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

Scrumptious Homecooked Lunch for 30+pax on 25Jul2015

youngest daughter was celebrating an important occasion & invited 30 friends to the house on 25.7.2015.^^

we had a really wonderfully scrumptious family-cooked lunch for her friends.

we did 13 delectable dishes!^^

& her friend made a professional pastry chef standard 2-tier cake. 🙂

wife's PIMMS

wife’s PIMMS cocktail

wife also made a PIMMS cocktail!^^

wife's PIMMS

wife’s PIMMS cocktail

i cannot hold liquor but i liked it very much & took maybe 5 or 6 cups & a bit drunk afterwards. 🙂

#1 wife made a lovely pumpkin tofu salad, something she picked up from marmalade after dining there. 🙂

#2 i did a vietnamese chargrilled pork cold beehoon. 🙂

we recently had this dish at mrs pho. i would think that my version was just as good. 🙂

#3 & i made a chicken ballotine.

#3 i steamed the first batch of 2 for 15mins. it was slight overdone.

the second batch i reduced to 12mins. & this was quite perfect! tender, juicy, flavourful.^^

helper's chicken nuggets

#4 helper’s chicken nuggets

#4 my helper did the chicken nuggets. pretty good too. 🙂

helper's deepfried chicken wings

#5 helper’s deepfried chicken wings

#5 & her chicken wings are a perennial favourite. 🙂

#6 i did a thai red curry sotong.

this the first time i cooked this dish. i fried in butter the sotong (squid) like i did for my flamed squid in spinanch veloute, but w/o flaming it (too tedious for quantity for 30+pax!). i tasted the sotong & it was excellent. i made the red curry gravy using the dancing chef’s ready mix with some cut yellow onions. the curry was just superb, so the combination was just crazy, a clear winner!^^

#7 for the chicken thigh, i pan-grilled on a very hot stainless steel pan. it was perfect, and daughters’ friends walloped the 6 pieces of deboned thighs from 3 chicken in double quick time. 🙂

unlike the red curry dish, for this yellow curry, i made it as a sauce similar to busaba’s to-die-for grilled chicken green curry fried rice.^^

there was actually an egg fried rice dish (which was also pretty good) to accompany the thai chicken & sotong curries but i did not have a photo.

#8 wife made an excellent creamy tomato pasta. she usually use crayfish from chinatown & for me it’s the best pasta ever.

this time, we could not get crayfish at chinatown so she used large prawns as proxy. 🙂

helper's sausage pasta

#9 helper’s sausage pasta

#9 & my helper made her crowd favourite cheese sausage spaghetti.

the whole family like this & all my children’s friends who came to the house previously all enjoyed this pasta by my helper. 🙂

#10 i made an excellent squid ink spaghetti this time, no errors, no horrors, no misses, simply fabulous, par excellence!

very nicely creamy, i added butter (only when tossing with fire off! – you don’t want to boil the butter).^^

& fantastic colour, al dente pasta & irresistible squid ink flavour with wonderful chicken stock & squid.

#11 & the tagliata di manzo had my daughter’s friends swooning & asking for more.

in the end i cooked a second portion, total 4x300g = 1.2kg of 150D grain-fed black angus ribeye.

birthday cake

birthday cake

daughter’s friend made her a totally professional pastry chef standard 2-tier cake.

birthday cake

birthday cake

plus lemon tarts & also cup cakes. every cake item was just fabulous! 🙂

#12 i made my usual tiramisu.

it was as good as ever. daughter’s friends finished an entire tub. ^^ i had a spare tub though. there was too much cake already so we saved that.

& my daughter arranged a photo booth which was a lot of fun, & her friends came in all kinds of costumes.

the photo booth guy just finished national service & is going to london for further studies. that’s what young people do a lot these days, with internet & social media offering excellent reach, connectivity & empowerment! 🙂

what a simply incredible, most enjoyable & memorable occasion to be savoured.

c.h.e.f andy

6pax Homecooked Course Dinner on 9Jul2015

flamed squid in spinach veloute

#1 flamed squid in spinach veloute

did a 6pax homecooked sit-down dinner for my close friends on 9.7.2015.^^

had been doing the buffet style (which is still the more logistically optimised) for larger group of friends. since my helper is away back in philippines for 1 month break, it was easier to do a small group of 6pax, which allows me to pick dishes to be served course by course.

my first course was #1 flamed squid in spinach veloute. i flamed the squid, then fried in butter. when serving i heat up the veloute, plated the sauce, added the flamed squid & topped with a coriander branch. 🙂

i did this very well also for my early home anniversary dinner for 4pax on 28.5.2015.

flamed squid in spinach veloute

#1 flamed squid in spinach veloute

this was the best for the evening. everyone loved the bbq flavour. i was a bit worried it might be overcooked but squid turned out  just nice, succulent, not rubbery.  veloute was excellent very tasty, and plating did make a big difference! 🙂

chicken ballotine, head cheese terrine (猪头冻) & ragout of pig's ear on toast

#2 chicken ballotine, head cheese terrine (猪头冻) & ragout of pig’s ear on toast

i should have insisted to plate the second course #2 chicken ballotine, head cheese terrine (猪头冻) & ragout of pig’s ear on toast. my friends were extremely helpful & wanted to lessen the effort for me.

chicken ballotine, head cheese terrine (猪头冻) & ragout of pig's ear on toast

chicken ballotine, head cheese terrine (猪头冻) & ragout of pig’s ear on toast

all 3 were my quite new experimental dishes. i am planning to do them at the next larger dinner on 6.8.2015.

1. the ragout of pig’s ears was excellent, best of the trio. this i recreated with my own recipe modelling after the signature dish at the fabulous lunch @ Dinner by Heston Blumenthal.

2. the pig’s head meat was excellent too. the jelly, gelatine was awesome. the meat & skin were ok, but head cheese is harder to prepare than belly or trotters, so though i did scrap the skin to remove the hairs, they were not thoroughly removed. i will have to decide which meat to use for this dish.

3. the chicken ballotine was poor though. basically i had over-steamed the meat, so it was “old” and not so tasty & bouncy. the successful ones i did were here.

rockets & cherry tomatoes salad to go with tapas

rockets & cherry tomatoes salad to go with tapas

i mixed some rockets & cherry tomatoes salad to go with tapas dish. again i think the dish would be much better presented if i plated it myself. this i plan to do at the next dinner. 🙂

carrot soup

#3 carrot soup

the #3 carrot soup was very smooth & tasty. it was done with 2 carrots, and lots of vegetables for tasty soup base – 1 stalk leek, 1 red pepper, 1 yellow onions, and the leftover spinach stems (from the spinach veloute).

i added some brandy so there was a good slight liquor flavour.

i was worried that the sharp carrot taste was too strong, but my friends did not feel so.

carrot soup

#3 carrot soup

one friend thought it was too creamy. i think overall it was a very good smooth & tasty soup, and looked lovely too.^^

calamari & oyster fritters

#4 calamari & oyster fritters

i had some #4 calamari & oyster fritters to go with the soup. this was troublesome to do as i had to do the deep frying at the time i am serving the soup. i am going to skip this dish the next time. 🙂

calamari & oyster fritters

#4 calamari & oyster fritters

i think my calamari was not dry enough when i prepare the batter. also because it was rushed when i first started deep-frying the first piece, the oil was not hot enough.

also the oyster did not taste the best this evening, not quite sure why.

prawns to go with fungi linguine

#5 prawns to go with fungi linguine

the #5 prawns to go with fungi linguine were excellent though, very nicely done, fresh, bouncy, good flavours.

creamy mushroom onion sauce for fungi linguine

creamy mushroom onion sauce for fungi linguine

#5 fungi linguine was excellent too.

looked just perfect.

pan-fried prawns served with fungi linguine

pan-fried prawns served with fungi linguine

& tasted wonderful.

my friends made very good plating for this dish.

pan-fried prawns served with fungi linguine

pan-fried prawns served with fungi linguine

i intend to plate it myself the next round though, for 10pax on 6.8.2015. my helper would be back then. 🙂

squid ink risotto

#6 squid ink risotto

the #6 squid ink risotto was kind of a small disaster. haha! 🙂

i used 5 ink pouches from 5 small/medium squid but they had very little ink.

a friend took the trouble to go to 3 super marts to get for me last minute additional squids, but still with 5 more ink pouches, it didn’t do enough for my squid ink risotto.

also this dish was rushed because the extra squid ink came only when friends arrived for dinner, it was out of sequence with my usual preparation timing & steps & took a long time doing it after serving the #5 course.

i was lazy to go chinatown to buy the large flat cuttlefish which has lots of ink. so sometimes have to improve decision making. it may appear troublesome to do, but it is a lot more troublesome not doing it.

so much for the negative demonstration, for the right way see my squid ink risotto par excellence here.^^

i bought 1 2kg maoshanwang猫山王 + 2 D-24 durians for the evening (unfortunately we gobbled it up before taking photos). the D-24 were pretty good, but maoshanwang猫山王 was crazy, so creamy, tasty, very small seeds & lots of seeds for 2kg.

i had a tofu cheese cake just for backup. anyway we decided not to eat it & 3 friends each carried a piece back home. it’s a cake they all like anyway.

a friend brought angkukueh, & others brought cherries & lychees. 🙂

while there were hiccups it did not diminish any of the fun. overall the dishes were pretty good or ok & everyone had a good time! ^^

c.h.e.f andy

Marvellous Mother’s Day Lunch @ The Gurnard’s Head on 10May2015

chicken ballotine

chicken ballotine

today is mother’s day in singapore,10.5.2015
(it seems that in UK it was 15mar in 2015, must confess i never knew that!). we all sent greeting messages, and my friends were quite active on the group whatsapps. ^^
yesterday morning on our first day arriving in cornwall, we were blessed with glorious sunshine when we visited minack theatre & hiked a bit at porthcurno & porthgwarra, and later from sennen cove to land’s end.
this morning, weather was ok albeit not a bright sunny day, we managed to visit cape cornwall & botallack mines.
the gunnard's head

the gurnard’s head

after botallack, we decided to press on to the gurnard’s head.
my wife had been reading about the restaurant, and it turned out to be such an excellent mother’s day lunch experience.^^
sunday lunch menu

sunday lunch menu

 we had 1 of the best lunches in UK 2-course for £18.50. my wife said she would skip friday’s set lunch at Dinner (Heston Blumenthal’s Pellegrino 50 restaurant) as it is no better than this!
rye bread

rye bread

rye bread

rye bread

we had complimentary rye bread. the butter was very tasty.

for appetisers, wife ordered a chicken ballotine & i ordered a ham hock terrine.

chicken ballotine

chicken ballotine

chicken ballotine was excellent, light & fast with the sauce.^^

ham hock terrine

ham hock terrine

i was thinking ter kar tan (pig trotters jelly)! the ham hock terrine looked more like a luncheon meat or 镇江肴肉

this was quite excellent, very flavourful if robust. i was surprised that wife took a whole piece. & the sauce & sides were superb.

we were sharing the dishes, which was great as we each got to taste & enjoy the dishes w/o getting satiated with 1 portion. we were saying this was like a 4-course degustation lunch!

prime ribs with yorkshire pudding

prime ribs with yorkshire pudding

prime ribs with yorkshire pudding

for the mains we ordered the slow braised beef ribs, and the whole megrim sole.

beef was more like a prime rib or beef on a wagon. it was a good prime rib, but not the specialty standard of prime ribs at SCC (singapore cricket club). 🙂

the prime rib itself tasted pretty good. & the red wine sauce & condiments – chinese cabbage, potatoes, turnips & carrots etc were excellent too! i recall form my student days 30+years ago they used to match yorkshire pudding with roast beef, & we used to joke that roast beef was like paper – i.e. tough & tasteless. now with modern cuisine it was not just roast beef but a slow braised beef ribs preparation. 🙂

whole megrin sole

whole megrim sole

whole megrin sole

whole megrim sole

i had the whole megrim sole.

the fish was quite sublime, very tender & tasty!^^

i would say the sole was far better than the prime ribs, and for me much better also when compared with the very good hake & john dory we had last evening at tolacrne inn.

the food was excellent & wife was in very good spirits!^^

c.h.e.f andy