Beginner’s Choice: Home-made and Hand-made

Aunty Julie’s goodies

I have been wanting to feature Aunty Julie’s home-made lemon curd and whiskey orange marmalade for a while. Aunty Julie makes them every year as Christmas gifts. One of these days, I must get around to learning how to make them. They are among Aunty Julie’s legacy. She used to make the most beautiful rag dolls. I once saw Jacqueline, Aunty Julie’s daughter, who is a lawyer, carrying one to work. She was giving it to a friend and she told me that the doll was unique because her mother had made it. Aunty Julie cooks well, bakes well, sews well…it’s almost as if there isn’t anything Aunty Julie can’t do.

Aunty Julie compiled her baking recipes into a book, and called it Baking with Love. As we will be celebrating Chinese New Year soon, I thought Aunty Julie’s Honey Cake recipe might come in useful. It’s always nice to celebrate with something sweet.

Brenda’s cashew cookies

Brenda sent a photo of the cashew cookies she baked. I am sure they will be very much appreciated by her family. Most people buy their Chinese New Year cookies. Chinese New Year is the time when cookies in all shapes and forms seem to appear everywhere.

Val’s lunch-box ideas for CNY

Chinese New Year is family time. For those who work in restaurants, Chinese New Year Eve is probably the busiest evening of the year, though most families will have their reunion dinner at home. The steamboat dinner is a popular Chinese New Year tradition in many families.

Most Chinese restaurants will be closed on the first and the second day of Chinese New Year and most foodcourt stalls and hawker stalls which serve Chinese food will be closed for even longer.  For those who are not working from home, it’s good to be prepared to bring a lunch box to work.  Val’s latest lunchbox photo might be an inspiration: chickpeas cooked in two ways – Israeli falafel and hummus with homemade flatbreads.

I asked Val if it took for long to cook, her answer was:

“It’s quite fast actually! When I soak the chickpeas, I soak enough to make both the hummus and falafel. With a pressure cooker (which my mum received as a wedding gift, actually, it’s ancient!) the chickpeas for hummus are cooked within an hour. The chickpeas for the falafel are kept raw and just blitzed in a food processor with parsley, coriander and mint.

I suppose the prep time is spread out over two days, but a lot of the time is hands off. Lots of time needed for soaking but otherwise it’s mostly processing in a food processor HAHA

There’s really nothing quite like the satisfaction of knowing everything I pack in the lunchbox is handmade!”

Have a good week ahead.

For those who celebrate Chinese New Year, the week will no doubt be a very busy week preparing to welcome the year of the tiger.

By Chayo, HomSkil Editor 1, 23 January 2022

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