Yuzu Cheese Cake

yuzu cheese cake

yuzu cheese cake

the other day my good friends & mei mei bought a dinner for my wife & i at imperial court restuarant.

they also bought a nice yuzu cheese cake from cat & the fiddle..

yuzu cheese cake

yuzu cheese cake

yuzu cheese cake

yuzu cheese cake

i already make a good tofu cheese cake.

cat & the fiddle’s yuzu cheese cake was very nice with distinct yuzu flavours but not really that much different, so i thought i should be able to make one quite easily.

gold citron tea yuzu jam

gold citron tea yuzu jam

gold citron tea yuzu jam

gold citron tea yuzu jam

the main ingredient missing was yuzu, so i went to phoon huat & got a bottle of citron tea yuzu jam (which looks much like orange marmalade but with yuzu flavours), about 580g costing S$7.95

yuzu cheese cake

yuzu cheese cake

i varied my tofu cheese cake recipe, dropping the tofu & increasing the yogurt. i added 2.5heap tbsp of the yuzu jam, and reduced sugar from 4.5tbsp to 2 tbsp. it’s a bit of a experimentation, basically to taste as i blend.

the result was a pretty good yuzu cheese cake, tangy, light & refreshing.

c.h.e.f andy

Ingredients:

  • 105g digestive biscuits (7 pieces)
  • 60g melted butter – i used unsalted
  • 250g cream cheese (cut to 2cm pieces)
  • 280g plain yogurt (2x140ml yogurt cups)
  • 100ml whipping cream
  • 30g Sugar
  • 40ml yuzu jam (to taste)
  • 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 3 tsp gelatin powder (15g)
  • 50ml warm water

Directions:

  1. put a wax paper over the bottom then tighten the springform cake pan & ensure bottom is smooth.
  2. put digestive biscuits in ziploc bag & break & roll to powder. melt butter in microwave (40sec) & add to biscuits. mix well then empty into cake pan. spread evenly to form an uniform flat base. put in fridge.
  3. add plain yogurt, cream cheese, whipping cream, yuzu jam, lemon juice & sugar to a blender, pulse & blend
  4. add 3 tsp gelatin powder to 50ml hot water & stir to dissolve completely (i heat another 30sec in microwave to help dissolve). add to blender & blend.
  5. empty into the cake pan & place in fridge for 4hrs. when serving release the springform & remove from the bottom. voila!

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

6pax Homecooked Course Dinner on 9Jul2015

flamed squid in spinach veloute

#1 flamed squid in spinach veloute

did a 6pax homecooked sit-down dinner for my close friends on 9.7.2015.^^

had been doing the buffet style (which is still the more logistically optimised) for larger group of friends. since my helper is away back in philippines for 1 month break, it was easier to do a small group of 6pax, which allows me to pick dishes to be served course by course.

my first course was #1 flamed squid in spinach veloute. i flamed the squid, then fried in butter. when serving i heat up the veloute, plated the sauce, added the flamed squid & topped with a coriander branch. 🙂

i did this very well also for my early home anniversary dinner for 4pax on 28.5.2015.

flamed squid in spinach veloute

#1 flamed squid in spinach veloute

this was the best for the evening. everyone loved the bbq flavour. i was a bit worried it might be overcooked but squid turned out  just nice, succulent, not rubbery.  veloute was excellent very tasty, and plating did make a big difference! 🙂

chicken ballotine, head cheese terrine (猪头冻) & ragout of pig's ear on toast

#2 chicken ballotine, head cheese terrine (猪头冻) & ragout of pig’s ear on toast

i should have insisted to plate the second course #2 chicken ballotine, head cheese terrine (猪头冻) & ragout of pig’s ear on toast. my friends were extremely helpful & wanted to lessen the effort for me.

chicken ballotine, head cheese terrine (猪头冻) & ragout of pig's ear on toast

chicken ballotine, head cheese terrine (猪头冻) & ragout of pig’s ear on toast

all 3 were my quite new experimental dishes. i am planning to do them at the next larger dinner on 6.8.2015.

1. the ragout of pig’s ears was excellent, best of the trio. this i recreated with my own recipe modelling after the signature dish at the fabulous lunch @ Dinner by Heston Blumenthal.

2. the pig’s head meat was excellent too. the jelly, gelatine was awesome. the meat & skin were ok, but head cheese is harder to prepare than belly or trotters, so though i did scrap the skin to remove the hairs, they were not thoroughly removed. i will have to decide which meat to use for this dish.

3. the chicken ballotine was poor though. basically i had over-steamed the meat, so it was “old” and not so tasty & bouncy. the successful ones i did were here.

rockets & cherry tomatoes salad to go with tapas

rockets & cherry tomatoes salad to go with tapas

i mixed some rockets & cherry tomatoes salad to go with tapas dish. again i think the dish would be much better presented if i plated it myself. this i plan to do at the next dinner. 🙂

carrot soup

#3 carrot soup

the #3 carrot soup was very smooth & tasty. it was done with 2 carrots, and lots of vegetables for tasty soup base – 1 stalk leek, 1 red pepper, 1 yellow onions, and the leftover spinach stems (from the spinach veloute).

i added some brandy so there was a good slight liquor flavour.

i was worried that the sharp carrot taste was too strong, but my friends did not feel so.

carrot soup

#3 carrot soup

one friend thought it was too creamy. i think overall it was a very good smooth & tasty soup, and looked lovely too.^^

calamari & oyster fritters

#4 calamari & oyster fritters

i had some #4 calamari & oyster fritters to go with the soup. this was troublesome to do as i had to do the deep frying at the time i am serving the soup. i am going to skip this dish the next time. 🙂

calamari & oyster fritters

#4 calamari & oyster fritters

i think my calamari was not dry enough when i prepare the batter. also because it was rushed when i first started deep-frying the first piece, the oil was not hot enough.

also the oyster did not taste the best this evening, not quite sure why.

prawns to go with fungi linguine

#5 prawns to go with fungi linguine

the #5 prawns to go with fungi linguine were excellent though, very nicely done, fresh, bouncy, good flavours.

creamy mushroom onion sauce for fungi linguine

creamy mushroom onion sauce for fungi linguine

#5 fungi linguine was excellent too.

looked just perfect.

pan-fried prawns served with fungi linguine

pan-fried prawns served with fungi linguine

& tasted wonderful.

my friends made very good plating for this dish.

pan-fried prawns served with fungi linguine

pan-fried prawns served with fungi linguine

i intend to plate it myself the next round though, for 10pax on 6.8.2015. my helper would be back then. 🙂

squid ink risotto

#6 squid ink risotto

the #6 squid ink risotto was kind of a small disaster. haha! 🙂

i used 5 ink pouches from 5 small/medium squid but they had very little ink.

a friend took the trouble to go to 3 super marts to get for me last minute additional squids, but still with 5 more ink pouches, it didn’t do enough for my squid ink risotto.

also this dish was rushed because the extra squid ink came only when friends arrived for dinner, it was out of sequence with my usual preparation timing & steps & took a long time doing it after serving the #5 course.

i was lazy to go chinatown to buy the large flat cuttlefish which has lots of ink. so sometimes have to improve decision making. it may appear troublesome to do, but it is a lot more troublesome not doing it.

so much for the negative demonstration, for the right way see my squid ink risotto par excellence here.^^

i bought 1 2kg maoshanwang猫山王 + 2 D-24 durians for the evening (unfortunately we gobbled it up before taking photos). the D-24 were pretty good, but maoshanwang猫山王 was crazy, so creamy, tasty, very small seeds & lots of seeds for 2kg.

i had a tofu cheese cake just for backup. anyway we decided not to eat it & 3 friends each carried a piece back home. it’s a cake they all like anyway.

a friend brought angkukueh, & others brought cherries & lychees. 🙂

while there were hiccups it did not diminish any of the fun. overall the dishes were pretty good or ok & everyone had a good time! ^^

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

Shiok Home Lunch for 9pax Friends on 9Mar2015

did an interesting & fun 9pax lunch for my RI friends on 9.3.2015. ^^

this time i did –

  1. “hong lim FC curry chicken noodles”
  2. chilli crab angel hair w/o crab
  3. crabless beehoon (with prawns & large oysters)
  4. a char siew pork neck & curry miso belly pork (both first try)
achar

achar

a friend brought very nice appetising achar made by his m-i-l.

i started the 2 dishes – crabless beehoon & chilli crab angel hair pasta when all my friends arrived at 1pm+.

all the ingredients were ready, so i just fried chopped shallots, garlic, chilli padi & sliced ginger to get a fragrant aroma then added & fried the beehoon which were softened in water. i then added the intense prawn stock & prawns (with shell) & the chinese cabbage & reduced under high fire. i added oyster sauce & corn flour & when almost done, i added the large oysters & some cooked prawns (shelled) which i had earlier fried in butter. voila!^^

it was delicious! the beehoon was well infused with very intense shellfish stock. prawns & oysters were plump & tasty. 🙂

chilli crab angel hair pasta was the easiest to do. i had earlier browned some garlic cloves in olive oil, & so emptied these to the pan. then i added the prepared chilli crab sauce & brought to boil (i was distracted & forgot to add an egg which is standard for chilli crab). then i added the angel hair & same pre butter-fried prawns, off the fire & tossed. then topped with fresh basil front he garden. that’s all to it!^^

the angel hair was great in soaking up the chilli crab sauce. my friends liked this dish a lot. 🙂

for the “hong lim FC curry chicken noodles”, this had to be served last. first its stronger taste would mask the other 2 dishes. second, it has to be served hot in individual bowls – would be completely cold after all the group photos etc.

1 of the key ingredient was the poached chicken 白斩鸡. & my was really good, among the best.^^

noodles, fishcake,bean sprouts

noodles, fishcake,bean sprouts

curry for curry chicken noodles

curry for curry chicken noodles

the curry was more difficult, but on this second try, i think it was quite close to the real thing.

i am benchmarking hong lim FC ah heng curry chicken noodles. i have to say between the 2, i will still go for ah heng’s, but mine was pretty close la… 🙂

my close friend’s brother just started a prawn noodle stall Why Eat Har last week, and some of us had already tried it.

i was sharing that it was such a difficult thing to achieve. for me, his prawn noodles was already among the best & serving in large volume to paying customers, but for me, i can get close to ah heng’s curry chicken noodles but still not quite!

char siew was 1st time using pork neck & also this preparation. char siew sauce was the same recipe i used previously but i used slow cooking for 8 hrs in the oven (at 90degC for 2 hrs and 80degC for 6hrs), then browned slightly at 250degC for 15mins.

char siew was flavourful & tender. many friends did like the taste, but i felt it was not anywhere near a good quality char siew, so i may experiment a bit more with it.

curry miso belly pork

curry miso belly pork

curry miso belly pork

curry miso belly pork

the curry miso belly pork was edible but many things were wrong with it. i made a very good curry miso lamb recently (1st try) so had wanted to experiment on belly pork.  for the lamb i added stock & vegetables & the result was like a casserole, very flavourful, tender & moist. but i decided to do this using just the dry rub. the result was the skin was tough not quite edible & the curry taste was too strong & not moderated with the miso & vegetable sweetness. got to rework this.

strawberries

strawberries

we had my usual tofu cheese cake which everyone loved, and strawberries brought by our usual strawberry supplier.

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

Wonderful Homecooked 11pax Dinner on 22Jan2015

wife's pumpkin tofu salad

#1 wife’s pumpkin tofu salad

made 1 of my best dinners on 22.1.2015. ^^

invited a few close friends. my weekly running partner brought his son, and my dentist friend brought his daughter.

also invited my god sis & her husband.

this time, i reverted to a sit-down course dinner. for a start, i served 3 dishes as tapas.

#1 we had an excellent pumpkin tofu salad. this was my wife’s creation. my helper toasted the pumpkin & fried & cut the tofu & mixed in the extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt & agave nectar the night before, and my wife tossed in the rockets just before starting dinner. 🙂

miso cod

miso cod

#2 miso cod is my god sis’ favourite. she mentioned it so many times. ^^

i have not made it for a long time as my wife prefers the texture & taste of plain grilled cod. i had it in the oven for a tad too long but managed to rescue it, only had to take off most of the skin. still it was excellent to my taste, both the firmer texture & also the miso flavour. my god sis liked it very much & had 2 servings. i liked it as much as the plain grilled cod & slightly better than my teriyaki cod. this dish was prior done about 1 hr before dinner.

#3 the tagliata di manzo (using 150D grain-fed ribeye) was really quite excellent this evening, very well charred for maillard reaction. i did the steak only when all guests had arrived. also seasoning the rockets & cherry tomatoes with olive oil & balsamic vinegar was done just before plating & serving so they would not be soggy. plating was a bit rushed & not ideal this evening.

#4 after the 3 tapas, i served the lobster bisque, very nice mellow & intense flavours with good amount of brandy, not too creamy. very nice. my friend’s daughter took a second serving.

#5 lamb is usually not such a favourite among my dinner guests, but my friend’s daughter loves lamb, so i did 1/2 a rack of pistachio crusted lamb. i bought at mmmm at west coast plaza & the lady instead of cutting 1/2 rack started to cut out 2 slices before i could stopped her. so i had to improvise & used a kitchen twine to hold the 1/2rack together. again i have not done this for a while but the rack turned out very well. i managed to cut 5 pieces. my friend’s daughter had 2 helpings, my friend’s son & another 2 friends had the lamb.

lobster spaghetti

lobster spaghetti

#6 lobster spaghetti was just splendid this evening! very tasty & good chunks of lobster meat (i used 2x375g frozen lobster from cold storage). the lobster head & tomalley (liver etc) were excellent. i thought though using capellini (angel hair) i did previously would be better both in looks & texture.

"monterosso miky" seafood risotto

“monterosso miky” seafood risotto

#7 my own version of  “monterosso miky” seafood risotto was wonderful this evening. very very tasty, with excellent lobster & prawn stock balanced with lots of vegetables. the carnaroli rice i bought at stresa, lake maggiore was excellent & the texture was just al dente. 🙂

squid ink manila clams with squid spaghetti

squid ink manila clams with squid spaghetti

#8 the squid ink pasta was also very good. i had squid & lots of manila clams which were plump & succulent. i agreed with my wife though that the manila clams were much better done the asian zi char style with curry leaves & olive oil, & lose some of the distinct taste & flavours, and tasted only like good littleneck clams “la la” in this preparation.

japanese A4 wagyu - this was soooo good.

#9 japanese A4 wagyu – this was soooo good.

japanese A4 wagyu

japanese A4 wagyu

#9 i had a japanese A4 wagyu which was better served as a separate dish than together with the tagliata di manzo & rockets. the 150D grain fed ribeye earlier was very good, but this was par excellence!^^

#10 we rounded off with my tofu cheese cake, as good as always. ^^ wonderfully light texture, mildly sweet sour with lumen juice, yogurt, whipped cream, silken tofu & cream cheese, & a nice biscuit base.

i was just happy to have the cosy, warm get-together with my close friends, and very happy & satisfied with the dishes & dinner. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Strawberry Cheese Cake

strawberry cheese cake

strawberry cheese cake

made my first strawberry cheese cake last evening on 8.12.2014. 🙂

enjoyed a very nice deconstructed strawberry cheese cake at relish gardens on 1.12.2014 (sorry, that’s the only thing i like there).

deconstructed strawberry cheese cake

relish’s deconstructed strawberry cheese cake

a word about relish’s deconstructed strawberry cheese cake (in above photo) –

the biscuit base had a feel of caramel, very nice. the strawberries were caramelised. the cheesecake was delicious & there was a dollop of cream on top, the peak of decadence…

i looked through quite many online recipes. could not take to any of them, so decided to experiment my own concoction recipe.

i was aiming to experiment the right taste & texture first then later deconstruct them & put them together when serving. 🙂

strawberry cheese cake

strawberry cheese cake

i used the same 8in spring-form for my tofu cheesecake. i decided to use the same 7 digestive (105g) & 60g unsalted butter for biscuit base. this time i added 2 tablespoon of caramel (leftover from banoffee cake preparation). so i melted/softened the butter & caramel & added the digestive crumbs & mixed thoroughly. i also added 1 teaspoon of finely minced ginger.

i then pressed the “wet sand’ mixture into the spring-form lined with parchment paper. then placed it in the fridge.

strawberry cheese cake

strawberry cheese cake

i did not bake the biscuit base. the biscuit flavours came out quite well. the texture was a bit softer than my usual biscuit base…my daughter was very apt in the description – she said the biscuit base held together i.e. was solid but texture was like “lao hong” & not crunchy.

so maybe i will try baking the base next time, and then break into small pieces for deconstructed cake. ^^

strawberry cheese cake

strawberry cheese cake

i blended 200g cream cheese & 200g chopped strawberries in the blender & added 2 tablespoon brown sugar. then i added 2 eggs. i emptied the custard mix into the cake tin & baked it in a preheated 180degC oven for 30mins (same as for my pumpkin cheese cake). the set aside to cool down.

i did not have sour cream so i used whipping cream (with 1teaspoon brown sugar) & whisked to soft peaks. this can be added separately for the deconstructed version.

then into the fridge overnight.

i caramelised some fresh strawberries with 1 tablespoon brown sugar on a pan. when cool, added to garnish the cake.

strawberry cheese cake

strawberry cheese cake

strawberry cheese cake

strawberry cheese cake

strawberry cheese cake

strawberry cheese cake

i like the cake. can be improved of course! ^^

the taste was not as fragrant as my pumpkin cheese cake. the texture was less confirm & consistent. pumpkin cheese cake was overall a better cake c/w this version.

maybe i need to fold in some whipped cream to this custard mix.

having a family dinner on christmas eve, so will experiment a deconstructed version. ^^

c.h.e.f andy

Ingredients:

  • 7 digestive biscuit (105g)
  • 60g melted butter
  • cream cheese -200g
  • fresh strawberries about 200g (cut small pieces)
  • 2 tbsp flat + 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 250ml sour cream
  • 2 eggs

Directions:

  1. biscuit base – make the usual biscuit base with 7 digestive biscuit (105g) crushed to sandy texture in a ziploc bag, then add to 60g melted butter & 2 tbsp caramel & 1 tsp ground ginger and mixed thoroughly. press the “wet sand’ mixture in a 8″ (20cm) spring-form cake tin lined with parchment paper. then place it in the fridge.
  2. cut in small pieces 200g fresh strawberries. add 200g cream cheese & 2 tbsp flat brown sugar & blend in blender. add 1 egg at a time, & blend. then whisk 250g sour cream to soft peaks & add 1 tsp brown sugar.
  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. caramelise 6 large strawberries cut in 1/2 with 1 tbsp brown sugar in pan. when cool, place on top of cake to garnish.

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.

12-course Homecooked Dinner for 9pax on 15Jul2014

#1 cured salmon

#1 cured salmon

an update for memories.

did a 12-course chinese dinner for friends on 15.7.2014. what’s notable this time were 3 new dishes – salted egg prawns,  steamed japanese seabass 小黄鱼 & seafood fried rice. dishes all good, except lava cake was disaster as lava cake though taste was good (for a brownie…haha..). 🙂

#2 steamed oyster with light soy sauce & olive oil

#2 steamed oyster with light soy sauce & olive oil

#1 cured salmon & #2 steamed oysters were quite new dishes too, served for the first time during my recent lake como, cinque terre, milan grand tour tasting menu for RI friends on 2.7.2014.

the very fresh salmon fillet was bought on the day itself & brined in salt & sugar solution for 4 hours. nice colour & tasty.

the large oysters were IQF (individual quick frozen) from sheng shiong just S$11.95 for 1 kg pack, steamed with 2 teaspoon light soy sauce, 2 tablespoon olive oil, sliced ginger & chilli padi for 2 minutes.

#3 poached kampong chicken

#3 poached kampong chicken

#3 poached kampong chicken was quite sweet & tasty. this time though the chicken tasted a bit gamey. i used kampong chicken from sheng shiong for the first time couple weeks back. no gamey taste then.

#4 盐水鸭 spicy dry brined duck

#4 盐水鸭 spicy dry brined duck

#4 盐水鸭 was dry brined with sichuan spicy chilli sauce, sugar & various spices for 48hrs, simmered for 15minutes & poached for 1/2 hour. it was tender & tasty. i liked it. 🙂

#5 蒜泥白肉 sichuan spicy garlic pork belly

#5 蒜泥白肉 sichuan spicy garlic pork belly

#5 蒜泥白肉 sichuan spicy chilli sauce

#5 蒜泥白肉 sichuan spicy chilli sauce

#5 蒜泥白肉 – the pork belly was done 5hrs using the crockpot braising method starting cold & on low, so the very slow braise from slow rising temperature produced a very tender belly pork, thinly sliced & drizzled with the mildly sweet sichuan spicy sauce, which was key in this preparation. this was a crowd favourite. 🙂

#6 miso lamb

#6 miso lamb

#6 miso lamb was the best i did, better than the last 2 times & w/o the gamey taste. 3 day miso marinade & 5hrs in 90degC oven. many liked this. 🙂

#7 shorthand buddha jump over the wall

#7 shorthand buddha jump over the wall

#7  the poor man’s buddha jumps over the wall was another favourite. this time (also last 11pax dinner on 14.6.2014) was the best. it had very tender pig trotters & belly pork, thick mushrooms & limpets. 🙂

#8 salted egg prawns

#8 salted egg prawns

#8 salted egg prawns. was quite excited doing this for very first time. prawns was deep-fried. paste was done using salted duck egg york, curry leaves & milk. prawns were very fresh but less crispy as it was done at 4pm like 4hrs before serving & set aside with paste added on in pan before serving. too much milk, paste not viscous enough & salted egg flavour was too dilute. will improve next time. 🙂

#9 steamed japnese seabass 小黄鱼

#9 steamed japanese seabass 小黄鱼

#9 steamed japanese seabass – another first time dish, basically repeating the steamed oysters method on the fish, using light soy sauce, olive oil, sliced ginger , orange peel & chilli padi. quite successful this one, fish very fresh & tasty w/o fishy taste (even though the fish was frozen for more than 1 month in freezer). 🙂

#10 fermented bean curd romaine lettuce

#10 fermented bean curd romaine lettuce

#10 romaine lettuce was good as usual. 🙂

#11 seafood fried rice

#11 seafood fried rice

imperial treasure lamian xiaolongbao seafood fried rice

crystal jade lamian xiaolongbao seafood fried rice

#11 seafood fried rice was another new dish, and it turned out to be a crowd favourite also. 🙂

buttered prawns & sotong were done separately. the key was again the sichuan spicy chilli sauce. rice was also pre- fried & set aside. when serving, rice was returned to pan then seafood added, heat & served. 🙂

no comparison with the real thing of course – seafood fried rice from crystal jade lamian xiaolongbao! haha. 🙂

tofu cheese cake

tofu cheese cake

#12 tofu cheese cake was good as usual. 🙂

chocolate lava cake

chocolate lava cake

lava cake was outright bad though even if the taste of the “brownie” it became was good. 😦

not much lava leh, even though i followed the same timing as my much earlier efforts (checked back the records, last time was on 28.8.2014) which were mostly good ones much also had a few failures then.

mango flan

mango flan

friends brought a very nice mango flan, small seeded lychees & strawberries. 🙂

a very fun evening get-together! 🙂

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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11pax Homecooked 11-course Family Birthday Dinner on 14.6.2014

chicken rice chicken 白斩鸡

chicken rice chicken 白斩鸡

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

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

chicken rice chicken 白斩鸡

#1 chicken rice chicken 白斩鸡

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

dry salt spice brined duck 盐水鸭

#2 dry salt spice brined duck 盐水鸭

dry salt spice brined duck 盐水鸭

#2 dry salt spice brined duck 盐水鸭

dry salt spice brined duck 盐水鸭

#2 dry salt spice brined duck 盐水鸭

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

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

"sous vide" char siew

#3 “sous vide” char siew

"sous vide" char siew

#3 “sous vide” char siew

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

spicy garlic pork 蒜泥白肉

#4 spicy garlic pork 蒜泥白肉

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

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

miso lamb shoulder chop

#5 miso lamb shoulder chop

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

pesto spaghetti with grilled eggplant, zucchini & mushrooms

pesto spaghetti with grilled eggplant, zucchini & mushrooms

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

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

fried large prawns with leek

#6 fried large prawns with leek

fried large prawns with leek

#6 fried large prawns with leek

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

poor man's buddha jump over the wall

#7 poor man’s buddha jump over the wall

poor man's buddha jump over the wall

#7 poor man’s buddha jump over the wall

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

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

fermented bean curd raomaine lettuce 腐乳油麦菜

#9 fermented bean curd romaine lettuce 腐乳油麦菜

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

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

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

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

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

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

tofu cheese cake

#11 tofu cheese cake

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

c.h.e.f andy

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

orh luah (oyster egg)

orh luah (oyster egg)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

beef soup noodles

beef soup noodles

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

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

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

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

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

a most enjoyable evening!

c.h.e.f andy

Tofu Cheese Cake

tofu cheese cake

tofu cheese cake

had an excellent birthday dinner at sun with moon @ wheelock for my domestic help on 16.5.2014 & bought back a tofu cheese cake as her birthday cake. 🙂

it was really good. we enjoyed it so much i decided to try making one myself.

i googled & found a very simple & truly wonderful no bake tofu cheese cake recipe. i had frequent homecooked dinner for friends & overly relied on my chocolate lava cake for dessert. i tried apple pie couple times & though it was ok there was no wow factor, nothing exciting. tofu cheese cake sounds exciting (at least to me & my children!) so i thought i would give it a try.

tofu cheese cake

tofu cheese cake

tofu cheese cake

tofu cheese cake

tofu cheese cake

tofu cheese cake

tofu cheese cake

tofu cheese cake

tofu cheese cake

tofu cheese cake

tofu cheese cake

tofu cheese cake

it was really a simple easy to make recipe & it turned out, well, ever so delicious & pretty too! 🙂

1 practical logistic problem was i could not find a 6″=15cm spring form cake pan with bottom release. anyway i did not know what it was until i googled. i found a 8in=20cm one at phoon huat at clementi avenue 3 costing S$7.90 so i bought it.

as the recipe was for the 15cm cake i basically doubled the recipe quantities.

go try yourself. enjoy!

c.h.e.f andy

Ingredients:

  • 105g digestive biscuits (7 pieces)
  • 60g melted butter – i used unsalted
  • 200g cream cheese (cut to 2cm pieces)
  • 200g silken tofu (cut to 2cm pieces)
  • 200g plain yogurt
  • 100ml whipping cream
  • 60g Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 3 tsp gelatin powder (15g)
  • 50ml warm water

Directions:

  1. put a wax paper over the bottom then tighten the springform cake pan & ensure bottom is smooth.
  2. put digestive biscuits in ziploc bag & break & roll to powder. melt butter in microwave (40sec) & add to biscuits. mix well then empty into cake pan. spread evenly to form an uniform flat base. put in fridge.
  3. add plain yogurt, tofu, cream cheese, whipping cream, lemon juice & sugar to a blender, pulse & blend
  4. add 3 tsp gelatin powder to 50ml warm water & stir to dissolve completely. add to blender & blend.
  5. empty into the cake pan & place in fridge for 4hrs. when serving release the springform & remove from the bottom. voila!