14pax Homecooked Dinner for my Primary School Classmates on 22Jan2016

the dishes

the dishes

had a 14pax homecooked dinner for my primary school classmates on 22.1.2016. ^^

as i was saying in another post –

we were not in contact for a long time.

recently another classmate came visiting from the states, so i joined a few of them at din tai fung @ gem after lunch on a saturday as i already had a lunch appointment that day.

one thing led to another & a group came to my place today for a 14pax homecooked dinner. ^^

the dishes

the dishes

weather was not so co-operative.

it was almost like thunderstorm at the time my guests were arriving.

this was the first time these friends came to my place.

a friend brought excellent cookies & pineapple tarts, so we had a good chat & munch on the cookies & spanish omelette before all arrived. 🙂

pumpkin tofu salad

#1 pumpkin tofu salad

i had a pumpkin tofu salad. taste was quite ok but presentation this evening was not so good.

spanish omelette

#2 spanish omelette

spanish omelette were also tasty. texture for 1 was slightly out & not firmed up enough.

teriyaki cod, char siew, miso belly pork

teriyaki cod, char siew, miso belly pork

the char siew was a taste i liked.

char siew

#3 char siew

colour & burnt part looked good too.

char siew

#3 char siew

but perhaps it was not the sweeter honeyed taste that some preferred. anyway it was mostly finished.

miso belly pork

#4 miso belly pork

many in the group didn’t take much belly pork so there was a bit more left.

overall i think i made a bit too much food, especially the pasta & risotto.

teriyaki cod

#5 teriyaki cod

most friends liked the teriyaki cod.

teriyaki cod

#5 teriyaki cod

the taste was good but i felt the cod was NOT the best. it was hard to tell as i bought from the same source, usually giant, sheng shiong or ntuc.

i felt that the cod itself was not so great this evening.

lemon chicken (son's recipe)

#6 lemon chicken (son’s recipe)

son made an excellent lemon chicken on christmas eve home dinner 2014 when he came back for christmas holidays.

so i whatsapped him for the recipe. 🙂

beer can lemon chicken (son's recipe)

#6 beer can lemon chicken (son’s recipe)

& i used the beer can method to give a more rounded roasting w/o using the rotisserie.

lemon chicken (son's recipe)

#6 lemon chicken (son’s recipe)

& it came out beautifully. a friend who used to sell chicken rice, commented she liked the chicken most. ^^

prawn linguine in pink sauce

#7 prawn linguine in pink sauce

the 2 pastas were very good at the time of cooking. very tasty, as good as it looked.

i did them well in advance, thinking of putting them in the oven at 40degC to keep warm.

prawn linguine in pink sauce

#7 prawn linguine in pink sauce

it was a few hours ahead of dinner. i decided to heat them up again.

i felt that the end result was not so good, not the very al dente pasta i liked.

cheese sausage pasta

#8 cheese sausage pasta

same thing with the cheese sausage pasta.

sausage pasta

#8 cheese sausage pasta

another thing was that i cooked just too much pasta.

cheese sausage pasta & prawn linguine in pink sauce

#8 & #9 cheese sausage pasta & prawn linguine in pink sauce

should have trusted my first instinct & not added more pasta.

seafood risotto

#10 seafood risotto

the seafood risotto was also far from my best.

a friend said she liked the risotto most because it had very intense flavours (i used a prawn heads/shell stock moderated with lots of vegetables).

still it was really a very far cry from my best seafood risotto, which should look & taste like this one above!

cut fruits

cut fruits

a friend pre-arranged to bring cut fruits.

excellent almond cookies, peanut cookies & pineapple tarts

excellent almond cookies, peanut cookies & pineapple tarts

another friend really bakes very well (& i suspect cooks very well too).

i really enjoyed his almond & peanut cookies & pineapple tarts.

pineapple tarts

pineapple tarts

the friend who brought the cut fruits also brought pineapple tarts. both were very good but i liked the first version.

the pineapple fillings were less “in the face” (some commented drier) but excellent pastry. i reasoned that i liked that better as it was more differentiated from commercial pineapple tarts & i liked the pastry bits more than the pineapple fillings.

it was a fun evening. think of it we knew each other for 50yrs+ since 1965 (from primary one)…for me it was from primary 2.

for the food, i was actually not so satisfied.

it was quite below my usual standard, and some dishes might not suit some friends. for my cooking philosophy, it is not important what dishes i cook, but it should be dishes that everybody enjoyed.

so in all my dinners, there were hardly leftover food. this evening some of my planning & food amounts were a bit out, but i will adjust in future dinners.

c.h.e.f andy

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Scrumptious Homecooked Lunch for 30+pax on 25Jul2015

youngest daughter was celebrating an important occasion & invited 30 friends to the house on 25.7.2015.^^

we had a really wonderfully scrumptious family-cooked lunch for her friends.

we did 13 delectable dishes!^^

& her friend made a professional pastry chef standard 2-tier cake. 🙂

wife's PIMMS

wife’s PIMMS cocktail

wife also made a PIMMS cocktail!^^

wife's PIMMS

wife’s PIMMS cocktail

i cannot hold liquor but i liked it very much & took maybe 5 or 6 cups & a bit drunk afterwards. 🙂

#1 wife made a lovely pumpkin tofu salad, something she picked up from marmalade after dining there. 🙂

#2 i did a vietnamese chargrilled pork cold beehoon. 🙂

we recently had this dish at mrs pho. i would think that my version was just as good. 🙂

#3 & i made a chicken ballotine.

#3 i steamed the first batch of 2 for 15mins. it was slight overdone.

the second batch i reduced to 12mins. & this was quite perfect! tender, juicy, flavourful.^^

helper's chicken nuggets

#4 helper’s chicken nuggets

#4 my helper did the chicken nuggets. pretty good too. 🙂

helper's deepfried chicken wings

#5 helper’s deepfried chicken wings

#5 & her chicken wings are a perennial favourite. 🙂

#6 i did a thai red curry sotong.

this the first time i cooked this dish. i fried in butter the sotong (squid) like i did for my flamed squid in spinanch veloute, but w/o flaming it (too tedious for quantity for 30+pax!). i tasted the sotong & it was excellent. i made the red curry gravy using the dancing chef’s ready mix with some cut yellow onions. the curry was just superb, so the combination was just crazy, a clear winner!^^

#7 for the chicken thigh, i pan-grilled on a very hot stainless steel pan. it was perfect, and daughters’ friends walloped the 6 pieces of deboned thighs from 3 chicken in double quick time. 🙂

unlike the red curry dish, for this yellow curry, i made it as a sauce similar to busaba’s to-die-for grilled chicken green curry fried rice.^^

there was actually an egg fried rice dish (which was also pretty good) to accompany the thai chicken & sotong curries but i did not have a photo.

#8 wife made an excellent creamy tomato pasta. she usually use crayfish from chinatown & for me it’s the best pasta ever.

this time, we could not get crayfish at chinatown so she used large prawns as proxy. 🙂

helper's sausage pasta

#9 helper’s sausage pasta

#9 & my helper made her crowd favourite cheese sausage spaghetti.

the whole family like this & all my children’s friends who came to the house previously all enjoyed this pasta by my helper. 🙂

#10 i made an excellent squid ink spaghetti this time, no errors, no horrors, no misses, simply fabulous, par excellence!

very nicely creamy, i added butter (only when tossing with fire off! – you don’t want to boil the butter).^^

& fantastic colour, al dente pasta & irresistible squid ink flavour with wonderful chicken stock & squid.

#11 & the tagliata di manzo had my daughter’s friends swooning & asking for more.

in the end i cooked a second portion, total 4x300g = 1.2kg of 150D grain-fed black angus ribeye.

birthday cake

birthday cake

daughter’s friend made her a totally professional pastry chef standard 2-tier cake.

birthday cake

birthday cake

plus lemon tarts & also cup cakes. every cake item was just fabulous! 🙂

#12 i made my usual tiramisu.

it was as good as ever. daughter’s friends finished an entire tub. ^^ i had a spare tub though. there was too much cake already so we saved that.

& my daughter arranged a photo booth which was a lot of fun, & her friends came in all kinds of costumes.

the photo booth guy just finished national service & is going to london for further studies. that’s what young people do a lot these days, with internet & social media offering excellent reach, connectivity & empowerment! 🙂

what a simply incredible, most enjoyable & memorable occasion to be savoured.

c.h.e.f andy

Wonderful Homecooked 11pax Dinner on 22Jan2015

wife's pumpkin tofu salad

#1 wife’s pumpkin tofu salad

made 1 of my best dinners on 22.1.2015. ^^

invited a few close friends. my weekly running partner brought his son, and my dentist friend brought his daughter.

also invited my god sis & her husband.

this time, i reverted to a sit-down course dinner. for a start, i served 3 dishes as tapas.

#1 we had an excellent pumpkin tofu salad. this was my wife’s creation. my helper toasted the pumpkin & fried & cut the tofu & mixed in the extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt & agave nectar the night before, and my wife tossed in the rockets just before starting dinner. 🙂

miso cod

miso cod

#2 miso cod is my god sis’ favourite. she mentioned it so many times. ^^

i have not made it for a long time as my wife prefers the texture & taste of plain grilled cod. i had it in the oven for a tad too long but managed to rescue it, only had to take off most of the skin. still it was excellent to my taste, both the firmer texture & also the miso flavour. my god sis liked it very much & had 2 servings. i liked it as much as the plain grilled cod & slightly better than my teriyaki cod. this dish was prior done about 1 hr before dinner.

#3 the tagliata di manzo (using 150D grain-fed ribeye) was really quite excellent this evening, very well charred for maillard reaction. i did the steak only when all guests had arrived. also seasoning the rockets & cherry tomatoes with olive oil & balsamic vinegar was done just before plating & serving so they would not be soggy. plating was a bit rushed & not ideal this evening.

#4 after the 3 tapas, i served the lobster bisque, very nice mellow & intense flavours with good amount of brandy, not too creamy. very nice. my friend’s daughter took a second serving.

#5 lamb is usually not such a favourite among my dinner guests, but my friend’s daughter loves lamb, so i did 1/2 a rack of pistachio crusted lamb. i bought at mmmm at west coast plaza & the lady instead of cutting 1/2 rack started to cut out 2 slices before i could stopped her. so i had to improvise & used a kitchen twine to hold the 1/2rack together. again i have not done this for a while but the rack turned out very well. i managed to cut 5 pieces. my friend’s daughter had 2 helpings, my friend’s son & another 2 friends had the lamb.

lobster spaghetti

lobster spaghetti

#6 lobster spaghetti was just splendid this evening! very tasty & good chunks of lobster meat (i used 2x375g frozen lobster from cold storage). the lobster head & tomalley (liver etc) were excellent. i thought though using capellini (angel hair) i did previously would be better both in looks & texture.

"monterosso miky" seafood risotto

“monterosso miky” seafood risotto

#7 my own version of  “monterosso miky” seafood risotto was wonderful this evening. very very tasty, with excellent lobster & prawn stock balanced with lots of vegetables. the carnaroli rice i bought at stresa, lake maggiore was excellent & the texture was just al dente. 🙂

squid ink manila clams with squid spaghetti

squid ink manila clams with squid spaghetti

#8 the squid ink pasta was also very good. i had squid & lots of manila clams which were plump & succulent. i agreed with my wife though that the manila clams were much better done the asian zi char style with curry leaves & olive oil, & lose some of the distinct taste & flavours, and tasted only like good littleneck clams “la la” in this preparation.

japanese A4 wagyu - this was soooo good.

#9 japanese A4 wagyu – this was soooo good.

japanese A4 wagyu

japanese A4 wagyu

#9 i had a japanese A4 wagyu which was better served as a separate dish than together with the tagliata di manzo & rockets. the 150D grain fed ribeye earlier was very good, but this was par excellence!^^

#10 we rounded off with my tofu cheese cake, as good as always. ^^ wonderfully light texture, mildly sweet sour with lumen juice, yogurt, whipped cream, silken tofu & cream cheese, & a nice biscuit base.

i was just happy to have the cosy, warm get-together with my close friends, and very happy & satisfied with the dishes & dinner. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

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

Fun 14pax RI Friends & Spouses Homecooked Dinner on 18Dec2014

invited my regular group of RI friends (this time with spouses) for a homecooked dinner on 18.12.2014.  we had 14pax = 5 couples + 4 guys. 🙂

i prepared mostly pre-cooked food that could be served buffet style, so we could all sit down & enjoy the food & conversation together. 🙂

planning was important. i intended several items which i cooked/made final preparations only when all the guests arrived – tagliata di manzo (angus striploin steak), dry wok prawns, pumpkin salad, fried rice.

in the end timing was quite well managed for dry wok prawns & fried rice. for the salad & the rockets/cherry tomatoes bed for tagliata di manzo, they were done too early & the rockets were soggy (unlike my recent lunch which the pumpkin salad & the rocket bed for tagliata di manzo were quite perfect).

#1 pumpkin tofu salad

#1 pumpkin tofu salad

#1 my wife’s pumpkin tofu salad was an excellent dish when i served during the recent lunch.

this time it was a bit lacklustre. seasoning with sea salt, olive oil & balsamic were done too early. somehow pumpkin was not as sweet.

#2 beer can chicken was good as usual – tender, moist, tasty. 🙂

#3 oven grilled miso salmon belly had been a favourite with my family (& friends also during recent lunches), and again a favourite this evening. 🙂

#4 teriyaki cod was good as cod goes. i made it very much less sweet & healthier (no sugar only mirin this time).

#5 the 6hr “sous vide” miso lamb shoulder chop was ok, very tender, with strong lamb flavours nicely masked by miso.

#6 tagliata di manzo (using angus striploin). the bed of rockets & cherry tomatoes were mixed too early so a bit soggy.

steak was medium rare & flavourful, but i was slightly distracted & the charring was somewhat insufficient to produce good enough mallard reaction. also the angus striploin, unlike ribeye, had a bit of tendon, not so ideal.

#7 spicy belly pork 蒜泥白肉 was simply wonderful. it was slow-braised using cold crockpot on low almost 6 hrs to 79degC. belly was very tender & the sichuan 麻辣 chilli mix was excellent. 🙂

#8 my dry wok prawns is of consistent good standard, charred & flavourful, taste of chilli padi & fish sauce.

#9 my spicy seafood fried rice will never get to crystal jade standard, but it is also consistently good, nice wok hae & flavours with lots of prawns & squid.

#10 stir-fried romaine lettuce

#10 stir-fried romaine lettuce

my helper cooked the romaine lettuce, one of our favourite vegetable dish.

#11 chocolate ganache vanilla banana cake

#11 chocolate ganache vanilla banana cake

a friend brought a #11 chocolate ganache vanilla banana cake.

#11 chocolate ganache vanilla banana cake

#11 chocolate ganache vanilla banana cake

#11 chocolate ganache vanilla banana cake

#11 chocolate ganache vanilla banana cake

it was a lovely 2-layer vanilla cake with banana in between & covered with chocolate ganache – a really standout first attempt by him! 🙂

#12 my no-bake tiramisu is now another crowd favourite. it was 1 of the easiest dessert to make.

healthy peanut candy

#13 healthy peanut candy

a friend brought a #13 healthy peanut candy (held together by maltose instead of unhealthy sugar), it was nice.

i had a #14 pumpkin cheese cake on standby. i sensed that the friends wanted to try, so it was served & we managed to finish 1/2 the cake. it was ok but not as good as the pumpkin cheese cake we had for our recent lunch which was really good.

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