Homecooked 8pax Modern Japanese Course Dinner on 5Dec2015

flamed squid in spinach veloute

flamed squid in spinach veloute

did a modern japanese course dinner for some friends last saturday on 5.12.2015. ^^

i did the flamed squid dish for a friend who bought me a handheld butane torch when he came for dinner almost 2 years back.

i chanced upon a photograph of this dish in a cookbook at porthminster cafe, st ives, cornwall.

i could not find any recipe on the net so i fashioned my own flamed squid in spinach veloute.

i made very narrow chequered cuts on the squid. when charred by the torch, it curled nicely & looked wonderful. they were then fried in butter at high heat for a short period, so the squid was just succulent, not rubbery & chewy. i used kitchen scissors to cut a slice to test to make sure.

the veloute was made with spinach leaves, green pepper & yellow onions. they were fried to soften then blended with 2 tbsp of olive oil, slight salt & pepper to taste.

a bit elaborate perhaps (especially when the friend i made it for could not attend this evening), but a very enjoyable dish none the less. 🙂

nothing particularly japanese in the dish, mostly western. however japs do love aburi (flamed) dishes, so this could count as one.

the second course, chawanmushi (japanese of course), was my usual preparation. a friend lent us her chawanmushi cups, always look & taste better with better presentation. 🙂

egg was smooth, but i thought the taste was not as good as what i made previously. i was nursing a flu & my tastebuds were a bit off so couldn’t tell. my wife thought so too.

prawns & scallops were ok, chicken seemed a bit over.

3rd course was pan seared scallops in prawn vegetable bisque.

scallops were very good, even though i did not pan sear them well this evening.

the bisque was very smooth, sweet & balanced with prawns & vegetable stock.

the prawn vegetable bisque was a slight variation from my previous recipe.

i used a smaller amount of prawn stock & added carrot, red pepper, red onion & the unused spinach stalk, blended & added 2 tbsp thickened cream before serving.

this was again the western interlude, only the IQF (individual quick frozen) hokkaido scallops were japanese. 🙂

wafu 和风 pasta+wafu 和风 eggplants+teriyaki cod

wafu 和风 pasta+wafu 和风 eggplants+teriyaki cod

for the 4th course, i served a wafu 和风 pasta+wafu 和风 eggplants+teriyaki cod. 🙂

teriyaki cod is my usual recipe.

this evening it was done to perfection, almost. ^^

slightly firmer because of marinade, lightly flavoured, bringing out cod’s natural sweetness. quite a beauty to behold. 🙂

to add a veg to the pasta dish, i made wafu 和风eggplants.

this evening i think it was ok, but maybe not so tasty, or my tastebuds were off.

this a really simple dish to make-

  1. cut 2 medium eggplants in 1/2, make diagonal cuts to help the sauce infuse
  2. fry medium fire both sides, add 1 tbsp tsuyu, mirin, sake, 1/2 cup stock & stew. just make sure it’s not overcooked & still firm

for the carbs, i made a wafu 和风 pasta.

japanese make great italian food too. i especially like their mentaiko pasta & uni ikura pasta.

wafu 和风 pasta+wafu 和风 eggplants+teriyaki cod

wafu 和风 pasta+wafu 和风 eggplants+teriyaki cod

this wafu 和风 pasta was done with just bacon, yellow onions & shimeji mushrooms. i guess the only thing wafu 和风 about it was the use of mirin & tsuyu instead of white wine. basically it was a alio olio done al dente with a bit of butter added at the end to coat the pasta.

wafu 和风 pasta+wafu 和风 eggplants+teriyaki cod

wafu 和风 pasta+wafu 和风 eggplants+teriyaki cod

it did taste kind of oriental, haha! 🙂

beef don+miso salmon belly+miso belly pork2

beef don+miso salmon belly+miso belly pork2

for the second main, basically a gohan (rice) dish, i had a beef don, but added some miso salmon belly & miso belly pork for friends who don’t take much beef.

beef don+miso salmon belly+miso belly pork2

beef don+miso salmon belly+miso belly pork2

i had some seared scallops actually but forgot to serve them. 🙂

& i did the beef wrongly, medium well mistakenly thinking that some friends preferred well done steak where actually all of us preferred it medium rare. well at least, the beef was a pretty ok ribeye cut so still passable.

for miso belly pork, i experimented a new recipe, slow braise for 7hrs at 90degC.

& it was really tender, the skin, fat & all. good miso flavour on the lighter side. later i did another one with a bit more miso. 🙂

the miso salmon belly was very good too.

main problem was getting the meaty belly parts.

the usual packets i got from giant & sheng shiong came with a lot of bones, so had to pick out the meat belly parts.

i like this quite a lot especially going with the sushi rice don. 🙂


a friend brought tiramisu

a friend made tiramisu. she had 5 sets dusted with pistachio & another 5 with chocolate flakes.

a piece of trivial. my tiramisu was inspired by a friend, the same one i created the flamed squid dish who could not attend this evening. he brought an awesome tiramisu when we had smoked meats dinner at another friend’s house some years ago (too long leh…why huh? just kidding la..)

& she just had her birthday recently. so i made a banoffee (banana toffee) cake instead. birthday girl didn’t like my banoffee though. another friend brought some home & seemed that her children liked it.



the other friends brought a lot of fruits.

cake & fruits

cake & fruits

we had some to go with the cake.

it looks like many dishes but with planning they were actually quite easy to execute. cod & salmon belly were marinate & only needed 12mins & 15mins respectively in the oven (together at 250degC). spinach veloute & prawn veg bisque were done before hand in the morning. miso belly pork was done 7hrs in the oven at 90degC. eggplants were done beforehand in the afternoon. now i am able to make all kinds of pastas before hand (afternoon also) & serve them still al dente just reheating. & flamed squid also done about 1+hr before dinner.

so only chawanmushi were steamed & scallops were pan seared just before guests arrived, and steak only when serving. & the guests helped to serve the dishes. 🙂

it was great fun for me preparing this dinner. only a bit tired especially sitting under the air-con for few hours because still recovering from flu..many things can be improved of course like the beef, the scallops, the chawanmushi & the eggplants.

still overall it was a very fun dinner for me & i believe our friends enjoyed the evening & food too.

c.h.e.f andy

Cook Vegetarian – Shallow Fried Silken Tofu in Spinach Veloute

#3 shallow fried silken tofu in spinach veloute

shallow-fried silken tofu in spinach veloute

my niece & her hubby are vegetarian, so i planned a 10-course vegetarian dinner for 8pax for her recently. this the very first time i tried serious vegetable dishes, like not just frying a garlic kang kong or something..haha!^^

#6 flamed squid in spinach veloute

flamed squid in spinach veloute

one of the dishes was a vegetarian version of flamed squid in spinach veloute.

what i did was replaced the flamed squid with a crispy shallow-fried silken tofu. ^^

i chose silken tofu as i wanted a very soft tofu texture inside while the outside is crispy.

#3 spinach sauce

spinach veloute

for the spinach veloute, i used spinach sauce recipe i self-created for the flame squid dish. i used lots of vegetable to make the veloute so very tasty.

green pepper onions spinach sauce

green pepper onions spinach veloute

i fried in butter 1/2 onion, 1/2 stalk leek, 1 green pepper & a bunch of spinach leafs. then i placed them in a blender & added  2 tablespoon vegetable stock (since this is a vegetarian dish i prepared the vegetable stock beforehand instead of chicken stock) & 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil & salt & pepper to taste.

such a wonderful & tasty veloute complementing the shallow-fried silken tofu. 🙂

#3 shallow fried silken tofu in spinach veloute

#3 shallow fried silken tofu in spinach veloute

for the silken tofu, i used one packet of silken tofu & cut into 8 slices of 1cm+ thickness.

then i heat up enough olive oil in a non-stick pan, added the tofu & lowered the fire. i added sea salt from the grinder dispenser liberally & covered the pan. when it was browned, i turned over & cooked till the other side was browned.

when serving i heat up the veloute, plated the sauce, added the crispy silken tofu & topped with a coriander branch. 🙂

tofu is not squid of course, but nice also, & the veloute is marvellous & the whole dish presentation just very charming. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

10-course Homecooked Vegetarian Dinner for 8pax on 17Aug2015

made a 10-course vegetarian dinner for 8pax on 17.8.2015. ^^

it was a belated birthday for my niece who is a buddhist & vegetarian. it’s also the first time i planned & executed vegetarian dishes. 🙂

my niece & her husband are ovo-lacto vegetarians, which means they can take eggs & dairy products like milk, butter & cheese. they are also not strict vegetarians, but they will abstain & avoid meats if they can, and take only the vegetables if it comes with the meat. i like the practical, unassuming, unimposing approach.

but i wanted to do a all-vegtarian course dinner for them. for me that was quite exciting & fun to do. 🙂

for me, my interest was not about mock meats or fusion, just to make something that taste good & look good. & if they are not the usual run-of-the-mill chinese stir-fried vegetables and incorporates some non-chinese styles or good matching of taste, texture or presentation, then so much the better! 🙂

#1 first course was a spanish omelette. it’s a really simple dish.  just 2 eggs, 1.5 sliced large potatoes & 1/2 sliced yellow onions. the ingredients were already vegetarian. i just have to light soy sauce instead of fish sauce for the egg. this dish is also perfect as a tapas, a small bite, for a multi-course meal, so quite nicely each had a good slice of omelette.

#2 wife’s quinoa pumpkin tofu salad is always a great accompaniment for my dinners. the pumpkin & tofu with rockets made a very good salad on its own (wife made this after a lunch at marmalade some years back), and addition of quinoa gave it more texture & some savoury touch. 🙂

#3 shallow fried silken tofu in spinach veloute.

i created this dish (flamed squid in spinach veloute) from looking at a photo (w/o the chance to taste the dish) at porthminster cafe at st ives in cornwall, england. it was an excellent dish & i served it at 12-course dinner for 12pax 2 weeks ago.

this time for vegetarian dish i replaced the squid by a shallow fried silken tofu, so that the texture was crispy outside & soft inside. not a flamed (torched) squid but still very nice! 🙂

#4 for soup, i made a cream of carrot soup. this was tasty & smooth & very popular & everyone had a second helping & finished all the soup.

i used 1.5 large carrots, but also 1 red pepper, 1 stalk leek, 1 small yellow onions & vegetable stock which i prepared the night before. & about 4 tablespoon of cream. its a similar recipe for all my creamy soup.

#5 this the first time i attempted spaghetti alla nerano (zucchini pasta). we first tried this in fresco & cummino in milan & this was 1 of the best vegetarian pasta i had, though i like funghi pasta equally. 🙂

i followed an internet recipe, & blended 1/2 yellow zucchini with some onions after softening them in olive oil. i added some butter when tossing the pasta to give it more body.

it was a very good pasta, al dente & tasty. everyone liked it. son said more parmesan shavings would be good. i think overall it can be improved. for now i would prefer my fungi pasta over this, maybe just slightly.

#6 steamed egg plant with peas & onion sauce

my sis & i had a nice daipaidong 大排档 dinner at 富记大排档tai wai where they served an entire steamed eggplant in minced meat & onion sauce. i had recreated this & made a much better tasting one by adding oyster sauce to balance off the tomato sauce.

for the vegetarian take, i cannot use oyster sauce so only light soy sauce + tsuyu sauce, and i replaced the minced meat with frozen peas i bought from sheng shiong.

the presentation can be improved. the key to this dish is the texture of the eggplant, which has to be just cooked & not mushy. i cut it with kitchen sears (scissors) & if it were mushy it would not hold up. 🙂 the pea onions sauce with corn flour was pretty tasty too.

#7 the egg fried rice was basic, no “wow” dish, but it was good accompaniment for the last 3 dishes – steamed egg plant, thai red curry & the brocoli with cauliflower.

it had good “wok hae”, individually rice grains “tioc tioc” we say in teochew, quite good la. 🙂

#8 the thai red curry vegetables was a variation of my thai red curry sotong (squid) which i served for the 30+pax lunch party for my daughter last month.

i just replaced the sotong by vegetables. i had potato, egg plant, onions, yellow pepper, tomato. for me, a non vegetarian, it was no comparison with the red curry sotong of course but still an excellenty flavoured curry dish.

#9 brocoli with cauliflower

#9 brocoli with cauliflower

#9 the 3rd dish to be eaten with the egg fried rice was brocoli with cauliflower. i actually asked if the guys wanted eat or they were full..haha! ^^

#9 brocoli with cauliflower

#9 brocoli with cauliflower

my wife, daughter, everyone wanted it. my son said there is no discussion. 🙂

#10 i made a banoffee (banana toffee) cake for dessert. we have been having tiramisu & tofu cheese cake so i wanted a change from usual.

it was a really nice cake. a great combination of flavours – very nice biscuit base, a thin tasty layer of caramel so not too sweet & nice whipped cream topped with chocolate shavings.

D-24 durian...also had 2x maoshanwang durians (forgot to take photo)

D-24 durian…also had 2x maoshanwang durians (forgot to take photo)

and we had D-24 & maoshanwang 猫山王 durians!

D-24 durian...also had 2x maoshanwang durians (forgot to take photo)

D-24 durian…also had 2x maoshanwang durians (forgot to take photo)

an excellent finish to the 10-course vegetarian dinner. i forgot to take photos of the maoshanwang durians though. ate too fast! haha! ^^

c.h.e.f andy