July 23, 2007

Take Me Away to a Tropical Paradise

Mary of Alpineberry is hosting this month’s Sugar High Friday and has chosen Tropical Paradise as the theme. And while I would love to currently be in a tropical paradise, summer here, though lacking in tropical fruit, isn’t bad. I think it’s a crime I haven’t been to the beach yet, but if I close my eyes and try really hard, I can imagine myself there while dipping into this tropical mango treat.

On a somewhat unrelated topic, I want to know your opinion… I know a bunch of you have taken cooking classes, some of you have also done full cooking programs at a chef school, (CIA or otherwise) and I want to know what you thought of it. What were you looking to get out of it and was it just for personal enjoyment or were you looking for a career? There are going to be some changes going on here in the next few months, I’m just not sure what those changes are going to be. Unrelated to cooking altogether, has anyone taught English in a foreign country? Japan is also looking appealing… And don’t forget, I’m always in the market for a life sponsor, I can make you tasty things like Tropical Mango Treats… Or you could make your own by following my recipe, so here it is:

Bri’s Tropical Mango Treat

1 ½ cups plain yogurt

1 mango, peeled and sliced

1 cup water

¼ cup honey

1 inch ginger, sliced

Juice of 1 lime

Drizzle of banana Malibu

Strain yogurt through cheesecloth, preferably in the fridge overnight so that it gets nice and thick. In a small pot, bring water, honey, ginger and lime juice to a boil, stir to dissolve the honey and then reduce heat to a simmer. Add in the mango slices and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove mango from the syrup and roughly chop. Strain the syrup and reserve. In a small bowl combine the strained yogurt with a few spoonfuls of the syrup and whisk together. Layer the yogurt and mango pieces in a glass and drizzle with Banana Malibu liqueur. Serve as is or chill first. Makes 1 generous serving or 2 regular ones. You can then use the extra syrup to make drinks or flavoured water.

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Almost Vegetarian said...

It has been unseasonably humid these days and all I crave are mangoes. Your version looks especially tempting. Now, I do hope it comes with a pool boy to apply sunblock!


Deborah said...

Wow - that looks like a wonderful dessert!

As far as cooking classes go, there aren't a whole lot that happen where I live. I did attend one a few years back, and my only complaint about it was that it wasn't hands on - just basically a cooking lecture. And the fact that I had to pay $30 for a 1 1/2 hour class (just one class) has kept me going back for more. Maybe if I win the lottery....

The TriniGourmet said...

wow i have all these ingredients on hand, I'm gonna make it tomorrow (or tonight) for sure! :D

Rachel said...

I swear, I just made and ate this exact same thing!

Anita said...

I love mango and I love this! Gorgeous!

I took a 6-month professional pastry course and it was one of best things I ever did. It was a little pricey but not as much at the full time year-long programs. I think it may depend on what you want to get out of it, you don't need to go to an expensive fancy school to learn a lot and have fun!

You can e-mail me if you want to talk more!

steph said...

I also did a 6-month professional program (in NYC). I was a career changer at the time, and I love working in the restaurant business now. It really is a lot of fun, but I think many people don't realize how physically demanding the job is and how little (and I mean little) it pays. Also would be glad to e-mail if you want more info.

Meeta said...

Bril, this dessert looks lovely. Light and refreshing. I did a hotel management training which included a 9 month program in all the sections of the kitchen. It was hard work I'll tell you. I have been asked to give a few courses on Indian cooking at the "Volkshochshule" next year so I am really considering that as I think it'll be fun.
All I can say is go for it Bril. My motto has always been "Reach for the moon, if you miss at least you'll get a few stars!"

Fruittart said...

I haven't personally, but when my FIL was an engineer in Japan with HP for almost 5 yr, my MIL taught English. That was '89-'94.

You know I love this mango treat. I have just one mango left on the counter that has been calling to me . . . I think I need to answer it.

emzeegee & the hungry three said...


I did a full time, two year pastry course and then followed that with an 18 month full time commercial cookery degree. I chose to leave my lucrative but soul-destroying career and see if my hobby could become my job. The short answer is that yes, it could, but not without some cost. Cooking as a career seems very romantic from the outside looking in, but as steph commented, few people understand what is really involved. It's hot, sometimes uncomfortable, not well paid, long and terrible hours and sometimes, people are not very nice. I will say that the hardest thing to come to grips with when one goes from being a home cook to a 'career' chef is time. You just DON'T have the same amount of time for experimentation, taking pictures, talking about a single dish, and so on. It's WORK. A vast majority of an average chef's life is spent cleaning (!) and producing food as fast as one can - NOT coming up with the latest and greatest culinary innovation and appearing on TV. All that said, there is nowhere I would rather be than in a kitchen every day.

If you are not considering a career change, but have more of a desire to know more than the average home foodie, then I would go with a 6 month course of some kind. Often learning the basics in a school setting (even when you know the basics already) can be really useful and fun.

Whatever changes you make, I wish you the best. Reading your blog is a real pleasure.


lynn said...

Your mangoes look so refreshing. Great treat for humid days!

For cooking classes, I think it really depends on your goals. If you want to be a caterer or chef, I think it's good to go to a school that prepares you for that. Not just with cooking skills, but also with classes on business management. For personal growth and improvement of skills, there are community college classes or smaller venues. Or, you could save you money and just travel from blog friend to blog friend, stay a week, and learn all their secrets!

Rose said...

Are you moving to Japan Brylinn? As for the cooking classes, I have never attended any before so I don't know what to tell you when it comes to teaching English or any language in a foreign country, you will need to prepare yourself because it's not like teaching it to let's say American children. Keep in mind that you are talking to foreign people; you will have to teach them vocabulary prior to grammar which they will eventually learn by practicing. You will also teach them idioms and different expressions. My hubby is taking German classes for his work and I know that the teacher focuses more on talking than on grammar. If you intend to move to Japan to teach English then I don't think it would be difficult to find a job there as they are always looking to learn foreign languages even French.
Good luck with everything Brylinn and cheers to your dessert.

Margarita Valli said...


I went to an 8-day cooking school with Aglaia Kremezi on the island of Kea in Greece. She is a Julia Child award winning cookbook author and with her husband Costas run a very well organized and exciting 8 day adventure. I have written about it on my blog under Greece in more detail. They also accept volunteers!!!!!The bst 8 days of my life so far!!!

ladybug said...

Hi! This is my first visit to your blog. I have never taken any cooking classes but i would love to. But I have been an English learning student in the USA and I enjoyed it a lot. When I was there some of our teachers have been to Japan as a teacher and they liked it very much and I believe it must be a very nice experience. Good Luck!

veron said...

I feel like I'm the tropics just looking at your creation. I have not taken any cooking classes towards a professional career, but if I had the opportunity I would. I've just taken the CIA bootcamp which would give you a great insight into how the real culinary students live. I would really love to follow this passion and just change careers...but i know it is a lot of work ...Reading ruhlman's making of chef will give you the inside story of what to expect.
really what you have is a great idea...get a life sponsor so you can work only as much as you want ;)

Cheryl said...

Oh my its healthy and still looks good. It is the perfect thing for me to make to shake off those few pounds I gained from staring at the fried olives. Yum.

Amy said...

The little umbrella is the perfect touch! I could use one of these treats for breakfast. :)

Inne said...

that looks so nice and summery, especially with the little parasol.

I've never taken any cooking classes (evening classes are on my wish list though), but I've read some blogs about the catering industry and it does seem like a very hard life. An informing blog, is http://pastryelf.prettyposies.com, about pastry courses, internships and life in restaurants. I found it made me think twice about switching careers...

Mary said...

Some of my friends have taught English in Japan as well as other parts of Asia. Most loved the experience, but one friend hated it. "Roughing it" in Taiwan just wasn't her thing. She's a 5-star hotel kinda gal.

Thanks for the mango treat!