Friday, 23 March 2012

Food memories

When we were back in Adelaide recently for Womad we also caught up with family.

We have lived away from family for a long time.

All of us kids have moved around the place.

Whenever we get together it usually involves a meal to celebrate.

All of my siblings are great cooks.

We grew up with food that was about celebrating.

And so it still goes.....

It doesn't have to be and isn't always complicated.

In fact sometimes it is food at it's most simple.

It's pared back gloriousness.

It is about the people that it brings together.

I have always loved that.

I hope I always will.

Yes food is what sustains us.....sustains our physical growth & survival.

But the survival of the soul is just as important non?

I love that it is the occasion that helps you remember a dish.

A food memory.

On this trip back to Adelaide my sister cooked lunch for us.

It was totally delicious & so beautiful to share it with her gorgeous family.

I had no idea she was creating such deliciousness behind the scenes.

It was all done before our family arrive to spend the day with hers.

Brought out to the table effortlessly at lunchtime as cousins & siblings sat to eat together.

My kids LOVED it.


We all LOVED it.

I vowed to try it when we got home.

My sister & I shared emails about the recipe so that I could cook it again, only for me to discover that I have had that recipe for years without ever noticing.

I'm glad though because now it will always remind me of that day and of her.

A very happy food memory.

N.B: This recipe is adapted from a recipe in Madhur Jaffrey's Far Eastern Cookery.

TeoChew cuisine originates from the Chaoshan region in the most North Eastern region of the Guangdong province of China.  It's focus is on braising, steaming & poaching.  My favourite Chilli oil is from this region.
If you have been afraid to handle duck thinking it is too hard or tricky- this is a great starting dish. It is relatively simple with AMAZING results.
It can easily be made a day ahead (in fact you may find it beneficial to do this for flavour & ease) and re-heated.
You can use duck pieces if you wish but I used a whole duck. It won't matter either way- in fact you may find it easier to use smaller pieces. But do use duck with bones (it will give you far superior flavour) such as Maryland pieces.

  • 1 whole duck
  • 1 teaspoon of my salt & pepper mix (recipe here)
  • 1 teaspoon heat tolerant oil (I used Rice Bran oil)
  • 3 cloves garlic 
  • 6 whole spring onions
  • 2 cups Chinese Rice wine or dry sherry
  • 4 tablespoons Dark soy
  • 1 tablespoon Light soy (light soy while being lighter in colour is FAR higher in salt content)
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
  • 3 whole star anise
  • 8-10 slices of fresh ginger
  • 600ml water
Trim duck of any excess fat.

Pat duck dry with kitchen paper.

Rub the duck generously with the Salt & Pepper mix.

Put the oil into a non stick pan & heat to high.

Place the duck in the pan skin side down. 

It may be a good idea to place a splatter cover over the pan.

Let duck sear & colour- there is no need to turn or move the duck.  Don't be afraid to let it sit for about 5 minutes or until you see a nice brown colour.

This process also helps render off the fat of the duck & gives the duck a gorgeous colour.

Remove and set aside.

Now place all other ingredients at the bottom of a large pot (except the water).

Place the duck on top and add water.

Cover & simmer gently for 45 minutes.

Turn the duck pieces and simmer covered for another 45 minutes.

Now remove the cover and turn the heat to medium for about 7 minutes.

Turn the duck again and cook for another 7 minutes.

Remove duck carefully & put on a plate to cool.

Strain the broth.

Cut the duck into portions.

If you are cooking ahead of time let the broth cool - then place in fridge.
The remaining fat will solidify & allow you to easily remove before re-heating.

Re-heat the duck by placing the pieces in a pan with the duck broth and bring it back to heat.

Serve with steamed Rice and a little of the broth poured over the top.

I served it with my Sichuan Shredded Potatoes on the side- recipe here

Place the broth at the table so more can be added!

Loving Bonnie "Prince" Billy's new album...this song is from it.


  1. I just love duck! I have to be careful letting MyBoy order at some restaurants or be prepared to pay the price...of duck! Kids have good taste. So good!

  2. I love the idea of food & memories being connected! This looks yummy by the way!

  3. i love when people who are good cooks make me food. It's so much fun when you're together!


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