6-course Early Anniversary Dinner for 4pax at Home on 28May2015

flamed octopus in spinach sauce

#3 flamed squid in spinach sauce

wanted to do an anniversary dinner for my wife & children. the logistics was such that it would be easier to do it earlier & then have dinner out with my wife on the actual day. hence 28.5.2015.

during our recent cornwall travels, we had great lunch at porthminster at st ives on 14.5.2015. we had a superb mussels & a charming roasted pineapples dessert.

also i saw the wonderful photos of a flamed squid in spinach sauce and a curry monkfish. so those were the dishes i had initially planned to do. i experimented on some dishes prior to 28.5.2015. 🙂

my mussels though did not turned up so great(blame it on the cheap local mussels from sheng shiong..haha!), so i decided on a carrot soup.

i tried a thai yellow curry for the first time, planning to replace monkfish with cod. & though the curry turned up beautifully (both looks & taste), my wife & i felt that cod was such a nice fish we should not overpower it with strong curry. so i decided to do a steamed cod instead.

calamari & oyster fritters

#1 calamari & oyster fritters

#1 calamari & oyster fritters

as i was doing carrot soup, i decided to pair it with some oyster fritters, and since i am already at it (oil for deep fry, cornflower, egg & breadcrumb), might as well throw in some calamari.^^

i rolled the lightly seasoned oysters & calamari (squid) in corn flour, then egg, then breadcrumb. then placed them (just 4 or 5 pieces) in about 5cm hot oil a small sauce pan (to use less oil).

calamari & oyster fritters

#1 calamari & oyster fritters

the oyster fritters were excellent, i must say, and first time i made them this way. i liked the calamari too, just cooked right nice texture, not rubbery & tough.

cream of carrot soup

#2 cream of carrot soup

#2 cream of carrot soup

i have done-

this was the very first time i did cream of carrot soup.

& it was excellent!^^ it was silky smooth & tasty, among the best soup i made.

cream of carrot soup

#2 cream of carrot soup

i added a lot of sliced/cut vegetables – 1 onion, 1 stalk leek, 1 red pepper, 2 carrots (plus some leftover stems from spinach). i fried them in butter till soft, added 2 cups of chicken stock & boiled for further 20mins. then i used a blender to blend & added salt & pepper to taste.

when about to serve, i added 3 tablespoon thick cream, and i have some chopped basil from my garden.

flamed octopus in spinach sauce

#3 flamed squid in spinach sauce

#3 flamed squid in spinach sauce

this was the best dish of the evening, quite exquisite if i may say so, maybe alongside the soup.

the squid was done just right, excellent texture & taste, and with the bbq flamed flavours. & the sauce was  exquisite. ^^

st ives porthminster chef michael smith's flamed squid

st ives porthminster chef michael smith’s flamed squid

i only saw the photos in the cookbook at porthminster. when i tried to google, there was nothing to be found, perhaps porthminster’s australian chef michael smith is not so famous. haha!

so i invented the recipe myself. practice made perfect though, so i had 1 practice some days before.

flamed octopus in spinach sauce

flamed octopus in spinach sauce

i cross cut (very closely) a large squid into 4 pieces (about 9cmx6cm), placed them on a pan & torched. i knew that’s was not enough to cook the squid, so fried them in butter afterwards.

#3 spinach sauce

#3 spinach sauce

for the sauce, again i used lots of vegetable to make it so tasty. 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 extra virgin olive oil & salt & pepper to taste. such a wonderful sauce complementing the flamed squid.

steamed cod with olive oil & soy sauce + wood fungus

#4 steamed cod with olive oil & soy sauce + wood fungus

#4 steamed cod with olive oil &soy sauce + wood fungus

there was not much to do regards the cod. i had done this once before & i know the simple olive oil with light soy sauce with chicken stock made a terrific stock base for the steamed cod.

steamed cod with olive oil & soy sauce + wood fungus

#4 steamed cod with olive oil & soy sauce + wood fungus

the cod was really wonderful. wife & children liked it very much.

steamed cod with olive oil & soy sauce + wood fungus

#4 steamed cod with olive oil & soy sauce + wood fungus

for me & for my youngest daughter though, we still like the equally tasty teriyaki cod better.

steamed cod with olive oil & soy sauce + wood fungus

#4 steamed cod with olive oil & soy sauce + wood fungus

one mistake i made was with the wood fungus. first time i was doing this. apparently this was the wrong fungus. it was the crunchy type & not suitable. if i had looked more thoroughly i would have found the small ones in the shelves.

pan-grilled lobster

#5 pan-grilled lobster

#5 pan-grilled lobster

this was an easy dish to make. however i did not do it right this time & the lobster was overcooked & just slightly tough. wife & daughters said lobster was very tasty & flavourful but i knew meat being just right & being tough made a whole  world of difference.

cold storage 2x375g frozen canadian cooked lobster=S$26.95

#5 cold storage 2x375g frozen canadian cooked lobster=S$26.95

i bought 2x375g frozen canadian cooked lobster=S$26.95 at cold storage.

cold storage 2x375g frozen canadian cooked lobster=S$26.95

#5 cold storage 2x375g frozen canadian cooked lobster=S$26.95

i cut the lobster in halves & shelled the pincers & legs. i put a lobe of butter in the pan & when it was very hot, i placed the lobster flat on the pan. then i added 2 tablespoon of brandy & flamed. the method was right, but i just did it a bit too long.

roasted pineapples

#6 roasted pineapples

#6 roasted pineapples

i tried to reproduce the roasted pineapples. this i didn’t practice, just use my imagination. unfortunately it was nothing like what we had at porthminster. haha!

roasted pineapples

#6 roasted pineapples

i torched the thick sliced pineapples. then i stewed them in lychee syrup.

roasted pineapples

#6 roasted pineapples

i served it with surprising coconut from daily scoop & lychees, and wife roasted some coconut flakes.

i guess it was immensely edible. anyway we were just eating fruit & ice cream so didn’t quite know what it was about.

roasted pineapples

st ives porthminster chef michael smith’s roasted pineapples

nothing like the experience of the real thing – st ives porthminster chef michael smith’s roasted pineapples.^^

c.h.e.f andy

Sumptuous Weekend Wine Brunch @ Amber Landmark Mandarin Oriental on 4Apr2015

#2 whole abalone with braised oxtail sauce

#2 whole abalone with braised oxtail sauce

wife booked 3pax weekend wine brunch at amber at landmark mandarin oriental on 4.4.2015.^^

amber has 2 michelin stars 6 years in a row & is the no.4 in asia & no.24 in pellegrino’s world’s top 50 restaurants.

this 1 of the places you have to leave credit card details and will be charged in full if you cancel within 48hrs. i am not sure if it is a new practice but we booked 2pax degustation dinner at joel robuchon maybe 4yrs ago & did not have to do that. & we had been to caprice at four seasons, and pierre at the other mandarin oriental and did not have to do that.

anyway we were happy to try out this place, and our faith were more than rewarded. this was simply the best meal we had in hong kong, not comparing joel robuchon’s degus dinner which cost more than twice this lunch.

baguette, olive & onion bread

baguette, olive & onion bread

after a very pleasant morning stroll along the peak circle walk taking in the hong kong skyline, we took a cab form the peak to landmark mandarin oriental which only cost us hk$55.

we started with a nice champagne.

the baguette and olive & onion bread from the bread basket were warm & very good, with both salted & unsalted butter.

6-course weekend wine brunch with 4 paragons of wine (champagne, 2 whites, 1 red)

6-course weekend wine brunch with 4 paragons of wine (champagne, 2 whites, 1 red)

weekend wine brunch was a 6-course (though that included cheese & 2 desserts) with selection of 4 wines at hk$888.

we found out that it was really an excellent deal even c/w weekday set lunches w/o the wine. so it was an excellent decision & wonderful lunch.

 foie gras lollipop

foie gras lollipop

squidink pita

squidink pita

squidink pita

squidink pita

we had 2 amuse bouche. both were good.

the foie gras lollipop in raspberry jelly had beetroot on one side & some crackers? on the other.

the squid ink pita was better, can’t remember maybe it was some cheese, anyway just remembered it was savoury & nice.^^

#1 foie gras terrine with suckling pig - very good

#1 foie gras terrine with suckling pig – very good

#1 foie gras terrine with suckling pig - very good

#1 foie gras terrine with suckling pig – very good

1st course was served with a riesling which i liked best of the 2 whites & champagne. all were nice anyway.

my son & i picked the foie gras terrine with suckling pig (interleaved) as our first course. it was very good, very flavourful & substantial.

#1 hokkaido sea urchin with caviar

#1 hokkaido sea urchin with caviar

wife picked the hokkaido sea urchin in lobster jelly with caviar topped with a gold leaf (which came with a hk$260 supplement). uni was sublime of course but the S$46+ supplement made no sense to us.

#1 hokkaido sea urchin with caviar

#1 hokkaido sea urchin with caviar

we all love uni of course, but we are not short of taking them, and we had whole tub of uni in japan for 1500yen (fukuoka recently) & lots of them at kuriya dining for the S$62 chirashi lunch with big serving of uni.

uni is uni. no culinary skill involved, is there?

#2 whole abalone with braised oxtail sauce

#2 whole abalone with braised oxtail sauce

#2 whole abalone with braised oxtail sauce

#2 whole abalone with braised oxtail sauce

second course was served with another white chardonnay.

for the second course, wife & i had the whole abalone that came with braised oxtail sauce & oxtail!

it was really well done. the abalone was so well braised or sous vide it was pure tender & the oxtail sauce was an excellent match. the 2 pieces of oxtail were also very tender & tasty & robust. wife loved this though for me, i still prefer the chinese or japanese braised abalone in brown sauce, and the chinese dry abalone over the japanese fresh ones.

son decided to venture a bit & took the battered frog legs. i tried a bit. I must say it was very good, enough for me to say that fie the choice of the whole abalone & the frog leg (it was a no brainer before), i am not sure i will automatically pick abalone every time. 🙂

#3 sole with mussels & razor clams

#3 sole with mussels & razor clams

the mains were served with a selection of red. we picked the spanish wine which was very good.

for the 3rd course, wife had the sole with mussels & razor clams. i think it was excellent, the best you could do with a fish. the sole was very tasty, tender and also firm in texture.

#3 pyrennes lamb

#3 pyrennes lamb

#3 pyrennes lamb

#3 pyrennes lamb

son & i had the pyrenes lamb shoulder. it was braised to perfection & smoked, very tender & smooth consistency w/o strong gamey taste. it was exquisite for a lamb shoulder.^^

#4 cheese platter - reblochon, comte & camembert (all 3 cheese were good, i like comte best, very tasty)

#4 cheese platter – reblochon, comte & camembert
(all 3 cheese were good, i like comte best, very tasty)

we had 2 plates of the cheese platter above for 3pax. it was lots of cheese. i liked all 3 cheese = reblochon, comte & camembert. i liked comte best, very flavourful almost like blue.

raspberry mousse + chestnut mousse on meringue with pear

chestnut mousse on meringue with pear+blackcurrent sorbet

we didn’t think much of the chestnut mousse on meringue, kind of sweet not accustomed to the taste! any sorbet, blackcurrent or otherwise, was good. 🙂

#6 raspberry sorbet & chocolate mousse

#6 raspberry sorbet & chocolate mousse

i liked the raspberry sorbet & chocolate mousse much better.^^

flat white

flat white

we were served coffee & petite four to round of the lunch.

this was the best meal i had in hk, a very memorable one, and i will definitely come back again with my wife.^^

c.h.e.f andy

Quick, Simple Home Dinner on 9Jan2015

bought some live manila clams & mussels from sheng shiong in the morning.

manila clams

manila clams

the manila clams were expensive this time at S$13.90/kg. mussels were priced as usual at S$3.50/kg. i bought 500g mussels & 600g+ manila clams. 🙂

i decided to cook the manila clams & mussels differently.

for the manila clams, i cooked with curry leaves, chilli padi, sliced ginger, oyster sauce & starch, similar to the wok-fried manila clams i did last time minus the white wine, orange peel & butter.

mussels

mussels

mussels

mussels

mussels

mussels

for the mussels, i decided to use the western mussel pot style. i used butter, chilli padi, sliced ginger, sliced orange peel & white wine, & added a teaspoon sugar.

oysters

oysters

oysters

oysters

as my youngest daughter decided to join the 2 old folks, i added a oyster omelette. i used the large frozen oysters, fried the egg first, pushed that to one side, put pan to high heat & added the oysters, and stir-fried for short while (about 20secs).

very nice wok hae (flavours) for all 3 dishes. manila clams had the best flavours.

romaine lettuce

romaine lettuce

romaine lettuce

romaine lettuce

we also had a romaine lettuce to round off the light dinner with some plain rice.

nice evening & great simple food.

c.h.e.f andy

Wok Fried Manila Clams 香锅炒蛤蜊

oct2015 update – i have done this dish a few times now. the best rendition was when i did a 9pax teochew muay lunch for my friends on 28.10.2015 (top photo).

wok fried mango clams

wok fried manila clams 香锅炒蛤蜊

wife went to chinatown today & bought S$6/kg manila clams, a kind of soft-shell clams or steamers.

manila clams are much lighter & tastier than the hard shell littleneck clams (the usual lala) though some called manila clams lala also. so even though they cost higher per kg, you actually get your money’s worth.

wok fried mango clams

wok fried manila clams 香锅炒蛤蜊

for today i fried it with butter, chilli padi, curry leaves, orange zest, sliced ginger, white wine, oyster sauce + corn flour on high fire.

need to drain (keep sauce) so as not to overcook clams, return sauce to pan to thicken, then return clams to coat with sauce for few seconds.

this time, the result was a super nice wok-fried manila clams – 特好吃香锅蛤蜊。。。

i was thinking probably need not mix the 2 styles also-

i can try the usual butter, chilli padi, orange zest, ginger & white wine which is my usual preparation for mussel pot or clams & mussels for pasta & risotto.

or i can do the curry leaves, chilli padi, sliced ginger, oyster sauce, corn flour good for toa tao & clams the asian style.

this time though the mixture of taste was quite excellent. everyone enjoyed the dish. ^^

stir-fry manila clams 16.10.2015

stir-fried manila clams with curry leaves – 16.10.2015

stir-fry manila clams 16.10.2015(3)

stir-fried manila clams with curry leaves – 16.10.2015 

subsequently, i did this dish a few times, and they were consistently good.

the best was still that shown in the top photo!

c.h.e.f andy

Good but Expensive Dinner @ aPompei on 21Nov2014

florentine steak - S$88

florentine steak – S$88

we were thinking of a place to go for 5pax family dinner on a friday w/o too much hassle on traffic & parking. decided to try the new restaurant aPompei at 6th avenue on 21.11.2014. 🙂

restaurant only started a week ago, according to chef mimo, who was from al borgo. we liked the florentine steak at al borgo by chef mim0. my wife recently had that at al borgo & she said it’s no longer good, so we were looking forward to having the good florentine steak here. 🙂

chef mimo was friendly & chatty, and we had always liked his food. so we decided to order his recommendations & let him organise the dinner. 🙂

food was good as we expected. price though was a bit expensive.

bread to start

bread to start

bread in most italian diners were mostly just baguette with olive oil/balsamic dip, nothing fancy like top restaurants.

antipasti - S$72

antipasti – S$72

antipasti - S$72

antipasti – S$72

the antipasti was a huge serving. it was good, with parma ham, good quality salami (my wife normally does not take salami but she was ok with this one), buffalo mozzarella, another cheese & olives.

we found out only later when we had the bill that the antipasti cost S$72 (since we left it in the hands of chef mimo). this was way too expensive for an antipasti for 2 guys & 3 ladies.

i am just guessing that maybe we were charged 3 portions=S$24×3. if we had ordered ourselves, we would have ordered just 1 portion. it was not about the price of the antipasti but whether we would spent S$72 for a very large portion or used the same money to order 2 more pastas etc.

focaccia

complimentary focaccia

we had a complimentary focaccia, topped with cherry tomatoes. in fact we thought it was better than the seafood pizza. we saw on the menu it cost S$13.

mussels - S$28

mussels – S$28

mussels - S$28

mussels – S$28

the mussels was very good. i felt it was expensive at S$28. i could do very good mussels myself, but i used the cheap mussels from sheng shiong. these mussels here were of course the better variety. 🙂

vongole - S$28

vongole – S$28

vongole

vongole – S$28

the vongole was very good also. the spaghetti were very al dente. somehow it cost more than S$24 on the menu? this is also a dish i do well, and sometimes i can get mango clams from sheng shiong which i think is better than la la (littleneck clams).

seafood pizza

seafood pizza

the seafood pizza was good, but we felt the cheaper focaccia (complimentary by chef mimo) was better. 🙂

florentine steak - S$88

florentine steak – S$88

& the 600g florentine steak. this was our favourite & it was as good as the one at al borgo of old (though my wife said it was no longer so). al borgo charged S$60 initially but raised to S$75 last year. it was S$88 here. i guess the price was not cheap but ok as long as the standard is kept. 🙂

complimentary dessert

complimentary dessert

chef mimo offered us 2 complimentary sponge cakes. the texture felt a bit like tiramisu (moist) but chef mimo said it was sponge cake. they were good but these tended to be quite sweet.

the dinner for 5pax (2guys, 3 ladies) cost S$350nett including a S$62 bottle wine. wine was good & priced similar to what you get at a good restaurant. 🙂

i felt the dinner was overly expensive at about S$56nett excluding the wine. if the antipasti was 1 portion at S$24++, price would be S$45pax nett, which was still not cheap but i guess ok for the food.

anyway, we were overall happy with the food, even though price was on the expensive side & it had cost a lot more than if we had ordered from the menu, which is what we would do next time. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

10-course Homecooked 11pax Western Buffet for RI Buddies on 6Nov2014

did another of my homecooked meals for my friends for lunch on 6.11.2014.

usually for western dishes,  i did sit-down dinners serving course by course. but there’s advantage in having pre-cooked food & serving as buffet. though i enjoyed every minute of cooking (& often experimentation) for family & friends, the purpose is not just about food & cooking but to be part of the conversation & shared memories. 🙂

for this lunch, i did 10 dishes. 🙂

the best dish, most popular by far & winning hands down, was the #1 oven grilled miso salmon belly – marinated & kept in chiller for 3 days & in the oven for 15mins at 25odegC. taste was excellent, perfect combination of flavours.

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#2 miso belly pork

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#2 miso belly pork

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#2 miso belly pork

the #2 miso belly pork was an experiment. i used the same marinade for the miso salmon belly. i did slow braising using cold crackpot to 79degC, so the pork belly was very tender before marinate. however my marinade was just too little & did not infuse the flavours well. also i used the same 15mins oven grill to do the sliced pork (to save electricity). i think i need to use a hot pan on high heat then the searing could be done very quickly w/o overcooking the already cooked meat.

#3 the beer can chicken was another experiment! i brined a small 1kg whole chicken in usual sugar & salt (but boiled with a packet of chinese tea this time). i put sliced garlic under the skin & use a bbq meat dry rub. then i did the usual beer can chicken oven grill at 250degC for 25mins & 175degC for 15mins.

wa..this chicken was really tasty, moist & tender – my best roast chicken ever. 🙂 but no hint of any tea flavours though!

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#4 pumpkin tofu salad

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#4 rockets for tossing #4 pumpkin tofu salad

my helper prepared the pumpkin tofu salad. it’s a dish put together by my wife after dining at some place that served that. i could do this but my helper did this regularly for my wife’s packet lunch, so i got her to do it.

i did the extra virgin olive oil, balsamic, sea salt & honey (did not have agave nectar) mix, and did the tossing when about to start the meal. 🙂

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#5 striploin – slow crockpot braising to 52degC placed in fridge overnight then pan grilled

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#5 striploin – slow crockpot braising to 52degC placed in fridge overnight then pan grilled

#5 striploin was another experiment – slow crockpot braising to 52degC (rare) placed in fridge overnight then pan grilled. i did this before for my daughter’s packed lunch. she said it was very flavourful.

today though it was overshadowed by the #7 tagliata di manzo, which had a better usa harry’s grain-fed angus striploin cut & was done on the spot just before start of the meal. 🙂

#6 kurobuta was prepared in the same way – slow crockpot braising to 79degC (well done) placed in fridge overnight then pan grilled.

the meat itself was very flavourful so the dish was well received. this was an experimental variation of my usual pan-grilled kurobuta.

i wasn’t confident of the result of the slow crockpot striploin so had a back-up usa harry’s grain-fed angus striploin which i decided to cook anyway.

#7 tagliata di manzo is commonly served in italian restaurants. e.g. as 1 friend mentioned during lunch, capri, but also in say alborgo, valentino etc.

i did this #8 “monterosso miky” seafood risotto with a vegetable base & prawn stock, so it’s a tasty dish. the prawns & squid were fried in butter separately, and the live mussels were cooked separately in butter, chilli padi, sliced ginger & orange peel. mussels were very tender & tasty too.

the #9 squid-ink seafood linguine was good too. one friend liked it especially for the mango clams. 🙂

the #10 pumpkin cheese cake was my second try. a really lovely cake. the first i made for family dinner on 24.10.2014 was very good. and it’s great that this one was just as good.

a very nicely balanced cake. it was though a bulkier cake than the other lighter cakes i made, and while i liked it a lot, it was a cake that i would probably not take 2 helpings at one go.

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

Great Lunch @ Ristaronte Pizzeria da T Levanto on 20Apr2014

frutti di mare - seafood salad

frutti di mare – seafood salad

we decided to trek to levanto on 20.4.2014. 🙂

many parts of the sentiero azzurro (blue path) coastal route no. 2 were still closed. anyway we walked the incredibly scenic route to vernazza on 19.4.2014. the route to levanto was longer & took us 3.5hrs. the view was marvellous though looking back at monterosso beach was not quite the same as looking at the postcard picture perfect vernazza town when approaching from moneterosso. 🙂

frutti di mare - seafood salad

frutti di mare – seafood salad

we were strolling along the streets close to the sea on arrival at levanto around 1.30pm. the ristaronte pizzeria da T levanto was filled with locals & looked quite exciting.

grilled prawns

grilled prawns

grilled prawns

grilled prawns

we ordered the seafood salad (around 11euro) & the grilled large prawns (around 15 euro) which we saw many tables were taking. both were very good, fresh & tasty. 🙂

mussels pasta

mussels pasta

prawn pasta

prawn pasta

we ordered 2 pastas, one with prawns the other with mussels. both were very tasty too, but there was a negative part – both were much too salty.  if we could eat more pasta, maybe we could have asked them to toss in more plain pasta – just a thought. haha! 🙂

panna cotta

panna cotta

sweet cake

complimentary sweet cake

the panna cotta was poor though. my daughter & i were still thinking of the fantastic panna cotta at pizzeria balognett at tremezzo lake como, but this was a far cry, no better or worse than the ones in singapore, the reason i hardly ever ordered panna cotta.

surprising we were offered a huge helping of complimentary sweet cake. it looked very sweet & it was, but it was much better than the panna cotta.

c.h.e.f andy

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

Best Meal at Lake Como @ Alle Darsene on 17Apr2014

7 lake fishes done in different ways

7 lake fishes done in different ways – 15euros

had the best meal at lake como at alle darsene on 17.4.2014. 🙂

alle darsene is located next to villa melzi, but it is on the other side, so a rather long walk from the bellagio ferry jetty. we had a leisurely morning & visited varenna (& the shopping). we walked on the narrow road just bordering villa melzi to reach alle darsene. on the way back we decided to just pay 9euro each & walk through villa melzi. ok la..it was but a pleasant stroll through the gardens. 🙂

our first order was the lake fishes (top photo), since we were at lake como. it was excellent, better even than that at daserna. all the 7 fishes, cured or smoked or pickled, as well as the roe, were all excellent. 2 thumbs up! 🙂

grilled octopus on a very tasty broth

grilled octopus on a very tasty broth – 15euros

and the grilled octopus, that was the best i had during this trip, better even than miky at monterosso, cinque terre. the broth was really good! i would recreate this at home, that is if i can find the octopus. 🙂

beef tartar with burrata & truffle - 15euros

beef tartar with burrata & truffle – 15euros

& the beef carpaccio was again par excellence. so sweet & tasty. my daughter & i loved it(though my wife was a bit off beef tartare). i could have this again! 🙂

fillet of sole pan seared then baked with lentils & mussels - 20euros

fillet of sole pan seared then baked with lentils & mussels – 20euros

and the fillet of sole was so good. even the lentils (though i don’t like too much of it) was very tasty with the sweet, lovely mussels. such great dish this! 🙂 i not so successful with western fish dishes except for my quite excellent cod, but i might try to do this as well. 🙂

very good catavelli with octopus, clams & muscles, excellent seafood broth - 16euros

very good catavelli with octopus, clams & mussels, excellent seafood broth – 16euros

the catavelli pasta was likewise excellent, and the octopus, clams, mussels & the seafood broth. 🙂 this i would also try to recreate.

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my daughter ordered a chocolate – so pretty

every single dish was excellent. this a restaurant i would not miss if i come again. 🙂

because of the location, it is inconvenient though for dinner if not staying at bellagio as there is a ferry to catch! 😦 that was why we changed our prior booking from dinner to lunch.

c.h.e.f andy

Drunken Mussels with Orange Zest

drunken mussels with wine & orange zest

drunken mussels with wine & orange zest

This is another very easy dish to make.

I bought shelled mussels from Sheng Shiong previously but they were not as good, plump and big as the ones sold at QB Food.

For this dish, you just need to add 20g butter in a soup pot, throw in chopped spring onions (I used the white parts and reserve the green portion for garnishing) & orange zest from 1/2 an orange and stir-fry for <1minute, add 1 cup of wine and 1 cup of chicken stock and bring to boil, and then add 200g mussels & cook for 1-2 minutes, then garnish with chopped parsley (if you have) – I only use spring onions here.

drunken mussels with wine & orange zest

drunken mussels with wine & orange zest

It’s easy, delicious & all comfy goodness!

c.h.e.f andy