Monthly Archives: January 2017

The Rebel Within

We were in California last week, San Francisco to be exact! But this time not to the fancy food show. Some intelligence took us to ‘Craftsman & Wolves’ on Valencia Street.

These guys are famous for their coffee and ‘The Rebel Within’; a savoury muffin which includes asiago, sausage, green onion and a soft boiled egg inside (A.K.A a scotch egg!).

It can only be described as a ‘taste sensation’. This is a huge new trend on the West coast, a real destination!

2017, Year of the Rooster

For the past few years I was lucky enough to spend some time in China, learning about the culture, visiting dozens of temples and trying as much of the food as I could! Authentic Chinese food, as I’m sure many of you know, differs greatly from our beloved Western Chinese takeaways. Unique and distinct flavours, exotic vegetables and parts of animals I didn’t know were even edible made up this extensive cuisine.

One of the favourites amongst foreigners in China is jiaozi (饺子); Chinese dumplings filled with meat and/or vegetables which traditionally are boiled, steamed or pan fried. At Chinese New Year they are a commonly prepared food by families on New Year’s Eve. On occasion a coin is hidden in one of the dumplings, believing it will bring luck in the New Year to the person who finds it.

During Chinese New Year there are particular foods which are deemed lucky, these include…

Fish – increases prosperity

Dumplings – increases wealth

Tangyuan (sweet rice balls) – brings the family together

Good fortune fruit (tangerines and oranges) – provides fullness and wealth

Niangao (glutinous rice cake) – blesses with higher income/higher position


After spending the last 3 Chinese New Years in Guangzhou, I have been deciding on which restaurant I’ll be making the journey to for some delightful Chinese treats. One of our favourite Chinese Restaurants here at NPD Direct is Hakkasan Hanway Place. It will be serving up a menu for a limited time only that is said to bring luck, joy and prosperity to 2017.

If you’d like to partake in the festivities, China Town of course will be putting on festivities for the next two weeks, or you could try making your own Jiaozi with this nifty recipe found below.

But for now, 新年快!


Pork and Chive Dumplings Recipe

Serves 2 | Prep Time: 30 Mins | Cook Time: 5 Mins


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup water


1/2 cup chopped Chinese chives
1/2 pound ground pork
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons Chinese Shaoxing wine or rice wine
3 dashes white pepper powder
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
Chinese black vinegar


Mix the flour with water and knead it for about 15 minutes or until the dough gets soft. Separate the dough into two equal portions and roll them into cylinders (about 1 inch in diameter). Cover them with wet towel and set aside.

Prepare the chives by chopping off the root or white part of the chives. Use only the green part. Mix the chives with the ground pork and add all the ingredients in Filling. Stir to combine well.
To prepare the wrapper, cut the dough into 1/4 inch length and use a rolling pin to flatten it until it becomes a round shape about 3 inches in diameter. Put a small spoonful of filling into the center of the skin and seal it up tightly with your fingers. (No pleating is needed for this recipe). Repeat the same until you use up all the ingredients.

Bring a pot of water to boil. Drop the dumplings into the boiling water and cover the pot. As soon as the dumplings start to float (meaning they are cooked), dish them out using a strainer onto a serving platter. Serve hot with black vinegar.


Author: Toni Martell