The Chinese character 糕 gao can be used on its own or in combination with other characters to mean, more or less, “fairly solid food somewhat like a cake but not always what would be considered a cake from a Western perspective”. Examples include 蛋糕 dan gao, lit. “egg cake”, which refers to (for lack of a better term) normal cakes, and 雪糕 (xue gao in Mandarin, but it’s primarily a Cantonese term; lit. “snow cake”), which means “ice cream”.
So 年糕 nian gao, lit. “year cake”, is a difficult food to explain, not least because there are several different types that can be served several different ways, like non-glutinous Shanghainese 年糕 nian gao that can be stir-fried with meat and vegetables for a savory dish or sprinkled with granulated sugar for dessert. I prefer Cantonese 年糕 nian gao though – it can be served as a super-sticky pudding or cut into slices, dipped in egg and pan-fried. The way I ended up getting people to eat it without being able to do a great translation was, “It’s, like, a glutinous rice cake? Well, not really a cake, but – here, just try it.”
And then the 年糕 nian gao did its own talking.
Anyway, let’s start from the very beginning (a very good place to start). Why did I have Cantonese 年糕 nian gao on hand, anyway? Well, I decided that since it was Chinese New Year, it was a good time to undertake an overly ambitious dorm cooking project. (I have been cooking a little since I got to college, but nothing I haven’t made before.) I did the majority of the prep work in my room – my roommate’s hot water pot was a great help.
I’ve spent every summer in San Francisco with my 公公 (gong gong, granddad) since I can remember. (Don’t worry, this is the last post about my summer. We can move on soon.)
I used to be braver. I’d venture into his basement despite the albino spiders with unnatural numbers of eyes and go out the back door into the untended garden, only to encounter mutant bees that still buzzed around despite the freezing San Francisco summer. Continue reading
Whew. School’s over, exams are over, and all that remains is three glorious months of summery goodness. (I’ll be posting pretty frequently for the next two months, hopefully at least once a week. Next week’s video probably won’t be a recipe, so I won’t be posting it here. I’ll do a traditional photo-and-comment type thing instead.)
I started it off with a new video over on The Codex Omnis:
Things have been going a little less than swimmingly lately. I won’t give you details because I don’t want the little smiling egg at the top of this blog to have to start frowning.
Today, I attempted to solve this problem by:
- Actually starting a bit of revision for my exams, which start in 24 days,
- Watching one and a half episodes of 30 Rock,
- Taking a nap when the time limit kicked in,
- Making this lime curd when I woke up,
- Putting it on toast. Because, as I have said before, everything is good on toast.
So I finally saw The King’s Speech. Wow. Amazing, amazing, amazing.
Last Sunday was a good day for food. The day before, I realized that we were watching the movie at 9:10 am (I know, but…cheaper tickets!), meaning we probably wouldn’t have time to buy snacks and bubble tea to sneak into the theater. Solution? Make some snacks of my own.
Chocolate truffles are easy to pop into your mouth during a movie and are sweet enough that you don’t feel the need to scarf (scoff?) them all down in one go. And they’re easy to make. Win-win-win. The win starts with three bars of chocolate and some heavy cream.
I love my math class so much that I made us all banana muffins for our Friday morning lesson. That and everyone else is bringing breakfast stuff.
We had a super-ripe banana lying around, and just too many other ones.
I have food on the brain almost all the time. The other day, I was imagining baking bread, but the amount of time it would take waiting for it to rise kept putting me off. Then I remembered reading a recipe for soda bread a long, long time ago and decided to make some this weekend.
Not only does soda bread not involve waiting for the dough to rise, it has so few ingredients it’s almost ridiculous. One of those ingredients is buttermilk, which they don’t sell in too many places around here, but never fear…this is where the vinegar-or-lemon-juice-plus-milk solution comes into play.