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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Great Tapas @ FOC on 27Aug2015

chorizo & egg

chorizo & egg

son was back for summer holidays. this evening we went to FOC for a family dinner on 27.8.2015.^^

foc restaurant

foc restaurant

restaurant has a chic ambience.

foc restaurant

foc restaurant

it is supposed to be for fine food & fun dining from barcelona. for us, it’s tapas. 🙂

foc restaurant

foc restaurant

FOC supposed to be fire in catalan.

chorizo & egg

chorizo & egg

chorizo & egg was a good start. its was a good tasty dish, the egg gave it a silky texture. maybe its a bit like my spanish omelette but deconstructed, no?

ham croquettes

ham croquettes

like the ham croquettes.

mushroom croquettes

mushroom croquettes

at first taste, the mushroom croquettes had much more intense flavours & bested the ham croquettes by comparison. but i tried the ham croquettes again & it had a very nice lingering flavour. i like both. ^^

patatas bava

patatas bravas

the patatas bravas, a deep-fried potato dish was very good too.

patatas bravas

patatas bravas

really well done enjoyable dish.

pork trotters carpaccio

pork trotters carpaccio

the pork trotters carpaccio was delightful.

pork trotters carpaccio

pork trotters carpaccio

especially with the condiments & sauce it came in.

slow braised & grilled octopus

slow braised & grilled octopus

the slow braised octopus was excellent too.

slow braised & grilled octopus

slow braised & grilled octopus

taste & texture wise, it was almost comparable with the very good ones i tried recently –

the grilled cotopus dish at da luca

the octopus dish at zafferano

& i still prefer the tako kakiage at mikuni. ^^

squid ink paella

squid ink paella

i think this squidink paella is the best of all squidink i had. really flavourful, smooth & buttery. good enough for us to order a second serving.

squid ink risotto

squid ink risotto

i think it is better than (maybe) the dish i squid risotto i had at follia (which was outstanding).

& my own very good squidink pasta.

kith’s squidink pasta would be quite behind by comparison.

scampi fiduea alio olio

scampi fiduea alio olio

the first serving of scampi fiduea alio olio was excellent, very sweet, tasty, intense. unfortunately there was a hair in it!

scampi fiduea alio olio

scampi fiduea alio olio

restaurant did the right thing & replaced it with a new dish. again unfortunately the new dish was not tasty as before. i guess hair made a difference to the taste? :-p

rack of lamb

rack of lamb

rack of lamb was pretty ok.

rack of lamb

rack of lamb

it was very tender yes, but actually flavour-wise, my own pistachio crusted rack of lamb was a lot better!

iberico pork rack

iberico pork rack

the iberico pork rack was superb!

iberico pork rack

iberico pork rack

not only it was fork tender & yet not sinewy, it was very flavourful, excellent!

foc restaurant

foc restaurant

the hanging sculpture.

chocolate galaxy

chocolate galaxy

daughter wanted to try the chocolate galaxy.

it’s the chocolate bomb i thought of trying for my anniversary dinner but didn’t.

apple tart

apple tart

we tried the apple tart. it was ok, nothing special & can do without. nothing like da luca’s crispy apple tart!

french toast

french toast

the french toast was good. looked at a dessert i may try myself at home.

i think minus the drinks it was about S$50pax. not cheap but doable.

c.h.e.f andy

 

17 Courses of Delectable Dishes for 16pax Homecooked Dinner on 26Aug2015

#1 friend's 清汤牛腩 - my favourite

#1 friend’s 清汤牛腩 – my favourite

had an exciting evening with my friends on 26.8.2015. ^^

we had 16pax. i planned to serve asian dishes mainly buffet style, and a pasta, beef & lamb dish during the course of dinner. 🙂

a friend brought 清汤牛腩. it was my favourite for the evening. i had a good beef brisket noodles at imperial treasure nanbei few days back on 23.8.2015, one of the few authentic ones. still, that was a bit more beefy. i personally prefer this 清汤牛腩 style. sometimes homecook is the best! ^^

my wife could not join dinner this evening. she organised the quinoa pumpkin tofu salad for me & i mixed in the rockets when serving (so that rockets would not be soggy).

everyone loved the salad. 🙂

i did the spanish omelette. did not do this a the longest time & recently revived it when i served a 10-course vegetarian dinner for 8px for my niece’s birthday.

this was a very popular dish among my diners.

i recently tried out a new preparation for cooking char siew & maybe found the right combination to reproduce easily very flavourful & tender, moist char siew. it is also easy to do, just put on a rack in a preheated oven for 20mins.

& it worked well, very tasty, well charred & quite tender inside. the ends were a bit harder than what i made previously because this roll of pork collar was thinner, so need to adjust the timing say to 18mins for thinner rolls.

i made a  ter kar tan 猪脚冻. it was a bit meaty & not as good as my head cheese terrine 猪头冻, but still a friend who cooked this also thought it was very good. i think the taste was good, i should use either pig’s head meat or a lot of pig skin as pig’s trotter is overly meaty & heavy. & the colour should be lighter, means less or no dark sauce.

my chicken ballotine was very good today, mostly finished.

the thai yellow curry grilled chicken thighs were very good.

there was a bit left though, and when i heat the curry sauce in the microwave & applied it to the cold chicken the next day, for me it was still excellent. 🙂

the thai red curry sotong (squid) was just as lovely. it’s a bit spicier & very good with the rice.

i did the vietnamese chargrilled pork collar w/o the beehoon, just with pickled carrots & peanuts. i tried it after cooking. it was very tasty. i think it was just as good as what i had at mrs pho recently. i think better actually.

but for this evening, maybe there were too much food, it was only 1/2 taken.

#10 braised belly pork & bits of some unused trotter

#10 braised belly pork & bits of some unused trotter

the braised belly pork was done together with the ter kar tan 猪脚冻, so it was just a small portion. the braise was very tasty & the texture of the belly pork was superb by those who take belly pork. nothing was left.

#1 friend's 清汤牛腩 - my favourite

#1 friend’s 清汤牛腩 – my favourite

the friend made 3kg of beef briskets & tendons. so i guess we did have a lot of food.

i am not complaining as this was my favourite dish for the evening. 🙂

#1 friend's 清汤牛腩 - my favourite

#1 friend’s 清汤牛腩 – my favourite

there was some leftover, so i ate the next day & enjoyed it just as much.

#11 helper's spicy black bean sauce pork ribs

#11 helper’s spicy black bean sauce pork ribs

my helper made the spicy black beans pork ribs. it was braised in the pan & then steamed in the steam oven. very tender & great sauce & flavours. it’s one of my perennial favourites. not much left afterwards.

#12 helper's sambal sauce seabass - this everyone's favourite

#12 helper’s sambal sauce seabass – this everyone’s favourite

my helper’s sambal sauce seabass was another dish that was everyone’s favourite. seabass has a slight mud taste & powdery texture, but with the sambal sauce, it was a very appetizing dish. nothing left.

#13 helper's blanched hk kailan with shitake

#13 helper’s blanched hk kailan with shitake

likewise the blanched hk kailan with shitake.

it was time for the pasta, beef & lamb dishes. my friends were all very full so we decided to forgo the pink sauce prawn pasta dish.

my tagliata was just simply fabulous. it was sooooo much better than the ones we had the other evening at the zafferano wine dinner, and haha i will say it again!^^ all my friends at zafferano were here this evening anyway. 🙂

& the pistachio crusted rack of lamb. everyone just loved it! those who eat lamb anyway.

actually we had the lamb at foc the next, and that lamb was a bit more tender than mine, but my lamb was a lot tastier. 🙂 also my pistachio crust was so good it was all mobbed up!

#16 queenie brought chempedak cake from singapore swimming club - very nice

#16 another friend brought chempedak cake from singapore swimming club – very nice

another friend brought a chempedak cake. i like the intense chempedak flavour. it’s a cake i like but won’t take often.

the banoffee (banana toffee) cake was a bit of a failure. the whipping cream was frozen & i heat it up just so lightly, a cardinal sin of laziness. should have just waited for it to get back to room temperature. it did not whipped well & caked up when set.

fortunately the cake itself was quite excellent & many friends liked it. it is indeed a very good combination of texture & taste, banana & toffee. i used very small amount of caramel so it was not too sweet.

it was a very fun get-together. i enjoyed doing all the dishes, and i also had my friend’s excellent beef briskets & my helper’s nice dishes.

c.h.e.f andy

Spanish Omelette – simple & great tapas!

#1 spanish omelette

spanish omelette

first made spanish omelette more than 2 years ago when i was doing the slow-braised spanish beef ribs, spanish seafood paella & a spanish seafood broth. ^^

it was pretty good, but i have not done it for a rather long time since.

recently i was doing a 10-course vegetarian dinner for 8pax at home my niece’s birthday, and decided to include spanish omelette when i was planning the 10 dishes. 🙂

#1 spanish omelette

spanish omelette

when i first made it, i looked at some internet recipes at the time, like the one here.

in any case it was just egg, onions & potatoes.

i sliced the 1/2 yellow onion & 1 .5 large potatoes. i fried in olive oil over medium to low heat the onions till softened & just starting to caramelise, and the potatoes till it breaks easily when pressed with the spatula (then it won’t be overcooked & mushy but still have the bite). i sprinkled sea salt on the pan. 🙂

i beat 2 eggs & added 2 teaspoon fish sauce (or light soy sauce if making vegetarian) & white pepper. then i added the potato & onions.

6" omelette pan

6″ omelette pan

i used a small 6″ omelette pan & added 1.5 tablespoon oil, & added in the the egg mixture when hot, & lowered fire to medium. i then flipped over a flat plate & eased the other side of the omelette back to the pan.

#1 spanish omelette4

spanish omelette

it is really a very simple dish to make. ^^

and nice & tasty! one omelette was good for serving 8pax as a tapas item, and it’s easy to make another omelette if required. 🙂

#1 spanish omelette

spanish omelette

it was crispy outside, and very important, the potatoes were not mushy & had a good bite, & tasty with the onions & egg.

#1 spanish omelette

spanish omelette

a very easy to do dish that delivers great satisfaction! ^^

c.h.e.f andy

10-course Homecooked Vegetarian Dinner for 8pax on 17Aug2015

made a 10-course vegetarian dinner for 8pax on 17.8.2015. ^^

it was a belated birthday for my niece who is a buddhist & vegetarian. it’s also the first time i planned & executed vegetarian dishes. 🙂

my niece & her husband are ovo-lacto vegetarians, which means they can take eggs & dairy products like milk, butter & cheese. they are also not strict vegetarians, but they will abstain & avoid meats if they can, and take only the vegetables if it comes with the meat. i like the practical, unassuming, unimposing approach.

but i wanted to do a all-vegtarian course dinner for them. for me that was quite exciting & fun to do. 🙂

for me, my interest was not about mock meats or fusion, just to make something that taste good & look good. & if they are not the usual run-of-the-mill chinese stir-fried vegetables and incorporates some non-chinese styles or good matching of taste, texture or presentation, then so much the better! 🙂

#1 first course was a spanish omelette. it’s a really simple dish.  just 2 eggs, 1.5 sliced large potatoes & 1/2 sliced yellow onions. the ingredients were already vegetarian. i just have to light soy sauce instead of fish sauce for the egg. this dish is also perfect as a tapas, a small bite, for a multi-course meal, so quite nicely each had a good slice of omelette.

#2 wife’s quinoa pumpkin tofu salad is always a great accompaniment for my dinners. the pumpkin & tofu with rockets made a very good salad on its own (wife made this after a lunch at marmalade some years back), and addition of quinoa gave it more texture & some savoury touch. 🙂

#3 shallow fried silken tofu in spinach veloute.

i created this dish (flamed squid in spinach veloute) from looking at a photo (w/o the chance to taste the dish) at porthminster cafe at st ives in cornwall, england. it was an excellent dish & i served it at 12-course dinner for 12pax 2 weeks ago.

this time for vegetarian dish i replaced the squid by a shallow fried silken tofu, so that the texture was crispy outside & soft inside. not a flamed (torched) squid but still very nice! 🙂

#4 for soup, i made a cream of carrot soup. this was tasty & smooth & very popular & everyone had a second helping & finished all the soup.

i used 1.5 large carrots, but also 1 red pepper, 1 stalk leek, 1 small yellow onions & vegetable stock which i prepared the night before. & about 4 tablespoon of cream. its a similar recipe for all my creamy soup.

#5 this the first time i attempted spaghetti alla nerano (zucchini pasta). we first tried this in fresco & cummino in milan & this was 1 of the best vegetarian pasta i had, though i like funghi pasta equally. 🙂

i followed an internet recipe, & blended 1/2 yellow zucchini with some onions after softening them in olive oil. i added some butter when tossing the pasta to give it more body.

it was a very good pasta, al dente & tasty. everyone liked it. son said more parmesan shavings would be good. i think overall it can be improved. for now i would prefer my fungi pasta over this, maybe just slightly.

#6 steamed egg plant with peas & onion sauce

my sis & i had a nice daipaidong 大排档 dinner at 富记大排档tai wai where they served an entire steamed eggplant in minced meat & onion sauce. i had recreated this & made a much better tasting one by adding oyster sauce to balance off the tomato sauce.

for the vegetarian take, i cannot use oyster sauce so only light soy sauce + tsuyu sauce, and i replaced the minced meat with frozen peas i bought from sheng shiong.

the presentation can be improved. the key to this dish is the texture of the eggplant, which has to be just cooked & not mushy. i cut it with kitchen sears (scissors) & if it were mushy it would not hold up. 🙂 the pea onions sauce with corn flour was pretty tasty too.

#7 the egg fried rice was basic, no “wow” dish, but it was good accompaniment for the last 3 dishes – steamed egg plant, thai red curry & the brocoli with cauliflower.

it had good “wok hae”, individually rice grains “tioc tioc” we say in teochew, quite good la. 🙂

#8 the thai red curry vegetables was a variation of my thai red curry sotong (squid) which i served for the 30+pax lunch party for my daughter last month.

i just replaced the sotong by vegetables. i had potato, egg plant, onions, yellow pepper, tomato. for me, a non vegetarian, it was no comparison with the red curry sotong of course but still an excellenty flavoured curry dish.

#9 brocoli with cauliflower

#9 brocoli with cauliflower

#9 the 3rd dish to be eaten with the egg fried rice was brocoli with cauliflower. i actually asked if the guys wanted eat or they were full..haha! ^^

#9 brocoli with cauliflower

#9 brocoli with cauliflower

my wife, daughter, everyone wanted it. my son said there is no discussion. 🙂

#10 i made a banoffee (banana toffee) cake for dessert. we have been having tiramisu & tofu cheese cake so i wanted a change from usual.

it was a really nice cake. a great combination of flavours – very nice biscuit base, a thin tasty layer of caramel so not too sweet & nice whipped cream topped with chocolate shavings.

D-24 durian...also had 2x maoshanwang durians (forgot to take photo)

D-24 durian…also had 2x maoshanwang durians (forgot to take photo)

and we had D-24 & maoshanwang 猫山王 durians!

D-24 durian...also had 2x maoshanwang durians (forgot to take photo)

D-24 durian…also had 2x maoshanwang durians (forgot to take photo)

an excellent finish to the 10-course vegetarian dinner. i forgot to take photos of the maoshanwang durians though. ate too fast! haha! ^^

c.h.e.f andy

Funghi Linguine

funghi linguine

funghi linguine

did a fungi linguine on the second day of chinese new year on 20.2.2015.^^

my wife has a tradition of inviting our families over for homecooked dinner on CNY second day. we had 26pax.

my niece & her husband are buddhist & take vegetarian though they are not picky & will take vegetables even if they were done with meats. 🙂

in 1 of the dinners previously i made them a spanish omelette, a potatoes & onions egg omelette. this time i made them a fungi linguine.

funghi linguine

funghi linguine

funghi linguine

funghi linguine

i would prefer button mushrooms but i only had shitake. still, the mushroom flavours were very intense. the linguine was al dente & just the right texture. i added about 3 tablespoons of heavy cream to about 200g pasta. it was smooth & not too creamy. pasta was quite excellent. my sister-in-law was also vegetarian, and my niece’s husband took a second helping, so it managed 4 average portions & 1 portion left shared by my nephew & wife.

recipe was straightforward, basically same as preparing fungi risotto-

  1. mushrooms were first slightly caramelised with pinch of salt over medium heat.
  2. then chopped onions added & softened.
  3. linguine was done just slightly below al dente, placed in ice water to halt cooking & drained.
  4. when serving, add browned garlic with olive oil to pan, add mushrooms & onions to pan, add white wine, add linguine & cream, off the fire & toss.
  5. add sugar & salt if required to taste.

c.h.e.f andy