Chinese New Year : Peanut Cookies

(fah sang peng - in cantonese)

Since Chinese New Year treats are not as widely available here as mince pies during Christmas, I decided to make some to increase the festive mood. My mates love this and could not stop eating them. They practically finished the whole box in a blink of an eye. It is like eating peanut butter but in a cookie form. Also, it seems less naughty than eating scoops of peanut butter straight out of the jar.

This cookie is easy enough to make and is a real indulgence. Pack them nicely in a box with a lovely ribbon to be given away or stack them up on your cookie tray for when your guests arrive for open house. Just make sure not to put all of them out on display cause once your guests tried one, they will not stop popping the next one into their mouth. Gosh.., they melt in the mouth!

Peanut cookie


Peanut Cookie

yields about 6 takeaway plastic boxes

  • 600g peanuts (skinless)
  • 600g flour
  • 500g icing sugar
  • 500ml peanut oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 big heap tbsp of peanut butter
  • Egg yolk for brushing

Method:


  1. Toast the peanuts until fragrant. Be careful not to burn them.
  2. Ground or blend the toasted peanuts until fine in a food processor.
  3. Mix the ground peanuts, sugar and salt.
  4. Add in butter and peanut butter then lastly the flour. Mix well.
  5. Pour in oil slowly and blend until it becomes a dough. You might not need to use all the oil in the recipe. Stop pouring oil once mixture becomes doughy.
  6. Roll them into balls and place them on a greased baking tray.
  7. Bake in preheated oven at 175ÂșC for 18 minutes.

Tips:


  • Be careful while handling them as they break easily
  • Remember to use unsalted peanuts

Bone daddies for a bowl of warm bear hug this winter

It was a cold wintery day, having just snowed the day before. Most people stayed home and those who were out like us, were wrapped up like dumplings. Yes, we had to meet this specific day. No postponing or whatsoever. Firstly, we had to hear all the juicy details about the proposal from our newly engaged girly. Secondly, another friend of ours was leaving for good the next day. See, all the reasons to be out on such a cold day.

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Since we were in Soho, what better place is there for hot soupy ramen! We headed straight to Bone Daddies and were so lucky there was no queue. It was probably cause we were there before the busy late Saturday lunch time.
Bone Daddies Tonkotsu Ramen | The TrishawTonkotsu Ramen with bone broth simmered for 20 hours - not spicy for those who can't eat spicy food

Bone Daddies Tantanmen Ramen | The TrishawTantanmen - slightly spicy for those who like it spicy

The ramen had thick flavoursome broth, very rich and sweet. They came with perfectly cooked eggs which were slightly runny and pork slices that melt in the mouth.

By the time we were finishing our meal, the queue was already piling up, with people staring at us, hoping we would gobble up our two slurps full of deliciously hot soupy ramen so they get to do the same.
Smile..

Well flavoured ramen and very comforting like a warm bear hug during winter. The big bowl of ramen is enough to keep you filled up for the whole day.
Frown..

It is eat and leave type of place and not suitable to linger a little longer for dessert once the ramen digests.
Will I return?

Definitely, especially during such cold weather.

Bone Daddies Ramen Bar


31 Peter Street
London W1F 0AR
Tel: +44 (0)207 287 8581

Closest station: Piccadilly Circus

Bone Daddies on Urbanspoon

Chinese New Year and Red Date Tea

Chinese New Year (Lunar New Year) is on February 10th this year and it is fast approaching. This means that every Chinese celebrating this holiday will be busy making preparations. It is the most important festival; similar to Christmas in Western countries. This is usually the time for forgiveness and reunion where families and friends will visit each other at their homes.
Preparation

Spring cleaning is a must before Chinese New Year to fully cleanse the house of dirt and rid get rid of any items that are broken to start the year afresh and without any shortcomings. Each home will also have lots of sweet treats ready for when visitors come to the house. We always have my three most favourite sweet treat; kuih kapit (love letter), peanut cookies and mum's homemade pineapple tart (the best I have had so far).

Kuih kapit (love letters)

Peanut Cookies

Pineapple Tart

Eve of Chinese New Year


This is the final day of making sure all preparations are done. Floors are vacuumed, swept and mopped to make sure it is clean before the clock hits 00:00. No one will sweep the floor on the first day of Chinese New Year as it is believed that it will sweep away the luck and fortune.  Also, this is the day for reunion dinner. Most families will gather and have a big meal together. Our family have a tradition of having steamboat where there is a big pot of broth (normally cooked for about 10 hours) simmering away in the middle of a big round table where everyone will scoop out whichever food they prefer.


Steamboat / Hot Pot

Steamboat / Hot Pot

On the first day of Chinese New Year


We usually start the day with a bowl of red date tea cooked the night before, in a slow cooker. As this drink is sweet, it is believed to bring us a sweet year ahead.
**Recipe is provided below.

On the first day of Chinese New Year, people wear new clothes and eat better food to indicate a new beginning and a better life for the coming year. They will also wear bright coloured clothes, preferably red as it represents prosperity, fortune and luck. White or black colour is to be avoided on this auspicious day as these colours represent death and is worn at funerals. The new generation these days are not superstitious and will wear anything they like but will still respect the elderly when visiting and be careful to not wear any such colour to upset them.

Families will pray at the temple and then at the ancestral temple to pay respect to their ancestors for blessing them with a good and happy year. In Penang's famous Kek Lok Si Temple, also the largest Buddhist temple in Southeast Asia, all the lights will be lit up throughout the celebration.

Lanterns at Kek Lok Si Temple

Kek Lok Si Temple at night during Chinese New Year

Kek Lok Si Temple at night

Throughout the 15 days of Chinese New Year


Some people will hire some martial arts group members to their homes to perform lion dance. Two of the members will be controlling one lion where one manoeuvres the head and another operates the body. They will be accompanied by loud drums and cymbals that synchronises with the lion-like movements. At the end of the dance, firecrackers will be lit to complete the fete. The lion and loud noises from drums and firecrackers are believed to frighten away any bad spirits, also another way of cleansing the house.

Drums for Lion Dance


Lion Dance

Friends and family will visit homes and usually bring along fruits, flowers, sweets or any simple gift/hamper for the host. There is nothing specific to bring but it is usually mandarin oranges, pronounced as ‘kam’ in Chinese which sound like gold, which signifies prosperity.

When it comes to Chinese New Year, all singletons get very excited as they will receive ang pow from their married family members and friends. Ang pow means red envelope and is given as a symbol of good luck and to ward off evil spirits. It is usually filled with money so instead of receiving gifts like on Christmas day, we receive ang pow filled with dosh. This is one of the benefits of being single. Hah!

Red date tea 2 | The Trishaw

Red Date Tea

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 50 pitted dried red dates
  • 40 dried longan (optional)
  • 1.2l water
  • 20 goji berries

Method:

  1. Rinse the dried red dates, goji berries and longans thoroughly and drain.
  2. Put water, red dates. goji berries and longans into a pot and bring to boil.
  3. Simmer for about 1 - 2 hours and serve warm.

Tips:

  • The red dates and longans are both sweet so it should be sweet enough.
  • If it is not sweet enough for your you, add some rock sugar at step 2.

Red date tea 1 | The Trishaw



Sizzling brownie, a melting satisfaction

Cafe Coffee Day | The Trishaw

Looks like the sizzles' popular in India. There's sizzling brownie everywhere but we were told the ones at Cafe Coffee Day is really good.

Sizzling brownie | The Trishaw

Sizzling brownie is a great idea! I love the marriage of warm brownies with cold vanilla ice cream better yet, this has sizzling chocolate sauce. It is the ultimate sensation of the intimate kiss between brownie and ice cream in the mouth. Meltingly satisfied!

Cafe Coffee Day


This is a chain and can be easily found.
**Other related posts about India

Saffron Bay Terrace Bar watching sunset

Sunset at Chowpatty | The Trishaw
View from The Terrace Bar at Saffron Bay - sunset at Chowpatty Beach

Having spent the whole day sightseeing the south of Mumbai and missed lunch, we were so hungry we could eat the sun. To make matters worse, our cab driver was taking us to the wrong place, thinking it was Juhu Chowpatty instead of the original Chowpatty Beach. It must be the language barrier but we got there in the end. The guys from the other cab was already chilling out on the beach, waiting for us. We asked some people for a restaurant where we can have early dinner and finally found Saffron Bay.

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Sipping cold beer and cold drinks on a terrace bar during sunset was a great way to end the exhausting day of walking.

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Chicken bhingri was tender and tasty although slightly salty. It was chunks of chicken leg meat marinated in yogurt, crushed pepper, chilly and lemongrass served on bamboo skewers. The chicken lal mas was cooked in red chilly, tomato and onion gravy, served with reshmi paratha. There was more food than this but it was too much, it will exhaust this post so to keep it short, lovely ambience for good food although can be on the pricier side. In such a great setting, paying a little extra was totally fine.

Saffron Bay


The Terrace Bar
Plot No 39B,
Chowpatty Seaface,
Charni Road,
Mumbai-400 004, India.
**Other related posts about India

Yoko Sizzlers, where your food sizzles

On a weekday afternoon, it was packed with people. There were big families who took up half the restaurant, come and go. Our group was not small either. We were pretty excited to see every plate of food come out of the kitchen sizzling on hot plate. Smoke filled the room with aroma of its caramelised sauce.

The portions were generous, from what we saw. So we ordered four to be shared amongst ten of us since we already had something light to eat earlier on. It was a shame they ran out of mutton and watermelon juice but it did not bother us. The amount of food was just right and was really enjoyable.

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Yoko Sizzlers Santacruz (W)


West View, S.V. Road,
Near Akbarallys, Santacruz (West),
Mumbai 400 054 - India.
Tel : 022 2649 2313 / 1528
**Other related posts about India

Shiv Sagar Vegetarian Restaurant

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After a long day of shopping for Indian clothes for the wedding, we finally got to sit down to some good vegetarian fast food. They even do delivery! This might be the Indian version of McDonalds. Certainly, there is a different vibe to it. It did not have the assembly line in preparing the food in the kitchen nor the very specific guidelines the American fast food giant has. This was straight forward quick vegetarian food.

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It was the first time I have seen so many variations of dosa. The spinach version was one of my favourites. 

Cheese pav bhaji

Pav bhaji is a popular Maharashtra fast food. It consists of mashed potato with thick tomato based sauce and spice served with pav (bread), and onions. There are different variations, for example the above that is garnished with cheese. Some can also be made with paneer, mushroom or dry fruits.

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Saffron and almond milkshake sounds like a weird combination but I ordered it anyhow, even with high possibility of disliking it. There is always risk ordering something unusual but sometimes, it can be rewarding. Turns out, the milkshake was actually good the only downside was it being very filling so it was hard to eat the many different types of food and finish the glass of thick milkshake.

Shiv Sagar Restaurant (Veg.)


Shop No.4, Shyam Kunj Building,
16th Road, Pali Naka, Bandra West,
Mumbai, Maharastra, 400050
Tel: +91 22 2600 6318
**Other related posts about India

Mumbai, the city of contrast

The two sides to Mumbai


Contrast of Mumbai buildings | The Trishaw


The less attractive side


As soon as we stepped out of the airport, there were constant honking and traffic was madness. That was not the worst part, crossing the road was a lot more gripping than any rollercoaster ride. Cars, rickshaws, trucks and motorcycles come from both sides and no one stops or slows down for you to cross. You just had to take the brave, first plummet into the chaotic traffic, and wiggle your way through as fast as possible, praying no one will run you over.

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I think having a cow or two on the streets break up the honking chaos a little. At least the cows seem at peace.


There were cows everywhere even on the streets so lookout for them too. It’s not that I have not seen cows on the road. Believe me; I lived in a place where I had to wait for one or two cows to cross the street, once in a while. But this was of a new level. There were about nine cows grouped on a junction, just chilling out. Of course, this does not happen all the time. It was probably a cow family gathering in the New Year.

Also, it is common to see women carrying their child going from car to car, knocking on windows begging for money so keep the windows up at all times. If you look foreign and are on the rickshaw, good luck! There is high possibility one of them will hold on to you so tightly and never let go.

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Another thing you should be aware of, you might see children taking a dump amongst a pile of garbage. This is not unusual near the slums. I am sharing this so it will be less of a shock when you come across it. Also in the area, there might be dead fishes on the streets and that funky whiff in the air is just a mix of everything surrounding you.

To view this from a different angle, it was an interesting experience. For some of us who sometimes complain about non-issues, it is time for us to reflect on how privileged we are to live in a developed country. We have a roof, warm clothes and clean water so stop complaining and get on with life.

The pretty side


Since we were staying in the suburbs, we did not spend much time in Mumbai’s main business district in the south, which is also where main tourist attractions lie. With the many events of our friend’s wedding, we did not have much time for sightseeing so when we had one whole day free, we hired a cab for the day to take us around. First, we cross the impressive Bandra-Worli Sea Link (BWSL), a bridge built to ease the bottleneck traffic to get to the business district. Then, we were greeted with sophisticated and beautiful architecture, mostly erected during the British ruling. There were traffic lights for pedestrians too. It is much cleaner and has more green areas.

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Outside the Mumbai Stock Exchange, we were not allowed to take pictures. Each time one of us lift a camera, the security guards would blow the whistle very loudly as a warning. If all of us lifted our cameras at a different beat and pace, we could definitely make some sort of music.


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There is always great food just around the corner and definitely a heaven for any vegetarians. Street food is delicious, provided they are clean and does not make you ill. 


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Happy children getting ready to go to school


Another thing I like about India is that there is never short of Yoga classes. We were lucky enough to have found the oldest organised Yoga center in the World, named Yoga Institute which was founded in 1918. Drop in classes costs only Rs 100 an hour, slightly over £1. They even provide teacher training courses and health camps. This institute practices only classic yoga so if you are looking for Ashtanga Vinyasa, Iyenger or any other types of derived yoga, then you could probably go to The Yoga House instead. Funny story, we met a teacher from The Yoga House while in Goa that was how we first heard about this place. Otherwise, Google for yoga in Mumbai or ask around.

** More posts to follow on this trip with restaurant reviews and the ultimate reason we went to Mumbai, our friend’s Indian wedding

Restaurant reviews in Mumbai include: