Thursday, March 17, 2011

Lunch, Face Lift, Spring, Diet Chart.

First of all, Happy St. Patrick’s Day. The top o’ the mornin’ to ya.

Yesterday, for lunch, I made an approximation of Hot and Sour Soup. It worked really well. As a base I use Lipton’s Chicken Noodle Soup then added things like mushrooms, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, hot sauce, sesame oil, I thickened it slightly with corn starch and then added tofu and a beaten egg. Works really well. However, for a genuine recipe, look below.

I need a face lift. It seems to me totally unfair that one has to be rolling in riches to have one. I actually don’t need the whole face done,  just a part of it, if that’s possible but, alas, unless I win a lottery, it will never happen.

I forgot to mention, when I was walking on my treadmill, gazing absently out of the window, I suddenly realised one of the trees I can see has signs of green on it. Hurrah, spring is on its way. Maybe the groundhog was right after all.

Later in the day I found that the site WebMD which sends me a health email with lots of diabetes information, is offering a chart to enter one’s food and exercise on a daily basis. Kind of thing Weight Watchers make you pay for, but this is totally free. I spent a large portion of the afternoon entering foods I eat and exercise I do (at least bowling is good)  the treadmill doesn’t amount to a lot I’m afraid, my walking is somewhat limited. I am over my intake today, but I pigged out on the soup. Tomorrow I will be better.

Here is an actual recipe for Hot and Sour soup. I love the soup but have never made it totally correctly. I have bought it several times as a takeaway and I always have this soup when I go to a Chinese restaurant, whatever else I eat.

Hot and Sour Soup

Hot and sour soup is reputed to be good for colds. To increase the health benefits, feel free to add 2 or 3 teaspoons of finely chopped ginger.
For a vegetarian version of Hot and Sour Soup, leave out the pork.
Serves 4


  • 1 cake tofu (fresh, if possible)
  • 2 ounces pork tenderloin
  • Marinade:
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon tapioca starch (or cornstarch)
  • Other:
  • 1/2 cup bamboo shoots
  • 2 tablespoons black fungus (Wood Ear) or Cloud Ear fungus
  • (or 3 - 4 Chinese dried black mushrooms or fresh mushrooms)
  • 1 small handful dried lily buds
  • 6 cups water (or 6 cups water and 1 cup Campbell's chicken broth)*
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons red rice vinegar, white rice vinegar, or red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped
  • White pepper to taste (no more than 1 tablespoon)
  • Hot chili oil, to taste, optional


Hot and Sour Soup Directions:
Shred pork. Mix marinade ingredients and marinate pork for 20 minutes.
Cut tofu into small squares. Cut bamboo shoots into thin strips and then into fine slices. To reconstitute the fungus, soak in warm water for 20 minutes. Rinse, and cut into thin pieces. (If substituting Chinese dried mushrooms, soak to soften, then cut off the stems and cut into thin strips. If using fresh mushrooms, wipe clean with a damp cloth and slice.)
To reconstitute the dried lily buds, soak in hot water for 20 minutes or until softened. Cut off the hard ends.
Bring the water to a boil. When it is boiling, add the bamboo shoots, fungus or mushrooms, and the lily buds. Stir. Add the tofu. Bring back to a boil and add the marinated pork.
Stir in the salt, sugar, soy sauce and vinegar and sesame oil.
Test the broth and adjust the taste if desired. (If using chicken broth, you may want to add a bit more rice vinegar).
Mix the cornstarch and water. Slowly pour the cornstarch mixture into the soup, stirring while it is being added. Let the broth come back to a boil. As soon as it is boiling, remove the broth from the stove.
Slowly drop in the beaten egg, stirring in one direction at the same time. Add the green onion and the white pepper to taste. Drizzle with chili oil if desired. Serve hot.
(Hot and Sour Soup can be prepared ahead of time and frozen. When making the soup, leave out the tofu. When ready to serve, thaw, add the tofu and bring to boiling. When the soup is boiling, add the egg.)
*Adjust the ratio of water to chicken stock as desired.

Have a great day



  1. Jo, I would love your made-up recipe for Hot and Sour soup from can.

  2. Actually its not from a can, but a packet, but otherwise it is somewhat similar to the real recipe but quicker.