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Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year (or Chinese New Year) is one of the world's great annual celebrations. How big? Well, in China people are expected to take around three billion journeys as they travel to join family for festivities. The shebang begins on Thursday February 15, with the Year of the Dog starting the following day, and celebrations continuing for 23 days. Special 'lucky' foods are eaten during this period, sometimes because of their colour (red is lucky) and often because their name is a homonym for words such as 'luck', 'prosperity', 'wealth'.

Burgers + Education = Fun

I recently collaborated with St Kilda Burger Bar to teach St Kilda Primary School’s Year 6 students how to write a restaurant review. I talked to the kids about how I approach reviewing, explaining the importance of accuracy and fairness, and how the writer is responsible to both readers and restaurant. “It’s okay not to like something, but you need to see beyond personal preference and give useful, usable information,” I said. I also stressed the importance of tailoring writing for particular audiences, and to ‘make their words work hard’ – this is something I often think about, especially when writing short. Can one word do two jobs?

Revamp those Christmas left-overs

christmas leftovers dani valent Christmas cooking quantities are cause of considerable consternation. Before the big day you’re asking, “Is this enough?” as you picture hungry great-aunts and hollow-legged teens looking askance at empty platters. Afterwards, you realise there was way too much food (just like there was last year and the year before that). Now, it’s all about what you do with the leftovers. Here are some ideas.

11 delicious no-cook plates to bring to a party

It’s on. That party, the picnic, that “we have to catch up” get together. Yes, you’re looking forward to it – except for one thing. There’s that scary question you have to ask: “What can I bring?” There’s a danger that they won’t say, “Bring a few beers or some wine.” What if they say, “Oh, just a little plate of something”? You barely have time to get dressed let alone whip up a pavlova. But it doesn’t need to be a major stress. Bring-a-plate success is as easy as smart shopping and these summery no-cook solutions that will ensure you’re invited back.

Dani Valent X Gelato Messina cooking class

I’ve had a long association with Gelato Messina, by which I mean that I have eaten a lot of their product. It’s research right? Last year, I was lucky enough to have my Chilli Cherry Ripe recipe used in a limited edition ice cream flavour at Messina stores. I really needed to do some serious ‘research’ when that launched and you’ll be happy to know that my extensive investigations revealed that they indeed did a great job of translating my chocolate slab into gelato.

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