Very Fulfilling RI Buddies 8pax Homegourmet Dinner on 13Feb2014


4hr sous vide crispy skin duck breast

the sous vide crispy duck breast was one the dishes i was ambivalent & uncertain about. first, it was troublesome to buy a whole duck, cut out 2 duck breasts, and then think what to do with the rest. i usually made a good lor arh (braised duck) from the remaining pieces but it was not healthy to keep eating duck with all the fat. second, while i was quite confident the sous vide meat would turn up well, i was not confident of doing the crispy skin w/o overcooking the duck & was not entirely convinced that the crispy skin was not just much ado about nothing (same ambivalence i had when practicing crackling belly pork). did the skin add much to the experience? i guess it did but whether the result was deserving the effort?

anyway for this evening, it turned out that the sous vide duck breast & the striploin pot-roast, a method i did for the first time on striploin, were quite excellent! 🙂


menu planning – i was looking for a change of menu for my RI buddies dinner from the usual miso cod & pan-fried wagyu as main courses. i did a good gordon ramsay crispy salmon so i knew i would do ok with garoupa fillet.  it was not convenient to practice the gordon ramsay pepper sauce nor the pot roast but i felt quite comfortable to do it for the first time for my friends. 🙂 the poor man’s buddha-jump-over-the-wall was also a new dish. i did it once & it was good. for the pasta, i thought to revisit my seafood pink sauce linguine (& i did a very good one recently) to replace my usual alio olio. 🙂

pan-grilled giant hokkaido scallops (some 2" diameter)

pan-grilled giant hokkaido scallops (some 2″ diameter)


scallop. miso belly pork. pencil asparagus. grape tomato. carrot.

#1 got dinner started with a very good pan-seared giant hokkaido scallop & my usual 4hr miso belly pork. both were very good. this the first time i added cooked vegetables. the carrot sticks were done in the steam oven, very sweet & consistent. the pencil asparagus were pan-roasted after i did the scallops & miso belly pork.


poor man’s buddha-jump-over-the-wall


poor man’s buddha-jump-over-the-wall

#2  next was the poor man’s buddha-jump-over-the-wall. the pig trotters was done overnight (about 7hrs) together with dried scallops & thick dried mushrooms & 2 chicken drumsticks (skin removed) for stock in a crockpot on low. the pig trotters were removed & put in the fridge to preserve the nice gelatinous texture. 🙂 the limpets & sea cucumbers were added just before serving, together with cut pieces of pig trotters. the soup was quite perfect at the time i was about to serve, but i was worried it was not enough for 8pax, so i added a bit of chicken stock. it was still good but i felt the flavour was not as intense, and actually there was enough soup w/o diluting it. it was kind of guesstimate thing as cooking for 8pax & practicing it once for a smaller serving did have some variations. 🙂


4hr sous vide crispy skin duck breast

#3 the duck breast turned up supremely good! was brined in sugar & salt for 2 days & cooked at 60degC in the oven for 4hrs. the skin was then scored & i put on a pan at medium fire for 5mins to render out the fat to create a thin crispy skin. an important addition was orange sauce (see recipe here). i reduced this substantially to produce a thick caramelised nicely citrous sweet sauce. it went really well with the duck which was super tender. 🙂


seafood linguine in pink sauce (creamy tomatoes)

#4 next was the seafood linguine in pink sauce. all my friends thought it was very tasty, but another & i still preferred the alio olio style which i did very well every time. 🙂


pan-grilled garoupa fillet in gordon ramsay pepper sauce

#5 then came the 2 main courses. first up was the pan-grilled garoupa fillet with gordon ramsay pepper sauce. my hand-held food blender was evidently not the right tools to produce the very smooth blended sauce in gordon ramsay’s pepper sauce video (a real beauty). the garoupa were marinated well so flavour was ok. the texture of the garoupa fillet (frozen pack) was not great. of course it was too much to compare with my usual miso cod (also frozen pack).


striploin pot roast in crockpot low to 125degF (52degC)


vegetable ratatouille

#6 the striploin pot roast was a beauty. see the nice maillard reaction brown ring in the photo. it was nicely seared all round before placing in a crockpot on low with the vegetable ratatouille to reach 125degF (52degC) – about 1.5hrs, then in a 55degC oven for another 1 hr.  it was a very nice medium rare, & medium at the ends. i was very pleased with this first crockpot roast on a striploin. my first was a chuck pot roast. it was good but this was lots better! 🙂


chocolate lava cake, toasted almond ice cream & “huat kueh”

#7 the last course was my chocolate lava cake. i had done very many good lava cakes. this time i did the exact same recipe & timing (3m 40s in a 210degC oven on broiler setting). somehow it was overdone & there were not much lava. will need to reduce to 3m 30s next time. sigh! i really need to work on another dessert recipe.

it was a really enjoyable & fulfilling experience for me (1 of my good friends described as full-filling haha!). i really feel good about this! 🙂

c.h.e.f. andy

Feeling Excited – Doing a 8pax Dinner for My RI Buddies This Evening!


doing a 8pax dinner for my RI buddies this evening – feeling excited! 🙂

for me, cooking is about planning & making it happen, and the process is quite fun.

i don’t have to start cooking until 1.30pm.

the soup for poor man’s buddha-jump-over-the-wall was done overnight. so i just need to add back the individual servings of pig trotters, limpets, sea cucumbers & mushrooms when serving the soup.

the miso belly pork & crispy skin sous vide duck breast will be in the oven at 60degC for 4hrs. during the 4hrs, i will prepare the chocolate lava cake (takes <1/2hr) and 4 sauces- orange sauce for the duck, gordon ramsay pepper sauce for the garoupa fillet, pink sauce (creamy tomato) for the seafood linguine & vegetable ratatouille for the striploin pot roast. each takes say 15 – 30minutes.

at 5.30pm, i will start my striploin pot roast (700g) with ratatouille in the crockpot on low & should get to 125degF (52degC) in 1 hr, & i can place it in a covered oven dish in a 55degC oven for another 1.5hrs, probably serves it at 8pm.

when the friends are here at 7pm, i will do the pan-charring for the scallops & then miso belly pork (which were marinated in miso for 3 days & “sous vide” at 60degC for 4hrs in the oven, & then pan-roast the pencil asparagus.

after that i will serve the soup, and then do the cold pan method to try to get the crispy skin “sous vide” duck breast (brined for 2 days & also 4hrs at 60degC in oven). as i told my friends the medium rare duck breast is ok, but i unsure of the crispy skin (both texture & taste) & will probably not do this dish much in future if it doesn’t work well (just like the crackling pork belly – not worth doing if cannot get it right).

the seafood linguine in pink sauce is straight forward just tossing, with both pasta & the prawns & squid already prepared.

for the garoupa fillet, i had a good marinade (2days) so it should be quite nice pan-grilled. i am doing the gordon ramsay pepper sauce for first time today, but the video sure looks really exciting. 🙂

for the striploin pot roast, i have done this before on chuck pot roast (a cheaper cut) but this the first time i am trying it on striploin. never really know how it will turn out especially i am varying the temperature a bit to make rare instead of medium rare, but that’s the fun & challenge of the unknown. 🙂

my chocolate lava cake is quite standard fare, so should be ok though occasionally the lava part still doesn’t work out well as the timing is too short & any slight variation in oven temperature & timing will affect the result.

looking forward to a fun evening. we are going to share our secondary school photo albums too…haha. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Nice Food & Ambience @ Ochre at Orchard Central on 25Feb2013

antipasti platter

antipasti platter

a friend close to me now resident at Cupertino California with his family came calling and a few of us arranged to have a quiet 5pax dinner.  I had an expiring 50% discount voucher from Kitchen Language which owns Ochre, Salta, Kumo etc so decided to do dinner at Ochre @ Orchard Central. 🙂

Ochre has a nice dining setting & ambience. It was one of the restaurants that had earlier offered palate discounts so I frequented it quite a few times then. The food was good for the price after palate discounts and as Ochre does not charge service, I used to provide the equivalent 10% in tip to the waiting staff.

For this evening, we had 7 dishes-

  1. antipasti platter
  2. beef carpaccio
  3. seafood linguine
  4. meat-eater pizza
  5. sous vide beef cheeks & kurobuta pork
  6. osobucco on a bed of risotto
  7. funghi risotto

using UOB Kitchen Language 50% discount voucher, we paid S$124nett for 7 dishes for 5pax, so its just S$25nett pax, truly great value for such food quality & ambience. 🙂

the anitpasti was good & substantial – with buffalo mozzarella, parma ham with rock melon, smoked salmon with caviar, artichoke. olives & cherry tomatoes with feta cheese.

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the beef carpaccio with rockets & parmesan shavings was also good.  the seafood linguine though was really average. I think I consistently do mine better!

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the meat-eater pizza was again very average (pizza not my thing but currently I like quatro fromage (4-cheese) pizza after trying a very good one some time back at Alfresco Gusto)- which is not saying so good for an Italian joint to have very average pizza & pasta..well, can’t have everything cheap & good I guess..

the duo sous vide beef cheek & kurobuta pork was quite ok, and actually my friends quite liked this savoury dish.

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the osobucco was the usual good for osobucco in most italian joints, but the bed of risotto not good – not creamy & “pang” (fragrant”) as it should be. clearly they were not good at risotto as the next dish – a funghi risotto which like a vongole dish should define good risotto & pasta dishes – was mushy & not fragrant, again below par!

The restaurant was maybe 40% full on a Monday night & we had a good quiet table though likely not for the other diners as we were laughing quite a bit & quite noisy. 🙂

after dinner we moved to the lobby level and had a nice cuppa to continue our chat. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy