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Smoked Duck Breast

Smoked Duck Breast

I have been craving duck for the longest time and on my recent trip to Sydney, I was able to see some cooking techniques and taste some freshly cooked duck. The Luv-a-Duck brand put up some inspiring cooking demonstrations and I was fortunate enough to have a conversation with one of their head chefs. One thing lead to another and I couldn’t wait to come home and buy a duck to try out some techniques.

This recipe was inspired and adapted by two sources. The first was this post by The Smoker on the Bradley Smoker Forums. The second was for the smoking ingredients from this recipe on Luv-a-Duck recipe collection.

Smoked Duck Breast

[ Serves: 3 | Time: 24 hours | Cost: $8 total ]
[ Joes Rating: 4 / 5 | My Rating: 5+ / 5  ]

Ingredients

Breast of one duck

Brine

1 litre water
¼ cup salt
2 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic
3 star anise
½ teaspoon cracked pepper

Smoking Mixture

½ cup jasmine rice
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup black tea leaves
1 orange – rind
1 lemon – rind
3 star anise

Salad Dressing

1 orange – juice
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil

Smoked Duck – cooked to sweet, juicy perfection.

Method

  1. Combine all the brine ingredients together in a pot and bring to the boil. Heat for five minutes to infuse the mixture before removing from the heat and cooling. Once it is cold, pour it over the breasts and store in the fridge over night ¹.
  2. Drain the breast from the brine mixture and use paper towels to dry the breast well. Allow the breast to rest for 10 minutes uncovered on a plate in the fridge. Dry the breast again as it will have given off more moisture.
  3. Combine all the smoking ingredients in a bowl and use your finger tips to rub the mixture together to release the oils from the rind.

    The mixture is rubbed to ensure it is well blended and the essential oils are released from the rind.

  4. Line a wok with several layers of foil and spread the smoking mixture evenly in the bottom on the foil². Put on the hot plate at the hottest setting and place a lid on the smoker. Allow five minutes to make sure it is up to heat before placing your breasts in the steamer skin side up on a wire rack above the mixture.

    Make sure your breasts are not touching the smoking mixture. You need an inch at least between the layers.

  5. Reduce the heat to ¾ full and smoke the breasts for 10 minutes. Do not remove the lid during this time ³.

    Although you can’t lift the lid, this delicious smoke will slowly leech into the room and make your mouth water!

  6. Remove the breast from the steamer. Place the breasts in a frying pan over a moderate heat skin side down and cook until the skin is crispy. This should take no more than 3 minutes.

    Rendering the skin crispy should only take a few minutes. Note the extra fat rendering from the breasts during this process?

  7. Allow the breast to rest in a bowl covered with foil for 5 minutes.
  8. Make a salad of mixed leaves, herbs and vegetables. To make the dressing, whisk all ingredients together.
  9. Slice the duck and lay it over the salad. Drizzle the dressing over the duck and salad and serve immediately.

This is perfection in a bowl.

Observations

  • Note 1: I am so sorry I was able to get photos of the brine stage. My camera died and needed a visit to the vets til it would cooperate again!
  • Note 2: Make sure you don’t cut corners and only use one sheet of foil. While the brown sugar will give a gorgeous richness to the smoking, it will also melt and become a sticky mess. After 15 minutes on the hot plate, this is how mine looked.
  • Note 3:  Dont be tempted to lift the lid and look inside the smoker once the process has started. You will allow the steam / smoke / heat to escape and may end up ruining the results.
  • O M G! Someone call the police. I’ve just been hit by the flavour truck! Seriously though, I think this is one of the best dishes I have cooked in a very long time – perhaps since the lamb calzones a few months back.
  • My salad contained some baby cos hearts, capsicums, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, bean sprouts, and chunks of fresh parsley and mint. The dressing blended perfectly with all of these ingredients.
  • I know 24 hours seems an excessive amount of time for one dish, but let me tell you – it was really worth it. No, serious – it.was.worth.it!
  • Diabetic Note: Nothing to be afraid of here, to be honest. Most of the fat in the breast dissolves through the smoking process and as you can see in the photo above, renders off during the crisping of the skin. If you are being very mindful of your fats, remove the skin.
  • Ethical Note: Joe and I were just discussing the value of this whole event. I purchased one size 22 duck for $15 dollars. I utilised every portion of the duck – you will see two more duck recipes coming in the next few days although this was the best of them. There is a massive win situation here with using the whole bird and dividing the price.
  • Additional Ethical Note: While I was in Sydney, I was able to talk to the head chef and manager about how these birds are farmed. They are barn raised not caged. Originally I baulked at this, but they took the time to talk to me about it at length. While I would have preferred free range, I do understand the decisions of the management on this point – ducks take time to mature and a loss of up to 20% was being experienced when they attempted the free range option. Foxes and birds of prey would run the ducks ragged and they would lose their condition. In the end, it was a wise choice, both economically and ethically.

I didn’t want you to forget how awesome this looks….

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer

Every Friday, the fine folk over at The Daily Post issue a weekly photo challenge. This weeks challenge is Summer.

Summer. Where you live, summer might be arriving soon, or (if you’re in the southern hemisphere), a fleeting memory. But what signifies summer to you? 

Summer to me is about two things. Food and the outdoors. Lets explore food here and the outdoors on my enviro blog!

Summer fruits are divine. Who can pass up blueberries, raspberries and mangoes? In this household, we adore summer fruits with pancakes and tend to eat them quite frequently. Hmmm, pancakes!

Salads are a gorgeous summer meal. Light but healthy, they typify summer for me. Here, a quiche accompanies a light salad (left) and a grilled chicken salad with mango (right) is sure to tempt.

As summer draws to a close and the mango season has run its course, figs come into the spotlight. I’ve loved featuring figs in my cooking this year with a delicious fig poached in galliano dessert (left) and this gorgeous fig and goats cheese tart (right).

Ahhhh summer…. how I miss you and lament your absence as I steel myself for winters bite!

For my regular readers, the photo on my enviro blog The Environmental Rhi-Source are different from the post here!

 
8 Comments

Posted by on May 26, 2012 in Weekly Photo Challenge

 

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How to: Sprouts

I have always loved sprouts and miss it terribly when I am denied them. Recently, I discovered that anyone can grow their own healthy nutritious sprouts, and its as easy as 1, 2 3!

This gorgeous salad is made of home-grown lettuce, tomatoes and sprouts. Locally grown olives, goats milk feta compliment a low-carbon footprint meal. The carrots and beets are a mystery, but shouldnt come from too far away. All in all, a satisfying lunch!

Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Warm Chickpea, Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables and Halloumi Salad

I remember many years ago spending some time at a dear friends home in Sydney while on holidays. As MJ’s tastes run to the more savoury side of things, her fridge was often an adventure in its own right full of amazing wonders. On this one particular morning, she fried up some Halloumi for our breakfast and as they say in the record books; the rest was history.

Halloumi is a semi hard cheese that is made of cows, goats and cows milk and originated in Cyprus. It is flavoured with a little mint (that in some brands is hardly even detectable), and uses non animal rennet making it safe for vegetarian consumption. Its high melting point makes it perfect for frying, and when served in this way, its slightly rubbery texture adds something amazing to the most simplest of dishes. As it is stored in brine, it has a strong salty taste; the use of additional salt should be limited.

[  SERVES: 2  |  TIME: 45MIN  |  COST: $5 – 8  ]

Ingredients

180g packet of halloumi
2 large handfuls salad greens
1 cup dried chickpeas
2 cups of water
1 continental eggplant
1 zucchini
1 punnet cherry tomatoes
½ red capsicum
sprinkle toasted nuts
drizzle of olive oil
salt and pepper

Method

  1. Add the water to the dried chickpeas and soak overnight (or a minimum of 4 hours). Boil for 15 minutes, drain and set aside.
  2. Dice all the vegetables into bite size pieces. Place into a baking tray with a drizzle of oil, seasoning  and mix well. Bake in at 180°C for 30 minutes.
  3. Slice the halloumi into 1 – 2 cm wide peices and fry in a warm saucepan until golden brown. Set aside.
  4. To assemble your salad on a plate, start with a good handful of washed salad greens. Layer with the warm roasted vegetables, chickpeas and halloumi. Garnish with the toasted nuts and a drizzle of any left over juices from the roasted vegetables. Serve immediately.

Observations

  • Sooooooooo delicious! And so easy. The textures of this dish were perfect!
  • We used a mixture of rocket and baby spinach for our salad greens. They worked well with the other flavours.
  • We used a mixture of pine nuts and almond slivers toasted lightly in a frying pan for our garnish. The crunch and flavour of the nuts adds something fantastic to salads, and should not be over looked. Try it, and see for yourself!
  • 250g of halloumi is enough for four people, so dont worry about getting a larger size. We were just hungry beasts tonight!
  • Diabetic Note: No problems here, although, be careful with the oil. If you are worried about the lack of carbs in this dish, add a slice of bread to mop your plate with!
  • Ethical Note: On the plus side, halloumi uses non animal rennet. Be careful of where your product is made, however. Upon closer inspection of the label tonight, I realised that my favourite brand is a product of Cyprus. I had always assumed that it was an Australian product because of the Australian address on the packaging. Check the fine print! (And, if you will excuse me, I must now find a new brand. The carbon miles for a cheese from Cyprus make it a little too unethical for my tastes…)
 

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Roast Vegetables with Couscous

This has to be one of my favourite dishes, cause we eat it so often! Its a hot salad of kinds, and is so easy to knock up when I am studying and cant spare much time away from the books. Time restraints aside, its just delicious and is heaven sent for poor hungry uni students like me. It nourishes my body while my lecturers try to nourish my mind – fair trade, I am sure!

[  Serves: 3  |  Time: 30min  |  Cost: $5 – 8  ]

Ingredients

Equal amounts of vegetables. We used:

  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Zuchini
  • Pumpkin
  • Sweet Potato
  • Red Capsicums
  • Baby Leeks from the garden

1 tablespoon parsley
1 tablespoon garlic
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Dash of Olive Oil

Method

  1. Cut all vegetables into bite size pieces. See the photo below for an indicator. Toss them well in the oil and spices and bake for about 20 – 30 minutes in a moderate oven until cooked.
  2. Prepare the couscous as directed on the packaging. Generally, I aim for ½ cup dry couscous and ½ water per person.
  3. Mix together well, ensuring that the couscous mixes through the vegetables. Drizzle any of the juices from the vegetable baking tray over your plate before serving.

Observations

  • I love this dish. I love everything about it. Its easy, its delicious, and its fast! The flavours just work for me, and the cinnamon adds something special. Often, i will play around with the herbs and spices; basil / rosemary / garlic are another favourite as is thyme / rosemary / garlic. Be adventurous!
  • The baby leeks in this particular dish were absolutely divine! They were sweeter than normal full grown leeks, and soooooo tender. They stopped growing in my garden after about a month – roughly the size of shallots. I pulled them up and prepared them the same way you would normal size leeks. I have just replanted with the thoughts of doing the same in about a months time!!
  • Diabetic Note: I have to admit, my BGLs always react poorly to the couscous in this dish. On bad days I will cut back heavily on my serve of couscous to compensate. Also, be careful of your oil – its very easy for a splash of olive oil to end up as a guzzle.
  • Ethical Note 1: Whats not to love about this dish? It frustrates me a lot that its very difficult to get Australian made couscous. The carbon miles of Italian pasta (regardless of how delicious it is) makes me shudder. The moment I find a more local substitute, I will switch. (side note: I just bought quinoa for the first time… wonder how that would work?)
  • Ethical Note 2: As always with these style dishes, I’ve cooked my vegetables in my Portable Convention Oven (PCO). These little wonders save a ton on electricity, are easy to clean, and convenient to use. If you use a PCO, just be sure to add a cup of water to the bottom of the PCO to stop your veggies drying out.
 

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Chicken and Mango Salad

I made this salad once before, quite some time ago. I posted briefly about the magnificence of this dish at the time, but after some reflection, I realised that my post just did not give the dish anywhere near enough justice. The recipe was originally posted by The Gourmet Goddess and this is my adapatation of her wonderful creation.

[  Serves: 3  |  Time: 30m + overnight marinade time  |  Cost: $8 – 10  ]

Ingredients

Marinade

2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Maple Syrup
1 clove Garlic
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
Splash Lime Juice

300 g free ranged chicken breast

Salad

3 serves of rocket (roughly handful per person)
2 tomatoes, cut into sixths
1 Lebanese cucumber
½ red capsicum
½ ripe mango
handful mixed herb leaves (we used parsley and basil)

Dressing

1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons Fish Sauce
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Maple Syrup
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Generous amount of fresh pepper

Method

  1. In a container, mix all the marinade ingredients. Slice the chicken in long thin strips and place into the marinade. Use the containers lid to seal it. Shake to mix ingredients every few hours. Allow several hours to infuse – over night is best.
  2. Carefully place the chicken on a hot grill pan or BBQ, turning after a few minutes. Remove from heat when cooked.
  3. Assemble the salad as a tossed salad, and place aside in a bowl. Rip the herb leaves by hand, and mix through the salad.  Slice the mango and remove the flesh from the skin. Try to maintain long thin wedges of mango to mix through your dish upon serving.
  4. Mix the dressing ingredients in a small jug, whisking to ensure it is mixed well.
  5. Spread the salad generously on a serving platter. Place layers of chicken and mango over the salad as desired, and finish with a drizzle of dressing.

Observations

  • So easy, so delicious! There are so many variations you can do with this dish, and I am sure they would all be a crowd pleaser!
  • Ethical Note: We have used free ranged chickens yet again. If everyone changed just one chicken dish to free ranged every week, more animals would be spared a cruel, painful existence. Besides the ethical effect of choosing free ranged meats, it tastes so much better!
  • Diabetes Note: Sooooo yummy and so good! Banana’s and sugary things like syrups usually set my BGLs sky high, but the amounts in this dish are tiny. Just the same, go sparingly, but enjoy the flavour 🙂
 
 

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Roast vegetable salad with cheese kransky

Yesterday was a big day in the kitchen with lots happening. As I was already preparing vegetables for last nights dinner, I decided to do extra on a similar theme for lunch. We all live busy life styles, and where possible, I will think ahead and prepare several meals at once, keeping refrigerated in containers to retain its freshness. This time saving strategy means we can enjoy fresh, healthy, hearty meals when when we are flat out with work / school / life / whatever. We also had some cheese kransky’s left over from the medieval murder mystery night so I decided to add them – I hate waste!

Ingredients

1 packet of kransky’s – 1 sausage per person
1 medium potato
1 small onion
1 zuchinni
¼ butternut pumpkin
¼ sweet potato
½ leek
1 punnet of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
3 teaspoons crushed garlic
sprinkle of chilli flakes
sprinkle of rosemary
sprinkle of paprika
few torn basil leaves
a little parsley finely chopped
drizzle of olive oil

Method

  1. Chop the vegetables into smallish bite size pieces (see photo 1 above as a guide). In a baking tray, mix the vegetables with the oil and herbs, ensuring all pieces have an even coating.
  2. Cook in the oven at a moderate temperament (200°C) for  30 minutes (photo 2). Check every 15 minutes, stirring vegetables to redistribute the oil and herbs over all the vegetables as needed.
  3. Warm a tiny bit of oil in a shallow saucepan or skillet over a medium heat setting. Chop the kransky into bite size pieces, placing into the oil cut side down. Cook for several minutes before turning (photo 3 above).
  4. Pile the vegetables on a warmed plate, topped by the kranksy. Garnish with a sprinkle of paprika or sprig of parsley. Enjoy!

Observations

  • I make variations of this dish quite often. Almost weekly. Its actually my “mustn’t waste vegetables!” technique. At the end of the week when the cupboards are starting to look bare, I will whip something like this up to use up any left over vegetables before shopping day. Sometimes I will serve this on a bed of couscous, sometimes mixed in with left over pasta with a cheese sauce. The herbs used vary according to what I am feeling at that moment. Experiment with this idea in an effort to reduce the amount of waste your family generates through uneaten vegetables.
  • I made this in my portable convection oven. If you use a PCO, don’t forget to add a little water to the bottom to keep the air moist / stop the veggies from drying out.
  • Diabetics Note: The kransky is VERY high in fats, so portion control is essential, regardless of how delicious they are! The carb content from this meal comes primarily from the potatoes and sweet potatoes. I often omit those vegetables if I am using couscous or pasta. Adjust to suit your carbohydrate needs, but this meal ran well within my exchange point budget, and my BGLs were fine.
  • One last (but big!) note – I would love to say this meal is ethical, but I don’t think the Kranskys were. Although the company was ethical, the ingredients list “meat including pork”. I can only assume that there is beef in the mix, which for us is highly unethical. Read my post regarding the big beef debate to find out why.
 
2 Comments

Posted by on February 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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