jeudi, janvier 24, 2013

Mooncake Festival 中秋 2012


I haven't been able to bake my own mooncakes last year like I'd promised myself I would the year before. Apart from being lazy I'm also trying to lose some weight (since when have I not been trying to lose weight you'd say) so it would be crazy to start baking dozens of the sweet and oily stuff much as it would be nice to have a few nice pictures to show for the effort.

Then came the neighbours to the rescue. In anticipation of the Mid-Autumn festival J attended 2 mooncake-making classes and kindly agreed to share her new-found skills with a few of us. She brought over all the necessary ingredients and all I needed to provide was my table top, coup de main and hot oven. Charming company thrown in, of course.

You should see the amount of golden syrup, oil and sugar that went into those mooncakes. I had to provide a lot of cling wrap if I didn't want the table top to be over moisturised. Though it was fun making them because you could more or less fill them with whatever you like. But I'm a simple girl, I either like red bean paste or lotus seed paste with double egg yolks.

Incidentally I ended up eating quite a number of lotus seed and red bean paste mooncakes last year in spite of my good intentions (not to). The Chinese cousin sent up 2 boxes from the South (containing dried tangerine peel though you couldn't really taste it - thank God) and a local friend offered me a box (that also came from the South).

I also ate a number of the local savoury pork mooncakes that were really good when eaten hot off the oven. Though ask me not what they filled those stuff with, one couldn't really make out what was meat and what was fat but eat everything together and I can tell you it was good (though not for the heart).

So I start off 2013 with the resolution (once again) to make my own mooncakes this year. I will buy a few of those modern plastic moulds (see picture) that may not be sexy or ecological, but oh so easy to use. Another good reason to spend more time on Taobao.

My Paternal Great Grandfather

Great grandpa in a suit

I know that I have been away for a long time.

I've missed writing, but I've not missed the blog. I never thought I'd say that, but I just did and it proved that I have a life other than my blog. I still feel the need to document, more for myself than for anybody else, but I no longer feel the urgency to do so in real time.

For my 40th birthday last October Hub had the first year of my blog published. He obviously thought the blog meant a lot to me (which it does) and he must be proud of it in some way (I'm honoured, of course). I felt embarrassed about it actually, since I never thought it was decent enough to be put to print and I still don't. I would have liked to be able to revise/edit it myself, but it had been left to the Teenager to do it and while it was sweet of the boy, it was as with most of his work sloppily done.

Much and yet nothing much has happened since I last blogged. We are still in China and would have at least another year left of our stay here. I am busy and keep myself busy, we have travelled and are going away again very soon and I still cook every day though I have not been experimenting lately.

A few days ago I asked my Chinese cousin in Jiangmen to send me a photo of our great grandfather. He first showed it to me 2 years ago when I brought the parents down to visit our ancestral village and I've always wanted to see it again.

I couldn't remember why great grandpa was wearing a suit and why he had his picture taken in it, but I will ask cousin again the next time I see him. I also couldn't remember what the guy did in his life, except for some reference to opera costumes. The cousin had provided much information, but I'm getting on in years and couldn't seem to remember much of anything nowadays. Another reason why I should document more in my blog and certainly not wait too long to do so, I guess.

2 years in China and I must say that I'm happy here. But I don't feel any more Chinese for that, on the contrary I reaffirm my foreignness every day. I get Chinese people coming up to me from time to time asking me if I were Chinese, and often in the same breath they would tell me that I do not really look like one. A few would tell me I'm 很洋气 meaning they think I have western airs (whatever that meant).

Great grandpa was tall and thin. I wonder why that kind of genes didn't pass on to me or to any of my kids. Mum's short and fat ones were probably more dominant. Fancy me being really tall with skinny legs - my life could have been very different, don't you think so?