Chinese New Year 2014 with Family

Kung Hei Fatt Choy!!!

Here’s wishing all my Chinese family, friends and readers a Happy Chinese New Year. And for the non-Chinese, hope you’ve enjoyed your long weekend holidays and got to visit some friends for CNY Open House, sample some great Chinese food and collected some ang pows along the way.

The first few days of CNY for me is celebrated with my family and relatives, from both my father and mother’s side.

In my last post here, I listed out a few things that I am excited about Chinese New Year. CNY lasts for a good 15 days, coincidentally this year, it ends on 14 February 2014, Valentine’s Day. Here’s a photo heavy post of how my first few days of CNY was with my family.

 

Cooking for Reunion Dinner

For Reunion Dinner, in the recent years, my family started a new tradition of a potluck dinner at home. Most of my father’s side aunts and uncles came over with various dishes that they cook at home. Even for the culinary challenged me, I experimented with a new dish.

A week before the Reunion Dinner, I researched online for recipe to make Chinese Braised Chicken and Mushroom. I found a few here, here and here just to get the gist of the ingredients and cooking methods. I bought some ingredients and experimented it for dinner one day before I commit to making this dish for my whole family.

Thankfully, it didn’t turn out a disaster. It was alright, albeit a little salty, as with most of my cooking. I just don’t know how to estimate “a pinch of salt”. I got some tips from friends and learned from my mistakes. I was missing some ingredients to make this an awesome dish.

On the day of Reunion Dinner, I got up early to go to the neighbourhood grocery store and bought all the ingredients to prep for my big cooking debut. *eek*

Bought so much chicken, like 4 chicken or more, but ended up cooking just under 3 chickens instead. Big family, you see. Also, it was really tiring chopping them up to bite sizes with my blunt butcher’s knife at home. *wipes sweat*

I stuck to the recipe as close as I can, taking the best tips from multiple recipes I found online. I added a generous dose of Chinese rice wine for the extra kick. As it simmers and braise, I can smell the aroma all over my kitchen and even got Hubby to have a taste of the sauce.

Hubby : “Hmmm… That’s not bad.”

Me : “Not bad? It’s AWESOME!!!!”

Made a mistake at the end though. Went a little overboard with the corn flour to thicken the sauce. Ended up with little to no sauce left. Damn.

Thankfully though, it wasn’t too salty, like most of my cooking. In fact, it tasted quite good in the end. It did get a little cold by the time I got to my mom’s and we all started eating. Still, I was really proud of myself.

For someone who can barely cook like me, this is my big cooking experiment for the year. Yes – I cook something new only once a year for CNY Reunion Dinner. Which is stressful enough for me. Maybe I should take cooking lessons, for real.

2014 CNY Reunion Dinner - Winnie
Big spread of delicious food for potluck Reunion Dinner

Check out all the delicious food on the dining table that everyone brought. Everyone was super excited to dig in.

2014 CNY Reunion Dinner - Winnie
The family posing before makan

Dinner was amazing. Everyone’s food was delicious. We didn’t finish it, unfortunately, but aunts got to take away some for supper and lunch at home the next day.

 

CNY Day 1 and Day 2 with family

One of the great things is to be able to spend time with family on CNY. Everyone gets busy with work and life, we really don’t get to spend quality time with each other enough. CNY is a great time where everyone gets to catch up and spend some time with their loved ones.

2014 CNY - Chang family

I don’t see my relatives enough throughout the year, and CNY is a time when everyone gets together. My mom and dad both come from big families with average of 7-8 siblings, so I have a lot of aunts and uncles, cousins and their respective offsprings. Some still in town, but some abroad.

As with all CNY, we need to pose for the obligatory family group shots, with multiple cameras. 🙂

The family was all cuddly and coo-ing to the youngest baby, my younger brother’s firstborn, Jared.

2014 CNY 005
My lovable nephew, baby Jared

He was such a cutie, I couldn’t resist taking pictures of him. Pictures in his cute “baby panda” baseball cap, my Aviator sunglasses, him playing with his educational iPad nursery rhymes.

We also posed both my nephews in Rayban Aviators, which amused the adults tremendously.

Later, at another house visit, both their fathers (my brothers) imitated their poses. Took me some time, but finally downloaded this FREE “Photo Grid – Collage Maker” on Google Play Store and created this side-by-side shot.

It’s AWESOME! We had so much laugh.

Love my 2 nephews to bits. Christopher is growing up so fast, he’s 9 years old now. And I remember baby Jared when he was born and celebrating his 1st birthday like it was yesterday. He’s grown up so fast, walking and all now.

2014 CNY - Chen family

Didn’t get to take more pictures on Day 2 though. At least, I’m happy we got this family shot of me and Hubby with mom, my brothers and their partners and the 2 kids.

Family time is amazing, isn’t it?

Happy Chinese New Year, all!!! How has your CNY celebration been?

Mine’s not over yet, of course. There’s more food, Open House, partying and ang pows to go until mid February…

 

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