Thursday, 22 April 2010


....This makes use of one of my favorite easy ingredients; the Duck Confit

For the Confit - Roast
--1/2 to 2/3 duck (confit)-patted dry (remove excess fat) and kept whole as possible
--1/4 tsp ground coriander
--1/4 tsp ground ginger powder
--1/4 tsp roasted fennel seeds
--2 star anise pods
--1 clove
--1 piece canela cinnamon stick 1 inch long

For the Curry:
--2 1/2 cups coconut milk (use a thai brand they are the creamiest and thats what we want)
--1/4 cup red curry paste (Mae Ploy brand is best in my opinion)
--10 fresh/frozen keffir lime leaves (if dried use about 15 of them)
--1 tbsp thai palm sugar or packed dark brown sugar
--1 1/2 tbsp fish sauce/nam pla (Squid is a good brand)
----1 cup fresh pineapple chunks (1 inch pieces)
----1 cup red grapes sliced in half
--10 - 15 cherry tomatoes
--small handful green beans - trimmed and chopped into 1 inch lengths
--6 thai chilies or 2 red chilies cut into rings (remove seeds at your own discretion)
--leaves from about 8 - 10 stems of thai basil  (You can use italian sweet basil too - use about 6 stems and tear large leaves in half)
--Steamed Jasmine rice for serving

Roasting the Confit:

Preheat over to about 400f or 220c.
Make sure to remove as much fat from the duck as you can man. Place duck on roasting tray.
Take the whole spices and grind into a powder and then combine with the powdered spices. Gently rub this mixture onto the duck pieces and coat evenly.
NOTE: You dont have to spice the duck, but I recommend it!
Place spiced duck in oven and roast until skin/outside of duck is nice and crisp while still being succulent underneath.
Set aside.

Preparing the Curry:

Heat 1 cup of the coconut milk in a large pot over medium heat until it just about boils. Reduce heat to med-low and let milk reduce another 5 mins. Whisk in curry paste - this is best done by adding small chunks/pieces of the paste slowly as opposed to dumping in a large clump. Continue to simmer another 5 mins until mixture smells intensely great.

Put the duck pieces gently in the pot and allow to heat through. Add remaining coconut milk, lime leaves and 1 cup of water. Stir to incorporate and bring heat back up to medium high. Bring to a boil then reduce heat again to medium low. Wait about 3 minutes and then add the pineapple/grapes, palm sugar, fish sauce, and chilies. Continue to simmer until pineapple breaks easily with the side of a spoon. If using grapes just simmer for about 3 minutes.

Add in the tomatoes, green beans and basil leaves. Cook until tomatoes are very soft, about 3 minutes. By now the duck has probably shredded itself into the sauce no? I like that. SERVE IT UP with some rice. Now. Enjoy. 

And we had a desert.....

1 1/2 cups precooked basmati/jasmine rice
3 cups coconut milk (creamy thai variety)
3 tbsp palm sugar - chopped/grated (ultimately this is an estimate, you may want it sweeter or not so sweet)
2 cloves
1/4 cup desicatted shredded coconut

Place all ingredients in a slow cooker or large pot and cook on medium-low heat until coconut milk has seriously reduced and the rice is starting to smooth out into the milk.

Serve with peanuts on top or chunks of medjool dates (like we did).
Enjoy late in the evening.......

Friday, 16 April 2010

Diff Pasta - no tomatoes

 Here is a quick and easy non tomato based pasta as requested by a reader here at the food image recipe emporium.

1 lb of broccolini rabe - chopped into long slender bits and small floret pieces * * * (you can use regular broccoli or tender stem broccoli if you want, however rabe has a nice mustard kick that really helps in this dish) 
250g / 1/2 lb ORECCHIETTE pasta (small half-sphere-like pasta from Puglia, if not these then use something small and round)
3 tbsp Extra Virgina Olive Oil
1 hot red chile - chopped (you can also just use 1tsp red pepper flakes, just add it in at the end)
2 cloves garlic - diced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (or more if you like)

Put a large pot of salted water on high heat. When it is at a rolling boil put both the pasta and broccolini in. Stir and let cook until Orecchiette is al dente (soft but not mushy, slight bit of firmness...whatever). BEFORE YOU DRAIN RESERVE A 1/3 CUP OF THE PASTA WATER! Drain veggies and pasta. 

Using either the same pot or a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add in anchovies if using and red chili. Break anchovies up with wooden spoon until disintegrated into oil (don't let chili burn though). Add in garlic and fry just for a minute DONT LET IT BROWN! Quickly add drained pasta and broccoli and the reserved pasta water and toss well to incorporate (if using red pepper flakes add them now). Salt to taste and throw in a good bit of fresh grated black pepper.

Put parmesan on table so that people can add that stuff on according to their own liking.


Monday, 12 April 2010


India Love
What have we here? A request for recipies from the Indian sub-continent has appeared on these here pages and I intend to fulfill said favor.

Let us start with some classic North Indian style, hardy curry, rice, creamy slow cooked dal and a simple yogurt salad.

MALAI MUTTER PANEER (Creamy Peas and Cheese)

1 (12oz?) block of paneer (indian frying cheese - or if you cant find this and your in the States use Mexican Queso Fresco just take care it doesnt melt) cubed 
3 cloves garlic - peeled and chopped
3 shallots (smaller ones) - chopped
1 small onion - chopped
1x1 inch piece of ginger - peeled and chopped
2 red chiles - seeded all except half of one then chopped
3 tbsp peanut/coconut oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp fennel seeds (optional but good)
12 oz can of chopped tomatoes (make sure they are JUST tomatoes - no seasoning)
2 tbsp tomatoe puree/paste
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 cup peas - frozen or fresh
1 tsp sea salt 
3 tbsp heavy cream (can omit if you dont want the extra artery clogging)
1/2 tsp garam masala
2 tbsp chopped coriander/cilantro
.....looks like alot right? Well if you want to make indian dishes I suggest you get alot of these spices anyways... keep them in one of these if you can find one: 

First take the cubed Paneer and place on a slightly greased baking sheet and broil until golden brown around edges. Alternately fry cheese in a bit of oil. Either way drain the broiled/fryed cubes on paper towels.

Take the garlic, onions, shallots, ginger, and chillies and place in a food processor with a bit of water and blend to a smooth paste. If you dont have a blender then just dice everything or use a mortar and pestle.

Heat oil over medium heat. When oil is hot throw in cumin and fennel seeds and let them sizzle for about 10 seconds (remember they need to sizzle not just sit in the oil so get the oil hot enough for that). Immediately toss in the paste. Stir and fry until paste is dry about 5 mins.

Add in chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, turmeric, ground coriander/cumin and 1/2 cup of water. Stir well and allow mixture to cook down over medium low heat until tomatoes disintegrate, about 20 minutes. Then add salt and peas and stir. Allow peas to heat through and continue to cook down. When sauce is good and thick add in the paneer cubes. Allow paneer to heat through and absorb the flavors of the curry about 5 mins.

Then turn heat to low and stir in the cream if using. Cook another 2 mins checking if the sauce is too runny or too thick. If too thick add a few tbsp of water, if too thin cook down for an additional 5 mins or so. Then add in the garam masala and coriander/cilantro. Stir well, check seasoning and serve.

1 cup dry yellow split peas (or if you can find it Toor Dal) - picked over
2 tbsp peanut/coconut oil or ghee
1 tbsp BLACK mustard seeds
1 dried red chili - broken up
1 small onion - diced
1 clove garlic - chopped
3 cups water
1/2 tsp turmeric
salt to taste

Place split peas in bowl and cover with water. Swish peas around in water until water becomes very cloudy. Strain water out of bowl and repeat the process 2 more times to clean peas thoroughly.

Heat oil/ghee over medium heat in pot (must have lid) until hot. Sprinkle in the mustard seeds and put lid on pot as the seeds will sputter. Wait until popping of seeds stops then remove lid and add in the dried chili and fry for about 10 seconds. Add in onions and stir well. Cook until translucent. Add the garlic and fry very quickly until soft (dont let garlic brown!). Add the split peas into the pan and stir very well until the peas are coated with oil and shiny.

Then add the water to the pan. Bring to a boil, add in turmeric and stir. Turn heat to low, place lid on pot with a crack opening and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes stirring every now and again.

After 30 mins or so check the dal. If it is to thick add water and cook more, if to thin just keep cooking. When the peas have disintegrated and the consistancy is fairly smooth your in the money.

Add salt to taste, garnish with raw tomatoes or cilantro if wanted and serve.
1/2 cup of thick yogurt (Mediterranean or Indian variety if possible) 
1/2 cucumber diced
1/2 red onion - diced
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp chili powder (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
and one of the following depending on season/mood:
couple of boiled beets - diced
red bell pepper - diced
tomato - diced


Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. If mix is too clumpy add a bit of water. Serve. 

So now you have a nice dinner here. You should have either some plain basmati rice, or some Indian flat breads to accompany your saucy happy meal. I generally place rice in the middle of the plate and curries around it. If you feel lazy on the salad tip just serve up some plain yogurt. Yogurt is great because it helps the digestion and cools the heat inna yuh mouth.
And always serve with some chutney, Mango Chutney is desired here. (Maybe some chutney recipes soon? I usually just buy them in the jar)....

Enjoy these recipes and do

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Duck Confit - Easy Fat Dinner

So if your from the states you might not know too much about Duck Confit. No thats not right, how bout if you grew up in an Atlanta suburb you might never have come across it.

So what is duck confit?
Essentially a fat based meat preserve.
Duck confit consists of cooking duck down in its own fat and then letting it mature while submerged by fat which acts as a preservative. Or thats how I seem to say it.

Duck Bearnaise

serves a bunch of people along with some salad or something.

1 tub of duck/goose/pheasant confit (should have 3/4 of a bird in it)
3 shallots - diced
3-4 nice potatoes (maris piper is my favorite type) washed, chopped, submerged in water
1 large parsnip - chopped like the potatoes
a bunch of oyster mushrooms - chopped (OPTIONAL)
1 glass of dry white wine
1 clove garlic - diced
4 tbsp chopped parsley

So what you will be doing is essentially seperating the pieces of duck from the fat they come in, using the fat to cook down the veggies, and then adding the duck pieces to the veggies.

First - seperate the pieces of duck from the fat that they came in. Wipe the duck pieces clean with some paper towel and then break them up into little pieces of meat and bone (you will find the duck tender enough for this and if its not tender enough for breaking up then its probably not a good confit).

Second - place 2 tablespoons of confit fat into a large pan over a medium heat. When fat liquifies add in shallots, potatoes and parsnip. (If using mushrooms use a bit more fat and add them in 2 minutes after the potatoes/parsnip). Cook until potatoes and parsnip brown up a bit and shallot is translucent. Now stir in the garlic and cook until it is soft (about a minute). Then add the glass of wine and lower heat just a bit. Continue to cook until steam coming from pan is no longer alchohol-ish (until the alcohol evaporates).

Third - Add duck pieces/shreds into pan and stir. All you want to do is heat the duck so turn the heat down if you hear lots of sizzling. Let duck heat up and then add in parsley. Stir and serve with some salad and grainy bread. I prefer an arugula and lambleaf salad with a spicy grain mustard dressing - it really cuts the hearty duck dish.

Good with either white or red wine. French preferably.

By the way this post was accidentally put up earlier as a rough draft. sorry