After taking inspiration from my Vietnamese cooking class a few weeks earlier I decided that we would celebrate Tet - Vietnamese New Years. We did. On February 5. I shopped on Friday. I cooked all day on Saturday.
Basil Seed drink
Summer rolls with fabulous shrimp from Vicky at Broadway Market
Bo La Lot
Bánh chưng (traditional Vietnamese new year's cake)
Longdans with Lotus Nuts, Jelly & Seaweed
You will notice that it pretty much mirrored what I learnt from Uyen back in January, with the exception of the cake, which I bought and, following Uyen's instructions, shallow fried.
This was probably the most out of depth meal I have ever made. Five dishes (including the funny but not entirely well liked basil seed drink that I went everywhere trying to find!) and I wasn't confident that any of them would turn out. Summer rolls were delicious - and basically foolproof as the flavours are what you make them and we had excellent shrimp and a ton of exotic herbs. Bo La Lot to Uyen's recipe were moreish and were probably the night's highlight. The banh chung was... odd... If you read this you probably know I can be a bit, um, fussy we'll say about meat, so the ingredients list that said simply 'meat' wasn't really making me feel very comfortable and, even with frying it was still a very particular texture. The longdan dessert was unique and not very desserty. Which of course made it more interesting.
But. To the point. Everyone tried everything and the evening was an interesting success. It made me realise how specific my own celebratory ways are and that my expectations of what makes something special are very particular. I'm looking forward to expanding my perception of celebration...