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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Homecooked 8pax Modern Japanese Course Dinner on 5Dec2015

flamed squid in spinach veloute

flamed squid in spinach veloute

did a modern japanese course dinner for some friends last saturday on 5.12.2015. ^^

i did the flamed squid dish for a friend who bought me a handheld butane torch when he came for dinner almost 2 years back.

i chanced upon a photograph of this dish in a cookbook at porthminster cafe, st ives, cornwall.

i could not find any recipe on the net so i fashioned my own flamed squid in spinach veloute.

i made very narrow chequered cuts on the squid. when charred by the torch, it curled nicely & looked wonderful. they were then fried in butter at high heat for a short period, so the squid was just succulent, not rubbery & chewy. i used kitchen scissors to cut a slice to test to make sure.

the veloute was made with spinach leaves, green pepper & yellow onions. they were fried to soften then blended with 2 tbsp of olive oil, slight salt & pepper to taste.

a bit elaborate perhaps (especially when the friend i made it for could not attend this evening), but a very enjoyable dish none the less. 🙂

nothing particularly japanese in the dish, mostly western. however japs do love aburi (flamed) dishes, so this could count as one.

the second course, chawanmushi (japanese of course), was my usual preparation. a friend lent us her chawanmushi cups, always look & taste better with better presentation. 🙂

egg was smooth, but i thought the taste was not as good as what i made previously. i was nursing a flu & my tastebuds were a bit off so couldn’t tell. my wife thought so too.

prawns & scallops were ok, chicken seemed a bit over.

3rd course was pan seared scallops in prawn vegetable bisque.

scallops were very good, even though i did not pan sear them well this evening.

the bisque was very smooth, sweet & balanced with prawns & vegetable stock.

the prawn vegetable bisque was a slight variation from my previous recipe.

i used a smaller amount of prawn stock & added carrot, red pepper, red onion & the unused spinach stalk, blended & added 2 tbsp thickened cream before serving.

this was again the western interlude, only the IQF (individual quick frozen) hokkaido scallops were japanese. 🙂

wafu 和风 pasta+wafu 和风 eggplants+teriyaki cod

wafu 和风 pasta+wafu 和风 eggplants+teriyaki cod

for the 4th course, i served a wafu 和风 pasta+wafu 和风 eggplants+teriyaki cod. 🙂

teriyaki cod is my usual recipe.

this evening it was done to perfection, almost. ^^

slightly firmer because of marinade, lightly flavoured, bringing out cod’s natural sweetness. quite a beauty to behold. 🙂

to add a veg to the pasta dish, i made wafu 和风eggplants.

this evening i think it was ok, but maybe not so tasty, or my tastebuds were off.

this a really simple dish to make-

  1. cut 2 medium eggplants in 1/2, make diagonal cuts to help the sauce infuse
  2. fry medium fire both sides, add 1 tbsp tsuyu, mirin, sake, 1/2 cup stock & stew. just make sure it’s not overcooked & still firm

for the carbs, i made a wafu 和风 pasta.

japanese make great italian food too. i especially like their mentaiko pasta & uni ikura pasta.

wafu 和风 pasta+wafu 和风 eggplants+teriyaki cod

wafu 和风 pasta+wafu 和风 eggplants+teriyaki cod

this wafu 和风 pasta was done with just bacon, yellow onions & shimeji mushrooms. i guess the only thing wafu 和风 about it was the use of mirin & tsuyu instead of white wine. basically it was a alio olio done al dente with a bit of butter added at the end to coat the pasta.

wafu 和风 pasta+wafu 和风 eggplants+teriyaki cod

wafu 和风 pasta+wafu 和风 eggplants+teriyaki cod

it did taste kind of oriental, haha! 🙂

beef don+miso salmon belly+miso belly pork2

beef don+miso salmon belly+miso belly pork2

for the second main, basically a gohan (rice) dish, i had a beef don, but added some miso salmon belly & miso belly pork for friends who don’t take much beef.

beef don+miso salmon belly+miso belly pork2

beef don+miso salmon belly+miso belly pork2

i had some seared scallops actually but forgot to serve them. 🙂

& i did the beef wrongly, medium well mistakenly thinking that some friends preferred well done steak where actually all of us preferred it medium rare. well at least, the beef was a pretty ok ribeye cut so still passable.

for miso belly pork, i experimented a new recipe, slow braise for 7hrs at 90degC.

& it was really tender, the skin, fat & all. good miso flavour on the lighter side. later i did another one with a bit more miso. 🙂

the miso salmon belly was very good too.

main problem was getting the meaty belly parts.

the usual packets i got from giant & sheng shiong came with a lot of bones, so had to pick out the meat belly parts.

i like this quite a lot especially going with the sushi rice don. 🙂

tiramisu

a friend brought tiramisu

a friend made tiramisu. she had 5 sets dusted with pistachio & another 5 with chocolate flakes.

a piece of trivial. my tiramisu was inspired by a friend, the same one i created the flamed squid dish who could not attend this evening. he brought an awesome tiramisu when we had smoked meats dinner at another friend’s house some years ago (too long leh…why huh? just kidding la..)

& she just had her birthday recently. so i made a banoffee (banana toffee) cake instead. birthday girl didn’t like my banoffee though. another friend brought some home & seemed that her children liked it.

fruits

fruits

the other friends brought a lot of fruits.

cake & fruits

cake & fruits

we had some to go with the cake.

it looks like many dishes but with planning they were actually quite easy to execute. cod & salmon belly were marinate & only needed 12mins & 15mins respectively in the oven (together at 250degC). spinach veloute & prawn veg bisque were done before hand in the morning. miso belly pork was done 7hrs in the oven at 90degC. eggplants were done beforehand in the afternoon. now i am able to make all kinds of pastas before hand (afternoon also) & serve them still al dente just reheating. & flamed squid also done about 1+hr before dinner.

so only chawanmushi were steamed & scallops were pan seared just before guests arrived, and steak only when serving. & the guests helped to serve the dishes. 🙂

it was great fun for me preparing this dinner. only a bit tired especially sitting under the air-con for few hours because still recovering from flu..many things can be improved of course like the beef, the scallops, the chawanmushi & the eggplants.

still overall it was a very fun dinner for me & i believe our friends enjoyed the evening & food too.

c.h.e.f andy

Wafu (和风) Pasta – Outstanding!

wafu 和风 pasta

wafu 和风 pasta 1.10.2015

did an excellent wafu (和风) pasta the other day, and served it with teriyaki cod & wafu (和风) eggplant for a 8pax japanese course dinner on 28.9.2015.

wafu 和风 pasta

wafu 和风 pasta 1.10.2015

this the first time i did a kind of “wafu (和风) pasta” other than mentaiko pasta. & the taste was wonderful!

i followed the recipe on japanesecooking101 here.

wafu 和风 pasta

wafu 和风 pasta 1.10.2015

very simple ingredients – just streaky bacon, shimeji mushrooms & yellow onions.

i did it again today 1.10.2015 just a few days later using leftover ingredients, this time using shitake mushrooms as i did not have shimeji. my wife & i were going out for dinner. my daughter came back from her squash game at 9pm & walloped the whole dish! ^^

wafu 和风 pasta

wafu 和风 pasta 28.9.2015

& the sauce again is the key – dashi (i used chicken/vegetable stock), mirin, tsuyu & a little sugar (optional) & reduced.

wafu 和风 pasta

wafu 和风 pasta 28.9.2015

taste was, what can i say, just exquisite. it’s not better than most of my pastas which are also very good, but it’s good! equally good! 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Protected: RI Reunion Committee & Friends 19pax Homecooked Dinner Get-together on 24Apr2015

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Wonderful Memorable Homecooked 19pax Dinner Get-together on 24Apr2015

had a most wonderful & memorable homecooked dinner get-together on 24apr2015.

a most fun part was the interactivity & excitement with several friends bringing their dishes, from morocan salmon, hummus, biscotti, konnyaku to tofu cheese cake & ma hua 麻花 airflow from tianjin.^^

a friend even set up a separate whatsapp chat (so as not to bore the rest of dinner friends with cooking talk). 🙂

it was just wonderful. excluding bread, humus, ma hua, fruits, konnyaku, biscotti, we had 14 dishes (12+2 desserts). 🙂

bread, hummus, carrot sticks

bread, hummus, carrot sticks

because a friend was bringing hummus, that motivated me to do a onion sunflower seed bread. i didn’t realise i had walnut (was searching for it) for walnut bread, so settled with sunflower seeds.^^

onion sunflower seed bread

onion sunflower seed bread

the laughable thing was after looking at several online recipes i decided hack just used the ariston oven bread function & recipe. of course i tried the recipe once. dough was too sticky & too much salt & i added too much browned onions.

for the actual day, the bread was quite perfect. all the friends like it. crisp not hard outside & fluffy well-risen inside. for the recipe, i used 600g plain flour, 3 packets yeast (33g) dissolved in 1 cup (240ml) warm water, & 1 tsp salt. 🙂

carrot sticks

carrot sticks

leck san's chickpea+avocado hummus leck san's chickpea hummus

my friend made excellent chickpea hummus, and the green coloured one she added avocado. i think it was new to her too, so there was a lot of fun doing this dinner for all our good RI friends.

ma hua - 天津麻花

ma hua – 天津麻花

a friend was with her students in tianjin for some exchange programs & brought back ma hua 麻花. i finished them the next day, pretty good, not sickeningly sweet like the malaysian ones.

pumpkin tofu

#1 pumpkin tofu

pumpkin tofu rockets salad

#1 – pumpkin tofu rockets salad

#1 my wife made a pumpkin tofu salad. this a wonderful salad she made after some lunch at marmalade.^^

#2 i have made tagliata di manzo (sliced beef) many times. it is a common italian dish. i had it at capri, and many time at fresco & cimmino at milan.^^

the angus ribeye was pan-grilled, charred to produce the maillard reaction to impart the flavours & nicely medium rare. 🙂

#3 teriyaki cod was excellent this evening, many commented melt in the mouth goodness.^^

i used my own teriyaki sauce recipe, this time adding 1 tsp of miso. miso cures the cod & give a firmer, less flaky texture.

friend's morocan baked salmon

#4 friend’s morocan baked salmon

Mahen's morocan baked salmon Mahen's morocan baked salmon4 Mahen's morocan baked salmon2 Mahen's condiments - lemon and Chinese chives.

#4 a friend made a very nice morocan baked salmon with pistachios & ritz biscuits, and condiments of chives & lemon. it was also his first time. for me, this was a lot of fun & buzz.^^

#5 i made a chilli crab capellini (angel hair pasta). i had the sauce made the day before, taste was not ideal & i made some adjustments on the day. it turned out quite perfect, an excellent chilli crab sauce & after pasta & prawns were added, the capellini soaked up the flavours remarkably & was very well infused with the shellfish flavours (from prawn heads & shells, and w/o crab). 🙂

& very important pasta was al dente!

#6 i made an excellent very tasty squid ink sauce & a friend came to the kitchen to help out & tasted the sauce. it was superb with a nice chilli padi spike.

unfortunately, after adding linguine, sauce looked low & i made the cardinal mistake of adding some water. did a rescue by removing the pasta & ingredients (so as not to overcook) & reducing the sauce. still when plating though sauce was sufficiently dark colour & slight creamy producing good texture feel on pasta, the top less coated linguine looked off in colour.

fortunately taste wise it was very good. i guess could have been better.

#7 i think my 白斩鸡 – poached chicken was very near perfect, certainly better than most chicken rice out there!

& today i made an excellent chicken rice. as a friend commented, he could smell the very fragrant rice as it was brought to the table!

i browned some shallots in chicken fat (this was a key) & added cut ginger. the other key was a very intense chicken bone soup for cooking the rice. the soup came from making the chicken & adding the bones after i deboned the chicken & boiled for >2hrs.

& i made the chilli sauce & ginger sauce that everyone loved.

Leck San's acahr Leck San's achar2

a friend brought excellent achar, just the right appetising condiments for the chicken rice.

jap miso salmon

#8 jap miso salmon

#8 the jap miso salmon was done like the japanese bento style.

i didn’t have the recipe so experimented myself. i marinated with miso etc & dried it in the fridge for 2 days then 3hrs at 55degC to dry it further. after that it was 15mins in foil+10mins open in tabletop electric oven at 250degC.

i would say result was almost same as the bento salmon & those we brought back from japan. it was best served on japanese rice don with tamago but will do for the chicken rice.

spicy pork ribs

#9 spicy pork ribs

my helper’s spicy pork ribs was also a perennial favourite. 🙂

#10 蒜泥白肉 was a favourite for many. very tender melt in the mouth belly pork (about 5 hrs on crockpot at low fully immersed) & flavourful sichuan chilli sauce.

#11 dry wok prawns was 1 of my standard dish. this time though i did not dry the prawns enough before adding to the wok so it became a bit wet. prawns was fresh & sweet but the charred bbq flavours were missing. some hits & some misses.

romaine lettuce

#12 romaine lettuce

#12 & my helper’s romaine lettuce, complemented the pumpkin salad & good counterpoint to the meat dishes.

#13 a friend brought a tofu cheese cake. i took the cake & taste was pretty good. unfortunately the gelatine he used seemed to be weaker concentration than the ones i got from phono huat. so though he used the same recipe, the cake did not hold. it was a waste really for the effort but i guess doing it was a fun thing we all shared.^^

$14 i did my usual tiramisu & i added quite a good dose of brandy which my friends love. it was good as usual.

friend's jackfruit

friend’s jackfruit

friend's grapes

friend’s grapes

2 friends brought jackfruit & grapes to round off the dinner.

friend's konnyaku

friend’s konnyaku

friend's biscotti

friend’s biscotti

the friend who brought hummus also did 2 very nice petite fours – a konnyaku jelly & biscotti.

it was an evening of fellowship & sharing, a lot of fun, catching up & sharing good food together.^^

c.h.e.f andy

Fun 14pax RI Friends & Spouses Homecooked Dinner on 18Dec2014

invited my regular group of RI friends (this time with spouses) for a homecooked dinner on 18.12.2014.  we had 14pax = 5 couples + 4 guys. 🙂

i prepared mostly pre-cooked food that could be served buffet style, so we could all sit down & enjoy the food & conversation together. 🙂

planning was important. i intended several items which i cooked/made final preparations only when all the guests arrived – tagliata di manzo (angus striploin steak), dry wok prawns, pumpkin salad, fried rice.

in the end timing was quite well managed for dry wok prawns & fried rice. for the salad & the rockets/cherry tomatoes bed for tagliata di manzo, they were done too early & the rockets were soggy (unlike my recent lunch which the pumpkin salad & the rocket bed for tagliata di manzo were quite perfect).

#1 pumpkin tofu salad

#1 pumpkin tofu salad

#1 my wife’s pumpkin tofu salad was an excellent dish when i served during the recent lunch.

this time it was a bit lacklustre. seasoning with sea salt, olive oil & balsamic were done too early. somehow pumpkin was not as sweet.

#2 beer can chicken was good as usual – tender, moist, tasty. 🙂

#3 oven grilled miso salmon belly had been a favourite with my family (& friends also during recent lunches), and again a favourite this evening. 🙂

#4 teriyaki cod was good as cod goes. i made it very much less sweet & healthier (no sugar only mirin this time).

#5 the 6hr “sous vide” miso lamb shoulder chop was ok, very tender, with strong lamb flavours nicely masked by miso.

#6 tagliata di manzo (using angus striploin). the bed of rockets & cherry tomatoes were mixed too early so a bit soggy.

steak was medium rare & flavourful, but i was slightly distracted & the charring was somewhat insufficient to produce good enough mallard reaction. also the angus striploin, unlike ribeye, had a bit of tendon, not so ideal.

#7 spicy belly pork 蒜泥白肉 was simply wonderful. it was slow-braised using cold crockpot on low almost 6 hrs to 79degC. belly was very tender & the sichuan 麻辣 chilli mix was excellent. 🙂

#8 my dry wok prawns is of consistent good standard, charred & flavourful, taste of chilli padi & fish sauce.

#9 my spicy seafood fried rice will never get to crystal jade standard, but it is also consistently good, nice wok hae & flavours with lots of prawns & squid.

#10 stir-fried romaine lettuce

#10 stir-fried romaine lettuce

my helper cooked the romaine lettuce, one of our favourite vegetable dish.

#11 chocolate ganache vanilla banana cake

#11 chocolate ganache vanilla banana cake

a friend brought a #11 chocolate ganache vanilla banana cake.

#11 chocolate ganache vanilla banana cake

#11 chocolate ganache vanilla banana cake

#11 chocolate ganache vanilla banana cake

#11 chocolate ganache vanilla banana cake

it was a lovely 2-layer vanilla cake with banana in between & covered with chocolate ganache – a really standout first attempt by him! 🙂

#12 my no-bake tiramisu is now another crowd favourite. it was 1 of the easiest dessert to make.

healthy peanut candy

#13 healthy peanut candy

a friend brought a #13 healthy peanut candy (held together by maltose instead of unhealthy sugar), it was nice.

i had a #14 pumpkin cheese cake on standby. i sensed that the friends wanted to try, so it was served & we managed to finish 1/2 the cake. it was ok but not as good as the pumpkin cheese cake we had for our recent lunch which was really good.

c.h.e.f andy

Wife Made Simple & Tasty Chicken Wrap

chicken wrap

chicken wrap

wife made packed lunch most days, for herself & sometimes daughter. 🙂 it’s nice & healthier for busy lunch. & very simple to do. 🙂

i made pan-roasted brined chicken, miso cod, teriyaki cod or simply plain grilled cod which was just as nice for her some days. she (& helper) made her own very nice oven baked prawns, pan-grilled chicken breast, grilled pumpkin, quinoa, rocket salad, very sweet grilled peppers etc and lately very nice wraps. 🙂

chicken wrap

chicken wrap

chicken wrap

chicken wrap

today’s wrap was excellent. so was the one few days back. chicken breast was seasoned & pan-grilled by helper, very tasty & heathy.  the salad included grilled sweet peppers, rockets, cherry tomatoes, honey mustard, agave nectar etc.

wonderful! 🙂

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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Good Dinner (not Great) @ Fleur de Sel on 7May2014

le homard - poached lobster with lobster bisque

le homard – poached lobster with lobster bisque

had a pleasant & relaxing dinner chat with a close friend at fleur de sel on 7.5.2014. he was going to do some hiking at cinque terre & could not find his walking stick so i brought mine along for him. 🙂

i heard about fleur de sel from my wife’s good friend (who bought us an excellent dinner recently at the very artisan singapore fusion restaurant started by a 29 year old investment banker, labyrinth on 30.4.2014). seemed that the whole lobster, completely shelled at S$49++ was very good here. 🙂

my wife came by 2 nights ago with the same friend and took the S$88pax 4-course set menu. she felt that the escargot was not good, and it was not the cooking but the quality of the escargot itself – not sweet, tasty. 😦 she also felt the soup was average, the cod was ok good & the rhubarb dessert was good.

i was decided on the lobster for myself. when my good friend arrived, i gave him my wife’s feedback & suggested he took the other S$108 set instead, as the dinner was a belated celebration of his recently past birthday. anyhow he decided to join me to order a lobster each. looking at the menu i was not attracted by the appetisers, so i suggested we ordered a cod (main) & a lapin (rabbit) risotto main to share before starting the lobster. my friend though wanted only the cod. i got him to order a wine so he got himself a cloudy bay (white).

semi sour dough served with butter & del (salt)

semi sour dough served with butter & sel (salt)

we were served semi sour dough with butter, and advised we could dab the sel (salt) too. the restaurant name fleur de sel means flower of salt, apparently hand harvested (haha..what a description!) by workers who scrape only the top layer of salt before it sinks to the bottom of large salt pans. 🙂

one salt was flavoured with rosemary, the other with citron & something else. good fun…lol. 🙂 we tried the salt but our palate not sophi enough & they felt non-descript. the butter was ok average so we asked for some olive oil, which was very good, very fragrant extra virgin olive oil. 🙂

crab meat - amuse bouche

crab meat – amuse bouche

the amuse bouche was some crab meat, pretty good. 🙂

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pan seared atlantic cod

the pan seared atlantic cod was pretty good, though the cod was firm but did not feel so smooth & bouncy, somewhat different from the texture of cod i was accustomed with. it was served with some sauce so more a wetter version (not knowing how to describe!).

my own Nobu miso cod

my own Nobu miso cod

my own teriyaki cod

my own teriyaki cod

i  guessed it was a very good cod regards this method of preparation but for me personally, the satisfaction was not at the level i had with my own nobu miso cod & teriyaki cod (whereas by comparison the teriyaki cod at mikuni & at keyaki would of course be better than mine).

le homard - poached lobster with lobster bisque

le homard – poached lobster with lobster bisque

the shelled whole lobster in lobster bisque was very good (the dark photos above & top taken with my samsung s4 did not do justice to the dish). meat was fresh, sweet, tender & very tasty with the bisque. excellent dish this! 🙂

apple crumble with granitee dessert

apple crumble with granitee dessert

complimentary mini birthday cake

complimentary mini birthday cake

service was very good. server knew we were celebrating my friend’s birthday so brought a small cake with 1 lit candle. 🙂 it might have been expected of a good restaurant. still it was much appreciated as an important guesture that defined good service & training for a good restaurant. 🙂

the apple crumble was very average non descript.

Chef Alexandre Lozachmeur at work

Chef Alexandre Lozachmeur at work

the bill was S$198 for 2pax including 1 glass cloudy bay white & dessert.

overall, with the exception of the lobster, i would consider the food just average for this level of dining & prices. of course it would be much better than a usual eat. 🙂 on the lobster while it was really good & competitively priced, many restaurants, both chinese & western, are able to & indeed does the same, equally good & inexpensively priced.

if I made a comparison with labyrinth, the latter was a lot more artisan, creative, able to reproduce the flavours from ingredients that were beautifully assembled, tasted similar but looked entirely different from the usual singaporean dishes like chilli crab etc. however, some may consider paying (say) S$90nett for whole lobster etc better deal than paying for same for labyrinth’s set, creative or not! it is a very subjective thing.

won’t be back soon, but probably will have another go a bit more time later.

c.h.e.f andy

 

 

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