Posts Tagged ‘carrot’

Nanny Rhino and the three bird roast

My excuse fobbing you off with my Nanny Rhino entry today instead of writing a proper blog entry?

I woke up late.

Feeble.

So anyway, today it’s about duck. Enjoy.

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Duck has been a recent revelation to me. My interactions with it have been few but all extremely enjoyable. I first ate duck at a small restaurant near a yoga class I used to take every week. It was Bikram yoga which, for those of you who don’t know, is like yoga on acid. It’s in a heated room and is like a fight to the death, a struggle between good and evil, between you and the heat, to win and make it to the 90 minute mark without having passed out or vomited. If you make it to this 90 minute mark, you feel invincible. Shaky on your legs, but invincible. And really damn hungry! I would wobble out of the class, change and leave, wide-eyed, looking for the nearest place I could get food. I would have taken anything on offer but thankfully, the nearest thing was actually a really great little restaurant. I’d order about four things off the menu, blinded by my intense hunger, not even sure what I’d ordered.

 

Quite often, a total surprise to me, a duck stir fry would arrive and I would consume it in one inhalation. It was so amazing. Inspired by this, I would occasionally buy a duck and hoisin sauce wrap so my mind had started to pair the two together.

 

Then last Christmas, a neighbour had recommended I buy a turkey crown for Christmas Day lunch as a full turkey is really too big for two. So off I went to Waitrose, on Christmas Eve, to buy my turkey crown. Surprise of the century when I got there – no turkey crowns! Well, who would have believed that on Christmas Eve, the shop would have sold out of turkey. Clearly, my forward-planning skills have much improvement to make.

 

I looked sadly at the shelves, which were mostly bare, and spotted two candidates for Christmas lunch. One was a stuffed duck crown with a pork and orange stuffing. The other was a three bird roast; a pheasant, stuffed into a partridge, stuffed into a duck. Noticing all the wide-eyed panic around me, I grabbed both, held on tight and called my other half.

 

I’ve got stuffed duck crown or a three bird roast! Which do you want? There’s not much time! I might not make it out with anything!”

 

The, uh, the three bird roast! The three bird roast!” he yelled. “Good luck!”

 

Throwing the crown back on the shelf, I made a mad dash for the tills, holding my three bird roast protectively. A few people made eyes at it, longingly, but I pulled my jacket around it and kept my head down until my money was handed over and I was out of the shop, on the home straight.

 

That duck was one of the best meals I have ever eaten. I made a simple carrot and turnip mash on the side and we used the roasting juices to make gravy and we just ate and ate and ate. I couldn’t believe how amazing it was.

 

The following recipe is another thing I made to impress my brother and his wife when they came over for dinner. It’s a guesswork version of the first duck I ate, post-yoga.

 

Duck stir-fry

Olive oil

8 mini duck breast fillets (or two large, with the fat removed)

A few spring onions

A handful of oyster mushrooms

1 orange/red pepper

Hoisin sauce (plum sauce will also be fine)

1 white onion

1 garlic clove

Thick egg noodles

Sesame seeds

Put some hot water in a pan to boil.

Put a splash of olive oil into a wok and add the garlic clove and the onion, finely chopped. When everything has warmed up, add your pepper, sliced into long batons and mix everything around a bit. Add your duck fillets in, depending on the size, you can slice them smaller, if they look a bit too large.

While the duck is cooking, put your egg noodles into your pan of water, which should be boiling by now and give them a few minutes to cook. When cooked to al dente, drain the noodles and let them sit for a second.

Add the chopped oyster mushrooms to your pan with the duck and check your duck to see if it is cooked through. If it is, give the mushrooms a minutes or two to soften. Add your hoisin sauce in and stir immediately so everything gets coated. Then add your noodles in and mix again, so the sauce is evenly coating everything. Lastly, add in the spring onions, finely sliced, toss everything around a bit and serve, finishing with some sesame seeds, sprinkled on top.

I must just add a little aside to this Nanny Rhino post because my brother, having eaten the whole thing and the main and the dessert, asked, as we were sitting chatting, what was in the duck starter. As I listed the ingredients, he went “O! Mushrooms! I thought that was just bits of fat off the duck and I didn’t want to say anything.”

 

So I apparently come across as the type of woman who would serve up a stir-fry which had slabs of fat in it. I don’t know whether to be a little depressed over that.

Fun with eggs

I can just imagine the search terms people will enter today and end up here. Things like, ‘how to bake a cake with eggs’ or ‘how many eggs should I use in a quiche’ or something. And do you know what they’ll get? They’ll get a silly story about my first year of living in halls at university.

There were five of us girls, all sitting around, day in, day out, being all free and away from home. Actually, we started as a six-peice but one of us, we’ll call her Smelly, opted for a life of not washing or being present. We’d find old unwashed pots and pans hidden in her wardrobe when we entered to find all our stuff she had borrowed and never returned. It was like entering a dungeon.

Anyway, I procrastinate, as usual. So we were a five-peice. We spent a lot of time dancematting. I think I have skated over this issue briefly. Now is the time to explain what was really going on. I would play dance mat every day. Every single day. For hours. Hours and hours and hours. I would shower two, sometimes three, times a day following yet another sweat-filled session jumping around in front of the tv. I often had a bit of a limp when I walked. I had blisters on my big toes and my calves were so tight, I couldn’t walk down stairs properly. I had to turn sideways and step gingerly down, both feet on one stair, before being able to move to the next one. As I lived on the first floor and my walk to work took an hour, this became quite a problem.

Another thing we did to pass the time was to play The Egg Game. I don’t know who came up with it. I think it was the product of one of those discussions about wierd facts that surely can’t be true. Do eggs really cook in the microwave, was the discussion at hand.

We took eggs from the fridge, as clearly, the theory must be tested. We each had one. We each drew a face on our egg. We each placed our egg on the glass plate inside the microwave. We closed the door. We set the time going. And we watched. And we sang. And we sang louder in excitement until the singing was screams. We watched. And we screamed.

And nothing happened.

We stopped screaming. We watched. We got bored.

BANG!!

The door of the microwave was thrown open violently and cooked egg nonsense hurled itself out at us all. We SCREAMED and ran as though under attack. Then we laughed nervously, pretending we hadn’t been scared.

Were you scared? No, I wasn’t! Haha! Were you? Was I? No, of course not. No. I wasn’t. Not me…. Definitely not me…. Noooo… Nope.

We approached the eggy microwave and peered in. Only one had gone. Another was squealing threateningly and another had leaked a little and the leakage had cooked white.

There was only one thing for it. We removed the suicide bomber, closed the door and continued the experiment, gripping each other, nervously. One after another, each went. Some barely making a noise. Some throwing their entire contents against the walls of the microwave.

A brief clean up and breather got our heart rates back to normal and now we knew. The next time we were bored, we had a game to play. The Egg Game.

One time, we found a egg which has become legendary in the history of our friendship. The Long Egg. As the name suggests, it was an egg which was longer than your average. I forget exactly how the egg went, but I’m sure that, during it’s time on the battlefields of The Egg Game, it fought valiantly and with great courage. It left a little of itself forever ingrained into the nooks and crannies on the ceiling of it’s fighting arena, the bits you can’t get to with the cleaning wipes, you know.

We salute you, Long Egg. You have a special place in our hearts. Love from the inhabitants of Flat D.

(P.S. We also tried testing another rumour, that if you put a carrot in the microwave for ages then take it out and snap it in half, flames shoot out! This one, sadly, did not work.)