Posts Tagged ‘beef’

Chinese Cooking School – How to turn an apple into a swan

January 15, 2009

Lisa’s love of cooking and of the creative process of her art keeps her always interested in giving demonstrations and teaching others. Lisa is the head chef of Sweet Mandarin and teaches fruit origami in her cooking series taught at the Sweet Mandarin Chinese Cooking School.

Mr Drake's swan (I'm very impressed with all my students and I bet your friends and family will be impressed too!)

Mr Drake's swan (I'm very impressed with all my students and I bet your friends and family will be impressed too!)

Mr Drake having a go at fruit origami at Sweet Mandarin's Chinese Cookery School (Mr Drake made a superb swan)
Mr Drake having a go at fruit origami at Sweet Mandarin’s Chinese Cookery School (Mr Drake made a superb swan)
More students learning the secrets of fruit origami with Lisa Tse's easy to follow instructions
More students learning the secrets of fruit origami with Lisa Tse’s easy to follow instructions
Students at the Sweet Mandarin Chinese Cooking School learning how to carve fruit origami
Students at the Sweet Mandarin Chinese Cooking School learning how to carve fruit origami

Have you ever wanted to create an amazing centre piece for a dish or for a birthday cake?  Lisa, the head chef and teacher at the Sweet Mandarin Chinese Cooking School is always creating new dishes and presentational displays, which she shares with her students. Lisa has represented the Sweet Mandarin Cooking School in the Caribbean, across the United Kingdom and in China and has recently been nominated by Hi-Life Diners 2009 in the Best Manchester Restaurant category. Lisa’s passion is teaching her students – adults and the youth how to carve amazing fruit origami – turning a cucumber into a cute frog, turning carrots into ornamental flowers and turning an apple into a breath-taking swan. Lisa teaches cooking schools and home economics the art of dim sum and fruit origami and has been giving demonstrations at local fairs, exhibitions and events in conjunction with local Governmental programmes and the Department of Cultural Affairs.

 Lisa has developed a special way of teaching this ancient art of fruit and vegetable carving based on her understanding of the particular problems students of all ages have when they begin to work with their knife. She believes that learning to carve fruit and vegetables info beautiful flowers and other forms is not difficult; but one must first understand the concept behind the basic forms and second, learn to use the knife correctly to cut away one part and leave the other parts.

For more information on how to book your place at the Sweet Mandarin Chinese Cookery School go to


Chinese Cookery School – Sweet Mandarin Is Proud of Her Students and Vice Versa

January 15, 2009

group“As family meals seems to have become pushed aside by a barrage of ubiquitous fast food and drive-thru restaurants, Lisa Tse of Sweet Mandarin emerges with a welcoming food philosophy of cooking healthy delicious meals and gathering the family back to the table. Operating from her modern wok fired restaurant, Sweet Mandarin in the Northern Quarter, Manchester, Lisa Tse continues a popular series of cooking classes that seek inspiration from a bevy of local world-class producers. The masterclass may well begin a session with a literal and culinary trip to the Silk Road learning how dim sum was created before actually learning the secrets of making dim sum. There was also some delightful party tricks to take back to the home kitchen. From the hands-on task of preparing the produce, learning knife skills, calculating the food budget and wok technique, a number of succulent stir fries and Chinese dishes were miraculously russled up during the masterclass.”

Oprah’s Ten Weight Loss Recipes – No. 9 Finger Lickin Good Spare Ribs – By The Sweet Mandarin Cookery School

January 5, 2009

200901_omag_cover_2208This series of blogs is addressed to Oprah and all those out there battling the bulge and excess weight. I am often asked by my clients to prepare for them a special detox meal over a period of a week to a month. The following recipes are just a sample of our offerings and are unique to Sweet Mandarin ( If you would like a one-to-one consultation, contact me, Lisa Tse on .



Serves 4 to 6.



           2 pounds spareribs

           3 tablespoons light soy sauce

           3 tablespoons hoisin sauce

           3 tablespoons ketchup

           2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry

           1 tablespoon brown sugar

           2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

           2 tablespoons honey

           1/4 cup boiling water


Cut the spareribs apart into 1-inch pieces. Place in a shallow glass baking dish.


Combine the light soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ketchup, rice wine or sherry, brown sugar, and the chopped garlic.

Pour over the spareribs. Cover and marinate overnight in the refrigerator, turning occasionally to make sure the ribs are thoroughly coated.


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius, set oven to either 175 degrees Celsius). Dissolve the honey in the boiling water.


Fill a shallow roasting pan with 1/2-inch of water and place in the bottom of the oven. Place the pork on a rack above the water. Roast the pork for 30 minutes, or until the ribs just begin shrinking and the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71 degrees Celsius). Brush the spareribs several times with the honey and water mixture during roasting. Remove and cool.


Spareribs can be cooked ahead of time and refrigerated or frozen. (Thaw frozen pork in the refrigerator or microwave. Use refrigerated pork within 4 days. Reheat frozen or refrigerated pork before serving).


Nutritional Breakdown per serving (based on 6 servings) – 328 calories (kcal), 22 g Total Fat (10 g monounsaturated, 8 g saturated , 2 g polyunsaturated), 17 g Protein, 13 g Carbohydrate, 73 mg Cholesterol, 805 mg Sodium

Note: Using low-sodium soy sauce reduces the sodium count to 590 mg (25 percent of daily total).

Best wishes and Sweet Dishes to You and Your Family


Note to Oprah – I know you love your fried chicken – but try this as a healthy alternative – and as a treat for your diet.

Oprah’s Ten Weight Loss Recipes – No.2 Garlic Butter Steamed Fish – By The Sweet Mandarin Cookery School

January 4, 2009

200901_omag_cover_2202This series of blogs is addressed to Oprah and all those out there battling the bulge and excess weight. I am often asked by my clients to prepare for them a special detox meal over a period of a week to a month. The following recipes are just a sample of our offerings and are unique to Sweet Mandarin ( If you would like a one-to-one consultation, contact me, Lisa Tse on .

Best wishes and Sweet Dishes to You and Your Family





Serves 3 – 4



           4 fish fillets, about 4 – 6 ounces each

           2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry

           1/4 teaspoon salt

           2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

           2 tablespoons butter



Prepare the wok for steaming. Rinse the fish fillets and pat dry with paper towels. Cover and steam the fish over high heat until the fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork (10 – 15 minutes). 

Separately, in a small pan, melt the butter, adding the chopped garlic and salt –mix until garlic goes golden brown. Take off the heat.

Place the fish fillets on a deep, heat-proof plate that will fit inside the steamer basket. Pour the garlic butter mixture over the fish.

Serve hot with steamed leafy greens.


Nutritional Breakdown for Steamed Fish (based on 4 servings of 6 ounces fish each) Each serving contains: Calories 157, 3 g Carbohydrates, 31 g Protein, 2 g Total Fat, 73 mg Cholesterol, trace dietary Fibre, 232 mg Sodium, 774 mg Potassium.


Garlic is claimed to help prevent heart disease including atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and cancer. Garlic is also useful to treat a common cold, and help regulate blood levels


Butter in moderation is allowed.

Oprah’s Ten Weight Loss Recipes – No.1 – Mabel’s Claypot – By Sweet Mandarin Cookery School

January 4, 2009



This series of blogs is addressed to Oprah and all those out there battling the bulge and excess weight. I am often asked by my clients to prepare for them a special detox meal over a period of a week to a month. The following recipes are just a sample of our offerings and are unique to Sweet Mandarin ( If you would like a one-to-one consultation, contact me, Lisa Tse on .

Best wishes and Sweet Dishes to You and Your Family




Instead of meat try ordering the tofu – it is made of soybeans, high in protein and not too high in fat and calories – it soaks up the flavor of the foods that it is cooked with. Avoid dishes using fried tofu.




This is a family favourite of my mother, Mabel. It evokes home cooking at its best and will draw you to the warmth of the family table after tasting this delicious and nutritious dish. The story behind this dish stems from when my mother was only a child of seven and immigrated to the UK. She felt so home sick and hated the rainy cold weather, the fact that she couldn’t speak of word of English and had no friends. Her mother made her this dish, and it immediately transported her back to the warm climate of Hong Kong to a place where she felt safe and secure. This claypot was her comfort dish – her comfort food – and helped her transition to a new world.



•           1 packet of firm Tofu

•           1 1/2 teaspoons (7 mL) dark soy sauce

•           1 ½  teaspoons (7 mL) Chinese rice vinegar

•           1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) salt

•           ¼ teaspoon (1 mL) sugar

•           3/4 cup (187.5 mL) chicken or vegetable stock

•           1 teaspoon (5 mL) cornstarch mixed

•           2 tablespoons (25 mL) water

•           1 tablespoon (15 mL) vegetable oil

•           1 tablespoon (15 mL) sesame oil

•           2 spring onions sliced in one inch pieces

•           2 baby bok choy, cut into rough squares

•           Quarter Chinese sausage (lap cheung) finely sliced – or replace with salami (optional – don’t add if vegetarian)

•           1/2 onion, sliced.

•           1 tablespoon (15 mL) grated ginger

•           1 teaspoon (5 mL) garlic

•           1 large shallot, chopped

•           5 Chinese mushrooms from can or if dried, soak until soft

•           2 sprigs cilantro

•           2 cups (500 mL) jasmine rice




1. Pre-heat oven to 360–375˚F

(180–190˚C or Gas Mark 4–5).

2. Soak mushrooms in hot water for one hour (alternatively use ready-to-cook tinned

Chinese mushrooms).

3. Cut tofu into bite-sized pieces.

4. Mix the marinade ingredients (salt, sugar, Chinese rice wine and corn starch) in a large

bowl, add the tofu pieces and stir gently.

5. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.

6. Place wok on high heat. Add the oil, stir in the ginger and garlic, and cook until golden.

7. Drain the tofu (reserve the marinade). Stir-fry the tofu until it’s cooked through.

8. Add spring onions, mushrooms, lap cheung and bok choy. Stir-fry for three minutes until the vegetables soften slightly.

9. Add soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and salt.

10. Add chicken /vegetable broth and marinade and bring to a boil.

11. Add cornstarch mixture and mix well until consistency thickens.

12. Switch off heat. Pour the tofu, vegetables and stock into a clay pot.

13. Cover and place the pot in the oven.

14. Bake for 5-10 mins until mixture is bubbling.

15. Serve with fragrant jasmine rice.



Each serving includes:  Calories 269, 26 g Carbohydrates, 21 g Protein, 10 g Fat, 1 g Saturated Fat, 50 mg Cholesterol, 4 g Fibre, 330 mg Sodium, 420 mg Potassium. An excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and niacin. A good source of fibre, vitamin E, vitamin B-6 and folacin.


Chinese Black Mushrooms – No need to visit the Chinese pharmacist for these – you’ll find bins of Chinese black mushrooms packed to overflowing in any Chinese grocery store. Used in soups stir-fries and braised dishes, they are thought to be helpful in lowering blood pressure.


Ginger – Besides being appreciated for its distinct flavor and ability to diffuse other strong odors, ginger has long been used as a digestive aid. Thought to get rid of air in the body, it is used to treat both stomach acidity and motion sickness. In China, women customarily drink a mixture of ginger cooked in wine and sesame oil shortly after giving birth.

To learn more about the Sweet Mandarin Cookery School – To book your place on the course or to order specific detox menus – email Lisa Tse on

Recipes to Help Oprah and You Lose Weight – From the Sweet Mandarin Cookery School

January 3, 2009


Four years ago, when Oprah managed to get down to a trim and fit 160 pounds, she thought she’d hit on a foolproof formula for permanent weight loss. Then life—in the form of a thyroid problem and a killer schedule—intervened. Last year she was back up to the 200-pound mark and knew something had to change.

Its not just Oprah whose battling with the additional pounds, I’ve met so many people who have asked me to help them lose weight. End the starve – binge cycle. Eat healthy, feel healthy and be healthier.

Especially after the Christmas season, all those eat-all-you-can buffet parties, the alcohol, the snacking in front of the tv make one feel bloated and struggling to fit into your new clothes.

You are overweight for the most simple of reasons — because you’re eating the wrong foods, the wrong types of calories per meal, and you’re also eating meals in the wrong patterns each day.

My next blogs will set out my recipes to help Oprah and you lose that excess weight – and balance your ying and yang.  Most overweight people are yang (warm) types. So the kinds of food that should constitute the bulk of ones diet should be ying type of foods (see my earlier blog on what are ying and yang foods).

Wishing you best wishes and Sweet dishes


BBC Films The Sweet Mandarin Cookery School and Lisa Tse

January 3, 2009


I was recently filmed for the tv series Inside Out on BBC One which featured Sweet Mandarin and the story behind our restaurant/cookery school. The director, Lawrence and presenter Andy Johnson were brilliant fun and got stuck into the cooking (and eating) at the Sweet Mandarin Cookery School.  You can see the programme on (Home Page).

The Internet is a wonderful thing.  The revolution allows me to reach out to all my students around the world. Now, thanks to the Internet, I have the ability to post my recipes online, making them more accessible to viewers and chefs.  This leaves no excuses—get cooking today!

Best wishes and Sweet dishes to you and your family


Yin and Yang Foods – Can Balancing such foods improve your hair and skin?

January 3, 2009

chinese-girl-manga Balancing Yin and Yang can improve one’s hair and skin.

“The created universe carries the yin at its back and the yang in front; Through the union of the pervading principles it reaches harmony” (Lao tzu, Tao-te ching)

The below is a snapshot and for illustrative purposes only. Should you have any medical conditions, you should consult a doctor first including discussing your diet.

Foods differ in their physical, mental, spiritual and emotional effects and can be divided into three main types -those that are ‘balanced’ and some that are ‘Yin’ and some that are ‘Yang’. Yin foods are cooling, while Yang foods are warming to the human system. Together, Yin and Yang combined in balance produce an equalization that translates into health for living creatures.

Yin Foods (Cooling)

Extreme Yin – Tomatoes, Potatoes, Capsicums, Egglpants, Shiitake Mushrooms, Fruit, Spices, Herbs, Seasoning, Sugar, Alcohol, MSG, Soy Milk, Honey, Caffeine, Drugs (e.g. aspirin)

Yin – Yeasted bread, Leafy greens (e.g. asparagus, celery), Beans, Dried Fruit, Nuts, Milk, Tofu, Vinegar

Yang Foods (Warming)

Extreme Yang – Meat, Fish, Egg, Cheese, Salt, Miso,

Yang – Any root vegetables e.g. Carrots, Daikon, Parsnip, Turnips and Buckwheat

Neutral Foods

Brown Rice, Wheat, Azuki beans, Pumpkin, Cabbage, Seaweed, Sesame seeds, Sesame oil, Apples and Pears, Other vegetables (not mentioned above).

If you have low blood pressure or are easily cold, you have a Yin constitution. Eat more Yang foods to warm up the body e.g. spicy foods like garlic, cayenne, ginger, grains, legumes, roots and tubers, which are Yang.  Reduce your intake in Yin foods e.g. tropical fruits and dairy products.

If you have high blood pressure and always feverish, you have a Yang consitution. Eat more fruits, lots of green, leafy vegetables and avoid heavy meats.

To learn more about how to balance your Yin and Yang Foods, and receive recipes that focus on this aspect of balance and detox, book your place on the Sweet Mandarin Cookery School. Email Lisa Tse at To find out more go to

Perfect Prawn Toast

January 3, 2009


I’ve received loads of emails about prawn toast. If you have tried to make prawn toast and it turns out a) burnt b) soggy c) too greasy this is my Sweet Mandarin Internet Cookery Lesson for you.

At the Sweet Mandarin Cookery School, I teach you how to make the perfect prawn toast….and its as easy as ABC. They make great hor d’oeuvres and are wonderful party additions for any occasion.  If you know how to spread jam on bread, you’ll know how to make my wonderful sesame prawn toast.


Recipe for Sesame Prawn Toast

If vegetarian, one can use tofu or mushroom alternative. If you don’t like prawn – try chicken!

•250g of raw de-shelled prawns blended into a paste
•1 tbsp shaoshing wine
•0.25 tbsp white pepper
•0.25 tbsp salt
•6 slices white bread (large medium thick), crusts removed and cut into quarters
•5-6 tbsp sesame seeds 

•Prawn Paste : Place all the paste ingredients in a food processor and blend until you have a smooth paste. Place the prawn in a covered container for 15 minutes.
•Toast: Spread the prawn paste on one side of the bread with a palate knife or knife, so that the bread is evenly coated. Repeat this with all the slices of bread. [Now isn’t this as easy as spreading jam on bread!]. Place the sesame seeds on a plate and lay the bread (paste side) on the sesame seeds gently pressing them in. Shake off any excess and this baby is ready for a hot bath! 

To Cook
• Preheat oil in a deep fryer or in a wok until hot. Turn down heat to moderate.  Deep fry the bread in batches prawn side down, for 2-3 minutes, until the slices are golden brown. Remove from the oil, drain them on kitchen paper and keep warm in a low oven while you prepare the remaining slices.

Hot Oil Tester

How hot is hot? The heat is radiating from the wok but is it hot enough? If you see smoke – its too hot.  If the oil is not hot enough, the prawn toast will not cook well and the bread will soak in the oil making it greasy and soggy. If the oil is too hot, it will burn the bread. 

Try this simple but effective test – get a pair of unpainted bamboo chopsticks (that are dry not wet) and stick the end into the oil.  If the oil bubbles rapidly, the oil is ready for cooking. [Note to cooks – don’t use painted or coloured chopsticks as the hot oil will burn off the colour.]   


To Serve
•Slice the toast in small squares or triangles with small bowls of sweet and sour sauce or sweet chilli sauce.

 The Secrets to Perfect Prawn Toast

1)  ensure that the filling (whether prawn or chicken paste) is spread to the very edges of the toast (this avoids the bread from getting burnt);

2) ensure that the layer of raw meat is evenly spread and is not too thickly applied.  A thick layer of raw meat on the bread leaves the meat not being thoroughly cooked or if you leave the prawn toast in the deep fat fryer until cooked, the bread ends up being greasy and soggy; and

3) ensure you cook the prawn toast in hot oil (see hot oil tester above)

Hope that helps. Let me know how it goes. If you want the recipe or have any other questions, drop me an email at For more information about Sweet Mandarin Cookery School :

Best wishes and Sweet dishes to you and your family


Wok n Roll – Home Economic Lessons Are Over Subscribed – Thanks to Lisa Tse!

January 3, 2009

Lisa Tse's School Masterclass



Manchester’s trendy eaterie is a School of Excellence for young wanna-be chefs and restaurant staff and for students in Greater Manchester and abroad, it will be the first chance to taste modern Chinese cuisine at the cutting edge.


None of the students who will be training at Sweet Mandarin are Chinese.


In setting up the ’School’ Sweet Mandarin will be following in the footsteps of Jamie Oliver’s famous 15 restaurant.


The Manchester initiative is a collaboration between the all-female owners of Sweet Mandarin and Margaret White, catering lecturer at the Openshaw campus of MANCAT (Manchester College of Art and Technology) and the George Hicks Campus in the Caribbean.


The students, full time and part-time, are studying for their NVQ Level 2 or equivalent. The majority are between 14 and 18, but there are also adult students.


At Manchester, a rota system is in place and groups of between two and three at a time will be gaining work experience at the chic restaurant at The Design House in the Northern Quarter on a day release basis from the college. The School of Excellent is also rolled out on site at the schools, and Lisa visits the schools personally to teach the students how to make Chinese dim sum and fruit origami. The culinary training began with an instruction session explaining the background of how dim sum originated, Chinese culture and language, followed by a demonstration, and actual hands-on Oriental cooking by the students.

On the menus is tasty dim sum – bite-sized Oriental treats. The name is derived from the words from the heart, for, as the guest said, the cooking style was originally created to “reach people emotionally”.

 The students prepared three of the many dim sum varieties: chicken spring rolls, chicken wontons, and chicken toast.


Most of the work will involve ‘chef-fing’ but for those who want it there will be an opportunity to practice silver service for those students doing work experience at Sweet Mandarin.


Explained 30 year old Lisa Tse, co-owner of Sweet Mandarin with her sisters Helen and Janet: “We are really excited to be working with MANCAT. We’ve put together a plan that will give the students hands-on experience of how a busy Chinese kitchen operates but underlining the whole scheme will be the emphasis on quality which is why we are calling it School of Excellence.”


Meanwhile the trainee chefs are swotting up on the secrets of the perfect Sichuan beef and fried won tons.


Said Margaret White: “When my students heard about the opportunity to train at Sweet Mandarin they were queuing up to go there. And I was at the front of the queue!


“As a full time lecturer I have to keep my hand by doing a certain amount of practical work experience and I can’t wait to have a go at preparing stuff like dim sum.


“It’s a unique chance for us all to learn the very special art of Chinese cooking as none of us are Chinese or have Chinese connections.”


And use chopsticks like the professionals.


The three Tse sisters enjoy serving as mentors, especially advocating the areas of entrepreneurship, literacy, law, business and cooking.  Having grown up helping in the family business, they told the local students that they know the “fun and rewards” of working in a busy Chinese restaurant.  “That is how we survived…,” said Chef Lisa, who advised the students to, “Be creative and adventurous with your food”. She also imparted the inspirational words “If I can do it, so can you”.


Its not surprising with their entrepreneurial streak and commitment to education that Manchester’s home grown entrepreneur and CEO of Sweet Mandarin, Lisa Tse has something to write home about. She has been invited to be the key note speaker for the Growing Business Awards. Lisa is also a contributor to their self titled book Sweet Mandarin, written by her twin sister, Helen, which has been published by Random House in 33 countries and the BBC Audiobook, Sweet Mandarin, is being launched worldwide in February 08 to celebrate Chinese New Year. Lisa headlined the Growing Business Event at Manchester’s GMEX on 25 January 2008.  For more information see


Sweet Mandarin opened on 2nd  November 2004 with the first “cook-off” for students in the North West.

The owner, Lisa Tse has been featured in the Sunday Times, Guardian, Chamber of Commerce, North West Enquirer, Start Talking Ideas. She is a spokesperson for Make Your Mark, on the board of the NWDA (the UK Government arm responsible for fostering entrepreneurship in the North West) .,,2095-2230200,00.html,,1547934,00.html



For further information please contact Lisa Tse (Mobile: +44 (0) 7877 639 876)

Sweet Mandarin

19 Copperas Street, Manchester M4 1HS

Tel:      0161 832 8848