Finally. A hectic week of living in a dingy backpacker’s room for a week + me screwing up my computer + school +work have come to an end. All that crap just meant I didn’t have any time at all to update the blog. Till now. I’m living in a dingy house, my computer’s still screwed up and I’ve packed my stuff away and found some time.

Here’s the results of my first experiment, where I conned some mates into eating food cooked by my own pair’o’hands. I had wanted to go with this 3 course, plated service thing just because that’s what I’d been doing for so long. But my dad wanted some soup and I ended up putting a few little extras. We ended up having a Chinese-y dinner ultimately. Excuse the excessive blur filter my brother appliqued on the photos.

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First up, was an amuse bouche made of stock jelly from the pre experiment testing phase. Its basically pork stock colored with dark soy. This went together with this clam soup that my dad made that was pretty much konbu stock with clams and tofu.

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Then we had the entree, Calamansi Prawns with Pickled Radish and Cucumber. I just wanted something bright to start out with, so I went with calamansi something. I think its because I miss my mother’s lime juice, which she used to painstakingly make by squeezing 1 million calamansis to make just 1 glass at her father’s coffeeshop back in the 70s/80s. The cucumber and radish my family had been chomping down so I think it was a natural thing I wanted to have. I just made long thin strips with my MUJI peeler that I forgot to bring back, pickled them in a bit of calamansi juice with salt and finishing with sesame oil. I sauteed the marinated prawns with salt and pepper then topped it all off with some fried leek from my excess mire poix.

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Next, the main, Chinese Pork Trotter Roulade with Spinach & Enoki Mushrooms. I made a mire poix of leek and onions and sweat it off on a roasting pan. I laid out pork trotters and filled it up with chicken stock, water and a splash of dark soy. To this, I added some pears, almonds, star anise, cassia bark, red dates and cloves.

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Then I covered the tray with foil and off they went into the oven. 6 hours at 140 degrees celsius, with me flipping the trotters at the halfway mark. When the time was up, I took em out and set them aside to cool, before prying the skin off, trying my best to keep them whole. These I laid flat and chilled. Doing this would let them firm up and make them way more workable. The flesh I peeled clean off the bone. I set aside these bigger, whole pieces of muscle, some of which had the end bit of the achilles tendon on. They would go into the stock as a dish by themselves, a reminder of the classic Chinese version of what I was trying to remake. The rest of the fat/meat/tendon/gelatin I mashed up and seasoned.

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I then laid out the pork skins, put the stuffing on top in a line, followed by some blanched spinach and enoki mushrooms. Then I trussed everything up with my dad’s help and they got seared in a pan to finish. Afterwhich it was time to slice and serve in a pool of reduced stock.

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I blame the crappy knives my family has and their lack of oil filters for the incompetency displayed above. Also, I would like to opine that my brother should stop shaking his hands. Still, at least it all tasted good. Another good thing was also serving rice and extra spinach so everyone was actually fed.

Then came dessert after a series of sakes and wine. You’ll have to believe me when I say it was a Banana Semifreddo since I have no pictures of it. The inspiration being the name of the street my house was situated on. It used to be a banana plantation back in the day. My street, Lorong Pisang Emas, took its name from the small golden bananas used for deep frying into goreng pisang. I sent that out with some half caramelized bananas because the stove went on strike. Here’s some photos of a lump free sabayon, chopped almonds and banana slices that formed part of it.

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End of the day/night, I think I enjoyed myself immensely, even if I knew I had a long long way to go. I really liked the main, which I paid the most attention to. The way I did it, it managed to be rather delicate in terms of flavor. I think adding the spices, almonds and pears gave good body to the flavor. I hope my friends went away less hungry than when they’d arrived. I know I’ve learnt a few things from this exercise alone. Most importantly that I need to get one person with a decent camera to document everything I’m doing because greasy fingers + camera = gross.

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