Welcome Home Dinner!

Himself is not known for his cooking skills. Upon retirement he did declare that he would cook at least one night a week. I’m afraid that did not last for long, but now he was declaring that by being in the kitchen he was in my space. That last part could be true, as the kitchen also serves as my office, but I can always leave !

Anyway, having left him home alone for two weeks, whilst I went on a girls golf trip to China, he decided he would put his cooking skills once more to the test. I have to say that we  were in our house in the French Alps, so it made his choice of dinner slightly easier. Oysters Rockefeller, apart from Fish and Chips, my childhood favourite, Oysters Rockefeller, has to be my perfect dinner, and in France in the supermarkets they are cheap and abundant. And so it was we ate 40 oysters for dinner that night. Heaven! 

And they are not complicated to make and can be easily made in advance, refrigerated and thrown under the grill just before serving. As we were driving back from France we bought another casket of 40, to have in the UK upon our return.

Even if you do not like raw oysters, try them cooked this way, it may just change your mind.

This rich dish is named after Rockefeller and was created in 1899 by Jules Alciatore, the chef in the famed New Orleans restaurant, Antoines. As with Coca Cola, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco, the original recipe is a secret. Consequently there are as many variations around as types of Oysters, but the basic ingredients are the same. Onions, shallots or green chopped, celery breadcrumbs, butter, Tabasco , Pernod or Absinthe. 

For a starter portion, allow 4-6 oysters per person.

3 Shallots or 6 green onions chopped

1stick celery, chopped

4 oz butter

4 tablespoons fine white breadcrumbs, can use Panko crumbs if that is what you have in the pantry!

3 cups fresh spinach chopped 

A sprinkle of fennel seeds ( these have the same taste as Pernod 

Dash of Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce and Pernod or absinthe, some finely grated Parmesan cheese, 4 strips of bacon, chopped and sauteed until crisp, this is an optional extra.

Rock salt or crumpled aluminium foil to balance the Oysters on in the oven.

Preheat oven to 450 F, 230 C gas 8

Sauté the onions and celery in some butter until tender. Add the spinach and when wilted drain, as it will give off some water. Add the breadcrumbs, Fennel seeds, Tabasco ( or any other hot sauce) Worcestershire sauce and Pernod. Blend together adding more butter if necessary, to make a soft but stiff mixture. , shuck the Oysters drain off some of the water, loosen them from the shell, arrange on a baking tray. Divided the mixture between the oysters top with the Parmesan and crumbled bacon if using. Place in the oven for about 10 mins. Until bubbling. Serve at once with a slice of lemon.

Oysters tend to be fairly expensive in the UK, though I did find some at While Foods, in Kensington high street which were English, very large and a £1 each! Otherwise, if you go o a Chaney supermarket, one can buy frozen oysters, which work well for this recipe, just make sure you have saved some oyster shells from a previous dinner!

A Week in China at Mission Hills Resort.

The girls who golf have spent the last week in China, about 1 1/2 hours drive from Hong Kong, in the most amazing golf resort. Mission Hills is more than a golf resort, it is a huge development that includes shopping malls, cinemas, state of the art gym, arts and crafts centre, international school and much much more. For starters, the actual resort has 12, 18 hole golf courses in this area alone and then another resort on Haikou Isalnd with another 10 courses.

The results of cooking class
Annie with her result
Sweet and Sour Pork
Lobster Risotto
Avocado and crab salad
Grilled Asparagus with Parma Ham
 

We stayed in the newer part of Mission Hills ( it is in two parts with a shuttle bus between the two). The courses here have all been designed and named by famous golfers, so there is Rose-Poulter, Norman, Annika, Olazabal, Leadbetter, Workd Cup ( Nicklaus) Faldo, Dye, Vijay, Els, Ozaki and Zahng Liau Wei.  All are intertwined within the Chinese Hills and are challenging, for me at least. And they are all in an amazing condition, even though it rained hard one day, the course stayed firm and no Mud!An amazing fact is that here there are about 1,200 female caddies, who are very pretty and very professional. They know the layout and yardages of all the 12 courses. And they were great fun, my Chinese is minimal and they all have golfing English but we all communicated with them well! Lots of laughs on the course ! My caddie Zheng taught me “Hä qiú” Nice shot! But I had to teach her “Too Nice” when my ball went rolling off the green into a bunker! Just one of the holes, on the Olazabal course had 24bunkers and 151 in total!

So apart from us playing golf many have been having massages, facials, pedicures and manicures, as there are excellent spas  also in both facilities. And on top of that we have been eating. The resort offers a myriad of restaurants and we have tried many of them and we also tried our hand at cooking Chinese food in the World Kitchen  with one of the chefs!

I have taken many, many photos of the wonderful food we have eaten and will load as many as I can with only the briefest explanation

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Friday Night Buffet
Friday Night Buffet
Friday Night Buffet
Rolled Peking duck
Scallops and beef
Peking duck
The girls who golf
Outside the arts and crafts centre
Chinese Gala Dinner time
Chinese gala dinner
With Jackie Lau, Julia Perez, Ling and Carol just before leaving the resort

So for me a week in the resort was too short, the food was wonderful, the staff could not have been more helpful. If you ever get the chance to come here then grab it! A truly wonderful experience.

But now onto Hong Kong for more wonderful food ( and shopping !)

The Girls go on a road trip to Hong Kong and China!

One day Annie said ” who wants to come with me and play golf in China?” Why not said the intrepid few, and so here we are! We arrived in Hong Kong and hit the town, first stop for Peking Duck, wow was it good! So after eating our full, we decamped to the top of an office building for drinks and desserts and a wonderful of view of Hong Kong Island, the peak and Kowloon!

Some ordered coffee ( boring) some sake, some decadent cake and one even Two portions of Ice Cream!

I have once made Peking duck once and that was many years ago. I started out by getting two car jacks and balancing a broom handle between the two. And then hanging a duck on the broom handle and painted the duck daily for several days with a glaze. I was following a Chinese recipe that told me to do this for several days. The family were not unduly impressed. Since then I have found many recipes that let you make your own Peking Duck in a fraction of the time.

Peking Ducks were originally a black feathered type of duck, but this has fallen out of favour for the white feathered variety. 

Traditionally the ducks are free range for 45 days and then are force fed for about three weeks. Once slaughtered they are washed and then air is forced between the skin and the meat, to separate the two. They are then hung and the ducks are then painted with a sugar/honey/maltose/soy mixture before being cooked. A special oven was developed for cooking the ducks, so that they are hung during the cooking process , this was created by the Imperial Palaces during the Qing dynasty and has since been adopted by the Quanjude restaurant chain.

For the home cook, simply make sure that the duck is roasted on a rack, so that the fat can drain away and for the skin to become really crisp.

The other thing that was very interesting in this Peking Duck restaurant was the noodle maker. As a demonstration, a chef appeared and whirled around a lump of Chinese noodle paste which in no time at all became noodles! Very impressive!

After a day of Golf at the Hong Hong Golf club, we decided to go down market and eat like the locals. So we went to a noodle bar. We sat at tables for four and at my table one chose noodles with goose, her all time comfort food, whilst the three westerners chose, crispy fried/roast pork, fried shrimp with egg sauce and noodles with seafood. All were absolutely delicious, the shrimp were very crisp and the noodles spicy and cleansing! Would eat either of them again. The next instalment will be from Mission Hills in China.