I must say every year my Chinese New Year is special.
This year eight of us sat down for a very relaxing dinner with good conversation and laughter. My pine wood table was overflowing indeed with food which I leisurely prepared and cooked throughout the day. No stress dinner. That's really nice. As I was preparing my various dishes I was thinking of what would other Chinese mothers were doing?
A 3 kg slice of belly pork (marinated with sea salt for several hours) popped into the oven for three hours from 4:00 p.m. and out came crispy and juicy pork at 7 p.m.. Easy peasy Jamie Oliver would say.
Broccoli and cucumber served with pacific clams and two kinds of fresh mushrooms. Excellent dish which takes only minutes to prepare. Use only garlic as aromatic. And use a bit of sesame oil. It took only half an hour.
This is the Iban golden terong or aubergine roasted to perfection over an open fire in its own skin.
Drunken chicken prepared and cooked in the morning and put into the freezer for about 6 hours until it is time to serve. The slow thawing on the table makes the chicken tender and very delicate in taste. (A Shanghainese recipe). The exquisite Xiao Xing wine also creates a special aroma. I always believe that this wine makes Chinese dining very merry. And of course a little extra of it can cover any flaws of the chef!! (Smile)
This is my special Foochow Rice Vermicelli cooked with thin slices of Chinese sausages and minced pork with a large portion of pounded dried prawns. The greens come from cangkok manis. Crispy pork fat (yew char)adds to the taste. It may sound sinfully high in cholesterol but it is fragrant and very delectable and is a true enhancer of taste and texture. Rice was also served to those who MUST have rice. I always have to make sure that I have white rice cooked especially in Sarawak.
Steamed ikan mengalan with plum sauce and lily bulb and drenched with generous xiao xing wine. This fish is very sweet and the bones come off easily. When the first guest arrives pop this into a steam which is already steaming hot . Twenty minutes will be enough to cook this wonderful river fish.
A salad of onions and ikan bilis with a very large amount of garden fresh lime juice. Add lots of chillie to this dish and you have a winner....Preparation time - 10 minutes.
The beautiful pink Fatt Kow to symbolise Wealth for the New Year and promotion...They were for desserts together with slices of Sarawak layer cakes and Mandarin Oranges. I got them at the Central Market .
I bought one of this too. Specially steamed in a plastic container and easily carried.
Felix (my friend's son is back from Perth)is seen taking care of a large array of drinks for the evening. We had a bottle of Reisling fresh from Moselle Valley given by Valentina. Besides we had quite an international selection : Taylor's Port. San Miguel. Irish Stout. Black Guiness and Ballantine's. A few bottles of red wine were being passed around.(Tip: I must always remember that it is good to have a nice person to be in charge of drinks while you savour the good conversation or get carried away by the jokes....)
My happy guests from Sg. Brit (we used to say Brit is short for Britain): Felix and his mother Teresa. Valentina is home from Saudi for a short break. I was trying to get them to say "Waikiki" to show their gigi for the camera....All of them have natural 8 pearls when they smile.
The warm and hearty evening meal ended well just before mid-night. In the neighbourhood fire crackers started to punctuate the otherwise quiet air. We closed all windows and switched on more air conditioners to stop the strong sulphur laden air from filtering into the house.
Food is always better when shared with good friends.
Joy is having friends seated at your table and having a feast.....
Joy is sharing stories and good memories.....