George Heriot’s School Chinese Cooking Class

I had my first Chinese cooking class with George Heriot’s School yesterday and it was also my first proper teaching experience in a school.

George heriot's school Chinese cooking class

Last week, I was contacted by Linsey Ballantyne, who is the teacher of health and food technology at George Heriot’s school regarding teaching her students how to make Chinese dumplings as these dumplings are a huge part of Chinese and Taiwanese traditions during the Chinese New Year period. I was really excited about this project as I have never taught in a school and George Heriot’s is one of the top schools in Edinburgh. Of course I’ve taught many people how to cook many things in professional kitchens and I have done a couple cooking classes outside of restaurants but this is my first school job.

If you follow my blog you will know I studied at Edinburgh College of Art so I have passed George Heriot’s school almost every day for the past three years. I’ve always been completely fascinated about this building because the building itself is breathtakingly beautiful, it’s 388 years old and it’s ranked as one of the very best independent schools in Edinburgh. This is another factor as to why I’m so interested in the school. My daughter Amelia will start school in Autumn 2017 so we’ve started looking at primary schools. Both myself and my husband Chris had indifferent experiences at our own schools and unfortunately our local school is ranked the worst in Edinburgh (87 out of 87) so we’re seriously thinking about going down the independent route.

But back to this blog post, you don’t always get a chance to visit a school like this so this teaching opportunity gave me a chance to visit this truly amazing school.

George Heriot's School main building

Chris and I are both very excited about this teaching opportunity. We always say if we are not rich in finance at least we can be rich in life experience. So by visiting this beautiful school there is one thing to tick off from our bucket list.

I have to admit I was very nervous as I have never taught in a school before nor children so I was really worried that they wouldn’t want to listen to me or find that I’m too boring. But thankfully the class which was made up of around 30 pupils (all girls except for 2 boys) were great. They giggled a lot but it felt like they genuinely listened and Linsey said that was the best they had ever behaved in class. So, I must have done something right?!

When I demonstrated four different ways to make dumplings I have never heard so many “wows” in my life and that was a very interesting experience. Most of the time when I teach junior chefs in the kitchen they are either quiet, have an attitude in general, have an attitude with me because I’m a woman (remember real chef environments are still very much male dominated) or in some cases have an attitude with me because I look “Chinese” and so they don’t think they have to listen. So most of the time I have to be aggressive with my students which made me loose interest in teaching anyone. This is also another reason why I haven’t taught for a while so I’ve been spending my last couple years working on my illustration business as well as my writing job at about.com Chinese food. I’m also working on my third cook book right now which is taking up a lot of time but I’m super excited to see the final product.

Linsey, the other two teachers and her assistant were all very helpful and friendly. Linsey was especially awesome (she’s the lady in the middle below) and I thought she was really easy to talk to and working with her felt completely natural. It was also awesome to learn that she visited Shanghai in the past which is somewhere I lived for one year. Her comment that she has “never eaten Chinese food in the UK since coming back from China” was brilliant. Chris is exactly the same. After he travelled to China and then travelled to Taiwan a few times he/we very rarely eat Chinese food outside. I think for a teacher who has researched other people’s work/cooking and invited them to come into her class and get them to teach speciality foods is absolutely great.

I remember in Taiwan we didn’t really have cooking classes at school and Chris said when he was at school they were only taught how to make British food. Maybe this is a “independent school / George Heriot” thing but it’s great and Linsey was awesome to work with.

George Heriot's school dumpling class

I would really love to go back to teach any of students again or even if other schools have interest in Chinese cooking class. Something I have to bare in mind next time is time management. We only had 1.5 hours for the class and that included some of the prep, making the dumplings and cooking them in two different ways. When I make dumplings at home I usually make between 80-100 and I’ll usually spend a few hours making the mixture and then I’ll make them while watching TV/drinking tea etc. For the class I had to prepare mixture for around 300 dumplings. I intended for the students to be able to make around 10 dumplings each but everyone did really well. The students had to leave at five but apart from a couple students who had to shoot off (they took dumplings anyway) everyone managed to boil their dumplings in class. As well as boiling the dumplings I showed them how to pan fry the dumplings as well.

As I explained in class, during the Chinese New Year we’ll make masses of dumplings but because we make and cook so many there are always leftovers. So the next day(s) when we want to eat something we just quickly pan fry them and they’re absolutely delicious.

george heriots chinese cooking class

We weren’t allowed to take any photographs of the students due to protections rules/laws but we took some photos anyway. Incidentally the dumpling fills I made were “prawn and sponge gourd” and “pork and Chinese chive”. Sponge gourd (also known as luffa), which is the long green vegetable above, is popular in the East and is a really interesting/unique vegetable. I must also mention that I decided to buy all the ingredients from See Woo in Glasgow. We had been wanting to find an excuse to go to Glasgow for a few weeks and See Woo Chinese Supermarket was the only Chinese supermarket in the area that had enough sponge gourd. I called ahead with an order, picked up on the Sunday afternoon and then had lunch at See Woo restaurant which is my favourite Chinese restaurant in the area.

Liv Wan Chinese cooking class

George Heriot's school Chinese cookery class

George Heriot's school

Singapore Noodle cooking class with politician

Today, I had an interesting cooking class. My student Robin Harper is a member of the Green Party and in turn a member of the Scottlsh Parliament (MSP) who is celebrating his 70th birthday (Happy Birthday, Robin!!!). How cool is that?! I never thought that one day I would have a chance to teach a British politician. I can’t believe a politician who has shook hands with the queen and has met the prime minister was in my kitchen this afternoon and listened to my directions for pouring in stock and adding soy sauce to the dish.

singapore noodle cooking class

It felt great when I saw him wolfing down both the Singapore noodles and steamed scallops he cooked in my kitchen. From the way he was eating them it looked like he really enjoyed both and has kindly offered to endorse us.

When he arrived I didn’t quite catch his job title but his wife explained who he was but I didn’t quite catch on. (How daft I am! 😀 What can I say? I’m not very good with English politics.) I’m really happy that I didn’t know he is a real politician before we start cooking or I probably will be too nervous or panic. 😀

singapore noodle cooking class

We cooked Singapore noodle and Steamed scallop today but I will only share this Singapore noodle recipe on my blog today with all of you. (Steamed scallop’s recipe will be on it’s way soon!!)

Singapore Noodle is another popular eastern dish in the UK and it has a rather strong flavour. The rice noodle has been marinated by turmeric powder and curry powder but you can choose a different kind of curry powder to marinade the rice noodle to your own personal preference.

The other interesting thing about this dish is this dish is actually not from Singapore. I have no idea where this dish originates from but it appears on many Chinese restaurants and take away menus. I kind of think Chinese people named this dish as “Singapore” noodle is because of the kind of spices used to marinade the noodles.

Credits: Photos were taken by Chris at Chris Radley Photography

singapore noodles

 

singapore noodles
Print

Singapore Noodle

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 2 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 3 bunches rice noodles
  • 1 piece chicken breast julienne it
  • 1 red pepper julienne it
  • 1 small carrot julienne it
  • 3 heads bok choi julienne it
  • 1 chili remove the seeds and chop finely
  • 2 cloves garlic chop finely
  • 2 thin slices ginger chop finely
  • 1 tsp dried shrimp

Marinade for chicken breast

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp potato starch

Marinade for prawns

  • 1 tsp potato starch
  • 1 tsp rice wine
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Marinade for rice noodles

  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder

Seasonings

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 cup stock

Instructions

  1. Remove the skin from the chicken breast and julienne it. Marinade it with the seasonings for 15 minutes.
  2. Make a deep cut on the back of each prawn. Marinate with seasonings for 5 minutes. Stirfry it until the prawn turns to red colour and leave it to one side.
  3. Soak the rice noodles in warm water for 20 minutes to soften and then marinade the rice noodle with curry powder and turmeric powder for 20~30 minutes.
  4. Soak the dried shrimp in warm water 15 minutes to soften it and chop finely.
  5. Heat a wok with a couple tablespoons of oil and fry the garlic, ginger and chilli first then add chicken breast and carrot to stir-fry it until the chicken turn white colour.
  6. Add pepper and all the seasonings to the stir-fry then add the rice noodles.
  7. Using a spoon add small amounts of stock to the noodles and keep stir frying it at the same time until the rice noodles suck up all the stock.
  8. Add bak choi and prawn in the end and keep stir fry it until the bak choi is cooked.

 

Sushi Class

Last weekend my Austrian friends Michael and Anja asked me to teach them how to make sushi. They especially love Maki sushi and really wanted to know how to make it.

I always remember my first job in a hotel was working in cold kitchen for a buffet restaurant and we always had to make lots of different kinds of sushi. There are lots of people in Taiwan who absolutely love Japanese food and especially sushi. We’ve been influenced by Japanese culture and fashion in many different ways and Taiwan was under Japanese rule for fifty years, so sushi is not that unfamiliar a dish for all Taiwanese people.

Michael and Anja learnt to make sushi for the very first time and and I’m so proud of their sushi. It is a wonderful experience for me to practice teaching cooking. We went to our local Chinese supermarket together where I showed them what ingredients are necessary then we went to their home where we made the sushi.

So, here are the photos we took on the day and I hope you enjoy them.

I was demonstrating sushi :


Michael was making his first sushi :


Anja was making her first sushi :

Michael and Anja’s first sushi!

Chinese Cooking Class in Edinburgh

This is my first blog on blogspot for my Chinese cooking class. I’m an experienced chef who is married to a lovely English man and currently settled in Edinburgh.

I’ve always had a passion for cooking and I’ve learnt so many amazing Chinese foods from my grandmother (she is originally from Guangdong), grandfather (he is originally from Sichuan) and my mother.

I was born and grew up in Taipei, Taiwan and I also lived in Shanghai for one year. I’ve been surrounded by Chinese and Taiwanese food all my life and I studied in one of the top 100 hospitality colleges in the world. My teacher in college was two times cooking Olympics champion.

I will teach you how to cook proper Chinese/Taiwanese food, how to choose the ingredients and different sauces in the chinese supermarket. I can even teach you some Chinese language as I’m completely fluent in both traditional Chinese and simplified Chinese. I ensure you will get more than what you paid for and my class is worth every penny !

Why don’t you join me to explore different Chinese foods?! I will teach you until you can cook a Chinese meal at home for your friends and family. Don’t be afraid if you think you only have a little experience in cooking or none at all. I’ll be very patient to teach you until you fully understand. Please do not hesitate to contact me.

You contact me about fee, class schedules and all kind of information at the following email addresses:

eggwan1013@hotmail.com

livradley1013@yahoo.com

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