Chinese New Year Celebration 2013

With the new job, I did not have much time and also day off to prepare for CNY. I managed to make a few can of cookies … chocolate chips pecan cookies and almond cookies.

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These were for my sister and brother as I knew they love these cookies.

Jaden brought a few of the cookies to kinder to eat. His teacher saw it and asked him to get the recipe from me. He came home and told me about it. The next day, he told the teacher “You can get the recipe from my mother’s blog” and passed to the teacher a paper slip with “www.treasure-memories.com” written on it. Not bad ya, my boy knows how to promote my blog ūüôā

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On the last day of work before the CNY break, my boss took us out for department lunch. With this new job, I had the least “lou sang” for CNY as compared to my previous job as we used to entertain dealers to¬†CNY Yee Sang after the annual account reviews.

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¬†We had our reunion dinner in Segamat with Hubby’s family. After reunion, we exchanged ang pow. In order to receive ang pow from my mother in-law, all of the kids (inclusive of her second son) have to give her a kiss on the cheek. Thank God she doesn’t have an oily face.

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For the very first time, I was so happy that we went to temple for prayer and blessing, first thing on the 1st day of Lunar New Year.

After prayer, we went to Kluang to meet Hubby’s uncles, aunties and cousins that came back from Singapore, Penang, KL and Johor.

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It was also¬†Auntie Jenny’s birthday. We had a good birthday celebration in restaurant.

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On the 2nd day of CNY, we had three cooking classes from our aunties:

  1. Roast Pork
  2. Ju Hu Char
  3. Crispy Seaweed Strips

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Technology got us closer for those near and far. Hubby arranged Skype with her sister who is in US. WP_20130211_029

Most of us left Kluang on the 3rd day of CNY, after our breakfast.

WP_20130212_003A varieties of pau for breakfast. WP_20130212_007

I truly enjoyed the CNY celebration at Kluang with great company and lots of laughter.

When we reached home, we had Mc Donalds for lunch. After lunch, we went to my parents house to have gathering with my siblings and family. At night, we had Kajang Satay for dinner. I guess we had too much of Chinese food and we ate too much too that we just wanted to eat non-Chinese food.

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On the 4th day of CNY, I received these from postman.  My lovely friend who was my classmate in secondary school and now live in Singapore knows I like OCBC angpow packets and sent them all the way from Singapore.

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At night, we had dinner with our parents at The Uma. I had been wanting to take my parents to try out the Balinese food here. Since we had too much of CNY feast, this Balinese good was a good choice for the dinner there.

I ordered pork rib set, mutton, fish and the famous Bali duck meat. My dad love the mutton set.

Looking back, it was really a good choice of not having Chinese food. We can avoid the crowd, expensive food with not so attentive service.

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¬†On the 5th day of CNY, my auntie and her families from Klang visited my parents. All of us met up with them at my parents house. I volunteered to cook pilaf rice with rendang Chicken for lunch¬†and Acar that I’ve bought from TTDI market.WP_20130214_012

altAi7hh-LAAiNWHdo41g8s0WTgVOQ1WMrSQVIxKBerSORS_jpg I think I only see them once a year.

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My auntie and her children.

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Ben’s at Bangsar Shopping Centre

At night, our 4th Auntie invited us for dinner at Ben’s at Bangsar Shopping Center. It’s¬†Valentine’s Day and there were lots of people and it was quite difficult for us to find car park at the shopping center.

There’s no candle light dinner with Hubby. Married couple is not romantic anymore ūüôĀ

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Rocket Salad

The food at Ben’s is nice.

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Beef for Hubby

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Fish for 4th Auntie

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Duck pasta for me

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We finished our dinner with coffee and cake. This is Heaven!

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On the¬†6th day of CNY, I worked half day from home as I’ve to take two online meetings. After the meetings, we rushed to Tesco to buy ingredients to make pizzas.

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I had my ex-school mates at home for tea time. I made 4 types of pizza ie ham, salami and sausage & bacon pizzas and paired them with white wine. Wai Peng made Apple crumble pie and I served it with scoop of vanilla ice-cream.

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I also made Panna Cotta and it is so easy to make. WP_20130215_020

Technology got them closer but apart.

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Good chat among old friends. We truly enjoyed our chat at our cozy home.

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On the 7th day of CNY, we had BBQ pot luck¬†at William’s new condo. The condo has a very nice pool that looks like resort pool.

18587_10151514479492269_1099595659_nAnother good gathering among old school friends.  This is what I like the most of CNY Рfriends get together. Some of these friends I only see them once a year.

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I brought a packet of dried meat to be grilled at the BBQ dinner. It was delicious and my friends enjoyed eating it.

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I also made banana walnut brownies as dessert for the gathering. It was so difficult to get the host of the gathering, William to prepare Vanilla ice-cream to go with the brownies. He was just trying to be difficult.

From the 8th to 11th day of CNY, I went to Singapore for office three days training. Hubby accompanied me and we drove to Singapore and stayed at Marina Mandarin Hotel which is within walking distance to Marina Bay Sand.

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Overall, it was a good CNY celebration and break from work.

May the year of Snake brings Joy, good health & happiness to all of us.

Crispy Seaweed Strips

This time round, our 5th Auntie who used to be a home science teacher cooked her famous curry chicken and she also made Crispy Seaweed Strips.

Dean’s fiance, Christine¬†who joined us for the very first CNY celebration in Kluang loves to eat the Crispy Seaweed Strips. Our auntie offered to make for her to bring back to US.

After lunch, we had our 3rd cooking class. This time round, our auntie taught us to make Crispy Seaweed Strips.

Ingredients:

  • Popiah skin
  • Seaweed (try to buy the same size as popiah skin)
  • Egg, lightly beaten. Add sesame oil, pepper and pinch of salt.

New Folder

  1. Place popiah skin on non-stick surface
  2. Brush with egg wash
  3. Place a piece of seaweed on top of it
  4. Brush with egg wash again
  5. Cover with another piece of popiah skin
  6. Put it aside to let it dry, while continue with other pieces of popiah skin and seaweed
  7. Fold into 3 equal sizes and use scissors to cut along the folded line
  8. Cut into shorter strips of 1cm width

New Folder (2)

  1. Pour oil into frying wok
  2. Test it with chopsticks to see if the oil is hot enough for frying. Bubbles will appear in the oil when it’s hot
  3. Take a handful of seaweed strips and fry them in the wok
  4. Once they turn lightly brown, turn down the flame
  5. Take out from wok and place on a plate with kitchen towel.

WP_20130211_119[1]As the seaweed strips are still hot, they will continue to cook and turn brown.

Good students and helpers in the kitchen

Good students and helpers in the kitchen

We had quite a few helpers in the kitchen and we worked like “factory line” with different people performing different tasks. We were having fun and the entire process of making and frying the seaweed strips were done in half an hour.¬†The seaweed strips were crispy, smell great and tasted good too.

Suggestions:

  • If you prefer the stronger taste of seaweed, you may start with seaweed, then popiah skin and end with seaweed.
  • Use egg white rather than whole egg as¬†it will be crispier and the seaweed strips will last longer
  • My auntie told us that this seaweed strips go well with porridge.
The only and very happy man in the kitchen.

The only and very happy man in the kitchen.

We had lots of laugher, changing idea and cooking tips. It was certainly a good bonding time during this Chinese New Year break.

Ju Hu Char – Nyonya Dish

Part of our CNY tradition is each family will buy or make their famous food back to Kluang.

  1. 2nd Auntie will make “kok cai” which is Hubby’s favourite and layer cakes that both Jared¬†and Jaden love so much.
  2. 4th Auntie will buy Godiva and all sort of expensive chocolates
  3. 5th Auntie will make fruits cake and cook curry chicken
  4. 7th Auntie is famous for her roast pork and Ju Hu Char
  5. 8th Auntie always buy persimmon, plum, cherry, strawberries and varieties of nuts (almond, walnut, etc).

We have non-stop of good food that was so hard to resist. Nobody can ever have a successful “diet plan” during this CNY get together.

The¬†second cooking class that we had is to cook “Ju Hu Char” by Auntie Jenny again.

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  1. Boil pork belly (200g) and slice thinly
  2. Soak dried squid strips (Ju Hu See) with vinegar and water for about 10 minutes
  3. Saute garlic and onion
  4. Add squid strips and stir until fragrant
  5. Add pork and stir fry for about 5 minutes
  6. Add vegetables (carrot, turnip, cabbage, French bean, mushroom) and stir fry until cooked.
  7. Add pinch of salt and white pepper.

This dish goes very well with lettuce.

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Roast Pork and Flavawave, Halogen Convection Oven

Today, over CNY family gathering, I have the opportunity to watch Auntie Jenny made her famous roast pork again.

The roast pork that we use to roast at home is nice but¬†not as nice as Auntie Jenny’s. The most challenging part¬†to make a good roast pork is to have crispy skin and not the hard skin.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5kg pork belly with skin
  • 1 tbsp salt

Mix into paste:

  • 1 tbsp five spice powder
  • 2 cloves garlic – pounded
  • 1 piece of¬†ginger – pounded
  • Few pieces of cilantro root – pounded (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt

There are tricks to this.

  • Choose 5 layers of pork belly with thin skin, so that the roast pork is crispy.

5 layers of pork belly with thin skin

  • Clean and dry with paper towel
  • Score the skin of pork belly with sharp knife across entire surface (2″ cuts with 1/4″ apart). Make sure the skin layer gets cut thorough but not too deep. Repeat same in 90 degrees direction so cuts form square patterns on skin. Some butcher will do this for you.

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  • There’s layer of fat under the skin of pork belly. When we score the skin, the layer of fat comes out and with the heat, will fry the skin and cause the skin to crack and crispy.
  • Rub some of the 1 tbsp salt on the pork skin. Salt will absorb water. When moisture forms, pat dry the skin of pork belly with kitchen towel.
  • Marinade the meat layer with the paste, coating well. Do not apply on skin as the skin will turn black easily with the paste.
  • Rub the skin with salt again for a few times, about 30 minutes apart till the 1 tbsp salt is used up.
  • Leave meat aside in a cool area, do not refrigerate. Keep wiping off any moisture that forms on skin.
  • Preheat oven to 200C. Wipe pork skin dry and remove the excess salt from the skin and brush oil on it.
  • Place a shallow tray of water (1-2inch) at lower ract to get rid of smoke.
  • Place meat with skin side up on wire rack and roast for 15 mins.WP_20130211_026
  • Turn down temperature to 180C and continue roasting for another 40-45 mins depending on thickness of meat, till well browned.
  • If skin does not crackle fully after meat is cooked, switched oven mode to grill the skin surface for about 10-15 mins.
  • When cooked, take out and let the roast pork to sit for 15 mins before serving.WP_20130211_055
  • To cut the roast pork, turn meat upside down and chop into 2 halves with very sharp knife. Quickly turn back the pieces, skin side up, on chopping board, making sure juice that runs out of meat do not come into contact with crispy skin. Cut 1st half of the meat into slices, skin side down, and turning each skin side up again.WP_20130211_059
  • After slices are done, chop each slice into bite sizes, repeat for the other half and serve immediately.WP_20130211_061

Aunty Jenny recently bought a halogen convection oven and she told us it’s good to roast pork. It’s fast, visible, not smoky¬†and easy to clean.

Roast Pork

The roast pork goes very well with mustard sauce.

Despite the 4 big pieces of roast pork, the roast pork were all eaten over our lunch.