12pax Home Dinner + Silk Road Adventure Briefing on 9may2016

made a simple homecooked 12pax dinner for friends today on 9.5.2016. ^^

a good friend was briefing us on a silk road adventure tour she planned for sep this year.

mouthwatering it was! ^^

it was simple as curry dishes are easy to do & by now i am quite organised for these dinners.

the heavy cooking was only 3 full hours.

so i in fact went to the gym in the morning & a good friend bought a good teochew muay buffet lunch afterwards.

of course that excludes deboning the chicken, making stock, making the paste for nonya curry chicken & making tiramisu, all done the day before. 🙂

great wines brought by 2 friends

great wines brought by 2 friends

2 friends brought 2 nice reds.

we had the yellow label, the michel torino for another occasion.

for this evening’s dinner, i made 7 dishes-

#1 fish head curry
#2 nonya chicken curry
#3 teriyaki sutchi fillet
#4 kou rou (w/o mei cai) + white kong bak (both experimental)
#5 chap chai
#6 fried hokkien noodles
#7 tiramisu

& a friend brought excellent cheng chow dessert

the fish head curry, like the last 2 times, was excellent. everyone loved it.

my nonya curry chicken was very good too.

very lemak, flavourful & a key difference with curry chicken outside, my chicken was very tender not overcooked.

kou rou扣肉 preparation w/o the mei cai 梅菜 (experimental)

kou rou扣肉 preparation w/o the mei cai 梅菜 (experimental)

the kou rou扣肉 preparation w/o the mei cai 梅菜 was experimental. result was excellent. several friends picked this as the best, their favourite. 🙂

i used my mei cai kou rou recipe basically.

this time i used shao xing wine & sea salt & sugar to marinate, put in 90degC oven for 4 hours, browned on non-stick pan, added dark sauce to coat & some sugar, then steam oven for 1hr 15mins.

white kong bak 白腩肉 (experimental)

white kong bak 白腩肉 (experimental)

white kong bak 白腩肉 also experimental.

this after having the teochew white belly pork at bedok north food centre.

this was excellent too. a similar number of friends picked this as their favourite.

today's teriyaki sutchi not so good

today’s teriyaki sutchi not so good

the teriyaki sutchi fillet was not so good today.

i did teriyaki sutchi fillet for teban gardens community meal & bathesda bedok community meal recently. of you look at the photos, the difference is quite evident.

i think it was because i wrap it in aluminium foil in oven for 2 ovens & the fillet sweat.

chap chai was good sweet & tasty

chap chai was good sweet & tasty

chap chai was very good. cabbage sweetness + taupok yellow bean sweetness + chicken stock sweetness & reduced.

tanhoon gave some additional texture.

fried hokkien noodles tasty but soaked up the gravy & a bit mushy

fried hokkien noodles tasty but soaked up the gravy & a bit mushy

this the second time i made fried hokkien noodles.

but amount was doubled that of the first time so quite different.

another big difference was that the first time i served & ate right away, this time it was in a 50dgegC ove to keep warm for 2 hours wrapped in aluminium foil. it was tasty still but noodle soaked up the gravy & became a bit mushy.

excellent cheng chow mango, longans & aloe vera

excellent cheng chow mango, longans & aloe vera

a friend brought excellent cheng chow dessert.

excellent cheng chow mango, longans & aloe vera

excellent cheng chow mango, longans & aloe vera

it was very nice, with canned longans, freshly prepared aloe vera, lime juice & cut mango with some tanginess.

my usual tiramisu -irresistable for one friend

my usual tiramisu -irresistable for one friend

my usual tiramisu, simply irresistable to one friend, he mopped up all. ^^

korean strawberries quite sweet

korean strawberries quite sweet

korean strawberry was sweet for me, not sweet enuf for some friends.

grapes very sweet

grapes very sweet

a friend brought the grapes, very sweet! 🙂

had a great time with friends. & we had an excellent briefing too on silk road trip which one friend is organising. such a thrilling adventure from the slides presentation! 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Protected: 1st Jiakfree-licious Eat Together 28pax Dinner at Choon Hung’s Place on 3Dec2015

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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

RI JFL 1st Eat Together 28pax Dinner on 3Dec2015

 mee goreng

mee goreng

a group of us RI friends have the idea that as we all have a good time coming together enjoying the food & company, making new memories together, many may also be ready to share with others and spread the cheer.

two ideas were discussed-

  1. when we get together again in the new year 2016, maybe many will be in the mood to make some small donations to a beneficiary charity (we are thinking we can do this twice in 2016 at one of the friend’s place & maybe we can collect say between S$1000 and S$2000 each time).
  2. some of us who loves cooking (& there are many among us) may offer to cook community meals for some needy folks….currently many friends are already managing events (some weekly) at some premises where various groups (senior folks or needy families in the community) come by to share some food.

those were ideas to be discussed further for the time being.

meanwhile 2 friends helped to organise this dinner at a friend’s house on 3.12.2015. we had 28pax this evening including the host couple. ^^

tandoori chicken

tandoori chicken

3 of us offered to make some dishes for all our good RI friends to share some food & fun time together.

this eat-together actually also serve a specific purpose to work out the food logisitcs of planning & co-ordinating the type of dishes to make (by 3 parties) that are suitable for transporting to the host location for sharing among a sizable group, and also the arrangements for transportation. ^^

drinks

drinks

a friend who made some dishes also contributed 3 bottles of wine. another friend brought 2 sparklies & the host arranged the ice box & other drinks. 🙂

curry chicken

curry chicken

one friend made a nice curry chicken. love the colour. i took couple pieces & the curry. was nursing a throat infection. could not take more also.

nasi biryani

nasi biryani

& the biryani rice was very good too! very fluffy & light, good herb aroma. 🙂

this friend messaged me that he had to re-steam the rice. i replied that that is always a bit of touch up & make-overs only those who cook know…which our kaypoh friend proceeded to promptly broadcast to the rest as his pet trivials….haha! 🙂

one of my favourite for the evening (seems like everyone also) was the mee goreng (top photo).

cannot really compare apple to apple with fried hokkien prawn mee, the other delicious dish we had at another friend’s house recently. & i have not decided if i want to try cooking, but probably i will start with the hokkien mee if i do.

the other dish this friend cooked was the tandoori chicken (above photo further up), very nice colour w/o using any colouring.

babi pongteh

babi pongteh

all 3 of us used the same aluminium trays to transport the food w/o consulting each other. haha! ^

i made a babi pongteh. the tau jeon (& bit of gula melaka) flavours were good. i added mushrooms & taupok which were well-infused with the taste. the pork texture were just slightly hard c/w my usual very tender belly pork.

sambal seabass

sambal seabass

the sambal seabass prepared by my helper is a perennial favourite among my friends & also this evening.

thai red curry sotong

thai red curry sotong

i did a thai red curry sotong also. this was done with a ready made “dancing chef” curry mix.

dry wok prawns

dry wok prawns

& the usual dry wok prawns.

broccoli with cauliflower

broccoli with cauliflower

i also made a broccoli & cauliflower, just pan-fry with garlic & added oyster sauce, fish sauce, cornflour mix.

chilli long beans with fried bean curd

chilli long beans with fried bean curd

& i got my helper to make the chilli long beans with fried beancurd. this quite an appetizing dish.

one of our friend is vegetarian & coming late at 8.30pm. so we arranged for him to have some vegetarian mee goreng, a vegetarian wrap & kept some of the 2 veg dishes for him. i think he had a good time too. usually he doesn’t eat much when he comes.

chong lee's favourite drunken tiramisu

tiramisu

i made 2 tubs of tiramisu.

all the friends loved this. it was light, very moist with lots of strong coffee (200ml) & brandy (50ml).

我的美人 smile

a friend brought his usual sweet watermelon. he must be good friends with the vendor by now. 🙂

another friend brought lots of ice cream bars & eclairs. i usually don’t take these but i enjoyed an ice cream bar this evening. 🙂

we had a very fun time together. there were 27 of us old RI friends from our cohort + the host’s wife, total 28pax.

we emptied out all the food. this was part of the food planning. one friend was asking whether it was ok with addition of few other attendees.

just for myself, we are at the age where we don’t need to consume too much carbs & also can manage with a bit more or less food, so my overall view is if a few more people, we just eat a little less lor….of course we don’t want the guests to go hungry. haha! 🙂

in the end it seems the first eat-togehter that involves 3 separate persons cooking & transporting the food to the host’s place came out pretty well, thanks to good co-ordination & everyone helping out.

everyone had a really fun evening. good food & old & new memories help to bring & keep people together.

we also stayed back to “unmess” the place against the direct strict instructions of the host & hostess to leave.

c.h.e.f andy

Superb Set Lunch @ Concetto on 23Sep2015

chilled capellini

chilled capellini

my RI friends decided to visit national museum & have lunch, so 3 of us met for lunch at concetto @ the cathay on 23.9.2015.^^

another 2 friends joined lunch afterwards, so 5pax. 🙂

concetto set lunch menu S$22.90

concetto set lunch menu S$22.90

last time i had the set lunch here was on 10.2.2015.

prices have gone up from S$20.90 to S$22.90, inflation i guess, but for me it’s still a good deal. 🙂

concetto @ the cathay

concetto @ the cathay

i missed the YMCA (that being nearest to concetto & national museum & cheaper parking rates) carpark entrance, so parked at park mall & walked over to the cathay. concetto looks out onto the road, and is bright & airy. 🙂

chilled capellini

chilled capellini

we all ordered the concetto pasta – an interesting chilled capellini dish.

it was not quite the famous chilled capellini at da luca or gordon grill or of course gunther.

still it was pretty flavourful & unique. & ala carte price is just S$4.90! 🙂

i like the previous version a lot better though – chilled capellini with crab & prawn tartare (tiny morsels) tossed in lobster oil & topped with lobster foam & ikura (salmon roe).

think they should just revert to the previous version, full-stop!

i pushed away most of the mayonnaise. this drier version was heavier, less refine but still tasty. 🙂

kurobuta pork cheeks

kurobuta pork cheeks

i had the kurobuta pork cheeks. 🙂

kurobuta pork cheeks

kurobuta pork cheeks

it had this impressive squid-ink calligraphy, haha! ^^

kurobuta pork cheeks

kurobuta pork cheeks

the kurobuta was super, melt-in-the-mouth. 🙂

& the gnocchi & sauce were very good. this for me was the best dish. ^^

salmon

salmon

we ordered different main courses to share & try.

salmon

salmon

salmon was done beautifully. 🙂

plating & presentation were top class!

salmon

salmon

with cous cous & pickled shallots, and the tasty & pretty crab bisque foam. 🙂

pollo allo

pollo allo

the chicken was good too & nice presentation too. 🙂

pollo allo

pollo allo

taste was pretty good, ok just chicken nothing special out of the ordinary though.

for me, kurobuta was no 1, salmon next & last chicken. 🙂

my good friend on the other hand liked the salmon best.

tiramisu

tiramisu

i only tried the pistachio panna cotta here before.

tiramisu

tiramisu

this time we ordered the tiramisu. again it was so pretty! 🙂

tiramisu

tiramisu

it was kind of deconstructed preparation…

as a dessert, i think it was rather good, and i would order it next time.

as a tiramisu, i think my own tiramisu is much better, both in flavours especially coffee & liquor, & also texture.

pistachio panna cotta

pistachio panna cotta

the pistachio panna cotta was as good as last time.

pistachio panna cotta

pistachio panna cotta

for a change, i will try the tiramisu next time though.

for me the only slight complaint was the poor service. the young guy was unhelpful, “tidak apa” & very poor in his service attitude. towards the end though he warmed up a little & his attitude improved from poor to ok. think he just needed some service training. the lady server was ok. 🙂

the 3-course set lunch was S$22.90, & for me that was great value-for-money! 🙂 there is a supplement of S$3 for the salmon. 🙂

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

Scrumptious Homecooked Lunch for 30+pax on 25Jul2015

youngest daughter was celebrating an important occasion & invited 30 friends to the house on 25.7.2015.^^

we had a really wonderfully scrumptious family-cooked lunch for her friends.

we did 13 delectable dishes!^^

& her friend made a professional pastry chef standard 2-tier cake. 🙂

wife's PIMMS

wife’s PIMMS cocktail

wife also made a PIMMS cocktail!^^

wife's PIMMS

wife’s PIMMS cocktail

i cannot hold liquor but i liked it very much & took maybe 5 or 6 cups & a bit drunk afterwards. 🙂

#1 wife made a lovely pumpkin tofu salad, something she picked up from marmalade after dining there. 🙂

#2 i did a vietnamese chargrilled pork cold beehoon. 🙂

we recently had this dish at mrs pho. i would think that my version was just as good. 🙂

#3 & i made a chicken ballotine.

#3 i steamed the first batch of 2 for 15mins. it was slight overdone.

the second batch i reduced to 12mins. & this was quite perfect! tender, juicy, flavourful.^^

helper's chicken nuggets

#4 helper’s chicken nuggets

#4 my helper did the chicken nuggets. pretty good too. 🙂

helper's deepfried chicken wings

#5 helper’s deepfried chicken wings

#5 & her chicken wings are a perennial favourite. 🙂

#6 i did a thai red curry sotong.

this the first time i cooked this dish. i fried in butter the sotong (squid) like i did for my flamed squid in spinanch veloute, but w/o flaming it (too tedious for quantity for 30+pax!). i tasted the sotong & it was excellent. i made the red curry gravy using the dancing chef’s ready mix with some cut yellow onions. the curry was just superb, so the combination was just crazy, a clear winner!^^

#7 for the chicken thigh, i pan-grilled on a very hot stainless steel pan. it was perfect, and daughters’ friends walloped the 6 pieces of deboned thighs from 3 chicken in double quick time. 🙂

unlike the red curry dish, for this yellow curry, i made it as a sauce similar to busaba’s to-die-for grilled chicken green curry fried rice.^^

there was actually an egg fried rice dish (which was also pretty good) to accompany the thai chicken & sotong curries but i did not have a photo.

#8 wife made an excellent creamy tomato pasta. she usually use crayfish from chinatown & for me it’s the best pasta ever.

this time, we could not get crayfish at chinatown so she used large prawns as proxy. 🙂

helper's sausage pasta

#9 helper’s sausage pasta

#9 & my helper made her crowd favourite cheese sausage spaghetti.

the whole family like this & all my children’s friends who came to the house previously all enjoyed this pasta by my helper. 🙂

#10 i made an excellent squid ink spaghetti this time, no errors, no horrors, no misses, simply fabulous, par excellence!

very nicely creamy, i added butter (only when tossing with fire off! – you don’t want to boil the butter).^^

& fantastic colour, al dente pasta & irresistible squid ink flavour with wonderful chicken stock & squid.

#11 & the tagliata di manzo had my daughter’s friends swooning & asking for more.

in the end i cooked a second portion, total 4x300g = 1.2kg of 150D grain-fed black angus ribeye.

birthday cake

birthday cake

daughter’s friend made her a totally professional pastry chef standard 2-tier cake.

birthday cake

birthday cake

plus lemon tarts & also cup cakes. every cake item was just fabulous! 🙂

#12 i made my usual tiramisu.

it was as good as ever. daughter’s friends finished an entire tub. ^^ i had a spare tub though. there was too much cake already so we saved that.

& my daughter arranged a photo booth which was a lot of fun, & her friends came in all kinds of costumes.

the photo booth guy just finished national service & is going to london for further studies. that’s what young people do a lot these days, with internet & social media offering excellent reach, connectivity & empowerment! 🙂

what a simply incredible, most enjoyable & memorable occasion to be savoured.

c.h.e.f andy

Protected: RI G20 15pax Dinner Great Food & Ambience @ Kith Cafe Park Mall on 30Jun2015

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Great Food & Ambience @ Kith Cafe Park Mall on 30Jun2015

crabmeat linguine in tomato sauce

crabmeat linguine in tomato sauce

a RI friend is a proprietor of kith cafe at park mall & sentosa cove (kith has another outlet at robertson quay). kith does all day breakfast (till 5pm) and seems like a good coffee place too.

after our may G20 dinner at peach garden @ metropolis on 26.5.2015, we all agreed we should be young again & be spotted at kith. so this friend volunteered or was volunteered to organise the june dinner at kith cafe @ park mall on 30.6.2015. 🙂

we had 15pax. 🙂

i didn’t know if kith meant anything in particular, but after googling i found out that kith was like kin or kindred or –

acquaintances, friends, neighbors, or the like; persons living in thesame general locality and forming a more or less cohesive group

a cafe for friends – good name!

a few friends went early & took a short walk at fort canning park. the rest of us got a tour of our friend’s high end office chairs & system furniture shop adjacent to kith cafe.

watermelon & lychee smoothie

watermelon & lychee smoothie

the friend ordered watermelon & lychee smoothie for a few of us. it was good, refreshing, quenching, not too sweet. not particularly a favourite for me though.

some ordered ABC – apple, beetroot & carrots me think…sounds healthy. i will try that one next time.

sweet corn soup

sweet corn soup

couple friends ordered a soup. think it was the soup of the day, maybe a sweet corn soup. looked ok.

calamari

calamari

my friend ordered some calamari & 2 pizza to share, and each ordered our own pasta dish.

calamari was good. squid was very slightly tough, batter was good.

calamari

calamari

this a common dish in many restaurants, and it’s quite competent here. 🙂

gong bao pizza

gong bao chicken pizza

the gong bao chicken pizza was better than i expected. we all liked the thin crust pizza.

gong bao pizza

gong bao chicken pizza

gong bao chicken may have sounded cheesy & chinatown like but it was actually good – no sticky sauce, taste was not too sweet & combined quite well with the pizza. 🙂

parma ham pizza

parma ham pizza

parma ham pizza was competent also. pretty ok. 🙂

parma ham pizza

parma ham pizza

pizza not particularly my favourite but it is an excellent dish for communal dining & i do enjoy a slice of good pizza (i shared 1/2 gong bao chicken & 1/2 parma ham pizza with a friend) to start the dinner.

spaghetti alio olio

spaghetti alio olio

the spaghetti alio olio was good!

good helping, very flavourful, good garlic flavours & lots of shiitake mushrooms. I shared 1/2 of it with a friend who shared 1/2 of my squid ink pasta. not a usual dish i would order as i like meat or seafood. 🙂

linguine gamberini (garlic prawn)

linguine gamberini (garlic prawn)

the linguine gamberini (garlic prawn) looked good. i will order that next time.

carbonara

carbonara

carbonara. looked ok. somehow looked a bit like hokkien mee. egg was mixed in the pasta. i think it would taste good as most pasta here were good. though i am more used to the look/colour of carbonara at alfresco gusto.

bolognese

bolognese

i had a try of the bolognese, and the tomato sauce was good. meat sauce/ragout preparation not my favourite but this was good.

vongole

vongole

did not try the vongole. it looked fine. 🙂

vongole

vongole

they said vongole is a test of a pasta chef. the lala (littleneck clams) have a distinctive shellfish taste & if the linguine is done al dente the combination is quite excellent. my own vongole linguine here.

veal spinach tortellini in tomato sauce

veal spinach tortellini in tomato sauce

the veal spinach tortellini looked interesting.

veal spinach tortellini in tomato sauce

veal spinach tortellini in tomato sauce

& looked yummy! i must try that next time. 🙂

squid ink spaghetti with seafood alio olio

squid ink spaghetti with seafood alio olio

my friend the proprietor ordered the day’s special, a squid ink spaghetti with seafood alio olio.

i tasted. it was good.

squid ink pasta

squid ink pasta

i liked my own squid ink sauce pasta better though. it was more intense & flavourful, though my immediate reaction was it was a bit salty. my own squid ink seafood spaghetti here.

the friend who shared 1/2 my squid ink thought it was very salty, and that the alio olio was also salty. i was good with the alio olio, & salt does bring out the flavours (though too much would kill it).

my friend the proprietor ordered 2 more pizza – a duck & mushroom ragout & a special – with sausage.

my phone died so i did not have photos. duck ragout was good & had some meat pieces. i liked the sausage special pizza a bit more, sausage very flavourful.

yuzu cheese cake

yuzu cheese cake

the pastry chef among us went to select the dessert.

i didn’t think much of the yuzu cheese cake nor the biscuit base. probably i was programmed to think anything yuzu must be specially good. this was average so-so to me.

tiramisu

tiramisu

didn’t think much of the tiramisu either. i had a small teaspoon scoop near the top, somehow thought it felt like penna cotta.

tiramisu

tiramisu

that did not prepare me for interrogation by our pastry chef. she asked if i tasted the lady finger biscuits. seemed that i didn’t (i guess that’s why i thought it tasted like penna cotta – soft, light w/o the tiramisu texture) nor did i tasted coffee or liquor.

our pastry chef thought it was good, and she said there was liquor at the bottom & she didn’t take coffee anyway, so that suited her. guess i have to defer to pastry chef!^^

anyway my palate a bit hesitant, not very sharp like my daughter…give me excuse to try a few more times.^^

lemongrass chocolate cake

lemongrass chocolate cake

the lemongrass chocolate cake looked really pretty, but it’s not my thing.

lemongrass chocolate cake

lemongrass chocolate cake

my least preferred of the 3 dessert.

i had a flat white afterwards. it was good. but didn’t feel that it was in the chye seng huat, dutch colony, or the assembly coffee category.

it was really enjoyable evening. company was super fun, outdoor ambience was cool & nice open space, & food was great. i will probably come back with my family. 🙂

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

3 Days of Non-stop Feasting @ Chinese New Year 2015 (19-21Feb2015)

as usual, had a very foodful chinese new year. it was just a spate of continuous eating, meals & snacks. no matter if i skipped meals, as there were continuous munching of snacks to fill the gaps, so weight watching was quite simply a lost cause.

my happy chinese new year blessings to all my friends here

CNY Eve

for CNY eve we had our reunion dinner at my elder brother’s place.

this year i made buddha-jump-over-the-wall(BJOTW), 1/2spicy duck 盐水鸭 & using the same marinade, a spicy belly pork.

buddha jump over the wall ingredients

buddha jump over the wall ingredients

buddha jump over the wall ingredients

buddha jump over the wall ingredients

the BJOTW was a poor man’s version. apart from a can of 6 pieces small abalones & good thick mushrooms, the other ingredients were cheap (limpets) and mostly unhealthy (pig trotter, pig ear, belly pork, pig head meat).

look was impressive (top photo), taste was pretty good. but i was not overly impressed with my own effort. there was too much food anyway & didn’t really need more unhealthy food – will skip this next CNY.

pencai 盆菜

pencai 盆菜

pencai 盆菜

pencai 盆菜

my sis brought the pencai 盆菜. flavours was very good, and the small abalones much better than what i had. this year pencai 盆菜very expensive everywhere. hers was a very much cheaper one only S$138 for 6pax.

hoe see fat choy2 蚝屎发菜(好事发财)

hoe see fat choy 蚝屎发菜(好事发财)

hoe see fat choy 蚝屎发菜(好事发财)

hoe see fat choy 蚝屎发菜(好事发财)

my wife made her usual hoe see fat choy 蚝屎发菜(好事发财), and as usual very nice, though the ones she made later on Day2 was even better, tastier.

braised pig stomach

braised pig stomach

my s-i-l’s mom made the braised pig stomach (though nowadays the person actually making it was the helper). this a dish i always like.

char siew & roast pork

char siew & roast pork

my niece made very good char siew & roast pork. she made a small business of it, selling 20kg of the tasty dish over the internet.

my spicy duck 盐水鸭 was good too. it was a lighter version c/w my teochew braised duck. in fact this dish is served as appetiser in shanghai, nanjing, jiangnan locality.

spicy belly pork

spicy belly pork

i used the same spice to do the spicy belly pork. this was ok but not great. i did this again on Day2 & that was miles better!^^

mantis prawn

mantis prawn

chilli mantis prawn & pomfret

chilli mantis prawn & pomfret

my brother bought very large mantis prawns, 5 pieces for S$35. i did not take any. it wasn’t too great also but certainly looked nice. the chilli though was very good, better than most chilli crabs. 🙂

pomfret

pomfret

pomfret was usual. i did not try it either, just too much food.

tofu with leeks

tofu with leeks

tofu with leek, and broccoli

tofu with leek, and broccoli

i liked all the vege.

my brother tried eating out for 3 years for CNY eve. we went to joyden (previously called west coast seafood). food was quite good & not too expensive, however with say 13pax or more, it still came to >S$600. all of us cook, so it was so much more fun just to cook some dishes & bring over. i definitely preferred our own homecooked CNY eve dinner. ^^

CNY Day 1

breakfast spread

breakfast spread

again our family tradition, on CNY Day 1, we went over to my brother’s place for breakfast.

hoe see fat choy2 蚝屎发菜(好事发财)

hoe see fat choy 蚝屎发菜(好事发财)

tanhoon fungus

tanhoon fungus

many of the dishes were leftover from CNY eve dinner.

rabbit fish & salmon sashimi

rabbit fish & salmon sashimi

there were too much food on CNY eve, so we kept the prawns for Day1 breakfast, and added the rabbit fish知县鱼 (very sweet) & the salmon sashimi my wife bought (very good too!).

tofu & leeks

tofu & leeks

leftovers from last evening!

mushrooms & greens

mushrooms & greens

& some more vegetables. ^^

CNY Day 2

CNY Day2 is my wife’s tradition. she would invite her brothers & sister & their families (nephews & grand nephews & grand niece).

this year we took a family photo. & there are 26pax + our dog rusty. ^^

i made my usual poached chicken 白斩鸡. this time it was especially good – colour, texture, sweetness! everyone just loved this dish.^^

the miso pork was very good too. this the longest i put in the oven, 8hrs at 90degC/85degC.^^ the result was excellent. the miso marinade gave it excellent flavours & the slow low-temperature braise an excellent texture. i have learned that 90degC is the optimum temperature to convert collagen to tasty gelatine & texture, so this made the miso pork texture & bite really good!

flavoured pork 风味五花肉

flavoured pork 风味五花肉

i did the same for the flavoured pork 风味五花肉, and this was excellent too, with a different sichuan spice marinade.

tanhoon fungus

tanhoon fungus

we had the same tanhoon fungus.

chilli pork ribs

chilli pork ribs

& my helper’s chilli pork ribs.

deepfried chicken wings

deepfried chicken wings

some chicken wigs for the young ones.

funghi linguine

funghi linguine

funghi linguine

funghi linguine

funghi linguine

funghi linguine

for my niece & her husband who are vegetarians, i made a funghi linguine. also for my wife’s sister. it was really good. they all loved it, and there was a bit of leftovers for the nephews.

after that it was my tofu cheese cake & tiramisu, which disappeared in no time.

ice jelly with longans, palm fruits

ice jelly with longans, palm fruits

i especially liked the ice jelly with longans, palm fruits my wife’s sil made. she always bring that for our gatherings. very refreshing. i had several helpings.

c.h.e.f andy

Protected: 12-course Homecooked Buffet Dinner for RI Reunion Committee & Friends on 6Feb2015

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12-course Homecooked Buffet Dinner for RI Reunion Committee & Friends on 6Feb2015

a friend brought shepherd's pie

a friend brought shepherd’s pie

had a homecooked dinner for 22pax RI friends on 6.2.2015. 🙂

these group of friends were mostly of the committee that organised the recent RI reunion dinner on 22.12.2014 attended by 118 old schoolmates & 10 teachers. well done people!^^

i prepared 12 dishes including 2 desserts. & a friend brought shepherd’s pie & another brought cookies.

shepherd’s pie was very good. my daughter had some from the little leftover the next day & she thought the potatoes were moist & soft & the beef flavour was good.

maybe i should try making this too. shepherd’s pie is a great party food.

#1 thai prawn tanhoon

#1 thai prawn tanhoon

#1 my helper’s thai prawn tanhoon is usually a very appetising dish, spicy, tangy, tasty. this evening though it seemed to be a bit dry. about 1/4 was leftover (where usually it is finished). a friend (who comes for dinner regularly) later told me that some parts the taste was not quite the usual he had. not sure why, maybe the quantity was too much for the wok & the tanhoon was not mixed consistently.

#2 i did a Nobu miso cod.  it can be pre cooked & served cold, and the miso firmed up the flaky texture of cod so it is easier to cut into small serving pieces.^^

#3 i did my usual poached chicken 白斩鸡. this is easy to prepare dish. on this day though, i was dreaming & removed the chicken after 10mins boiling (w/o poaching it for another 20mins) & placed in ice water. though i recovered by poaching it again for longer 25mins, the temperature change caused the parts near the bones to be red/pink when i deboned it later. so i had to poach the cut pieces another time. sian! haha!

i asked several friends afterwards & they all thought the chicken was alright (& well finished), i guess it was quite ok but the moist, glistening look (like the duck had in photos below) was gone & the meat would be less tasty.

#4 盐水鸭 spicy poached duck was a replacement dish (i went 3 times to get salmon belly for miso salmon but they were unavailable). this nanjing 盐水鸭 is a 风味鸭, a bit more exotic flavours with sichuan peppercorn chillies.

it is 1 of my favourites as it has less strong flavours c/w teochew braised duck 卤鸭 & is often served as a starter in taiwanese restaurants & in shanghai, nanjing etc, the 江南region.

#5 蒜泥白肉 spicy garlic pork had been a crowd favourite in my dinners (when i served chinese food). it was easy to make as i adapted the pot roast method (cold crockpot on low slow gentle braising). so i just needed to place the belly pork in a cold crockpot with water (added salt & sugar for brining) on low for 5hrs to temperature 79degC.^^

the only thing left to do was just to prepare the spicy sichuan sauce to drizzle over the pork & japanese cucumbers.

spicy pork ribs

#6 spicy pork ribs

#6 my helper makes a very good spicy pork ribs, so that is a staple in my chinese dinners. one friend repeatedly proclaimed how much he liked the dish.^^

#7 my dry wok prawns combined pan-grilled bbq flavours with a baked-in-shell moist texture + the nice flavours of chilli padi & fish sauce infused under high wok temperature. always a popular dish.

sambal seabass

#8 sambal seabass

#8 my helper’s sambal seabass, another bedrock of my chinese dinners, was almost cleaned up before my “professional photographers” had time to train their cameras.^^

#9 the spicy seafood fried rice was modelled after crystal jade lamian xialongbao’s. unable to match that, but it was pretty good with bismati long grain rice & nice sichuan peppercorn chilli flavours.

poached romaine lettuce with shitake

#10 poached romaine lettuce with shitake

#10 my helper’s poached romaine lettuce with shitake is also a regular in my chinese dinners (usually she uses hk kailan but this time it was romaine lettuce just as good).^^

#11 everyone fell in love with the tofu cheese cake. maybe the trick was just to cut an ultra thin slice, so everyone thought it was so good & clamouring to have more. a friend had 3 helpings.^^

#12 one friend had a photo with him holding up the emptied tiramisu dish & biting the serving spoon (like nadal biting his grand slam champions trophy). i think tiramisu was just as well received but tofu cheesecake was a bit less common so everyone was intrigued by it.^^

cookies instructions

cookies instructions

a friend brought almond, shortbread & mamor cookies

a friend brought almond, shortbread & mamor cookies

a friend brought almond, shortbread & mamor cookies

a friend brought almond, shortbread & mamor cookies

a friend brought very nice cookies – almond, shortbread & mamor.

now i am thinking of trying almond & shortbread. mamor looked too exquisite & too high effort-to-results ratio for lazy & utilitarian me. told her if i want it, i will just invite her. haha!

another friend brought 6 bottles of wine & another the whole ice box with water & softdrinks.

there was also grapes. another friend packed a fruit basket for me so we were eating custard apples, mangosteens, chiku, guava, mango etc for the next several days.

& a friend brought some seaweed & almond biscuits.^^

it was really a fun, enjoyable & most satisfying get-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

Tofumisu – an Experiment

tofumisu - the healthy verso w/o mascarpone

tofumisu – the healthy version w/o mascarpone

did a tofumisu last evening on 27.11.0214. 🙂

it is a healthy version of tiramisu w/o the main ingredient mascarpone cheese, which is replaced by tofu (bean curd).

i adapted the japanese youtube recipe here.

so decided to experiment. 🙂

tofumisu - the healthy verso w/o mascarpone

tofumisu – the healthy version w/o mascarpone

tofumisu - the healthy verso w/o mascarpone

tofumisu – the healthy version w/o mascarpone

tofumisu - the healthy verso w/o mascarpone

tofumisu – the healthy version w/o mascarpone

tofumisu - the healthy verso w/o mascarpone

tofumisu – the healthy version w/o mascarpone

i added 250g silken tofu to a blender, & added 2 egg yolks, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 3 tbsp sugar, and 50ml almond soya milk, 2 tbsp mirin. i heated up another 50ml of almond soya milk in the microwave & added 1tsp gelatine powder (5g). this blended to a soft custard.

i added 1 tsp sugar to the 2 egg whites & whisked it to soft peaks, emptied the custard from the blender to a mixing bowl & folded in the meringue.

i prepared 60ml of strong expresso (i used fresh ground coffee from my machine), & added 2 tbsp otard (brandy), 1 tsp vanilla essence & 1 tsp sugar.

then i dipped the savoiardi ladyfinger biscuits in the coffee, broke them up to smaller pieces & placed it in the glass containers. i then topped with the custard mix. then in the fridge overnight. 🙂

tofumisu - the healthy verso w/o mascarpone

tofumisu – the healthy version w/o mascarpone

result of experiment – the texture was very good, basically quite similar to tiramisu. flavour wise, tofu taste was dominant, and its not near as nice as tiramisu. maybe adding a bit more of the almond soya milk might help. the price of healthy preparation. ha! 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Ingredients:

  • 250g silken tofu
  • 2 eggs (separate egg yokes & whites)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3tbsp + 2tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 100ml almond soya milk
  • 5g gelatine powder
  • 60ml strong expresso
  • 2tbsp otard (brandy)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Directions:

  1. add 250g silken tofu to a blender, add 2 egg yolks, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 3 tbsp sugar, and 50ml almond soya milk, 2 tbsp mirin. heat another 50ml of almond soya milk in the microwave & add 1tsp gelatine powder (5g).
  2. add 1 tsp sugar to the 2 egg whites & whisk it to soft peaks, empty the custard form the blender to a mixing bowl & fold in the meringue.
  3. prepare 60ml strong expresso (i used fresh ground coffee from my machine), & add 2 tbsp otard (brandy), 1 tsp vanilla essence & 1 tsp sugar.
  4. dip savoiardi ladyfinger biscuits in the coffee, break into smaller pieces & place it in glass containers. top with the custard mix. leave in fridge overnight.

Pumpkin Cheese Cake

pumpkin cheese cake

pumpkin cheese cake

after my chocolate lava cake, tofu cheese cake, tiramisu, banoffee pie, i experimented on pumpkin cheese cake after watching the video recipe by joy of baking.

the other cakes (except lava cake) were all no bake cakes, so while i could taste the cake mix & be confident of the taste, i had no idea how the experiment would turn out, whether i could get the right texture, or even if the cake could stand or collapse, and whether it would be burnt or not enough done.

pumpkin cheese cake

pumpkin cheese cake

pumpkin cheese cake

pumpkin cheese cake

pumpkin cheese cake

pumpkin cheese cake

anyway, i experimented it. i had to make some adjustments-

  • i used 250g cream cheese instead of 1 lb (454g)
  • i used a lot less sugar, 4tbsp flat (about 60g) or 1/4cup

i made the usual biscuit base with 8 digestive biscuit (120g) crushed to sandy texture in a ziploc bag, then added 60g melted butter & pressed the “wet sand’ mixture in a 8” (20cm) spring-form cake tin line with parchment paper. then placed it in the fridge.

i dice cut & steamed 300g fresh pumpkin till soft. i added 250g cream cheese & 4 tbsp flat brown sugar, 1.5 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp ground ginger & whisked. then i added the softened pumpkin, and then 1 egg at a time, & whisked. i used a hand whisk at medium speed & managed to get a slight rough texture for the mix.

i whisked 250g sour cream & added 1 tsp brown sugar for the cream topping.

i emptied the cake mixture into the cake tin & baked in 180degC preheated oven for 30mins until cake is firm (when a toothpick inserted came out cleanly) while centre just a little jiggly. left it to cool. added the whipped sour cream & baked for a further 10mins. let it cool & then placed in the fridge overnight.

i put some roasted nuts (did not have walnut so used cashew & almonds instead). did not look that nice.

c.h.e.f andy

Ingredients:

  • 8 digestive biscuit (120g)
  • 60g melted butter
  • cream cheese -250g
  • fresh pumpkin about 300g – diced & steamed about 20mins till soft
  • 4 tbsp flat + 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1.5tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 250ml sour cream
  • 2 eggs

Directions:

  1. biscuit base – make the usual biscuit base with 8 digestive biscuit (120g) crushed to sandy texture in a ziploc bag, then add 60g melted butter & pressed the “wet sand’ mixture in a 8” (20cm) spring-form cake tin lined with parchment paper. then place it in the fridge.
  2. dice cut & steam 300g fresh pumpkin till soft. add 250g cream cheese & 4 tbsp flat brown sugar, 1.5 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp ground ginger & whisked. then add the softened pumpkin, and then 1 egg at a time, & whisk. i use a hand whisk at medium speed to get a slight rough texture for the mix. then whisk 250g sour cream & add 1 tsp brown sugar for the cream topping.
  3. bake the cake – pour the cake mixture into the cake tin & baked in 180degC preheated oven for 30mins until cake is firm (when a toothpick inserted comes out cleanly) while centre just a little jiggly. leave to cool. add the whipped sour cream & bake for a further 10mins. let it cool & then place in the fridge overnight.
  4. put some roasted walnut nuts on top to decorate the cake.

Protected: Fun & Satisfying Homecooked 13-course Dinner for 15pax on 3Oct2014

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Fun & Satisfying Homecooked 13-course Dinner for 15pax on 3Oct2014

had a very s  satisfying homecooked dinner last evening on 3.10.2014. 🙂

while i really enjoy cooking for my family & friends even if there is considerable effort (& a close friend said exactly what it felt like – he really enjoyed it so he did not see it as effort), the point is how to plan the dishes & keep improving to manage the dinner smoothly & achieve best results with least effort. this is also part of the fun. 🙂

i decided to follow a friend’s lead to serve all dishes pre-cooked or served at the start buffet style instead of course by course (i enjoyed the delicious food at 4 of his makan sessions, most recently at a scrumptious homechef mooncake dinner on 8.9.2014).

it is quite important actually not to be disrupted from dinner conversation even though going into the kitchen to cook every course does have its own satisfaction. 🙂 i may even try that for my monterosso seafood risotto, lobster pasta. for king prawn ramen in golden sauce etc which are best served in individual portions, it seems best still to serve them course by course. so i do those for smaller sit down dinners. 🙂

#1 poached chicken

#1 poached chicken

#1 poached chicken – i brined in sugar & salt for 48hrs which made it tasty & moist & then 10mins simmered & 20-25mins poached, then cold water. this a crowd favourite with many supporters. 🙂

#2 braised pig trotters & #3 braised belly pork – i did them together using the cold crockpot method & set meat thermometer to 82degC. this would take about 5hrs, gentle slow & low temperature braising. i did this 1 day before. both were tender, gelatinous but still firm. i prefer this firmer texture.

#4 盐水鸭 – i applied a dry brine seasoning rub & put in chiller for for 48hrs (main condiment is sichuan spicy chilli sauce). cooking method same as poached chicken, but 15mins simmered & 30mins poached. duck was tender & tasty but i felt the 风味 taste was not pronouced enough like last time.

#5 蒜泥白肉 – i got the pork a day before dinner so only brined 24hrs. used the same cold crockpot method to produce a very gentle braise using chicken stock from the poached chicken. this one again many supporters.

#6 6hr "sous vide" miso lamb shoulder

#6 6hr “sous vide” miso lamb shoulder

#6 6hr “sous vide” miso lamb shoulder – more or less perfected this dish. the miso tempered the strong gamey taste & 90degC was apparently the optimum temperature to break down collagen (tough connective tissues) to tasty gelatine, so a very tasty, tender dish. 🙂

1 friend said she especially liked the dish. another mentioned it was a bit sweet. i would probably reduce the sweetness in the miso marinade a bit.

#7 peanut carrots pig trotter soup

#7 peanut carrots pig trotter soup

#7 peanut carrots pig trotter soup

#7 peanut carrots pig trotter soup

#7 peanut carrots pig trotter soup – peanut porkrib soup is a common nice lie tong 例汤. i preferred to do my pig trotters w/o bones & the toe ends so i used those leftovers for the soup, which worked perfectly & added a gelatine texture to the soup. i added some carrots & also as the amount of soup was not enough for 15pax & i did not want to dilute the soup (better not enough soup than enough diluted soup), the chicken stock came to rescue. this i added & the soup tasted quite perfect for me. 🙂

so it was kind of a planned & orderly execution. braised pig trotters & belly pork i did 1 day before, and the leftover pig trotter bones & tips I made soup 1 day before. this freed up the crockpot for the 蒜泥白肉 on the day. chicken & duck were brined 48hrs before & an easy 10mins+20mins for chicken & 15mins+30mins for 1/2duck simmered + poached. miso lamb was marinated 3days before & just gone into oven for 6hrs on dinner day.

easy eh? 🙂

i only had to do the seafood fried rice & wok grilled prawns, nearer dinner time.

i cooked the rice in rice cooker in the morning (forgot to do day before), & i fried the rice with the sichuan spicy chilli early.

about 1 hr (530pm) before dinner at 630pm, i fried in butter the small prawns & squid. when 90% guests arrived, i heat the fried rice & seafood in the wok together, & i did the dry wok king prawns with ginger, garlic, chilli padi & fish sauce. so every dish was ready to serve together. 🙂

#10 sambal seabass

#10 sambal seabass

#11 poached hk kailan with shitake

#11 poached hk kailan with shitake

aunty bes did the #10 sambal seabass & #11 poached hk kailan with shitake. everyone loved the fish. 1 friend commented the kailan was so vibrant in colour. kailan was poached & usually looked greener.

& everyone loved the tofu cheese cake & tiramisu. i did them 1 day before. 1 friend said the dessert topped everything. 🙂

1 friend would be celebrating her birthday few days later, so i asked another to bring a candle (i did not have one) & used the tofu cheese cake as the birthday cake. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Tiramisu – A Charming Dessert

tiramisu

tiramisu – a charming dessert

my wife & i are not very dessert people. so i never thought i would get into cakes & baking etc. 🙂

i chanced on the chocolate lava cake early on. it was easy to make, had the wow factor and solve my problem of having to buy cakes or just eat fruits after my homecooked dinners which i started in mar2012. 🙂

after that i tried apple pie. it was pretty good or at least ok, but if i also had to make the dough which i did, it was quite a bit of trouble, so i made about 3 apple pies & gave it up.

after a very long break, like almost 2 years since my first lava cake (& i also stopped lava cake for 9 months having gotten tired of it after serving it for many homecooked dinners), i tried a jam crumb cake which was pretty good as well, though it had far less wow factor. then in may2014, after buying the tofu cheesecake from sun with moon wheelock for my domestic helper’s birthday, i again chanced on a tofu cheese cake. it was easy too like the lava cake, all you have to do was blend. 🙂

so tofu cheese cake went on for couple of months, & i made it again for a friend’s party this evening. anyhow i was inspired by 1 of my wife’s friend who did an awesome tiramisu.

after googling for the recipe including videos recipes, i did my no-bake tiramisu for the very first time, and it turned out wonderfully the first time, on 26.7.2014. i was happy enough with it to serve it to my friends at a 11pax lobster menu dinner on 30.7.2014 & everyone simply swore by it, and according to one, it now displaced my lava cake & tofu cheese cake as his favourite, but you know often times it’s just a change, something new for the time. 🙂

tiramisu

tiramisu – a charming dessert

it was a surprise to me but as it turned out, tiramisu was the easiest of all the desserts i have made. 🙂

i used 1/2 portion of the video recipe i saw here.

i separated the egg yolks & white of 3 eggs. my son had bought me a hand mixer from UK when he was back in dec2013 & i decided to use it for the first time.

whisking the eggs to soft peaks was a breeze. 🙂 i added 2 tablespoon sugar as i whisked to soft peaks, as chef john of food wishes.com called, the shaving cream consistency. haha! 🙂

i added 250g mascarpone cheese to the yolks & whisked to get the nice custard. then i folded the meringue in 2 batches into the custard. that’s done.

i put 200ml freshly grounded expresso from my coffee machine in a flat dish & added 1.2 tablespoon of brandy (otard), 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence & 1 teaspoon sugar.

then i took the savoiardi finger biscuits & dipped them lightly in the expresso & lined one layer on the glass dish. i added 1/2 the custard then another layer & the custard again. i finished off by dusting cocoa powder through a sieve & then using a large knife scrapped the chocolate flakes from the back of a chocolate bar & added to the cake. then i left it in the fridge overnight.

tiramisu

tiramisu

tiramisu

tiramisu

tiramisu

tiramisu

tiramisu

tiramisu

tiramisu

tiramisu – a charming dessert

well the result was nothing less than sensational, not too sweet, nice expresso & liquor, and marvellously consistent malleable textured cake. 🙂

i think i know what’s the next cake i will try to make – a banoffee cake!

c.h.e.f andy

Ingredients –

  • 250g mascarpone cheese
  • 3 eggs separate into egg yolks & whites
  • 16 finger savoiardi biscuits
  • 200ml expresso
  • 4 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • default 2 tablespoon brandy (sometimes i use 4 tbsp or 60ml for some of my friends who love more brandy, haha!)^^

Directions –

  1. separate the egg yolks & whites of 3 eggs.
  2. using a hand mixer, whisk the eggs to soft peaks. add 2 tablespoon sugar as you whisk to soft peaks, as chef john of food wishes.com called, the shaving cream consistency.
  3. add 250g mascarpone cheese to the yolks & whisk to get the nice custard. then fold the meringue in 2 batches into the custard.
  4. put 200ml freshly grounded expresso in a flat dish & add 1.5 tablespoon of brandy (otard), 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence & 1 teaspoon sugar.
  5. then take the savoiardi finger biscuits & dip them lightly in the expresso & line one layer on the glass dish. add1/2 the custard then another layer of finger biscuits & the custard again. finish off by dusting cocoa powder through a sieve & then using a large knife scrap chocolate flakes from the back of a chocolate bar & add to the cake. then i leave it in the fridge overnight.