Happy New Year 2015!

Happy New Year 2015 to all my friends
新年快乐
즐거운새해보내세요
Yoi otoshi o! よいお年を!

A very happy new year 2015 to all!

4 things that made me really happy & feel good in 2014 are-

my weekly 10km jog with a close friend & the 100plus, nespresso chat afterwards

my 2 close friends organising 2 birthday dinners – one for me at chef chan’s & one for my wife at tunglok central

visiting my relatives in china – 汕头澄海

learning korean & making 3 good friends in korea

i continued my jogging in 2014. timing had slowed significantly & i now usually do 10km at 1hr 13mins on the track where previously i did 1hr 9mins in 2013 and 1hr 6mins in 2012. on the treadmill in the gym i can still do 1hr 6mins. 🙂

also for 2nd half of 2014, i did mostly 2 times a week where previously i did 3 times a week consistently.

i had a lot of family time including with my son in london, and we also travelled to cambridge, lake maggiore & milan.

before that i had a wonderful vacation with wife & daughter to amsterdam, lake como, cinque terre & milan.

i spent lots of times with friends, including lots of home cooking. i am very grateful for their friendship. and on 22.12.2014, we had 128pax gathering at our alma mata raffles institution auditorium including 10 teachers. 🙂

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this evening, the children have their own programs. tomorrow, we have a 20pax homecooked family new year day lunch. so for this evening, my wife & i decided to have a simple dinner at home just 2 of us (二人世界). ^^

i bought a piece of USA Harris black angus ribeye from mmmm at west mall. it was expensive today, no discounts & price went north as well!

pumpkin tofu salad

pumpkin tofu salad

portobello

portobello

coffee from our jura machine

coffee from our jura machine

wife made the pumpkin tofu salad, portobello & onions. i did the ribeye. we had a very good sake to go with the meat.

nice, simple dinner. after that we slowly sipped a nice cuppa!

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!

c.h.e.f andy

Average Food Very Good Service @Praelum Wine Bistro on 1Aug2014

1 full pint of hoegaarden

1 full pint of hoegaarden

couldn’t think of a place for dinner. looked at the palate outlets & decided to try praelum wine bistro at duxton hill. a slight put-off though thinking of the traffic & parking. anyway we decided to park at craig place carpark which charges hourly. came to S$4.50 for parking but at least no hassle.

it was actually a great watering hole, great place for a drink. praelum is latin for wine press for crushing grapes & extracting juice. but i don’t drink so that was wasted on me. haha! 🙂

prelim wine bistro

praelum wine bistro

at the counter (prelim wine bistro)

at the counter (praelum wine bistro)

old telephone

old telephone

nice ambience & crowd. it was 8pm on a friday night & all the tables were taken up so we sat at the counter.

to their credit this place served & did not charge for water. my wife ordered one full pint of hoegaarden. it tasted great, i agree. 🙂

steaming hot baguette

steaming hot baguette

the baguette was nice & warm! i guess we were hungry but this was good with the butter.

flamee tart

flamee tart

flamee tart

tarte flambe

we ordered mostly their recommendations. the young server was very helpful. the crispy crust tarte flambe was the french answer to italian pizza? very crispy dough. onions gave it sweetness & the egg some texture. wife felt the cheese was not “pang” aka flavourful enough. overall, quite edible maybe average or above cannot really c/w a good pizza.

herb escargot covered in baked cheese

herb escargot covered in baked cheese

herb escargot covered in baked cheese

herb escargot covered in baked cheese

the herb escargot was the best of the lot. it’s like a dozo cheese gratin escargot combined with a usual herb seasoning. quite excellent, and the bread went very well with the remaining sauces. 🙂

portobello topped with melted blue cheese

portobello topped with melted blue cheese

portobello topped with melted blue cheese

portobello topped with melted blue cheese

the portobello was a little strange. i liked both blue cheese & portobello but they didn’t seem to combine very well. grilled portobello with simple olive oil & sea salt is very nice & easy to do at home & someone the added blue cheese masked or reduced rather than enhanced the flavours. 😦

baby back ribs

baby back ribs

baby back ribs

baby back ribs

i was ok with the ribs. i was expecting the sweet sticky version, not my favourite but an ok dish. wife though it was below average c/w say tony roma’s.

after amex palate 50% discounts for 2pax, the bill came to S$36++ for the 4 dishes. the beer was another S$14 no discounts.

while the food was not quite what i would crave for, it was competent 7 pretty ok for the price, after palate discount that is. 🙂

& i can see that many (young & old) would enjoy the ambience, crowd & drinking here.

must say something about the truly excellent service. the young partner is a wine specialist – he said he was in the trade from 16. & all the young servers were very very friendly & helpful. 1 lady asked if we would like to shift to a vacated table but we were quite happy to sit at the counter & let others have the table.

c.h.e.f andy

The Best Teppanyaki at Home on 23Jul2014

wife did a aburiya at home on 23.7.2014

wife did a aburiya at home on 23.7.2014

wife did a aburiya (our favourite yakiniku restaurant) at home on 23.7.2014. 🙂

did not have the charcoal grill so did teppanyaki. it was the best! 🙂

we had so much better quality meat & cost was like 50% c/w aburiya & tajimaya (which was after 33% amex discounts).

my contribution - steamed oysters

my contribution – steamed oysters

my contribution - steamed oysters

my contribution – steamed oysters

my contribution - steamed oysters

my contribution – steamed oysters

my contribution was the steamed oysters, with light soy sauce, olive oil, sliced ginger & chill ipadi. 🙂 very nice. 🙂

kagoshima wagyu from isetan

kagoshima wagyu from isetan

kagoshima wagyu from isetan

kagoshima wagyu from isetan

wife bought kagoshima wagyu from isetan at scotts,

large & plump hokkaido scallops

large & plump hokkaido scallops

large & plump pan-seared hokkaido scallops

large & plump hokkaido scallops

we also had the IQF (individual quick freeze) scallops from sheng shiong S$11.95/kg, large & plump.

kagoshima wagyu

kagoshima wagyu

kagoshima wagyu & hokkaido scallops

kagoshima wagyu & hokkaido scallops

kagoshima wagyu & hokkaido scallops

kagoshima wagyu & hokkaido scallops

kagoshima wagyu & hokkaido scallops

kagoshima wagyu & pan-seared hokkaido scallops

the kagoshima wagyu was fabulous, sweet & flavourful. aussie wagyu is just no comparison. 🙂

quinoa salad

quinoa salad

kagoshima wagyu & quinoa salad

kagoshima wagyu & quinoa salad

wife made nice quinoa salad to go with the meat.

portobello mushrooms

portobello mushrooms

portobello mushrooms & yellow onions

portobello mushrooms & yellow onions

portobello mushrooms & yellow onions were good accompaniment.

yakisoba

yakisoba

yakisoba

yakisoba

yakisoba

yakisoba

wife decided to hantam yakisoba, a moment’s inspiration. added mirin, light soy sauce, chopped spring onions, yellow onions & egg. turned out superb, just like the very good ones you get in Japan. 🙂

a quick, easy & simply delicious dinner. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

S$18pax Set Lunch @ Reddot Brewhouse Dempsey (Quick Update) on 12Mar2014

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we had lunch among the fundonate partners & decided on reddot brewhouse at dempsey. it is convenient, has ample free parking & great ambience & of course has the best value set lunch (S$18pax for 2-course & S$22pax for 3-course, and including drink or coffee as well). 🙂

i had lunch here several times and did an earlier post great lunch with old friend @ reddot brewhouse dempsey on 19nov2013, so this would be just a quick update.

we all took the 2-course set. i had the portobello salad. 2 friends had the bruchetta & the reddot salad. another friend had a melt (lava) cake in place of appetizer. i guess 3 of us were all watching our carbo intake.

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for the mains, 2 friends had the sirloin steak (which looked pretty good), 1 had the chicken breast. i was deciding between my usual halibut (very good here), the steak (which i do rather well at home) and decided on the chef’s special, the beef stroganoff linguine in the above photo. it was excellent. linguine was al dente, very good, and the sauce was excellent. the beef cut was not an expensive one, so just slightly tough, but overall it was an excellent dish, of good restaurant standard, and with nice alfafa & grape tomato garnish. this was a dish i tried at home once previously (pretty ok), so i wanted to try & get some inspiration. 🙂

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the melt cake was a beauty to behold. i had this the last time. the texture (lava) was excellent. the flavour was good too but probably no better than my lava cake. 🙂

1 of my friend was saying he could even come here for lunch if he was dining alone – everything was quite perfect for him.

c.h.e.f andy

Lovely Italian Food & Service @ Al Borgo on 22Nov2013

florentine steak

florentine t-bone steak

my 2 close buddies insisted on buying my wife birthday dinner on 22.11.2013, even though it was 2 weeks after due to various schedules. 🙂

we decided on al borgo, which another friend had introduced us at 1 of our earlier G8 dinners. i went there with my family many times afterwards and sometimes ordered the squid ink pasta & florentine steak takeout. i had not tried al borgo though for most of this year.

vini rosso feudi di san gregorio

vini rosso feudi di san gregorio

al borgo charges S$30 for corkage but if you buy a bottle then the second bottle is free corkage. 1 friend picked up a jacob creek moscato & he orderd an italian red feudi di san gregorio. another friend took the trouble to pick up a mille crepe from Lady M. she later had problem catching a cab to the restaurant. i would usually pick her up but this evening i was not sure of my wife’s timing & we made it to the restaurant just on time. 🙂

parma ham pizza

parma ham pizza

portobello mushrooms with crabmeat in pink sauce

portobello mushrooms with crabmeat in pink sauce

squid ink seafood tagliatele

squid ink seafood tagliatele

florentine t-bone steak

florentine t-bone steak

i ordered a few of our favourite dishes.

portobello mushrooms with crabmeat in pink sauce was an excellent starter. portobello was nicely grilled & flavourful & the crab meat pink sauce was excellent, pretty to look at & tasty. 🙂

parma ham pizza was good too. parma ham was a favourite for many of us (a friend commented it was not so dry when served on a warm pizza than as antipasti though personally i liked the latter more). it made for a fine combination of dishes for the evening though i had no special thing for pizza. 🙂

we ordered 2 servings of seafood squid ink tagliatele to share among 5pax. they were very good as usual, quite a bit of prawns & squid & the nice flavour of creamy squid ink went very well with the pasta. 🙂

next was the florentine steak (we waited quite a while for this item as the restaurant was quite full). this was a 700g t-bone steak (new york strip on 1 side & tenderloin on the other). it was S$60 before, now S$75, just as the squid ink was S$22 before & now S$25.

it came together with very nice grilled potatoes & mesclun salad & a dip of balsamic vinegar & olive oil (maybe with the grilled juices). it was still good though for this night, the meat was a bit tougher than what we had here many times before. being greedy, i ordered a second serving, and though we polished up everything, i thought afterwards i would have done better ordering the S$38 250g ribeye steak instead. 🙂

millecrepe cake

millecrepe cake

the mille crepe was the new hit in town. it was like kueh lapis, with many thin layers of pastry interleaved with cream & custard, very labour intensive to make & obviously very costly. it was not too sweet. we all liked it especially my 2 friends who had this recently at another birthday. 🙂 for my personal preference though i would prefer a ritz apple strudel which has apple in addition to cream custard & pastry.

the service at al borgo was super! nicola, the restaurant manager (he took over from luigi) was friendly, chatty & constantly at our table & mimmo (the chef) came many times & took several photos with us including with his “brother”,  my good friend who had the same hairdo as mimmo. he even recommended the wine. 🙂 they also arranged for parking redemption for my 2 friends (never knew they had that, so i parked my car along the road with single yellow line though as there were quite a bit of construction going on, i had to park my car a bit further up the road). & the servers, kumar & 2 ladies, were also very friendly, attentive fun & cheerful (an important trait in service business).  my wife was commenting on the generation change in the image of chefs. they used to be haughty & temperamental, scowling in their kitchen fiefdom, now they are reinventing to be like warm, gracious inviting hosts.

dinner was S$430 with wine, about S$338 w/o wine & just S$250 for 5pax if i had not ordered a second florentine steak. 🙂

the evening (& the whatsapp messages afterwards) was filled with conversation, laughter & fun. 🙂

c.h.e.f. andy

Wife’s Awesome Healthy Packed Lunch on 13Sep2013

pumpkin, cherry tomatoes, deepfried tofu, red onion salad

pumpkin, cherry tomatoes, deep-fried tofu, red onion salad

my wife makes awesome packed lunches. she brings to office most days and they are much healthier of course than eating at the cafeteria. sometimes she packed for 1 or 2 colleagues as well. 🙂

oven grilled big prawns

oven grilled big prawns

items for packed lunch

items for packed lunch

pan-grilled portobello mushrooms

pan-grilled portobello mushrooms

mesclun = rockets, alfafa, spinach, purple lettuce

mesclun = rockets, alfafa, spinach, purple lettuce

the centre-piece of the healthy packed lunches are the salads & vegetables.  these could be standalone simple salad lunches, or often enough also, some meat items were added as a counter-point. sometimes i would cook miso cod, miso salmon, miso char siew (belly pork), miso ebi yaki (grilled miso prawns) or my pan roasted brined chicken breast for her. today she made oven grilled big prawns for herself 🙂

the pumpkin salad (top photo) was excellent tasting – sweet australian pumpkin with cherry tomatoes, deep-fried tofu, red onion. the pan grilled portobello (low heat slow dry grilling) was super, packed full of flavours, and together with the mesclun salad made for a very healthy delicious lunch.

c.h.e.f andy