Sunday, September 30, 2012

Mid-Autumn Festival 2012

Today is the Mid-Autumn Festival. Wey said to me, "Didn't we just celebrate Mooncake Day?" Mooncake Day is to Malaysians and Singaporeans what Mid-Autumn Festival is to the rest of the Chinese in the world. Chinese families (and Koreans and Japanese, I think) will have a big family dinner and in cities such as Taiwan and Hong Kong especially, families will sit al fresco after dinner to sip tea, eat mooncake and gaze at the moon which is at the brightest this night once a year. In ancient times, people will also compete to recite poems that celebrate the moon. I have written a post about the Mid-Autumn Fest which was linked picked up by Epicurious, and another post here.

My memories of the Mid-Autumn Festival are lots of food, mooncakes, mooncakes shaped in piglets and stuffed into plastic 'cages', pomelo (a huge fruit 5 to 6 times the size of a grapefruit), lanterns, family, fun, games and my mom's Mid-Autumn Fest party for kids in our neighborhood. When my kids were younger, I'd go with them around the taman carrying lighted lanterns just like how I did when I was a kid. Nobody does that anymore, which is a pity.

We had a very happy Mid-Autumn Fest celebration tonight because my daughter came home from Milan today. She had a gruelling flight back because there was a long 12-hour transit in Kuala Lumpur airport, and then the flight coming back to KK was delayed.

Since we had a big Chinese dinner at my MIL's last night (as we do every Saturday), and since Yi had brought back goodies such as parmasan reggiano, gorgonzola (smells like stinky feet!), parma crudo, pancetta, truffle oil, truffle honey, truffle salt, salami, Italian chocolates and a Nespresso machine, I cooked western food instead, which made everyone felt like it was Christmas instead of Mid-Autumn Fest. After dinner, we sat out on the patio and ate mooncakes, carrot cake, baby taro, ling gok, excellent Nespresso coffee (our Tenom coffee tasted like stale diluted coffee compared to Nespresso) and Chinese tea. With a slight breeze after a light rain, the air was cool and it was a lovely evening with my mom, my parents-in-laws, my younger BIL, Hub's cousin Ben and wife Janet, and my oldest and youngest kids. Only three things were missing. Lanterns ( I forgot to buy/make), the moon (hidden behind heavy clouds) and my middle child Ming (studying in Melbourne).

Janet brought a delicious dish of steamed fish and ham slices in a butter and milk sauce. I will make that dish one day and post the recipe.

Yi made two salads. This lovely salad was mixed greens with fried pancetta and freshly shaved parmesan.

Parma ham, honey dew, mixed greens and toasted almonds (crispy thin slices of baguette added later)--yum!

Caramelised beets with balsamic glaze.

Roasted leg of NZ lamb--very tender and succulent. Wey made yummy mashed potatoes with truffle oil to go with the lamb.

Fillet of salmon with a crust made of bread crumbs, potato chips from the bag (yes), fresh dill from our garden and Dijon mustard was surprisingly good. The recipe was from an old copy of Cook's Illustrated.

Autumn is when baby taros are abundant. The black moustache-like things are nuts called ling gok, which are only available this time of the year. Ling gok are from China, and they grow in ponds. When opened with a nut cracker, the white meat inside is floury and slightly sweet with no distinct flavor. The ling gok reminds me of my father, who always boiled them to eat when they come into season in Autumn. If he can't finish the nuts, he'd dig out the meat and make hanging decorations with them. I still have Dad's car charm made of ling gok. It must be over 17 years old.

Mooncakes tins used to have paintings of pretty Chinese girls in cheong sam. I wish I kept some of the tins; they were so pretty. After the mooncakes are eaten, the tins are recycled into sewing boxes or small gadget containers. This box of mooncake is from Singapore, given by our friend L. It is so pretty. I am keeping it.


Anonymous said...

Your daughter looks absolutely stunning in the Milan photos on her site. Love her dress! She is going places, so lovely of Nespresso to invite her.

Anonymous said...

Oops I think I got the place wrong, its Bologna where your daughter wore that stunning dress. Love her beautiful glossy hair too.


Hi Terry... LOL yes, I did think it looked and felt more Christmas-y then it did Chinese.
Wow, the food looks glorious...

Fooman said...

Such a feast!
I love my nespresso machine :)

Baby Sumo said...

What a lovely feast! I saw these ling gok at the supermarket today, asked my mum what it was. Now I know the name, thanks.

We had a simple dinner last night too, then followed by a mini mooncake-lantern party with the kiddies. Lots of fun! :)

Kelly Siew said...

What a stunning meal. I'm deeply envious of those cured meat and cheese. And I've never seen Ling Gok before... looks interesting.

Nate @ House of Annie said...

Yum yum what a feast! Absolutely drooling over the ham and cheese.

Anonymous said...

Hi Terry,

Love your blog! Been searching for a good salmon recipe for a long time and when u said your salmon tasted good, I trust you! Think you can post the recipe up so that i can give it a go?

Anonymous said...

Hi Terri!
Mooncakes look really nice, like a sculpture!! Wow!
I feel like being at home in Italy watching your pictures with ham and parmisan!! And I really like the fact that you love makes me feeling proud to be Italian! :)

terri@adailyobsession said...

anon: her hair got better after she stopped dyeing it 4 or 5 years ago:)i also prefer her wo colored contacts, which she used to wear. i guess girls go thru tt phase, altho some girls nver grow out of it. love her dress too but it's 2 sizes too small for me to borrow. she had a great time in milan, was back for 2 days n today is in KL to promote smthing for HP! watch out for it in the media, includ TV!

brook: yeah, it wasnt the same. nobody complained but deep inside i thought, no, next year it better be a chinese dinner for mid-autumn fest:)

fooman: why u nver treated me to a cuppa Nespresso? or even tell me? it's SO GOOD!

baby sumo:oh tt's the kind of mid-autumn fest families shd hv. now tt my kids r grown n there arent any little ones yet, our mid-autumn fest is not as festive. ah well.

funny how Hub's cousin also said he hadnt seen a ling gok in 20 years!

kelly: oh you young ppl...

nate: the prosciutto is AWESOME, better than all those we ate here or australia. the parma ham we get here n aus smells a little, u know, hammy n cured but the ham yi brought back is devoid of that smell n is SO fresh n gorgeously smooth n tasty.

anon: i will. remind me if i dont!

laubao: yi was asked at dinner which country she loves to visit most n she said "Italy!" so thumbs up for your country, laura! you are very talented so it's great to see you do things you enjoy! go laura go! i cant comment on your blog; yu've changed the comment box.

Fooman said...

Have to tapau coffee for you on Sunday morning. Haha. For some reason I thought you already had a coffee machine.
I like the purple and black pods

Anonymous said...

Hi Terri!!
Thank you a lot. I haven't changed anything to my comment box...can you please tell me what's happening, so that I can try to understand it?
Thank you!!

rae said...

what amazing food. i would love to celebrate like this with good company and delicious eats!

xx rae

The Real Mother Hen said...

Ahhh I like 中秋节 - when I was young, I loved to eat the piggy biscuits. In Penang, there were a few bakeries that sold these extremely delicious biscuits. My dad would go to each and every bakery that I liked to buy them. They weren't cheap, and sometimes he had to line up for them. But he did it so graciously simply because his family loved them. Oh, talking about a parent's love for his family. Thinking about it alone makes me weep.

Agnes said...

you might think its lol but my mom used those mooncake tins as baking tins :O

Michelle Chin said...

I didn't know what ling gok is. maybe i should ask my mom. if you're wondering why you couldn't access my blog, that's because i've already stopped running it.

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