a group of us RI friends have the idea that as we all have a good time coming together enjoying the food & company, making new memories together, many may also be ready to share with others and spread the cheer.
two ideas were discussed-
- when we get together again in the new year 2016, maybe many will be in the mood to make some small donations to a beneficiary charity (we are thinking we can do this twice in 2016 at one of the friend’s place & maybe we can collect say between S$1000 and S$2000 each time).
- some of us who loves cooking (& there are many among us) may offer to cook community meals for some needy folks….currently many friends are already managing events (some weekly) at some premises where various groups (senior folks or needy families in the community) come by to share some food.
those were ideas to be discussed further for the time being.
meanwhile 2 friends helped to organise this dinner at a friend’s house on 3.12.2015. we had 28pax this evening including the host couple. ^^
3 of us offered to make some dishes for all our good RI friends to share some food & fun time together.
this eat-together actually also serve a specific purpose to work out the food logisitcs of planning & co-ordinating the type of dishes to make (by 3 parties) that are suitable for transporting to the host location for sharing among a sizable group, and also the arrangements for transportation. ^^
a friend who made some dishes also contributed 3 bottles of wine. another friend brought 2 sparklies & the host arranged the ice box & other drinks. 🙂
one friend made a nice curry chicken. love the colour. i took couple pieces & the curry. was nursing a throat infection. could not take more also.
& the biryani rice was very good too! very fluffy & light, good herb aroma. 🙂
this friend messaged me that he had to re-steam the rice. i replied that that is always a bit of touch up & make-overs only those who cook know…which our kaypoh friend proceeded to promptly broadcast to the rest as his pet trivials….haha! 🙂
one of my favourite for the evening (seems like everyone also) was the mee goreng (top photo).
cannot really compare apple to apple with fried hokkien prawn mee, the other delicious dish we had at another friend’s house recently. & i have not decided if i want to try cooking, but probably i will start with the hokkien mee if i do.
the other dish this friend cooked was the tandoori chicken (above photo further up), very nice colour w/o using any colouring.
all 3 of us used the same aluminium trays to transport the food w/o consulting each other. haha! ^
i made a babi pongteh. the tau jeon (& bit of gula melaka) flavours were good. i added mushrooms & taupok which were well-infused with the taste. the pork texture were just slightly hard c/w my usual very tender belly pork.
the sambal seabass prepared by my helper is a perennial favourite among my friends & also this evening.
i did a thai red curry sotong also. this was done with a ready made “dancing chef” curry mix.
& the usual dry wok prawns.
i also made a broccoli & cauliflower, just pan-fry with garlic & added oyster sauce, fish sauce, cornflour mix.
& i got my helper to make the chilli long beans with fried beancurd. this quite an appetizing dish.
one of our friend is vegetarian & coming late at 8.30pm. so we arranged for him to have some vegetarian mee goreng, a vegetarian wrap & kept some of the 2 veg dishes for him. i think he had a good time too. usually he doesn’t eat much when he comes.
i made 2 tubs of tiramisu.
all the friends loved this. it was light, very moist with lots of strong coffee (200ml) & brandy (50ml).
a friend brought his usual sweet watermelon. he must be good friends with the vendor by now. 🙂
another friend brought lots of ice cream bars & eclairs. i usually don’t take these but i enjoyed an ice cream bar this evening. 🙂
we had a very fun time together. there were 27 of us old RI friends from our cohort + the host’s wife, total 28pax.
we emptied out all the food. this was part of the food planning. one friend was asking whether it was ok with addition of few other attendees.
just for myself, we are at the age where we don’t need to consume too much carbs & also can manage with a bit more or less food, so my overall view is if a few more people, we just eat a little less lor….of course we don’t want the guests to go hungry. haha! 🙂
in the end it seems the first eat-togehter that involves 3 separate persons cooking & transporting the food to the host’s place came out pretty well, thanks to good co-ordination & everyone helping out.
everyone had a really fun evening. good food & old & new memories help to bring & keep people together.
we also stayed back to “unmess” the place against the direct strict instructions of the host & hostess to leave.
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 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.
#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.
#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.
#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.^^
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.
had a very s satisfying homecooked dinner last evening on 3.10.2014. 🙂
while i really enjoy cooking for my family & friends even if there is considerable effort (& a close friend said exactly what it felt like – he really enjoyed it so he did not see it as effort), the point is how to plan the dishes & keep improving to manage the dinner smoothly & achieve best results with least effort. this is also part of the fun. 🙂
i decided to follow a friend’s lead to serve all dishes pre-cooked or served at the start buffet style instead of course by course (i enjoyed the delicious food at 4 of his makan sessions, most recently at a scrumptious homechef mooncake dinner on 8.9.2014).
it is quite important actually not to be disrupted from dinner conversation even though going into the kitchen to cook every course does have its own satisfaction. 🙂 i may even try that for my monterosso seafood risotto, lobster pasta. for king prawn ramen in golden sauce etc which are best served in individual portions, it seems best still to serve them course by course. so i do those for smaller sit down dinners. 🙂
#1 poached chicken – i brined in sugar & salt for 48hrs which made it tasty & moist & then 10mins simmered & 20-25mins poached, then cold water. this a crowd favourite with many supporters. 🙂
#2 braised pig trotters & #3 braised belly pork – i did them together using the cold crockpot method & set meat thermometer to 82degC. this would take about 5hrs, gentle slow & low temperature braising. i did this 1 day before. both were tender, gelatinous but still firm. i prefer this firmer texture.
#4 盐水鸭 – i applied a dry brine seasoning rub & put in chiller for for 48hrs (main condiment is sichuan spicy chilli sauce). cooking method same as poached chicken, but 15mins simmered & 30mins poached. duck was tender & tasty but i felt the 风味 taste was not pronouced enough like last time.
＃5 蒜泥白肉 – i got the pork a day before dinner so only brined 24hrs. used the same cold crockpot method to produce a very gentle braise using chicken stock from the poached chicken. this one again many supporters.
#6 6hr “sous vide” miso lamb shoulder – more or less perfected this dish. the miso tempered the strong gamey taste & 90degC was apparently the optimum temperature to break down collagen (tough connective tissues) to tasty gelatine, so a very tasty, tender dish. 🙂
1 friend said she especially liked the dish. another mentioned it was a bit sweet. i would probably reduce the sweetness in the miso marinade a bit.
#7 peanut carrots pig trotter soup – peanut porkrib soup is a common nice lie tong 例汤. i preferred to do my pig trotters w/o bones & the toe ends so i used those leftovers for the soup, which worked perfectly & added a gelatine texture to the soup. i added some carrots & also as the amount of soup was not enough for 15pax & i did not want to dilute the soup (better not enough soup than enough diluted soup), the chicken stock came to rescue. this i added & the soup tasted quite perfect for me. 🙂
so it was kind of a planned & orderly execution. braised pig trotters & belly pork i did 1 day before, and the leftover pig trotter bones & tips I made soup 1 day before. this freed up the crockpot for the 蒜泥白肉 on the day. chicken & duck were brined 48hrs before & an easy 10mins+20mins for chicken & 15mins+30mins for 1/2duck simmered + poached. miso lamb was marinated 3days before & just gone into oven for 6hrs on dinner day.
easy eh? 🙂
i cooked the rice in rice cooker in the morning (forgot to do day before), & i fried the rice with the sichuan spicy chilli early.
about 1 hr (530pm) before dinner at 630pm, i fried in butter the small prawns & squid. when 90% guests arrived, i heat the fried rice & seafood in the wok together, & i did the dry wok king prawns with ginger, garlic, chilli padi & fish sauce. so every dish was ready to serve together. 🙂
aunty bes did the #10 sambal seabass & #11 poached hk kailan with shitake. everyone loved the fish. 1 friend commented the kailan was so vibrant in colour. kailan was poached & usually looked greener.
1 friend would be celebrating her birthday few days later, so i asked another to bring a candle (i did not have one) & used the tofu cheese cake as the birthday cake. 🙂