Ring in The 'Year of the Tiger' with flavourful dishes and authentic feng
shui tips for your kitchen

MISSISSAUGA, ON, Jan. 13 /CNW/ - In honour of Chinese New Year, The California Walnut Commission teamed up with feng shui master Paul Ng, chef Tanya Eng and a Chinese consultant to create three delicious recipes and authentic tips on creating harmony in your kitchen: golden balls with sweet walnut paste, eight treasure vegetable delight and sweet walnut soup.

These modern classic recipes are perfect for families or for a romantic dinner as Chinese New Year falls on Valentine's Day this year. As you ponder that special meal for that special someone, master Ng has some advice to create perfect 'qi' (energy flow) in the kitchen.

"The kitchen is the most important part of the home," says master Ng, and as such, "Where your kitchen is located and how you arrange your kitchen can play a critical role in your happiness and livelihood."

When it comes to walnuts, master Ng says he can't live without them. "Walnuts are very good for the brain - they're delicious, extremely nutritious and very filling."

In fact, in ancient China, walnuts were deemed to improve intellect and memory by stimulating and enhancing brain function. During the Sui dynasty, many candidates who prepared for bureaucrat recruitment exams ate walnuts. The Chinese also recognized the fact that the shape of a walnut resembles that of the human brain. In Chinese medicine, walnuts are considered to be an anti-aging health food that supports the kidneys, provides energy and improves skin and hair quality.

2010 - The Year of the Tiger

Master Ng is also known for his annual predictions, which are published annually in some of Canada's top newspapers. He predicts that 2010, The Year of the Tiger, promises to be prosperous.

"This is the year of "8" - money! We should witness quite a recovery for our world economy. There will be big advancements in energy sources, such as more emphasis on wind and solar power, as well as new technology in lighting."

Master Ng also points out the significance of Chinese New Year falling on Valentine's Day this year: "It means love and prosperity. Indeed, this year is a great year for the world economy."

Feng Shui in the Kitchen

Feng shui is a type of science that creates balance in a building design and brings about harmony. Literally "feng" means "wind" and "shui" means "water." When positive energy is correctly handled in a house, good luck follows as a matter of course. Feng shui has been carried out for thousands of years in China and in most recent years, it has become a popular practice that is used in other cultures.

In feng shui, the kitchen is considered the "heart of the home" symbolizing nourishment and wealth. According to feng shui, the placement of the kitchen and its contents can influence your family's prosperity and health. The kitchen is the key to food and nourishment and the stove represents money generation. It is a sort of cycle - for instance, good, nutritious food yields good health. A well-nourished person is more effective in his/her career and relationships. In turn, a more effective person is more likely to be prosperous.

Following are the six most important factors influencing "qi" (energy) in the kitchen:

    
    Size of Kitchen

    -   Ideally, the size of the kitchen should be 20 per cent (1/5th) of the
        size of the house and should provide enough room to comfortably move
        around when cooking. If the kitchen is too big, it will affect the
        balance of the home. As a solution, if a kitchen is too large, one
        can create a breakfast room or install an island.
    -   If a kitchen is too small in relation to the rest of the house,
        money-generating power can be limited. The ideal solution is to break
        down a wall to create an open concept. A less expensive solution is
        to hang a mirror in the kitchen to magnify the room.

    Location of Kitchen

    -   Ideally, the best location for a kitchen is in the "health centre of
        the house," the "activity centre of the house" or in the "long-life
        centre of the house." These centres are based on the "life cycle" of
        the house, which shifts every 20 years. This is something that a feng
        shui master can calculate. If the life cycle of the house is not
        known, ideally the kitchen should be on the east or south side of the
        house. East represents "wood" and south represents "fire" - both
        elements that are needed for cooking.
    -   Ideally, one should not see the kitchen upon entering the house. In
        the kitchen, privacy is desired because the kitchen represents
        prosperity and one does not want to show people where one has money.
        If the kitchen is in the wrong place, the owners can never save
        money. The ultimate solution if the kitchen is in the wrong place is
        to re-locate the kitchen. An inexpensive solution is to set up a
        French door with glazed glass to block the view to the kitchen. The
        glazed glass is important to let light through.
    -   If one cannot make changes to the placement of the kitchen, consider
        the fact that if the stove and/or sink are not seen upon entering the
        house, then the situation is not so bad.

    Kitchen Layout

    -   The stove is by far the most important part of the kitchen. Since the
        stove represents food and prosperity, the burners on the stovetop
        should be utilized equally (this represents obtaining money from
        multiple sources).
    -   The only locations that should be considered for the placement of the
        stove are the east, the south-east and the south. The east represents
        "wood" and the south represents "fire"; hence, these locations are
        considered a good source of energy as they symbolically represent the
        ease of starting a fire for cooking. The worst places for the stove
        are the north-west, the north and the west.
    -   Ideally, the stove and sink should be at a right angle. They should
        never be adjacent, as the proximity of fire and water can lead to
        conflict. The worst scenario is when the stove and sink are directly
        opposite each other. This indicates that a couple will argue a lot
        and may end up in divorce. The stove and sink should only be side by
        side if they are three to four feet apart. If they are side by side,
        it is recommended that a green plant be placed between the two.
    -   As for decorations, peaceful images of nature or food are recommended
        and plants (jade plant or rubber plant) are best for holding good
        energy.

    Location of Ingredients and Other Tips

    -   Keep ingredients that are seldom used in the cabinets to avoid
        clutter on countertops.
    -   Keep your cabinets neat. Cluttered cabinets affect the "qi" of the
        kitchen.
    -   A basket filled with fruit in sight is a symbol of health and
        abundance. Make sure it's fresh, as rotting fruit represents the
        opposite type of energy.
    -   Ventilation is important for the free flow of energy.

    Colours

    -   The best paint colours for a kitchen are soothing and harmonizing
        colours such as peach or pale green. A kitchen should never be dark.
    -   The worst colours for a kitchen include dark blue, grey, taupe and
        red.

    Lighting

    -   Warm or soft white lighting is best for a kitchen. Avoid cool white,
        because it creates a negative energy.
    -   Ample natural lighting is best and extra lighting under cabinets is
        optimal.
    

It is important to keep in mind that feng shui principles have been practiced for thousands of years and feng shui has become increasingly accepted by cultures beyond the Chinese community. For the many people who practice these principles, the channeling of positive energy can provide good luck and prosperity. Above all, feng shui inspires us to live in harmony with our environment.

Recipes

Please visit www.walnutinfo.com for these and other delicious recipes:

Eight Treasure Vegetable Delight

(http://www.walnutinfo.com/recipeInfo.aspx?id=439)

A medley of vegetables, with the added crunch of California walnuts, makes this a delicious and healthy vegetarian main dish or accompaniment to another entrée.

Golden Balls with Sweet Walnut Paste

(http://www.walnutinfo.com/recipeInfo.aspx?id=440)

Enjoy these traditional, golden balls when warm to truly taste the rich, savoury, flavour of the sweet walnut paste.

Sweet Walnut Soup

(http://www.walnutinfo.com/recipeInfo.aspx?id=441)

This sweet, silky-textured, warm dessert is rich and creamy - a wonderful way to end a meal.

About the California Walnut Commission

The California Walnut Commission (CWC), established in 1987, is a State of California Commission, which is involved in export market development activities, nutrition research, promotion and education on walnuts and their nutrition benefits. The CWC is funded by mandatory assessments of the growers and works in concurrence with the Secretary of the Department of Food and Agriculture.

SOURCE CALIFORNIA WALNUT COMMISSION

For further information: For further information: or to arrange an interview with Master Paul Ng, please contact: Natalie Pavlenko, Kathy Khamis, Faye Clack Communications Inc., (905) 206-0577 ext. 231, 247, npavlenko@fayeclack.com, kkhamis@fayeclack.com

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