Feeling like 2021 could already use a re-do? Well, you’re in luck! This Friday—February 12, 2021—is the Chinese New Year. Celebrated at the second new moon following the Winter Solstice, Chinese New Year is also known as the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival. This is because according to the Chinese Lunar Calendar, this festival marks the end of winter and the beginning of a long-awaited spring! Using the Chinese Zodiac, 2021 is the Year of the Ox. So what does this Year of the Ox have in store for us? And will it be better than 2020?
The Year of the Ox will be a year of endurance. It’s no longer just about survival but about anchoring ourselves and making our dreams come true. The Ox is associated with Yin (feminine, receptive) energy. Our responsibilities will feel especially heavy this year. Things that were once easy will require more effort in the Year of the Ox. Our strength is undeniable, but we still have to choose our battles wisely. We can do it, though! Having come so far along with this pandemic, there is light ahead and looking after each other is surely the way.
In addition to the animals, the Chinese Zodiac also cycles through five elemental types. So this is not only the Year of the Ox, it is the year of the Metal Ox. Metal years bring out our most dedicated and persistent qualities and this being our second Metal Year in a row makes grittiness a priority. Overall, this is a year for recovering, making long-term investments or building a family, whether literally or with friends.
ASIAN STYLE LAMB – The recipe is for one but, as you can see, its all in teaspoons and mls so really easy to double up or quadruple up if you are cooking for others.
- 40ml) kecap manis (this is so delicious – like a thick spicy soy sauce – find it in the aisle of your supermarket for world food)
- 1/2 teaspoon five spice powder
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 – 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- Lamb steak, cut into slices (or butcher gives us lamb saddles which are really thick so if you can’t get them, make sure it is the thickest you can find)
- 1 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1/2 red onion, cut into thin wedges
- leftover cooked rice – amount to suit you!
- pak choi, chopped
- 2-3 spring onions, thinly sliced on an angle
Combine kecap, five spice, half the garlic and 1 teaspoon ginger in a shallow dish. Add lamb, toss to coat, then marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Remove lamb from bowl, reserving marinade. Cook lamb for 3 minutes each side for medium-rare, or until done to your liking. Remove to a plate, cover with foil and rest while you make the fried rice. Add remaining oil to same pan. Cook onion with remaining garlic and ginger, stirring, for 1-2 minutes until onion colours slightly. Add marinade and allow to bubble for 1-2 minutes, then add rice and heat through for 2-3 minutes, stirring. Toss through pak choi and sesame. Slice lamb thickly, then serve in bowls on rice. Top with spring onion.
BANANA ICE CREAM
Line a baking tray with baking paper. Peel and slice the bananas into 1cm/½in pieces. Place in a single layer on the tray and freeze for 4–6 hours until solid, or overnight. (If not using immediately, transfer to a lidded container and return to the freezer for up to a month before using.)
To make the ice cream, tip the frozen bananas into a sturdy food processor. Blend on the pulse setting until the bananas become finely chopped, then whizz into a very thick, creamy purée. The ice cream should form a soft ball. Spoon into dessert dishes and eat just as it is, or top with berries, chocolate drops or anything you fancy, such as the chocolate sauce in the tips. If not serving all the ice cream at once, transfer the leftover ice cream as quickly as possible into a lidded container and freeze for up to 2 weeks. When frozen like this you can use an icecream scoop to spoon into bowls.
Hot chocolate sauce topping, very gently melt 50g/1¾oz roughly chopped chocolate with 100ml/3½fl oz double cream in a small pan, stirring regularly. Keep warm while the ice cream is made and served. Drizzle the chocolate over the ice cream and eat immediately. Crushed berries topping, put hulled and halved strawberries and raspberries in a small bowl and crush lightly with a fork. Add a few fresh blueberries and toss lightly. Stir in 1 tablespoon caster sugar and leave to stand while the ice cream is made and served. Banoffee topping, crumble digestive biscuits into four dessert dishes, top with spoonfuls of banana ice cream, drizzle with maple syrup and sprinkle with grated chocolate or roughly broken flaked chocolate.