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Cover: A dish for all seasons

Less than 30 minutes

25Apr 12

Duck Fillet Stir Fry with Noodles

Duck Fillet Stir Fry with NoodlesI am sure that you have all tried a chicken stir-fry before, but have you tried it with duck? My recipe uses a meat that not many think to use very often.

Duck season runs from September to the end of February in the UK.  Duck fillet stir fry with noodles is a succulent, tasty, speedy, and low fat recipe – what more could you want?  It only takes 10 minutes to make, and is fit for a special occasion.

What you need:

  • 250g mini fillets of Gressingham Duck
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced
  • 100g broccoli, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 tbsp clear honey
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tsp hoisin sauce
  • 300g straight to wok medium noodles
  • 4 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • Handful of cashew nuts, unsalted, whole

What to do:

  1. Heat the sesame oil in a large wok or heavy-based frying pan and stir-fry the duck, broccoli and carrot for about 5 minutes on a high heat.
  2. Mix the hoisin and soy sauces together with the honey in a small bowl and leave to one side.
  3. Empty the packet of noodles into the frying pan with the duck and the vegetables, cooking them for 2-3 minutes, until they are piping hot throughout.
  4. Add the cashew nuts and continue to stir fry until the duck is thoroughly cooked. You will know it’s done when it is brown throughout, with no pink areas.  Once cooked, pour over the honey sauce, stir it in, and sprinkle over the spring onions.
  5. Serve in pretty bowls and eat with chopsticks!

10 minutes to prepare and cook

Makes: 2 main courses

A little more about the Gressingham duck…

There are many varieties of wild duck in the UK, but perhaps the most renowned and desired for cooking these days is the Gressingham duck, which is a crossbreed of wild Mallard and Pekin.  It’s well known for its high proportion of breast meat and great flavour.  At the right time of year, you’ll find Gressingham duck in most major supermarkets and in some independent shops.  It’s a domestic duck that differs from all others.  Whilst most breeds live in nature and across continents, the Gressingham duck is a recently developed breed which is produced exclusively by one company in East Anglia.  It has rapidly developed a very high reputation for quality.

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11Apr 12

Home-made Lemonade

Home-made lemonadeHome-made lemonade is incredible stuff.  It’s so very tasty and is simply bursting with vitamin C.  Great for kids and grown-ups alike!  I make jug loads of it throughout the spring and summer, usually to enjoy with friends when they come round to share good food with us on the terrace, but also for us to enjoy as a family. (If you prefer a more adult drink, try this refreshing mint julep.)

You can keep it covered in a jug in the fridge for a couple of days, but it’s so refreshing, especially if you drink it really cold with plenty of ice, that you’ll find it won’t last that long.  My mum used to make this regularly for us as kids.  We loved it, and still do!  This recipe makes fairly sweet lemonade, so if you prefer it a little more tart, vary the sugar accordingly.  If once you’ve made it, you decide that it’s too sweet for your palate, you can simply add more lemon juice to correct the balance.

 

What you need:

  • 250g sugar
  • 250ml water (to make the syrup)
  • 250ml juice of fresh lemons (4-8 lemons)
  • 1 lemon to slice for serving
  • 700 – 950ml cold water (for diluting)
  • Plenty of ice for serving
  • Sprig of mint to garnish

What to do:

  1. First we are going to make simple sugar syrup.  Put the sugar in a large heavy-based saucepan, and add the 250ml of water.  Gently heat the contents of the pan until the sugar has completely dissolved.
  2. Whilst you are dissolving the sugar into the water, squeeze the juice of around 4-6 lemons to make up the 250ml that you need.  Lemons can vary enormously in the amount of fresh juice that you can squeeze out of them.  You may need more lemons if you are squeezing them manually, or less if you are using a mechanical juicer.
  3. Pour the sugar syrup mixture into a large jug and stir in the freshly squeezed lemon juice.  Add the cold diluting water to taste (between 700ml and 950ml).
  4. Pop the jug in the fridge until you are ready to serve the lemonade with plenty of ice, a sliced lemon and the sprig of mint, or serve it immediately in the same way.

15 minutes to prepare

Makes 6 servings

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26Mar 12

Moules Mariniere

Moules MariniereMoules mariniere brings back memories of holidays in the south of France and close to the Spanish border where moules frites (mussels and chips) and mussels in Asturian cider are very popular.

British Mussels are in season in February.  If you’re lucky enough to find good ones, you will soon be making succulent and tasty mussels in a white wine and cream sauce, which you can enjoy as a starter, or as a main meal with nice hunks of granary bread, chips or a mixed salad.  It looks stunning in its presentation and is sophisticated to the palette.

Moules mariniere is most fun prepared in company, sampling the white wine together as you cook.  I use a splash of good white wine from the bottle I want to drink with the meal rather than a cheap cooking wine, which I believe improves the flavour significantly. Try this recipe with a very well chilled oaked chardonnay.

What you need:

  • 1.75kg fresh mussels
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 15g butter
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • 100ml white wine
  • 120ml double cream (substitute for light crème fraiche if desired)

What you do:

  1. Wash the mussels thoroughly, removing and binning any that have opened and don’t close when lightly pressed in your fingers.
  2. Remove the beards from the mussels – these are the tough and fibrous strands which stick out of the closed shells.  Rinse the mussels once again.
  3. Melt the butter in a large pan (which needs to be large enough for the mussels to reach only half way up the pan) and fry the shallots and the onion until soft.
  4. Splash in the wine and add the mussels.  Turn up the heat at this point, cover the pan with a lid, and steam the mussels for 3-4 minutes.  Whilst the mussels are cooking, move them about every now and then by gently shaking the pan; there’s no need to remove the lid to do this.
  5. Pour in the cream, add the coriander, and remove from the heat.

10-15 minutes to prepare and cook

Makes: 4 generous starters or light main meals

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