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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Protected: RI Reunion Committee & Friends 19pax Homecooked Dinner Get-together on 24Apr2015

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Wonderful Memorable Homecooked 19pax Dinner Get-together on 24Apr2015

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). 🙂

bread, hummus, carrot sticks

bread, hummus, carrot sticks

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.^^

onion sunflower seed bread

onion sunflower seed bread

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. 🙂

carrot sticks

carrot sticks

leck san's chickpea+avocado hummus leck san's chickpea hummus

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.

ma hua - 天津麻花

ma hua – 天津麻花

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.

pumpkin tofu

#1 pumpkin tofu

pumpkin tofu rockets salad

#1 – pumpkin tofu rockets salad

#1 my wife made a pumpkin tofu salad. this a wonderful salad she made after some lunch at marmalade.^^

#2 i have made tagliata di manzo (sliced beef) many times. it is a common italian dish. i had it at capri, and many time at fresco & cimmino at milan.^^

the angus ribeye was pan-grilled, charred to produce the maillard reaction to impart the flavours & nicely medium rare. 🙂

#3 teriyaki cod was excellent this evening, many commented melt in the mouth goodness.^^

i used my own teriyaki sauce recipe, this time adding 1 tsp of miso. miso cures the cod & give a firmer, less flaky texture.

friend's morocan baked salmon

#4 friend’s morocan baked salmon

Mahen's morocan baked salmon Mahen's morocan baked salmon4 Mahen's morocan baked salmon2 Mahen's condiments - lemon and Chinese chives.

#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.

#7 i think my 白斩鸡 – poached chicken was very near perfect, certainly better than most chicken rice out there!

& today i made an excellent chicken rice. as a friend commented, he could smell the very fragrant rice as it was brought to the table!

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.

Leck San's acahr Leck San's achar2

a friend brought excellent achar, just the right appetising condiments for the chicken rice.

jap miso salmon

#8 jap miso salmon

#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.

spicy pork ribs

#9 spicy pork ribs

my helper’s spicy pork ribs was also a perennial favourite. 🙂

#10 蒜泥白肉 was a favourite for many. very tender melt in the mouth belly pork (about 5 hrs on crockpot at low fully immersed) & flavourful sichuan chilli sauce.

#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.

romaine lettuce

#12 romaine lettuce

#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.^^

$14 i did my usual tiramisu & i added quite a good dose of brandy which my friends love. it was good as usual.

friend's jackfruit

friend’s jackfruit

friend's grapes

friend’s grapes

2 friends brought jackfruit & grapes to round off the dinner.

friend's konnyaku

friend’s konnyaku

friend's biscotti

friend’s biscotti

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.^^

c.h.e.f andy