Posts Tagged ‘fish’

Patrick Swayze – A Fighter Against Cancer – A Dish to Remember (Thanks Mum)

January 7, 2009

patrick-swayzeRemember Your First dance. Your First love. The time of your life. And that famous phrase “No-one puts baby in a corner”?  Heart-throb, actor Patrick Swayze, the Dirty Dancing star has told of his fear as he battles pancreatic cancer.

“Yeah, I’m scared. Yeah, I’m angry. Yeah, I’m (asking), ‘Why me? You can bet that I’m going through hell, and I’ve only seen the beginning of it.”

But the Dirty Dancing star said he would beat the cancer: “Watch me! You watch what I pull off!”

Patrick, you were my hero during my teenage years when I sprouted an afro perm, pastel huge glasses and a tracksuit. I will be praying for you and writing a series of recipes to help you battle cancer.

Pancreatic cancer is a malignant tumour of the pancreas.  Each year in America, about 37,680 individuals are diagnosed with this condition and 34,290 die from the disease. In Europe more than 60,000 are diagnosed each year.



The National Cancer Institute estimates that roughly one-third of all cancer deaths may be diet related. What you eat can hurt you, but it can also help you. Many of the common foods found in grocery stores or organic markets contain cancer fighting properties, from the antioxidants that neutralize the damage caused by free radicals to the powerful phytochemicals that scientists are just beginning to explore. There isn’t a single element in a particular food that does all the work. The best thing to do is eat a variety of foods. The following foods have the ability to help stave off cancer cell growth or reduce tumour size.



The recipe I want to share with you today is one of our rustic home cooked favourites – Tomato Soup – also helps you to dethaw as we approach -10 degrees celcius in freezing Manchester. (Don’t forget if you don’t want to venture out, we do home deliveries – order online

Tomato Soup

Why Tomato Soup Is Good:

Canned tomato soup provides a concentration of vitamins C, K and A, along with the antioxidant lycopene, found to be protective against a growing list of cancers including colon, breast, lung and pancreatic cancer.

Tomatoes contain lycopene, an antioxidantthat attacks roaming oxygen molecules, known as free radicals, that are suspected of triggering cancer. It appears that the hotter the weather, the more lycopene tomatoes produce. They also contain vitamin C, an antioxidant which can prevent cellular damage that leads to cancer. Watermelons, carrots, red peppers also contain thsese substances, but in lesser quantities. It is concentrated by cooking tomatoes. Scientists in Isreal have shown that lycopene can kill mouth cancer cells. An increased intake of lycopene has already been linked to a reduced risk of breast, prostate, pancreas and colorectal cancer.

Why Red Tomatoes Are Green:

Organic tomatoes (even canned ones) are the greener choice when making soup. These tomatoes are grown on healthy soil without the use of harmful synthetic pesticides, toxic runoff and using agricultural practices that help sustain the land for future generations.

Mum’s Tomato Soup

Serves 6 to 8

  • 1 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans organic crushed or chopped tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup cream or milk
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

1. Heat the butter and the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion and carrot and cook, sweating the juicy goodness from this base and continuously stir for 3 minutes. Add the stock and tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Cook uncovered, about 35 to 40 minutes, until the soup begins to thicken.

2.  Cool the soup to room temperature (if in a hurry add four ice cubes). Process the soup in batches in a blender or food processor. Pulse until soup is pureed. Return to the pot and bring to a simmer. Stir in the cream/milk and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.


Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie enjoy Sushi

January 6, 2009

Actress Angelina Jolie and actor Brad Pitt  inside at the 13th ANNUAL CRITICS' CHOICE AWARDS at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium on January 7, 2008 in Santa Monica, California.

The celebrities like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie love sushi. I love sushi too. Its a wonderful meal or snack and the plating of sushi screams art meets freshness. Oh and its extremely healthy – although pregnant women should avoid raw fish during pregnancy.  The below suggested recipe is suitable for all – its the California roll and a huge favourite of my corporate clients at Sweet Mandarin – who love a sprinkling of sushi for their corporate outside catering events.



History of the California Roll

During the 1970s, a smart unknown California chef, Ichiro Mashita, a sushi chef at the Tokyo Kaikan, Los Angeles, realizing that many Americans did not like the though of eating raw fish, created the now famous California Roll, made with crab, avocado, and cucumbers. Since then, American sushi chefs have created many variations with unique names such as Spider Roll, Philadelphia Roll, and Rainbow roll. However, if you are holidaying in Japan – most restaurants have never heard of the California Roll.

I love sushi. Making sushi at home is easy to do. Ingredients and equipment can be found at Japanese and Asian foods stores as well as at most large food or grocery stores. Its a popular dish for our corporate clients whom we cater for with our outside catering. Sushi making does requires a small amount of initial practice. Don’t be afraid to try!

You can use the techniques for making the California Rolls to make other variations with different fillings as sushi rolls are extremely versatile and you can make endless varieties. Think of a sushi roll as a sandwich and it’s sure to get your imagination rolling as to what to fill it with.



  • 4 cups sushi rice
  • 4 sheets of nori (dried seaweed)
  • 1 avocado
  • 3/4 cup crab meat
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp salt


Peel an avocado and cut it into strips or mash it. Put imitation crab in a bowl and mix with salt and mayonnaise. Cover a bamboo mat with plastic wrap. Put a sheet of dried seaweed on top of the mat. Spread sushi rice on top of the seaweed and press firmly. Sprinkle sesame seeds over the sushi rice. Turn the sushi layer over so that the seaweed is on top. Place avocado and crab lengthwise on the seaweed. Roll the bamboo mat forward, pressing the ingredients inside the cylinder-shaped sushi. Press firmly the bamboo mat with hands, then remove the rolled sushi. Cut the sushi roll into bite-size pieces.

Makes 4 rolls

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. 8 The Chicken Stock to Warm Your Heart – By The Sweet Mandarin Cookery School

January 5, 2009

200901_omag_cover_2207This 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




Makes about 10 cups.



           3 pounds chicken pieces (backs, necks, or wings)

           12 cups cold water

           3 slices fresh ginger

           Salt, to taste


Rinse the chicken pieces under running water. Place in a large pot with 12 cups water (or enough to cover).

Add the ginger. Bring to a boil over medium heat, occasionally skimming off the foam that rises to the top.

Add salt to taste.

Cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 2 hours.


Chicken Stock is simple to prepare, relatively cheap, nutritious, and easily digested. Chicken stock can be used as a soup is a good food for winter convalescents. Sipping warm soup can also clear the sinuses because of the steam ventilating into the nasal passages, serving as a natural decongestant, which also relieves cold and flu symptoms. Last, but not least, scientists found that the particular blend of nutrients and vitamins in traditional chicken soup can slow the activity of certain white blood cells. This may have an anti-inflammatory effect that could hypothetically lead to temporary ease from symptoms of illness.

Oprah’s Ten Weight Loss Recipes – No. 4 Ginger Tea – By The Sweet Mandarin Cookery School

January 4, 2009

200901_omag_cover_2204This 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



Ginger Tea


Treat yourself to a cup of piping hot ginger tea, a healthy drink that’s great for digestion.



           2 thin slices raw ginger




Boil enough water to fill your cup, remove from heat, and add the slices of ginger. Allow to steep to desired strength (3-5 minutes), strain and enjoy!



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.

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.

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