While in Hong Kong, I stayed with a friend I first met some fifteen years ago, also named Chris. He and his partner Antony are dear people, just wonderful to visit with. They also live in a gorgeous flat in the western Mid-Levels. Trying to be the best guest I could, I let them know that I looked forward to spending time with them but also didn’t want them to feel obligated to bend their schedule around my visit. One thing Chris insisted I must be a part of was a dinner party they were hosting on Saturday night.
I’m glad I did as it was a lot of fun. I also got pulled in as sous chef since it was a public holiday and the maid had the day off. This is fine as I enjoy cooking and the opportunity to let someone else run the show is a good way for me to learn.
First, though, back to the topic of bamboo scaffolding.
Here’s a view from the guest bedroom. I noticed that some work was being done on a unit across the street, on about the twentieth story of the building.
Notice how the bamboo scaffolding seems rather… rickety? But it seems to be the safest way to get the exterior work done. I’m curious how it is actually attached to the walls, though.
Okay, back to food…
Chopping herbs, a combination of cilantro and Italian (wide leaf) parsley. The little roller device was kind of a mess and I think just using the chef’s knife would have been easier. Mix all that with a hefty amount of freshly-ground black pepper.
Slice really good quality tuna into batons about 1 inch (3 cm) square.
Coat the batons with the herb-pepper mixture.
Here Chris is doing the coating while I take pictures. Notice the huge library of cookbooks in the back.
Sear the tuna in a hot pan for exactly 30 seconds on each side.
The goal is to have the interior cooked like this, still pink. These were lovely.
I’m pressed into service slicing apples and cucumbers into matchsticks which are then soaked in a very lightly salted water bath. These were served as a light salad to cleanse the palate before the main course. Very nice idea, although I think it needs some color. That would add flavor, though, which isn’t the idea.
Dining room and living room ready for the guests to arrive. Beautiful, isn’t it? The antithesis of the style Tawn and I did our home in and I quite like it. Very modern but still with an Asian undertone.
Antony did the amuse-bouche, super easy but really complex in flavor. Toasted whole grain bread circles topped with goat cheese, shredded baked beet root, and a few toasted pine nuts. Bake in the oven for just a few minutes until the cheese gets soft and creamy.
The appetizer course. The tuna batons served with some pieces of fresh mango. So simple, so good.
The main course would have benefitted from some advance work as it took almost thirty minutes for the two Chrises to pull this together as the guests chatted. Slices of salmon with a egg white and soy sauce mixture brushed on the skin side, which is then crusted with toasted sesame seeds and then pan fried.
The salmon is then served over cold soba noodles with some citrus slices and a small rocket salad. Very nice and I’ve recreated this at home since returning. I think this needs to be something that you sear in advance and then maybe finish in a low oven, that way you don’t smell smoky while your guests are here. I’ll work on that.
For dessert, little molten chocolate cakes served with vanilla bean ice cream. A bit rushed as two of the guests had to head to the airport, but very nice nonetheless.
As we neared midnight, fueled by two bottles of champagne and several bottles of wine, the guests became more animated. One of them who has a history of performing in drag, decided to give us an impromptu runway show set to Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face”. Since his identity isn’t clear in the video, I guess it will be safe to share it with you here.
Notice the disco lights. Would you believe Chris and Antony had these built into their kitchen bar area? They are hidden under the seating area. Handy to have at such an event!