New Year food traditions...and wishes for a better year ahead

2020 hasn’t been the best of years.

When we rang 2020 in, full of hope for a new year, no one could have predicted what it would bring. A global pandemic resulted in lockdowns, a threat to our health, economy and basic freedom. It also brought out the best in people. We rallied round the vulnerable and really appreciated our brilliant front line workers.

People rediscovered cooking, baking, eating as a family and sharing food.

Around the world there are many New Year food traditions that are created to supposedly bring good luck to the recipients. Eating pork on December 31st is popular in many cultures and as pigs trot forward it signifies progress.

In Italy and Brazil lentils play a big part in the festivities. These legumes are thought to represent coins and the more you eat, the more wealth you’ll have in 2021. Your health is your wealth and these nutritious little orbs should go part of the way of putting you on a healthy path. Lentils are a great soaker upper of flavours and feature in both recipes this week.

The first is for a Persian inspired pork dish cooked with lentils and a gentle spicing. It’s paired with a jewelled rice that’s studded with dried cranberries and topped with fried onions, cumin, mint and pomegranate.

In Greece a pomegranate is smashed on the floor to bring in the New Year. The more ruby like seeds that are scattered, the better your luck will be.

Throughout Europe eating whole fish is a popular way of ringing the changes. The scales represent coins, they swim in schools indicating prosperity and fish always move forward showing progress. My other recipe is for hake fillets, rather than a whole fish served with another lentil dish, coconut dhal. It’s hit with some lime and spices for a deliciously creamy dish.

Wishing you all a happy and much better 202. Where’s that pot for the lentils...

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