Great Lunch @ Mikuni on 27Nov2015

mikuni business bento

mikuni business bento

went lunch with a friend to mikuni on 27.11.2015. ^^

mikuni is my favourite japanese restaurant, along with kuriya dining.

if i want kaiseki or omakase, it would be hachi.

& for a cheap & really good chirashi don (or maybe it is large cube cut barachirashi) don then sumiya.

mikuni robatayaki counter

mikuni robatayaki counter

today we wanted to take the teppanyaki or robatayaki set, so we sat at the robatayaki counter.

it’s quite an excellent seating actually, very private corner area.

robatayaki 炉烧 is like a charcoal bbq where skewered meats are barbequed. the chef then serves the food with giant oars to reach over the counter.

kinki

kinki

i was chatting with the chef before my friend arrived.

this ugly fish is kinki, a quite tasty japanese delicacy, a bit expensive.

kinki

kinki

looks a bit like the kinmedai, golden eye snapper.

lobster & king prawn

lobster & king prawn

they was lobsters & king prawns. cannot tell from photo but the lobster was 650g size & the prawns were very large king prawns.

alaskan king crab & oysters

alaskan king crab & oysters

& there was the alaskan king crab & large oysters.

sous vide kurobuta belly

sous vide kurobuta belly

the kurobuta belly were sous vide before bbq.

i am testing one belly now (being pressed with weights) in the fridge (tea brined & 16hrs in the oven at 70degC), and will pan fry skin side tomorrow. let’s see how that goes. 🙂

prawn crackers & salad with goma dressing

prawn crackers & salad with goma dressing

my friend ordered the teppanyaki set.

i had the teppanyaki set previously so i decided to try out the business bento (top photo) this time.

1/2 lobster uni yaki

1/2 lobster uni yaki

server told me lobster uni yaki was 1/2 lobster.

but then this a very tiny lobster, maybe 350g size, so 1/2 very small serving.

sashimi moriawase

sashimi moriawase

sashimi was good standard but not special, just 2 pieces salmon & a hotate.

futomaki

futomaki

futomaki was ok.

tofu, daikon & shimeji

tofu, daikon & shimeji

yam & mushrooms

yam & mushrooms

the small sides were very average, nicely presented.

if you take the menu prices before discount, 1/2 lobster = S$24, so the remaining almost nothing dishes added up to S$44=S$68-S$24, i would say the set is not worth at all, might as well order a lobster to share.

of course if you take the whole lobster business bento set at S$34 (after 50% feed at raffles discounts) in such a restaurant. i guess it’s ok.

but i would take the chirashi don anytime.

chawanmushi for teppanyaki set

chawanmushi for teppanyaki set

my friend’s teppanyaki set included a chawanmushi. 🙂

golden prawns, miso cod, tenderloin, garlic fried rice (teppanyaki set)

golden prawns, miso cod, tenderloin, garlic fried rice (teppanyaki set)

the golden prawns one of the popular dishes here, & miso cod was also good.

the tenderloin was so so here (i tried previously). my friend thought so also. garlic rice was ok.

caramel mousse ice cream

caramel mousse ice cream

the dessert was a mousse ice cream. quite nice really & my friend liked it.

i prefer the previous panna cotta though.

ambience was super & we had good time together. overall the food & place were great for the price. not the best i had at mikuni. but it ‘s good to try different dishes also.

c.h.e.f andy

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Good & Value Wine Dinner @ Greenwood Fish Bistro on 19Nov2015

smoked canapes

smoked canapes

a friend arranged a wine dinner at Greenwood Fish Market & Bistro on 19.11.2015. 8 of us attended. ^^

the same friend arranged fun wine dinners at (1) zaffereno & (2) halia previously

greenwood fish bistro

greenwood fish bistro

i’ve been to greenwood fish bistro some years back (before i started blogging) and had the S$39.95 whole lobster promotion twice before (they still have that). it was quite good.

wine dinner menu

wine dinner menu

this evening we had a S$69pax 5-course eqwines dinner w/o dessert & coffee.

as i don’t drink i look only at the food menu whether i want to pay that just for the food.

for those who don’t drink, the restaurant was kind enough to offer juice etc, very good of them since wine was sponsored by the wine merchant but i guess, not the other drinks. 🙂

prosecco

prosecco

i decided to take the wine. prosecco was good. i liked the white after this best. 🙂

red wines

red wines

reds were quite good too. the restaurant gave me a cranberry juice afterwards too, a great gesture.

smoked canapes

smoked canapes

first course were some smoked canapes. these were very good!

smoked canapes

smoked canapes

the smoked salmon & mussels were excellent…how to describe? smokey i guess, very flavourful.

the smoked trout (the server said cold smoked) was so-so, not so tasty.

cured salmon with avocado

cured salmon with avocado

cured salmon with avocado

cured salmon with avocado

the second course cured salmon with avocado also very nice. it was though nothing special.

barramundi & pea puree

barramundi & pea puree

the 3rd course barramundi was excellent!

not sure if barramundi is farmed in singapore like the smaller local seabass. this one the meat is firmer, not so “hu” liek falling apart.

barramundi & pea puree

barramundi & pea puree

however 2 of my friends complained that the meat was soft. the rest of us were ok…maybe they got the local seabass instead? just kidding. 🙂

duck confit - this a disaster

duck confit – this a disaster

the 4th course was a duck confit?

it was a huge disaster! meat was tough & not edible!

actually the server said it was sous vide then cooked in oven (mayeb the server got it wrong, just don’t sound right!)..

firstly of course duck confit is cooked in duck fat..while the word confit is used loosely to mean slow braise like say pineapple confit or belly pork confit, for duck confit it usually mean strictly duck confit. & i’m not sure you can roast in oven after sous vide.

i would think a cold pan method of rendering out the fat & crisping the skin w/o overcooking the meat makes a lot more sense (above photo)…notice the fat had rendered out..

octopus confit

octopus confit

restaurant was great to do a service recovery.

they replaced the dish with a octopus confit.

it was competent dish, not the best but i guess good enough. 🙂

octopus confit

octopus confit

you could say a fish bistro would do an octopus dish better than a duck dish?

belly pork & grilled pineapples

belly pork & grilled pineapples

but then for the last course they served a really “kick-ass” belly pork.

belly pork & grilled pineapples

belly pork & grilled pineapples

this was one of the best i have taken! ^^

belly pork & grilled pineapples

belly pork & grilled pineapples

not really smoked but just a hint of a flavourful ham, very tender & delicious.

i have a tea brined belly pork in the fridge now. planning to sous vide then pan-charred the skin. see if i can get anywhere close or similar to this excellent piece. 🙂

thanks to our friend, we had many fun evenings trying out different wine dinners & spending great time together.

i am not sure how their service is on normal days but for this evening, i think service was really quite exemplary & they really tried their best (from offering non alcoholic drinks to replacing the 4th course – even though they did not have much choice with the duck being such a quite monumental failure).

c.h.e.f andy

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Greenwood Fish Market & Bistro
No. 34 & 38 Greenwood Ave S289236
Tel: 6467 4950
Fax: 6467 4965
email: greenwoodbistro@yahoo.com.sg
OPENING HOURS: Mon – Sat: 12:00 – 22:30, Sun & PH: 11:00 – 22:30

 

Delightful Delicious 100Gourmet Dinner @ Disgruntled Chef Ang Siang Hill on 29Oct2015

sous vide duck breast - par excellence

sous vide duck breast – par excellence

had a most delightful dinner with wife @ disgruntled chef ang siang hill on 29.10.2015. ^^

we both liked the duck breast best but other dishes (except for the lollipop & dessert) were just as delicious & marvelous. 🙂

this was a 100gourmet dinner citibank promotion where overseas award winning chefs paired with 2 top singapore restaurants every month to deliver a 6-course dinner at S$100++

for this evening it was chef daniel sia of disgruntled chef & chef joris bijdendijk of restaurant RIJKS®

charcoal bread. pork floss on cream cheese

charcoal bread. pork floss on cream cheese

we started with a charcoal bread. the bread was excellent, crusty yet fluffy inside. 🙂

charcoal bread. pork floss on cream cheese

charcoal bread. pork floss on cream cheese

not really used to having cream cheese on toast, but the combination did go well.

lobster & chicken vin jaune

lobster & chicken vin jaune

the lobster & chicken in a yellow wine sauce was really delicious.

lobster & chicken vin jaune

lobster & chicken vin jaune

both lobster & chicken were superb. chicken had a very crispy skin. something i cannot make. & such a wonderful sauce.

pan sauteed scallops

pan sauteed scallops

& the scallops were excellent. colour & presentation was beautiful of course, and Chef Joris Bijdendijk, Executive Chef at the restaurant RIJKS® in the world renowned Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, personally drizzled the oil over the dish at our table.

pan sauteed scallops

pan sauteed scallops

scallops were sashimi grade & the inside were still raw. one of the tastiest scallops i have take! bite, taste, everything! ^^

flounder lollipop

flounder lollipop

not sure about the flounder lollipop. wife thought it was poor.

flounder lollipop

flounder lollipop

i thought it was ok, tasty enough. but it’s like glorified fast food? nothing special or distinctive to me other than trying to look different.

black cod. nori butter. cockles. cucumber

black cod. nori butter. cockles. cucumber

the cod was a return of another wonderful dish.

server warned us that some diners feedback that the nori butter made the dish quite salty & they were still adjusting the taste.

black cod. nori butter. cockles. cucumber

black cod. nori butter. cockles. cucumber

for us, the seaweed butter did give a distinctive salty taste but nothing overpowering & in fact flavoured the dish rather well, & the shellfish bits (cockles??) added great bite to a delicious sauce. the cod tasted a bit firmer, like a monkfish texture, anyway it was good.

& what a beautifully plated dish! 🙂

sous vide duck breast - par excellence

sous vide duck breast – par excellence

& wa..the duck..it was the best duck i had.

sous vide duck breast - par excellence

sous vide duck breast – par excellence

so tender & sweet. just enjoying this duck, i am thinking i gonna try my sous vide duck breast again.

i did that for my duck l’orange some time back.

jaan's hay roasted pigeon

jaan’s hay roasted pigeon

it reminded me of the excellent jaan’s hay roasted pigeon. that was quite long ago though, so this duck actually felt better.

like a mars bar dessert & cream

like a mars bar dessert & cream

the dessert was too ordinary to complement the excellent dishes, but still the mars mar thingy had a really nice chocolate & great texture. i am so so with the cream just took a little.

we have never been to disgruntled chef at dempsey or here at ang siang hill. i must say the service was excellent-polite, friendly, quite knowledgeable & attentive.

this was 1 of the best dinners i had for a while, except for the excellent japanese omakase at hachi. hachi is different cuisine, which we would prefer by comparison but it also cost a lot more.

it reminded me of the really sumptuous dinners & dining experience at jaan, which we do not go any more because it’s no longer offering feed at raffles discounts. presentation was delight & food was exquisite. jaan had 2 amuse bouche which were excellent PLUS a palate cleanser item, so total like 10-course.

for the price, i think this dinner at disgruntled chef was next to perfect.

c.h.e.f andy

6hr “Sous Vide” Miso Lamb Shoulder

miso lamb shoulder

miso lamb shoulder

this (above photo) was my very first attempt on miso lamb, which I did for a 11-course dinner for 11pax on 5.5.2014.

i do a good pistachio crusted rack of lamb but no other variations. decided to do a 3-day miso marinade on a cheap frozen lamb cut & coincide the 6hr sous vide bath in 90degC oven with the char siew (to save electricity).

90degC (oven temperature) is also the optimum temperature (fastest) for conversion of collagen the tough connective tissues to gelatine with excellent texture & flavours.

160°F/70°C — Connective tissue collagen begins to dissolve to gelatin. Melting of collagen starts to accelerate at 160F and continues rapidly up to 180F.

miso lamb shoulder

miso lamb shoulder

i did again for a 12-course 9-pax homecooked chinese dinner for friends on 15.7.2014.

that was the best i did then, better than the last 2 times & w/o the gamey taste. the 3-day miso marinade & 6hrs “sous vide” in 90degC oven did the trick. many liked this.

#5 miso lamb

miso lamb shoulder

most recent was a homecooked dinner for 14pax friends + spouses on 18.12.2014.

the miso lamb shoulder chop was ok, very tender, with strong lamb flavours nicely masked by miso.

lamb though is in general not much a favourite dish among my family & friends, and a tenderised lamb shoulder, even miso-falvoured, cannot really match a good rack of lamb.

after having the most wonderful rack of lamb i had so far at american club amarone wine dinner on 29.11.2014, i was thinking of trying out a herb crusted rack of lamb as a variation of my pistachio rack of lamb.

c.h.e.f andy

Ingredients:

  • packet of lamb shoulders from Giant S$4.95 (300g)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp miso paste
  • 3tbsp cup mirin
  • 3tbsp cup cooking sake

Directions:

  1. mixed saké, mirin, sugar & miso paste in a large bowl and whisk.
  2. scald lamb shoulders with boiling water to remove scum. place lamb shoulders in a ziplock bag & pour in the cooled marinate and leave in fridge for 3 full days. turning over once in the morning & once in the evening to ensure all sides are fully coated.
  3. take out lamb shoulders & place it in an oven dish with lid with the miso marinade just covering the lamb for 1/2 hr to get it to room temperature. place it in the preheated oven at 90degC for 6hrs. 90degC is the optimum temperature (fastest) for conversion of collagen the tough connective tissues to gelatine with excellent texture & flavours.
  4. cut the lamb shoulders to bite size & serve.

Affordable “Nouveau?” Lunch Sets @ Nuvo on 8Sep2014

spiced carrot soup

spiced carrot soup

a friend recommended nuvo. the ongoing S$15pax set lunches looked ok (even though it had a lot of supplements for dish selections) so 6 of us went for lunch on 8.9.2014. chef mark richards hailed from keystone (which i went several times when it was accepting palate privileges – 50% discount for 2pax ala carte. i viewed keystone as the standard of saint pierre & slightly less expensive), and excelled in sous vide techniques. 🙂

the restaurant was located at the food edition at marina square at the corner facing citylink mall & suntec convention centre. it was nice, bright & airy & had a attached bar that was directly overlooking raffles link & raffles boulevard. we all commented this a place to be to watch the F1 (though i always prefer the couch at home..haha..not to mention it cost S$500 to come here & watch the cars turn round a corner!).

we were debating the name. i googled afterwards but there was no special meaning associated with the word so likely nuvo was just short for nouveau. 🙂

i was late, arriving at 12.15pm. the restaurant soon filled up & i would say perhaps >60% occupied during lunch hour on a monday.

a practice that did not find favour with me was NOT serving tap water.  we ordered 1 still & 1 sparkling for 6pax. they cost S$4.50each for a 500ml bottle. for me, i looked at the overall price vs the food & experience so paying S$9 for bottled water for 6pax (which also meant we have to drink less water) was not a big issue.

olive focaccia

olive focaccia

olive focaccia with herb butter

olive focaccia with herb butter

the olive focaccia bread with herb butter was pretty good, ok. 🙂

cha smoked salmon

cha smoked salmon

there were 3 choices of starters & main courses & 2 choices of dessert.

i thought my spiced carrot soup (top photo) with mascarpone, croutons & honey was really good & of fine dining standard. it was creamy, smooth in texture & flavourful, looked wonderful as well! 🙂

the smoked salmon with wasabi cream, furikake & baby spinach came with S$3 supplement. it looked great & appetising. the thick square cuts looked more like ceviche, cured or sashimi. my friends all liked the dish. 🙂 i asked 1 friend afterwards. he said the combination of flavours with the baby spinach was great. 🙂

tempura soft shell crab

tempura soft shell crab

the tempura soft shell crab had S$4 supplement. soft shell crab not my favourite dish but this looked fine & no complaints on the taste. 🙂

grilled pork collar

grilled pork collar

grilled pork collar

grilled pork collar

3 of us took the grilled pork collar on our friend’s recommendations. 2 took the risotto & 1 took the pesto cold soba.

the pork collar had good consistent texture of sous vide. the chef is famous for his sous vide cuisine. the friend who took cold soba & i both commented that the pork collar was kind of lean. i personally would prefer it the usual fatty collar. the 2 other friends preferred it lean. 🙂 fries were good. mash/cold slaw? were good too. i didn’t take much of either.

kabayaki squid risotto

kabayaki squid risotto

the squid risotto looked a bit skimpy to me. 5 or 6 pieces of squid on risotto. maybe it was the minimalist philosophy (just kidding…lol). i asked 1 friend afterwards. he agreed it was kind of plain.

pesto cold soba

pesto cold soba

the friend who took soba said it was too salty & maybe the set lunch was not that great for the price. i said a zaru soba could cost S$12 to S$15 so everything depended on how good the taste.

panna cotta with honeycomb

panna cotta with honeycomb

panna cotta with honeycomb

panna cotta with honeycomb

green tea kochi with melon

green tea mochi with melon

i hardly ever ordered panna cotta in singapore. so i started with the green tea mochi. when the dessert were served, i thought the panna cotta with honeycomb looked quite good so i asked to change the dessert (S$4 supplement).  i had excellent panna cotta at pizzeria balognett at tremezzo, i thought i would give the singapore version a try since it looked quite good. it was pretty good – light, smooth texture – but nothing amazing. the green tea mochi also looked competent. 🙂

overall including S$1.50pax for the mineral water, my share came to S$25++ (S$30nett). to me it was pretty ok & something i would not mind doing again. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

11pax Homecooked 11-course Family Birthday Dinner on 14.6.2014

chicken rice chicken 白斩鸡

chicken rice chicken 白斩鸡

time passes us by. my brother’s & sister’s birthday fall on 14June.  since i had started cooking for 2 years hence, and had hosted many homecooked dinners, i wanted to do a homecooked chinese dinner for my brother & sister. 🙂

the chinese dishes i planned were simple stuff like chicken & duck & belly pork. there’s also fish & 2 vege as they both like vege. i added a lamb as my sister like lamb. my niece & her husband are buddhist & vegetarian, so i cooked a pesto pasta for them. also i had the tofu cheese cake. 🙂

chicken rice chicken 白斩鸡

#1 chicken rice chicken 白斩鸡

#1 chicken rice chicken 白斩鸡 was a favourite when i did my 27pax homecooked buffet for my RI friends recently on 28.5.2014. it was brined in sugar & salt water for 48hrs, then 10minutes simmering & 20 minutes poached in hot water, and placed in ice water bath to taut the skin & stop cooking. this time though i only tried a small slice of breast meat, but it did not seem as sweet, juicy & tasty as it usually were. 😦

dry salt spice brined duck 盐水鸭

#2 dry salt spice brined duck 盐水鸭

dry salt spice brined duck 盐水鸭

#2 dry salt spice brined duck 盐水鸭

dry salt spice brined duck 盐水鸭

#2 dry salt spice brined duck 盐水鸭

#2 the 盐水鸭 (dry salt spice brined duck) though was very good this time. it was flavourful yet not too intense, and the meat was tender as the boil-poach preparation (similar to 白斩鸡 but 15mins+30minutes for duck) produced a more gently cooked meat. i applied a dry brine of salt, sugar, cinnamon bark, anise seeds, clove, bay leaves, and sichuan chilli pepper for 48hrs. 🙂

when cutting & tasting the breast which was thicker than the thigh, i felt the breast meat was less flavourful. so perhaps i will reserve thigh meat for this preparation & breast meat for the sous vide duck a l’orange. 🙂

"sous vide" char siew

#3 “sous vide” char siew

"sous vide" char siew

#3 “sous vide” char siew

#3 “sous vide” char siew was a bit too fat but melt-in-the-mouth tender after 5hrs at 90degC in the oven & quick pan-grilled with butter.  it was marinated for 3 days & well infused & tasty, but after many attempts i felt the marinade recipe i used was still not the best tasting & not comparable with my miso belly pork, which marinade requires a much simpler preparation. 🙂

spicy garlic pork 蒜泥白肉

#4 spicy garlic pork 蒜泥白肉

#4 my brother loved the 蒜泥白肉 ( spicy garlic pork). this was also a crowd favourite during my recent 27pax homecooked buffet dinner for RI friends. 🙂

actually i over added the sichuan chilli so the sauce was overly spicy. i had to drizzle less sauce than i usually did. the sauce was made from light soy sauce, sugar, chopped garlic, chopped onions, sliced ginger,  cinnamon bark, anise seed, dash of cumin & sichuan chilli. the belly pork was done using the crockpot method – in cold water on low for about 4hrs. this another inventive method of slow cooking as it starts from room temperature & very slowly gets to boiling & remain simmering not hard boiling thus retaining the moisture. pork & skin were very tender. 🙂

miso lamb shoulder chop

#5 miso lamb shoulder chop

#5 my sister like lamb so i did a miso preparation for a cheap lamb shoulder chop. the lamb was marinated for 3 days in miso to infuse the flavours. it was then placed in the marinade bath in the oven at 90degC for 5hrs. this meat has lots of connective tissues & so very tough & not easy to make tender. 90degC happens to be the optimum temperature to convert collagen (the tough connective tissues) to tasty excellent texture gelatine. this time though i forgot to remove from oven & it dried out a bit c/w a quite perfect preparation for a 11pax sit-down dinner i had for RI friends recently on 5.5.2014.

pesto spaghetti with grilled eggplant, zucchini & mushrooms

pesto spaghetti with grilled eggplant, zucchini & mushrooms

as my niece & her husband are vegetarians, i prepared a separate vegetarian dish, a pesto spaghetti with grilled eggplant, zucchini & mushrooms for them. this was a very tasty dish that i experimented/recreated after very good meals during my recent travels to lake como, cinque terre & milan. 🙂

the pesto was made with pine nuts (i used almonds as substitute as pine nuts are very ex), spinach, basil, cheese & olive oil & a dash of salt, and blended. the pesto & grilled eggplant, zucchini & mushrooms were added to the pasta & tossed, with a teaspoon of sugar, some white wine & sea salt to taste. 🙂

fried large prawns with leek

#6 fried large prawns with leek

fried large prawns with leek

#6 fried large prawns with leek

#6 fried large prawns with leek was quite poor this time. the leek was “sek” somehow very tough. usually i cooked it just right so it was still brightly green but soft & tasty. this time i had to cook it very long till blackish to get it to soften. i did not try the prawns but my wife & daughter both thought the prawns were poor. i knew the prawns were large & very fresh when i cut the heads & shelled. & the butter pan-grilled method always produce a very tasty, slightly bbq flavour prawns. but because i had to heat up the dish 3 times, even though i took out the prawns & put back each time, the steam got into the prawns & the meat became “hu hu” i.e. mushy.

poor man's buddha jump over the wall

#7 poor man’s buddha jump over the wall

poor man's buddha jump over the wall

#7 poor man’s buddha jump over the wall

#7 the shorthand 佛跳墙 (buddha jump over the wall) was a dish i modelled after the very nice soup jh’s father (a chef) made. i used pig trotters, thick mushrooms, belly pork, dried scallops & also 2 cans of cheap limpets (S$10/can). 🙂

#8 auntie bes made a teochew steamed pomfret (did not take photo). this time though the pomfret was not very fresh & had a “chow chor” (fishy) taste. 😦

fermented bean curd raomaine lettuce 腐乳油麦菜

#9 fermented bean curd romaine lettuce 腐乳油麦菜

#9 腐乳油麦菜 (fermented bean curd romaine lettuce) is a common zi char dish e.g. kok sen. this time 腐乳 & chilli were just right & my wife liked it. 🙂

HK steamed chicken, mushrooms, chinese sausage rice(香汁蒸蘑菇鸡饭)

#10 HK steamed chicken, mushrooms, chinese sausage rice(香汁蒸蘑菇鸡饭)

HK steamed chicken, mushrooms, chinese sausage rice(香汁蒸蘑菇鸡饭)

#10 HK steamed chicken, mushrooms, chinese sausage rice(香汁蒸蘑菇鸡饭)

#10 香汁蒸蘑菇鸡饭 (HK styled steamed chicken, mushrooms, chinese sausage rice) is the common steamed rice dish in hk’s dim sum restaurants, usually they used chicken feet and/or pork ribs, drizzled with tasty black sauce. the sauce is very important. it is easily made – just 1 tbsp light soy sauce, 1 tsp dark sauce, 1 tbsp sugar & 6 tbsp water or to taste. it looked dark but was not salty & quite perfect taste – mildly sweet & nice soy flavour. 🙂

tofu cheese cake

#11 tofu cheese cake

#11 just as in my 27pax recent gathering, the tofu cheese cake was again a crowd favourite. it is the easiest of dessert, a no bake very light cheese cake. the simplest of recipes = 200g cream cheese, 200g silken tofu, 200ml yogurt, 100ml whipped cream, 4 tbsp brown sugar (60g), 2 tbsp lime juice (30ml), & dissolved 3 tsp gelatine powder (15g) in 50ml hot water, then blend & pour over the biscuit base (made with 7 digestive biscuits (105g) & 60g melted butter). 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

盐水鸭 Dry Brined Spice Salt Marinade Duck

#4 盐水鸭 spicy dry brined duck

dry salt spice brined duck 盐水鸭 (thigh)

i started exploring 盐水鸭 as even though my teochew braised duck was pretty ok, especially for large group buffets, i was looking for a “finer” chinese preparation for sit-down dinners. also often if i do my sous vide crispy skin canard a l’orange, i only used the breast & was left with the thighs. i also tried tea smoked duck couple of times. it was ok but the preparation was a bit elaborate & also the method i used with only 15minutes of tea-smoking offered more fragrance aroma when serving than was actually infused in the duck.

盐水鸭 spicy duck – 6.2.2015

盐水鸭 spicy duck – 6.2.2015

i googled & found 1 recipe here 🙂 = http://home.meishichina.com/recipe-33399.html

after couple of tries, i quite perfected it (the above 2 photos) & served this beautiful dish at the 22pax RI friends get-together on 6.2.2015.^^

dry salt spice brined duck 盐水鸭

dry salt spice brined duck 盐水鸭

dry salt spice brined duck 盐水鸭

dry salt spice brined duck 盐水鸭 (thigh)

dry salt spice brined duck 盐水鸭

dry salt spice brined duck 盐水鸭 (breast)

dry salt spice brined duck

dry salt spice brined duck 盐水鸭 (thigh)

the preparation was really quite easy, and much rest with the dry brining marinade.

i added table salt to a non-stick pan, then added sugar, spicy sichuan chilli sauce, and cinnamon bark, anise seeds, clove, sliced ginger, bay leaves & some fennel, and fried over low fire until fragrant, and set aside.

i cut 1/2 duck & exfoliate with salt & dried. then i used a tablespoon to apply the dry brine rub all over the duck, on the skin & on the inside. i then wrapped it in cellophane & left it in the chiller for 48hrs.

when ready to cook, i took out the marinated duck let it rest to room temperature then added to boiling water with 1 teaspoon salt. i let the duck simmered for 15minutes, off fire & poached in the hot water for another 30minutes. the poaching produced a gentler more tender texture & the dry brining produced a very nice flavourful duck.

i tried these twice for my RI friends on 5.5.2014 (only duck thigh) & for my brother & sister birthday on 14.6.2014 (1/2 duck include thigh & breast). i found that (surprisingly) it was better with thigh. i think the breast was thicker & the flavour was not infused enough. anyway it was ok result for me as i can keep the breast for the western sous vide preparation & the thigh for this 盐水鸭. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 duck

dry brine marinade

  • 1 heap tbsp table salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 small cinnamon bark
  • 2 anise seeds
  • 1 clove
  • 1cm sliced ginger
  • 1.5 to 2 tbsp spicy sichuan chilli
  • 1 tsp fennel

Directions:

  1. add table salt to a non-stick pan, then added sugar, spicy sichuan chilli sauce, and cinnamon bark, anise seeds, clove, sliced ginger, bay leaves & some fennel, and fry over low fire until fragrant, and set aside.
  2. cut 1/2 duck & exfoliate with salt & dried. use a tablespoon to apply the dry brine marinade rub all over the duck, on the skin on on the inside. wrap it in cellophane & left it in the chiller for 48hrs.
  3. when ready to cook, take out marinated duck let it rest to room temperature then add to boiling water with 1 teaspoon salt. let the duck simmer for 15minutes, off fire & poach in the hot water for another 30minutes. the poaching produced a gentler more tender texture & the dry brining produced a very nice flavourful duck.

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Hawker Food @ East Coast Lagoon Food Village then Music & Roland Garros Finals on 8.6.2014

orh luah (oyster egg)

orh luah (oyster egg)

went to a good friend’s house to watch roland garros finals between nadal & djokovic on 8.6.2014.

3 of us started with a leisurely stroll via the underpass to the recently renovated east coast lagoon food village for dinner.

we enjoyed nice music after dinner at my friend’s place with his amazing sound system & acoustics. mostly we listened to david foster, his guest artists & wonderful songs –

  1. katherine mcphee (america idol 2005 runners-up) who also sang “the prayer” with andrea bocelli;
  2. michael buble who sang the very nice song “home” co-written with his wife amy foster with country singer blake shelton,
  3. jackie evancho (america got talent 2010 runners-up), &
  4. lucia micarelli’s simply incredible moving mesmerising lingering violin instrumental with chris botti “emmanuel”.

another friend joined to watch nadal vs djokovic roland garros finals at 9pm. we are all nadal supporters though my friend’s son who joined us supports djokovic. we were not hopeful this time as nadal had lost 3 masters to almegro, ferrer & djokovic in the clay court build-up before roland garros. djokovic is deservedly on the rise & is nadal’s nemesis & tormentor as nadal had been to federer. nadal’s progress into the second week had also been tentative & less convincing than djokovic’s, and my friends & i were not convinced despite his thrashing andy murray in the semi-final.

as it turned out, nadal won again! & for the 9th times (& 5 times in a row, consecutively), something no one has ever done before. djokovic started perfectly. nadal was playing well but djokovic was 1 step ahead in everything, returning every ball & his backhand was simply lethal. nothing nadal did could hurt djokovic. nadal was simply being owned & prospects looked bleak, insurmountable. we were not hopeful. djokovic’s play however dropped towards the end of the second set which nadal won 7-5 & that proved to be the turning point. djokovic looked winded & regurgitated (like vomitting) in the 3rd set which nadal again won. in the fourth though nadal looked worrying, bending over & clutching his wrist & after 1 shot was bending over with back pain (he lost to wawrinka at the australia open finals, playing through his back pain).

there was a very unfortunate, most regrettable incident. at match point, as djokovic threw up the ball for the second serve, someone in the audience intentionally shouted & as a result djokovic double-faulted on match point. (i think with the extensive camera surveillance, the culprit(s) should be hauled up & banned for all future games). djokovic was extremely bitter (as can only be expected with the sweat & blood, hardwork & complete dedication), and applauded the audience in his usual cynical, wry, sacarstic manner (my friend did not like this trait of his but i am ok with djokovic, it is just his make-up & he is a really good sporting guy). djokovic was very gracious through the prize presentation ceremony. i actually quite like him.

a friend whatsapped me the headlines afterwards – “nadal in cloud 9”. yes indeed, nadal had resume 9 to 5 service (normal service). he won a record 9 times roland garros & 5 times consecutively, only interrupted by his second round exit by robert soderling in 2009, where he suffered tendonitis in both knees & laid-off for 2 months.

beef soup noodles

beef soup noodles

for dinner, we ordered a S$5 beef soup kuay teow mee each & a S$8 orh luah to share. 🙂

never taken this style of beef kuayteow mee before. only had the hainanese style starchy thick beehoon (which i don’t quite like), the vietnamese pho & thai thin kuay teow (i like the beef noodles at thai noodle house, even more so in bangkok siam centre or street etc, a lot more than the vietnamese), and nothing like the hong kong beef noodles, my favourite but cannot quite find in singapore, maybe noodles restaurant’s version comes just a bit close. still!

this supposedly famous leng kee beef noodles though was really nondescript. very average.

the orh luah had a long queue. it was pretty good but not special. & since i started trying out orh luah last week, i think it was no better than my own crispy orh luah & the wetter starchy version which i had not posted yet.

i also brought my tofu cheese cake & also some “sous vide” char siew, which we enjoyed before & during the match.

a most enjoyable evening!

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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“Sous Vide” Char Siew

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sous vide char siew

as i mentioned in my recent post on a homecooked 11pax 11-course dinner for RI buddies on 5.5.2014, i always find chinese cooking to be much more challenging than western (re my “worthwhile to do?” philosophy). peking duck for example requires such fine & painstaking preparation as air-blowing the skin to produce a very crispy skin peking duck, and xiaolongbao (小笼包) & 石榴包 are such intricate dumplings c/w ravioli served in modern european fine dining. & while perhaps not quite fine dining, teochew braised duck, chicken rice chicken, 蒜泥白肉, char siew & roast pork are such simple, tasty & very cheap food one can buy anywhere in singapore that it is really challenging to make home-cooking such dishes “worthwhile to do?”. anyhow, i did have quite successful recipes for very cheap & easy to do teochew braised duck & chicken rice chicken, but am unable to make a good crackling belly pork thus far. char siew also was not easy, and i had made quite a few attempts. anyhow finally, i think i have developed a really good “sous vide” char siew recipe, that made for a truly fabulous dish. 🙂

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sous vide char siew

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sous vide char siew

i scalded the belly pork as usual to remove scum. then i cut into several 3in pieces & placed in a ziploc bag when cooled. i prepared a very good marinade after much scouring through internet recipes plus some adjustments of my own. this method is similar to my very good miso belly pork except that the marinade is an adapted char siew marinade & not miso. like miso belly pork, i let it marinate for 3 full days to infuse the wonderful flavours. then i placed the belly pork fully covered/drenched in a marinade bath in a pre-heated oven at 90degC for 5hrs. 90degC is the optimum temperature (fastest) for conversion of collagen the tough connective tissues to gelatine with excellent texture & flavours. 🙂 this made the char siew especially the fatty parts, totally tender & delicious, & melt-in-the-mouth, such wonderful texture & flavours combined. 🙂 the final step was just to char over a non-stick pan on high heat. i used butter (if you want higher temperatures, use vegetable oil). i then charred the char siew on all sides which took just minutes. that imparted even more intense flavours to the char siew. 🙂 c.h.e.f andy Ingredients:

  • 500g belly pork

char siew sauce

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp dark sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp cooking sake
  • 2 tbsp brandy (or 2 tbsp shaoxing wine)
  • 3 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic – 3 to 4 cloves
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • pinch of black pepper

Directions:

  1. scald belly pork as usual to remove scum. then cut into several 3in pieces & place in a ziploc bag when cooled. make marinade by combining all the ingredients
  2. marinade for 3 full days to infuse the wonderful flavours. place belly pork fully covered/drenched in a marinade bath in a pre-heated oven at 90degC for 5hrs. 90degC is the optimum temperature (fastest) for conversion of collagen the tough connective tissues to gelatine with excellent texture & flavours. this made the char siew especially the fatty parts, totally tender & delicious, & melt-in-the-mouth, such wonderful texture & flavours combined. 
  3. char on a non-stick pan on high heat. use butter or if you want higher temperatures, use vegetable oil. char the char siew on all sides, just few minutes. that will impart even more intense flavours to the char siew.

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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Wonderful Japanese Food @ Mikuni on 31Mar2014

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truffle kampachi

had another wonderful 4pax dinner – great food & company – with my wife & 2 close friends at mikuni on 31.3.2014. 🙂

i ordered the usual “Andy’s kaiseki” items per the mikuni 24.3.2013 blogpost…lol.. with some new additions, namely lobster teppanyaki & teriyaki cod.

#1 we started as usual with the truffle kampachi. this fusion sashimi dish never failed to impress, both presentation and taste, a perfect start to the evening meal.

#2 next up were 2 maki – mikuni maki topped with unagi (eel) & a salmon belly maki. they were ok but not as good as the UN futomaki & the spider maki. i did not take photos.

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#3 next was the botanebi. as usual we had the excellent sashimi (these were large prawns larger than aka ebi & >4x  size of amaebi) & had the prawn heads deep-fried – you could eat up everything basically, it was that good! 🙂 there were 3 prawns per serving @ S$45, so i asked them to make it 4 prawns @ S$60

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tako sous vide

#4 after that we had the sous vide octopus tempura served with a wasabi mayo which we sprinkled with the red chilli powder. this was again very good, the sous vide meat was tender not tough & totally consistent, and contrasting texture with the lightly battered surface.

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lobster teppanyaki

#5 then we had 2 lobster teppanyaki to share among 4pax. 🙂 the preparation was varied somewhat from the last time – instead of uniyaki i.e. with uni (sea urchin) sauce, it was a melted cheese mayo. this was excellent. the cheese could make it “jelak” = easily satiated, otherwise it was just perfect. i ate up everything! 🙂

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teriyaki cod

#6 we ordered the teriyaki cod as well. this was one place where i took my inspiration for my own teriyaki cod, which by my kindly friends acclaims was almost there but i guess the one here was still somewhat better. 🙂

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kagoshima wagyu sukiyaki konabe

#7 lastly, we had 2 orders of kagoshima wagyu sukiyaki konabe to share among 4pax. the beef looked different, more marbled & slightly thinner. taste-wise it was par excellence, as were the ones previously.

with 50% FAR (feed at raffles) discounts for food & 25% on liquor, the bill for 4pax including a S$50 sake was S$284 nett=S$60pax++ after discounts. and for such an excellent meal. no wonders that we keep going back. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Very Fulfilling RI Buddies 8pax Homegourmet Dinner on 13Feb2014

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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! 🙂

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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)

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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.

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poor man’s buddha-jump-over-the-wall

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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. 🙂

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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. 🙂

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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. 🙂

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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).

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

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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! 🙂

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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!

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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

Sous Vide Crispy Skin Canard a l’Orange

5hr sous vide crispy skin canard a l’orange

5hr sous vide crispy skin canard a l’orange

N.B. this post was updated on 19.6.2014 with more recent photos from a par excellence canard a l’orange for a 10pax sit-down dinner on 24.3.2014.

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did my first sous vide crispy skin duck breast last week on 25.1.2014. was quite pleased with the result. 🙂

i took a leaf from my favourite video chef, chef john of foodwishes.com, video recipe on stove-top sous vide duck breast.  chef john did it beautifully with a zip-lock bag immersed in water in a dutch oven heated over stove-top. i may try that some time. for now i am more comfortable with using the oven. so i first brined the duck breasts (2 pieces) for 2days with salt & sugar brining solution (2 heap tbsp sugar & 1 flat tbsp salt in about 800ml water). read more about brining here.

then i placed the duck breasts in a covered pyrex oven dish with enough brining solution covering the duck breasts, and placed in the oven for 5hrs at 60degC. i used a meat thermometer to check that the meat was between 55degC and 60degC (on this occasion it was 58degC).

i removed from the oven & thoroughly dried the duck with paper towels, and then scored the breast, just cutting the fat. i then made a herb mix. i did not have fresh herbs so used dried basil & tomato herb mix, rosemary, coarse black pepper. i did not add sea salt as the duck was already brined. i rubbed the herb mix into the scored fat and the meat & sides.

i heat a non-stick pan with just a dash of vegetable oil to smoking, and placed the 2 duck breasts skin-side down, pressed against the pan & let the fat rendered out for about 5mins or more.

5hr sous vide crispy skin canard a l’orange

5hr sous vide crispy skin canard a l’orange

5hr sous vide crispy skin canard a l’orange

5hr sous vide crispy skin canard a l’orange

the result was an excellently flavoured medium rare duck breast with nice crispy skin. for this first attempt, the fat was not rendered out enough especially at the edge which was still white colour. still it was a very good recipe to reproduce a nice consistent sous vide interior & a crispy skin.

i am still working on the sauce. i could not locate the sauce recipe on chef john’s video. currently i am thinking to use the duck in orange sauce recipe OR to experiment on a fruit jam sauce mix. 🙂

anyway, i will be doing this dish for a 8pax dinner for my buddies on 13.2.2014. for now i will probably go with the orange sauce.

c.h.e.f andy

 

Good Food Quiet Dinner @ Gattopardo on 21Jul2013

sous vide iberico pork jowl

sous vide iberico pork jowl

i had not made much use of my amex palate discounts till recently. i guess partly there are so many good credit card offers, groupon vouchers etc, 🙂 only when the card is expiring suddenly there is greater impetus to try out various palate outlets.

for this night on 21.7.2013, we picked Gattopardo – a good choice! 🙂

Gattopardo is located at the level 1 of The Legend Fort Canning Park Hotel. there was al fresco dining, we chose though to sit inside. it was a quiet pleasant ambience not so many tables occupied on a Sunday evening.

baguette

baguette

warm baguette was provided. i was contented with olive oil & balsamic & did not ask for butter. 🙂

beef tartar with crispy toast

beef tartar with crispy toast

we picked the beef tartar, which came with a crispy toast, to share. this was excellent! the combination of flavours & texture of beef, onions, anchovies, egg yoke. 🙂

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there was no soup item, so we asked the waiter. he recommended a curry mussels (S$14). this was NOT a menu item & knowing the tricky situation with palate discounts, we asked SPECIFICALLY if the same discounts applied, and the waiter replied yes!  this was very good, like a good mulligatawny, the mussels were the small & tasty type though with just 3 mussels we thought the serving was rather small. when we asked for the bill, the curry mussels were excluded from the discount. we told them that we specifically confirmed with the waiter on the discounts, and the bill then made a round & came back with the discounts accompanied with a pleasant smile (good service recovery) that actually the item had no discount & they specially made an exception for us.

well no harm done, but i always have difficulty understanding this part of many restaurant’s service & marketing philosophy. i supposed restaurants are entitled to “buyers beware” & no obligations to advise customers. but i always feel that if a service philosophy is to make customer experience memorable, then it should NOT be a contest to outsmart the other. a service outfit should make service offers if it wants to offer & NOT make offers if it does not want to offer & give customers a consistent message. of course it could be just an oversight by an individual server but the impression i got was that the philosophy was one of “if customer asked & waiting staff said so then give discounts, if customer did not ask then too bad no discounts” so the checking was not about the staff making a mistake, but just whether the customer did ask or not.

the fact that i was not unhappy with the episode but still spent time blogging it showed that it did NOT add to customer experience. 🙂

risone with braised squid & bone marrow

risone with braised squid & bone marrow

for mains, we had the risone (risotto shaped pasta) with braised squid & bone marrow. this was super! 🙂 it had good reviews by other bloggers & the waiter also confirmed it was a popular dish. very flavourful, quite intense.

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the sous vide iberico pork jowl (top photo & above right) was very good too! 🙂

overall, we enjoyed the dinner very much! our selection of dishes were great.  the costs after palate 50% discount for 2pax was S$70nett excluding wine for 1 appetizer, 2 soups, 2 mains (& S$90nett including 1 glass of red). 🙂 the prices were a bit lower than at Senso. Senso though have a more classy ambience & the staff at Senso are more professional (a general observation excluding the curry mussel discount matter). will certainly go back again to Gattopardo. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy