Chicken gravy for roast chicken (without drippings)

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The title is a lie, you DO need drippings for a good gravy, but it doesn’t have to come from the actual roast that you make on the day itself.  This gravy can be prepared beforehand in preparation for the big roast dinner. I think doing it this way is better than taking the drippings from the actual roast on the day itself for three reasons. 1) You’d have to roast the chicken long enough for brown bits to stick to and accumulate at the bottom, resulting in an overcooked/dry roast. 2) Without those brown bits, your gravy wouldn’t have that tasty chicken flavour to it. I roasted my chicken to tender perfection, but I failed to get any delicious tasting gravy from the drippings in the pan. 3) It is a pain making gravy from scratch, so making more at one time wouldn’t hurt. Thus, in my amateurish opinion, do make the gravy beforehand. Ingredients

  • 3 pounds chicken wings (and chicken giblet/neck/bones if you have them)
  • 2.5 cups of stock
  • Dash of white wine (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1-2 tbsp flour (depending how thick you like your gravy)

Ingredients for the chicken stock 

  • 1 large white onion sliced into half
  • 1-2 sticks of celery, chopped into large pieces
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2-3 chicken thighs and bones

First, you’ll need to make chicken stock if you didn’t have it already. Boil some water in a pot and lower the chicken into it and simmer for 3-5 minutes to get rid of the blood and impurities in the chicken parts. Drain the chicken, and add the onions, celery and bay leaf. Add enough water to cover the chicken. Turn up the heat to medium and leave this to simmer for about an hour or so, until the liquid has reduced to about half or slightly more. Season with salt and pepper and taste. It should by this time have that delicious chicken flavour infused with the sweetness of the celery and onions. Cover and set aside.Season the chicken wings generously with salt and pepper and place in a cast iron pan/roasting pan.Roast the chicken wings on high heat at 215 degrees celsius in the oven for about 1-1.5 hours until they turn brown (and those delicious brown bits have started sticking to the pan).  Remove chicken wings (you can enjoy them on its own while you prepare the gravy)  Place the pan with the drippings onto the stove on medium high heat and deglaze with a little white wine, and a cup of the stock. Scrape the pan to get all the brown bits off the pan and into the stock. Reduce the liquid to about half (I always eyeball it, I know, that’s really bad of me).  As for the remaining stock, add the flour to it and mix it in well and good while the stock is cool. This will ensure that there are no flour lumps in your gravy). Pour the remaining stock and flour mixture into the pan with the drippings and stir until the gravy has thickened. This would probably take a few minutes.Strain the gravy with a sieve and that’s it! Good to go. As you can see, my gravy is on the thin side, might need to add more flour as I added less than a tablespoon to it.

Whole Roast Chicken and Roast Chicken Thighs

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Roast chicken dinner for the family! There’s nothing quite like a full roast at the dining table… and no, Nandos and Kenny Rogers do not count. Roasting a whole chicken (or just the thighs as I will show later on in this post) is actually easier than one would think.

Fresh out of the oven and piping hot, it releases a perfumed steam as you cut into the juicy roast. Absolutely divine.
My shopping haul XD. So without further ado, the ingredients:-

Ingredients (for just 1 roast chicken, you can double it if your family is as greedy as mine)

  • 1.7kg whole chicken
  • 25g salted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary (or whichever herbs you prefer)
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thmye
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 medium white onion
  • 1 stalk of celery of around 10 inches, chopped into large sections (optional)
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • salt
  • black pepper

Instructions

In a small bowl, combine the butter, chopped thyme, rosemary and garlic to form the compound herb butter.
  To prep the chicken, remove feet, giblets, head, neck and internal organs. Give the chicken a rinse and then pat it dry with some paper towels.
Gently separate the skin from the meat of the breast and spread the herb butter on the meat underneat the skin. If you can get to it, try to spread it onto a part of the thighs as well. Take the remaining butter and rub the skin (do it as gently as possible so the skin does not break. It is very important to keep the skin intact and whole). Rub some salt and black pepper onto the entire surface of the chicken, including the cavity of the chicken. If you’re prepping the chicken the night before, cover the chicken with cling wrap and refrigerate it. Some would condone leaving the chicken uncovered for crispier skin but I just can’t bear the thought of food exposed in the fridge!

Take the chicken out of the fridge an hour before cooking. This makes for tender chicken and even cooking throughout the bird.
  Stuff the cavity with the onion, celery and 1 sprig each of the thyme and rosemary. Here I had stuffed a lemon into the chicken but I’d much prefer the onion and celery option.
Scatter the remaining herbs on top and it’s good to go into the oven!  
Into the oven they go at 205 degrees celsius.   Roast for around 1.5 hours, basting the chicken in its own juices every half an hour.
And there you have it,  a hearty roast chicken that’s ready to be eaten with a variety of side dishes, as can be seen in the picture below!   Roasted some vegetables (recipe to come), made some mushroom soup, lobster pasta, cauliflower cheese (recipe to come) and pomme puree (recipe to come) as well as gravy to go with the chicken.

My sister also made some excellent focaccia bread to go with aged balsamic vinegar. I’m going to nick the recipe off her as well!
  Complete roast chicken dinner.

Roast Chicken Thighs

This is a good alternative when cooking for 1-2 people or if you simply prefer the thigh meat.  Clean the chicken and pat dry. You can use the chicken straight away but I prefer to make it look … somewhat more posh and french.   With reference to the above picture, I cut around the bone near the end of the drumstick. What happens is that I cut through the tendons and sinew (as seen in the top chicken). Remove visible tendons (they’re tough to eat). After which I proceeded to remove all skin, bone and cartilage from the bone end of the chicken, thus resulting the the chicken on the bottom of the picture. All cleaned up at the end.Chicken quarters cleaned up french style.

Make the compound butter (same as that used in the whole roast chicken recipe)

  Smear the compound butter under the skin as evenly as you can.

Tempt the dog (dog doesn’t seem tempted at all).Place the chicken into the oven preheated at 205 degrees celsius (ignore the 190 degrees seen in the picture) for about an hour or until juices run clear and the skin is golden brown in colour. Don’t forget to baste the juices onto the chicken, a couple of times will do I should think.

That’s it! Oh and if you have spare sprigs of herbs, go ahead and arrange them onto the completed dish for decoration.

Quick post: Roasted chicken thighs! 

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Been a while since my last post! Coming up: myhumblefood recipes for pomme purée (basically an incredibly light and creamy French version of mashed potatoes), chicken gravy from scratch and the roast chicken. 

 

Oribe Sushi, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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2015/01/img_5426.jpgI was treated to Oribe Sushi about a week ago, and a treat it was! Chef Hideaki Oritsuki was previously head chef at Sushi Hinata. I gave Sushi Hinata a 6.5 back then… while they do have fresh raw ingredients, the quality of the rice as well as a couple of other factors dragged the score down. I was slightly perturbed that the fish was pre-sliced and placed in a box for convenience and quick service. That’s not how it’s done in Japan!

I digress, so I gave Sushi Hinata a 6.5 then. Oribe Sushi would be a 7.5. Chef Ori has addressed the rice issue and uses Japanese rice in his sushi. It makes a world of difference! His ingredients are fresh and flown in from Japan as well and it helps that he was more than happy to talk about Japan and where he sources his ingredients from. Very friendly chap he is! Ambience I excluded from the score, so I must add that while the sushi counter is sufficiently pleasing, the rest of the restaurant didn’t look like that of a high end restaurant.

We both had the omakase, which is priced at RM450 for dinner. So here goes!2015/01/img_5435.jpgSashimi platter as a first course; Otoro (Fatty tuna belly), Clams (Tsubugai), Flounder (Hirame), Botan ebi (Prawns) and Bafun Uni (Sea Urchin).2015/01/img_5434.jpgIt was delicious, and as fresh as you’d expect sashimi to be. We ended up sucking at the prawn head to get all the lovely,cholesterol-rich prawn brains out! Not a look you’d want to go for on a date but it’s worth it I think! The only thing that was slightly disappointing on this plate is the Hirame, which could have been better and “livelier” so to speak.2015/01/img_5437.jpgShirako (Cod Sperm) served with ponzu and ginger. My first encounter with the infamous Shirako wasn’t very pleasant so I half dreaded this dish when it came. I’m quite happy to say that it was absolutely delicious! Creamy in texture and fresh, well complemented by the tang of the ponzu sauce, it made for a perfectly well balanced palate and leaves no lingering unpleasant aftertaste. Lovely!2015/01/img_5444.jpgHerring roe marinated with dashi, pressed and then topped with bonito flakes. It’s a fun dish, I could very clearly hear whenever my partner bit into it! Let’s just say it’s pretty crunchy 😉2015/01/img_5448.jpg

2015/01/img_5451.jpgAbalone that has been steamed for 7-8 hours. Tender to the bite and loses none of its natural flavour. A dish well done.2015/01/img_5453.jpgCawanmushi – standard as far as steamed egg custards go unfortunately. Nothing special here.2015/01/img_5458.jpgGrilled Nodoguro (rockfish) was well cooked, had the perfect amount of sear to it and meltingly soft flesh. Would have been stellar if the skin had been a little more crisp!2015/01/img_5462.jpgSeiki Aji (Horse Mackerel). The chef emphasized that this is one of the best kinds of horse mackerel in Japan as it was caught in Kyushu where the currents are strong. It is always served with ginger and spring onion. Now this was outstanding! I usually don’t pay the horse mackerel much attention but this had beautifully fatty and rounded flavours. Usually this fish tends to taste and smell a little strong but there was none of that here and I think this would be a prime example of how it should taste like! Full marks here.2015/01/img_5465.jpgEngawa (Flounder’s Fin) – I always give brownie points whenever I get Engawa in any respectable sushi joint. It’s uncommon, or at least in Malaysia and Singapore it is. It’s got a chewy texture and is mild and sweet in taste. I wish I could have had more! There’s a “BUT” in here though… it was better in Japan ;(2015/01/img_5467.jpgThis I very blithely requested XD. Aburi Otoro! (Blow-torched tuna belly). OH SO GOOD!!!! With a couple of drops of sudachi juice and salt. Melts in the mouth with the fatty bits all softened to gorgeous tenderness and fabulous with that slight char. Wish it were a thicker slice though >.< 2015/01/img_5474.jpgAburi Hotate (Blow-torched scallop) with yuzu zest. I asked very nicely for it to be topped with uni 😀 After all, that’s what all the food blogs out there are for right? To advise you to exercise some control over the chef’s discretion. He was really sweet and acquiesced to the request though. Another delicious morsel is thus born! Hotate is creamy by itself already, so topped with the uni it makes for gold!2015/01/img_5470.jpgKamazu (Baby baraccuda); some fish requires a little charring to break down the fat and toughness before its full potential comes out. This one had its skin on. Raw skin never tastes good, so blow-torching it is a nice way to render the skin delicious and yet be able to enjoy the flesh without it being cooked to death. 2015/01/img_5486.jpgOh this… stuff that dreams are made of! It’s a little different in that he added some shiro ebi (white prawns) into the mix. Usually it’s just Uni, Ikura and Negitoro (Tuna belly and scallions). Nevertheless! Always a perfect combination. Can never go wrong with this if you’ve got the fresh ingredients!

I forgot to take pictures of two of the sushi that we had… the Saba (Mackerel) with seaweed and the Anago (Eel) that was had yuzu zest and half of it basted in a sweet sauce and the other half served with a touch of salt. 2015/01/img_5488.jpgSatisfying end to the meal. Green tea ice cream 🙂2015/01/img_5478.jpgCouldn’t resist another picture of the cholesterol bomb!

So overall, a 7.5 out of 10. Fresh ingredients and affable chef were plus points, as well as the availability of Engawa and Shirako. Minus points would be that it’s always better in Japan, and they would be more generous with the portions and number of servings in Japan. Also, no surprises with the menu, perhaps there could have been a little more in that area. Ambience would have been a real killer if we weren’t seated at the counter!

Sushi Oribe

Ground Floor. Block C-1, Vipod Residences, No6, Jalan Kia Peng, 50450 Kuala Lumpur., 43000

+60-3-2181-4099

Lunch 12:00-15:00(Last Order: 14:30)    Dinner 18:00-23:00(Last Order: 22:00)

Shaoxing Wine Ginger chicken

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IMG_6403This dish brings back a lot of memories from my Warwick days. For some reason I remember that the preparation process was long and tedious back then! It involves deboning chicken thighs/drumsticks and skinning and julienning ginger. At the present though, I no longer find it as long and dreary a process. Perhaps I could attribute it to… better knife skills? Or maybe just better knives, I don’t think my knife skills have improved at all since then!

This is a very warming, hearty dish and the sauce is lovely with freshly cooked white rice. It’s currently a favourite with the family and guests who happen to try it! It doesn’t take very long nor need many ingredients and makes a perfect addition to the dining table. I include pictures from two attempts at cooking this dish and I realized that I naturally throw the same ingredients into the pan, despite starting off with perhaps a couple less ingredients in one of the photos. That goes to show that agaration (the South East Asian technique of cooking by guesstimating) isn’t very far off from precision after all!IMG_8442.JPGIngredients from trial number 1IMG_6367Ingredients from trial number 2.

But don’t worry, I’ve consolidated the ingredient list and summarized it as below:-

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 2-3 stalks of Spring onions including the white bits with roots removed
  • 3 inches of ginger, peeled and roughly julienned
  • 4 Chicken thighs with skin on, deboned
  • 3 tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • 3 tbsp clear chicken stock/broth
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil

Chicken marinade

  • Shaoxing wine 1 tbsp marinade
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2-3 tbsp soy sauce
  • white pepper
  • 2 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tsp corn flour

Cooking InstructionsIMG_6372

Upon deboning the chicken, remove the skin from two of the chicken thighs and discard. Keep the skin on for the remaining two chicken thighs. We want some chicken fat rendering in the gravy but not too much!

Trim off the excess fat and remove the tendons from the chicken. Tendons are tough to cut through and unpleasant to eat so be thorough in removing them whenever preparing chicken! Once that is done, cut the chicken meat into bite-sized, uniform pieces so they cook at the same speed. IMG_6373

Place the chicken in a bowl and lightly mix in the chicken marinade with your hands. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes at room temperature.

In preparing the scallions/spring onions, cut them into thirds or 2 inch sections. You can take some of the green sections to slice thinly for garnishing as well.IMG_6368

IMG_6375Heat up some oil in a pan/wok on medium fire. When the oil is hot enough (i.e. if you drop a piece of ginger into the oil it starts to sizzle right away), slide the ginger into the oil gingerly (I’m so funny I know) and fry for a minute until the ginger starts to turn a little golden and the gingery aroma seeps out. The point of this step is to flavour the oil with ginger as well as prep the ginger so it’s at its best to mingle with the chicken.IMG_6380IMG_8448.JPGAdd the chicken pieces and fry until half-cooked. IMG_6382

IMG_6383Then, flip the pieces over and add the chicken stock, sesame oil plus Shaoxing wine and cover to cook for a minute. We’re quick-braising/stewing the chicken with some moisture, not searing it to death. Remember, the chicken has to be swimming in a luscious pool of delicious gravy!IMG_6387IMG_6386Upon uncovering, add the spring onion sections into the pan/wok and stir fry for a little while more. Taste to check if it needs more white pepper or salt.IMG_6394

And it’s done!IMG_6400Not the fanciest of dishes but highly satisfying and easy on the stomach. Healthy too!IMG_6407

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Check out the before and after picture of trial number 1. I used 10 thighs for that round of cooking!IMG_8453.JPG

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Wiped clean. ❤

Truffle eggs with cheese

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Just another quick picture post on some scrambled eggs I made while I was in London. Found some black truffle at Borough Market, so I shaved some over the eggs. I still think nothing beats the aroma of Alba winter white truffles!

A minute twist to ordinary scrambled eggs… add some truffle oil and mild cheddar cheese shavings to give boring ol scrambled eggs a little kick! Top with chopped chives and serve over slices of sourdough bread, pan toasted in butter. Recipe for the basic scrambled eggs here.

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Lobster glass noodle soup with shaoxing wine.

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IMG_9795.JPGHere is the second half of the lobster (first half of which went to making the lobster pasta) and the easier recipe of the two. The original version called for fresh river prawns/big head prawns but since I had the lobster, I figured I could use that instead and add in some large prawns as a bonus. Since there is no recipe that I could refer to online I tried to recreate the taste the best I could remember. Turns out I’m actually quite satisfied with the results! Now without further ado, the recipe:-

Ingredients (4 pax)

  • 1/2 lobster
  • 6 large prawns (in my first attempt I used 3, but the attempt with 6 prawns tasted better)
  • 1 inch ginger, sliced
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp minced onion
  • 1/2 cup Shaoxing wine (maybe a dash more if you like)
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • Chinese lettuce (I used a quarter of a head), cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 150g Glass noodles
  • Spring onions chopped into large three inch sections.
  • Coriander for garnish
  • Finely chopped spring onions for garnish
  • salt

IMG_9644.JPGThe array of ingredientsIMG_9646.JPGGlass noodlesIMG_9651.JPGLarge lobster.

So we shall start with the prawns. De-shell all the prawns and set the shells/heads aside. Do NOT throw them away! Then devein them and cut each prawn into three sections.IMG_9648.JPGSize of the prawn heads and my hand, just for comparison. IMG_0545.JPGLots of flavour in those prawn heads! IMG_0546.JPG

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IMG_9653.JPGCut the lobster into half. If the lobster is as spiny as this one, do use a towel and be very careful when handling it. A pair of strong kitchen scissors would be a great help here.

More pictures of the lobster… as you can probably tell, I’ve added pictures from a second lobster noodle attempt into the mix. The second lobster looked way fresher and more succulent with its firmer white flesh and golden globules.IMG_9655-0.JPG

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IMG_0542.JPGWhen you’ve managed to cut the lobster into half lengthwise, chop the tail into three parts and dig out some of the flesh from the head (I forgot to do that here) and set that aside with the prawns. Leave the orange/golden stuff behind.IMG_9657.JPG

IMG_9660.JPGHeat up some oil in a large pot and fry the ginger, garlic and onions until the onions are translucent and the aroma of the ginger comes out. It helps to crush the ginger before or during this step.IMG_9661.JPGAdd the prawn shells and fry until half cooked (almost that coral colour they become when they’re fully cooked) before adding the lobster head to the pot.IMG_9663.JPGContinue frying for a minute or so, adding a little oil if it gets too dry. Then add the shaoxing wine to soak up all that flavour that’s coming from the prawn shells and lobster head. I actually would have liked to add another half cup of shaoxing wine but I was worried my family may not like the taste so I stuck with half a cup, but go ahead and use that extra half a cup if you like. IMG_9667.JPG

Add the stock and simmer for around 15 minutes before turning off the heat. Cover the pot with its respective lid and leave it for perhaps an hour.

Then, remove the prawn shells from the stock (if you had a strainer bag in the first place, use it to hold the prawn shells because it can be a chore to pick them out from the soup).IMG_9668.JPG

Toss in the lobster and prawn meat that was set aside earlier, along with the spring onion sections, lettuce and glass noodles. The reason why we cook the shells and the meat separately is so that we can extract the most flavour out of the seafood from the shells without overcooking the meat, which is only added at the end. If you were to cook the meat right at the start, you’re going to end up with some very hard, overcooked and dry chunks of prawn/lobster which is such a waste of good seafood.

Place the lid back on and bring the soup to a boil.IMG_9714.JPG

IMG_9715.JPGIMG_9716.JPGAdd the sesame oil at the end and season with salt. Top with chopped spring onions and coriander. Easy peasy!IMG_9744.JPG

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Lobster spaghetti in tomato sauce

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Recently I’ve been having this urge to cook lobster. Lobster… anything! I initially wanted to make a lobster roll, then I went to Signor Sassi in London and had a variety of lobster dishes. I eventually settled for making lobster spaghetti in tomato sauce and a lobster version of the Sang Har Tong Fun (big head prawn with glass noodles in wine soup). I’ve done a little research online on how to make this dish. A lot of chefs tend to boil the lobsters and then remove the meat to cook in the tomato sauce. The carcass of the lobster usually goes into a shellfish stock or a bisque later on. I do it a little differently, and I firmly believe that the lobster flavours are able to come out in all its glory this way. Obviously it would involve cooking the shell and head in the sauce ;D.IMG_9640.JPGIngredients (for 2-3 pax)

  • Half a lobster (this is of a larger lobster)
  • 10g salted butter
  • 2-3 thin slices of ginger about an inch in diameter and about 2-3 mm in width
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp chopped onion or shallots
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock (best if you have shellfish stock but chicken is fine too)
  • 1/2 cup tomato puree
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes preferably with herbs and garlic in them
  • 2-3 pinches of chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp sugar and another 1tsp in case the pasta needs a little more sweetness
  • 200g pasta (or around 1/3 of a 500g package of pasta) – spaghetti is slightly too thick so I used San Remo’s vermiccili pasta. Instant spaghetti by San Remo’s will do as well.
  • Dash of dried oregano
  • Salt, black pepper

Cooking Instructions

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Prepare the lobster (prepare yourself I meant…. cutting that thing into half is no joke! It’s all spiny and painful! Coupled with a very tough shell, you may need a lot of strength to cut the head into two… or a very heavy object to help get that cleaver through). I suggest you use a towel to protect your hands from the lobster’s myriad spikes and a pair of strong kitchen scissors to cut through the tail end of the lobster.IMG_9654.JPGAfter a lot of effort… finally..IMG_9655.JPGSee all that golden stuff?? That’s where the flavour’s at!IMG_9670.JPGHeat up some oil in the pan and fry the onions, ginger and garlic.IMG_9672.JPG

Add the lobster, brain side down, and let it fry for a minute (do not let the meat sear! It should be on medium fire), before adding the wine to the mix. I wanted to try to flambe the lobster, but the kitchen is so small and I was worried I might singe something so I just put the alcohol into the pan and let the alcohol cook off. This step is where you draw out the flavours in the lobster into the broth. IMG_9673.JPG

Add the stock. Cook the lobster for about a couple more minutes in the stock before removing from the mixture. IMG_9674.JPG

Add the diced tomato, tomato, chilli flakes, some salt, pepper and oregano to the lobster broth.IMG_9676.JPG

Remove the meat from the lobster shell. You can see that it isn’t cooked through and this is what we want as we will add the lobster meat back in to be cooked fully along with the pasta noodles. Otherwise we’ll have dry, overcooked chunks of lobster, which is a waste of such an expensive ingredient.IMG_9677.JPG

Place the lobster shell back into the tomato sauce mixture and simmer until the sauce is reduced and thickened like so. Then add the butter and mix in. I stuffed the sauce into the lobster shell to get the most of that lobster goodness!

At the same time, start cooking your pasta in boiling water with some salt. Cook it about 2 minutes less than the instructions stated in the packet because you’ll finish cooking the pasta in the sauce. IMG_9678.JPG

Get the chopped basil and parsley ready. Add the lobster chunks back into the tomato sauce probably a couple of minutes before adding the pasta so that it’s cooked just right by the end of the whole process.IMG_9679.JPG

Drain the pasta (but not too much as we need some of that pasta water… about 2-3 tbsps or so) and add it directly into the sauce. I forgot to mention, remove the lobster shell before you add the pasta in, otherwise it’s going to be a struggle to toss the pasta in the sauce. Place the shell in the serving dish, it will serve as an aesthetic component.

Toss the pasta over low-medium fire so that the sauce gets incorporated into the noodles. Add the basil and parsley and toss a little more. Check on the seasoning and add more salt/pepper/sugar as you wish.

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Place the pasta on the serving dish, top off with the lobster chunks, more parsley and some cheese.IMG_9797.JPG

If you like your spaghetti with more sauce, just add more puree and white wine but make sure you season accordingly. You also don’t want the sauce to be too wet otherwise it won’t stick to the noodle very well.IMG_9816.JPG

Will most likely make it again as I have another lobster in the freezer! Happy to say my brother seemed to enjoy it. He ate three quarters of it by himself.

Here’s a video that I think quite closely reflects how I cooked it:

Sage Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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There aren’t very many good fine dining restaurants in Kuala Lumpur. Way more over in Singapore. Sage which is located at The Gardens, Mid Valley City, happens to be one of the few fine dining experiences that have been consistently good over the years. I like it because its in such a convenient location! Not a fan of driving far out into town for food.

The gripe I have is that I prefer the menu for the appetizers to the menu for the main courses. That said I usually order the appetizers and have it converted to a main course size. It could be because the decent sounding mains are usually beef, however some of of my friends have also preferred the list of appetizers in comparison to the mains.

The menu is up on their website as such:

http://www.sagekl.com/alacarte.php

I always get the Sage Set…it comes with the Chef’s Special Appetizer, Appetizer, Main Course and a dessert.IMG_3582.JPG

Chef’s special appetizer that night was a slice of lean tuna akami topped with some  scallop and microgreens. Pretty standard in terms of taste, clean and palatable. Not too sure about the dubious red liquid that oozed onto the plate though. IMG_3584.JPG

Foie gras is always a nice choice here. A nice fat hunk of perfectly seared foie gras paired together with some dark grapes in a very delicious tangy red wine reduction. Hits the spot every time. And believe me when I say those grapes are amazing.IMG_3586.JPG

This was my main, a carpaccio of Hamachi with Caviar and Truffle Soy. I do love my raw fish, so yes my main course is comprised entirely of sashimi. They’re fresh, thick cuts with several dollops of briny caviar over the top. The dish was simple, bright and refreshing with a tinge of truffle lingering in the aftertaste.  IMG_3592.JPG

Souffle of the day was good as well. Airy, light and fluffy with just the right amount of sweetness.IMG_6826.JPGA friend ordered the Cold Somen Noodles with Abalone and Avruga Caviar but she had them replace the abalone with seared scallops. I think the noodles came in a dashi sauce. Noodles were perfectly cooked, scallops also done well but I think I’d still prefer my caviar with nothing more than a water biscuit and some creme fraiche. That’s the best way to enjoy it!IMG_6824.JPG

Chef’s special appetizer on a separate occasion, a lightly blowtorched-seared slice of salmon with some frisee and tomatoes. IMG_6827.JPG

Again I ordered from the appetizer list and had them change it to a mains size. This is a Capellini Pasta with Trio of Seafood and Togarashi Spice. They were really generous with the scallops and prawns! I was full from eating just those! The capellini pasta, being thinner, was a good choice for the togarashi spice. Any thicker and the flavour would be lost! The Japanese chilli pepper flavour is mildly spicy and has a very subtle smoky flavour to it, which I think made this dish quite interesting and different from the usual aglio olios, cream and tomato based pastas.

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Crepe Suzette which I didn’t order so I don’t know how it tastes like. Haha =p

All in all one of my favourite go-to places on special occasions or when I feel like treating myself. Very good and romantic ambience as well, though there isn’t much of a view. Despite the good standards in quality, I feel that it could do with a bit more creativity. I hardly feel inspired by the menu unfortunately.

http://www.sagekl.com/

Lunch (Mon-Fri): 12pm-2pm
Dinner (Mon-Sat): 6pm-10.30pm
Closed on Sunday

The Gardens Residences Level 6,
The Gardens, Mid Valley City,
Lingkaran Syed Putra,
59200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Tel: 603 2268 1328

Magosaburou, ION Orchard, Singapore

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I never eat beef. It’s pretty obvious as my blog has never featured beef. However, I couldn’t resist the temptation anymore as I’ve seen (and smelt!) many a succulent beef dish! So I thought, if I were to try beef anyway, why not go for one of the better beef places in Singapore? Which led me to Magosaburou, I’ve seen pictures of it online and it planted the seed of temptation into my head T___T. I’ve gone back a couple of times since, so this post would include pictures from 2 or 3 visits. I must say though I loved it at the start…but it got a little disappointing in my last visit. In any case, I shall lay off beef for a while… since I don’t usually eat it, my body just isn’t used to it!

So here goes… the first visit:-DSC01248Sashimi salad. The best sashimi salad I’ve ever had! The sashimi slices were generous and in thick slabs, it had tuna, salmon, scallop and ikura in it. The sauce seemed like a sort of ponzu/goma sauce but it was divine with the salad! I always order this when I go. The last visit though, the slices seemed smaller and thinner. I’m not sure if it’s my imagination but I hope they don’t skimp on the sashimi the next time!DSC01258Beautiful, healthy and tastyDSC01265Botan Ebi and Uni sashimi. The sashimi is fresh, the prawn still retained a little crunch before your teeth sinks into the creamy centre. And I should add that the botan ebi is of a good size and plump to boot, not some prawn wannabe melting into obscurity with its head half hanging/wilting off its body. So two thumbs up for this. The uni was delicious too, fresh and creamy. DSC01269No complaints on the sashimi end for this post  DSC01274We ordered a la carte beef from the menu. Kobe Wagyu, Kurimi and some thinly sliced tongue. I don’t know my beef cuts well so I don’t know what Kurimi is!  DSC01279DSC01290We also ordered some samgyeopsal (marinated pork belly). Needless to say, the beef was still the main star of the show.DSC01293The beef is presented nicely on a platter, this is where you decide whether you want to cook it yourself or have the restaurant cook it for you. We chose to leave it to the pros. The cooking makes or breaks the beef, so since this was going to be an expensive meal, we’d rather not risk it!DSC01305Foie Gras Cawanmushi… apparently the foie gras was in a more solid form than this but I didn’t notice as I was busy taking photos of the beef.DSC01307So this is what tongue tastes like… its delicious! Slightly chewy with some resistance, but with lots of flavour in it.IMG_4127.JPGThen the kurimi. Its delicious as well, but there is very little fat or marbling in it so its a little tough. But hey, what would I know right? I have no benchmark to compare it to!DSC01309Then this came along. There was just no competition, this was hands down the best cut of the night. Its the Kobe-Wagyu and it was the most tender, full-bodied, amazing depth and round flavoured meat I’ve ever tasted. Now I know why people scoff at me when I say I eat lamb instead of beef. I really didn’t know what I was missing. My two dining companions were in raptures as well, though one of them did say that I should try the beef in Japan as its even better than this! Certainly this is the best he has tried in Singapore though.DSC01313We ordered a bibimbap as well. It came in a stone pot so it would be of the dolseot bibimbap variety. Again this was a first for me. I never order bibimbap when I’m at a Korean restaurant, I usually opt for Kimchi Jiggae instead. I think I became a bibimbap fan after having this! It had the perfect ratio of vegetables and meat to rice, and that crispy rice which came from the bottom of the pot adds such a pleasant crunch without being so hard you have to chew voraciously at it. All in all, a good bibimbap indeed!DSC01322

These are photos from the second visit. We got greedy and ordered the mixed beef platter as well as some kobe beef which was on promotion. I think this was a way better choice than ordering a la carte as I didn’t know what I was ordering!IMG_4118.JPG

IMG_4116.JPGThe mixed platter includes the Kurimi and shin shin but also has Rib eye, rib eye core and a nice tenderloin steak.IMG_4114.JPGAnd the kobe promotion included more rib eye cuts and sirloin.IMG_4120.JPGRib eye was amazing… thin slices of marbled, tender beef. IMG_4124.JPGI can’t remember what this was… either the sirloin or the rib eye. Both were equally good and melted so charmingly in my mouth. IMG_4122.JPG

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In comparison the shin shin was just alright. The rib eye core was fantastic as wellIMG_4132.JPGI think this is the tenderloin steak, done medium well with a touch of pink in the middle. I reckoned this was pretty well cooked with a nice sear on the outside. Had enough bite to it and was bursting with beefy goodness.

I must say though, at this point I felt I had too much fat. I should have had some rice to go with it, just a few slices of this would have been enough with it.

IMG_3237.JPGThe thinly sliced rib eye. Since its that thin you barely needed to chew it. The meat itself had a lot of that beautiful marbling it so it was so juicy and again, oh so very slightly pink, that I think that if I put it in my mouth it would have just slid easily into my throatIMG_3231.JPG

I think the following photos were from another visit. The mixed platter set included tomo sankaku in place of one of the other cuts of meat. I believe the platter is an assortment of the chef’s choice cuts. I highly recommend the mixed platter!

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Here’s a very bad photo of the bibimbap. Yes we ordered it again, it seemed quite small the second time though. Still delicious.IMG_3233.JPG

I didn’t fancy the tomo sankaku very much. Had a little bit of a strong smell to it.

And in repetition to the meats already shown:-IMG_3245.JPG

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Something to note, I ordered the maguro and otoro sushi in my last visit. It was nothing great, the fish slices were small and doesn’t taper off like the authentically Japanese sushi. It’s also thin and miserable looking. For the price, which was outrageously expensive, I feel pretty ripped off on the sushi. I’d advise not to go for the sushi at all.

Even without the overly priced sushi, the bill is usually pretty steep. I normally spend up to SGD 500 for 2-3 people. So to maximize the experience, go for the beef platter and/or sashimi salad and bibimbap and forget about the sushi.

Details of the restaurant is as below:-

Magosaburou

Address: 2 Orchard Turn #04-11A & 05-01 ION Orchard, 238801

Phone:6634 1411