Posts Tagged ‘new year’

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 www.sweetmandarin.com

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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.

to-do-list-cancer

FIGHT CANCER WITH FOOD

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 www.sweetmandarin.com)

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.

california-roll

Ingredients:

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

Preparation:

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. 10 Firecracker Chicken (To Celebrate Chinese New Year) – By The Sweet Mandarin Cookery School

January 5, 2009

200901_omag_cover_2209This 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 (www.sweetmandarin.com). If you would like a one-to-one consultation, contact me, Lisa Tse on sweetmandarin@gmail.com

 

Best wishes and Sweet Dishes to You and Your Family

Lisa

This final sample dish is to celebrate Chinese New Year….and is a great addition for your diet in 2009 towards a New You

firecracker-chicken

Firecracker Chicken

250g skinless Chicken breast fillet
50g peeled water chestnuts
50g peeled and chopped onions
50g peeled and cubed carrots
50g unsalted peanuts

2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon Shaoshing rice wine
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoon cornflour
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove
1/4 teaspoon chopped ginger
1 teaspoon chilli sauce
2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon vinegar (white)
30ml chicken stock

Method to Cook:

1.Cut the chicken into 1 inch cubes. Place the cubes in a bowl.
2. Cut the onions into dices. Place into a bowl
3. Blanch waterchesnuts in a pan of boiling water then refresh in cold water. Drain. pat dry and cut into thin slice. Alternative is to buy tin sliced waterchestnuts. Separate pan do the same for carrots.
4. Heat wok over high heat
5. Add 1 teaspoon of oil and heat until hot and smoky.
6. Stir-fry the chicken turning constantly until the meat is cooked.
7. Add in the ginger, garlic, chilli sauce, for 10 seconds
8. Add in the onions, waterchestnuts and carrots for 15 seconds
9. Combine the sugar, chicken stock, soy sauce, sesma oil and cornflour – add to thicken.
10. Add the peanuts and toss lightly to coat the sauce.
11. Transfer to a plate and serve hot

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 (www.sweetmandarin.com). If you would like a one-to-one consultation, contact me, Lisa Tse on sweetmandarin@gmail.com .

spare-ribs

SPARERIBS WITH HOISIN SAUCE

Serves 4 to 6.

 

INGREDIENTS:

           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

PREPARATION:

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

Lisa

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 (www.sweetmandarin.com). If you would like a one-to-one consultation, contact me, Lisa Tse on sweetmandarin@gmail.com

 

Best wishes and Sweet Dishes to You and Your Family

Lisa

chicken-stock

CHICKEN STOCK

Makes about 10 cups.

 

INGREDIENTS:

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

           12 cups cold water

           3 slices fresh ginger

           Salt, to taste

PREPARATION:

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 (www.sweetmandarin.com). If you would like a one-to-one consultation, contact me, Lisa Tse on sweetmandarin@gmail.com .

Best wishes and Sweet Dishes to You and Your Family

Lisa

ginger-tea

Ginger Tea

 

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

 

INGREDIENTS:

           2 thin slices raw ginger

           water

 

PREPARATION:

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!

 

NUTRITIONAL VALUE 

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. 3 Egg Drop Soup – By The Sweet Mandarin Cookery School

January 4, 2009

200901_omag_cover_2203This 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 (www.sweetmandarin.com). If you would like a one-to-one consultation, contact me, Lisa Tse on sweetmandarin@gmail.com .

Best wishes and Sweet Dishes to You and Your Family

Lisa

egg-drop-soup

EGG DROP SOUP

 

The basic recipe for Egg Drop Soup (also called Egg Flower Soup) is very simple; I’ve included a few variations below. Serves 3 to 4.

Traditionally, the broth for Egg Drop Soup is rather bland, allowing the egg flavor to stand out.

 

INGREDIENTS:

           4 cups chicken broth or stock

           2 eggs, lightly beaten

           1 -2 spring onions finely sliced

           Salt to taste

           A few drops of sesame oil (optional)

PREPARATION:

In a wok or saucepan, bring the 4 cups of chicken broth to a boil. Add the salt, and the sesame oil if using. Cook for about another minute.

Very slowly pour in the beaten eggs in a steady stream.

To make shreds, stir the egg rapidly in a clockwise direction for one minute. To make thin streams or ribbons, gently stir the eggs in a clockwise direction until they form.

  Garnish with spring onion and serve.

 

Nutritional Breakdown – 4 servings

Each serving contains: Calories 81, 2 g Carbohydrates, 8 g Protein, 4 g Total Fat, 1 g Saturated Fat, 106 mg Cholesterol, trace Fibre, 866 mg Sodium

 

Egg Drop Soup Variations

These would be added after the seasonings. After adding, let the soup cook for a few more minutes and then add the beaten egg.

**1/2 cup frozen peas (defrosted).

**1/2 cup sweetcorn and finely diced chicken breast meat (cooked) – this makes Chicken and Sweetcorn Soup.

**If you are preparing the soup for someone who is ill, try adding a slice of fresh, grated ginger. Among its many benefits, ginger is believed to be helpful in treating colds and flue.

 

Egg Drop Soup is frequently thickened with cornstarch in restaurants. To add a cornstarch thickener, mix 2 – 3 tablespoons of cornstarch with 1/2 cup water. Just before adding the beaten egg, stir in the cornstarch/water mixture, remove the soup from the heat, and then add the beaten egg.

 

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

January 4, 2009

200901_omag_cover_2201

 

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 (www.sweetmandarin.com). If you would like a one-to-one consultation, contact me, Lisa Tse on sweetmandarin@gmail.com .

Best wishes and Sweet Dishes to You and Your Family

Lisa

 

mae-claypot

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.

 

MABEL’S CLAYPOT 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.

 

INGREDIENTS:

•           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

 

PREPARATION:

 

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.

 

NUTRITIONAL VALUE 

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 – www.sweetmandarin.com To book your place on the course or to order specific detox menus – email Lisa Tse on sweetmandarin@gmail.com

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

January 3, 2009

200901_omag_cover_220

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

Lisa