Saturday, August 10, 2013

5 spice duck breast

I had promised my Father when were in Naramata earlier this summer that I would cook one of his favourite things, duck breast, when we returned home.  So last week we went down to Granville Island and picked up two magret duck breasts.  We chose these as they were far more substantial than the regular breasts.  As it turned out it was a good job that we did as we had an unexpected guest for dinner and there was plenty of meat for three.  I love asian style duck and so decided to use some chinese 5 spice to flavour the duck.

2 duck breasts
2 tablespoons of 5 spice
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of white wine

Score the skin in diamond shapes (being careful to cut through the fat but not the meat) this helps the fat to render out. Rub the 5 spice and salt all over the breasts.

Place them skin side down in a heated frying pan and cook on medium high to high until most of the fat has melted and rendered out of the skin.  I poured about a cup of delicious duck fat in to a container to use at a later date to cook some potatoes in.

When the skin is crispy and most of the fat has rendered off pour as much fat off as you can and turn the breasts over.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Moroccan cous cous salad

This is a go to salad for me, when cooking for a crowd. It ticks all the boxes, it is quick and easy to make, keeps well without refrigeration and tastes good. Also it is something that can be made with items that are probably in your pantry right now. Nancy found a recipe for this a few years ago, neither of us can remember where, and it has definitely morphed over the years.

Cous cous is actually a very small pasta, though it looks like a grain. I made this the other evening when we were enjoying yet another beautiful warm evening and wanted to throw dinner together quickly with out shopping.

Feeds 6

1 cup of cous cous
2 cups of boiling water or hot chicken stock
1 teaspoon of ground cardamom
1 small can of garbanzo beans or half a large
1 bunch of green onion chopped
1/3 cup of chopped dates (or raisins)
1/3 cup of roasted almonds slivered or chopped
Juice of one lemon
1/4 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup chopped mint
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Put the cous cous  and cardamom into a bowl and add the boiling water and 1 teaspoon of salt or stock.

Cover with a plate or saran wrap and leave for at least 5 minutes.  The cous cous will absorb the liquid and should be dry enough to seperate when picked up with a fork.

While the cous cous is absorbing the liquid prepare all the other ingredients.