New Year’s Day Dinner 2012

Somewhat Osso Bucco...

2012 doesn’t look to be a good year, so there’s no helping but to start it with a fortifying meal. This time I decided to take it easy and do a very simple meal with a 3 new dishes that I’ve been aching to try out.

Also, this year, we have a vegetarian joining us, so I was particularly concerned about the menu as I suck at vegetarian dishes and I’ve always felt that vegetarian dinners are perfectly fine provided you have a big meal before.

Anyway, here are my notes of the New Year’s Day Dinner for 2012:

The three new dishes I put out were: Orange-Lemon Couscous, Osso Bucco and Ricotta Petit Pois Salad. As I was doing Osso Bucco and my Five-spice Roast Pork, I wanted something tangy to cut through the richness, so I thought an Orange-Lemon Couscous would be just the perfect foil.

The Ricotta Petit Pois salad is not new per se, having served it twice over the year but each time, it came out differently as the lemon vinaigrette varies according to my mood. And the Osso Bucco? Well, I’ve always wanted to try it out. And I was happy that Yong liked it as I’ve nothing else to feed him with. Yong also tossed the salad perfectly.

And oh yes, scouring up the last vestiges of Christmas, I decided to do a Brandy Butter Ice Cream simply because there’s nothing more festive than Alcohol, Sugar and Butter combined in a heady concoction.

The Osso Bucco that I did was the modern version in that I added tomatoes. And because Carrie was bringing a Riesling, I upended a whole bottle of Alsace Riesling into the stew pot. It provided a nice sweetness to the acidity of the tomatoes. I was very happy when Carrie pointed out that the veal shanks fell off the bone easily. Whew… 🙂 And instead of Gremolata, I served it with the Orange-Lemon Couscous.

Speaking of which, the Orange-Lemon Couscous turned out far better than I expected. It’s fairly easy to do; simply substitute 3/4 of the normal amount of water with Orange-Lemon juice (2 oranges to 1/2 lemon) and the zest of 2 oranges and 1 lemon. The result is a very tangy couscous that will lift your tastebuds to greater heights.

This time, I underestimated the amount of Chicken Livers for my pate. I ordered 1kg and ended up, after cleaning, with about 700g which was a rather small amount, so I made it into a mousse instead. Julinda was surprised that my Chicken Liver Pate was not as salty as expected; that’s because I have a fear of over-salting food and besides, if you like it salty, I’ll just provide you with a bowl of sea salt. Easy.

Cooking 3 dishes at a time means I had to work very fast, unfortunately this means my attention was divided; my 5-spice Roast Pork came out slightly charred at one end which I had to discard but it stilled turned out juicy and the crackling sounds coming from Vicky was music to my ears. Simon fedback last year that he couldn’t discern the Garlic and Ginger, so this time I went heavy; I could taste the Garlic and Ginger over the 5-spice and dark soy. The jury is still out on this version.

Dessert was a magnificent Sticky Date Pudding by Vicky. I’m not a dessert person but I had two helpings of the Sticky Date Pudding and found myself hankering for more several days after the dinner. I should have traded my leftover Roast Pork for the remnants of the pudding…

I enjoyed dinner as the conversation flowed freely with the wine, most part mocking our age by teasing Vicky’s lack of. It was fun observing Shen, who doesn’t fancy dessert wines, polish off a good bit of the Austrian Karcher. That’s a good thing because I hate drinking alone.

Cooking dinner was one of the more relaxing things I’ve done for the holidays. It gives me a chance to give the crockery an airing and to keep the skills from rusting. And now it’s time to start looking for new recipes to try-out and practice. 🙂

Posted on 10th Jan 2012 in Dinner Book, Food and Drink


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