Features & Stories

Newsletter: Mastering desserts + Celebrating Lunar New Year

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 All the recipes you need for Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year is often called Chinese New Year, but is actually celebrated by millions of people worldwide, and in countries across East Asia, including Korea, Vietnam, Japan and the Philippines. The festival, which spans a couple of weeks, kicks off on the first full moon after the winter solstice. For this reason, the exact date is different year on year.

In 2023 the festival begins on January 22, a date which heralds the start of the year of the rabbit. Celebrations feature dragon parades, music, dancing, lanterns, and of course lots of wonderful food!
Long noodles are an important New Year dish, served to symbolize longevity. Try Nonya Hokkien Noodles, rich with belly pork and shrimp. Dumplings are also served, symbolizing wealth and good luck. Sasha Gill’s Mushroom and Chive Dumplings fit the bill. Or if you want to have a go at making your own noodle dough, try her Shanghai Soup Dumplings.

Take a look at our Delicious Dim Sum collection for these and 14 more tempting recipes.
In addition to dumplings and noodles there is a rich array of delicious things to grace your New Year’s feast in our Lunar New Year recipe collection.

Try Steamed Whole Fish, simple and aromatic, and greet guests across the celebration with a slice of Chinese New Year Cake. We wish you a Happy Lunar New Year!
Find 383 Chinese noodle dishes
Pictured above: Clay Pot Noodles with Pork and Prawns from My Asian Kitchen by Jennifer Joyce

A masterclass in professional precision from Robert Wemischner

Renowned pastry chef, and tutor at the Los Angeles Trade Technical College for more than three decades, Robert Wemischner is a trusted source of culinary excellence. With two of his books newly available on your ckbk bookshelf, we bring you a wealth of techniques, flavor ideas and professional knowledge.
The Dessert Architect is crafted from the years of experience Wemischner has amassed teaching pastry chefs, and born of his desire to give them an invaluable professional tool. He acknowledges that you can teach techniques, but not creativity, and wants to impart understanding of the principles that underpin a successful dessert. Essential are the four cornerstones of the design, flavor, texture, temperature and contrast. 
He demonstrates with 50 recipes, all exquisite in themselves, but also aimed at inspiring the reader’s own ideas. Examples are his Pineapple Upside Down Cake and this Caramel Poached Pear Tart.

For more about this exceptional work read our new feature Behind the Cookbook: The Dessert Architect.
Wemischner brings this same fine-tuned approach to Cooking with Tea, written with tea expert Diana Rosen. The authors’ intention is to showcase tea as an interesting, delicious and versatile ingredient, throughout the kitchen. The book contains all you need to know about selecting and preparing tea, and is a rich resource of recipes to choose from.
Many of the dishes work well for Chinese New Year celebrations. Try Smoked Salmon Fillets with Lapsang Souchong Cream Sauce, Red Rice in Oolong Tea and Chai Ice Cream to follow.

A culinary tour of rural France

There is a particular appreciation for a region’s cuisine that arises when an outsider settles there and fully immerses themselves. Two books new to your ckbk bookshelf are each a fine example of this approach, applied to the cooking of rural France.

In Goose Fat & Garlic, author Jeanne Strang writes with an understanding of the food of rural South-West France born of 50 years in situ. The book is not only a superb recipe book, but a guide to the methods, traditions and ingredients of the region.

Each recipe is a ticket to those French hillsides, from a classic Cassoulet to the rich joy of Le Tarte aux Noix.

New feature Behind the Cookbook: Goose Fat & Garlic is Alison Stattersfield’s description of a book that has greatly informed her own cooking and relationship with the region – she writes about cooking her way through its entirety, and includes evocative descriptions of ingredients and dishes.

In his book Mourjou, film and food writer Peter Graham describes the food of the remote village in the Auvergne that he lived in for more than four decades.

He amassed extensive understanding of the history of the area, local ingredients, and Auvergnat cooking. An area that, like all of rural France has suffered its periods of extreme poverty, but is now rich in edible resources. 
Recipes for local fare such as Farinette, a frugal dish somewhere between an omelette and a pancake, include plenty of background information and beguiling stories of their discovery by the author. Petit Salé aux Lentilles (salt pork with lentils) is another classic, something he assures you would be likely to see chalked up on the daily menu of a local café.

Burns Night supper – sorted!

Wednesday, January 25 marks Burns Night, the annual date to pay tribute to Scotland’s best-loved bard, and to celebrate the country’s culinary culture. Haggis (of course) is always the centerpiece of a meal that is rich with ritual and tradition.
We’ve put together a collection of Burns Night Recipes to make best use of and accompany the “great chieftain o' the pudding race.” Buttered Turnips are a classic side dish, a Blackberry & Apple Rye Cranachan would be the ideal dessert, and how about a Hot Toddy to drink while you are at it. Let the feasting begin!

What to cook now: blood oranges

Blood oranges are mostly grown in the Mediterranean and come into season in late winter. Their deep red colour is thought to have first appeared in the 17th century, and they are now cultivated to encourage it.
Thought by many to be one of the finest varieties of eating orange, they also lend themselves well to both sweet and savory dishes. Try the simple combination of a Blood Orange & Red Onion Salad, or bake these tempting Blood Orange Meringue Tartlets. Find these and other recipes to make the most of their season in our 16 Ways with Blood Oranges collection.

6 of the best steamed buns

As our thoughts turn to tempting East Asian treats for the Lunar New Year, here are six bao and steamed bun recipes to inspire you. 

Vegetable Bao

from China Modern by Ching-He Huang

Bacon Bao Buns

from The Bacon Bible by Peter Sherman and Stephanie Banyas

Gua Bao with Sweet Potato ‘Belly’

from Jackfruit and Ginger by Sasha Gill

Pan Fried and Steamed Baozi

from My Asian Kitchen by Jennifer Joyce

Bao Buns with Spicy Chicken

from My Street Food Kitchen by Jennifer Joyce

Roast Pork and Preserved Mustard Cabbage Buns

from Dim Sum by Chan Chen Hei
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