Sunday 29 January 2012

Guilt-free Orange & Almond Mini Cakes for Chinese New Year

Too much of a good thing can be wonderful ~ Mae West

Ahhh January.

Named after Janus, the god of the doorway in Roman mythology, January is the one (and probably only) month in the year when everyone is most likely to stick to their freshly made New Year resolutions.

Yes January, also affectionately known as Post-Christmas-Binge-Detox month.  And since this year Chinese New Year also falls in the month of January, it seems like a good month to try and be good.  After all the CNY feasting of course.

For Chinese New Year, I really wanted to make something orangey.  Oranges in Chinese culture symbolise a prayer for good fortune and are considered harbingers of good luck.  They are often used as offerings at temples and also as gifts when you visit people over the New Year period.

So Orange and Almond Mini Cakes were just the ticket as Detox Month/Chinese New Year baking.  Gluten-free, lactose-free, flourless, butter-less, and oil-less: these little cakes may be guilt free but are most definitely not delicious free.

Tuesday 24 January 2012

Chinese New Year Feast at One Dream, Mt Wellington

Kung Hei Fat Choi!  Happy Year of the Dragon lovely people!

Chinese New Year is THE most important event in Chinese calender.  It marks the start of the lunar year and starts with a family feast on Chinese New Year's Eve, followed by another massive feast on Chinese New Year's Day and ends with a feast for the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the lunar calender.

For our New Year dinner we went to our family's fav little Chinese restaurant in Mt Wellington.  It's a gem of a place.  Family-run and tucked away next to Harvey Norman on Mt Wellington Highway, One Dream specialises in home style Chinese cooking that's authentic, delicious, and incredibly reasonable.

They are usually closed on a Monday but the lovely owners open just for us for Chinese New Year Day.  Legends.

Tuesday 17 January 2012

Bake off winning: Apricot & Walnut Caramel Tarts

The most exciting attractions are between two opposites that never meet.  ~ Andy Warhol

According to pop psychology most people are either Type A or Type B personalities.

Type A's being highly organised, time-conscious, stressed out, and competitive and Type B's being laid back, relaxed, casual and not having a single organisational bone in their bodies.  So it was rather hilarious, and not completely surprising, to discover over new years that the entire group of boys were, you guessed it, Type B, with their partners/wives/girlfriends all being exclusively and emphatically Type A.   Leave the boys to decide on what to do next and we are still sitting at the beach hours later.  Get the girls together and we're all planning out the next couple of days in minute detail: spreadsheets, packing lists and all.  It seems opposites do attract.

I think it would be hard to argue I am anything but Type A: I like everything neat and organised, things to be planned well in advance, getting to places way early. C in his more cheekier moments has dubbed it Type A.R.  But for a Type A, I don't think I'm that competitive.  I don't even like competitions and while being last is never fun, being first seems to me like an awful lot of pressure.

And I most definitely don't like being in bake off's.  If people actually like my baking that's enough of a win for me.  I leave it to the truly talented to enter in baking competitions and then go about collect the winning recipes to try.  Here is one of those winning recipes from a bake off C had at his work a wee while ago: Apricot and Walnut Caramel Tarts.

Sunday 8 January 2012

Edamame, fennel & orange salad and a huge Happy New Year!

Happy New Year beautiful people!  May 2012 bring you all success, happiness and deliciousness.

We've just come back from our action packed South Island adventure.  It was rugged.  It was amazing.  It was hardcore.  We camped, tramped and road tripped our way through the deep south, visiting some of the most beautiful places on the planet. Cannot wait to post some of the gazillion photos I took on our trip. I can barely lift my right arm 'cause I took so many.  Don't know if you heard me counting.  I took over a thousand. (I actually did!!)

{sneak peek from our south island road trip}

I also have loads of new recipes I've tried out from our Christmas festivities which I'm dying to share with you so am mucho excited bout being back to blogging.  Bring on twenty twelve baby!

Since it's a fresh new year, let's start off with a fresh salad recipe: Edamame, Fennel & Orange Salad.


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