Hi there, invisible The Public.
It’s still diet-ahoy here so the only things I’ve been cooking up are reasons why I deserve a cheat and revenge plans for this one dickhead at the pool who is a regular in the fast lane when he is, at best, at the top end of slow. I had a run-in with him a week ago and was incredibly gratified to see, this morning, him being once more at the receiving end of a polite ticking off from a proper swimmer. Christ knows what his problem is – if he wanted to go faster the first thing he should do is wear a full-body swimsuit to get some kind of aerodynamic (waterodynamic?) shape going, and secondly he should stop freestyling with a bent arm. Freestylers (which in the UK is called Front Crawl, something I find really confusing as Front Crawl describes pretty much NewHuman’s current preferred mode of transport) who swim with a bent arm do my head in.
The good news is that the second pair of my swimmers (I wear two at a time for I am a Proper Swimmer) is now loose to the point of allowing a fair amount of unrestrained post-baby bosom to swing freely below the waterline. Not a great look but one which I have decided is not my problem and, if anything, provides a little more drag and, thus, free calorie burning. I’ve lost 341kg so far – woohoo! Only another 450kg to go.
E has been, as usual, a dream and responded to my not very subtle begging with a yum guest post. I love her.
Go forth and duck.
Hi! Me again. B is subsisting on hunks of meat and sheer bloody mindedness (known in sado masochistic circles as “low carb dieting”) and so asked me to contribute something. I’m contributing duck. It’s one of Jamie’s recipes, and it’s bloody delicious. It’s also very simple to cook and, I imagine, would be quite nice for a dinner party. I wouldn’t know about that because I never have dinner parties or guests.
For two you will need:
Two duck legs
7-8 ripe plums
4-5 star anise
Half a cinnamon stick
3 teaspoons Chinese five spice
4 tablespoons soy sauce (I ran out of light soy sauce and had to use a very dark version I picked up in an Asian supermarket a while back. It’s blacker than Bashar al-Assad’s soul and so will, after cooking, make the duck look burnt even though it isn’t. Use a lighter soy sauce if you can is what I’m trying to say. AND DONT JUDGE MY FINISHED DUCK FOR IT IS NOT BURNT)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1-2 chillies, deseeded or not, up to you. I left my seeds in because I quite enjoy searing pain followed by numbness
2 tablespoons demerara sugar
First, the duck needs to marinate. Overnight would be good, but who the hell plans ahead like that? (Me. Sometimes) Just marinate for as long as you can, but preferably for at least two hours. Chuck duck, star anise, cinnamon stick, five spice, soy sauce and olive oil in a plastic bag, seal however you see fit and squash and rub it all about for a bit. Be quite gentle so the star anise doesn’t pierce the bag. Pointy little buggers, star anise. Put in the fridge until needed.
About 2 to 2.5 hours before you want to eat take the duck out of the fridge and preheat your oven to about…..170 degrees or thereabouts. Jamie says 170 but my (fan assisted) oven is prone to sullen bouts of indiscriminate incineration, so I kept the temperature at about 150. Know your oven. Ovens are temperamental.
Halve the plums and put in a roasting tray that will give the duck legs a snug fit. Finely slice the chillies and throw over, along with the sugar.
Pour over the marinade, making sure to include the cinnamon stick and star anise. Mix everything up with your hands, because you’re rustic and cool.
Forget about that two seconds after the fact and rub your eyes, all itchy due to the moulting canine asshole living in your house. Now your eyes are itchy AND burny! Cry for an hour, apply wine liberally. Swear.
Plonk duck legs on top of the plum mixture and put in the preheated oven to roast.
Go to check on your oldest – suspiciously quiet for the past ten minutes – and find her fast asleep in the following gravity-defying position:
Now bedtime is utterly buggered! Yay! Anyway. The duck needs about 2 to 2.5 hours in the oven. The meat should come off the bone easily. The skin should be crispy. The whole thing ought to smell goddamn heavenly.
When it’s ready serve the duck and chunky plum sauce with whatever you fancy. I had it with basmati rice and some pak choi and broccoli stir-fried with oyster sauce, garlic and sesame seeds. ‘Twas delicious.