Sunday, 15 February 2009

A foodie 'fake' birthday

For our respective birthdays, Cam and I have a tradition of letting each other organise the day – so when it's his I organise something, and vice versa. Because this year my birthday (February 1st) was while I was in Laos and Cam was in China, we decided to have a kind of 'fake' birthday for me after I'd got back to Chengdu. This we did yesterday, and my wonderful, clever boyfriend made it so that it was largely food-themed.

The day started with Part 1 of Cam's presents to me: a beautiful non-stick wok

– perfect for pancakes.

After that, we headed out into the sunshine for a wander around Chengdu's oldest church,

ate a little snack – chilli-laden 凉粉 (liangfen, bean-starch jelly) and crunchy, heart-shaped broad beans,

and mooched around in the lovely tea-house opposite the church.

This is the tea I had,

and here is a glimpse of Cam's.

After such an, err, tiring afternoon, I was quite keen on eating out for dinner, but for some reason Cam was fixated on making 饺子 (jiaozi, dumplings) and soup for dinner. Being the simple soul that I am, I didn't suspect a thing, and so it was a wonderful surprise to come home and find Presents Part 2: a 3-layer bamboo steamer set, a long-handled ladle, and a fancy soup server that they have at restaurants that keeps your soup warm while you eat.

By this point I'd been sent into paroxysms of delight, as anyone who knows me can well imagine; all that was left to make the day complete was to cook a fantastic meal with all these new toys: a simple but refreshing mushroom soup, and not one but two different types of dumplings.

Now all I need to do is think of something similarly wonderful to do for Cam's birthday...

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