Monday, November 28, 2005

Back to Work!!

After a good break in Sydney and having just started a new job, i have finally found sometime to blog!

The Sydney trip was awesome! Despite my phobia of swimming in water with strong current due to an almost drowning incident as a child, I decided to take up surfing lessons at Manly Beach. The first lesson was traumatic for me, i could hardly swim or paddle on the board and after several tries and falling off and getting sucked under, I was not only exhausted but became paranoid that i will drown again. Disappointed and desperately determined to go home with at least the sheer satisfaction of standing on the board for a few seconds, I went back for a second lesson and it was a beautiful day to surf. The current was rather mild and great for beginners. And i did it.....just managed to half-stand on the board for 2 seconds before falling off again. I was overjoyed!! To me, that was enough.

Well, i didnt get a chance to really go around Sydney dining and wining but spent most of my time catching up with my friends there. But one thing i must share was my trip to Max Brenner chocolate in Chatswood Sydney. The warm chocolate dip with strawberries i tried was simply to die for! It was so good that i had TWO servings of the same thing. I think at one point in time, i actually told my friends that the chocolate was "better than sex"!! That was how awesome they were! The one they serve in Singapore's Max Brenner at The Esplanade is a far, far cry from what I have tried in Sydney. I thought that was rather disappointing as we dont have the same quality chocolate here in Singapore as served in Sydney. Some pictures to tempt you further.

I have not got my act together to start cooking or baking again. My weekends are dedicated to work and embarking on a strict exercise regime now that i am back into the Food & Beverage industry. My weight is strongly compromised! I am hoping to start entertaining at home again soon. Updates to come.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Playing Host again!

My love for playing host to dinner parties kicked in again lately and i went ahead to organise one last night inviting a couple of friends to come enjoy a night of home cooked food, wines and each other's awesome company.

The biggest satisfaction as a host is watching everyone having a great time, digging in and getting progressively drunk from the variety of drinks that were served whilst engaging in conversations with each other. I sat back and observed everyone last night totally indulging and heaved a sigh of relief....i can now relax and start eating and drinking myself!!!

It was a night i could not have done all by myself if not for the help of friends who contributed to the menu and the bar. Koko and hubby for their fabulous columbian creations, B&A for their lovely lovely fruit salad, Deetour chick for her every so yummy dessert she got for us at Island Creamery and everyone else who came with the alcoholic drinks.....! G, the grappa is an absolute KILLER but toooo good! I didnt remember anything after you guys left!!

OK, enough of hang-over banter, the menu as follows:

Salsa and Corn Chips
Grilled Scallops crusted with Almonds and Orange Sauce
Fennel & Tomato Soup
Tortilla with Potatoes
Roast Leg of Lamb with Rosemary, Thyme, Garlic
Island Creamery Ice-Cream Cakes
Grilled Scallops crusted with Almonds and Orange Sauce
400g Scallops
20g Almonds sliced and roasted
1 Orange, juice extracted
Salt & pepper to taste
50g Cold Butter
2 tbsp Coriander, chopped
Coriander leaves
Black Sesame seeds
Heat orange juice in a pot until it reduced by half and add salt and pepper to taste.
Stir in butter and bring everything to a quick boil. Remove from heat and add corainder. Set aside.
In a non-stick pan, sear scallops over very high heat for 10 sec or until browned on both sides.
Remove scallops from pan and coat with almonds.
Seive the orange juice mixture so it removes coriander and pulp from the juice.
Pour orange juice into small glasses. Pierce each scallop with a skewer and place 1 into each glass. Garnish with coriander, tobiko and black sesame seeds.
Fennel and Tomato Soup
4tbsp extra virgin oil
2 fennel bulbs, cored and thinly sliced
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small potato, cut into 1/4 inch/6mm cubes
1 400g can of plum tomatoes
6 cups/1.35litres light chicken stock/broth
salt & black pepper
In a large pot, heat the oil over medium high heat and add the fennel, onion and potato.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and allow the vegetables to sweat for 10min, taking care not to let them brown.
Add the tomatoes and cook for 10min more.
Stir in the chicken stock; bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 1 hour.
Remove the pot from the heat and let the soup cool for a few minutes. Transfer the mix to the belnder and working in batches to avoid accidents, puree until smooth.
Return to the pot, bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, season with salt and pepper.
To serve, drizzle some basil oil over the top.
didnt get to the lamb in time before it got carved!
Roast Leg of Lamb with Rosemary, Thyme, Garlic
2.6kg Boneless Leg of Lamb (for ease of carving, the one i got from Swiss Butchery was an awesome piece!)
12 cloves of sliced garlic
a handful of Thyme
2 springs Rosemary
sea salt flakes
ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
To marinate the lamb, using a small knife, make small incisions to the fat side of the lamb and insert a sliced garlic in. Repeat the process all around this side of the lamb.
Bruise both rosemary and thyme to release the flavour and then massage in sea salt and ground pepper combined with olive oil on both sides of the lamb.
Cling wrap the lamb and leave it overnight in the fridge.
To cook; Pre heat oven at 180 degrees C.
Drizzle some more olive oil over the top of the lamb.
Roast for 1 hour and a half (for medium doners, lesser if you prefer medium rare), fat side first then turning it over to cook under-side during half time.
All in all, i was very happy with the quality of the meat from Swiss Butcher. At first i was worried that there may be too much meat, we finished the entire thing leaving only 1 or 2 pieces!!
Other images from the party....
Am off to Sydney tomorrow for a week of infinite partying and eating! Will update you guys soon.....