Celebrate Chinese New Year

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The Christmas and New Year holiday has faded to just a beautiful memory, and the 11 weeks between now and the Easter break seem like just too long to wait for a proper, celebratory feast. Or they would, if Chinese New Year hadn't come along in the nick of time - because today's the day that the Chinese usher in 2011, the Year of the Rabbit.

Over in China, they'll be dedicating a full two weeks to marking this special event - but while we're not suggesting you'll be able to clear your diary to do the same, you might still be tempted to treat yourself to a Chinese feast tonight, or over the weekend.

A traditional New Year banquet generally features around 10 dishes, with a combination of meat, fish, veg and noodles for everyone round the table to share, with each dish symbolizing something positive for the year to come. Chicken is a key ingredient, representing good fortune and wealth, so our money's on these Chicken Lemon Grass Skewers - really simple to make and, if you've got some bamboo steamers, a lovely looking addition to the table.

Fish is another traditional symbol of prosperity - try this Mackerel dish, pepped up with Chinese five spice - while duck represents the positive virtue of fidelity. A great dish for sharing is our Ginger and Chilli infused number with honey and soy braised duck legs.

Include some noodles in your feast to complete the meal. Try this Pork Stir-fry. One top tip if you want wholeheartedly to embrace the Chinese way of eating: make sure you serve the noodles whole, which represents long life - in China, cutting them is considered a sign of bad luck! (Though we reckon you'll still have a good 2011 if you do break them up before you cook them.)

Happy Chinese New Year!

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