Saturday, 29 September 2012

中秋節快樂!!! Happy Autumn Festival!!!

It's that time of year again - the days are getting shorter, the leaves are turning red, and if you are in the UK you must give up all wishful thinking of a summer.

Good thing then, that we have the Autumn festival (中秋節)  - which by the Lunar calendar is always August 15th, but in the Gregorian calendar varies year to year - either late September or early October.  In China and Taiwan it is a big public holiday.  We obviously don't get a day off here but we celebrate anyway and make mooncakes! (月餅)

Lots of mooncakes!

My genius mum is the head chef and with her help I was able to sell some at work to raise enough funds for my Great North run!

Mooncakes are only made for this one occassion and compared to western cakes are much more dense and rich.  Usually each one contains a sweet filling and a salted duck egg yolk (that symbolises the moon) encased in a thin pastry.  Traditional fillings include lotus paste, red bean, soy bean or taro but you can have others like coffee and ice cream! You can also have mooncakes that are non baked and are served chilled.  These are aptly named ice moon cakes (月餅) where the pastry is made of glutinous rice flour. 
 Beautiful colours

 Of the coffee kind!
 More lovely colours - the green is from pandan leaf extract.

With ice cream!

 To make the traditional ones at home with the flower pattern on top you need cake moulds like this:

Or you can be really inventive!



Sunday, 16 September 2012



Some pics from the day:

 Newcastle Millenium bridge
 The Tyne bridge - that we got to run over
 At the start of the race with crowds gathering
 Mo Farah!!!!!!!!! (He cheated!!! He got two strong lads to cart him to the finish!!!)
 My number 11s - with the time chip attached
As pinned to the back of my Tee! :)
 Red Arrows doing their thing!!!
At the finish - look closely, you will see a rainbow...

All in all it was a fantastic journey for me - from the initial training I was doing at the gym and the street running to the actual big race, it was hard but it was worth it.  I recommend anyone able-bodied to give this a go! In the good ol' Chinese way of selling it - "it's good for you!" :D :D :D