Friday, 26 April 2013

Merryn's Peking Duck

Merryn's Peking Duck
My simple and delicious version

I am very lucky to have relatives on a dairy farm.  
Cattle, horses, chickens, pigs, lambs, dogs and ducks abound.
I love to walk in the green pastures, and hear the gentle moo of cows and neighs of horses.
It is relaxing and refreshing to meander on country time.

 The other day my Uncle kindly gave me a duck.  He has recently purchased a 'feather pluckier' to make his life easier.  You put the fresh duck that has been humanely killed into boiling water for one minute, place it into the feather pluckier and in quick time, the duck comes out featherless on one side while all feathers come out of the other side.
My Uncle is over 70 so you imagine how many hours he has spent plucking feathers from birds his entire life.
More astonishingly it never ceases to amaze me how many people have not yet tried Peking Duck.  

This could be put down to the expensive price restaurants command for this dish but it is relatively simple to cook at home.  Here is my easy recipe and after you try it, you will find it is delicious.

Firstly wash the duck then place in the sink and pour a jugful of boiling water over the top.

Place duck onto a plate and brush with a mixture of;
1/4 cup molasses with 2 Tblspns honey and 2 Tblspns boiling water mixed together.

After 5 minutes brush with the remaining mixture that has dripped onto the plate.

Wrap foil around the wings and legs to protect them from burning in the oven.

Pull the excess fat away from the cavity entrance, this is pure fat and can be burned down in a small saucepan. The pieces of fat will almost entirely dissolve and can then be strained to store in a jar in the refrigerator to roast tasty potatoes with later.

Stuff the cavity of the duck with three lemon slices, a cinnamon stick and two star anise.

Spray a roasting rack with olive oil to stop the duck sticking, place duck on top and put in a roasting tray filled with 1 cup water .

Bake at 180 degrees celsius for approximately        1 1/4 hours for 2.2kg duck. It will be browned and crispy all over after this time, but moist on the inside.

While the duck is roasting, make the pancakes.  Place flour, cornflour, eggs, butter, water and milk into a food processor and blend until combined.  Cover and stand for 20 minutes before using.

Heat a non stick shallow frying pan, a crepe pan if you have one, add 2 Tblspns butter and 1 Tblspn batter, swirling to cover pan, cook 1-2  minutes then turn and cook the other side for 1 minute until lightly brown.
Remove and store on a plate, repeat with batter, storing on top of each other, until they are all cooked.

(N.B.  If you are lucky enough to live near an Asian supermarket, you can buy frozen peking duck pancake wrappers and defrost before using or heat for 1 minute in the microwave in the opened plastic bag.)

We swapped the convenience of great shopping for a greener lifestyle and stock up on supplies and herbs from Asian supermarkets when in the city.  Our peking duck wrappers usually run out between city visits so I often make my own.

While the duck is still happily roasting away, you could turn it after 50 minutes if your oven is not fan forced to brown the underside.

Take 2 cucumbers; peel them, cut in half lengthwise and remove the seeds.  Then slice into 4cm long matchsticks, place in a serving bowl.

Wash and chop 8 green shallots into similar lengths and place in another serving bowl.

Place 1/2 cup hoisin sauce in a small serving bowl, mix with 1/2 tspn five spice powder and 2 Tbs soy sauce.

Place the duck onto a wooden serving board and rest for 10 minutes.

Slice the duck, placing the skin to one side so it can be finely chopped.  Shred the remaining duck meat.
You can also buy an excellent inexpensive Peking duck knife/cleaver from an Asian supermarket, designed specifically to slice the duck finely.  As you can see, Peking duck is a serious tradition :D

                       Take 1 pancake, 
                      spread a spoonful 
                  of hoisin sauce over top,            
              2 cucumbers and1 shallot slice, 
               then some duck meat and skin.  
                Roll up to enclose and enjoy!

Peking Duck Recipe

1 x 2.2kg muscovy or pekin duck

Basting Mix

1/4 cup molasses
2 Tblspns honey
2 Tblspns boiling water
Mix together and baste over top of duck until it is dry.  You can use a hair dryer to speed up the process.

Cavity Flavourings

3 slices lemon
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise

Peking Duck Pancakes

1 cup plain flour
4 Tablespoons cornflour
1/2 cup tepid water
1/2 cup milk
4 eggs
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
Blend together in a food processor.  Cover and stand 20 minutes then cook 1 Tblspn batter as for crepes.


2 green cucumbers, sliced into 4 -5 cm lengths
6 - 8 green shallots, sliced into 4 - 5cm lengths
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
(Optional, you can add 1/2 teaspoon five spice powder and 2 Tablespoons soy sauce to hoisin sauce)

This recipe will serve 5 people, a 2.5kg duck will serve 6.
Please, if you like my recipe, try it and let me know if you found it easy and divinely delicious.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Preserving Lemongrass in Brine

Lemongrass, fresh and sweetly scented

Perfect for Stir fries, Curries and Jam.

Preserving Lemongrass

Where I live in the mid north coast of New South Wales lemon grass is a constant. 
It grows all year round, healthily and in abundance.  
Like a good extended family, it expands, grows and multiplies.  

 I notice our gorgeous Himalayan cat Chloe loves to chew the sharp grass edges, cleaning her teeth with a citrus flavour.  Lemongrass does have a unique scent which is appealing to animals as well as to us.


While we are lucky to have it growing abundantly, it can be handy at times, especially when you have limited time to prepare dinner, to have a jar of lemongrass already chopped in the fridge.

This is a simple and effective way to preserve the lemongrass.

Remove the green stems and only keep the white part of the lemongrass as this contains all of the flavour.
Roughly chop into 3cm lengths.

Then place into a food processor or blender and blend until finely chopped.

Place the lemongrass into a sterilised jar whilst the jar is still hot.
(To sterilise a jar place in the oven when cold and heat oven to 150 celsius, turn off and let sit 10 minutes.)

Make a brine with1 cup boiling water, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon of sugar.
Mix all together and pour over the lemongrass making sure it is all covered with the liquid.


Seal, cool, then store in the fridge until required.

Use in curries, stir fries or savoury jams as required.

Buon appetito, please let me know if you found this post useful.  Cheers Merryn