a group of us RI friends have the idea that as we all have a good time coming together enjoying the food & company, making new memories together, many may also be ready to share with others and spread the cheer.
two ideas were discussed-
- when we get together again in the new year 2016, maybe many will be in the mood to make some small donations to a beneficiary charity (we are thinking we can do this twice in 2016 at one of the friend’s place & maybe we can collect say between S$1000 and S$2000 each time).
- some of us who loves cooking (& there are many among us) may offer to cook community meals for some needy folks….currently many friends are already managing events (some weekly) at some premises where various groups (senior folks or needy families in the community) come by to share some food.
those were ideas to be discussed further for the time being.
meanwhile 2 friends helped to organise this dinner at a friend’s house on 3.12.2015. we had 28pax this evening including the host couple. ^^
3 of us offered to make some dishes for all our good RI friends to share some food & fun time together.
this eat-together actually also serve a specific purpose to work out the food logisitcs of planning & co-ordinating the type of dishes to make (by 3 parties) that are suitable for transporting to the host location for sharing among a sizable group, and also the arrangements for transportation. ^^
a friend who made some dishes also contributed 3 bottles of wine. another friend brought 2 sparklies & the host arranged the ice box & other drinks. 🙂
one friend made a nice curry chicken. love the colour. i took couple pieces & the curry. was nursing a throat infection. could not take more also.
& the biryani rice was very good too! very fluffy & light, good herb aroma. 🙂
this friend messaged me that he had to re-steam the rice. i replied that that is always a bit of touch up & make-overs only those who cook know…which our kaypoh friend proceeded to promptly broadcast to the rest as his pet trivials….haha! 🙂
one of my favourite for the evening (seems like everyone also) was the mee goreng (top photo).
cannot really compare apple to apple with fried hokkien prawn mee, the other delicious dish we had at another friend’s house recently. & i have not decided if i want to try cooking, but probably i will start with the hokkien mee if i do.
the other dish this friend cooked was the tandoori chicken (above photo further up), very nice colour w/o using any colouring.
all 3 of us used the same aluminium trays to transport the food w/o consulting each other. haha! ^
i made a babi pongteh. the tau jeon (& bit of gula melaka) flavours were good. i added mushrooms & taupok which were well-infused with the taste. the pork texture were just slightly hard c/w my usual very tender belly pork.
the sambal seabass prepared by my helper is a perennial favourite among my friends & also this evening.
i did a thai red curry sotong also. this was done with a ready made “dancing chef” curry mix.
& the usual dry wok prawns.
i also made a broccoli & cauliflower, just pan-fry with garlic & added oyster sauce, fish sauce, cornflour mix.
& i got my helper to make the chilli long beans with fried beancurd. this quite an appetizing dish.
one of our friend is vegetarian & coming late at 8.30pm. so we arranged for him to have some vegetarian mee goreng, a vegetarian wrap & kept some of the 2 veg dishes for him. i think he had a good time too. usually he doesn’t eat much when he comes.
i made 2 tubs of tiramisu.
all the friends loved this. it was light, very moist with lots of strong coffee (200ml) & brandy (50ml).
a friend brought his usual sweet watermelon. he must be good friends with the vendor by now. 🙂
another friend brought lots of ice cream bars & eclairs. i usually don’t take these but i enjoyed an ice cream bar this evening. 🙂
we had a very fun time together. there were 27 of us old RI friends from our cohort + the host’s wife, total 28pax.
we emptied out all the food. this was part of the food planning. one friend was asking whether it was ok with addition of few other attendees.
just for myself, we are at the age where we don’t need to consume too much carbs & also can manage with a bit more or less food, so my overall view is if a few more people, we just eat a little less lor….of course we don’t want the guests to go hungry. haha! 🙂
in the end it seems the first eat-togehter that involves 3 separate persons cooking & transporting the food to the host’s place came out pretty well, thanks to good co-ordination & everyone helping out.
everyone had a really fun evening. good food & old & new memories help to bring & keep people together.
we also stayed back to “unmess” the place against the direct strict instructions of the host & hostess to leave.
prawn capellini was done alio olio style. i also did not have uni & ikura (nor mentaiko).
still my own prawn capellini was a very tasty pasta.
i guess nothing so unusual, and no better than my regular seafood alio olio, but it was a different & drier style, adding butter like for my mentaiko pasta or squid-ink pasta.
didn’t have the top ingredients of stellar’s king crab, uni, ikura & sakura ebi pasta (above photo).
but just the taste of the pasta alone, i think mine was just as good though differernt (w/o the unique salty uni & ikura flavours).
i prepared the usual browned garlic in olive oil with nice aroma. added cut chilli padi, then white wine, 1 tsp sugar & prawn stock & reduced.
for the prawns, i used my dry wok prawns method to produce a very tasty prawn with great texture, then cut them into small pieces & left a few whole prawns.
then i off the fire, added butter & tossed the capellini.
it was a simple & easy dish to prepare.
the pasta was al dente & very tasty. i did not have basil to garnish this evening, so i guess it is a shorthand & slightly different style from my usual seafood spaghetti alio olio.
making use of my leftover bloody mary linguine from yesterday’s Gordon Ramsay’s grilled lobster with bloody mary linguine. daughter ate out & we did not want to take too much carbs. 🙂
so i cooked some dry wok prawns to go with the leftovers bloody mary linguine. this was on 15.5.2015.
i had some large prawns from chinatown. these are probably 20-22 to a kg. i had cooked some jumbo & super jumbo prawns previously, 11 to a kg & 7 to a kg.
the key to dry wok prawns is high heat & dry wok. i have recently switched to a heavy stainless steel pan for high heat cooking, rather than have the non-stick coating breakdown.
so it is a thin film of veg oil & high heat. prawns must be dry. do not remove heads & shells. add chopped garlic then prawns. do not add water & do not cover. covering traps condensation & make it wet so the effect is steaming & cancel out the charred bbq smell. the charring is on the shell but gives a bbq flavour. the prawns are basically baked in the shells.
as i had only 7 prawns, i kept the pan on high heat most of the way & that was enough to cook the prawns. if i am cooking 1 kg prawns like for a big party like the recent 22pax on 6.2.2015, then after the initial high heat, i turn down the heat to cook the prawns w/o covering, to make sure the prawns are cooked.
only at the end turn on high heat & add fish sauce liberally. you can feel the excellent aroma wafting up. because of the shells, the prawns will not be too salty.^^
prawns were really very flavourful with bbq flavours. it’s a bit like spanish tapas Gambas al Ajillo (garlic prawns), but seriously i think mine was a whole lot better. wife thinks it’s better than the lobster. i am good with the lobster. haha!^^
the bloody mary linguine was actually kind of “bloody” good.
second time round i was eating it, and i was getting use to it, though i would not say yet that it is a favourite. after reheating on a pan, it was not as perfect al dente as the day before, but still pretty ok. 🙂
& it was really excellent together with the dry wok prawns. when no lobsters, just have good prawns & you will be fine! ^^
a very enjoyable dinner for 2 at home. 🙂
had a most wonderful & memorable homecooked dinner get-together on 24apr2015.
a most fun part was the interactivity & excitement with several friends bringing their dishes, from morocan salmon, hummus, biscotti, konnyaku to tofu cheese cake & ma hua 麻花 airflow from tianjin.^^
a friend even set up a separate whatsapp chat (so as not to bore the rest of dinner friends with cooking talk). 🙂
it was just wonderful. excluding bread, humus, ma hua, fruits, konnyaku, biscotti, we had 14 dishes (12+2 desserts). 🙂
because a friend was bringing hummus, that motivated me to do a onion sunflower seed bread. i didn’t realise i had walnut (was searching for it) for walnut bread, so settled with sunflower seeds.^^
the laughable thing was after looking at several online recipes i decided hack just used the ariston oven bread function & recipe. of course i tried the recipe once. dough was too sticky & too much salt & i added too much browned onions.
for the actual day, the bread was quite perfect. all the friends like it. crisp not hard outside & fluffy well-risen inside. for the recipe, i used 600g plain flour, 3 packets yeast (33g) dissolved in 1 cup (240ml) warm water, & 1 tsp salt. 🙂
my friend made excellent chickpea hummus, and the green coloured one she added avocado. i think it was new to her too, so there was a lot of fun doing this dinner for all our good RI friends.
a friend was with her students in tianjin for some exchange programs & brought back ma hua 麻花. i finished them the next day, pretty good, not sickeningly sweet like the malaysian ones.
#1 my wife made a pumpkin tofu salad. this a wonderful salad she made after some lunch at marmalade.^^
the angus ribeye was pan-grilled, charred to produce the maillard reaction to impart the flavours & nicely medium rare. 🙂
i used my own teriyaki sauce recipe, this time adding 1 tsp of miso. miso cures the cod & give a firmer, less flaky texture.
#4 a friend made a very nice morocan baked salmon with pistachios & ritz biscuits, and condiments of chives & lemon. it was also his first time. for me, this was a lot of fun & buzz.^^
#5 i made a chilli crab capellini (angel hair pasta). i had the sauce made the day before, taste was not ideal & i made some adjustments on the day. it turned out quite perfect, an excellent chilli crab sauce & after pasta & prawns were added, the capellini soaked up the flavours remarkably & was very well infused with the shellfish flavours (from prawn heads & shells, and w/o crab). 🙂
& very important pasta was al dente!
#6 i made an excellent very tasty squid ink sauce & a friend came to the kitchen to help out & tasted the sauce. it was superb with a nice chilli padi spike.
unfortunately, after adding linguine, sauce looked low & i made the cardinal mistake of adding some water. did a rescue by removing the pasta & ingredients (so as not to overcook) & reducing the sauce. still when plating though sauce was sufficiently dark colour & slight creamy producing good texture feel on pasta, the top less coated linguine looked off in colour.
fortunately taste wise it was very good. i guess could have been better.
i browned some shallots in chicken fat (this was a key) & added cut ginger. the other key was a very intense chicken bone soup for cooking the rice. the soup came from making the chicken & adding the bones after i deboned the chicken & boiled for >2hrs.
& i made the chilli sauce & ginger sauce that everyone loved.
a friend brought excellent achar, just the right appetising condiments for the chicken rice.
#8 the jap miso salmon was done like the japanese bento style.
i didn’t have the recipe so experimented myself. i marinated with miso etc & dried it in the fridge for 2 days then 3hrs at 55degC to dry it further. after that it was 15mins in foil+10mins open in tabletop electric oven at 250degC.
i would say result was almost same as the bento salmon & those we brought back from japan. it was best served on japanese rice don with tamago but will do for the chicken rice.
my helper’s spicy pork ribs was also a perennial favourite. 🙂
#11 dry wok prawns was 1 of my standard dish. this time though i did not dry the prawns enough before adding to the wok so it became a bit wet. prawns was fresh & sweet but the charred bbq flavours were missing. some hits & some misses.
#12 & my helper’s romaine lettuce, complemented the pumpkin salad & good counterpoint to the meat dishes.
#13 a friend brought a tofu cheese cake. i took the cake & taste was pretty good. unfortunately the gelatine he used seemed to be weaker concentration than the ones i got from phono huat. so though he used the same recipe, the cake did not hold. it was a waste really for the effort but i guess doing it was a fun thing we all shared.^^
2 friends brought jackfruit & grapes to round off the dinner.
the friend who brought hummus also did 2 very nice petite fours – a konnyaku jelly & biscotti.
it was an evening of fellowship & sharing, a lot of fun, catching up & sharing good food together.^^
had a homecooked dinner for 22pax RI friends on 6.2.2015. 🙂
these group of friends were mostly of the committee that organised the recent RI reunion dinner on 22.12.2014 attended by 118 old schoolmates & 10 teachers. well done people!^^
i prepared 12 dishes including 2 desserts. & a friend brought shepherd’s pie & another brought cookies.
shepherd’s pie was very good. my daughter had some from the little leftover the next day & she thought the potatoes were moist & soft & the beef flavour was good.
maybe i should try making this too. shepherd’s pie is a great party food.
#1 my helper’s thai prawn tanhoon is usually a very appetising dish, spicy, tangy, tasty. this evening though it seemed to be a bit dry. about 1/4 was leftover (where usually it is finished). a friend (who comes for dinner regularly) later told me that some parts the taste was not quite the usual he had. not sure why, maybe the quantity was too much for the wok & the tanhoon was not mixed consistently.
#2 i did a Nobu miso cod. it can be pre cooked & served cold, and the miso firmed up the flaky texture of cod so it is easier to cut into small serving pieces.^^
#3 i did my usual poached chicken 白斩鸡. this is easy to prepare dish. on this day though, i was dreaming & removed the chicken after 10mins boiling (w/o poaching it for another 20mins) & placed in ice water. though i recovered by poaching it again for longer 25mins, the temperature change caused the parts near the bones to be red/pink when i deboned it later. so i had to poach the cut pieces another time. sian! haha!
i asked several friends afterwards & they all thought the chicken was alright (& well finished), i guess it was quite ok but the moist, glistening look (like the duck had in photos below) was gone & the meat would be less tasty.
#4 盐水鸭 spicy poached duck was a replacement dish (i went 3 times to get salmon belly for miso salmon but they were unavailable). this nanjing 盐水鸭 is a 风味鸭, a bit more exotic flavours with sichuan peppercorn chillies.
it is 1 of my favourites as it has less strong flavours c/w teochew braised duck 卤鸭 & is often served as a starter in taiwanese restaurants & in shanghai, nanjing etc, the 江南region.
#5 蒜泥白肉 spicy garlic pork had been a crowd favourite in my dinners (when i served chinese food). it was easy to make as i adapted the pot roast method (cold crockpot on low slow gentle braising). so i just needed to place the belly pork in a cold crockpot with water (added salt & sugar for brining) on low for 5hrs to temperature 79degC.^^
the only thing left to do was just to prepare the spicy sichuan sauce to drizzle over the pork & japanese cucumbers.
#6 my helper makes a very good spicy pork ribs, so that is a staple in my chinese dinners. one friend repeatedly proclaimed how much he liked the dish.^^
#7 my dry wok prawns combined pan-grilled bbq flavours with a baked-in-shell moist texture + the nice flavours of chilli padi & fish sauce infused under high wok temperature. always a popular dish.
#8 my helper’s sambal seabass, another bedrock of my chinese dinners, was almost cleaned up before my “professional photographers” had time to train their cameras.^^
#9 the spicy seafood fried rice was modelled after crystal jade lamian xialongbao’s. unable to match that, but it was pretty good with bismati long grain rice & nice sichuan peppercorn chilli flavours.
#10 my helper’s poached romaine lettuce with shitake is also a regular in my chinese dinners (usually she uses hk kailan but this time it was romaine lettuce just as good).^^
#11 everyone fell in love with the tofu cheese cake. maybe the trick was just to cut an ultra thin slice, so everyone thought it was so good & clamouring to have more. a friend had 3 helpings.^^
#12 one friend had a photo with him holding up the emptied tiramisu dish & biting the serving spoon (like nadal biting his grand slam champions trophy). i think tiramisu was just as well received but tofu cheesecake was a bit less common so everyone was intrigued by it.^^
a friend brought very nice cookies – almond, shortbread & mamor.
now i am thinking of trying almond & shortbread. mamor looked too exquisite & too high effort-to-results ratio for lazy & utilitarian me. told her if i want it, i will just invite her. haha!
another friend brought 6 bottles of wine & another the whole ice box with water & softdrinks.
there was also grapes. another friend packed a fruit basket for me so we were eating custard apples, mangosteens, chiku, guava, mango etc for the next several days.
& a friend brought some seaweed & almond biscuits.^^
it was really a fun, enjoyable & most satisfying get-together.
invited my regular group of RI friends (this time with spouses) for a homecooked dinner on 18.12.2014. we had 14pax = 5 couples + 4 guys. 🙂
i prepared mostly pre-cooked food that could be served buffet style, so we could all sit down & enjoy the food & conversation together. 🙂
planning was important. i intended several items which i cooked/made final preparations only when all the guests arrived – tagliata di manzo (angus striploin steak), dry wok prawns, pumpkin salad, fried rice.
in the end timing was quite well managed for dry wok prawns & fried rice. for the salad & the rockets/cherry tomatoes bed for tagliata di manzo, they were done too early & the rockets were soggy (unlike my recent lunch which the pumpkin salad & the rocket bed for tagliata di manzo were quite perfect).
this time it was a bit lacklustre. seasoning with sea salt, olive oil & balsamic were done too early. somehow pumpkin was not as sweet.
#4 teriyaki cod was good as cod goes. i made it very much less sweet & healthier (no sugar only mirin this time).
#6 tagliata di manzo (using angus striploin). the bed of rockets & cherry tomatoes were mixed too early so a bit soggy.
steak was medium rare & flavourful, but i was slightly distracted & the charring was somewhat insufficient to produce good enough mallard reaction. also the angus striploin, unlike ribeye, had a bit of tendon, not so ideal.
#7 spicy belly pork 蒜泥白肉 was simply wonderful. it was slow-braised using cold crockpot on low almost 6 hrs to 79degC. belly was very tender & the sichuan 麻辣 chilli mix was excellent. 🙂
#8 my dry wok prawns is of consistent good standard, charred & flavourful, taste of chilli padi & fish sauce.
my helper cooked the romaine lettuce, one of our favourite vegetable dish.
a friend brought a #11 chocolate ganache vanilla banana cake.
it was a lovely 2-layer vanilla cake with banana in between & covered with chocolate ganache – a really standout first attempt by him! 🙂
#12 my no-bake tiramisu is now another crowd favourite. it was 1 of the easiest dessert to make.
a friend brought a #13 healthy peanut candy (held together by maltose instead of unhealthy sugar), it was nice.
i had a #14 pumpkin cheese cake on standby. i sensed that the friends wanted to try, so it was served & we managed to finish 1/2 the cake. it was ok but not as good as the pumpkin cheese cake we had for our recent lunch which was really good.
had a homecooked 11pax lunch for my RI buddies on 15.10.2014. the last we had was a 10pax kueh chap lunch on 17.9.2014. 🙂
& this lunch highlights-
1. sio bak (crackling belly pork) from a friend
2. “tunglok” big prawn noodles (in golden broth)
3. vietnamese street food – chargrilled pork neck with cold beehoon & fish sauce (forgot my mint leaves & basil leaves)
4. banoffee pie (very 1st try)
like the last time, a friend brought his 成名 renown supergood sio bak (crackling roast belly pork) – this time the crackling was less than the last. i told him he made me gave up on sio bak & saved me from a lifetime of unfulfilled tedium (making sio bak unsuccessfully)..haha! 🙂
my motto – why try so hard when someone can do better? just invite him to bring lor! 🙂
big prawn noodles in golden broth – this should be served last in a course dinner, before dessert. lately i decided to try to serve all the food buffet style instead of as a course meal. it is not always possible but many dishes can be adapted. as this has to be served hot, we took this first dish first. 🙂
the key was the golden broth. it was my own recipe emulating the lobster noodles at tunglok (above). 🙂
from the feedback everyone loved this dish.
the 1/2 poached chicken – 白斩鸡 & saliva chicken – 口水鸡 were now a standard dish. it was easy, require little effort to make, and both were very tasty. i brined the chicken in sugar & salt for 48hrs before poaching on the day.
miso salmon belly was another new experiment. i created this new miso marinade recipe & was not sure if i would serve it for lunch. it turned out to be an excellent dish. my wife brought some to office for her packed lunch & all her colleagues liked it. & all my friends at lunch liked it! 🙂
a friend brought V.S.O.P. = Very Special Old Pals…hahaha! 🙂
could not quite make the connection lunch & V.S.O.P. so had to assume he went everywhere with one. haha! 🙂
vietnamese chargrilled pork neck with cold beehoon. i did this the second time. first was for 3-4pax, so this first time for 11pax.
i bought mint but forgot to serve both the mint & my homegrown basil!
& i forgot to make the all important fish sauce mix beforehand to serve together, so had to make 1 batch then a second batch while having lunch.
anyway the guys all liked it. although our self-proclaimed vietnam expert was actually clueless when it came to assembling the dish. haha! 🙂 this a dish that you feast on sitting on a very low stool next to a very clean vietnam street vendor!
my help made a nice garlic fried romain lettuce which everyone liked.
the banoffee (banana toffee) pie was the very first virgin attempt!
the guys walloped the whole cake, though a few including me, felt it was kind of sweet though ok to eat. anyway i made another one the next day with 1/2 the toffee & 50% more bananas, & it was an excellent very well balanced cake. 🙂
i had just a little leftovers, so i made myself dinner with the chargrilled pork & the saliva chicken with 阳春面. 🙂