Lunar New Year 2021

Lunar New Year

Happy Lunar New Year! 2021 is the year of the ox. This year we stayed home, but usually we would celebrate by going to the festivities in London’s China Town. Last year we went to see the lion dances with a couple of friends and ate at a popular Chinese restaurant.

I remember our friends planned on holidaying in Japan and had purchased some masks in preparation for their trip. They ended up cancelling. Crazy to think how much has changed in a year. For Lunar New Year this year, work organised a bao making cookery class and a pub quiz, which I managed to participate in.

Bao making cookery class

This class was hosted and organised by The Avenue Cookery School, who have been holding virtual cooking sessions. It was good fun, though a little too quick for me. I’m glad I managed to weigh the dry ingredients before the session started, but didn’t manage to weigh the wet ingredients.

I was constantly trying to keep up, listen, shuffle back to the kitchen, and do what was just said. I needed the only spare socket in the kitchen for the steamer, so my laptop was perched on the nearby dining table. I had to rope in the hubby to help me too!

I don’t know how other people managed to keep up and cook alone. It was really good fun but absolutely exhausting! Maybe they had enough kitchen sockets so they didn’t need to run back and forth all the time. Managed to quickly nab a picture of us making the baos in between trying to follow the chef.

I learnt a few tricks about proving bread in the oven at 50C, which more than halves the time compared to if you were to leave it on top of a pre-heating oven. Essentially you leave the dough in a bowl, place a plate on top to cover it, and put it in the oven for only 30 minutes – it proves quite quickly. I also learnt how to slice a chilli properly – not that we often eat chillies, but still very interesting to learn.

The baos turned out ok. I wouldn’t mind trying to make them again, we have a lot of yeast left. I have been inspired to make dumplings though, I’ll see if I can find an easy fool proof recipe. We only had wholemeal self raising flour so our baos looked a lot different than everyone else’s!

We also fried some sweet potatoes, which were the best sweet potatoes I’ve had – the hubby disagrees. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get any panko breadcrumbs, which was what the recipe called for. As a replacement, Sainsbury’s sent us coconut oil, which is not anything like breadcrumbs at all! We had to improvise and smash up some Jacobs cream crackers for our replacement breadcrumbs, not too bad I think.

Pub quiz

The second event work hosted that I joined in was a quiz using the Speedquizzing Live app. I’ve hosted and participated in a few quizzes during lockdown, but this was the first one using this particular app. You get points for answering the questions correctly and then extra points for answering them quicker than others.

It was good interactive fun, with answers revealed straight away. Also it meant I didn’t have to keep pen and paper to hand or mark and tally up the answers at the end. I might actually consider using it next time I do a quiz.

A lovely time celebrating Lunar New Year, considering the circumstances. Not exactly what I expected, but I’m grateful to be able to participate and do something while staying safely home. And I hope other people have been able to do something to celebrate too.

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