Year of the Sheep 2015 - 28th Feb

Post date: 12-Feb-2015 17:31:03

My Chinese friends insist this is not the Year of the Goat, which is what most people seem to be calling it. The ideogram for a goat is in fact a "Mountain Sheep"; this year is just a sheep. So on the 28th Feb, we will be celebrating the Year of the Wood (or Green) Sheep. Sheep are soft and fluffy and this will be a more peaceful and harmonious year than the last year of the Horse. Wood symbolises renewal which also means a creative year.

Our signature Chinese New Year supper which will include the traditional Chinese New Year dumplings, both sweet and savoury, which are usually a communal family cooking event with everyone sitting round the table, rolling and cooking and chatting. I can tell you that it will be like that here at PSC, with our "family" of volunteers doing exactly that. Also on the menu will be a very appropriate dish - containing sheep - one of the favourite dishes of the Empress Dowager Cixi, who was herself born in the year of the sheep and was also a Manchu, from the north, who also ate sheep.

Our banquet menu will be:

Chinese pickles and Preserved Cucumbers in XO sauce - I remember these from the start of banquets when I was a child

Jiaozi/Guo Tie or Potsticker dumplings - These handmade pork and vegetable dumplings signify family reunion. In northern China families traditionally spend New Year's Eve together preparing the dumplings, which are eaten at midnight. Crescent-shaped Jiaozi are a symbol of wealth and prosperity because of their resemblance to ancient Chinese money (silver ingots).

Xinjiang Cumin Chicken - an unusual dish from Xinjiang province, in the far west of China, where there are Indian influences to their cooking.

Stir Fried Cucumbers- a dish that’s very popular, but little known outside China

"Ah Sweet as Honey" - a lamb dish from the Imperial Court of the Qing Dynasty, favourite dish of the Empress Dowager Cixi

“Delicious” Tofu – this is one of my favourite vegetarian dishes, cooked with chilli bean sauce and spring onions

Spring Onion noodles with Cha Siu - noodles signify longevity - it's important not to cut them! Our cha siu is legendary....

Chinese Aubergines – you’ll probably never have had aubergines like this before, but they are exceptional

Steamed whole Cantonese Seabass The word for fish, "Yu," sounds like the words both for wish and abundance, and serving a fish at the end of the meal symbolizes a wish for abundance in the coming year

Tang Yuen these round sweet dumplings are symbolic of family unity and harmony. Tang stands for reunion and yuen means round or complete.

Cost will be £45 of which £35 will go direct to MSF. Please mail us with bookings on

We will also be teaching a cooking lesson based on this menu on the 5th March - click here for more information