After a fairly uneventful January (respect to all those who detoxed), February offers far more excitement on the foodie calendar. From Shrove Tuesday and Valentine’s day (which I realise is not technically food-related, but I thoroughly expect to enjoy a slap up meal), through to Chinese New Year, which falls on 19th February – there are plenty of excuses to celebrate with food.
I have a cracking spiced apple spring roll recipe from my Evening Standard column – a sweet twist on the usual savoury fillings, or you could try my Szechuan-style beef tacos, but in the meantime here are a few little ideas for celebrating the Year of the Goat/Sheep in style. This is your Chinese Zodiac if you were born in 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003 and, now, 2015. Your lucky numbers are 2 and 7, while your lucky flower is the carnation – and your lucky colours are purple, red and brown.
With red being a lucky colour for this Chinese Lunar Year, why not make up a batch of my pickled chillis to ring it in. These will keep for weeks in your fridge and can accompany everything from an omelette to some homemade steamed dumplings (there’s a great recipe in my new book, Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook which is out next week).
If you are hosting a party and looking for a quick little canapé idea, try my crispy fish nuggets with a quick dipping sauce from last year’s Evening Standard column, which could also be delicious served on skewers with a pickled chilli threaded on.
If you’re after something veggie friendly, how about my ultimate Wantan Mee with sweet and sour pickles – who doesn’t love a dumpling?
Happy Chinese New Year to you all. How will you be celebrating? I’m going to be cooking up a tasty feast at home, and I might even head into China Town to watch the dragons dance!
If you’re thinking about celebrating, here are a few more ideas from around the web:
Some beautiful photography of the Chinese Lantern Festival from 2012 – go one better and make your own stylish geometric lanterns
If you’re in London, why not watch this year’s Chinese New Year parade?