from oven & it dried out a bit c/w a quite perfect preparation for a 11pax sit-down dinner i had for RI friends recently on 5.5.2014.

pesto spaghetti with grilled eggplant, zucchini & mushrooms

pesto spaghetti with grilled eggplant, zucchini & mushrooms

as my niece & her husband are vegetarians, i prepared a separate vegetarian dish, a pesto spaghetti with grilled eggplant, zucchini & mushrooms for them. this was a very tasty dish that i experimented/recreated after very good meals during my recent travels to lake como, cinque terre & milan. 🙂

the pesto was made with pine nuts (i used almonds as substitute as pine nuts are very ex), spinach, basil, cheese & olive oil & a dash of salt, and blended. the pesto & grilled eggplant, zucchini & mushrooms were added to the pasta & tossed, with a teaspoon of sugar, some white wine & sea salt to taste. 🙂

fried large prawns with leek

#6 fried large prawns with leek

fried large prawns with leek

#6 fried large prawns with leek

#6 fried large prawns with leek was quite poor this time. the leek was “sek” somehow very tough. usually i cooked it just right so it was still brightly green but soft & tasty. this time i had to cook it very long till blackish to get it to soften. i did not try the prawns but my wife & daughter both thought the prawns were poor. i knew the prawns were large & very fresh when i cut the heads & shelled. & the butter pan-grilled method always produce a very tasty, slightly bbq flavour prawns. but because i had to heat up the dish 3 times, even though i took out the prawns & put back each time, the steam got into the prawns & the meat became “hu hu” i.e. mushy.

poor man's buddha jump over the wall

#7 poor man’s buddha jump over the wall

poor man's buddha jump over the wall

#7 poor man’s buddha jump over the wall

#7 the shorthand 佛跳墙 (buddha jump over the wall) was a dish i modelled after the very nice soup jh’s father (a chef) made. i used pig trotters, thick mushrooms, belly pork, dried scallops & also 2 cans of cheap limpets (S$10/can). 🙂

#8 auntie bes made a teochew steamed pomfret (did not take photo). this time though the pomfret was not very fresh & had a “chow chor” (fishy) taste. 😦

fermented bean curd raomaine lettuce 腐乳油麦菜

#9 fermented bean curd romaine lettuce 腐乳油麦菜

#9 腐乳油麦菜 (fermented bean curd romaine lettuce) is a common zi char dish e.g. kok sen. this time 腐乳 & chilli were just right & my wife liked it. 🙂

HK steamed chicken, mushrooms, chinese sausage rice(香汁蒸蘑菇鸡饭)

#10 HK steamed chicken, mushrooms, chinese sausage rice(香汁蒸蘑菇鸡饭)

HK steamed chicken, mushrooms, chinese sausage rice(香汁蒸蘑菇鸡饭)

#10 HK steamed chicken, mushrooms, chinese sausage rice(香汁蒸蘑菇鸡饭)

#10 香汁蒸蘑菇鸡饭 (HK styled steamed chicken, mushrooms, chinese sausage rice) is the common steamed rice dish in hk’s dim sum restaurants, usually they used chicken feet and/or pork ribs, drizzled with tasty black sauce. the sauce is very important. it is easily made – just 1 tbsp light soy sauce, 1 tsp dark sauce, 1 tbsp sugar & 6 tbsp water or to taste. it looked dark but was not salty & quite perfect taste – mildly sweet & nice soy flavour. 🙂

tofu cheese cake

#11 tofu cheese cake

#11 just as in my 27pax recent gathering, the tofu cheese cake was again a crowd favourite. it is the easiest of dessert, a no bake very light cheese cake. the simplest of recipes = 200g cream cheese, 200g silken tofu, 200ml yogurt, 100ml whipped cream, 4 tbsp brown sugar (60g), 2 tbsp lime juice (30ml), & dissolved 3 tsp gelatine powder (15g) in 50ml hot water, then blend & pour over the biscuit base (made with 7 digestive biscuits (105g) & 60g melted butter). 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Protected: Yong Siu’s & Yong Hui’s 63 Birthday 11pax Homecooked 11-course Dinner on 14.6.2014

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RI Buddies 11pax Homecooked 11-course Chinese Dinner on 5May2014

wanted to try out some chinese dishes, so got my usual RI gang to be guinea pigs once again for an 11-course dinner for 11pax on 5.5.2014. 🙂

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500g paradiso cake from swissbake at 5th avenue

got a paradiso cake too from swissbake at 5th avenue to celebrate 1 of our friend’s birthday. 🙂

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#1 蒜泥白肉

i always find chinese cooking to be much more challenging than western (re my “worthwhile to do?” philosophy). i do a good steak, Nobu miso cod, teriyaki cod, and good pasta & paella, risotto etc, and sometimes comparable to a good restaurant even, sans the artisan garnishes, sides & plating etc. 🙂

many good chinese dishes are equally hard to do but not associated with fine dining (e.g. serving up a very good whole steamed fish does not usually evoke fine dining but serving a steamed cod fillet chinese or fusion style is somehow fine dining? or i guess there is a reason in that fine dining is about the entire experience & not just the food). much of it though i suspect is market forces & cultural programming about what fine dining is.

#1 蒜泥白肉. this a new dish for me. tried once with belly pork, and this evening with lean pork. i realised that the key was getting the right sauce recipe. the sauce this evening was excellent as everyone commented, mildly sweet, spicy, tasty sauce (we all used it for the 白斩鸡 which meant the 白斩鸡 was not tasty enough..lol). 🙂 need to improve on the dish & plating though. may try loin or neck, not sure, or go back to belly pork. 🙂

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#2 drunken chicken 醉鸡

#2 drunken chicken 醉鸡. this was done the same way as 白斩鸡 but 1 day ahead for the shao xing wine marinade (绍兴酒) to infuse. the new recipe i used produced a more tender juicy chicken with nice yellow colour. for this i cut chicken in 1/2, placed in boiling water (with spring onions, red onion, garlic, salt & some tumeric) & turned down to just more than a simmer for 10 minutes, left in the hot water for 15mins to 20mins, then transfer to a ice water bath. then marinade in 1 cup 绍兴酒 1/2cup chicken stock, 1 tablespoon sugar. 🙂

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#3 sous vide char siew (1 of 2 best dishes)

#3 sous vide char siew. this was 1 of 2 best dishes for the evening, i think everyone’s favourites. (the other was poor man’s buddha-jump-over-the-wall). 🙂 again the char siew marinade was key. i had the char siew marinated in a ziploc bag for 3days, then cooked in a marinade bath in oven at 90degC for 5hrs.

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#3 sous vide char siew (1 of 2 best dishes)

hmmm…ok i am still ogling this now. it had such wonderful flavours & melt-in-the-mouth texture. 🙂

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#4 白斩鸡

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#4 白斩鸡

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#4 白斩鸡

#4 白斩鸡. same method as drunken chicken, but i brined the chicken in water with salt & sugar first for 2 days. water molecules would infuse the chicken by diffusion & sugar & salt molecules by reverse osmosis, so the chicken would be moist (as in above photos) & tender & also tasty. 1 friend commented the texture was very good, better than the drunken chicken. however in managing so many dishes i forgot to add a touch of fish sauce to bring out the taste further. i did this the next day on some leftovers for a portion i kept for my daughter & it was excellent. 🙂

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#5 盐水鸭

#5 盐水鸭. this dish was my very first attempt & it turned out superbly well, a wonderfully flavoured dish, which everyone commented. 🙂 again the marinade was the key. i googled a recipe & marinated the duck for 24hrs. was initially supposed to do a tea smoked duck using the 5hr liquid bath sous vide method (like the char siew) but it worked better with breast & i always had leftover duck legs so decided to experiment the new 盐水鸭 dish with leftover duck legs. 🙂

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#6 poor man’s buddha-jump-over-the-wall (bjotw)

#6 poor man’s buddha-jump-over-the-wall (bjotw). this was my best attempt so far, excellent, very flavourful & intense, as all my friends commented. 🙂 just pig trotters, mushrooms, belly pork, and limpets masquerading as abalones..lol. 🙂 the soup was running low for 11 bowls but i did not want to add chicken stock which would dilute the intense flavours.

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#7 HK steamed garoupa

#7 HK steamed garoupa. this had been like a reliable, “always good”, “staple” dish & the garnishing & sauce were still good but unfortunately the fish was somehow not the best. i had gotten it from chinatown 2 days before & they had always been good & but let down on this occasion. sigh. 😦

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#8 romaine lettuce with fermented bean curd 腐乳油麦菜

#8 romaine lettuce with fermented bean curd 腐乳油麦菜. this was what was served in almost all zi char restaurants & a really excellent one i had was at kok sen at kiong siak street. 🙂 this evening my version was quite ok with some wok hae, not too salty & still with the nice taste of the fermented bean curd.

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#9 my version of pineapple prawns

pineapple prawns

the real thing – shin yeh’s pineapple prawns

#9 pineapple prawns. was trying to rehash shin yeh’s dish…lol. both prawns & pineapples tasted ok i guessed. plating was million miles behind…haha. 🙂 satisfaction as a dish i guess was quite behind my dry wok prawns, but good to have variation and not same dish everytime.

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#10 miso lamb chops

#10 miso lamb chops.  this my very first attempt. i do a good pistachio crusted rack of lamb but no other variations, so decided to do a 3day miso marinade on a cheap frozen lamb cut & coincide the 5hr sous vide bath in 90degC oven with the char siew (to save electricity). 90degC is also the optimum temperature (fastest) for conversion of collagen the tough connective tissues to gelatine with excellent texture & flavours. 🙂

the result was a very tasty flavourful lamb. the miso was not enough to cover or remove the very strong gamey taste (or we say “hiang” or “bah woo” in teochew=not a good thing) but it was tasty nonetheless though many who did not take lamb for that reason would likely not like this. 🙂

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#11 HK steamed chicken, mushrooms, chinese sausage rice

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#11 HK steamed chicken, mushrooms, chinese sausage rice

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#11 HK steamed chicken, mushrooms, chinese sausage rice

#11 HK steamed chicken, mushrooms, chinese sausage rice. this was a very easy dish to make. the key again was the marinade for the chicken & the drizzling sauce, & i took my wife’s feedback & bought some xo chinese sausages (cost 2x the red wine sausages but nothing c/w – like 25% the cost of – spanish chorizo..lol..). chicken was marinated 1 day before, and once rice cooker starts to steam just add in sausage, chicken & mushrooms. and voila! the chicken was extremely tender & tasty & the sausage super nice…could see how 1 friend was walloping them…haha. 🙂

can improve further. anyway a very fun evening with very good friends & very shiok ie satisfying for me. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Protected: RI Buddies 11pax Homecooked 11-course Chinese Dinner on 5May2014

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Very Fulfilling RI Buddies 8pax Homegourmet Dinner on 13Feb2014

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4hr sous vide crispy skin duck breast

the sous vide crispy duck breast was one the dishes i was ambivalent & uncertain about. first, it was troublesome to buy a whole duck, cut out 2 duck breasts, and then think what to do with the rest. i usually made a good lor arh (braised duck) from the remaining pieces but it was not healthy to keep eating duck with all the fat. second, while i was quite confident the sous vide meat would turn up well, i was not confident of doing the crispy skin w/o overcooking the duck & was not entirely convinced that the crispy skin was not just much ado about nothing (same ambivalence i had when practicing crackling belly pork). did the skin add much to the experience? i guess it did but whether the result was deserving the effort?

anyway for this evening, it turned out that the sous vide duck breast & the striploin pot-roast, a method i did for the first time on striploin, were quite excellent! 🙂

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menu planning – i was looking for a change of menu for my RI buddies dinner from the usual miso cod & pan-fried wagyu as main courses. i did a good gordon ramsay crispy salmon so i knew i would do ok with garoupa fillet.  it was not convenient to practice the gordon ramsay pepper sauce nor the pot roast but i felt quite comfortable to do it for the first time for my friends. 🙂 the poor man’s buddha-jump-over-the-wall was also a new dish. i did it once & it was good. for the pasta, i thought to revisit my seafood pink sauce linguine (& i did a very good one recently) to replace my usual alio olio. 🙂

pan-grilled giant hokkaido scallops (some 2" diameter)

pan-grilled giant hokkaido scallops (some 2″ diameter)

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scallop. miso belly pork. pencil asparagus. grape tomato. carrot.

#1 got dinner started with a very good pan-seared giant hokkaido scallop & my usual 4hr miso belly pork. both were very good. this the first time i added cooked vegetables. the carrot sticks were done in the steam oven, very sweet & consistent. the pencil asparagus were pan-roasted after i did the scallops & miso belly pork.

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poor man’s buddha-jump-over-the-wall

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poor man’s buddha-jump-over-the-wall

#2  next was the poor man’s buddha-jump-over-the-wall. the pig trotters was done overnight (about 7hrs) together with dried scallops & thick dried mushrooms & 2 chicken drumsticks (skin removed) for stock in a crockpot on low. the pig trotters were removed & put in the fridge to preserve the nice gelatinous texture. 🙂 the limpets & sea cucumbers were added just before serving, together with cut pieces of pig trotters. the soup was quite perfect at the time i was about to serve, but i was worried it was not enough for 8pax, so i added a bit of chicken stock. it was still good but i felt the flavour was not as intense, and actually there was enough soup w/o diluting it. it was kind of guesstimate thing as cooking for 8pax & practicing it once for a smaller serving did have some variations. 🙂

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4hr sous vide crispy skin duck breast

#3 the duck breast turned up supremely good! was brined in sugar & salt for 2 days & cooked at 60degC in the oven for 4hrs. the skin was then scored & i put on a pan at medium fire for 5mins to render out the fat to create a thin crispy skin. an important addition was orange sauce (see recipe here). i reduced this substantially to produce a thick caramelised nicely citrous sweet sauce. it went really well with the duck which was super tender. 🙂

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seafood linguine in pink sauce (creamy tomatoes)

#4 next was the seafood linguine in pink sauce. all my friends thought it was very tasty, but another & i still preferred the alio olio style which i did very well every time. 🙂

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pan-grilled garoupa fillet in gordon ramsay pepper sauce

#5 then came the 2 main courses. first up was the pan-grilled garoupa fillet with gordon ramsay pepper sauce. my hand-held food blender was evidently not the right tools to produce the very smooth blended sauce in gordon ramsay’s pepper sauce video (a real beauty). the garoupa were marinated well so flavour was ok. the texture of the garoupa fillet (frozen pack) was not great. of course it was too much to compare with my usual miso cod (also frozen pack).

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striploin pot roast in crockpot low to 125degF (52degC)

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vegetable ratatouille

#6 the striploin pot roast was a beauty. see the nice maillard reaction brown ring in the photo. it was nicely seared all round before placing in a crockpot on low with the vegetable ratatouille to reach 125degF (52degC) – about 1.5hrs, then in a 55degC oven for another 1 hr.  it was a very nice medium rare, & medium at the ends. i was very pleased with this first crockpot roast on a striploin. my first was a chuck pot roast. it was good but this was lots better! 🙂

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chocolate lava cake, toasted almond ice cream & “huat kueh”

#7 the last course was my chocolate lava cake. i had done very many good lava cakes. this time i did the exact same recipe & timing (3m 40s in a 210degC oven on broiler setting). somehow it was overdone & there were not much lava. will need to reduce to 3m 30s next time. sigh! i really need to work on another dessert recipe.

it was a really enjoyable & fulfilling experience for me (1 of my good friends described as full-filling haha!). i really feel good about this! 🙂

c.h.e.f. andy

Feeling Excited – Doing a 8pax Dinner for My RI Buddies This Evening!

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doing a 8pax dinner for my RI buddies this evening – feeling excited! 🙂

for me, cooking is about planning & making it happen, and the process is quite fun.

i don’t have to start cooking until 1.30pm.

the soup for poor man’s buddha-jump-over-the-wall was done overnight. so i just need to add back the individual servings of pig trotters, limpets, sea cucumbers & mushrooms when serving the soup.

the miso belly pork & crispy skin sous vide duck breast will be in the oven at 60degC for 4hrs. during the 4hrs, i will prepare the chocolate lava cake (takes <1/2hr) and 4 sauces- orange sauce for the duck, gordon ramsay pepper sauce for the garoupa fillet, pink sauce (creamy tomato) for the seafood linguine & vegetable ratatouille for the striploin pot roast. each takes say 15 – 30minutes.

at 5.30pm, i will start my striploin pot roast (700g) with ratatouille in the crockpot on low & should get to 125degF (52degC) in 1 hr, & i can place it in a covered oven dish in a 55degC oven for another 1.5hrs, probably serves it at 8pm.

when the friends are here at 7pm, i will do the pan-charring for the scallops & then miso belly pork (which were marinated in miso for 3 days & “sous vide” at 60degC for 4hrs in the oven, & then pan-roast the pencil asparagus.

after that i will serve the soup, and then do the cold pan method to try to get the crispy skin “sous vide” duck breast (brined for 2 days & also 4hrs at 60degC in oven). as i told my friends the medium rare duck breast is ok, but i unsure of the crispy skin (both texture & taste) & will probably not do this dish much in future if it doesn’t work well (just like the crackling pork belly – not worth doing if cannot get it right).

the seafood linguine in pink sauce is straight forward just tossing, with both pasta & the prawns & squid already prepared.

for the garoupa fillet, i had a good marinade (2days) so it should be quite nice pan-grilled. i am doing the gordon ramsay pepper sauce for first time today, but the video sure looks really exciting. 🙂

for the striploin pot roast, i have done this before on chuck pot roast (a cheaper cut) but this the first time i am trying it on striploin. never really know how it will turn out especially i am varying the temperature a bit to make rare instead of medium rare, but that’s the fun & challenge of the unknown. 🙂

my chocolate lava cake is quite standard fare, so should be ok though occasionally the lava part still doesn’t work out well as the timing is too short & any slight variation in oven temperature & timing will affect the result.

looking forward to a fun evening. we are going to share our secondary school photo albums too…haha. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

(Poor Man’s) Buddha Jump Over The Wall

poor man's buddha jump over the wall

poor man’s buddha jump over the wall

my daughter’s friend’s father is a chef. he made a shorthand version of buddha jump over the wall using simple ingredients & my daughter brought home last week. it was very good & my wife & i enjoyed very much. 🙂

my wife is leaving for UK tomorrow & my daughter’s friend came for dinner, so i thought i would try recreating the dish. 🙂

(P.S. subsequently i served this dish for my RI friends on 5.5.2014 & for my brother & sister birthday on 14.6.2014 and it was a really excellent dish that everyone liked).

the ingredients that were used were dried scallops, pig trotters, chicken, mushroom & small abalones. so i went to sheng shiong last evening & bought 1 chicken, a whole pig trotter. i did not want to waste good abalones (not sure how the soup would turn up) & there was not enough time for me to prepare dried abalones i had at home (takes couple days to slow braise in brown sauce) so i bought a can of cheap limpets for S$9.30.

poor man's buddha jump over the wall

poor man’s buddha jump over the wall

poor man's buddha jump over the wall

poor man’s buddha jump over the wall

poor man's buddha jump over the wall

poor man’s buddha jump over the wall

poor man's buddha jump over the wall

poor man’s buddha jump over the wall

i added boiling water to some dried mushrooms & 2 dried scallops & soaked for several hours to soften. i used about 2/3 of the pig trotters & added the remaining boiling water to remove the scums, after which i cleaned thoroughly in slow running cold water.

i cleaned & used 1/2 chicken & quartered it. then i placed the 2 chicken quarters & pig trotters (4 large pieces) in a crockpot & added the dried scallops, mushrooms & also the water they were soaked in , throwing away the residue. i open the can of limpets & tried a piece. the brined solution tasted quite good so i emptied the whole can into the crockpot, and added 1 teaspoon of salt. i added some water to about 80% full.

i then turned on the crockpot to low & left overnight till next morning (about 7hrs). next morning i removed the pig trotters (& chicken) & limpets so they were not over-boiled. this was very important for the pig trotters to keep the tasty & still bouncy slightly gelatinous texture. no difference for the chicken though, 7hrs even at low was too long.

i kept the crockpot at high for another 4hrs to get the most flavour from the dried scallops & to reduce the soup a little for more intense flavours. then i let it cooled down & placed in the fridge.

when it was time to serve, i took out the soup & removed the layer of oil. i then boiled the soup & added back the pig trotters & chicken & limpets & then served. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken quarters
  • 400g pig trotters
  • 6 to 10 pieces of small abalones (dried & braised or canned or a cheap substitute like limpets)
  • 2 dried scallops
  • 6 to 10 pieces dried mushrooms

Directions:

  1. add boiling water to some dried mushrooms & 2 dried scallops & soak for several hours to soften. add the remaining boiling water to pig trotters to remove scums, then clean thoroughly in slow running cold water. clean & cut out 2 chicken quarters. place the 2 chicken quarters & pig trotters (4 large pieces) in a crockpot & add the dried scallops, mushrooms & also the water they were soaked in, throwing away the residue. add some water & 1 teaspoon of salt. open a can of small abalones (or limpets) & empty contents into the crockpot.
  2. turn on crockpot to low & leave overnight till next morning (about 7hrs). next morning remove the pig trotters (& chicken) & limpets so they are not over-boiled. keep the crockpot at high for another 4hrs to get the most flavour from the dried scallops & to reduce the soup a little for more intense flavours (this to taste). let the soup cool down & place in the fridge.
  3. when it is time to serve, take out the soup & removed the layer of oil. boil the soup & add back the pig trotters & chicken & limpets & then serve.