Cook Vegetarian – Spaghetti alla Nerano (Zucchini Pasta)

#5 spaghetti alla nerano (zucchini pasta)

spaghetti alla nerano (zucchini pasta)

this the first time i attempted spaghetti alla nerano (zucchini pasta). this btw is an amalfi coast specialty!^^

we first tried this in fresco & cummino in milan & this was 1 of the best vegetarian pasta i had, though i like my funghi linguine equally. 🙂

i followed an internet recipe, & blended 1 yellow zucchini with some onions & vegetable stock after softening them in olive oil. i sliced & pan-grilled another yellow zucchini in some olive oil in a non stick pan over low fire.

#5 spaghetti alla nerano (zucchini pasta)

spaghetti alla nerano (zucchini pasta)

when serving, i tossed the pasta with the grilled cut zucchini & added some butter to give it more body. added browned garlic, shaved parmesan cheese & added a bunch of basil for flavours & garnishing.

#5 spaghetti alla nerano (zucchini pasta)

spaghetti alla nerano (zucchini pasta)

it was a very good pasta, al dente & tasty.

i served it at a recent 10-course vegetarian dinner for 8pax for my niece’s birthday. everyone liked it. son said more parmesan shavings would be good. i think overall it can be improved.

c.h.e.f andy

Ingredients:

  • 300g spaghetti
  • 2 yellow (or green) zucchini, sliced
  • 1 small yellow onion, sliced
  • 100ml vegetable stock
  • 1 bulb garlic in cloves, browned in olive oil
  • sea salt & black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. peel & brown the cloves of 1 bulb of garlic & set aside.
  2. blend 1 sliced yellow zucchini with 1 sliced small yellow onions & 100ml vegetable stock after softening them in olive oil. add sea salt & pepper to taste.
  3. slice & pan-grill another yellow zucchini in some olive oil in a non-stick pan over low fire & set aside. sprinkle sea salt generously.
  4. when serving, reduce the blended sauce. toss the pasta with the grilled cut zucchini & add some butter to give it more body. add the browned garlic, shaved parmesan cheese & add a bunch of basil for flavours & garnishing.

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

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

Great Dinner @ il Vicoletto Stresa on 28Aug2014

seafood tagliatelle

seafood tagliatelle

leaving london for milan, my son booked a 5am cab to london gatwick south terminal. it took 1hr 10mins even w/o traffic, so we had to rush a bit to catch our flight departing at 6.55am. we scanned the boarding pass on our phones which got us through the entry gates smoothly but the security was quite thorough. flight time was 2 hrs and milan was 1 hr ahead so we arrived at malpensa terminal 2 at 10am. we were booked on the alibus departure to stresa at 1130am & arrived 1230pm at chiesa at piazza marconi stresa, which was a very short walk to our hotel elena, very conveniently located at a square with restaurants & shops.

ristaronte il vicoletti stresa

ristaronte il vicoletto stresa

we asked the hotel to recommend some eating places, and decided to take their recommendations to try out il vicoletto on 28.8.2014. we were early at 7pm & was able to get a seat. it was full & turning away customers 1/2hr later.

bread basket

bread basket

we had a bread basket which was quite ok.

very good extra virgin olive oil & balsamic

very good extra virgin olive oil & balsamic

the balsamic & extra vurgin olive oil superb. wine was good too. 🙂

octopus salad

octopus salad

we ordered an octopus salad to share. the overall dish was quite ok except that the octopus cannot c/w the very nice grilled octopus at alle darsene in bellagio at lake como.

seafood tagliatelle

seafood tagliatelle

we ordered a seafood tagliatelle to share. it was excellent, nice creamy pasta with fresh mussels & prawns.

braised lamb shoulder

braised lamb shoulder

very tasty braised lamb shoulder though not as good as the braised lamb shoulder at honey & co.

stewed monkfish

stewed monkfish

pretty looking stewed monkfish – nice sauce, fish was bouncy but texture a bit tough, a bit like the texture of swordfish steak.

overall it was a good & enjoyable dinner. we were seated outside (our own choice as we were early & could have seated inside) & getting quite a bit of mosquito bites that went through the jeans & socks so we had to quit the place soon after finishing our food & wine.

vicoletto is a good standard restaurant & not too expensive (our dinner about €71) & sure looked like one of the better places to have dinner. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Super £20 Whole Lobster @ Burger & Lobster on 26Aug2014

GBP20 lobster (about 1.5lb or 650g)

GBP20 lobster (about 1.5lb or 650g)

burger & lobster seems to be the the “go to” place in london. wife, son & daughter had all been there several times. and many friends too. it’s like all singaporeans visiting london go to the place. 🙂

business concept was simple – just 3 items on the menu, whole lobster steamed or grilled, lobster roll using shelled steamed lobster meat on a brioche, and a large beef burger, all at the same price £20. so import maine lobster yourself, no need celebrity chef, keep cost low& sell lots of lobsters.

i took the piccadilly line from king’s cross to leicester square & walked to burger & lobster outlet at dean street in soho.  it was still raining. son was out with friends & met me at the restaurant at 6pm on 26.8.2014. we got a 2pax table w/o waiting.

GBP20 lobster roll

£20 lobster roll

GBP20 lobster roll

£20 lobster roll

there was a choice of steamed or grilled lobster. the waitress also explained that both were first steamed, & the grilled lobster finished off with grilling.

before i ordered my whole grilled lobster, i confirmed with the waitress that the lobster roll was only served with steamed lobster meat. that made sense as the meat for the roll came from a common pool of shelled lobster meat, not that they could not still be grilled before serving but it’s just not done.

son cut me a bit of the lobster roll to try. the bread was very good. the lobster meat was fresh, bouncy & sweet. 🙂

GBP20 lobster (about 1.5lb or 650g)

£20 lobster (about 1.5lb or 650g)

GBP20 lobster (about 1.5lb or 650g)

£20 lobster (about 1.5lb or 650g) 

i love my lobster grilled, with that bbq flavour. it was very good! 🙂 there was the sides of shoestring fries & mesclun salad & a garlic butter dipping sauce. i had the same grilled lobster w/o the fries for €26 at fresco & cimmino in milan on 30.8.2014. equally good. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

OK Lunch @ Farinella Ristorante Pizzeria Milan on 23Apr2014

Euro16 scampi with capellini - outstanding

Euro16 scampi with capellini – outstanding

went to sforzesco castle & decided to have lunch at farinella ristorante pizzeria at piazza del castello

my daughter ordered a euro16 scampi with capellini (above photo) which was very good. i tried the angel hair pasta & it was very tasty. 🙂

Euro12 set - seafood risotto (good, tasty)

Euro12 set – seafood risotto (good, tasty)

Euro12 set - seafood risotto (good, tasty)

Euro12 set – seafood risotto (good, tasty)

Euro12 set - squid (poor)

Euro12 set – squid (poor)

Euro12 set - squid (poor)

Euro12 set – squid (poor)

they had this set lunch or quick business lunch set costing euro12 which had seafood risotto (good, tasty, not much ingredient), and squid (poor, tasted nothing) & coke.

by comparison with the scampi past, the set was just ok & to me not worth trying. might as well pay for a good nice tasty pasta.

Euro16 scampi with capellini - outstanding

Euro16 scampi with capellini – outstanding

i would certainly come back for the scampi pasta if i am around the area & maybe give some other dishes a try. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

 

Good Lunch @ Papermoon Milan on 22Apr2014

fungi papardelle - good

fungi papardelle – good

paper moon at via bagutta was just a short walk from our duomo apartments, past piazza san babila fountain. it was also recommended by Giuseppe. well he did recommend us the excellent fresco & cimmino, so we had to try this paper moon. 🙂

clam & mussels pasta

clam & mussels pasta

veal with asparagus - ok

veal with asparagus – ok

veal with asparagus ok

veal with asparagus ok

we were early. paper moon opened at 12noon, so we went around wandering a bit window shopping etc & back at the restaurant 12pm on the dot.

lunch was good (but fresco was still better!)

the veal with asparagus was pretty ok. the clam & mussels pasta was good & creamy fungi papardelle look plain but was tasty. well almost all pasta in all the places we dined in italy were good, with little exception.

we couldn’t be eating lunch & dinner for 3 days at fresco, so i would consider this a pretty good alternative.

c.h.e.f andy

Best Meals in Milan @ Fresco & Cimmino, Duomo Milano on 21Apr2014

vege cheese pasta was excellent

pasta alla nerano was excellent

after a very satisfying hiking & eating tour of cinque terre & monterosso & levanto, we packed up & left for milano, the last stop in our trip.

we stayed in a huge 1-bedder duomo apartments right next to duomo (“cathedral”). the agent who met us at the apartment Giuseppe (“Joseph”) recommended fresco which was just round the corner and also paper moon which we lunched at the next day.

we decided to take a stroll along the streets, walking past the many shops with famous brands at vittorio emaneule, alongside piazza del duomo & ended up at fresco & cimmino on via ugo foscolo, 4.

large grilled lobster very tasty bbq flavour.

large grilled lobster very tasty bbq flavour.

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vege cheese pasta was excellent

pasta alla nerano was excellent

vege cheese pasta was excellent

pasta alla nerano was excellent

large grilled lobster very tasty bbq flavour.

large grilled lobster very tasty bbq flavour.

the restaurant was nice & roomy with double volume high ceiling & a large LED screen showing advertisements & tourist stuff about the city.

it was a very good lunch.

we took the recommendation of the young server & picked pasta alla nerao, a zucchini pasta, which was excellent. it had grilled zucchini & shaved parmesan & the pasta taken with the broth or sauce was so tasty, and unlike those at levanto, it was not overly salty. i came back singapore & tried a pesto pasta, combining this dish & the pesto trofie pastai tried at il ciliegio.

so was the large grilled lobster, very tasty & great bbq flavour.

excellent seafood salad (euro 15 can feed 4pax),

excellent seafood salad (euro 15 can feed 4pax),

tagliata di manzo

tagliata di manzo

pasta & tagliata di manzo

pasta & tagliata di manzo

very good rigatoni

very good rigatoni

after lunch we did a stroll through galleria vittorio emaneule II & some shopping, took some photos of leonardo da vinci staring down at the piazza della scala & took a walk to the brera, which was just beyond the duomo and la scala, it was supposed to be an area full of fabulous art galleries, fun shops, excellent restaurants and small B&Bs. & along via fiori chiari, a cobblestone street, with  lined with boutiques, restaurants and antique shops. on this day though most shops seemed closed. we had some gelato & drinks at one stall.

in the evening we decided instead of travelling around looking for places to dine, to just walk back to fresco, which was like just 200m from our apartment.

and was rewarded with another excellent meal.

we had an excellent seafood salad. just euro 15, a large helping of mussels, clams, prawns & squid enough to feed 4pax, even larger helping than the frutti di mare seafood salad at levanto, we also had a very good rigatoni pasta & tagliata di manzo. excellent meal, i really enjoyed this. 🙂

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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Pesto Pasta

pesto spaghetti with grilled eggplant, zucchini & mushrooms

pesto spaghetti with grilled eggplant& cherry tomatoes

first came across pesto pasta when i had wild rocket’s laksa pesto almost 10 years ago. was pretty impressive at the time. 🙂

i had mostly associated pesto pasta with vegetarian, and since i only started cooking 2 years ago & i mostly prefer meats, so i had started with seafood alio olio, later experimented on pink sauce (creamy tomatoes), chilli crab pasta etc. i have not yet attempted a carbonara myself (though my son makes a pretty good one & it should not be hard to do also).

recently during my lake como, cinque terre, milan trip, i tried some pesto pasta & they were really good, especially the one at fresco in milan. so i thought i might try out a pesto recipe & if it worked out, i would include in a grand tour tasting menu (haha…just kidding) for my good friends, now planned for 1st week of july. 🙂

i looked through several internet recipes e.g. how to make a tasty pesto pasta

i tried the recipe first on a small pasta dish, as i was reminded that pine nuts were very expensive…haha. 🙂 the first attempt was top photo above, which i grilled the eggplant & cherry tomatoes first, then tossed with the spaghetti & the pesto sauce. it was very flavourful, the nutty fragrance with the spinach & basil, and very tasty eggplants & tomatoes. it was though a little salty.

pesto spaghetti with grilled eggplant, zucchini & mushrooms

pesto spaghetti with grilled eggplant, zucchini & mushrooms

on the next occasion i prepared a larger portion as 1 of 3 pastas for a 6pax homecooked family dinner. this time i included zucchini & also caramelised some button mushrooms.

for the pesto sauce, i added basil, spinach, 1 clove of garlic & 1/2cup olive oil, some salt & pepper. i used chopped toasted almonds as proxy to the pinenuts & i added some shredded parmesan. it was a really excellent pasta.

pesto spaghetti with prawns & chicken

pesto spaghetti with prawns & chicken

pesto spaghetti with prawns & chicken

pesto spaghetti with prawns & chicken

and i had some leftover pesto sauce. so on the next day i added prawns & chicken (first fried in butter) & tossed with the spaghetti & pesto sauce, and it was excellent too. so, no need to be entirely vegetarian, though the vegetarian version was very good on its own. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Ingredients:

  • spaghetti (300g)

pesto sauce-

  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1/2 cup basil
  • 20g chopped toasted almonds
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan

Directions:

  1. cook spaghetti 1minute less than instruction, & drained in colander
  2. add spinach, basil, almonds to blender & blend. then add olive oil & grated parmesan & blend.
  3. add spaghetti to pesto sauce in a pan & toss. add salt & pepper to taste. serve.

Great Pizza Lunch @ Pizzeria Balognett Tremezzo Lake Como on 16.4.2014

frutti di mare pizza, beef carpaccio, grilled eggplants, toast

frutti di mare pizza, beef carpaccio, grilled eggplants, toast

we left amsterdam on an early easyjet flight & arrived at milan’s malpensa airport at 1020am on 16.4.2014, picked up our car from avis at our arrival terminal 2, and drove to our b&b la perla perched on a hill at tremezzo at lake como. 🙂

the journey was 85km & took about 1 hr 20mins. the drive was scary as the roads were very narrow, i was driving on the “wrong” side of the road (left wheel drive), and the cars including heavy vehicles were coming at you quite fast.

pizza balognett

pizza balognett

i had read about pizzeria balognett (some claimed the best pizzas in lake como!) & had made a prior reservations at 1pm. place was quite empty actually, there was only 1 other table of 2pax americans i think, i guessed the location was a bit inaccessible w/o a car. for us it was 3 minutes drive after checking in at la perla & b&b owner assured us it was an excellent choice for lunch. 🙂

we ordered beef carpaccio, frutti di mare pizza & grilled eggplant to share among 3pax, ending the lunch with a panacotta & macchiato. we were served a toast basket, nice! we were hun-gwee. 🙂

food, especially the pizza, was good. 2 thumbs up! 🙂

beef carpaccio

beef carpaccio

beef carpaccio was ok, ordinary.

pizza frutti di mare (fruits of the sea)

pizza frutti di mare (fruits of the sea)

pizza was excellent. i not much into pizza, would not normally order them. this though was very good. the texture of the dough was good, the ingredients (squid, octopus & especially the mussels) were good, but mostly the flavour of the pizza was outstanding, very tasty. 🙂

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& this grilled eggplant was very good!

lovely if inaccessible

lovely if inaccessible

plateful

plateful

beef carpaccio, grilled eggplants, toasts

beef carpaccio, grilled eggplants, toasts

very satisfying lunch, but we were not finished yet. 🙂

panacotta

panna cotta

normally my wife & i are not so hot on desserts, tiramisu & stuff (my daughter loves dessert of course). & i unlikely to order panna cotta in singapore. but we did here, and it was extremely delicious (for a panacotta). texture was excellent & it was very tasty. i guessed the best of not so many panna cotta i had tried! haha. 🙂

anyway we went back next day just to ta pao (takeout) the panna cotta & had it at la perla’s scenic terrace patio overlooking lake como with couple macchiatos. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy