Monday, December 31, 2012

Australia Trip 2012 Part II - Innocent Bystander, Yarra Valley

After touching down at Melbourne Airport, we drove directly to Yarra Valley where we had our wine escape for the next 3 days. By the time we checked into our cottage, we were all hungry and thirsty (for wine)! We waited no time and headed for our first winery - Innocent Bystander for tasting and lunch. Located along Maroondah Highway, Healesville Victoria, Innocent Bystander is a winery, cellar door, bistro , bakery, cheese room and cafe all rolled into one.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Liebster Blog Award

I was in Melbourne when I found out that "Chef and Sommelier" was nominated for the Liebster Blog award by Veronica of Minty's Kitchen.  This is my very first award and I am extremely thrilled, excited and honoured to be nominated. My heart-felt appreciation to Veronica for the nomination and a BIG Thank You to all my followers and readers for your support and valuable comments all this while.

Let's continue to eat, drink, blog and be merry!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Best of 2012

2012 has been a milestone year for me as far as my blog is concerned. Although I started this journal in late 2010, it was only this year that I started getting involved actively in this cyberspace of mine. As a result, it has grown significantly in 2012 in terms of post counts, readership and follower counts.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Homemade Nama Chocolate

Seriously, who does not like chocolate?

When I first saw this on Mel's blog, I was very excited that I would be able to make the Royce'-style Chocolate truffles at home! Mel got the recipe from Nami (Author of "Just one Cookbook"). Immediately, I bookmarked both posts as I planned to make this as Christmas gift for my friends in the office.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Chef and Sommelier in Singapore Standard Chartered Marathon 2012

It has been a quiet week for me in terms of cooking and drinking as I tried to cut down on heavy food and alcohol in preparation for my run tomorrow morning. Yes, Chef and Sommelier is taking part in this year's Standard Chartered Marathon. No, I will not be doing the full 42km but a fun distance of 10km with my wife, CJ and Jazz.

If you read my blog and are also taking part in the run tomorrow, just wave and say HI when you see my bib with "Chef and Sommelier" on it.

I will be back in the kitchen tomorrow after the run. See ya!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Kay Brothers Hillside Shiraz Vertical Tasting

Last Saturday, the wine kakis gathered at 1ETL (maybe for the last time?) to give CJ and Jazz a farewell party. We presented to them a DVD video and a photobook collection of pictures that were taken during our various wine sessions, potluck parties, birthday celebrations, getaways and holidays, vineyards hopping and fine dinners etc. Basically, a collection of sweet memories for the Yap family to bring along with them to Canada.

After dinner, the group had a vertical tasting of the Kay Brothers Hillside Shiraz. A vertical wine tasting is conducted by tasting the same varietal of wines from the same winemaker and the same vineyard and leaving the vintage or the production year as the only variable. This allows the party to see how dramatic or subtle a wine changes from year to year.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Natural Rainbow Jelly Eggs

I saw these colourful and sweet jelly eggs on Wendy's blog last month and I liked the idea of using natural colouring from fruits and vegetable instead of artificial colouring. I promised the kids that I would make these together with them during the school holidays. Today, I fulfilled that promise.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Turkey Flat Pedro Ximénez

We visited Turkey Flat Vineyards at Barossa in 2010 when we did the South Australia wine tour. I remember it was the last cellar door on our itinerary for the day and the sky was turning dark. We managed to reach the restored bluestone butcher's shop house cellar door just before they closed. The lady at the cellar door was packing up when we stepped in. Nevertheless, she was very friendly and guided us through the tasting session. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Popiah - Fresh Spring Roll

I am Hokkien and one of my favourite Hokkien dishes is Popiah. I am sure most, if not all, of my Asian readers know what Popiah is. For the benefit of the others, Popiah is a kind of fresh spring rolls filled mainly with vegetables (like turnip, carrot, cabbage, french beans etc) and other ingredients like eggs, prawns, chinese sausages.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Individual Bread and Butter Pudding

The kids were requesting me to make Creme Brulee again for the private luncheon that we hosted last Sunday for CJ and Jazz. I told them I would make the British version of Creme Brulee - Bread and Butter Pudding.

Monday, November 12, 2012

A private luncheon - Farewell gift for our great pals...

For those of you who have been following my blog long enough will know that CJ and Jazz will be relocating to Canada by end of the year. We were surprised and very sad when they first broke the news to us during one of our TGIF session.

They have been our drinking kakis, travel mates and great friends for many years now and what better farewell gift to give them then to host them to a private luncheon at 2706? - The place where we had numerous TGIF late-night sessions and gatherings.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Dong Po Stewed Pork Belly Part II

The Dong Po Pork Belly that I cooked previously was very well received. I decided to cook this again today for CJ and Jazz's private farewell luncheon. This time round, I decided to change the plating style and I had great fun assembling and "painting" this picture...

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Jasper Hill Georgia's Paddock Shiraz 2006

I had a post on the fantastic Jasper Hill Emily's Paddock Shiraz Cabernet Franc 2 weeks ago. Couple of days ago, we had a mid-week wine session at 1ETL and CJ offered us another outstanding Jasper Hill wine from the sister vineyard - Georgia's Paddock. Both vineyards were named after wine maker Ron Laughton's daughters.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Chilling Out by the Pool

It's finally over! 

I'm referring to the kids school examinations. It's time for the kids to take a break and for all the Daddies and Mummies to catch up. I invited the group over to chill out by the pool this Sunday afternoon.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Clos du Marquis St. Julien 2007

We had this wine twice in October. Once during HH's birthday and the other time during our TGIF session 2 weeks ago. I bought the wine at a very good 50% discount (off its list price of S$94.26) during the recent Auric Pacific wine sales.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Barbecue Pineapple Pork Belly Ribs

This recipe has been a family favourite but I have not been cooking this for a while now. Wife suggested that I cook this again for our Sunday dinner and all the kids seconded that. I have forgotten when I started cooking belly ribs this way but it was through trial and error before I settled for this finger-licking good version. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Jasper Hill Emily's Paddock 2008

As HH always has his difficulty joining our late-night wine sessions, we were all surprised when he turned up at Alan's place for our TGIF session couple of weeks ago. Not only did he show up, he showed up with the best wine that I enjoyed the most that night - Jasper Hill Emily Paddock Shiraz Cabernet Franc blend 2008.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

36-hour Sous Vide Pork Belly Porchetta

Porchetta is a savoury, fatty, and moist boneless pork roast of Italian culinary tradition. Traditionally, porchetta is made by deboning a little milk-fed piglet . It is then salted and rubbed with a garlic, herb, and spice mixture that features plenty of garlic, rosemary, fennel seeds and other herbs. It is then rolled up and slowly roasted whole over a wood fire. The end result is a cylindrical roast with crispy skin on the outside and the fatty belly surrounds the lean moist loin meat inside.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Seafood Squid Ink Pasta

You have probably seen and tried squid ink pasta on menus at your favorite restaurant. Besides  looking cool,  the black pasta is mildly fishy and salty on its own. Studies had shown that some substance in squid ink can stop cell tumor cells from invading and migrating, meaning it can slow the spread of cancer.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Bone-In Beef Short Ribs Grill

I am a weekend chauffeur as I drive the kids around whole day for their enrichment classes. As such, I usually do not have much time to prepare a proper dinner unless I sous vide them before hand.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fusion Dinner

For those who read my previous post on Dong Po Pork Belly, you might have thought that I had the braised belly with rice and other chinese dishes for dinner last night. But we did not.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Dong Po Stewed Pork Belly

My two girls need not attend school this week as it is PSLE marking week. I am on leave for two days to spend some time with them at home. As usual, when I have some time at home, I would plan to cook something nice for the family. Today, it is chinese-style braised pork belly (Dong Po Belly, 东坡肉).

Thursday, October 11, 2012

V. Sattui Crow Ridge Zinfandel 2006

We visited V. Sattui Winery during our 2009 year-end trip to California. We had a wonderful time then tasting VSW wines and had picnic lunch at the beautiful garden with giant oak and walnut trees outside the cellar door at Napa Valley.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Skyve Elementary Bistro & Bar

Last Friday, CL planned a surprise birthday party for HH. The group gatecrashed their dinner at the Skyve Bistro Bar with ballons and bottles of wine, singing birthday song for the 40-year-old.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Art of Food Plating

Food plating is a very important part of the overall dining experience. It provides the all important first impression and sets the stage for the sensory experience of enjoying a great meal.

I enjoy and derive a lot of satisfaction from the visual simulation of plating the food that I have cooked, in that dramatic moment when an artfully arranged plate is set before my family and guest. It is like an artist putting the finishing touches on his painting.

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