New year resolution

Happy New Year… let’s eat

If your year hasn’t quite kicked off with as much momentum as you’d like, then may we suggest a do-over? Yep, it’s time to embrace the Chinese calendar and restart 2019 with Chinese New Year!

Celebrations to usher in the New Year kick off about now, a week before the 2019 Year of the Pig ticks over on 5 February. Which means there are plenty of opportunities to flex your chopsticks and shovel in as many dumplings as possible.

Sure, the enjoyment of dumplings isn’t confined to Chinese New Year, but any excuse to devour even more of those pillowy parcels is wholeheartedly welcomed by us.

This year, it’s all about the pig. The prosperous chubby jowled pig is not only a delicious animal, but also the twelfth sign in the Chinese zodiac. According to mythology, when the Jade Emperor was deciding the order of the zodiac, the pig overslept and arrived last, taking twelfth place.

But don’t worry, it’s not all sleep-ins and bacon, the pig is a sign of wealth in Chinese culture and those born in the year of the pig are said to be realistic, hardworking and enthusiastic. Well done, you.

Whether you’re a pig, dog or snake, Chinese New Year is loads of fun. The City of Sydney puts on a great Lunar New Year party every year, so check out some of the events and, if it’s been a while since you’ve ventured down to Chinatown, now is the best time to visit for a pork bun and a custard tart.

Chinese New Year also provides an excellent excuse for a dumpling dinner party at home with family and friends. But as New Year falls on a Tuesday just as school goes back, you may not feel so inclined to spend hours in the kitchen perfecting your dumpling folding technique. Don’t worry, though, because we have. All you need to worry about is dusting off that rice cooker.

Our nimble-fingered chefs have been busy crimping little squares of pastry filled with pork and ginger, chicken and water chestnut, Peking duck, chicken and shiitake, and tofu and spinach, as well as prepping other classic meals such as duck pancakes and Hainanese chicken.

For the full menu, click here. Whip out your bamboo steamers and get ready to celebrate!

From all of us here at Katering at Home, kung hei fat choi!

 

Tips to stay motivated in 2018

It’s back to the grind for many of us this month. No doubt we have all dabbled with a few thoughts involving fitness, heath and relaxation for the new year.  Unfortunately with work expectations, children or social life, too quickly these new year’s resolutions can fall by the wayside.  To keep you inspired I’ve compiled a few tips to keep motivation on track for 2018.

Keep it simple 

Keeping meals simple, fresh, seasonal and easy is always the best way to work in the kitchen. For most home cooks, simplicity is the best advice I can give. Keep cooking simple during the week then invest your time creating that culinary masterpiece on the weekend when you can relax and enjoy the process.

It can be a real chore to get meals on the table during the week, at Katering at Home we endeavour to bridge the gap with a selection of healthy, filling and delicious meals to get you through the better part of the mid-week rush. Back yourself up with a few Pantry items to jazz up your salads and pop some Family Favourites in the freezer so you’re never left in the lurch.

Everything in moderation 

Here at Katering we believe in moderation, we don’t pretend to be anything we are not. We don’t focus on foods for fitness or fancy diets. What we do it well, is to design, test and cook fresh, quality meals with honesty. Food full of flavour, full of colour and texture, meals packed with grains, legumes, colourful fruits and vegetables, ethically raised meats and market seafood so that you can stop worrying and start enjoying a selection of great food. Heaven knows there’s enough to worry about already!

    

Get active

You don’t have to run a marathon to be fit, fitness starts by getting active. Even just brisk walk each day for 20 minutes can get your heart rate up and boost metabolism. An active body improves brain power and concentration, making you feel better and can start you on your way to a healthier lifestyle.

Take time out

When you relax, you give yourself permission to let go of worries for a while. Relaxation gives your mind and body time to recover from the stresses of everyday life.

Try to fit things into your day that help you unwind. It’s different for everyone. For you, it might be listening to music, going for a walk, tea with friends, yoga, a few laps at the local pool. Find something that you enjoy and make a conscious effort to do that relaxing thing every day. In a busy work day, even 10 minutes of downtime can help you manage stress better and feel better inside and out.

Treat yourself

Lastly, why not treat yourself now and then? A relaxing massage, a new book to read, whatever makes you happy really. There are many healthy desserts you can easily make at home for a special treat that won’t add to the pocket or waistline. You are more likely to stick to your goals if you cut yourself a little slack now and then.

Peaches are not only delicious but incredibly nutritious. Give my Peach, Watermelon and Vodka Granita a whirl this weekend and treat yourself.  Full of antioxidants, vitamin A & C, potassium, low in saturated fat and high in dietary fibre. I can’t say much for the vodka but hey, one has to live a little, right?

IINGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups diced poached peaches
  • 4 cups of watermelon
  • ¼ bunch mint chopped roughly
  • 1 lime – zest and juice
  • ¾ cup Vodka

POACHING LIQUID

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean

METHOD:

  • Wash the peaches and place small cuts in the top and bottom, this will help to release the skin when the they poach.
  • Place the water, sugar and the scraped vanilla bean into the pot and bring to the boil.
  • Place the peaches into a pot with just simmering sugar syrup.
  • Cover with some baking paper and an upside-down plate and allow to simmer very gently until the peaches are just soft.
  • Once soft, peel the skin off, cool, blend and strain the flesh of the peaches with the mint and watermelon.
  • strain this mixture through a very fine sieve.
  • Stir in the vodka and lime juice then pour into a flat tray in the freezer.
  • Stir gently after a few hours then leave overnight.
  • To scrape the granita, use a kitchen cloth to hold the frozen container and scrape with a folk to create pretty little ice crystals. Serve in a frozen glass with a sprig of mint
  • For a child friendly version omit the vodka and add 1 cup of the poaching liquid to your base mixture.
  • Once  the granita has been scraped add a little Greek yoghurt and some crunchy flaked almonds when you serve.
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