Ok ... my paternal grandfather had 2 chinese wives ... erm ... at the same time. And although my father grew up speaking both Bahasa and Cantonese, with a soupcon of Oriental traditions and customs thrown in, the later intrusion of Christianity put paid to any hope of ushering the lunar new year in with due festivity.
So its only since I have arrived on antipodean shores that I have had the opportunity to celebrate CNY, and that is mainly due to our good friend CC.
So this year was no different, although we marked the occasion slightly earlier than convention dictates, still its always fascinating to see what changes have been made to their Bulleen monolith, and what other wondrous produce their garden extrudes with annoying ease.
This time round it was what has been affectionately termed a wall of Nursing Home art (sadly I did not coin this phrase but have appropriated it in the spirit of convivial joshing):
And some lovely variegated roses (they have this is in the garden, but these particular specimens were store bought):
Our evening's repast began with a mandatory serve of Lo-Bak-Go (Chinese Radish Cake). You can find these in all good Asian shops throughout the year, but supplies increase in the lead up to Chinese New Year. Its basically a rectangular slab of cooked radish cake dotted with dried shrimp and chinese mushroom. You cut these into squarish pieces and pan fry them to form a golden brown crust all round. Serve with a garlic, soy and chilli dip. This is absolutely scrumptious and a great starter whatever the time of year. But be warned, the tendency is to guts yourself on this and end up not having room for much else.
CC had these gorgeous long sweet green capsicums that he picked from his garden and decided to stuff these with a mixture of minced pork and beef and prawn. The leftover mixture was used to stuff some chinese mushrooms that he had handy. These were served as entree along with the Lo-Bak-Go. They were to die for. And the green peppers had a bit of a scoville punch.
To help wash down a bit of all this fired goodness, there was slow cooked chicken broth, using the standard Chinese dried herb mix and not much else. Perfect digestive preparation for the mains to come.
I'm not sure about the significance of the various numbers and ingredients, but for mains we had a piece of fried swordfish with a spring onion and sesame sauce;
Slow cooked sweet pork which had to be cut into Squares theoretically;
And DV rustled up a quick dish of Tofu which again was amazingly simple and delicious (bastard!).
Unfortunately my photo seems to have gone walkabout, but we also had stir fried asparagus with scallops.
All in all, CC outdid himself yet again in the culinary stakes and served a memorable meal to usher in the pending prosperity that we are sure to all enjoy this year.
And of course we ended the night with some Nian Gao (sticky cake), which CC friend with egg and served with Passionfruit Gelato (which I politely declined even as he tried his forceful best to convince me otherwise). Although I am partial to a bit of sticky sugary yumminess, I must admit and agree with H that when it arrived a-table, under the dim dining room lights, it did look like raw steak ready for the bbq.
So in the end, although DV was unable to purchase his roast duck, CC got his 10 dishes:
(i) a selection of fruit with cocktails served poolside
(ii) M's pineapple tarts (this will be another post)
(4) Stuffed Long chillies
(5) Chicken Soup
(6) Slow cooked pork
(7) Stir fried swordfish
(8) DV's Tofu extravaganza
(9) Stir fried asparagus and scallop
(10) Nian Gao
So to you and yours, Xin Nian Quia Le!!!