I started preparing the ingredients for the dinner at about 9.00am. It was a tiring day but it was all worth it when I saw my family enjoy the food.
Winter worm summer grass with wolfberries soup
Stew arrowroots with pork belly
Sweet Sour Chicken
Stir fry roast pork with garlic and black sauce
Braised Shitake mushroom with abalone
Stir fry fu yu yau mak
Cranberry peach tart (scroll down for the recipe)
My Mum made the soup and the braised Shitake mushroom with abalone while I cooked the rest.
The star dish of the night is the Winter worm summer grass with wolfberry soup, because for my Quay Lo, my son, nephews and niece, it was their first time seeing it and enjoying the soup. The soup reminded me of the first time I saw Winter worm summer grass at a Chinese Medical Hall. I found it very interesting and was told by owner that they are very good for apothecary. He explained that it is actually one of the edible fungi and gets its name because the roots were buried in the snow during winter time and they come alive during the summer sprouting like grass. Without asking about the price, I told the owner to give me enough for a pot of soup for four. When he handed me the package, he said the price was RM120.00, (at the time about USD52.00) for about 10 pieces. That was about 20 years ago when that was a large sum to me. My heart almost jumped out of my mouth!! Sheepishly, I had to apologize and said I could not afford it and returned the package. If you are interested to read more about this, here is the link:
My Quay Lo made us a wonderful dessert. It has all the colors the Chinese wants for the New Year. Red and Yellow. It looks beautiful isn't it? I must say it taste even better than it looks. You can serve the tart with either whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. mmmm. Yummy!
Here is the recipe:
Beurre noisette (browned butter) ? Cranberry & Peach Tart
A rich tart made with browned butter and frankly, whatever berry you wish. We used cranberries and sliced peaches to top ours for meaningful eye candy for our Chinese New Year reunion dinner. Peaches are a symbol of long life and red (in the cranberries) is an auspicious color in Chinese lore. Both are well represented in New Year wishes passed around at this time. And it all starts with your favorite pie dough recipe, or feel free to use the one we include below. You will need a medium frying pan, a medium sized sauce pan, a mixing bowl, a whisk, a sieve to drain the berries, a mixing fork, measuring cups and spoons, and a 10 inch tart pan with removable bottom, (or, if no need for ceremonial presentations, sliced from a pie pan tastes as good).
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tblspn sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (168 g) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 large egg yolk
Filling and Topping
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
3 large eggs 1
1/2 cups granulated sugar
finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1/4 cup water
Methods: Make the pastry:
In a food processor, pulse the flour with the sugar and salt. Add the butter and pulse until it is the size of small peas. In a small bowl, whisk the cream with the egg yolk. Pour the cream mixture into the food processor and pulse until slightly finer then the previous step. Remove the pastry onto a flour dusted surface and with as little handling as possible, form into a rough disk-shaped loaf. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for until well chilled (about 40 minutes) Renew the flour dust on the work surface and roll out the pastry 1/8 inch thick. Fit the pastry into a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom; trim the overhanging pastry. Refrigerate the tart shell for about 30 minutes, or until it is again well chilled. Preheat the oven to 375° F (185 C°). Line the tart shell with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the rim is lightly golden. Remove the foil and weights and bake for about 10 minutes longer, until lightly golden all over. Set the tart pan on a baking sheet.
Make the filling:
In a small skillet, melt the butter with the vanilla bean and seeds. Cook over moderately high heat until the butter starts to turn golden and smells nutty, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with 1 cup of the sugar and the lemon zest. Strain the brown butter into the egg mixture slowly, whisking while adding, until incorporated. Whisk in the flour and salt. Pour the filling into the tart shell and bake for about 25 minutes, until golden and set. Transfer to a rack to cool, about 2 hours. In a saucepan, combine the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar with the cranberries and water. Bring to a simmer over moderately high heat and cook until the cranberries have wrinkled and jjust started to split, about 4 minutes. Pour the cranberries into a bowl and refrigerate until cool, about 2 hours. Carefully lift the bottom of tart pan out of the retaining pan, and set back on your plating table. Use a sieve to thoroughly drain the berries, discard or save the liquid for other uses. (Reduced further it can become a wonderfully tart & syrupy sauce for crepes, but be careful not to let it get to a candied stage). Arrange the drained cranberries on center of the tart. Encircle the cranberries with sliced canned peaches (scalded fresh peaches are better, made much the same way as the cranberries but with less sugar).