Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Spring Chicken? Try Spring Duck!

In the last couple of months I've been a bit of a slacker in the kitchen. Remember how last year I made so many dishes from scratch that I had to take a break? I toned it down a lot this year mainly because I just did not have the time. In addition, being a student and dealing with the VAT increase (sales tax!) meant even less money to spend on cooking/dining out. Combine it with loads of work and the last two months have consisted of eating my way through the cupboards/freezer (I made a list with all the ingredients and came up with dishes to make, sounds geeky but it was effective and cut my weekly shops in half price-wise). Now that I'm chained to my desk at home finishing up my dissertation, mealtimes again have become something to look forward to. I bought myself my favourite cooking magazine here in the UK (Delicious is the name) as a treat for finishing all my essays last week. I don't often buy it since it's a tad pricey for the student budget. At 3.95 GBP (that's a whopping $6.43!) an issue, every copy I do buy gets read and re-read and then after plenty of salivating and showing the boy I finally get around to trying the recipes. I've yet to make something that I haven't enjoyed.
I don't think I would enjoy cooking as much if I didn't regularly completely take myself out of my comfort zone. The new ingredients and methods keep it interesting and make me more keen to experiment with dishes on my own. I know my cooking has most certainly evolved! Before I went to college I knew how to make scrambled eggs, pasta, and my Grandmother's spaghetti sauce recipe. My dad's partner taught me how to bread and fry cutlets along with how to make some basic cream sauces days before I left for Scotland. After that it was really trial and error. I could make my mom's Swedish meatballs, but the roux was crap and it wasn't until a lot of practise later that I nailed it and transferred the skill to other dishes (macaroni and cheese, cauliflower cheese etc.). Cooking requires patience and passion. Every once in a while I'm reminded of how brilliant the reward is when you have both (luck doesn't hurt of course!) Tonight was one of those nights.I give you...

Nigella Lawson's Roast Duck and Potatoes (with Balsamic Glazed Carrots)...
This was AMAZING! I chose to have carrots instead of steamed greens and cooked them with a balsamic glaze. Recipe here (I halved it). The Nigella recipe was super easy but required a two hour cooking time (patience!). The duck stays super crispy because of the fact that you sear it before putting it in the oven over the potatoes (which absorb all the wonderful duck juices). Definitely heading back to the store to pick up extra duck legs (they're on sale this week for half price) to freeze for future meals! 

Freshly seared duck ready to go into the oven!
The final stretch...
On a side note I will add more potatoes next time.
The 518g (and it was meant to be 500g) weren't really enough...
Best Tuesday dinner ever!



(featured in April's delicious. Magazine pg. 101)

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

That looks soooo amazing. All I ate today was some almonds and then a spot of ice cream. Usually I cook more too, but this last month has been awful! Siiigh. The life of a student!

Lena said...

Thanks! It was pretty tasty and definitely easy on the eye. Ice cream and almonds sound amazing too though. What I wouldn't give for some yogurtland...