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.

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 .

Photography Backdrops And How To Select The Best One For You

You've studied all the different camera settings and by now you've learned all about the difference between shutter speed and f-stop. Thanks to your studies of lighting patterns, the difference between butterfly and split lighting is an obvious no brainer … Now, it's time to consider the backdrop.

In my experience, having over 6000 professional sessions under my belt, MOST people prefer to have a natural setting rather than a formal backdrop.

For example …

If you're shooting Indoors – possibilities may include placing your subjects on the floor around the fireplace, (always have a fire burning or it appears as nothing but a black hole in the final print), or they could be posed on and around their furniture in the living room, etc.

Outside portraits could be in their back yard, at the beach, a local park, etc. Anyplace that has meaning for THEM!

Most people just want a beautiful portrait that singles them out as individuals – rather than just another group posed in front of the same old pull down screen that everyone else uses.

Whenever possible, ALWAYS try for a location that has meaning for THEM …

However, if you must use a formal backup, here are a few suggestions …

First – buy a commercially available background stand to hold your backdrops. They do not cost much and for ease of use, stability, transportability etc. it's better than making your own.

For this discussion, I'm assuming you DO NOT own a professional portrait studio and are doing your sessions in your home (or your customer's home).

There are several types of backdrop materials:

Paper- Large rolls of paper come in most any color you can imagine. They can be purchased at many local camera stores and are relatively inexpensive.

Pros – They are readily available – are fairly inexpensive – come in most any color you can imagine. They can be used in a "sweep" so the model (s) can sit or stand on the paper and have it seamlessly up up behind them. Paper rolls come in two basic widths (around 4 feet and around 9 feet as I recall, I do not often use them).

Cons – The smaller size is not wide enough for much more than a head shot while the wider size is very heavy – difficult to transport – and most homes do not have enough "empty" space to sweep it without moving around the furniture. (People really do not like you redecorating for them!) The paper gets dirty, gets creased, tears and has to be constantly replaced. If there are animals in the session, the papery feel and crinkly sounds freak them out.

Painted Canvas – These can provide some truly stunning portraits. Many back suppliers create them and they can be ordered over the internet if you do not happen to be near a supplier.

Pros – Depending on the creator, they can be stunningly beautiful. There are thousands of colors and patterns available and if you have something unique in mind, you can have one created just for you, to match your exact specifications. They are very durable and will last years. They come in many sizes and can be used in a seamless sweep.

Cons – They are EXPENSIVE! EXPENSIVE! EXPENSIVE! Again, like paper, the wider ones are heavy, difficult work with and to transport. Like paper, size vs. living room furniture is a challenge.

Seamless paper and canvas backgrounds tend to be the province of professional studios – where they can be mounted on the walls and just folded down when needed.

They are really difficult to work with in the field.

I recommend that you go to the fabric store and get strips of material. As wide as is available and about 12 feet long. Getting some sort of material that either does not easily wrinkle, or where wrinkles will not matter is best.

Pros – Choose the type and colors you like, you can get any color, style and texture that suits your fancy. It can be hung bunched up (like theater curtains) behind the subject, or stretched flat if only one piece is needed. One piece can also be used as a seamless sweep.

You can use one piece or thirty – no matter how wide your back needs are, you can easily accommodate them.

It's easy to store and transport (just fold up the strips and put them in a box in the back seat of your car!) Material is very inexpensive compared to a painted canvas (which can run into the thousands of dollars) It's reusable so it works out to be cheaper than paper in the long run.

Use another piece of two for the flooring and since it's flexible, it can be flowed around furniture. Animals have no problem walking on it. (It's washable too!).

Cons – If you want multiple strips (and you do!), You may have difficulty finding enough of the same material. If you live near the garment district in a large city, they may have it. Otherwise you may have to have your local fabric store special order it for you.

These are the major background considerations and you should have no trouble finding the perfect backdrops for YOUR creative vision!

Public Relations Jobs – 7 Steps to Landing a Public Relations Internship

You have been waiting for this your entire college career and here is the blissful summer. This is the season for internships: the season of Ice tea, cool swimming pools, cold beverages and with all of that, thousands of fresh graduating looking for their long awaited internship in public relations career. Following the 7 steps for landing that internship you have been waiting for might give you an edge over your tough competitors.

1. First things first. You need to redo your resume so that it does not look like some ordinary template out there which is being used by everyone else. An employer will hate looking at the boring template and this might be your chance to get his attention. Tweak your CV wherever possible and make it reflect what you want to do with that position.

2. The next step would be decorating and renovating your social networking profile. After you are done making it look like pro link it to your network. Others will find easy to help you out find your dream job. Public relations saleries are something huge these days, but do not hanker for it too much to make it very blatant.

3. Start a twitter account if you want a job in PR, marketing, advertising and the likes. Use your account responsibly.

4. You need to clean up your other profiles in social networks. Remember your employers do check your profile if you think it is not public. Remember PR jobs are based in how you deal with people and your sloppy Facebook profile can be your biggest loophole.

5. Reach out to the people at the top of the hierarchies. Most people do not do this because they think they do not care. It is just the opposite. It makes a favorable impression if you are respectful to their time.

6. Make yourself a nice portfolio. Remember ports are not only for designers. If you want to be a manager your employer might want to look at your past glory and it might help you to get in the spotlight. Do not forget you will be awed by your fellow interns in every way possible and you must awe them as well.

7. Be flexible. Being willing is the largest asset you can come up with. A lot of times you will be faced with the question of getting an unpaid internship. Take it without the slightest hesitation. Prove your merit to people who matter. Be loyal. Showcase ethical loyalty as your largest personality trait. Go for entry level PR jobs if you are not experienced enough.

With all of these in mind and the correct social circle with the flexible education you might find yourself in the best PR career surrounding possible. Public relations career has internships based on entry level public relations jobs. Do not let that disappoint you a bit. Get your way to the top. Get to know people, get the hang of the field and once that happens there will be no stopping you.