have you ever had this nagging feeling of what to cook whenever a festive season is around the corner? what mood do i want to create? i want it to be different but not too overwhelming for my guests....who am i inviting? what is the occasion? are they adults or children? big eaters or mousy eaters? well there is room for everyone... read on.

Monday, March 13, 2006

My Darling Nephew's First Birthday

First birthdays are special and will always be. Most importantly for the birthday child is the memories it may bring in the later years. Birthday cake, candle(s), sounds of children's laughter floating in the air, guests chatting with one another, some happily tucking in the food oblivious to its surrounding, all captured on video and photographs.
I had the priviledge to be invited to my nephew's first birthday bash by the poolside. The weather was perfect after a heavy downpour earlier in the afternoon. By 5 pm it was windy and cooling and to top it all, the pool was warm and not crowded. The attraction for the evening besides the birthday boy was Lobak! All 4 kgs of it! This lobak recipe is slightly different from those you eat in restaurants. We like it this way.
1 kg pork (kap sum)
1 kg pork fillet (mui yoke)
2 Tbsp 5 spice powder (I get mine from the chinese medical shops and not pre-mixed with salt)
1 Tbsp corn flour
sea salt to taste
2 cloves garlic (pounded)
3 shallots (pounded)
3 - 4 lobak skin (get the unsalted type)
Cut pork into small pieces and mix in 5 spice powder, cornflour, shallots, garlic and sea salt.
Marinate for 5 - 6 hours in the fridge.
Cut the lobak skin into 4" x 8" enough to wrap the meat in the centre without mess.
Wrap it a bit like in the photo.
Heat a wok full of oil and deep fry lobak a few at a time till skin is brown and cripsy and meat is completely cooked.
Fish it out and drain.
Besides lobak, another item that stood out was the 'Punch' the birthday boy's daddy made. It was refreshing and had a thirst quenching zing to it! I though that was one of the better non-alcoholic drinks I have had for a long time. Since I have gotten his permission to share it online with you... try it sometime! I have a strong feeling it goes well with BBQs too.
1 large tin Del Monte fruit cocktail
2 granny smith apples - cut into thin slices
Juice of 2 lemons (slice a few slices for decor)
1 box apple juice
1 bottle Zapple Apple
1 bottle Sprite
Put all the above except the last 3 items into a large bowl, give it a good stir. (You may want to keep it in a separate jug for extra punch!)
Add the desired amount of the above and add in the apple juice, Sprite, Zapple Apple and ice cubes. If you want to give a zing add a dash of liquor or a can of beer.

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