The 5th of February is China’s New Year and their biggest annual holiday when millions of people who work far in the huge cities make their way back to their home towns and villages to be celebrate with their families.

My daughter, Olivia, has been studying Madarin over the last 5 years. Part of her studies has meant spending long periods of time in China and an opportunity for me as well to visit. The experience was sometimes daunting, but enlightening experience. China is made up of numerous contrasting regions from ancient Northerly Provinces, hardly changed over centuries, (except for the ubiquitous mobile phone) to the mega futuristic cities like Bejiing and Shaghai, with populations of upwards of 24 million. One thing that unites them all is their love for family and food.

The Chinese usually eat out of the home in the millions of restaurants, eating places and fabulous street food. When protein in the form of pork, chicken or fish is added to recipes it is usually in far smaller proportions than we are used to making the food light and easily digestible. Our favourite foods were the vegetarian kitchens found inside the vast walls of temples and mosques. Huge steaming pots of soups with noodles and puffy, white dumplings and every kind of vegetable imaginable were set out generous communal buffets.

Try cooking Chinese style recipies at home. Visit local Chinese supermarkets and get amazing choices and great value ingredients. My favourite Chinese food writers are Ken Hom and Fuscia Dunlop who both write from vast experience .

My recipe for Sticky Pork Spare Ribs is not genuine at all, but it is very easy peasy and tastes delicious!

Happy Chinese New Year!


250g small pork spare ribs

1 medium onion, peeled

1 green pepper, deseeded

1 teaspoon sea salt

For the sticky sauce:

4cm chunk fresh ginger, peeled and grated

2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons dark soy sauce

Pre-heat the oven 150oC/Gas 2

Put the spare ribs in a roasting tin.

Cut the onion and green peppers into chunks and add them.

Add the sea salt, cover with foil and roast for an hour.

Mix all the sticky sauce ingredients together and leave to marinade.

After an hour remove the ribs from the oven.

Pour over the sticky sauce turning everything round to coat well.

Increase the oven temperature to 190oC/Gas 5

Put the foil back on the ribs and roast for a further 30 minutes.

Let the ribs cool slightly before eating.