this is the second consecutive year that i m not spending Lunar New year at home and i think if there's a third year, i might just start getting used to it... :P
last year, to alley the pangs of homesicknesses, i made the foods from new year that i missed most- Braised chicken with sea cucumber and kueh bangkit..and also ba kwa to the amazement of my mom...and once i can replicate something satisfactorily, i usually lose the desire to eat it too...so now i m in some sort of a dilemma..what should i cook this year to celebrate the new year?
there are three main celebrations....an aussie style bbq with some older friends from church, a reunion dinner with some friends from the northern part of China- mainly dumplings- and a potluck dinner with some other students mainly from Singapore/Malaysia..
for the BBQ, i made this:
Baked Nian Gao ('Year cake' literally)
Chinese food is usually very symbolic- auspicious sounding names and sometimes, even the taste and texture.
Nian Gao- sounds like 'Year Tall/ High'- wishing the eater a good year with promotions/ getting 'higher' in their career..and there was some sort of a story about offering the nian gao to the kitchen god therefore the cake has to be very sticky and sweet so that the kitchen god will carry good tales to his boss- the emperor god- who will then reward/punish each household accordingly.....
so what did i think about this cake? The top is cruchy and the middle is quite dense and sticky and tastes suspiciously like muah chee with red beans...hehe..
wouldn't mind making it again..good for functions where u need to feed alot of people..cos one person just needs a small piece..
for the reunion dinner- my hosts are a young couple- so i am thinking of making a red date + wolfberry dessert to bless them with "zhao sheng gui zi"...but cos i coudn't muster up the energy to go do that...i will now make some cornflake cookies and peanut cookies- "Jin yu man tang" (gold and jade all over the house- have to add some green glace cherries maybe) and still naming the peanut cookies "zhao sheng gi zi"...wondering if i can put some chrysanthemum flowers into the peanut cookies to symbolise the 'gui' part..but peanuts and chrysanthemum seem like a strange combination...or perhaps a milder tasting seed...sunflower seeds?? Hmmm...
And oh, the puppy's finally here!!!!!
introducing Cleo the mini schnauzer!!!!
she's still settling in and it's so adorable to watch her scamper up the step into the house...she's barely the size of a guinea pig...!!