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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OK Lunch @ Farinella Ristorante Pizzeria Milan on 23Apr2014

Euro16 scampi with capellini - outstanding

Euro16 scampi with capellini – outstanding

went to sforzesco castle & decided to have lunch at farinella ristorante pizzeria at piazza del castello

my daughter ordered a euro16 scampi with capellini (above photo) which was very good. i tried the angel hair pasta & it was very tasty. 🙂

Euro12 set - seafood risotto (good, tasty)

Euro12 set – seafood risotto (good, tasty)

Euro12 set - seafood risotto (good, tasty)

Euro12 set – seafood risotto (good, tasty)

Euro12 set - squid (poor)

Euro12 set – squid (poor)

Euro12 set - squid (poor)

Euro12 set – squid (poor)

they had this set lunch or quick business lunch set costing euro12 which had seafood risotto (good, tasty, not much ingredient), and squid (poor, tasted nothing) & coke.

by comparison with the scampi past, the set was just ok & to me not worth trying. might as well pay for a good nice tasty pasta.

Euro16 scampi with capellini - outstanding

Euro16 scampi with capellini – outstanding

i would certainly come back for the scampi pasta if i am around the area & maybe give some other dishes a try. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

 

Seafood Risotto Par Excellence

seafood risotto modelled after monterosso miky

seafood risotto modelled after monterosso miky

i repeated my lake como, cinque terre, milan grand tour tasting menu for 11pax friends get-together on 30.7.2014.

while overall it was not as good as the last round, the seafood risotto though was outstanding. and so was the tiramisu. 🙂

seafood risotto modelled after monterosso miky

seafood risotto modelled after monterosso miky

seafood risotto modelled after monterosso miky

seafood risotto modelled after monterosso miky

i am very happy with this risotto. the key was the intense stock from prawn shells & heads. there was also the vegetable base from chopped carrots, celery, leeks, yellow onions & green pepper which i softened before adding 1.2 cups of rice. the vegetable sweetness balanced well the prawn stock sweetness. the aborio rice was done al dente by putting in a 210degC oven for 10 minutes, which took it to about 90% cooked.

the prawns & squids were pre-cooked, fried in butter.

the mussels & mango clams were cooked when serving the dish. i did them separately adding sliced ginger, chilli padi & orange peels. they took only few minutes. then the risotto was put on high fire with remaining stock added & just before serving the prawns, squids, mussels & mango clams were added, & cooked for 1 minute. 🙂

the risotto was so very tasty, almost dare i say as good as miky’s…almost but never quite…& the seafood were all so very fresh, tasty, done just right & not overcooked. 🙂

& my friend took such nice photos above as well!

c.h.e.f andy

Most Unforgettable Dinner @ Miky at Monterosso on 18 & 20Apr2014

monterosso restaurant miky's famous flamed seafood risotto

monterosso restaurant miky’s famous flamed seafood risotto

had been lazy to continue my posting on the cinque terre trip in apr2014.

did a number of posts on amsterdam and lake como after the trip & ran out of steam after a while..haha. time to pick up & write about the best restaurant & the best meals we had in italy. the best meal we had at amsterdam was at beulings. 🙂

we picked monterosso as our base for cinque terre (the “five lands” -comprising 5 towns – italian riviera along the lingurian coast) as it is the largest town, has a nice beach front, and of course good gathering of restaurants & shops. we managed to do the very nice trekking from monterosso to vernazza & also monterosso to levanto, both with incredible views.

monterosso restaurant miky

monterosso restaurant miky

miky is located near monterosso station, at fegina in the new part of town.

i read a bit about restaurant miky at monterosso & their famous flamed pasta dishes, and i made a prior booking on 18.4.2014. we enjoyed the dinner so much we decided to go again on 20.4.2014.

anchovies seafood platter

anchovies seafood platter 1

we had wonderful pickled herrings in the streets of amsterdam & also nice lake fishes platter at lake como restaurants. so we thought we would start with the fantasia of anchovies.

anchovies seafood platter

anchovies seafood platter 2

anchovies seafood platter

anchovies seafood platter 3

it looked wonderful & came with the 2 smaller platters i.e. 3 platters in a single order.

i would say it was something worth ordering for the first time. it was competent above average i guess but by comparison with alle darsene 7-lake fish platter or even street herrings in amsterdam, it was not as tasty & flavourful. for me the left & bottom 2 cured ones in anchovies seafood platter 1 though salty were the more flavourful.

grilled octopus tentacles

roasted octopus tentacles

grilled octopus tentacles

roasted octopus tentacles

the roasted octopus with asparagus was good! very tender.

it was a different preparation but quite comparable with alle darsene octopus appetiser. both i considered very good dishes. 🙂

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stuffed mussles

the stuffed mussels not my thing, but wife & daughter liked it. i preferred sweet fresh & plentiful pot of mussels like the ones we had at la scogliera at manarola the next day, not 4 stuffed one..lol. the tomato base soup was very good though. 🙂

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the flamed pasta covered pot of seafood risotto was the best outstanding dish. minimum order was 2pax @ 18euros pax so 36euros. the portions were good for 4pax & more seafood than risotto almost. the stock base i figured was chicken stock with prawn shells & heads & very flavourful.

the above photo was 1 of 3 servings for 3pax, and there was enough left in the pot for 2 more similar size servings including the seafood. 🙂

monterosso restaurant miky's famous flamed seafood risotto

monterosso restaurant miky’s famous flamed seafood risotto

monterosso restaurant miky's famous flamed seafood risotto

monterosso restaurant miky’s famous flamed seafood risotto

we went back again on 20.4.2014, the evening before our departure to milan the following day, and ordered the same risotto. just could not have enough! 🙂

this inspired me so much i came back & recreated the seafood risotto dish, and served it to my buddies for my lake como, cinque terre, milan grand tour tasting menu on 2.7.2014. they all absolutely loved it, though of course it was no comparison with the real thing at miky! lol! 🙂

monterosso restaurant miky

monterosso restaurant miky

lobster, langoustine, prawns seafood platter

lobster, langoustine, prawns seafood platter

lobster, langoustine, prawns seafood platter

lobster, scampis, prawns seafood platter

the other excellent dish not to be missed was the 35euros lobster, scampis, prawns seafood platter. 🙂

the 1/2lobster was a large 1kg size not the usual 600g maine lobster in singapore, very sweet & tasty, but the scampis were even better. & the prawns were large & very good.

seafood platter

grilled seafood platter

lobster, langoustine, prawns seafood platter

grilled seafood platter

when we returned there on 20.4.2014, we decided to try the grilled seafood platter instead. this was good too with grilled scampi, prawn, razor clams, scallop & fish on a bed of mesclun salad. in a way it was kind of different dish to the cold seafood platter but really in terms of quantity, taste, value the cold platter was lots better. 🙂

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monterosso restaurant miky

they were truly unforgettable meals we had, 2 times in a space of just 3 days. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Andy’s Lake Como, Cinque Terre, Milan Grand Tour Tasting Menu on 2Jul2014

grand tour tasting menu

coming back from a wonderful trip to amsterdam, lake como, cinque terre, and milan, i was much motivated to recreate some of the delectable dishes we had. 🙂

may calendar was crowded as i had the 11pax RI friends “fine” chinese dinner on 5.5.2014 & also the 27pax G20 RI friends dinner on 28.5.2014. some friends were away in june, so the dinner was fixed on 2.7.2014. 🙂

1 of the (dining) highlights of our cinque terre tour was the flamed pasta seafood risotto at miky restaurant in monterosso on 18.4.2014 (the lobster, langoustine cold platter was likewise excellent). it was so good we went back again 20.4.2014 to enjoy one more time before leaving for milan the next day. we also had very good pasta at manarola, levanto & milan, both pesto & tomota sauce based; & excellent grilled octopus in tremezzo, bellagio, monterosso, manarola, levanto & milan.

for my menu planning, i added lobster pasta, and since i reckoned the reason miky’s risotto was so very tasty was mostly because of the stock & i used prawn shells & heads for the stock, i added lobster bisque which made use of the same stock plus the lobster shells. i had wanted to do a pesto pasta like what we had at fresco in duomo, milan which was very good too, but it was easier to do squidink.

i wanted also to recreate the grilled octopus tentacles (alle darsene at bellagio, miky at monterosso & at manarola) but i could not find any octopus in singapore, the only ones at meidi-ya liang court were the sashimi variety selling at astronomical price.

a popular appetiser in lake como (alle darsene at bellagio, al darsena at tremezzo & miky at monterosso) was 5 or 7 different preparation of fish. i couldn’t do that but i could play with different preparation of seafood.

both the lobster bisque & risotto already included lots of vegetables, so the easiest way was to round up with rockets & mesclun salad to accompany teriyaki cod & pan-seared scallops & bring balance to the seafood tapas. 🙂

teriyaki cod

#1 teriyaki cod

pan seared hokkaido scallops

#2 pan seared hokkaido scallops

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rockets + mesclun salad

squid ala plancha

#3 squid ala plancha

pan seared teriyaki cod, hokkaido scallops, mesclun salad

pan seared teriyaki cod, hokkaido scallops, mesclun salad

pan seared teriyaki cod, squid, hokkaido scallops, mesclun salad

pan seared teriyaki cod, squid, hokkaido scallops, mesclun salad

steamed oysters

#4 steamed oysters

we started with a seafood tapas medley.

#1 teriyaki cod & #2 pan-seared scallop were accompanied with a rockets + mesclun salad. my friends loved the teriyaki cod (marinated 3 day with self-made teriyaki sauce, well infused & very flavourful).

#3 squid ala plancha (teppanyaki) came about as i could not get octopus. as squid cooked very fast & curled every time, i did not use the crockpot or sous vide method. to create flavours i used the same sichuan slight spicy sauce i used for 蒜泥白肉 and marinated 2days. taste was good.

#4 the steamed oysters were a crowd favourite. i just added 2 teaspoon light soy sauce & 2 tablespoon olive oil, some sliced ginger & chilli padi to 9 large oysters of the IQF (individual quick frozen) variety from sheng shiong which i bought for a very inexpensive S$11.95 for 1 kg. i do good orh luah (oyster omelette) with them too. 🙂

the key was the timing. i did 1.5minutes steaming & left it for another 1 minute or so poaching with fire off. the result was a delectable, plump, tasty oyster. 🙂

cured salmon

#5 cured salmon

#5 the cured salmon was another very simple new dish, following chef john of foodwishes.com recipe. i bought a very fresh salmon fillet from sheng shiong, cut like sashimi as in the video, then cured in salt & sugar but for a much longer time like 3-4hrs. the salmon was very tasty, looked great & had firmer texture than sashimi. this was great stand-in dish. i had wanted to do a razor clam ala plancha but there were no razor clams at sheng shiong that morning.

2 live lobsters from sheng shiong

2 live lobsters from sheng shiong

lobster bisque

#6 lobster bisque

lobster angel hair pasta

#7 lobster angel hair pasta

#6 lobster bisque was the another crowd favourite. everyone found it to be very intense & flavourful & smooth, like XO. indeed i had added otard. 🙂 the key to a good shellfish bisque is (1) the stock made from prawn heads & shells with the lobster heads & shells added later (2) a good vegetable base (chopped leek, celery, onions, carrots) to combine the vege sweetness with shellfish sweetness & to give the bisque “body” when blended smooth with hand blender, then adding some heavy cream & brandy ( i used otard).

#7 lobster pasta was a popular dish at restuarant miky monterosso. i did not take it during the recent trip as we already ordered the lobster platter. I bought 2 live lobsters from sheng shiong, grilled the lobsters on very hot pan & flamed with otard, then scooped out the meat & tomalley (the creamy lobster liver & pancreas in the head), and throw the heads & shells into the prawn stock for the lobster bisque & also the stock of the seafood risotto. when tossing the angel hair pasta for serving i scooped back the tomalley to the lobster heads.

Andy's "Monterosso Miky" seafood risotto

#8 Andy’s “Monterosso Miky” seafood risotto

Andy's "Monterosso Miky" seafood risotto

#8 Andy’s “Monterosso Miky” seafood risotto

Andy's "Monterosso Miky" seafood risotto

#8 Andy’s “Monterosso Miky” seafood risotto

#8 i was quite proud of my “Andy’s “Monterosso Miky” seafood risotto“. 🙂 while miky’s risotto has no peers & i was not able to do the flamed pasta which was very good too, my risotto was very tasty & flavourful, infused with sweetness from the prawn stock & also the same vegetable base as the lobster bisque. 🙂

squidink spaghetti

#9 squidink spaghetti

#9 squid ink spaghetti was another late replacement. it was quite good, tasty, just a touch more salty.

i thought of doing a pesto pasta at first. pesto is a good vegetarian pasta, though you can also add prawns & chicken. the vegetables (grilled sliced egg plants, mushrooms, zucchini, tomatoes etc) actually required more effort. squid ink was a bit easier to do. it was basically alio olio method with white wine & squid ink.

tofu cheese cake

#10 tofu cheese cake

#10 tofu cheese cake was a popular dessert as i only lately discovered. the lime juice & yogurt provided the very mild sour taste, enhanced by the mild sweetness, and a very smooth & light cream cheese & tofu texture. an excellent ending. 2 friends brought very nice rambutans & also the usual strawberries. 🙂

a friend took the very nice photos. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

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Pre-Mother’s Day Homecooked 5pax Dinner on 10May2014

lobster angel hair pasta

lobster angel hair pasta

this was a really fun dinner.

lobster angel hair pasta

lobster angel hair pasta

we usually do not eat out on mother’s day or other festive occasions OR would go to places that serve their usual menu & not charge hefty premium prices for usually poorer food & poor service. anyway for mother’s day tomorrow, wife has already decided to go cycling & go to hawker centre for dinner afterwards. 🙂

i decided to try out lobster pasta, having looked at several online recipes & videos, and also how to kill a live lobster (2 i referenced were lobster bisque by chef john of food wishes.com & lobster spaghettini by dude food), supposedly humanely, something one can only take on faith.

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i went to sheng shiong & bought a 625g live lobster. price was S$39.90/kg so cost S$24+. there were no mussels today but i managed to get some littleneck clams (“la la”) & also razor clams, so decided to cook seafood risotto. tried this once recently very successfully, emulating the incredibly tasty flamed seafood risotto we had twice at miky at monterosso.

lobster was really quite large & could not fit into the usual metal basin, so i placed it in the roasting tin. poor lobster, looking miserable.

there is supposed humane way to kill the live lobster – i am cooking lobster pasta & killing a live lobster for the first time – so i followed the steps.

#1 i cleaned & placed the lobster in the freezer for 30minutes. lobster was supposed to be knocked out – like in deep sleep?  then you plunge the knife just behind the back of the head & just cut the head in 1/2. i watched the videos. it was not difficult.

i removed the head & pincers & cut the lobster tail in 1/2.  i lightly browned some garlic to flavour the olive oil, took the pan away from the fire & added the lobster head, tail & pincers, then turned up fire to high. i then added 1/3 cup brandy & let it flamed & burned off the liquor to leave the sweet taste. i cooked the lobster for about 4 minutes (slightly undercooked), then removed from fire. when cooled, i cracked shelled the lobster pincers & knuckles.

i set aside the head & tail & put the remaining lobster shells into the shellfish stock. i had earlier fried in butter prawn shells & heads (from about 1 kg of prawns) then added 600ml vegetable (or chicken) stock. i added some water & let the shellfish stock boiled lightly over 2 hrs, then sieved & reserved the stock for the lobster bisque & risotto.

when ready to serve dinner, i removed the lobster tail from the shell & cut into 2.5cm serving size & added back the lobster head & shells to the pan. i then add diced tomatoes plus a 14oz canned tomatoes & white wine & reduced, and added sea salt & paprika to taste. lastly i added the prepared angel hair (slightly less cooked than al dente) & the lobster tail pieces to the pan, added about 3 teaspoon heavy cream & tossed, and garnished with coriander. voila!

lobster angel hair pasta

lobster angel hair pasta

a really, really tasty lobster angel hair pasta. really excellent! 🙂

lobster bisque

lobster bisque

#2 for the lobster bisque, i added chopped yellow onions, celery & carrots to olive oil & butter, softened the vegetables & added chopped leeks & diced tomatoes, some salt & paprika. i added 1 tablespoon of flour to thicken. then i added 400ml shellfish stock (kept 200ml for my risotto) & added water & boiled for another 1/2hr & reduced to about 600ml. then i used immersion blender to blend to a very smooth, rich soup, then added 3 teaspoon heavy cream & sea salt to taste. 🙂

lobster bisque

lobster bisque

it was a very intense, tasty soup, smooth & consistent, sweet with lobster & prawn stock & vegetable base, & with a nice mellow brandy flavour. 🙂

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seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

#3 for seafood risotto, i cooked the same carrot, celery, onions, then leek & garlic in olive oil as a stock base, added turmeric for colour, added 1.5cups of arborio rice & then added the prawn stock & bring to boil. then i placed the oven-proof pan in a preheated 210degC oven for 10mins. then removed & set aside.

meanwhile i fried shelled prawns & cross-cut squid in butter, and also very lightly fried the razor clams which i had earlier removed from shell, cut away the innards & cleaned. then i added ginger & some orange peels & added the littleneck clams to a pan ove high fire, adding a little white wine. then cover & let the shells open. discarded any unopened clams.

when ready to serve, i added remaining stock & juices from the fried prawns, squid, razor clams & just some from the littleneck clams enough to cover the risotto & placed on high fire w/o cover, added salt & paprika to taste. once risotto was almost cooked i added all the ingredients & covered for 1 minute.

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

i am very proud of this risotto actually. it was still far from the super tasty one we had at monterosso, and today, as my wife & daughters said, it was not as tasty as my first as i had to split the stock between the lobster bisque & the risotto, it was still a very sweet & tasty dish. will improve next time. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy