February 26, 2014

Crushed M&Ms Vanilla Ice Cream

ice cream, M&Ms, vanilla, winter, recipe, crushed, homemade

One of the strangest things, I think, is how enjoyable ice cream is in the dead of winter.  How freezing your body inside and outside can bring joy and fulfillment is something that I cannot begin to figure out.  But I know it is true.  And not just myself either.  I see people greedily and happily eating ice cream in the cold of winter all the time.

So, in celebration of ice creams in winter, we made an ice cream with one of our favorite winter flavors, vanilla, and some M&M's, a winter favorite because they remind us of Christmas and Chinese New Year with all their bright lovely sparkily colors.  So if you're a winter ice cream eater like us, try indulging yourself with our super delicious M&M's Vanilla Ice Cream!

Roast Pumpkin & Sage Pasta Sauce

Photo courtesy of The Pasta Place

We recently, during one of our wanders through the city, ended up having dinner at a small, newly opened Italian-American restaurant in the Sheung Wan area where we met the dynamic mother and daughter duo who run The Pasta Place.  These ladies really mean it when they say created and run by mother and daughter because everything in that place has their collaborative fingerprints on it, from the retro wallpaper to all the food (made from mamma's own recipes!) on the menu.  

We naturally got to chatting with Andrea (the mamma) about her homemade style food, as we at The Hong Kong Cookery obviously think that homemade is cooler than cool!  And Andrea was nice enough to let us have one of her own recipes to share with our readers...

February 21, 2014

Chinese New Year Celebration Traditions 香港新春節慶

celebrations, chinese new year, dragon dance, festival, flowers, fruits, lion dance, traditions, hong kong, 香港, 新春節慶,

We had so much fun this year celebrating the Chinese New Year festival in Hong Kong!  So we thought that before we leave it finally all behind and start in earnest on the new year that we would share some of our photos of Hong Kong celebrating the Chinese New Year, or 香港新春節慶, in it's own imitable style.

 Most important and dramatic of all, of course, is the majestic Chinese Dragon Dance, or 舞龍, a traditional performance that is believed to bring good luck that has been around since 200 BC!  We were lucky enough to catch a wonderful Dragon Dance performance in the mall the other day.  You would not believe how loud the drums and clashing cymbals were!  Could not hear a thing afterwards for an hour!

February 15, 2014

Love Cookies for Valentine's Day

chinese, chinese new year, love cookies, chinese valentine's day, valentines's day, cookies, recipe, tong yuan, love cookies

Dear readers, it's Valentine's Day and we want to send you a Love Cookie!  We are really excited because this year, for the first time in 19 years, the stars have aligned to make Valentine's Day and the last day of the Chinese New Year Festival, also known as the Chinese Valentine's Day, happen on the same day!  

On this day the Chinese traditionally celebrated by gazing at the first full moon of the new year, eating Tong Yuan Rice Dumplings, and writing enticing riddle poems on glowing lanterns to attract their secret or not so secret loves.

February 13, 2014

How to Wrap Tong Yuan Rice Dumplings 湯圓的做法

How to Wrap Tong Yuan Rice Dumplings 湯圓的做法
chinese,sweet dumpling,how to wrap,tong yuan,black sesame,湯圓的做法,how to make,rice dumpling,tong yuen,tang yuan
We thought that since Tong Yuan Rice Dumplings take serious mastery skills to make (joking!), we should do a how to wrap the tong yuan post with lots of helpful photos.  And since 媽媽's (that's me!) hands were encrusted in sticky white dough, my little girl helped me to take a lot the photos!  So here it is: How to Wrap Tong Yuan Rice Dumplings 湯圓的做法! by the good folks at The Hong Kong Cookery. (That's us!)

Black Sesame Tang Yuan 黑芝麻湯圓

黑芝麻湯圓,dumpling,dessert,tong yuan,ginger,ginger sweet Soup,black sesame,recipe,薑糖水,rice,sweet,chinese new year,tong yuen, tang yuan

Tong Yuans are sexy.  If you've ever had a Tong Yuan you'll have to agree with me.  These Chinese sweet rice dumplings are smooth lusciously unctuous round balls of delightfully ricey gooeyness hiding a center of sublime sweetly fragrant filling just waiting to ooze out into your waiting mouth.

Now that I've totally grossed you out (and captured your attention!)  let me state that I stand by all that I have just written.  For it is all true, Tong Yuans, or 湯圓, are one of very few truly sexy chinese foods.  The excitement of the mysterious center filling, the senses awakened by the richness of the filling contrasting the simplicity of the rice dough, the delightfully perfect round fullness,  the absolute pleasure of the act of eating a tender, tasty, sexy Tong Yuan...

February 2, 2014

Chinese New Year Rice Cake Nian Gao 年糕

chinese new year, nian gao, sticky rice cake, Pan Fried, Egg  chinese, pan fried egg rice cake, sweet rice cake, recipe, 年糕, 傳統香煎年糕

Chinese love harmony.  Harmony is the motivator for all things Chinese.  Thus the perfect cake for the Chinese New Year is the perfectly round Nian Gao, or 年糕, a celebration in itself of perfect harmony and balance.  Also known as Chinese Sweet Rice Cake, Nian Gao is a delicious sweet treat that is made and served throughout the Chinese New Year, both to family and to visitors that drop by on their New Year's visits.  I love Nian Gao, it is so beautiful, yummy and easy to make.  It's one of my favorite foods of the Chinese New Year!

The Nian Gao is traditionally made to be offered as a sticky yummy bribe for the Kitchen God Zao Jun, or 灶君, who, each Chinese New Year, reports to the Jade Emperor on whether your family has been naughty or nice the past year.  And of course, Nian Gao is also a lucky food symbol for the upcoming new year.   年 means 'year' and 糕 means 'cake', however, 糕 is also pronounced exactly like the character 高, which means 'tall'.  So thus the Chinese love of word play changes Nian Gao, or "year cake", to mean "tall stature in the upcoming year."  Hum, such an auspicious food, maybe I should eat even more Nian Gao!

February 1, 2014

Stir Fried Nian Gao Rice Cakes 炒年糕

chinese new year, nian gao, rice cakes, stir fry, 炒, chinese, recipe, 年糕,

This is one of my 媽媽's favorite comfort dish, Stir Fried Nian Gao Rice Cakes, or 炒年糕.  She, au contraire, to the rest of our family seemed to always secretly long for this warm and hearty dish of rice cakes, pork and vegetables and now, finally (duh!), I have realized why.

My 媽媽 is originally from around Dinghai 定海 in Zhejiang 浙江 province of China.  And Dinghai is right next to Ningbo 宁波 where this delicious and unique dish originates!  She recounts early childhood memories of her grandparents house where they actually made their own rice cakes in enormous amounts (enough for a whole year's eating!), storing the flat hand molded rice cakes in enormous water filled porcelain urns, each day taking out only enough cakes for that day's cooking.  My 媽媽 says that nothing comes close to the taste of those home made Nian Gao rice cakes from when she was a little girl!

Stir Fried Nian Gao Rice Cakes is also a dish that is specially made for the Chinese New Year.  The name Nian Gao, or 年糕, is symbolically lucky and prosperous as the first character 年 means 'year' and the second character 糕 actually means 'cake' but is a homonym (has the same sound as) to the character 高 which means 'high'.  So Nian Gao, for the Chinese New Year, means 'soaring high in the year ahead'.  Whew, everything is symbolic for the Chinese!  I don't know about you but I get confused sometimes!