Very Good Enjoyable Lunch @ Seng Kee on 12May2016

香煎米粉or三楼米粉 fried beehoon

香煎米粉or三楼米粉 fried beehoon

my OPS primary school classmate bought 5pax lunch at seng kee today on 12.5.2016.^^

the 香煎米粉or三楼米粉 fried beehoon we had today, i so enjoyed this i am going to try making this myself.

i came here twice before, both times with my RI friends.

the last time was a year ago after watching australian open tennis finals between djokovic & murray on 1.2.2015.

food was so so that day. the steamed fish head was good.

香煎米粉or三楼米粉 fried beehoon

香煎米粉or三楼米粉 fried beehoon

recently these friends brought me to try many interesting food, like the white bee hoon at tampines 844.

some i tried before in the younger days maybe but did not pay much attention, some i have not tried.

today my friend ordered 6 dishes.

the 香煎米粉or三楼米粉 fried beehoon seems to be a seng kee’s newly added dish.

& it was very good. very nice flavours, wok hae, nicely crisp, not soggy, i think overall almost perfect.

after that i googled & saw some photos of the 三楼米粉 at 三楼海鲜园 Taman Pelangi, Johor Bahru. just by picture alone, i would think the seng kee one look much better. of course will have to try la one day….

assam fish head

assam fish head

the assam fish head was also good.

basically fish head was fresh & sweet, & the assam sauce added to the taste. would have been just as good steamed (like last time the teochew style).

东坡肉dongporou with brocoli & bun

东坡肉dongporou with brocoli & bun

the 东坡肉dongporou was not the best, but it was pretty good. my friends felt the fat was not done well enuf, in terms of the bite. i guess so. i think the meat taste & sauce also not as good not 入味 intense enuf. brocoli buns all that ok but those were not definitive of the dish.

deepfried tofu with minced meat sauce

deepfried tofu with minced meat sauce

the deep-fried tofu was good too, very well done.

the meat sauce though quite pedestrian, by the way type.

kidney mee sua...so so

kidney mee sua…so so

their famous kidney mee sua??

kidney mee sua...so so

kidney mee sua…so so

i wonder, nothing great about it…same thing i thought the last time. that was worse actually, there was a taste i remember, this time no bad taste, but nothing great, in fact nothing good.

any bakuteh stall would be better la…so i rate this as the worst dish…

didn’t have a photo of the romaine lettuce 油麦菜. it was ok but nothing to talk about just very average.

overall it was a very good lunch. friend wasn’t satisfied himself but i enjoyed the lunch quite a lot. wasn’t much of a problem for us. he can keep buying lunch until he is satisfied la…the least you can do for a friend…lol! ^^

my friend paid. i haven’t found out about the cost. will update this later if i know the cost.

c.h.e.f andy

 

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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

Quite OK 3pax Lunch @ Chickenwok 鸡之味 on 21Mar2015

brinjal tofu salted fish

brinjal tofu salted fish

went to visit a chinese friend & look at his new Beacon LED office/store at tradehub21 on 21.3.2015.

he arranged for another mutual friend to meet at chickenwok 鸡之味 downstairs his office, and bought lunch.^^

we were early (intentionally) at 11.15am so the place was empty & we were the first & only customer (at the time we finished about 12pm).

i have seen chickenwok 鸡之味 S$15 for S$30 groupon vouchers many times before but did not consider to try. for today we did not have vouchers. & a check at groupon showed that the vouchers had sold out, but i know they always come back. seen it so many times liao. so next time if i come, i will be armed with vouchers. 🙂

we ordered 5 dishes. they were all pretty ok, no bad dishes, tasty enough, quite inexpensive.

all except the S$8 romaine lettuce, which my ancient upbringing think quite ridiculous vs other dishes but my wife had enlightened me that there was no basis in the first place for me to think that vegetables should be cheaper than meat! 🙂

and i do marketing, so i know the average amount romaine lettuce cost S$2.50 (2 bunches) to S$3.50 (3 bunches) in sheng shiong, and more in chinatown. well, so it’s S$8 in an inexpensive restaurant.

the best dish (kind of just slightly better than the rest) i found (top photo) was oddly the brinjal & tofu. the salted fish gave it a very interesting flavour & overall the dish was tasty.^^

curry chicken

curry chicken

curry chicken was good.

curry chicken

curry chicken

good as in c/w any economic rice stall or nasi padang stall, but cannot compare with the lemak green or red curries at good nasi padang stalls e.g. river valley nasi padang (now closed). 🙂

this the thicker more pasty curry & not so lemak kind.

curry stingray

curry stingray

curry stingray also good, better than curry chicken, basically like any good homecooked curries or coffee shop stalls, which means not too bad la…^^

braised belly 东坡肉

claypot braised belly pork 东坡肉

the claypot braised belly pork 东坡肉, not really 东坡肉 (the top restaurants seldom serve this swimming in braising sauce, always bunched standing up with or w/o sauce though i had tried the wet version also at kamjiazhuang recently, anyway tasted different in texture & flavour), was better than i expected. in fact it was rather good braised belly pork, nice soft texture retaining some bite not falling apart & quite tasty. 🙂

romaine lettuce with shimeji

romaine lettuce with shimeji

romaine lettuce was good. to me, still too expensive vs a S$6 braised pork belly & S$6 stingray. still not attuned to the times, haha! 🙂

the prices

the prices

there was no GST & service. they charged S$0.60 for ice water. for me that’s quite ok. guy got to make a living. 🙂

& if you get a S$15 for S$30 groupon voucher, then this is better than coffee shop & food court prices.^^

c.h.e.f andy

Protected: 12-course Homecooked Buffet Dinner for RI Reunion Committee & Friends on 6Feb2015

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12-course Homecooked Buffet Dinner for RI Reunion Committee & Friends on 6Feb2015

a friend brought shepherd's pie

a friend brought shepherd’s pie

had a homecooked dinner for 22pax RI friends on 6.2.2015. 🙂

these group of friends were mostly of the committee that organised the recent RI reunion dinner on 22.12.2014 attended by 118 old schoolmates & 10 teachers. well done people!^^

i prepared 12 dishes including 2 desserts. & a friend brought shepherd’s pie & another brought cookies.

shepherd’s pie was very good. my daughter had some from the little leftover the next day & she thought the potatoes were moist & soft & the beef flavour was good.

maybe i should try making this too. shepherd’s pie is a great party food.

#1 thai prawn tanhoon

#1 thai prawn tanhoon

#1 my helper’s thai prawn tanhoon is usually a very appetising dish, spicy, tangy, tasty. this evening though it seemed to be a bit dry. about 1/4 was leftover (where usually it is finished). a friend (who comes for dinner regularly) later told me that some parts the taste was not quite the usual he had. not sure why, maybe the quantity was too much for the wok & the tanhoon was not mixed consistently.

#2 i did a Nobu miso cod.  it can be pre cooked & served cold, and the miso firmed up the flaky texture of cod so it is easier to cut into small serving pieces.^^

#3 i did my usual poached chicken 白斩鸡. this is easy to prepare dish. on this day though, i was dreaming & removed the chicken after 10mins boiling (w/o poaching it for another 20mins) & placed in ice water. though i recovered by poaching it again for longer 25mins, the temperature change caused the parts near the bones to be red/pink when i deboned it later. so i had to poach the cut pieces another time. sian! haha!

i asked several friends afterwards & they all thought the chicken was alright (& well finished), i guess it was quite ok but the moist, glistening look (like the duck had in photos below) was gone & the meat would be less tasty.

#4 盐水鸭 spicy poached duck was a replacement dish (i went 3 times to get salmon belly for miso salmon but they were unavailable). this nanjing 盐水鸭 is a 风味鸭, a bit more exotic flavours with sichuan peppercorn chillies.

it is 1 of my favourites as it has less strong flavours c/w teochew braised duck 卤鸭 & is often served as a starter in taiwanese restaurants & in shanghai, nanjing etc, the 江南region.

#5 蒜泥白肉 spicy garlic pork had been a crowd favourite in my dinners (when i served chinese food). it was easy to make as i adapted the pot roast method (cold crockpot on low slow gentle braising). so i just needed to place the belly pork in a cold crockpot with water (added salt & sugar for brining) on low for 5hrs to temperature 79degC.^^

the only thing left to do was just to prepare the spicy sichuan sauce to drizzle over the pork & japanese cucumbers.

spicy pork ribs

#6 spicy pork ribs

#6 my helper makes a very good spicy pork ribs, so that is a staple in my chinese dinners. one friend repeatedly proclaimed how much he liked the dish.^^

#7 my dry wok prawns combined pan-grilled bbq flavours with a baked-in-shell moist texture + the nice flavours of chilli padi & fish sauce infused under high wok temperature. always a popular dish.

sambal seabass

#8 sambal seabass

#8 my helper’s sambal seabass, another bedrock of my chinese dinners, was almost cleaned up before my “professional photographers” had time to train their cameras.^^

#9 the spicy seafood fried rice was modelled after crystal jade lamian xialongbao’s. unable to match that, but it was pretty good with bismati long grain rice & nice sichuan peppercorn chilli flavours.

poached romaine lettuce with shitake

#10 poached romaine lettuce with shitake

#10 my helper’s poached romaine lettuce with shitake is also a regular in my chinese dinners (usually she uses hk kailan but this time it was romaine lettuce just as good).^^

#11 everyone fell in love with the tofu cheese cake. maybe the trick was just to cut an ultra thin slice, so everyone thought it was so good & clamouring to have more. a friend had 3 helpings.^^

#12 one friend had a photo with him holding up the emptied tiramisu dish & biting the serving spoon (like nadal biting his grand slam champions trophy). i think tiramisu was just as well received but tofu cheesecake was a bit less common so everyone was intrigued by it.^^

cookies instructions

cookies instructions

a friend brought almond, shortbread & mamor cookies

a friend brought almond, shortbread & mamor cookies

a friend brought almond, shortbread & mamor cookies

a friend brought almond, shortbread & mamor cookies

a friend brought very nice cookies – almond, shortbread & mamor.

now i am thinking of trying almond & shortbread. mamor looked too exquisite & too high effort-to-results ratio for lazy & utilitarian me. told her if i want it, i will just invite her. haha!

another friend brought 6 bottles of wine & another the whole ice box with water & softdrinks.

there was also grapes. another friend packed a fruit basket for me so we were eating custard apples, mangosteens, chiku, guava, mango etc for the next several days.

& a friend brought some seaweed & almond biscuits.^^

it was really a fun, enjoyable & most satisfying get-together.

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

RI V.S.O.P. (Very Special Old Pals) 11pax Homecooked Lunch on 15Oct2014

crackling roast belly pork

crackling roast belly pork

had a homecooked 11pax lunch for my RI buddies on 15.10.2014. the last we had was a 10pax kueh chap lunch on 17.9.2014. 🙂

& this lunch highlights-

1. sio bak (crackling belly pork) from a friend
2. “tunglok” big prawn noodles (in golden broth)
3. vietnamese street food – chargrilled pork neck with cold beehoon & fish sauce (forgot my mint leaves & basil leaves)
4. banoffee pie (very 1st try)

crackling roast belly pork

crackling roast belly pork

like the last time, a friend brought his 成名 renown supergood sio bak (crackling roast belly pork) – this time the crackling was less than the last. i told him he made me gave up on sio bak & saved me from a lifetime of unfulfilled tedium (making sio bak unsuccessfully)..haha! 🙂

my motto – why try so hard when someone can do better? just invite him to bring lor! 🙂

阳春面 - a cheap flat chinese noodle

阳春面 – a cheap flat chinese noodle

dry wok chilli garlic prawns

dry wok chilli garlic prawns

big prawn noodles in golden broth – this should be served last in a course dinner, before dessert. lately i decided to try to serve all the food buffet style instead of as a course meal. it is not always possible but many dishes can be adapted. as this has to be served hot, we took this first dish first. 🙂

tunglok lobster ramen - 龙虾焖拉面

tunglok lobster ramen – 龙虾焖拉面

the key was the golden broth. it was my own recipe emulating the lobster noodles at tunglok (above). 🙂

from the feedback everyone loved this dish.

the 1/2 poached chicken – 白斩鸡saliva chicken – 口水鸡 were now a standard dish. it was easy, require little effort to make, and both were very tasty.  i brined the chicken in sugar & salt for 48hrs before poaching on the day.

miso salmon belly

miso salmon belly

miso salmon belly

miso salmon belly

miso salmon belly was another new experiment.  i created this new miso marinade recipe & was not sure if i would serve it for lunch. it turned out to be an excellent dish. my wife brought some to office for her packed lunch & all her colleagues liked it. & all my friends at lunch liked it! 🙂

V.S.O.P. = Very Special Old Pals...hahaha!

V.S.O.P. = Very Special Old Pals…hahaha!

a friend brought V.S.O.P. = Very Special Old Pals…hahaha! 🙂

could not quite make the connection lunch & V.S.O.P. so had to assume he went everywhere with one. haha! 🙂

vietnamese chargrilled pork neck with cold beehoon. i did this the second time. first was for 3-4pax, so this first time for 11pax.

i bought mint but forgot to serve both the mint & my homegrown basil!

& i forgot to make the all important fish sauce mix beforehand to serve together, so had to make 1 batch then a second batch while having lunch.

anyway the guys all liked it. although our self-proclaimed vietnam expert was actually clueless when it came to assembling the dish. haha! 🙂 this a dish that you feast on sitting on a very low stool next to a very clean vietnam street vendor!

garlic fried romaine lettuce

garlic fried romaine lettuce

my help made a nice garlic fried romain lettuce which everyone liked.

the banoffee (banana toffee) pie was the very first virgin attempt!

the guys walloped the whole cake, though a few including me, felt it was kind of sweet though ok to eat. anyway i made another one the next day with 1/2 the toffee & 50% more bananas, & it was an excellent very well balanced cake. 🙂

post event leftovers - chargrilled pork neck beehoon

post event leftovers – chargrilled pork neck beehoon

口水鸡阳春面

口水鸡阳春面

i had just a little leftovers, so i made myself dinner with the chargrilled pork & the saliva chicken with 阳春面. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

12-course Homecooked Dinner for 9pax on 15Jul2014

#1 cured salmon

#1 cured salmon

an update for memories.

did a 12-course chinese dinner for friends on 15.7.2014. what’s notable this time were 3 new dishes – salted egg prawns,  steamed japanese seabass 小黄鱼 & seafood fried rice. dishes all good, except lava cake was disaster as lava cake though taste was good (for a brownie…haha..). 🙂

#2 steamed oyster with light soy sauce & olive oil

#2 steamed oyster with light soy sauce & olive oil

#1 cured salmon & #2 steamed oysters were quite new dishes too, served for the first time during my recent lake como, cinque terre, milan grand tour tasting menu for RI friends on 2.7.2014.

the very fresh salmon fillet was bought on the day itself & brined in salt & sugar solution for 4 hours. nice colour & tasty.

the large oysters were IQF (individual quick frozen) from sheng shiong just S$11.95 for 1 kg pack, steamed with 2 teaspoon light soy sauce, 2 tablespoon olive oil, sliced ginger & chilli padi for 2 minutes.

#3 poached kampong chicken

#3 poached kampong chicken

#3 poached kampong chicken was quite sweet & tasty. this time though the chicken tasted a bit gamey. i used kampong chicken from sheng shiong for the first time couple weeks back. no gamey taste then.

#4 盐水鸭 spicy dry brined duck

#4 盐水鸭 spicy dry brined duck

#4 盐水鸭 was dry brined with sichuan spicy chilli sauce, sugar & various spices for 48hrs, simmered for 15minutes & poached for 1/2 hour. it was tender & tasty. i liked it. 🙂

#5 蒜泥白肉 sichuan spicy garlic pork belly

#5 蒜泥白肉 sichuan spicy garlic pork belly

#5 蒜泥白肉 sichuan spicy chilli sauce

#5 蒜泥白肉 sichuan spicy chilli sauce

#5 蒜泥白肉 – the pork belly was done 5hrs using the crockpot braising method starting cold & on low, so the very slow braise from slow rising temperature produced a very tender belly pork, thinly sliced & drizzled with the mildly sweet sichuan spicy sauce, which was key in this preparation. this was a crowd favourite. 🙂

#6 miso lamb

#6 miso lamb

#6 miso lamb was the best i did, better than the last 2 times & w/o the gamey taste. 3 day miso marinade & 5hrs in 90degC oven. many liked this. 🙂

#7 shorthand buddha jump over the wall

#7 shorthand buddha jump over the wall

#7  the poor man’s buddha jumps over the wall was another favourite. this time (also last 11pax dinner on 14.6.2014) was the best. it had very tender pig trotters & belly pork, thick mushrooms & limpets. 🙂

#8 salted egg prawns

#8 salted egg prawns

#8 salted egg prawns. was quite excited doing this for very first time. prawns was deep-fried. paste was done using salted duck egg york, curry leaves & milk. prawns were very fresh but less crispy as it was done at 4pm like 4hrs before serving & set aside with paste added on in pan before serving. too much milk, paste not viscous enough & salted egg flavour was too dilute. will improve next time. 🙂

#9 steamed japnese seabass 小黄鱼

#9 steamed japanese seabass 小黄鱼

#9 steamed japanese seabass – another first time dish, basically repeating the steamed oysters method on the fish, using light soy sauce, olive oil, sliced ginger , orange peel & chilli padi. quite successful this one, fish very fresh & tasty w/o fishy taste (even though the fish was frozen for more than 1 month in freezer). 🙂

#10 fermented bean curd romaine lettuce

#10 fermented bean curd romaine lettuce

#10 romaine lettuce was good as usual. 🙂

#11 seafood fried rice

#11 seafood fried rice

imperial treasure lamian xiaolongbao seafood fried rice

crystal jade lamian xiaolongbao seafood fried rice

#11 seafood fried rice was another new dish, and it turned out to be a crowd favourite also. 🙂

buttered prawns & sotong were done separately. the key was again the sichuan spicy chilli sauce. rice was also pre- fried & set aside. when serving, rice was returned to pan then seafood added, heat & served. 🙂

no comparison with the real thing of course – seafood fried rice from crystal jade lamian xiaolongbao! haha. 🙂

tofu cheese cake

tofu cheese cake

#12 tofu cheese cake was good as usual. 🙂

chocolate lava cake

chocolate lava cake

lava cake was outright bad though even if the taste of the “brownie” it became was good. 😦

not much lava leh, even though i followed the same timing as my much earlier efforts (checked back the records, last time was on 28.8.2014) which were mostly good ones much also had a few failures then.

mango flan

mango flan

friends brought a very nice mango flan, small seeded lychees & strawberries. 🙂

a very fun evening get-together! 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

27pax RI Buddies Homecooked 13-course Buffet Dinner on 28May2014

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#1 aunty bes spicy, tangy thai prawn tanhoon salad=lao nuah liao

my turn to organise may G20 dinner. 🙂

thought i would do a homecooked buffet which was more casual than having 3 tables in a restaurant, and unlike 20 years ago, these days i stopped walking around tables…lol. 🙂

there were 29pax initially, but in the end we had 27pax.

we had 2 may birthday boys. i made 2 tofu cheese cake (though my daughters reserved a quarter), so we just put on 1 candle & sang happy birthday…forgot to also sing auld lang syne…

everyone loved the tofu cheese cake. it was light, very mildly sweet & slight zesty with a bit of lemon juice & lots of yogurt. 🙂

for the dinner, i had 13 dishes, 5 (tanhoon salad, pork ribs, spicy seabass & 2 vegetables) were ably prepared by aunty bes. 🙂

#1 the thai tanhoon 1 of my favourites, very good appetite teaser. 🙂

#2 nonya curry chicken

#2 nonya curry chicken

#2 this nonya curry chicken was made w/o curry powder using a recipe blend. very fragrant & sweet curry. 🙂

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#3 “sous vide” char siew

#3 the “sous vide” char siew (90degC oven for 5hrs in a marinade bath marinated 3 days before) was below par this evening. the belly was too lean. i had to marinade 3 days before & only saw that it was too lean when preparing. also this was a much larger portion than my usual & my marinade amount was somewhat insufficient to infuse the pork with the usual deep flavours.

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teochew braised duck

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#4 teochew braised duck

#4 the teochew braised duck was the usual, quite tender, moist & “pang” = tasty.

lor neng = braised egg

#5a lor neng = braised egg

braised tau kua & tau pok

#5b braised tau kua & tau pok

#5 the braised egg, tau kua & tau pok was just to put to good use the flavourful lor (braising sauce). 🙂

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#6 aunty bes spicy pork ribs – a favourite

#6 aunty bes fried the pork ribs then placed in the steam oven, so the pork ribs was very tender & also tasty with the spicy bean sauce. when aunty bes went back to philippines, i did this myself, pretty ok but of course not as good as hers.

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chicken rice chicken

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#7 chicken rice chicken – favourite too

#7 the 白斩鸡 or hainanese wenchang (文昌) chicken (i just call it chicken rice chicken) was a favourite for the evening, tiang chye, chee hong etc all liked it, very tender, moist & sweet. the yellow skin colour was from turmeric, just small amount in a bath with spring onions, red onions, ginger & salt. boiled (simmered) 10 minutes medium heat, another 20 minutes fire off, then placed in ice bath (to stop cooking), then in fridge. i also brined the chicken in sugar & salt for 2 days (this is an important step to get water molecules into the chicken – diffusion; and to infuse the sugar & salt – osmosis). 🙂

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#8 蒜泥白肉-another favourite

#8 蒜泥白肉 was the other best dish for the evening. the sauce was the key. this sauce i prepared was very mildly sweet & hardly spicy but very flavourful. the belly pork was done different from the char siew using the cold crockpot on low method for 4.5hrs (i used the cooled chicken stock for cooking 白斩鸡 for the water bath starting on cold crockpot), creating a very tender, juicy pork & skin.

#9 aunty bes spicy bean sauce seabass

#9 aunty bes spicy bean sauce seabass

#9 the spicy, zesty seabass was another very appetising dish. local seabass usually has “mud” taste & the meat is “hu” (not firm & falling apart – not a great texture). this method of preparation musked all that & produced a very tasty fish. 🙂

#10 dry wok prawns

#10 dry wok prawns

the dry wok prawns was a very simple dish i cooked on the spot. the non stick pan was on high heat with a lot of minced garlic & 1 chilli padi for 1 kg prawns. the prawns should be dry & at room temperature, otherwise pan temperature would drop significantly & you would not get the very nice charred flavours. it was dry wok as you could not cover otherwise condensation would steam the prawns instead. the shells were on so in fact the de-veined prawns were baked in high heat & retained moisture not touching the pan, and lastly fish sauce was added & you could feel the fragrant smell wafting in the kitchen. 🙂

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#11 blanched HK kailan with shitake

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#12 romaine lettuce 油麦菜 - a popular zi char dish

the final 2 dishes were blanched HK kailan with shitake & romaine lettuce. the latter is a favourite dish in many zi char stalls in singapore & daipaitong in hong kong, either simple garlic fried or with fermented bean curd. 🙂

it was a very enjoyable get-together. some wanted G20 to become G30. for this evening we had 27pax…anyway maybe the actual numbers (the more the merrier) is not really that crucial. what is important is we have a ongoing forum to get together that people can just join whenever their schedule permits. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

 

 

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RI Buddies 11pax Homecooked 11-course Chinese Dinner on 5May2014

wanted to try out some chinese dishes, so got my usual RI gang to be guinea pigs once again for an 11-course dinner for 11pax on 5.5.2014. 🙂

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500g paradiso cake from swissbake at 5th avenue

got a paradiso cake too from swissbake at 5th avenue to celebrate 1 of our friend’s birthday. 🙂

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#1 蒜泥白肉

i always find chinese cooking to be much more challenging than western (re my “worthwhile to do?” philosophy). i do a good steak, Nobu miso cod, teriyaki cod, and good pasta & paella, risotto etc, and sometimes comparable to a good restaurant even, sans the artisan garnishes, sides & plating etc. 🙂

many good chinese dishes are equally hard to do but not associated with fine dining (e.g. serving up a very good whole steamed fish does not usually evoke fine dining but serving a steamed cod fillet chinese or fusion style is somehow fine dining? or i guess there is a reason in that fine dining is about the entire experience & not just the food). much of it though i suspect is market forces & cultural programming about what fine dining is.

#1 蒜泥白肉. this a new dish for me. tried once with belly pork, and this evening with lean pork. i realised that the key was getting the right sauce recipe. the sauce this evening was excellent as everyone commented, mildly sweet, spicy, tasty sauce (we all used it for the 白斩鸡 which meant the 白斩鸡 was not tasty enough..lol). 🙂 need to improve on the dish & plating though. may try loin or neck, not sure, or go back to belly pork. 🙂

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#2 drunken chicken 醉鸡

#2 drunken chicken 醉鸡. this was done the same way as 白斩鸡 but 1 day ahead for the shao xing wine marinade (绍兴酒) to infuse. the new recipe i used produced a more tender juicy chicken with nice yellow colour. for this i cut chicken in 1/2, placed in boiling water (with spring onions, red onion, garlic, salt & some tumeric) & turned down to just more than a simmer for 10 minutes, left in the hot water for 15mins to 20mins, then transfer to a ice water bath. then marinade in 1 cup 绍兴酒 1/2cup chicken stock, 1 tablespoon sugar. 🙂

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#3 sous vide char siew (1 of 2 best dishes)

#3 sous vide char siew. this was 1 of 2 best dishes for the evening, i think everyone’s favourites. (the other was poor man’s buddha-jump-over-the-wall). 🙂 again the char siew marinade was key. i had the char siew marinated in a ziploc bag for 3days, then cooked in a marinade bath in oven at 90degC for 5hrs.

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#3 sous vide char siew (1 of 2 best dishes)

hmmm…ok i am still ogling this now. it had such wonderful flavours & melt-in-the-mouth texture. 🙂

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#4 白斩鸡

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#4 白斩鸡

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#4 白斩鸡

#4 白斩鸡. same method as drunken chicken, but i brined the chicken in water with salt & sugar first for 2 days. water molecules would infuse the chicken by diffusion & sugar & salt molecules by reverse osmosis, so the chicken would be moist (as in above photos) & tender & also tasty. 1 friend commented the texture was very good, better than the drunken chicken. however in managing so many dishes i forgot to add a touch of fish sauce to bring out the taste further. i did this the next day on some leftovers for a portion i kept for my daughter & it was excellent. 🙂

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#5 盐水鸭

#5 盐水鸭. this dish was my very first attempt & it turned out superbly well, a wonderfully flavoured dish, which everyone commented. 🙂 again the marinade was the key. i googled a recipe & marinated the duck for 24hrs. was initially supposed to do a tea smoked duck using the 5hr liquid bath sous vide method (like the char siew) but it worked better with breast & i always had leftover duck legs so decided to experiment the new 盐水鸭 dish with leftover duck legs. 🙂

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#6 poor man’s buddha-jump-over-the-wall (bjotw)

#6 poor man’s buddha-jump-over-the-wall (bjotw). this was my best attempt so far, excellent, very flavourful & intense, as all my friends commented. 🙂 just pig trotters, mushrooms, belly pork, and limpets masquerading as abalones..lol. 🙂 the soup was running low for 11 bowls but i did not want to add chicken stock which would dilute the intense flavours.

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#7 HK steamed garoupa

#7 HK steamed garoupa. this had been like a reliable, “always good”, “staple” dish & the garnishing & sauce were still good but unfortunately the fish was somehow not the best. i had gotten it from chinatown 2 days before & they had always been good & but let down on this occasion. sigh. 😦

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#8 romaine lettuce with fermented bean curd 腐乳油麦菜

#8 romaine lettuce with fermented bean curd 腐乳油麦菜. this was what was served in almost all zi char restaurants & a really excellent one i had was at kok sen at kiong siak street. 🙂 this evening my version was quite ok with some wok hae, not too salty & still with the nice taste of the fermented bean curd.

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#9 my version of pineapple prawns

pineapple prawns

the real thing – shin yeh’s pineapple prawns

#9 pineapple prawns. was trying to rehash shin yeh’s dish…lol. both prawns & pineapples tasted ok i guessed. plating was million miles behind…haha. 🙂 satisfaction as a dish i guess was quite behind my dry wok prawns, but good to have variation and not same dish everytime.

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#10 miso lamb chops

#10 miso lamb chops.  this my very first attempt. i do a good pistachio crusted rack of lamb but no other variations, so decided to do a 3day miso marinade on a cheap frozen lamb cut & coincide the 5hr sous vide bath in 90degC oven with the char siew (to save electricity). 90degC is also the optimum temperature (fastest) for conversion of collagen the tough connective tissues to gelatine with excellent texture & flavours. 🙂

the result was a very tasty flavourful lamb. the miso was not enough to cover or remove the very strong gamey taste (or we say “hiang” or “bah woo” in teochew=not a good thing) but it was tasty nonetheless though many who did not take lamb for that reason would likely not like this. 🙂

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#11 HK steamed chicken, mushrooms, chinese sausage rice

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#11 HK steamed chicken, mushrooms, chinese sausage rice

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#11 HK steamed chicken, mushrooms, chinese sausage rice

#11 HK steamed chicken, mushrooms, chinese sausage rice. this was a very easy dish to make. the key again was the marinade for the chicken & the drizzling sauce, & i took my wife’s feedback & bought some xo chinese sausages (cost 2x the red wine sausages but nothing c/w – like 25% the cost of – spanish chorizo..lol..). chicken was marinated 1 day before, and once rice cooker starts to steam just add in sausage, chicken & mushrooms. and voila! the chicken was extremely tender & tasty & the sausage super nice…could see how 1 friend was walloping them…haha. 🙂

can improve further. anyway a very fun evening with very good friends & very shiok ie satisfying for me. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

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Sichuan 水煮鱼 @ Chengdu Sichuan Restaurant on 17Aug2013

水煮鱼 - S$18.80

水煮鱼 – S$18.80

N.B. my chinese friend recommended & i tried this very cheap 水煮鱼at foodgle hub, NUS, on 23.12.2013, & it was quite good too.

i have this craving for sichuan 水煮鱼. my wife & children are not into it much so i have few “kakis” aka partners in crime to go for this fix. 🙂

these days there are so many sichuan restaurants in chinatown, geylang and where else. i have not been to many but a good one is chuan garden restaurant at pagoda street, but it’s kind of ex.

my favourite for now is chengdu sichuan restaurant at outram road. they don’t charge service & GST but the few times i was there i gave a tip anyway. most dishes are about chuan garden standard but at 1/2 to 2/3 prices. also chengdu uses 生鱼 (toman or snakehead fish) which is excellent whereas chuan garden i suspect uses pangasius, the cheap vietnamese catfish. 水煮鱼is my favourite dish & chief reason for going to such a restaurant and after trying the chengdu version, i don’t really want to go back to chuan garden if it is just a 水煮鱼 fix. 🙂

on this day, 17.8.2013, i got to satisfy my cravings with my sis & a chinese friend.

the 水煮鱼 (top photo) was so, so good. the 生鱼 fillet were so fresh & tasty & no bones, and the peppercorn (花椒) made it so “pang” ie flavourful & full of umami. 🙂

水煮牛肉 -  S$18.80

水煮牛肉 – S$18.80

蒜油麦菜 - garlic romaine lettuce

蒜油麦菜 – garlic romaine lettuce

usually i would order 夫妻肺片which was another favourite sichuan dish, but i had not had 水煮 dishes for quite a while so decided to have a double dose & ordered 水煮牛肉..it was good! the beef was tenderised as usual with bicarbonate, certainly a “far more kick” preparation for me c/w the usual stir-fried beef, but really no comparison with 水煮鱼. 🙂

there were only 3 of us & the 2 dishes were rather large dishes, so we skipped other favourite dish like double-cooked pork (回锅肉) which is another very good dish here, & just ordered a vege, a 蒜油麦菜 garlic romaine lettuce, to complement the meal. this was very good too. 🙂

well, the craving was met but did not get any less by doing, so i want to go back soon. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

5pax Dinner @ Tao Heung 稻香超级渔港 Mongkok on 12May2013

steamed garoupa - this was very good everyone liked it

steamed garoupa – this was very good everyone liked it

Taohueng 稻香group operates a number of mid-range restaurants catering to different cuisine like cantonese, teochew, shanghai & hakka etc. In my previous visits, I found the individual sets at 迎Joyous One at Tsimshatsui (which was the newest & more up-market within the group) and at Chung Cuisine at Times Square quite ok and good value.

I had a very enjoyable dinner at 稻香超级渔港 at Mongkok with my sis when we visited in Jan2013. However there was always the concern about consistency in these type of restaurants – that one could not really tell the quality of the dish just by looking at the online menu. indeed we had a “not so great” dinner at 潮楼 (another Taohueng restaurant) just the night before (though the set menu had looked very impressive), and we had wanted to change to a late dinner at beef hotpot @ budaoweng 不倒翁 instead. 🙂 however KCP, who was joining us for dinner this evening, could not make the change, so we went ahead with  稻香超级渔港.

酱蹄 sliced sauce trotters

酱蹄 sliced sauce trotters

蒜泥白肉 garlic sliced pork

蒜泥白肉 garlic sliced pork

still shy of the set menu the evening before, we decided to go for ala carte instead.  the 2 cold dishes we ordered – 酱蹄 sliced sauce trotters & 蒜泥白肉 garlic sliced pork (JK thought this was very good) – were both good & not pricy, so that gave us some confidence. 🙂

scallop seafood soup in wintermelon -

scallop seafood soup in wintermelon

the scallop seafood soup in wintermelon, which the restaurant was promoting was kind of disappointing c/w the usual very good cantonese 例汤…so it looked like we were in for some hits & misses.

thankfully we had a really wonderful steamed garoupa next. this was very good & everyone liked it. 🙂

roast goose 烧鹅

roast goose 烧鹅

romaine lettuce 油麦菜

romaine lettuce 油麦菜

the roast goose was quite good really but we just had a really good one that morning at Yat Lok 一乐@ Stanley Street which was more crispy & tasty. 🙂 JK complained that the garlic 油麦菜 romaine lettuce did not look like romaine lettuce, and it was just so-so – lacking in “wok hae”.

lobster noodle

lobster noodle

we ordered a lobster noodle. the lobster was good but the yi min noodle 伊面 was quite lacking in flavours. it used to be that Mandarin Kitchen in London was the “go-to” place for lobster noodles in London like for 30 yrs. these days any restaurant in Singapore could do a good lobster noodle. it was surprising that the noodles here should be so below par!

稻香超级渔港 at Mongkok

稻香超级渔港 at Mongkok

we had 7 dishes including steamed garoupa & lobster for 5pax for HK$930. that’s about S$30nett. price was not high for just above average food but we were really expecting better. the tricky thing about ala carte was ordering the right dishes which were good for their price. in this case we did just ok but probably still safer than going with the set. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Cheap & Good 大牌档 Dinner @ Keung Kee 强记鸡粥 at Tai Wai Hong Kong on 10May2013

chicken porridge-强记鸡粥

chicken porridge-强记鸡粥

<had another fun dinner at keung kee 强记鸡粥 on 28.9.2013>.

JK had been talking about this 强记鸡粥 in Shatin (which was located at Tai Wai 2 MTR stops from Shatin). 🙂

so we went there on our first night in Hong Kong on 10.5.2013.  JK ordered the popular dishes.

the chicken porridge – their 招牌鸡粥 (top photo) was the best dish for me..the chicken was so sweet juicy & tender like a very good chicken rice chicken & the porridge was so smooth & tasty. 🙂

红烧乳鸽 roast pigeon HK$58

红烧乳鸽 roast pigeon HK$58

椒盐濑尿虾 mantis shrimp HK$80

椒盐濑尿虾 mantis shrimp HK$80

the 红烧乳鸽 roast pigeon was to me just average.  we also had the 椒盐濑尿虾 mantis shrimp.  the 椒盐 deep-fry was actually very well done & tasty..however the shrimp were really “shrimp”, quite small so not fleshy & juicy..so the dish was passable just ok for me.

soy sauce beehoon 豆油米粉 HK$48

soy sauce beehoon 豆油米粉 HK$48

the simple soy sauce beehoon 豆油米粉 was really nice, & we duly polished off the pile of carbo with the porridge. 🙂

romaine lettuce 油麦菜

romaine lettuce 油麦菜

炸大肠 deep-fried big intestine HK$60

炸大肠 deep-fried big intestine HK$60

the romaine lettuce 油麦菜 in bean curd sauce was nice though JK felt it had not enough “wok hae”..I thought it was because of wet beancurd sauce whereas usual garlic fry would be “high heat dry wok” & good “wok hae”.

the only 败笔 (point of failure) in an otherwise quite wonderful dinner was, oddly, the 炸大肠 deep-fried big intestine – thought that was like the common standard food?? but looked like even the street stalls did better ones than these.

the whole dinner was HK$396 (S$64nett) for 4pax! 🙂 to me it was a really enjoyable meal & experience, and I would want to do more of these tai pai tong 大牌档 dinners when in Hong Kong. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy