Happy Chinese New Year 2014!

I was asked by Louisa Peterson at Delivery Hero what I do for Chinese New Year – she was interviewing fellow bloggers to prepare an article regarding Chinese New Year celebrations. It really struck me that what’s “usual” for me might not be so for other families.  I guess we don’t go too crazy over here in Melbourne unlike the celebrations overseas that go on for weeks – normally we have a slightly more celebratory dinner with some classic dishes for Chinese New Year and of course, call grandma in Hong Kong:)

Anyway, it struck me that it really is a family celebration because I didn’t have a single photo of the food we ate (until now – I made sure to take some photos this time round!).  Looking back on this meal now I think I know why the plate of stir fried vegetables was split into two – four is an incredibly unlucky number to be avoided especially on days like these – serving *four* dishes would be not so auspicious.

Braised mushrooms is always a must and this year the fishmonger had fresh barramundi so we decided to steam it with some spring onions.

White cut chicken is also a favourite for dad – steamed whole and served with ginger and spring onion sauce.

This year, my brother’s girlfriend made chocolate fondant as well as grass jelly with rambutans.

I often make these almond cookies for such celebrations too – the only problem with them is that they take quite a lot of time to make and aren’t the easiest to mould.  They are however deliciously crumbly, crisp and stay that way for at least a week (if they even last that long…).  Unfortunately they don’t travel well so if you do choose to attempt this recipe to give as a gift, pad the box with baking paper and pack it well! Another way is to omit the chopped almond bits – this’ll make it less prone to breaking apart.

The recipe I adapted from Do What I Like’s peanut cookies – essentially it’s almond instead of the peanut.  I bought a soap making mould to press the cookies into but it doesn’t release well and requires cling wrap in between to release it for baking. Alternatively press the cookies into a bottle cap about 3cm in diameter

Almond Cookies

200g ground almond powder
200g flour (mung bean flour if you can find it)
1/2 tsp baking powder
80g icing sugar
1/4 tsp salt
100 – 150g coarsely chopped almond bits (or more)
100ml neutral tasting oil
Egg wash: 1 egg yolk lightly beaten with 1 tsp water

1. Put 200g almonds in a wok and dry fry over low heat till crunchy – alternatively bake in the oven at low heat until golden brown. Chop coarsely
2. Mix flour, baking powder, ground almond powder, icing sugar and salt in a big mixing bowl till well combined. Toss in the chopped almond bits and mix well.
3. Add in 100ml oil or more and mix till the mixture is able to hold shape on moulding.
4. Shape as you wish – to make uniform cookies, one can use a bottle cap lined with plastic wrap but this is rather labour intensive.
5. Apply egg wash.
6. Bake on a lined tray at 165C for 20 minutes or till golden brown.


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