Of all the Chinese regional cuisines, I especially love Cantonese-styled cooking. One thing which attracts me to it is the wide variety of dishes cleverly whipped up by the Cantonese chefs, be it the morning fare of 粥品 porridge, 肠粉 cheong fun, 点心 dim sum, a quick luncheon of 雲吞竹昇捞麵 shrimp dumpling noodles to the late night street hawker stir-fry，colloquially known as 大排档 dai pai dung. Some of these are very challenging and tedious to re-create at home, like a good 干炒牛河 Beef and Rice Noodles Stir Fry，without adequate 火力 ” fo lek aka fire power” in our kitchen stoves to produce the 镬气 “wohei” which characterises good Cantonese stir fry. But some are more home-kitchen friendly, like my favorite 柱侯牛腩焖萝卜 Braised Beef Brisket with Daikon in Chu Hou Sauce which I’d cooked umpteen times to the pleasure of family and friends who had tried it. Despite the simple procedure, it does take quite a bit of patience for the brisket to be cooked down to become uber soft and fork tender. Hence, when I want to cook something fairly quickly but no less gratifying, I would whip up yet another Cantonese classic, 柱候酱焖鸡 Braised Chicken with Chu Hou Sauce instead.
Poached Pears in Red Wine is a signature french fruit dessert which is both easy to prepare and delcious to enjoy. Better known as “Poires Au Vin Rouge“, this french classic uses port or some other full-bodied fortified wine as a base for a thick syrup enriched with spices. Its origins can be traced back to another French dessert named Poire belle Hélène created by by Auguste Escoffier, named after the operetta La belle Hélène by Jacques Offenbach. Incidentally creating desserts after popular themes or famous people seemed to be Escoffier’s
favorite past-time speciality as he also gave us Pêche Melba, after the famous Australia prima donna. Jacky Wu of 囍宴 Xi Yan, a restaurant chain in Hong Kong and Singapore specialising in the concept of “private dining” decidedly gave this dish an Oriental twist with their restaurant signature “囍有此梨” 桂花陳酒燴啤梨 Poached Pear in Aged Osmanthus Wine, with the incorporation of 桂花陈酒 aged osmanthus wine from China. The palate experience provided is quite different from that of the original Poires Au Vin Rouge but no less enjoyable!