Saturday night was awesome. We had a full house of my favourite peeps (minus a few who couldn’t make it). Sophia and Barb arrived first to help with dumplings, and brought the most beautiful bouquet of delicate pink tulips (chosen by Sophia for Valentine’s Day).
I had a small team folding dumplings, and they did a stellar job. Sophia made gorgeous pleated dumplings. We had a ton of food which was so much fun to make.
I made a few things for the first time – and they turned out pretty well. I did a veggie and meat version of my mom’s sticky rice (we always had our turkey stuffed with this rice. Soooo yummy). The meat version had a few uncooked rice kernels, but the veggie version didn’t. I think this was due to the veggie version sitting in the rice cooker and steaming for a further half hour after I cooked it. Will try that next time.
The other thing I made for the first time is lotus root stuffed with rice. These thingies are super cool. They are shaped like sausage links, and when you cut the ends off, you find these holes inside.
The holes go right the way through to the other side! I was supposed to stuff each hole full of uncooked rice. Those holes aren’t so big, and well, it’s pretty fiddly.
I managed two or three holes, and gave up. David did the rest on that section of root. Unfortunately we gave up and decided to just cook them plain. They were tasty but I have to admit the rice was a nice addition. Maybe next time we will persevere. Or we’ll just cook them plain so they are still a little crunchy. They are nice crunchy.
I also made more mantou and huajuan. The huajuan turned out really tasty and way better looking than last time. The bamboo steamers also helped hugely – no ugly condensation craters on the top layer.
I ended up with dough that was too wet, so it took way longer to cook than normal (an hour as opposed to 15 minutes). The indentations on the mantou are from me poking them to see if they bounced back. The huajuan were way more popular than the mantou – given I eat mine with peanut butter I can understand they aren’t so great plain.
The rest of the food was:
-chicken sesame noodles
-beef & chive dumplings
-cabbage and mushroom dumplings
-lettuce wrap beef
-lettuce wrap veggies
-hongdou zhenzhu with coconut
We also got a peking duck.
Surprisingly not that much drinking. Maybe not surprising those without kids drove, and those with kids, well, had kids! We passed around some sake, and some riesling. Ellen, Lawrence & Claire from NYC also came as they were in town for the week, Dan who I haven’t seen for over a year too which was really nice. Was really nice seeing everyone mingling – and one thing everyone in the room shared was a huge love for food. There was a lot of chinese pop on the Sonos, and then a bit of China themed songs (China Doll by Bowie, China in your hands by T’pau…). I managed to leave off the niangao stir fry and the seabass. Ran out of time! Good thing though as we had way too much food.
Sunday we were up for dim sum at Joy King Lau in Chinatown. They had some great dim sum – the best being their homemade sweet niangao! Only one dish didn’t make the grade – the custard tart. A little too yellow and big and not very flaky or light. Still, the rest was quite yummy. Met up with Ellen’s incredible circle of friends and literally stuffed ourselves for a tenner each! Gotta love chinatown prices.
Went to see A Single Man that evening – beautiful but depressing. I’m not sure we’ve moved on that much since the 50s. It certainly is more acceptable to be openly gay, but sadly what the movie depicts still exists, particularly in more conservative spheres. Colin Firth’s character George is dealing with the loss of his partner Jim (played by Matthew Goode). Despite the fact that George & Jim were together for 16 years and from the many flashbacks, were in a stable and loving relationship, when Jim dies a cousin calls George in secret because the parents don’t want George involved at all (or it seems to even know about Jim’s death). George is told in not so many words not to come to the funeral since it is ‘for family only’. George’s best friend tells him, in an unguarded moment, that George & Jim’s relationship wasn’t ‘real’, and that he ought to marry a woman to have a ‘real’ relationship. She doesn’t really mean it the way it comes out, but it resonates with how some people view gay relationships. It’s so incredibly sad. That one person’s love is somehow not as legitimate as another person’s. Or one person’s grief is less real than another’s. We still have some way to go.