Friday, April 26, 2013

An adventure

I am off tomorrow on a little adventure to Italy with a group of friends and will be away for a couple of weeks.  We are going to Rome, Sicily and Postiano.  There will be a lot of eating involved.  Which will be dangerous.  All in the name of research, of course.
photo -
In the interests of thrift, I made this beautiful quince and apple jelly with star anise yesterday.  I am worried the birds will eat all the quinces while I'm away so some are going to a friend with a Thermomix so she can make quince paste.  If anyone wants the recipe just email me and I'll send it to you when I get back.
I roasted some pears and quinces that were hanging around in the fruit bowl and made a beautiful crab apple sauce to pour over them.
Just put the peeled and cored pears in a roasting tin and sprinkle lightly with castor sugar.  Add a couple of strips of lemon peel and squeeze over the juice of one lemon.  I also added a split vanilla bean and a cinnamon stick.  It wouldn't be against the rules to throw in a bay leaf if you fancied either.  Cover with foil and bake at about 150c for an hour or so.  Have a look and check it they are soft, give them more time if they need it.  The quinces, which I did in the same dish, took about 2 hours.

Gently remove the fruit to a plate while you make the sauce.  Put the pan (don't be tempted to wash it) on a gentle heat and add about a cup of boiling water.  Let it simmer while you scrape all the bits off the bottom as you would when making gravy.  When it has reduced slightly add a tablespoon of either quince or crab apple jelly.  Stir in and cook gently for another couple of minutes, tasting for sweetness.  (Add more jelly if it needs it.   It will depend on the sweetness of the fruit and how much sugar you added at the start.  Add more lemon juice if it is too sweet).  Serve with cream or ice cream.

Can someone do a rain dance while we are away?
dry creek bed

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Easter Holidays

I picked this zucchini the other day:
and because it is school holidays came down the next morning to find this:
which really gives it a personality of its own.
We had a lovely Easter, with friends to stay, shooting, paddock picnics and way too much cheese:
why do I love it so much??
The boys all went to a shoot at a neighbour's lake and bought home some ducks, we decided to teach the children to pluck and breast the birds ready for cooking.
 We breasted the smaller birds and left the black ducks whole for roasting.  Wild duck can be gamey and quite strong so we decided to make a duck red thai curry.  It was surprisingly good.  Here is what we did:

This amount would have served about 8.  If you have too much paste you could keep it for another curry.

In a food processor combine the following ingredients:
1/2 an onion
2 cloves garlic, peeled
a small knob ginger, peeled
1 red chilli, roughly chopped (remove seeds if you don't like it too hot)
some chopped lemongrass if you have it (we didn't so I squeezed in some lemon juice)
1 teasp ground cumin
1teasp ground coriander
1 tblsp fish sauce
1 dessp sugar
juice of one lime
1 tablespoon coconut cream (we used the rest in the actual curry)

Whizz the lot and have a taste to make sure all is well.
We then put all the duck breasts on an oven tray and cooked them at 200c for about 15 minutes.  It looks like a lot but they are really quite small.
In a pan heat a slosh of neutral oil (grapeseed or the like), add a chopped onion and a clove of crushed garlic and fry gently until soft.  Add a couple of tablespoons of the paste and cook for a couple of minutes.  I also added some chopped baby spinach for a bit of green.
Slice the duck and add to the pan with the rest of the can of coconut cream and simmer gently for five minutes.  At this point you should taste it to check the seasoning.  Add more fish sauce if it needs a little salt.  Serve with rice and a good scattering of coriander.