Kung Hei Fat Choi (Happy New Year) from all of us here at The Amazing Blog! This celebration marks the commencement of the year of the Horse. Whether you celebrate the date or just want to partake in the festivities, here at The Amazing Blog, we have found all you need to get your New Year’s celebration underway. First off let’s address the superstitions surrounding the entry of a new year to the Chinese and what one should and should not do. Starting with the home, families clean the home as a way of saying out with the old and in with the new, as well as eliminating bad energy. Also remember to avoid any unpleasant situations or crying on this day since the first day of the year is said to be a precursor of the year to come. For you fashion conscious folks, be mindful not to wear black since the colour relates to death and instead opt for red as it represents luck and fortune. Also if you want to have some fun with ghosts and spirits, pop some firecrackers to scare the bad ones off. Your neighbour may not appreciate it but it’s a sure way of starting the year off with a bang!
Regardless of your plans, let us suggest a themed recipe because clearly we here at the blog love anything in regards to food! We have found a Chinese New Year Cake Recipe Kit by Sous Chef. Sous Chef is an online store dedicated to supplying hard-to-find ingredients and equipment to ‘adventurous cooks’ interested in exotic cuisines. The cake mix kit includes the ingredients needed to make traditional New Year ‘sticky cakes’ known as Nian Gao, which consist of Chinese brown sugar, glutinous rice flour, coconut milk and the recipe card with instructions. These cakes have the consistency of Japanese mochi balls but can also be pan-fried and transform into tasty, eggy ‘bread’. The kit is available online here for only £5.00. Thanks to our friends at Sous Chef who have given us the recipe to share with you!
225g Chinese brown sugar in pieces (half packet), 200ml water, 200ml coconut milk (half can), 225g glutinous rice flour (half a bag), optional gold leaf to garnish
This recipe makes 3x10 cm cakes, to serve 6 people.
1. Break down the brown sugar into small pieces, and place in pan with the water. Heat, stirring until dissolved and simmer for 5-10 minutes. 2. Remove the pan from the heat, and whisk in the coconut milk. 3. Measure out the glutinous rice flour into a large mixing bowl, and pour over the coconut milk and sugar mixture. Whisk well, until there are no lumps. The texture should be similar to a runny pancake batter. 4. With a little cooking oil, grease 3-5 small ramekins, remembering that 4 is an unlucky number! Pour in the batter, dividing equally between dishes. 5. Sit the ramekins in a large saucepan with a lid, and add water until it comes to half way up the sides of the dishes. Cover with lid, and simmer for 30 minutes on a low heat. 6. Remove from pan and leave to cool (they are also tasty at this stage!). Refrigerate. They will keep well wrapped in the fridge. 7. Optional: If you’re giving the cakes as presents, run a knife around the side of the cake, and lever it out. Place upside down on a circle of grease-proof paper, tie with string, and top with a little gold leaf.
Next we have the Wing Yip Five Beer Gift Pack, because what is a celebration without a little alcohol! Perfect for any occasion and festivity, the pack contains beers from all over Asia in areas like Kirin Ichiban, Tiger, Sapporo, Tsing Tao and Singha. The supplier of the beer pack, Wing Yip, is the UK’s leading retailer of Oriental products with four locations in Birmingham, Manchester, Cricklewood and Croydon. The beer gift pack however, is only available online here for £7.98.
Food and drink are a must but not always enough to entertain your guests; we want your celebration to be everything but boring. Amuse your guests and bring good fortune by flying a traditional Chinese dragon kite. Airdynamics, a UK based company specializing in hand-made kites imported from China, suggests that under Chinese tradition flying a kite during the celebration brings growth and good fortune in the upcoming year. If kite flying isn’t your speciality, no worries! These carefully crafted kites dual as entertainment and home decorations in the form of dragons, snakes and other animals. Prices very based on size and selection, but orders can be placed here.
Finally we have a gift from us to you; well, it’s actually a gifting idea. Traditionally in Chinese New Year culture, a charm is given to family members and friends to optimize good fortune in the upcoming seasons. Seeking good fortune themselves, the Pandora bracelet company has designed the Chinese Zodiac Horse Pendant Charm. Yes, it is unique to 2014 but we find the Zodiac Horse doubles as an everyday “good luck” charm. Even better, the horse charm will fill another space on the bracelets of your family and friends! Find the charm at a local Pandora store or on Pandora’s estore for £35.00 here.
If you’re not hosting or attending a Chinese New Year party, pop by Chinatown to experience ‘the largest Chinese New Year party outside of China.’ This Sunday, 2 February, Chinatown entertainment will include dancers, musicians, food and more! Find more information on this celebration here.