Duck Breasts with Orange and Ginger Carrots

I’m typing in pain, during the making of this delicious dish I was a complete eejit and managed to burn myself with boiling hot duck fat.  Lets just say when draining hot fat out of a pan do not attempt to hold the dish you are pouring into in your hand, particularly if it is glass, as said glass dish could break in your hands sending boiling hot fat everywhere.  Lesson learnt. Hand burnt.

I bought duck breasts because I saw them reduced in the local supermarket and thought I might be able to knock up something oriental inspired to make up for the lack of Chinese takeaway deliveries to this flat lately.  My finger is still burning and typing seems to be aggravating this so I keep it short.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 carrots, sliced into fine julienne
  • 3 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 inch of ginger, chopped
  • 1 fat clove of garlic, chopped
  • zest of 1 orange
  • juice of orange
  • good slosh or two of soy sauce ( I used Tamari, gf)
  • 2 dessert spoonfuls of agave syrup, or sugar
  • 2 duck breasts

Method:

Prepare all your veg and set to one side.  Score the duck skin in a criss cross pattern, and salt.  Heat a frying pan.  Place duck breasts skin side down in hot, dry pan.  Fry for about 5 min on skin side and 3 on other side, depending on size, this should ensure a crispy skin and a pink middle.

Take the breasts out of the pan and rest on a board.  Drain off fat bar about a teaspoonful (you can use this for frying potatoes in at another time).  See cautionary tale above for tips on how to be a complete butter fingers and burn yourself.  Add ginger and garlic to the pan, stir fry for a minute.  Add the carrots, spring onions, soy, orange juice and zest.  Stir fry for a couple of minutes.  Add syrup or sugar and stir letting it bubble up into a sticky coating.  Pile a heap of carrots onto each plate, slice duck diagonally and place on top.  Serve.

 

Crispy Shredded Chicken

I’m a bit obsessed with crispy things. Some of my old uni mates have a video of me raging round their kitchen ranting about crispy bacon as the antidote to all excesses, I think my words were ‘crispy, crispy bacon’ repeated over and over in a slightly dramatic but slurred fashion.

Crispy duck, crispy chips, crispy skin, crispy, crunchy, FRIED! It makes you hungry doesn’t it?

This is a dish I’ve wanted to do for some time but I can’t deal with deep frying in my flat, it’s too smelly and too risky with a toddler running around. Incidentally, I’m very good at persuading others to invest in a good old deep fat fryer though. On my last trip to see my parents, after years of my dad wanting one and my mum saying no way, Daddio and I went on a little shopping trip and what popped into his basket? But of course, a fryer, whoot whoot! Twice fried chips and onion rings a plenty when I visit. My plan worked!

Anyway, I’ve found an alternative to the traditional deep fry and corn flour batter option. It’s so fantastic I had it twice this week. You can find fine cornmeal in the supermarket usually in the Caribbean section, look for Island Sun.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 chicken thigh fillets, boned
1 carrot, cut into fine strips
4 spring onions, shredded
A thumb sized piece of ginger, cut into fine strips
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 a long red chilli, finely chopped
A heaped dessertspoon of fine cornmeal
A level teaspoon of five spice powder
3/4 tablespoons of vegetable or sunflower oil
Salt
For the sauce:

2/3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
1 heaped teaspoon of ketchup
1 tablespoon of sugar
1/2 cup of water
1 teaspoon of corn flour or arrowroot
A splash of soy sauce

Method

Prepare all the vegetables and set to one side.
Slice the chicken into fine shreds, about half a cm wide.
Mix the cornmeal with five spice and a pinch of salt.
Toss the chicken shreds in the cornmeal mix until lightly coated.
Heat wok or frying pan and add oil.
Fry the chicken on high until golden brown and crispy. Drain on kitchen paper and set to one side.
Fry the garlic and ginger for a minute then add the rest of the vegetables and chilli with a splash of soy sauce and stir fry for a minute or two.
Put the veg to one side and add the vinegar, water, ketchup, soy and sugar to the pan.
Bubble up the sweet and sour sauce and mix the corn flour or arrowroot with a little more water and add to sauce. Let it thicken and taste, adjust the vinegar/sugar ratio if necessary.
Return the veg and chicken to the pan with the sauce and heat through.
Serve with boiled rice and a few prawn crackers, and rip up that take away menu! (or at least hide it until Friday)

FFC – Flood’s Fried Chicken Strips with Homemade Coleslaw

This is a much healthier alternative to that dreaded take away fried chicken.

Ingredients:

Polenta

Paprika

Salt and pepper

Egg whites

Chicken strips (i used those chicken mini  fillets they have in the supermarker but I’ve done it before by just slicing up breasts)

Method:

Put the polenta, some paprika, salt and pepper into a shallow bowl or on a plate. Mix together.

Coat the chicken strips in egg white then one by one roll in the seasoned polenta.  I tend to have one hand for the egg white mix and one for the polenta duties.

Fry in a little oil, you’ll probably need to do this in batches so make sure the oven is on low and you can store them in there whilst your frying them all.

I served this with some homemade coleslaw which consisted of some shredded Savoy cabbage, grated carrot, finely chopped spring onions, some mayo and squeeze of lemon.  Also as I am a bit of condiment fanatic, I knocked up a bit of BBQ sauce (recipe listed on here somewhere, go poke around if you’re interested).  Later I also ate this cold with some of my garlic, spring onion and cheese dip posted below.

Carrot Halwa

Grated carrots

I have been craving this pudding since a trip to the Banana Leaf, a south Indian restaurant in Croydon, over a year ago.  They served it there warm with ice cream and ever since I have been dreaming about it and searching the net for a credible and fairly simple recipe.  Yesterday I finally found a recipe on  http://www.cookitsimply.com/recipe-0010-0889i9.html.  I halved the ingredient list and started to prepare the dish.  Half way through cooking, whilst browsing the net and looking at other recipes and youtube videos of how to cook it, I decided to adapt the method slightly and my ingredients as I didn’t have any ghee (and was not about to start clarifying butter) and had no pistachios.

This is a truly sweet and addictive dessert, I kind of wished I had gone the whole hog and made more but theres always next time!

Ingredients:

225 g carrots, grated
450ml milk
60g sugar
2 cardamom pods
2 heaped teaspoons of butter
30 g (2 tbsp) raisins
30 g (2 tbsp) pistachio nuts, skinned and chopped ( I didn’t have these but I think they are well worth putting in if you can)
Method:
Bring the milk to the boil in a large saucepan with the sugar and cardamon pods.  Add the grated carrots and simmer very gently for about an hour or until the liquid has evapourated.  Stir mixture from time to time.  Add the raisins to the pot towards the end of cooking.  Serve hot or cold.  It’s great warm with ice cream but just as luscious cold out of the fridge.
Tip:  I noticed that on the youtube clip they used a much wider, shallower pan than I used, this should speed up the evapouration of the milk and not have you waiting for a whole hour for this delicous dessert to get cooked.

Peanut Satay Noodles

I have been meaning to try and make my own Satay Sauce for a while but had never got round to it.  After inspecting a rather bare fridge and contemplating ringing the local chinese takeaway I decided to be good and try cooking my own Friday night dinner.  We didn’t have any meat in and it really doesn’t need it, but i’m sure if you are looking for an extra carnivorous addition a bit of chicken or beef or pork would go very nicely with this. 

Ingredients:

Satay Sauce:
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or crushed
1 inch of Ginger, finely chopped
1 dessert spoon of mild curry powder
3 heaped dessert spoons of crunchy peanut butter
2 dessert spoons of sweet chilli sauce
Quarter of a can of coconut milk
Water

Noodles:

Rice noodles
Spring onions, shredded
Carrot
Spinach
Soy sauce

Method:

First make the satay sauce.  Soften the chopped onion in a pan with some oil until translucent, then add the garlic and ginger and fry together until lightly browned. 

Add curry powder and fry for a minute. 

Add peanut butter and cocunut milk and melt together until slightly runny.  Add sweet chilli and let down with water until desired consistency is achieved.

Set to one side.

Soak your noodles until soft. 

Shred the spring onion.  Shave the carrot with a potato peeler so you get long fine strips.  Roughly shred the spinach. 

Add spring onion to a hot pan with a little oil.  Fry for a minute then add carrots.  Shake in a spash or two of soy sauce and add noodles.  Toss around pan then add spinach.  Spoon in 2/3 spoonfuls of sauce and coat noodles in pan.

Transfer noodles to a plate and top with an extra dollop of the peanut sauce.

Serve.