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Thursday, 30 January 2014

Salted Roast Duck

After all the Australia Day meat and barbecues, my thoughts turn to the next celebration Chinese New Year and Chinese food.
If you can, join in a meal for the Chinese New Year of the Horse. It is a wonderful experience complete with fire spitting dragon parade and lion dancers. It is the time for family get togethers and sharing of food.
I am not sure if this duck is Chinese but would fit very well into a Chinese banquet. Whilst staying at Whale Beach with my able cooking class assistant Viki last week end she reminded me of this yummy dish we haven't cooked for years. Needless to say we set about cooking it.
It is very simple and the only cost is the duck and the oven ! It takes about 3 hours.
America is very good at creating amazing chicken wings. A lot of recipes call for brining braising and then frying. This gives the wings a crispy texture.
Well this duck is the same but the brining or salting is done as it cooks.

1 fresh duck 
If purchasing from a Chinese butcher get them to chop it for you. If not you will need a very sharp knife or a meat cleaver. Cut down the back into 2 pieces. Then remove the legs and the wing joint.
The main body now in 2 parts will then need to be cut into 4-6 pieces each. 
Salt, table salt is better than seat ,smaller grain so it stays on.
Canola oil just enough to coat the duck so the salt adheres to the skin

Preheat the oven to 150C, or a slow oven. Now I have cooked this at 150C and 170C. Different ovens of course. Start at 150C and if after 3 hours it isn't crispy raise the temp and give it 20-30 minutes on 170C or until crispy.
Put all the chopped duck into a plastic bag and pour in the olive oil with a couple of tablespoons salt.
Remove and place on a rack over a baking dish.
Sprinkle with more salt on both sides and rub in.
Place the rack into the oven, it takes 3 hours approx. As the duck cooks baste in the salty duck fat every 20 minutes. Delicious. You may like to play around with the salt amount. You will be surprised how unsalted it tastes as the salt and duck fat cooks off.
Serve with a dipping sauce before dinner or as part of a banquet. Everyone wants to know what is in the duck ….. simple and probably very naughty but so yummy.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Almond Dukka Meatballs with Chilli Minted Yoghurt

In keeping with the Mediterranean theme, I made these delicious little meatballs the other night.
We had them for dinner, but made smaller they would be lovely as finger food.
I had a couple of packets of dukka in the pantry and received some more for Xmas.  As a way of using it other than with olive oil and beautiful fresh bread, I decided to put it into the meatball mix and we all loved it.
Doesn't matter which one you use experiment with a few different ones. I served then with a minted chilli yoghurt and a salad. They would also be great in some pita pockets with hummus and salad.
Easy little family meal.

1 kilo beef mince
1 packet of almond dukkah or (pistachio dukkah would be lovely as well)
2 cloves garlic
1 small red onion finely chopped
two good handfuls chopped coriander
1 large egg
salt and pepper
Add a small amount of water if your mix is too dry

1 cup plain yoghurt
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons chilli jam

Preheat oven to 175C
Mix the meat, onion garlic coriander and dukkah together with the egg  in a large bowl.
Shape the mince into kofta shape in your hands pressing firmly together.
Place them on a baking paper lined tray in the oven and cook for 10 mins and turn cook for a further 10 mins or until done. Do not overcook them.
Mix the yoghurt, mint and the chilli jam in a bowl whilst the meatballs are cooking.
Serve with a fatoosh salad

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Fatoosh Salad

Another salad for the festive season, with emphasis on colour as well as flavour.
Enjoy this over the summer when entertaining.
I love  the middle eastern fatoosh. With the addition of mint, it is wonderfully fresh, almost cleansing, and very light, with a bit of added crunch. This salad goes with everything, from steak, kebabs, meatballs, chicken and  lamb cutlets. Use it in place of our green salad, which seems so boring after eating this. The traditional dressing is with lemon juice and oil,  but I like this dressing with pomegranate molasses for a change. The balsamic gives it the tartness of the lemon. If you don't have white balsamic which is slightly sweeter than other balsamic you can use lemon juice.

6 large tomatoes
3 large lebanese cucumbers or the small baby ones are gorgeous but require more cutting
6 radishes
cos  lettuce
1/2 bunch mint
2 good handfuls chopped parsley
1 large red onion
1 large pita pocket
rylstone olive oil
6 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
2 tablespoons white balsamic
2 teaspoons sugar

Chop the tomatoes into slices and then cut each slice into eights. Peel the cucumbers and cut in half all the way down the middle. Remove the seeds with a teaspoon and discard and then slice. ( they will be half slices )Thinly slice the radish and cut in half.
Finely slice the red onion and cut  the slices in half again.
Break the pita bread into biggish pieces and fry in olive oil. Drain on paper towel and set aside.
Shred the lettuce after removing the outer leaves and finely chop the mint.
Place all of the ingredients in a salad bowl minus the fried pita.
Mix the pomegranate molasses with the white balsamic, you may omit the white sugar if you would like it not so sweet or add a little more for extra sweetness.
Just before serving add the pita and the dressing, saving some of the pita to through on top for that extra crunch.