My mum is visiting from Malaysia at the moment, so I have a captive test subject to try out a few new recipes on. This recipe we caught on Rick Steins Far Eastern Odyssey on TV last night. It looked pretty good and I love duck, so I decided to give it a try tonight. I popped into Springvale during my lunch break and bought a whole duck from the meat market and a bag of fresh oranges. Well it was a great success - the flavors are awesome, the star anise and orange juice are a great combo with the duck, It is also pretty easy to put together. I highly recommend giving this one a go!
- 1 Duck, cut into serving pieces
- 2 tbsp Vegetable oil (or duck fat)
- 3 Cloves garlic, peeled & sliced
- 3 cm Root ginger, peeled & sliced
- 3-4 Spring onions, cut into 4 cm lengths
- 6 Star anise
- 3-4 Whole chillies
- 1 Stalk lemon grass, bruised
- 2 tbsp Fish sauce
- 1 tbsp Palm sugar
- Juice of 3-4 oranges
- A “good grind” of black pepper
In a large cast iron casserole dish or similar, sauté the duck pieces in the oil until the fat is rendered and the skin is browning and beginning to crisp. Pour off all but a tablespoon of fat.
Add garlic and ginger and stir, then add the orange juice, enough to not quite cover the duck. Add fish sauce, star anise, chillies, lemon grass, palm sugar and black pepper. Stir well and simmer covered until duck is tender(~1 - 1.5hrs). Add the spring onions about 10 mins before the duck will be ready.
Remove the lemon grass stalk and discard. Remove the duck pieces and spring onions to a warmed serving dish. Mix a little cornflour with some water and add to the sauce to thicken.
I served it with some basmati rice and stir fried Bok Choy.
Caught up with a friend last night at Aoba Japanese Cafe in Malvern, I found the establishment on Urbanspoon after searching for Japanese in Malvern - it had very good reviews and was open Monday night so fit the bill!
Aoba is a quaint little casual Japanese cafe on Glenferrie Rd, a little more casual and small than I anticipated when I picked it out but as my dining partner commented "It's cute!"
I was tempted to order a Sashimi platter but decided to try something different and went for the Beef Tataki, of course preceded by some miso soup. Wow, I'm a major fan! The miso was basic but flavorsome - I have been making miso soup at home lately and now have a new benchmark to aspire to! The Beef Tataki was brilliant - clean crisp flavours with the ponzu sauce, I'm going to have to try it at home, although it will be hard after having the bar set so high already!
Prices were very reasonable for the quality of the food, a great little casual Japanese dining experience. I only wish it was closer to where live so I could make it a regular! Sorry I didnt get any food pics - was too busy chatting and eating!
This is a quick, simple marinade with Moroccan flavors that I really like. I often use it to marinate chicken breast strips for grilling on the BBQ. It might also work well with fish, but I haven't tried it yet.
- 1/2 cup lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
- 2 tblsp olive oil
- 1 tblsp honey
- 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground tumeric
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp of cinnamon
Although I had admired Shigefusa knives for a while, and browsed longingly at images of Shigefusa knives in other peoples kits, it was a not a knife I had planned to 'try' and aquire in the immediate future. For those not familiar with Mr.Iizuka Tokifusa's work, here is a quote taken from www.japan-tool.com:
Shigefusa (Iizuka Tokifusa and his two sons) is the one of the most famous houchou (Japanese style chef's knife) blacksmith in Japan. Shigefusa has trained under the famous tamahagane razor maker Iwasaki Shigeyoshi for 10 years, and before he became independent he received several months of training by another very famous swordsmith Nagashima Munenori by the recommendation of Iwasaki-san.Now to acquire a Shigefusa knife, you basically have 2 options. First is to order one through a retailer or middle man who places the order with Mr. Iizuka Tokifusa(Shigefusa) himself, then you wait for the knife to be made. Being hand made and hand finished using natural Japanese whetstones, the current wait for a Shigefusa knife to be produced is about 1.5yrs. Or the other option, you find someone who already owns a Shigefusa knife and is willing to sell it to you.
By the age of 38 he had already been celebrated as the best houcyou maker in Japan. The beautiful poished look of Shigefusa knives are acheived by applying the special Japanese sword poishing technique creating the hazy polished look. Now with his two full grown sons beside him, Shigefusa has achieved an unrivaled state as a houchou maker.
So as it happens, the other day I stumbled across this knife listed on eBay from a seller in Japan and at a very reasonable starting bid. It is a 270mm Yanagiba 'Kitaeji' version which has damascus or 'ink' patterned steel and was described as 'new'. I thought about it for a couple of days and decided I probably wouldn't get one for that price again so set a sniper bid and waited to see what happened and I won it! Well since then I have been waiting impatiently for it to arrive and today it finally did! I'm not disappointed, it is an awesome blade.
The only thing I like about Melbourne winter is home made soup, otherwise the whole season is pointless and a major inconvenience! This basic soup recipe is definitely a staple meal for me during winter, it's easy, healthy, cheap and prep is relatively quick and painless(especially if you have a collection of knives you enjoy using!). The qty here is what I generally make up in one batch and will last me about a weeks worth of work lunches! This soup actually improves after a couple of days in the fridge, if you are storing it any longer than 3 days I would freeze it. It thaws and reheats well.
- 2 x tblsp Olive Oil
- 1 x smoked bacon hock*
- 1 x smoked bacon bone*
- ½ packet of Italian soup mix
- 1 liter of beef or chicken stock(home made is best!)
- 1 x 400g can of diced tomatoes
- 2 x carrots (peeled & coarsely diced)
- 1 x parsnip (peeled & coarsely diced)
- 1 x turnip or swede (peeled & coarsely diced)
- 1 x brown onion (finely diced)
- 2 x sticks of celery (chopped)
- 1 x leak (finely sliced)
- 4 x cloves garlic (finely chopped)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot, then add the onion and leak. Saute for a few minutes then add the garlic and continue to saute until the leak and onion gets some color.
Add the carrot, parsnip, swede and celery. Saute for another couple of minutes to sweat the vegetables, mixing it around with a wooden spoon.
Score the bacon hock with a sharp knife.(I slice the skin around the circumference about 3 times, through to the bone, this helps later when removing the meat from the bone.) Add the stock, the can of tomatoes(inc. the syrup), the Italian soup mix, the bacon hock, bacon bone and an extra 2 cups of water. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer for about 2hrs.
After ~2 hrs and add salt & pepper to taste. Simmer for another 1 hr or until the meat is falling off the bone. Turn the heat off leaving the pot on the stove. Remove the bacon hock and bacon bone from the soup. Separate the skin and fat from the hock and feed to the dog, shred the meat with a fork and return it to the soup. Also remove any meat you can from the bacon bone and return it to the soup. Discard the bones.
Serve steaming hot, with crusty buttered bread!