New Year’s cooking

This post is massively late because my photos got pushed to the back in flickr and then I forgot all about it. So we had another cards klatsch on New Years 2013 just because we get a half day off from work and the next day is a public holiday, and none of us are into drunken foam parties on Sentosa and whatnot (at least not me, not sure about the rest). It was a quiet, non obtrusive sort of evening in which the only indication that 2014 had begun was when hr suddenly remarked in the middle of a game of Through The Ages – “Oh. Happy new year.” lol and then we got up to observe the fireworks in the distance over the roof of YJC.

I did an insane amount of prep so all the food could be good to go – either in the wok or just in the oven. We spent Monday night steaming and deshelling these two sri lankan mud crabs

Both were slightly tired looking – there were only 4 left in the tank when we got to NTUC on monday night. The tank was full about 5 days ago, so I guess it was the same batch.

We tried to get the gunk off as much as we could, then plopped them in to steam for about 7 mins.

It’s pretty difficult to oversteam crabs when they are in their own shell.

The only thing I really dislike about preparing crabs is the smell. They make the entire kitchen smell of crab, and not in a good way. Perhaps next time I shall try lump crab meat, but that’s not as fresh.

These are all the implements we used to extract every bit of meat from the carapace and legs.

We managed to extract a whole plateful! This is just two crabs, one of which was painfully thin.

We also got some mums from the florist in J8 (they cost only $1.20) to put on the table, like I usually do when we have company:

(My parents are big on fruit. We have enough fruit in the house to set up a fruit stand outside. I don’t even know why they stock up so much on fruit – the entire fridge is filled with oranges and apples, I have nowhere to put my cheesecake and tiramisu and other cooking ingredients that actually need to be refrigerated :S)

We chopped leeks

julienned ginger

Turned carrots into matchsticks

Peeled and sliced a whole bunch of red onions

All that for a simple plate of crab noodles.

The eggs were actually meant for lunch: ajitsuke tamago with japanese curry

All the eggs lined up in a row with the ipad set to Kenji’s recipe.

The mirin/soy/sugar mixture

Marinating the eggs covered with a kitchen towel so the marinate covers the top as well. They were too soft and impossible to peel – we only wound up with one good egg. I think they need to be thawed next time, and then plunged into boiling/simmering water for about 6 minutes. The marinate does toughen up the outsides of the eggs, but you can’t do that without first peeling them -.-

Instead of the Japanese curry, I decided to clear the fridge (thanks to all the bloody fruit inside) so instead served my mum’s shepherd’s pie with a salad.

Making them in ramekins makes so much more sense – the sides cook more and they don’t look like a messy clump when you serve them. So the eggs were left over and we just kinda paired them with the crab noodles. Wasn’t too funny because of the bonito flakes I sprinkled on top.

Dessert was the jelly hearts cheesecake I made the night before!

Here it is with two wedges cut out for my aunty/uncle, who my dad visits all the time. It’s so easy to make and everyone seems to get great satisfaction from it, I made it like 5 times in the last one month :P

Before we prepped the ingredients for the crab noodles, we prepped the ingredients for the shepherd’s pie:

LZ loves taking shots of my ingredients and he’s pretty good at them too.

The peas were a mistake! I think I’ll try fresh mushrooms next time.

He had a great time mashing the potatoes into gross little worms.

And I latticed the pie with a fork.

Here’s the pie out of the oven, complete with parmesan sprinkled crust. (I liked it so much on my lasagna I decided to put a parmesan crust on this one too) – we recently found an extremely old block of grana padano in my fridge – the mold wasn’t just on the outside :P Had to toss that, although if I had recalled it’s existence earlier I’d probably have used it on other shepherd’s pies in the intervening time.

I thawed some of my tiramisu for dessert after the crab noodles. It really does cut beautifully when frozen first. Problem is the coffee/kahlua mixtures thaws and sorta pools around the bottom of the plate :S Anyway, the next tiramisu I make will not be leavened by egg whites or whipped cream – just mascarpone and zabaglione. I want to see how that turns out.

I really love big food projects – feeding a bunch of people (max 6), planning the ingredient list, buying exactly everything you need, preparing everything to go into the oven at specific times.. it’s just exhilarating. Stressful, but exhilarating. It does take away from my social interaction though, because after all that prep sometimes I just want to laze around my room and be alone. Candy crush is really important rest for people who are hyperefficient during a fixed period. There have been times when I get headaches from people talking to/at me after I’ve just cooked a big meal, or if there are suddenly too many people around (too many = more than just me/LZ).


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