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

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Cheap & Authentic Italian @ la Botte Stresa on 29Aug2014

€9 funghi pasta

€9 funghi pasta

we went to villa taranto & mottarone cable car on the second day, and decided to go to la botte (which was like 50m from hotel elena) for dinner. we got our hotel to book 2pax table for us on 29.8.2014 7pm.

we were there at 6.55pm. there was a queue about 10pax including us. the others did not have reservations. the restaurant was filled up quickly.

€9 mixed cold meats (goose, wild boar, deer, beef)

€9 mixed cold meats (goose, wild boar, deer, beef)

la botte stresa

la botte stresa

la botte stresa

la botte stresa

€9 mixed cold meats (goose, wild boar, deer, beef)

€9 cold meat platter (goose, wild boar, deer, beef)

€9 beef carpaccio with truffle melted cheese

€9 beef carpaccio with truffle melted cheese

we ordered the €9 cold meat platter (goose, wild boar, deer, beef) & the €9 beef carpaccio with truffle melted cheese.

the cold meat platter was a monstrous serving. the meats were good but it’s something i would like just 2 or 3 slices so it was not a good idea for 2pax unless you did not want to try other starters. also it killed the tastebuds for other more subtle dishes like the fungi pasta. it was very generous for €9 & would be great for like 4pax.

the beef carpaccio did not look great but the taste was excellent with the truffle scented melted cheese. it was better than the usual more classy looking ones with rockets & extra virgin olive oil & balsamic. 🙂

€15 tagliata di manzo

€15 tagliata di manzo

€15 tagliata di manzo

€15 tagliata di manzo

the €9 creamy fungi pasta was good, but i felt the cold meat platter aftertaste killed off my appreciation of this more subtle dish.

the tagliata di manzi was kind of ordinary but good for €15, and so much arugula. we had to cancel 1 order of lamb ravioli as we had too much food already & would not really enjoyed it.

my son was also eyeing the guy next to us who was having nice grilled lamb chops. certainly there were several items on the menu we would be happy to come again to try. for me personally it was important to bypass the cold meat next time & enjoy some of the other great dishes here.

the service was indifferent to impatient, not outright rude but they didn’t really need us…it’s no different from any nazi chefs in Singapore where people go just to have the food, in fact probably slightly better. 🙂 the table wine was undrinkable, better to pay for better wine or just pay for bottled water.

the dinner cost about €50 including a 500ml carafe of table wine.

c.h.e.f andy