Where I cooked a simple lunch for 3 ladies who, to my surprise, very kindly did the dishes after the meal


It’s supposed to be a casual lunch where, for the very first time, I cooked for 143. Since it’s easier to cook for 4 than for 2, I asked her to bring her trusted friends, people whom I know only through 143’s stories.

Indeed, I planned a menu of 4 courses for 4 people but over the week, the menu mutated slightly…

Raw Octopus marinated in Minced Parsley, Sea Salt, Black Pepper and good Olive Oil...

Marinated Hokkaido Octopus

Keeping up with 143’s tastes can be a challenge as it changes as she matures. Very particular, I believe it took her many years before she tried Salmon Sashimi. But once she likes something, it’s a joy to see her eat.

As it was a busy week with an uncertain schedule, I decided to keep things simple with a basic framework menu and added (or subtracted) according to the availability and freshness of ingredients.

Basic Lunch Menu Framework


  • Salt-cured Hamachi

Pasta Course

  • Mentaiko Pasta


  • Roast Aged 200-day Angus Beef served with
  • Roast Potatoes
  • Salted-egg Sweet Corn
  • Green Salad


  • Super Lemon Frozen Yogurt

You know, a basic easy-to-do menu.

Homemade Salt-cured Hamachi

Salt-cured Hamachi

As the saying goes, “Man plans, God laughs”; it turned out I didn’t have time to do my groceries all over Singapore, so I settled on Medi-Ya since I wanted to get my Hamachi and Mentaiko but ended up getting some finely-sliced raw Hokkaido octopus as it tasted wonderful. A quick consult with the nice lady on the various ways to serve them and I decided to do a marinade of sea salt, black pepper, minced parsley and olive oil, mainly because I am unsure of how daring the ladies would be when faced with the odd tentacle or two.

I also spotted some nice eggy Fettuccine which would be perfect for my Mentaiko pasta. I hesitated a little when it came to deciding whether to use bacon or ham as a contrast to the sharp Mentaiko Fettuccine, mainly because 143 is such a health-freak conscious person. In the end, damning the consequences, I went with streaky bacon which crisped up nicely.

Mentaiko Fettuccine

Mentaiko Fettuccine

The other thing about 143 is that she, like me, dislikes sourish tart things, I mean, she actually found my Strawberry Frozen Yogurt sour. So when I mentioned I made Super Lemon Frozen Yogurt, she cringed. So to make up for it, I made my annual Mandarin Orange Frozen Yogurt the night before the lunch. And besides, I was too tired to explain what “Palate Acclimatization” was. 🙂

So in the end, this was what was served.

Final Lunch Menu


  • Salt-cured Hamachi
  • Marinated Raw Hokkaido Octopus

Pasta Course

  • Mentaiko Fettuccine


  • Roast Aged 200-day Angus Beef served with
  • Roast Potatoes
  • Buttered Sweet Corn


  • Super Lemon Frozen Yogurt
  • Mandarin Orange Frozen Yogurt

Still a basic easy-to-do menu.

Roast Potatoes in Beef and Bacon fat

Roast Potatoes

Assembling everything was fast and easy. Within 3 hours, with a break for a WoW session (where I leveled my Rogue), breakfast and 2 showers, I was had everything done with the roast beef resting and the potatoes roasting nicely, both filling my flat with a wonderful aroma of roast beef and Rosemary.

There’s no better welcome than the smell of cooking when guests arrive.

Being my second or third time, I was particularly happy as the roast potatoes turned out better than expected, where a nice crisp crust was formed with a steamy soft interior. I wanted to add a splash of Truffle oil but forgot. It was unnecessary as the combination of duck, beef and bacon oils imparted a sweet flavor to the potatoes.

I usually save jars of fat over a year as I cook duck, beef or bacon and freeze them for use on a special occasion such as this. You should too.

The other happy event was that the Marinated Octopus was well-received. And surprisingly, the Super Lemon Frozen Yogurt was also well-received with minimal cringing. 🙂

I was also delighted to discover that Michelle likes burnt crunchy bits; so much so that she took 143’s portion of it. Next time, I’ll do a roast crackling pork…


I like my roast beef charred on the outside and medium-rare on the inside

I was surprised because not only the girls bought me gifts, they also offered to wash the dishes. I usually decline because I am uncomfortable with incompetent people handling my things. When I first started out, I accepted the offer but after a few uncomfortable incidences where the persons were clearly unfamiliar with housework, I stopped accepting offers, preferring to do the dishes myself.

No, you do not leave the dishes to soak overnight in hot water.

But color this blog surprised, the ladies formed an assembly line and did a sparkling job. I was vaguely disoriented when I didn’t have to do the washing up after the meal.

Mentaiko Butter

Mentaiko Butter, good for pasta and toast

This has got to be the easiest and most fuss-free lunch I’ve ever cooked. Simple flavors with good ingredients is the best approach. And the ladies were fun company. While I am uncertain of what they felt about the food, I very sure that Jars of Fat would make a great name for a rock band.


Posted on 21st Feb 2011 in Dinner Book, Food and Drink, Fun, Musings


There Are 13 Comments


Su-Lin commented on February 21, 2011 at 7:17 pm

Woah ho ho – look at that beef!!! Y’know, I’ve never roasted beef before! And now my MIL would like a recipe… time for me to try!


Ivan commented on February 21, 2011 at 7:20 pm

I find that hard to believe, given where you’re living. Some of the best beef in the world (if it weren’t mad). 🙂

Anyway, it’s very easy. The trick is to buy good beef. 🙂


Wen commented on February 22, 2011 at 11:32 am

Hahaha…..Thanks for the invite…and with me…my 2 buddies will follow! I always bring my mini-clan….when there’s good food!Still dreaming of the Hamachi, hence i requested for the recipe..or you will have to prepare it AGAIN..yes, again….!


Sin commented on February 22, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Kudos to our Disgruntled Chef of C’mwealth!! What the Chef deemed as “simple” lunch, to me was more of a degustation lunch.
Everything was delish. What stands out for me was the Salt-Cured Hamachi. Whilst the Roasted Potatoes were to die for! (inclusive of the Roasted Garlic cloves) The roast beef was good! But since I usually have mine done medium-well. I was very happy with the end cut I had. Mitch & I love sweet corns, so that’s a sure welcome sides for us. 🙂
Since I’m into sourish stuff, Super Lemon Frozen Yoghurt was the dessert to close off this lovely meal. A warm thank you for a most memorable meal. Thks for giving us the honours to help clean up too. *wink*


Mitch commented on February 22, 2011 at 2:36 pm

Huh? Is 143 the same person we’re talking about? Health concious (guffaws)? Sure or not??
Jokes aside, I’m still dreaming of the Hamachi and roasted potatoes. I told 143 that since we’ve gotten an open invitation (due to our good conduct and dishwashing skills), I’m going to peruse your blog and request one of your ‘best of’. I’ll be bringing my HDD, so you’ve been warned!
Thanks once again for your kind hospitality. Am looking forward to our gourmet outing 😉


Sweets By Vicky commented on February 22, 2011 at 10:08 pm

Ah Ivan, that sounds like a spankingly yummy and I’m sure it was. 🙂


ec commented on February 23, 2011 at 7:03 pm

Hello Ivan,
I would like to know how to freeze the fat…usually i have a tray full of oil after i roasted a rack of Pork Belly aka “shio bak”..i wondered if just storing them in a jar and chuck it into the fridge will do. But saw that you mention freezer….wouldnt it turn hard and impossible to use esp if you need only a small amount at a time?


Ivan commented on February 25, 2011 at 5:22 pm

@Wen: Always a pleasure. I’ll provide the recipe because I’ve moved on to other, better, things. 🙂


Ivan commented on February 25, 2011 at 5:23 pm

@Sin: I’m just a home cook that can cook what he likes to eat pretty well. 🙂 You 3 were the cleanest eaters I’ve ever had. No crumbs on the floors!


Ivan commented on February 25, 2011 at 5:24 pm

@Mitch: You should’ve seen her when she was young!

Do feel free to let me know what you like but do note that I can only use my powers for good. 🙂


Ivan commented on February 25, 2011 at 5:25 pm

@Vicky: It was a fun meal! Was pleasantly surprised at how clean the girls were. 🙂


Ivan commented on February 25, 2011 at 5:28 pm

@ec: Hi! It also turns hard in the fridge but I would recommend storing it in the freezer. I just chip off what I need and thaw it.

If you use the whole jar, just thaw it out the day before in the fridge before use.

I prefer to use beef and/or duck fat for potatoes. Bacon is good but I think pork fat may not be as flavorful.


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