清汤牛腩 Slow-braised Briskets in Clear Broth (1st Experiment)

slow braised briskets清汤牛腩

slow braised briskets清汤牛腩

my first experiment on 清汤牛腩 using crockpot slow-braise (lazy man) method on 4.10.2015. ^^

this was very much inspired by a friend who brought her excellent slow braised briskets清汤牛腩 for a recent homecooked 17-courses 16pax eat together a short while back on 17.8.2015.

for me that was gold standard. 🙂

slow braised briskets清汤牛腩

slow braised briskets清汤牛腩

one key point was buying the right briskets.

slow braised briskets清汤牛腩

slow braised briskets清汤牛腩

i used to buy from giant but the brisket cuts there did not have the thick collagen layer (the 胶)。

slow braised briskets清汤牛腩

slow braised briskets清汤牛腩

my friend taught me to buy from chinatown so when i was there to get fish & prawns etc i bought 1 kg from the 1st of the 2 stalls there. 🙂

daikon 白萝卜

daikon 白萝卜

recipe was simple & strait forward-

  1. scald briskets to remove scum (i used about 700g only for experiment)
  2. add 2/3 of a cut daikon & 5cm cut ginger (i also added 3 sprigs of spring onions & 1 small red onion)
  3. cover with vegetable stock or water
  4. place in cold crockpot on low & set meat thermometer to 90degC.
  5. add salt to taste
slow braised briskets清汤牛腩

slow braised briskets清汤牛腩

theory is 90degC supposedly optimum temperature to convert connective tissues (collagen) to gelatine & give the brisket great favours & umami. ^^

i estimated 6hrs to 90degC but only reached 84degC at 10.5hrs.

part of the reason is the experiment, taking out the brisket, cutting & trying. if w/o interference should reach 90degC faster.

slow braised briskets清汤牛腩

slow braised briskets清汤牛腩

brisket was quite tender & delicious.

the daikon (radish) also tender but firm, and soup is sweet with meat flavours.

slow braised briskets清汤牛腩

slow braised briskets清汤牛腩

i let it reached 90degC then left it in crockpot overnight. it was more tender & tastier the next day.

this the first try, pretty tender & tasty 清汤牛腩. not quite my friend’s gold standard yet. will try a second time, make some adjustments & do an update then.

c.h.e.f andy

 

Quite OK 3pax Lunch @ Chickenwok 鸡之味 on 21Mar2015

brinjal tofu salted fish

brinjal tofu salted fish

went to visit a chinese friend & look at his new Beacon LED office/store at tradehub21 on 21.3.2015.

he arranged for another mutual friend to meet at chickenwok 鸡之味 downstairs his office, and bought lunch.^^

we were early (intentionally) at 11.15am so the place was empty & we were the first & only customer (at the time we finished about 12pm).

i have seen chickenwok 鸡之味 S$15 for S$30 groupon vouchers many times before but did not consider to try. for today we did not have vouchers. & a check at groupon showed that the vouchers had sold out, but i know they always come back. seen it so many times liao. so next time if i come, i will be armed with vouchers. 🙂

we ordered 5 dishes. they were all pretty ok, no bad dishes, tasty enough, quite inexpensive.

all except the S$8 romaine lettuce, which my ancient upbringing think quite ridiculous vs other dishes but my wife had enlightened me that there was no basis in the first place for me to think that vegetables should be cheaper than meat! 🙂

and i do marketing, so i know the average amount romaine lettuce cost S$2.50 (2 bunches) to S$3.50 (3 bunches) in sheng shiong, and more in chinatown. well, so it’s S$8 in an inexpensive restaurant.

the best dish (kind of just slightly better than the rest) i found (top photo) was oddly the brinjal & tofu. the salted fish gave it a very interesting flavour & overall the dish was tasty.^^

curry chicken

curry chicken

curry chicken was good.

curry chicken

curry chicken

good as in c/w any economic rice stall or nasi padang stall, but cannot compare with the lemak green or red curries at good nasi padang stalls e.g. river valley nasi padang (now closed). 🙂

this the thicker more pasty curry & not so lemak kind.

curry stingray

curry stingray

curry stingray also good, better than curry chicken, basically like any good homecooked curries or coffee shop stalls, which means not too bad la…^^

braised belly 东坡肉

claypot braised belly pork 东坡肉

the claypot braised belly pork 东坡肉, not really 东坡肉 (the top restaurants seldom serve this swimming in braising sauce, always bunched standing up with or w/o sauce though i had tried the wet version also at kamjiazhuang recently, anyway tasted different in texture & flavour), was better than i expected. in fact it was rather good braised belly pork, nice soft texture retaining some bite not falling apart & quite tasty. 🙂

romaine lettuce with shimeji

romaine lettuce with shimeji

romaine lettuce was good. to me, still too expensive vs a S$6 braised pork belly & S$6 stingray. still not attuned to the times, haha! 🙂

the prices

the prices

there was no GST & service. they charged S$0.60 for ice water. for me that’s quite ok. guy got to make a living. 🙂

& if you get a S$15 for S$30 groupon voucher, then this is better than coffee shop & food court prices.^^

c.h.e.f andy

Wok Fried Manila Clams 香锅炒蛤蜊

oct2015 update – i have done this dish a few times now. the best rendition was when i did a 9pax teochew muay lunch for my friends on 28.10.2015 (top photo).

wok fried mango clams

wok fried manila clams 香锅炒蛤蜊

wife went to chinatown today & bought S$6/kg manila clams, a kind of soft-shell clams or steamers.

manila clams are much lighter & tastier than the hard shell littleneck clams (the usual lala) though some called manila clams lala also. so even though they cost higher per kg, you actually get your money’s worth.

wok fried mango clams

wok fried manila clams 香锅炒蛤蜊

for today i fried it with butter, chilli padi, curry leaves, orange zest, sliced ginger, white wine, oyster sauce + corn flour on high fire.

need to drain (keep sauce) so as not to overcook clams, return sauce to pan to thicken, then return clams to coat with sauce for few seconds.

this time, the result was a super nice wok-fried manila clams – 特好吃香锅蛤蜊。。。

i was thinking probably need not mix the 2 styles also-

i can try the usual butter, chilli padi, orange zest, ginger & white wine which is my usual preparation for mussel pot or clams & mussels for pasta & risotto.

or i can do the curry leaves, chilli padi, sliced ginger, oyster sauce, corn flour good for toa tao & clams the asian style.

this time though the mixture of taste was quite excellent. everyone enjoyed the dish. ^^

stir-fry manila clams 16.10.2015

stir-fried manila clams with curry leaves – 16.10.2015

stir-fry manila clams 16.10.2015(3)

stir-fried manila clams with curry leaves – 16.10.2015 

subsequently, i did this dish a few times, and they were consistently good.

the best was still that shown in the top photo!

c.h.e.f andy

Royal Walk (London for Free) on 22Aug2014

view of 10 downing street

view of 10 downing street

last time i came to london was in oct2011. that time my wife & i & our son walked around saint james park.

this time as we had more time, we decided to follow the london for free/royal walk route. we took the victoria line from kings cross to green park & changed to jubilee line to westminster on 22.8.2014.

we started with 10 downing street, but the street was closed with security post and not accessible to tourist. 😦

victoria embankment view of flyer

victoria embankment view of london eye

victoria embankment view of flyer

victoria embankment view of london eye

from there we walked along richmond terrace towards river thames, crossed the road to victoria embankment next to the battle of britain memorial. 🙂

the london eye was opposite. i had not taken the london eye nor indeed the singapore flyer. i did not pay much attention earlier as the initial thought was paying £18 (S$33 for singapore flyer) to spend 30mins (32mins for singapore flyer) with 20+ strangers (25 in 1 capsule for london eye & 28 for singapore flyer). but in a way it is like paying to go up eiffel tower or empire state building to view the city.  i may try them some time….

the appreciative & the critical, from wiki on london eye

Sir Richard Rogers, winner of the 2007 Pritzker Architecture Prize, wrote of the London Eye in a book about the project:

The Eye has done for London what the Eiffel Tower did for Paris, which is to give it a symbol and to let people climb above the city and look back down on it. Not just specialists or rich people, but everybody. That’s the beauty of it: it is public and accessible, and it is in a great position at the heart of London.

Writing for G2 in an article from August 2007, Steve Rose described the Eye as follows:

The Eye… exists in a category of its own…. It essentially has to fulfil only one function, and what a brilliantly inessential function it is: to lift people up from the ground, take them round a giant loop in the sky, then put them back down where they started. That is all it needs to do, and thankfully, that is all it does.

view from victoria embankment

view from victoria embankment

victoria embankment view of flyer

victoria embankment view of flyer

never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few - winston churchill

never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few – winston churchill

we walked along the embankment towards house of parliament aka palace of westminster.

there was winston churchill’s famous quote – “never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few” by the memorial.

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big ben @ house of parliament aka palace of westminster

big ben was right ahead. we crossed the road to the house of parliament aka palace of westminster.

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statue of winston churchill at the parliament square

there was the statue of winston churchill at the parliament square.

apparently one cannot find any pigeon resting on the head as it is wired & will give the poor creature an electric shock.

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house of parliament aka palace of westminster

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house of parliament aka palace of westminster

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house of parliament aka palace of westminster

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big ben @ house of parliament aka palace of westminster

house of parliament aka palace of westminster

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house of parliament aka palace of westminster

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house of parliament aka palace of westminster

the house of parliament aka palace of westminster was an impressive sight. it would be an awesome sight if we had seen it in any european city. here in london we might have went past it many a times. still such an amazing architecture. 🙂

It is the largest gothic building in the world with over 1,000 rooms and two miles of corridors in it. the current building dated back to 1840 (rebuilding was initiated after the great fire of 1834), took mostly more than 20years to build, with construction completed only in the 1870s.

many great treason trials have taken place here. in 1305, braveheart was sentenced to death here and in 1606 guy fawkes, the man who tried to blow up Parliament, met a similar fate.

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westminster abbey

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dean’s yard

westminster abbey is steeped in 1000 year history. it has been the coronation church since 1066 and is the final resting place of 17 monarchs. 1000s of people were buried here. the last burial in the abbey was in 1906; since then, only ashes have been accepted.

we past the dean’s yard which housed the remaining grounds of the former monastery of westminster, not occupied by the abbey buildings, including the church house, the headquarters of the church of england.

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saint james park

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duck island cottage @ saint james park

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saint james park

we crossed over victoria street & birdcage walk & walked by the pond in saint james park, passing the duck island cottage, a picturesque lodge that housed the offices of the london historic parks and gardens trust in saint james’s park.

guards division memorial

guards division memorial

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guards division memorial

horse guards parade square in front of white hall

horse guards parade square in front of white hall

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horse guards parade square in front of white hall

we reached the guards division memorial.

looking in the direction of river thames & the london eye, there was horse guards parade, a large square in front of whitehall flanking the ministry of defence on the left. took some nice panoramic photos of whitehall & horse guard parade. 🙂

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ducks sunning in the garden

we cut across saint james park westwards in the direction of buckingham palace towards the mall.

horse guards riding past

horse guards riding past

horse guards riding past

horse guards riding past

we were lucky to catch the horse guards riding past, along the mall from buckingham palace. 🙂

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along the mall pavement towards buckingham palace

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along the mall pavement towards buckingham palace

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victoria memorial

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victoria memorial

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victoria memorial

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buckingham palace

we walked along the mall to Buckingham Palace. 🙂

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green park

we walked through green park.

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my son’s former apartment along shaftesbury avenue

then along piccadilly to piccadilly circus & shaftesbury avenue to my son’s former apartment which he rented for 2 years with 3 other friends. it was very centrally located along shaftesbury avenue between soho & chinatown. 🙂

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monmouth cappuccino

from there, my son took me to monmouth at covent gardens to enjoy a great cuppa!

after that we proceeded to a very interesting lunch at honey & co on warren street. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

 

Very Satisfying Comfort Food @ Four Seasons Chinatown London on 25Aug2014

roast duck (烧鸭)

roast duck (烧鸭)

coming back from cambridge, we decided to go to the regent street nespresso outlet to get some capsules for my friend in singapore. we took the piccadilly line from king’s cross to piccadilly. i bought 50each of the black ristretto (intensity 10 arabica) & the purple arpeggio (intensity 9 arabica) capsules. 🙂

as we were near to four seasons in chinatown, we decided to have another go at roast duck just for the 2 of us. 🙂

son felt that the roast duck at four seasons was better & the sauce was sweeter c/w the roast duck gold mine. i could not tell the difference & i really love the roast duck at both restaurants. really shook! 🙂 price wise there wasn’t much to compare either – £12 at gold mine and £12.50 at four seasons.

roast pork (烧肉)  & char siew on rice

roast pork (烧肉) & char siew on rice

as there were only 2 of us & we already had 1/2duck, we decided to have a roast pork (烧肉) & char siew on rice for £7.80. i guessed it would be a smaller portion but this worked out well for us & was cheaper than getting a meat plate for £8.50 + £2.50 for rice.

the roast pork (烧肉)  at gold mine was distinctly superior to this.

my last experience with four seasons was in 2011 & as expected the service was brisk & business like bordering on unfriendly or even rudeness i had come to expect in chinese restaurants (or for that matter in any restaurants like this of so many nasi chefs in singapore, & at la botte in stresa where business was so good & they were always full & so busy).

i spoke cantonese with the 40-ish lady server i mistook as from hong kong. she was fast in words & thoughts & forceful. later when she talked about high teacher’s pay in singapore (which i guessed was misinformation) i realised she not likely to be from hong kong  & she told me she came to UK from malaysia 22 years ago. anyway she was very nice to us & gave 10% student discount when my son asked. we were not expecting that as my son was dining with me & not his student friends. 🙂

well, for me, gold mine & four seasons are the places i will go back every time i am in london.

c.h.e.f andy

Great Lunch @ Boon Tong Kee Balestier on 13Jun2014

chinese cabbage with taupok

chinese cabbage with taupok

a good friend had a S$10 boon tong kee voucher to use & invited us for a 3pax lunch at the balestier branch. this a restaurant with 31 years history. 🙂 the stall at chinatown was started by a thian boon hua in 1979. and the very first btk restaurant opened at balestier road in 1983. 🙂

my friend wanted to book btk at 1pm (as we were all watching world cup soccer opener brazil vs croatia) but it was fully booked. we decided to go early instead at 11.45am, also there were limited kampong chicken so better to be early. 🙂

there is a huge carpark just behind balestier food centre which is adjacent to btk.

we got ourselves a table. the place was aircon-ed. it was full & a queue soon formed outside. about 3 tables were reserved for tourist busload!

chicken liver & gizzard

chicken liver & gizzard

white-cut kampong chicken

white-cut kampong chicken

HK steamed cod with wood fungus

HK steamed cod with wood fungus

chinese cabbage with taupok

chinese cabbage with taupok

HK steamed cod with wood fungus

S$30 HK steamed cod with wood fungus

my friend ordered 4 dishes.

#1 kampong chicken was very good, though my friend the connoisseur felt it was not as good as usual.  for me it was very good, smooth, sweet & not so fatty. 🙂 & the rice was very good, flavourful & not too oily. the thinly chopped ginger oil dip was excellent! 🙂

#2 the chicken liver & gizzard were ok. i am partial though to chicken  intestine which was not offered at this btk branch.

#3 the bean curd with nai bai (奶白) chinese cabbage was very good too, especially the beam curd!

#4 the hk steamed cod fish with wood fungus (木耳) was excellent, the best. 🙂

the meal came to S$84 for 3pax including 3 barley drink (S$2.20 each) before using the S$10 voucher. it was not cheap but it was really a very good meal for me.

btk is more like a zi char than just a chicken rice stall. i don’t take so much chicken rice these days but this was really good relative to many good neighbourhood chicken rice stalls like the ones i had at tanglin halt & 6th avenue. i will certainly come back both for the chicken rice & also the zi char dishes.

c.h.e.f andy

Yong Tau Fu Lamian @ Bagus at Changi Road on 21Oct2013

bagus yong tau fu @ changii road

bagus yong tau fu @ changi road

must say yong tau fu does not feature anywhere in my list. we were having meeting at chai chee & looking for some quick lunch place that was easy to park. driving/parking is such a chore sometimes.

our friend whose office is at chai chee & so the kingpin for the hour, decided on this bagus place which sure enough had plenty of parking next to the shophouses at changi road.

bagus yong tau fu @ changii road

bagus yong tau fu @ changi road

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the 2 places i had yong tau fu very occasionally were chinatown’s “江鱼子” & tiong bahru yong tau fu at the corner coffeeshop at tiong poh road, PLUS the one at ghim moh market which my wife & daughter used to go more often before but not much now.

anyhow at bagus which is halal, they served a few variations – hakka, spicy chilli, laksa & the tau you la mian. i had the dry tau you la mian recommended by my friend & it was really quite good. the yong tau fu were good too, looking fresh & firm not soggy & tasty with the chilli & sweet sauce, except the red chilli piece which could look better but tasted ok. 🙂

it was quite ex though about S$17 for 3pax. i had 6 items + noodles, but these days most food court prices would be near S$6 anyway & if it were la mian, even more costly. yong tau fu not something i would look out for but if i were at the vicinity probably go there for simple healthy light lunch & ease of parking if cannot think of other eats. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy