With Chinese New Year around the corner (on 28 January this year), I’m already thinking ahead to our lunch menu. Last year, we celebrated the event with some good friends at home, and my mum would have been proud of the spread which I created. The menu included spring rolls (which Americans call “egg rolls”), fried rice, Chinese tea eggs, as well as these Chinese Turnip Cakes, or Daikon Radish Cake. The latter is a dish you might be familiar with if you are a fan of Dim Sum.
If you are looking for a show-stopping recipe which will wow your family and friends at your next dinner party, look no further than this Beef Wellington with Green Peppercorn Sauce. These photos are my latest contribution to the food column in Discovery, the inflight magazine for Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon.
Recently in the kitchen, I have been busy rustling up various Vietnamese dishes, including one of my favourite soups called Bun Rieu – a pork broth flavoured with crab and tomatoes, and served with vermicelli noodles and a pile of aromatic herbs. I love to make a big pot of this soup so that we can eat it over several days, even if the sun is sweltering outside and we sweat uncomfortably while enjoying the mix of vibrant flavours and textures.
This year, Chinese New Year is celebrated on 8 February 2016 to mark the Year of the Monkey. The equivalent Vietnamese celebration is called Tet, one of the most important events in my family’s calendar.
As a child, my mother went to great lengths each year to prepare a feast which could feed our entire neighbourhood. The menu always featured a sticky rice cake filled with mung beans and pork, a turnip cake, endless platters of spring rolls (egg rolls), roast pork with gorgeously seasoned crackling – all served with fresh vermicelli noodles, picked carrots and daikon, and an abundance of fresh salad and herbs. There was always a soup on the menu, too; often a light chicken broth with bamboo shoots. Each dish had a significance and the ingredients were always carefully chosen to welcome luck and prosperity into the family.
Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and a great start already to 2014. We often celebrate the New Year in Zurich and so it seems fitting to start 2014 on ELB with a classic recipe from my adopted hometown.
We are hosting a small cocktail party this weekend or, as they call it in Switzerland, an apéro, where the evening will be fueled by lots of small canapés and finger food. Hubby is rather excited by all of the possible wine pairings and I have been quite content to bury myself amongst hefty volumes of cookbooks in the late evenings, comparing and choosing recipes for our little soirée.