17 Courses of Delectable Dishes for 16pax Homecooked Dinner on 26Aug2015

#1 friend's 清汤牛腩 - my favourite

#1 friend’s 清汤牛腩 – my favourite

had an exciting evening with my friends on 26.8.2015. ^^

we had 16pax. i planned to serve asian dishes mainly buffet style, and a pasta, beef & lamb dish during the course of dinner. 🙂

a friend brought 清汤牛腩. it was my favourite for the evening. i had a good beef brisket noodles at imperial treasure nanbei few days back on 23.8.2015, one of the few authentic ones. still, that was a bit more beefy. i personally prefer this 清汤牛腩 style. sometimes homecook is the best! ^^

my wife could not join dinner this evening. she organised the quinoa pumpkin tofu salad for me & i mixed in the rockets when serving (so that rockets would not be soggy).

everyone loved the salad. 🙂

i did the spanish omelette. did not do this a the longest time & recently revived it when i served a 10-course vegetarian dinner for 8px for my niece’s birthday.

this was a very popular dish among my diners.

i recently tried out a new preparation for cooking char siew & maybe found the right combination to reproduce easily very flavourful & tender, moist char siew. it is also easy to do, just put on a rack in a preheated oven for 20mins.

& it worked well, very tasty, well charred & quite tender inside. the ends were a bit harder than what i made previously because this roll of pork collar was thinner, so need to adjust the timing say to 18mins for thinner rolls.

i made a  ter kar tan 猪脚冻. it was a bit meaty & not as good as my head cheese terrine 猪头冻, but still a friend who cooked this also thought it was very good. i think the taste was good, i should use either pig’s head meat or a lot of pig skin as pig’s trotter is overly meaty & heavy. & the colour should be lighter, means less or no dark sauce.

my chicken ballotine was very good today, mostly finished.

the thai yellow curry grilled chicken thighs were very good.

there was a bit left though, and when i heat the curry sauce in the microwave & applied it to the cold chicken the next day, for me it was still excellent. 🙂

the thai red curry sotong (squid) was just as lovely. it’s a bit spicier & very good with the rice.

i did the vietnamese chargrilled pork collar w/o the beehoon, just with pickled carrots & peanuts. i tried it after cooking. it was very tasty. i think it was just as good as what i had at mrs pho recently. i think better actually.

but for this evening, maybe there were too much food, it was only 1/2 taken.

#10 braised belly pork & bits of some unused trotter

#10 braised belly pork & bits of some unused trotter

the braised belly pork was done together with the ter kar tan 猪脚冻, so it was just a small portion. the braise was very tasty & the texture of the belly pork was superb by those who take belly pork. nothing was left.

#1 friend's 清汤牛腩 - my favourite

#1 friend’s 清汤牛腩 – my favourite

the friend made 3kg of beef briskets & tendons. so i guess we did have a lot of food.

i am not complaining as this was my favourite dish for the evening. 🙂

#1 friend's 清汤牛腩 - my favourite

#1 friend’s 清汤牛腩 – my favourite

there was some leftover, so i ate the next day & enjoyed it just as much.

#11 helper's spicy black bean sauce pork ribs

#11 helper’s spicy black bean sauce pork ribs

my helper made the spicy black beans pork ribs. it was braised in the pan & then steamed in the steam oven. very tender & great sauce & flavours. it’s one of my perennial favourites. not much left afterwards.

#12 helper's sambal sauce seabass - this everyone's favourite

#12 helper’s sambal sauce seabass – this everyone’s favourite

my helper’s sambal sauce seabass was another dish that was everyone’s favourite. seabass has a slight mud taste & powdery texture, but with the sambal sauce, it was a very appetizing dish. nothing left.

#13 helper's blanched hk kailan with shitake

#13 helper’s blanched hk kailan with shitake

likewise the blanched hk kailan with shitake.

it was time for the pasta, beef & lamb dishes. my friends were all very full so we decided to forgo the pink sauce prawn pasta dish.

my tagliata was just simply fabulous. it was sooooo much better than the ones we had the other evening at the zafferano wine dinner, and haha i will say it again!^^ all my friends at zafferano were here this evening anyway. 🙂

& the pistachio crusted rack of lamb. everyone just loved it! those who eat lamb anyway.

actually we had the lamb at foc the next, and that lamb was a bit more tender than mine, but my lamb was a lot tastier. 🙂 also my pistachio crust was so good it was all mobbed up!

#16 queenie brought chempedak cake from singapore swimming club - very nice

#16 another friend brought chempedak cake from singapore swimming club – very nice

another friend brought a chempedak cake. i like the intense chempedak flavour. it’s a cake i like but won’t take often.

the banoffee (banana toffee) cake was a bit of a failure. the whipping cream was frozen & i heat it up just so lightly, a cardinal sin of laziness. should have just waited for it to get back to room temperature. it did not whipped well & caked up when set.

fortunately the cake itself was quite excellent & many friends liked it. it is indeed a very good combination of texture & taste, banana & toffee. i used very small amount of caramel so it was not too sweet.

it was a very fun get-together. i enjoyed doing all the dishes, and i also had my friend’s excellent beef briskets & my helper’s nice dishes.

c.h.e.f andy

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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