Speaking of duck. Check out this fluky piece of latte art I pulled off a couple of months ago.
I love duck. If it’s on the menu at a restaurant, and I’m not paying, I’ll order it every time. I was thrilled, last time I was checking out the meat section at Coles, to find whole ducks for $17.99. I bought one. Tonight, I cooked it. Duck a l’orange style. That’s how I’m spelling it anyway. I mostly followed this recipe here, but I made a few additions.
It was spectacular. I served it with roasted baby carrots, potatoes and garlic.
Here are some grainy iPhone photos.
I was a little surprised to unwrap the duck to find the neck still attached.
I salted the skin and pricked little holes in it (following that recipe) to let the fat drip out during cooking.
This was my little tray of veggies.
Here’s the duck after an hour. It took about three and a half hours to cook.
The sauce was orange juice (squeezed by hand, with a fair bit of pulp), roughly a cup of moscato, a spoon full of orange marmalade, and some of the duck fat. I reduced it a fair bit, basically until it was a syrup. I cut a couple of slices from the middle of each orange to make my candied orange garnish (one of my additions).
I tipped a few lid-fulls of castor sugar (from one of those CSR bottle things… I think they’re CSR bottles) into a fry pan with a dash of water, and let it heat for a little while. Then I dropped my orange pieces in and tried to caramelise them. They ended up tasting a bit like marmalade and being a nice sticky texture. Perfect.
This sauce had been sitting for a while (as I finished off the veggies) a quick stir settled the oil (from the duck juices) back into the orange syrup. Delicious.
At my biggest little sister’s high school graduation – or maybe it was my middle little sister’s (they’re all a blur to me) – the school principal made a rather vacuous speech featuring a joke about a duck. A duck that walked into a bar looking for bread. I won’t retell it here. But his take on it was that the duck was persistent and would ultimately get what it wanted. It was a bad speech.
Jokes about bars are as old as bars. Probably. There are a whole lot of bar jokes in the comments of this blog here. Which also retells the duck joke. And explores the history of bar jokes. A bit. It’s actually an interesting blog. I just added it to my burgeoning list of google reader subscriptions.
We’ve spent our first couple of days in New Zealand in and around the city known by airlines all over the globe as Chch. Actually that’s not true. By Australian standards we’ve been around it – but two hours travel in New Zealand is a relatively long distance. In the truest sense of the word. Relatively that is. Whether or not it’s the truest sense of the word distance is a subjective matter and for you, the reader, to decide.
Christchurch is a city that resonates with me. Maybe it’s the name – which for a Christian is about as theologically “home” as I can be. It feels like Melbourne – or at the very least the block we’re staying in does. Other parts feel decidedly country townish. The fact that the sun doesn’t go down until 10pm makes the CBD feels a bit like a ghost town.
The surprisingly large number of cafes and restaurants are still closed for the Christmas period adds to that effect. But there are some nice bars, cafes and pubs within the immediate vicinity of our accommodation, and a nice creek/river/brook running through parks around the city centre making the city aspect altogether pleasing. Trams are another similarity with Melbourne. The restaurant tram would be an interesting experience I’m sure – but our desire to see New Zealand without breaking the bank meant tonight’s dinner at least was bolognese – with the ingredients picked up at the local “Pak’n’Save”… which is a grocery experience unrivalled by anything I’ve seen in Australia.
I mentioned the Honey Pot in my last post – but their open grill sandwhiches deserve another plug for outstanding flavour combinations, especially the homemade chutney.
The coffee on the other hand – in this case a cappuccino – came garnished with so much chocolate powder Robyn suggested spooning it off to make hot chocolate back in our hotel room.
Last night’s dinner was at a Chinese restaurant with a generic, forgetable name. Having a Chinese speaker (or a learner) at the table with us was an advantage – the Chinese pages of the menu were designed to obfuscate dishes the owner felt westerners like us would not appreciate. The helpful waiter recommended the place up the road if we were on the lookout for authentic Chinese cuisine. But we stayed. The crispy duck was sensational – as duck is wont(on) to be. The Chinese beer – the Tsingtao – was also good.
I told Robyn’s little sister that we’d book some haunted accommodation to really make her first (and mine) overseas jaunt extra dramatic. She’s a dramatic person. There’s a wind tunnel type effect creating ghost noises outside our room at Living Space – and we had to furnish the room with our own ghosts to complete the experience.
Today we made the trek to Arthur’s Pass – from the comfort of our car. I’ll have none of that stuff the kiwis call “tramping” on my holiday. I’ll have to write about that later – we’re off to Hamner Springs early on the morrow.