All About Beijing Duck

OK so you've climbed the Great Wall, wandered through the Forbidden City, taken photos in the Temple of Heaven, walked through the gardens of the Summer Palace and completely ignored Wangfujin street. Now it is time for you to eat Beijing's most classic dish, the Beijing Duck.

Beijing Duck is famous, has a distinguished history, an exquisite taste and is a culinary icon SO before partaking in this mouth watering dish, pause your chopsticks and first develop a well deserved appreciation of the delicacy you are about to feast on.

History

The origin of roasted duck can be traced back to Northern and Southern Dynasties period (420-589) when these hapless birds where roasted in the Jinling area where modern day Nanjing is located. The Yuan Dynasty (1206-1368) were gourmets and took the custom of roast duck with them when they packed their bags and set up house in Beijing.

The Inspector of the Imperial kitchen (what a job!) Hu Sihui listed roast duck among the imperial dishes in the "Complete Recipes for Dishes and Beverages" that he wrote in 1330. This early cookbook even included the cooking process.

Up until the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) ducks were roasted in a conventional convection oven where the duck was hung from the oven ceiling and roasted over burning wood. Duck cooked this was said to be crisp and golden brown with tender and tasty meat. After the Qing came to power they changed the method of duck cooking to hanging the ducks over a flame in an open oven. These two traditional methods of cooking duck are the foundations of the two modern methods of cooking Beijing Duck.

Roast duck was so popular during this period that poets and schools where inspired to roast duck poetry. Personally I think the large quantities of alcohol consumed with the duck were the main inspiration for these wasted poems and bookworms.

Peking duck as it was first called b foreigners taste so good, it is credited with being instrumental in the rapprochement between China and the US in the 70's. All because Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon kept returning to China for more duck. Just imagine how different history would be if the Havana Cigar had the same effect on US politicians!

In summary, that juicy piece of duck you are about to eat has a royal history of over 1500 years. Chew on that!

How to eat Beijing Duck

Your Beijing Duck will be served with steamed pancakes, sweet bean or plum sauce, cucumber and spring onions.

Place one pancake on the palm of your hand, dip a slice of duck meat in the sauce then place the meat on the pancake, add several pieces of cucumber and spring onion, wrap up the pancake, close your eyes and bite. Control yourself, chew slowly and savor this ancient delicacy.

How to cook

First you need to prepare the ingredients. Here is a list of all the ingredients.

Ingredients

2.0 to 2.5 kilogram of duck

8 liters of water

1 slice of ginger

1 Spring onion

50ml of honey

20ml of white vinegar

20ml of cooking sherry

25ml of corn starch dissolved in 50ml of water

Spring affairs for garnish

Directions

1. Clean duck then wipe it dry and tie a string around its neck.

2. Hang the duck in cool and ideally windy place 4 hours.

3. Fill a large wok with water then bring to boil. Add ginger, spring onion, honey, vinegar, and sherry. Bring to boil again and pour in the dissolved cornstarch. Stir constantly during this step.

4. Place the hung duck in large strainer over a larger bowl then scoop the boiling mixture over the entire duck for about 10 minutes.

5. Hang the duck up again in cool, windy place for 6 hours until it is thoroughly dry.

6. Place the duck breast side up on a greased rack in an oven preheated to 350 degrees.

7- Place a pan filled with 6 centimeters of water in bottom of oven to collect the drippings then roast 30 minutes.

8- Turn duck and roast for 30 more minutes.

9. Turn breast side up again and roast for 10 more minutes.

10. Use a sharp knife to cut off the crispy skin then immediately serve meat and skin on a warm dish

11 Eat and enjoy.

Introduction to Teaching English in Japan

Would you like the chance to spend some time in Japan but feel turned off by whistle-stop package tourist trips? If so, teaching English may be the answer. There is no better way to get to know a country than by living and working there. By teaching English you become a part of Japanese society, rather than just an observer looking in.

Teaching English is big business in Japan. Despite the collapse of the so-called bubble economy Japan remains one of the richest and most sophisticated nations on the planet, and this status is largely due to its success in overseas trade and investment. Thus, to get ahead in Japanese society, proficiency in English is a significant advantage. Add to that the fact that being able to speak English is simply considered cool and the huge demand for English teachers becomes clear.

Don’t Japanese people learn English at school?

Yes they do. Usually for 6 years or more. The problem is that, unlike most of the school curriculum, English isn’t taught particularly well. Japanese schools tend to follow traditional teaching methods in which the teacher stands at the front and lectures the class. Students are expected to absorb rather than question. The method produces excellent results for subjects like history and mathematics, but not for communicative, participative skills like language. School English education is likely to consist of lots of reading and writing, lots of grammar practice, but very little – if any – spoken communication.

Do I need to speak Japanese?

Not at all. Of course, if you can pick up a little nihongo (Japanese) it will make your daily life easier, but it won’t help one bit as a teacher. The reason is that the most effective way of teaching language is to use only the target language. Thus the only language used in English lessons is English.

How do I start?

Well, you could simply buy a ticket to Japan and start looking for work. Unfortunately, without a work permit, that strategy is illegal. Unless you have a Japanese spouse you need to find a job that will sponsor you for a visa. It is possible to travel to Japan as a tourist and approach a few of the numerous schools advertising for teachers asking if they are prepared to sponsor your visa application.

It helps to undergo some TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) training before looking for work. Not only will this give you some basic teaching skills and confidence, but it also shows potential employers you are serious about teaching and not just a backpacker looking for some financial re-fuelling.

TEFL courses are advertised in most English speaking countries. The more useful ones are provided by working English schools and offer face-to-face teaching practice with real learners.

Accommodation

If you are employed by the JET program or one of the big English school companies they will more than likely arrange accommodation for you. You are of course free to find your own housing if you so wish.

Living in school-found accommodation has the advantage of an English speaking contact to sort out repairs or other problems. The disadvantage is that it’s difficult to quit a job that may not be for you while living in their accommodation. I have also heard of at least one school that charges its teachers a significant premium over market rental rates for use of its accommodation – so beware!

There are several English speaking accommodation agencies advertising in the free English language press, and these generally provide decent accommodation, but at a price.

An alternative favored by many single English teachers are the so-called “gaijin houses” (literally foreigner’s house). These are basically hostels that rent out basic, but adequately comfortable, rooms mainly to non-Japanese clientele. Usually bathroom, kitchen and sometimes communal sitting room are shared. Gaijin house advertisements are to be found in the free English language press.

How To Fix Sputtering Marketing

Is your marketing generating a steady stream of sales leads?

If not, ask yourself this question: Do you have a marketing plan?

You may know what your business goals and objectives are. And you probably have a website and some advertising. But without a game plan, your marketing activities are reduced to a few unconnected activities that are unquestionably to produce the results you want.

A marketing plan helps you tie all your marketing activities together and keeps you focused so that you can create a roadmap that will lead you to your objectives.

And a simple, one-page marketing plan will take you a lot further than no marketing plan at all.

So what should your plan be based on? You can start with these basics:

1. Identify Your Marketing Goals

What specifically does your marketing need to achieve for your business to thrive? How many new leads do you need each week? What percentage of those leads do you need to convert to sales? What is your revenue target?

2. Create A Marketing Strategy

Take a look at your goals. Now what is your overall approach and position in relation to your goals and competition. My marketing strategy uses an educational approach. By providing people with useful information and ideas, I get an opportunity to demonstrate the value I provide and establish my credibility.

3. Set Up Your Marketing System

Create an action plan. Tie all your marketing activities together into a system that reflects your marketing strategy. The idea is to have everything working together as one.

4. Creation And Implementation Of Your Marketing Activities

Now that you have identified what your marketing activities will be, it's time to take each marketing activity and figure out who will create and implement it and when.

5. Fine Tune Your Marketing Tools

Your marketing activities require the use of one or more marketing tools. These include your website, your marketing messages and things like article marketing. To get your prospect's attention, you need to ensure your marketing tools are really ready to cut through all the marketing noise.

Creating a written plan may seem intimidating but as you can see, you should be able to hammer out the basics in a few hours.

Success With Bulb Container Gardening

There is nothing to give you the feeling that Spring is on it's way to see bulbs come into spectacular flower. Even if you do not have much space or you are affected by other factors such as poor soil, an uncertain climate, not enough sun or limitations in your own mobility then growing in containers provides the solution. Also container gardening is slightly easier in the sense that you can more readily guard against plant diseases and pest problems.

Part of the fun of creating a container garden can be in the unique items you choose to house your plants. As well as the standard terracotta, plastic, china or earthenware plant pots you could recycle and use watering cans, buckets, beer or spirit barrels, wooden planter boxes / crates, hanging baskets or even old tires. You can also use a range of sizes so there is something for everyone from the window-box in an apartment or balcony through to the other extreme of a large garden. Let your imagination run riot and you could create something really special.

Key Points To Remember When Creating Your Container Gardens:

  • All containers should have drainage holes and these are best sited in the sides rather than the bottom of the pots so that the roots do not get waterlogged. If the pots already have drain in the bottom then perhaps thing about lifting the pots on to bricks or small blocks of wood – anything really to elevate them slightly so that the water can drain away. Obviously the problem is solved if your container is hanging – so well done you!
  • The soil is the next step and this should be light, moisture retentive and well drained. It is best to avoid garden soil because as well as this possible being tainted by disease or insect problems it is also going to be too heavy. Thus only use as a last resort. Your plants will thrive best if they are in a blend of vermiculite or perlite, sphagnum moss and some finished compost.
  • Because your plants are in containers and to some extent can not spread their roots and fend for themselves you are going to have to keep a careful eye on watering. Check on your plants at least twice a day or alternately install a drip-irrigation system, use self-watering containers or water-holding crystals mixed in with the soil. None of these are essential, it just depends how much time you have to dedicate to the upkeep of your containers.
  • Again when it comes to container gardening your plants will be totally dependent on you for nutrients therefore when you are planting it is important to add granular organic fertilizer and then follow this up by weekly watering half-strength, water-soluble fertilizer.

As you can see container gardening really does offer something for everyone and it really is relatively easy to care for your plants and with such rich rewards. There are huge ranges of stunning bulbs and plants about and everyone from the beginner with a small window-box to the seasoned gardener with a large patio area can benefit. What's nicer that sitting with a nice cup of tea or chilled glass of pinot and gazing at all that blooming glory .