Tak Shiok! (No Thrill) Dinner @ il Ciliegio Monterosso on 19Apr2014

scampi pasta

scampi pasta

we arrived at monterosso about 3.50pm on 18.4.2014 after returning the car (we drove from tremezzo lake como) at malpenssa airport & taking the malpenssa express to milano centrale to connect the train to monterosso.

we were booked at the very nice ballembra hotel in the old part of town & walked about 700m from the station. it was very pleasant as monterosso has a nice beach & there were lots of shops & gelato stalls.

for the first evening we had earlier made reservations & enjoyed a super dinner at miky, after strolling around.

the friendly proprietor of ballembra recommended & arranged for us to have dinner at il ciliegio, 200m up the hills the next day on 19.4.2014.

gianni, il ciliegio’s owner, came in his MPV to fetch us from the town centre. he stopped near the top for us to take photos of the monterosso coastline in the sunset. 🙂

the service was excellent. the view was actually quite limited as surrounded with trees, mostly ciliegio. afterall the whole cinque terre & monterosso offered awesome vista everywhere.

regrettably, dinner @ il ciliegio monterosso = tak shiok leh…NO THRILL! 😦

grilled zicchini

grilled zicchini

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swordfish steak

swordfish steak

swordfish steak

swordfish steak

scampi pasta

scampi pasta

food was quite mediocre & would be poorest if c/w miky OR even the cheap & very good trattoria scogliera at manarola.

scampi pasta was skimpy, 4 tiny scampis for 2pax portions (mike’s seafood risotto while 50% more ex had like 5times the ingredients so much greater value & of course superior taste & dining experience), trofie (a risotto like pasta that looked like our chinese “beetaimak”) pesto was totally plain, swordfish was ok, vege was actually good, very sweet.

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il ciliegio has a nice setting, but almost no customers. only 1 other table was occupied.10260019_10152334390929494_7737027130625861121_n 10171003_10152334390774494_7807149832331859890_n

the outside was pleasant. it was cold so more comfortable to dine indoors.10273369_10152334391954494_6956391925483448181_o 10153760_10152334391849494_2718618501736750980_n 10175067_10152334391549494_696552267939311361_n

we took some photos of the monterosso coastline & also in the direction of vernazza in the sunset. 🙂

owners gianni & rosanna are very nice people. after dinner, gianni drove us back to town below. he turned & reversed his MPV like >50m in one fluid movement on the narrow path like in car chase movies, but he drove safely & not fast.

food was ok, & i am sure if you speak italian, the company & conversation would be most pleasant. just on food however monterosso was filled with nice restaurants, so regrettably i would not recommend this. 😦

c.h.e.f andy

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Seafood Risotto Par Excellence

seafood risotto modelled after monterosso miky

seafood risotto modelled after monterosso miky

i repeated my lake como, cinque terre, milan grand tour tasting menu for 11pax friends get-together on 30.7.2014.

while overall it was not as good as the last round, the seafood risotto though was outstanding. and so was the tiramisu. 🙂

seafood risotto modelled after monterosso miky

seafood risotto modelled after monterosso miky

seafood risotto modelled after monterosso miky

seafood risotto modelled after monterosso miky

i am very happy with this risotto. the key was the intense stock from prawn shells & heads. there was also the vegetable base from chopped carrots, celery, leeks, yellow onions & green pepper which i softened before adding 1.2 cups of rice. the vegetable sweetness balanced well the prawn stock sweetness. the aborio rice was done al dente by putting in a 210degC oven for 10 minutes, which took it to about 90% cooked.

the prawns & squids were pre-cooked, fried in butter.

the mussels & mango clams were cooked when serving the dish. i did them separately adding sliced ginger, chilli padi & orange peels. they took only few minutes. then the risotto was put on high fire with remaining stock added & just before serving the prawns, squids, mussels & mango clams were added, & cooked for 1 minute. 🙂

the risotto was so very tasty, almost dare i say as good as miky’s…almost but never quite…& the seafood were all so very fresh, tasty, done just right & not overcooked. 🙂

& my friend took such nice photos above as well!

c.h.e.f andy

Great Value Wholesome Lunch @ Ristorante La Scogliera Manarola on 19Apr2014

seafood spaghetti in tomato sauce

seafood spaghetti

was raining in the morning & mid day on 19.4.2014. we were not able to take the sentiero azzurro (blue path) which is the coastal route no. 2 trek from monterosso to vernazza.

we were early in apr so not quite the peak. there was still some crowd, and later commotion when someone was apparently pick pocketed. some friends went later in may & commented that the cinque terre trains were late but our experience with it was good, fortunately.

we took the train to manarola. the views were excellent but again the sentiero azzurro (blue path)trek between manarola & vernazza was closed.

manarola was a tiny place so we had lots of time & decided to take lunch there. ristorante la scogliera manarola prominently displayed its 4 trip advisor stars. must say we were not disappointed. indeed cheap & good! 🙂

Ristorante La Scogliera Manarola.

Ristorante La Scogliera Manarola

restaurant was pretty crowded. we were early so we were able to get a table after few minutes before the queue formed up.

seafood spaghetti in tomato sauce

seafood spaghetti

the lunch specials were all about 10euros & 11 euros, and the menu dishes not far off. my seafood spaghetti was about 11 euros, and it was really good very tasty dish. 🙂

grilled octopus

grilled octopus

grilled octopus

grilled octopus

al the grilled octopus we had at lake como restaurants & at miky monterosso were all good, and so was this & it’s just 10 euros.

plate of mussels

plate of mussels

this my idea of eating mussels – wholesome, hearty, a large pot or plate & very reasonable prices (& not the meagre 4 stuffed mussels at miky). haha. i think also around 10 euros. 🙂

scampi pasta in tomato sauce

scampi pasta in tomato sauce

my daughter ordered the scampi pasta in tomato sauce. and they really do their tomato sauce pastas very well in all the restaurants we’ve been, very flavourful & great taste of tomatoes. 🙂

this definitely a lunch place i would recommend for all visitors to manarola. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Most Unforgettable Dinner @ Miky at Monterosso on 18 & 20Apr2014

monterosso restaurant miky's famous flamed seafood risotto

monterosso restaurant miky’s famous flamed seafood risotto

had been lazy to continue my posting on the cinque terre trip in apr2014.

did a number of posts on amsterdam and lake como after the trip & ran out of steam after a while..haha. time to pick up & write about the best restaurant & the best meals we had in italy. the best meal we had at amsterdam was at beulings. 🙂

we picked monterosso as our base for cinque terre (the “five lands” -comprising 5 towns – italian riviera along the lingurian coast) as it is the largest town, has a nice beach front, and of course good gathering of restaurants & shops. we managed to do the very nice trekking from monterosso to vernazza & also monterosso to levanto, both with incredible views.

monterosso restaurant miky

monterosso restaurant miky

miky is located near monterosso station, at fegina in the new part of town.

i read a bit about restaurant miky at monterosso & their famous flamed pasta dishes, and i made a prior booking on 18.4.2014. we enjoyed the dinner so much we decided to go again on 20.4.2014.

anchovies seafood platter

anchovies seafood platter 1

we had wonderful pickled herrings in the streets of amsterdam & also nice lake fishes platter at lake como restaurants. so we thought we would start with the fantasia of anchovies.

anchovies seafood platter

anchovies seafood platter 2

anchovies seafood platter

anchovies seafood platter 3

it looked wonderful & came with the 2 smaller platters i.e. 3 platters in a single order.

i would say it was something worth ordering for the first time. it was competent above average i guess but by comparison with alle darsene 7-lake fish platter or even street herrings in amsterdam, it was not as tasty & flavourful. for me the left & bottom 2 cured ones in anchovies seafood platter 1 though salty were the more flavourful.

grilled octopus tentacles

roasted octopus tentacles

grilled octopus tentacles

roasted octopus tentacles

the roasted octopus with asparagus was good! very tender.

it was a different preparation but quite comparable with alle darsene octopus appetiser. both i considered very good dishes. 🙂

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stuffed mussles

the stuffed mussels not my thing, but wife & daughter liked it. i preferred sweet fresh & plentiful pot of mussels like the ones we had at la scogliera at manarola the next day, not 4 stuffed one..lol. the tomato base soup was very good though. 🙂

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the flamed pasta covered pot of seafood risotto was the best outstanding dish. minimum order was 2pax @ 18euros pax so 36euros. the portions were good for 4pax & more seafood than risotto almost. the stock base i figured was chicken stock with prawn shells & heads & very flavourful.

the above photo was 1 of 3 servings for 3pax, and there was enough left in the pot for 2 more similar size servings including the seafood. 🙂

monterosso restaurant miky's famous flamed seafood risotto

monterosso restaurant miky’s famous flamed seafood risotto

monterosso restaurant miky's famous flamed seafood risotto

monterosso restaurant miky’s famous flamed seafood risotto

we went back again on 20.4.2014, the evening before our departure to milan the following day, and ordered the same risotto. just could not have enough! 🙂

this inspired me so much i came back & recreated the seafood risotto dish, and served it to my buddies for my lake como, cinque terre, milan grand tour tasting menu on 2.7.2014. they all absolutely loved it, though of course it was no comparison with the real thing at miky! lol! 🙂

monterosso restaurant miky

monterosso restaurant miky

lobster, langoustine, prawns seafood platter

lobster, langoustine, prawns seafood platter

lobster, langoustine, prawns seafood platter

lobster, scampis, prawns seafood platter

the other excellent dish not to be missed was the 35euros lobster, scampis, prawns seafood platter. 🙂

the 1/2lobster was a large 1kg size not the usual 600g maine lobster in singapore, very sweet & tasty, but the scampis were even better. & the prawns were large & very good.

seafood platter

grilled seafood platter

lobster, langoustine, prawns seafood platter

grilled seafood platter

when we returned there on 20.4.2014, we decided to try the grilled seafood platter instead. this was good too with grilled scampi, prawn, razor clams, scallop & fish on a bed of mesclun salad. in a way it was kind of different dish to the cold seafood platter but really in terms of quantity, taste, value the cold platter was lots better. 🙂

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monterosso restaurant miky

they were truly unforgettable meals we had, 2 times in a space of just 3 days. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Andy’s Lake Como, Cinque Terre, Milan Grand Tour Tasting Menu on 2Jul2014

grand tour tasting menu

coming back from a wonderful trip to amsterdam, lake como, cinque terre, and milan, i was much motivated to recreate some of the delectable dishes we had. 🙂

may calendar was crowded as i had the 11pax RI friends “fine” chinese dinner on 5.5.2014 & also the 27pax G20 RI friends dinner on 28.5.2014. some friends were away in june, so the dinner was fixed on 2.7.2014. 🙂

1 of the (dining) highlights of our cinque terre tour was the flamed pasta seafood risotto at miky restaurant in monterosso on 18.4.2014 (the lobster, langoustine cold platter was likewise excellent). it was so good we went back again 20.4.2014 to enjoy one more time before leaving for milan the next day. we also had very good pasta at manarola, levanto & milan, both pesto & tomota sauce based; & excellent grilled octopus in tremezzo, bellagio, monterosso, manarola, levanto & milan.

for my menu planning, i added lobster pasta, and since i reckoned the reason miky’s risotto was so very tasty was mostly because of the stock & i used prawn shells & heads for the stock, i added lobster bisque which made use of the same stock plus the lobster shells. i had wanted to do a pesto pasta like what we had at fresco in duomo, milan which was very good too, but it was easier to do squidink.

i wanted also to recreate the grilled octopus tentacles (alle darsene at bellagio, miky at monterosso & at manarola) but i could not find any octopus in singapore, the only ones at meidi-ya liang court were the sashimi variety selling at astronomical price.

a popular appetiser in lake como (alle darsene at bellagio, al darsena at tremezzo & miky at monterosso) was 5 or 7 different preparation of fish. i couldn’t do that but i could play with different preparation of seafood.

both the lobster bisque & risotto already included lots of vegetables, so the easiest way was to round up with rockets & mesclun salad to accompany teriyaki cod & pan-seared scallops & bring balance to the seafood tapas. 🙂

teriyaki cod

#1 teriyaki cod

pan seared hokkaido scallops

#2 pan seared hokkaido scallops

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rockets + mesclun salad

squid ala plancha

#3 squid ala plancha

pan seared teriyaki cod, hokkaido scallops, mesclun salad

pan seared teriyaki cod, hokkaido scallops, mesclun salad

pan seared teriyaki cod, squid, hokkaido scallops, mesclun salad

pan seared teriyaki cod, squid, hokkaido scallops, mesclun salad

steamed oysters

#4 steamed oysters

we started with a seafood tapas medley.

#1 teriyaki cod & #2 pan-seared scallop were accompanied with a rockets + mesclun salad. my friends loved the teriyaki cod (marinated 3 day with self-made teriyaki sauce, well infused & very flavourful).

#3 squid ala plancha (teppanyaki) came about as i could not get octopus. as squid cooked very fast & curled every time, i did not use the crockpot or sous vide method. to create flavours i used the same sichuan slight spicy sauce i used for 蒜泥白肉 and marinated 2days. taste was good.

#4 the steamed oysters were a crowd favourite. i just added 2 teaspoon light soy sauce & 2 tablespoon olive oil, some sliced ginger & chilli padi to 9 large oysters of the IQF (individual quick frozen) variety from sheng shiong which i bought for a very inexpensive S$11.95 for 1 kg. i do good orh luah (oyster omelette) with them too. 🙂

the key was the timing. i did 1.5minutes steaming & left it for another 1 minute or so poaching with fire off. the result was a delectable, plump, tasty oyster. 🙂

cured salmon

#5 cured salmon

#5 the cured salmon was another very simple new dish, following chef john of foodwishes.com recipe. i bought a very fresh salmon fillet from sheng shiong, cut like sashimi as in the video, then cured in salt & sugar but for a much longer time like 3-4hrs. the salmon was very tasty, looked great & had firmer texture than sashimi. this was great stand-in dish. i had wanted to do a razor clam ala plancha but there were no razor clams at sheng shiong that morning.

2 live lobsters from sheng shiong

2 live lobsters from sheng shiong

lobster bisque

#6 lobster bisque

lobster angel hair pasta

#7 lobster angel hair pasta

#6 lobster bisque was the another crowd favourite. everyone found it to be very intense & flavourful & smooth, like XO. indeed i had added otard. 🙂 the key to a good shellfish bisque is (1) the stock made from prawn heads & shells with the lobster heads & shells added later (2) a good vegetable base (chopped leek, celery, onions, carrots) to combine the vege sweetness with shellfish sweetness & to give the bisque “body” when blended smooth with hand blender, then adding some heavy cream & brandy ( i used otard).

#7 lobster pasta was a popular dish at restuarant miky monterosso. i did not take it during the recent trip as we already ordered the lobster platter. I bought 2 live lobsters from sheng shiong, grilled the lobsters on very hot pan & flamed with otard, then scooped out the meat & tomalley (the creamy lobster liver & pancreas in the head), and throw the heads & shells into the prawn stock for the lobster bisque & also the stock of the seafood risotto. when tossing the angel hair pasta for serving i scooped back the tomalley to the lobster heads.

Andy's "Monterosso Miky" seafood risotto

#8 Andy’s “Monterosso Miky” seafood risotto

Andy's "Monterosso Miky" seafood risotto

#8 Andy’s “Monterosso Miky” seafood risotto

Andy's "Monterosso Miky" seafood risotto

#8 Andy’s “Monterosso Miky” seafood risotto

#8 i was quite proud of my “Andy’s “Monterosso Miky” seafood risotto“. 🙂 while miky’s risotto has no peers & i was not able to do the flamed pasta which was very good too, my risotto was very tasty & flavourful, infused with sweetness from the prawn stock & also the same vegetable base as the lobster bisque. 🙂

squidink spaghetti

#9 squidink spaghetti

#9 squid ink spaghetti was another late replacement. it was quite good, tasty, just a touch more salty.

i thought of doing a pesto pasta at first. pesto is a good vegetarian pasta, though you can also add prawns & chicken. the vegetables (grilled sliced egg plants, mushrooms, zucchini, tomatoes etc) actually required more effort. squid ink was a bit easier to do. it was basically alio olio method with white wine & squid ink.

tofu cheese cake

#10 tofu cheese cake

#10 tofu cheese cake was a popular dessert as i only lately discovered. the lime juice & yogurt provided the very mild sour taste, enhanced by the mild sweetness, and a very smooth & light cream cheese & tofu texture. an excellent ending. 2 friends brought very nice rambutans & also the usual strawberries. 🙂

a friend took the very nice photos. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Protected: Andy’s Lake Como, Cinque Terre, Milan Grand Tour Tasting Menu on 2Jul2014

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Seafood Risotto

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

did another excellent seafood risotto for my friends on 31.7.2014.

was trying to copy/recreate monterosso restaurant miky’s incredibly tasty flamed seafood risotto. couldn’t do the flamed pasta part of course, so just the seafood risotto. 🙂

i used my favourite chef john of foowishes.com shortcut oven-baked paella method.

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

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littleneck clams (“la la”)

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razor clams

medium prawns & squid fried with butter

medium prawns & squid fried with butter

for seafood, i fried shelled prawns & cross-cut squid(lightly seasoned with fish sauce & white pepper) in butter.

i also very lightly fried the razor clams which i had earlier removed from shell, cut away the innards & cleaned.

i fried ginger & some orange peels & added the littleneck clams to a pan over high fire, adding a little white wine. then cover & let the shells open. discarded any unopened clams.

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

for the stock i sautéed the heads & shells of 10 medium prawns in olive oil & tumeric & added 500ml of vegetable stock & boiled for a hour. as i was preparing lobster pasta, i added the lobster shells to the shellfish stock as well. 🙂

i sauteed carrot, celery, onions, then leek & garlic in olive oil as a stock base, added turmeric for colour, added 1 cup of arborio rice (which i bought recently at monterosso) & then added the prawn stock & bring to boil. then i placed the oven-proof pan in a preheated 210degC oven for 10mins. i tasted the risotto. the flavour was excellent, and in this case as the stock already had some salt in it & mindful that the prawns & squid were also seasoned i did not add more salt. the risotto was about 85%-90% cooked with the centre slightly hard.

i set it aside. when ready to serve, i added remaining stock & juices from the fried prawns, squid, razor clams & just some from the littleneck clams enough to cover the risotto & placed on high fire w/o cover, added salt & paprika to taste. once risotto was almost cooked i added all the ingredients & covered for 1 minute. this cooked the risotto to al dente. the taste was excellent, super tasty from the sweetness of the vegetable, stock & also the prawns, squid, razor clams & littleneck clams. 🙂

miky's famous flamed seafood risotto

miky’s (monterosso) famous flamed seafood risotto

miky's famous flamed seafood risotto

miky’s (monterosso) famous flamed seafood risotto

sure, it’s not really comparable to miky’s famous flamed seafood risotto which we had at monterosso during our recent amsterdam, lake como, cinque terre, milan adventure 13-24apr2014. still it was a supremely enjoyable dinner. 🙂

c.h.e.f anfy

Ingredients-

  • 10 medium prawns (shelled & de-veined)
  • 1 large or 2 medium squid (cross-cut)
  • 300g razor clams shelled with innards removed & cleaned
  • 500g of littleneck clams cleaned
  • 1 yellow onion (chopped)
  • 2 stalks celery (chopped)
  • 2 stalks leek (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • 500ml prawn & vegetable stock
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1 teaspoon tumeric (or saffron)

Directions-

  1. fry shelled prawns & cross-cut squid(lightly seasoned with fish sauce & white pepper) in butter. very lightly fry razor clams (after removing shell, cutting away the innards & clean). fry ginger & some orange peels & add the littleneck clams to a pan over high fire, adding a little white wine. then cover & let the shells open. discarded any unopened clams.
  2. stock – sauté heads & shells of 10 medium prawns in olive oil & tumeric & add 500ml of vegetable stock & boiled for a hour.
  3. cook risotto -saute carrot, celery, onions, then leek & garlic in olive oil as a stock base, add turmeric for colour, add 1 cup arborio rice. add prawn stock & bring to boil. place oven-proof pan in a preheated 210degC oven for 10mins. taste the risotto & add sea salt, paprika to taste. risotto should be about 85%-90% cooked with the centre slightly hard. set it aside. when ready to serve, add remaining stock & juices from fried prawns, squid, razor clams & just some from the littleneck clams enough to cover the risotto & placed on high fire w/o cover. add salt & paprika to taste. once risotto almost cooked add all the ingredients & covered for 1 minute & cook the risotto to al dente. serve.