The moon’s an arrant thief,
And her pale fire she snatches from the sun.
~ William Shakespeare
Spring is whizzing by in a blur of tulips, work and windy sunshine… and I nearly forgot all about Mid-Autumn / Mooncake Festival! Luckily, Jeremy didn’t – and him and Char prepared a delicious celebratory feast for us lucky folk last weekend :-)
It was a blustery blustery busy busy Saturday for me, so walking through the doors to see and smell ALL THIS was especially amazing!
Tofu with a sweet chilli marinade, deftly stacked into an inviting tower…
Mussels with melting cheese and bacon bits… mmmm!
Prawns, corn and greens tossed in a pretty stir-fry:
Jeremy’s version of san choy bau (生菜包) – traditionally made with chicken / pork mince and water chestnuts, with the cooked mince rolled up in fresh lettuce leaves immediately before consumption. Classy finger food :-) This (addictive!) version incorporated lamb mince, bamboo shoots, tinned baby corn, carrots, oyster sauce, and a host of other ingredients.
Roast duck – bought, but made to look homemade ;-)
Of course – the necessary mooncake. I’ve heard that each one carries approximately 1,000 calories, but the truth is I am clueless about calories so I eat them even though 1,000 sounds like a lot. Growing up, I tried mooncakes with all sorts of crusts and fillings – yam, red bean, lotus paste, snow skin… they are different in each region of Asia and even now the sight of mooncakes makes me smile and intrigued to know what is inside.
This one hid within itself pandan and salted egg yolks. Pandan is a happy scent for me, don’t often get to inhale it now – and I loved this!
Mooncake on its own would have been sufficient for dessert, but out popped a second surprise – mango pudding, made from scratch! Creamy, rich and so mangoey, for lack of a better adjective! I asked Char for the recipe she used, which she kindly sent to me – see below :-)
3 cups Alphonso mango pulp
3 tbsp plain gelatin
2/3 cup cold water plus 2/3 cup boiling water
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup superfine sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Place the gelatin into a bowl and stir in the cold water. Add in the boiling water and stir until the gelatin is thoroughly dissolved. Set aside to cool a few minutes.
In a bowl, add sugar to the evaporated milk and stir until sugar is completely dissolved.
Place the mango pulp into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the gelatin mixture, then add the sweetened evaporated milk and vanilla extract. Give everything a good stir, then pour into 8-9 custard cups or bowls (we used plastic cups, as shown in the picture above).
Chill for at least 3 hours, or until set. Serve with a garnish of fresh fruit and evaporated milk poured gently over the top.
Thank you Jeremy and Char, and happy Mid-Autumn Festival, everyone :-)
P.S. Somehow I’ve missed eight rounds of Sweet New Zealand! Grazie mille Alessandra for reminding me (incidentally, she is also the gracious host of this month’s Sweet NZ!). Don’t forget to send in your entry if you are a NZ food blogger and haven’t already…