There are many symbolic dishes that will grace the table when folks celebrate Chinese New Year on Feb. 10.
A whole fish and whole chicken for family togetherness. Candied melon seeds as a wish for a sweet new year. And long-life noodles to foster many more years to come of such celebrations.
For me, though, it’s all about the custard tarts.
OK, custard tarts may be more associated with dim sum outings, rather than necessarily any Chinese New Year festivities.
But can you blame me for hankering for them? Who doesn’t love a warm, eggy custard tart with a crust so flaky that shards of pastry cascade all over your clothes when you bite into one?
Leave it to an Englishman to come up with a brilliant version, too.
That would be Jamie Oliver, whose cookbook, “Meals in Minutes” (Hyperion), I received a review copy of last year. The book is set up in a unique style: Recipes are grouped into complete menus that are designed to be cooked and on the table in about 30 minutes. As such, the ingredients are listed all together for all four dishes that make up each menu. And cooking directions have you moving back and forth from one dish to another, just like you would in your own kitchen when preparing a holiday meal made up of many dishes.