Gourmet Inspiration January
Sweet Not Sour
Your recipe for a rocking Chinese New Year
This is the year of the snake, so if you want to attract prosperity, abundance, success and good fortune, host a cleverly themed party during the Chinese New Year. Be inspired by the colours of the snake; this year it’s black, accented with light blue and green, so try a black, cream and gold table, accented with accessories or flowers in light blue surrounded by lush green foliage. If you want to play to tradition and subdue the fickle snake, then keep a branch from your Christmas tree, and use it to create a centerpiece for your table – the pine twig symbolises longevity. As snakes love to eat rabbits, Chinese advice dictates that you cook a rabbit dish as the main course; I suggest finding a recipe for Greek stifado. Failing that, I won’t tell if you just roast a chicken. Other favourites include dumplings and egg rolls which can be shop bought and served with easy home-made dipping sauce. Imbibe your guests with Chinese-themed drinks in shades of red to symbolise good luck, and give each of them a gift to take home; a Chinese pouch to include a few coins, a talisman of a small toy snake and chopsticks wrapped in red ribbon. INFO: For authentic Chinese-themed decorations and party favours, visit Dragon Mart, Dubai.
Entertaining your new year’s resolutions
Shake up your party style for 2013
1. Create your own recipe book. Fill it with your tried and tested dishes, successful menus for dinner parties, easy lunches, breakfast and brunches. It will become your failsafe reference for the future.
2. Go sale shopping. January is the time to invest in your favourite pieces – from a new dinner service, to more unusual centerpieces and candles, so you are prepared for a year of entertaining.
3. Be friendly. Stop putting off those return dinners and plan casual evenings with small groups of friends, for chic canapés, cocktails and a catch-up.
4. Do less and don’t stress. If the thought of entertaining fills you with dread, that’s probably because you’ve set your standards too high. Don’t be afraid to mix in pre-prepared food, or get the caterers involved, so you enjoy your evening as much as your guests.
5.Make your own holiday. Don’t wait for excuses to celebrate, reinvent them with themed parties for any and every occasion. (See my Chinese New Year party advice).