Tag Archives: celebration

It’s Pimm’s a clock.. giving the British a bit of a shock..

5 Aug

I think most of us know by now that the Brits are well known for their drinking habits.. and not necessarily their eating habits or great food!  In this case, they might feel a little bit sensitive about using their world famous Pimms in a crispy duck dish! Some of them might say that I’m “well right cheeky” for even attempting it.

If there is one thing about the British that is a guarantee ( which I hope will make this dish a selling point ) – they love fruit!  In all forms. Dried fruit, fresh fruit, fruit with chocolate, fruit as dessert, fruit as a treat, fruit & biscuits… they will have fruit with almost anything possible, even hot chocolate! So basically, this is almost like Forest Gump and Bubba with their little “shrimpin” business.

Joining in on the whole “cook only what is in season” craze, I have jumped on the bandwagon too!  If you can buy 2 punnets of blackberries for £2 –  no1, you have to buy it, it’s cheap!!  No2,  if your family,  or my (now) increased – appetite- non- stop – eating (always hungry) husband does NOT eat fruit, you have to get creative! And so we come round to the duck.. which seems to be in season for quite some time.. as it is unbelievably affordable.. and always makes me feel “well noble”!

Duck is a very fatty poultry, but exquisite when all the fattiness and crispy skin is combined with something sweet, spicy and acidic to cut through it. So, the 3 main musketeers for this recipe is Duck, Blackberries & Blackberry & Elder flower Pimms.

Crispy duck with blackberries  & Pimms

3 x duck legs

1 punnet of blackberries ( about 2 handfuls)

2 teaspoons of cumin seeds

Salt & pepper to taste

75ml blackberry & elderflower Pimms ( any blackberry liqueur if you don’t have Pimms)

4 x small wedges of lemon

Make sure your duck legs are room temperature. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Tip: The key to this dish is also to have a heavy based, shallow frying pan that can be used on the hob and in the oven.


Season your duck legs with freshly ground pepper and salt and rub it into the meat. Now, heat your frying pan. It needs to be nice and hot, similar to frying a steak. When the pan is hot, place the duck legs skin (fat) side down. You want it to fry till the skin is nice, crispy and brown.

When the skin is crispy, sprinkle the cumin seeds over the duck, before turning it over (skin side facing up)  to cook the other side of the legs. Be careful, the heat will make the cumin seeds shoot around like little popcorn kernels. As soon as you’ve turned it around, add the Pimms, making sure that you don’t pour it over the crispy skin. Pour it around the duck. The top, crispy side of the skin should be “Pimms free”.

Now, take some of the blackberries and place them around the duck in any available space. I usually place a few around the duck and then use the rest as a cushion for the duck to lie on, placing them underneath the duck.


Take the lemon wedges and place the skin side up around the duck. Place in the oven for 45mins. Tip: Do not cover with a lid or foil, because you want the skin to stay crispy.


I usually serve this with a tomato, mozzarella & basil salad, and some creamy mash with the sweet and zesty sauce cutting through the creamy mash.  You can also serve it with fresh , crusty bread and dip the bread in the blackberry and duck sauce, or even serve with some plain, simple and delicious jasmine or basmati rice. Enjoy!



Follow with a beefy celebration roast

1 Feb

If you read my previous post, you will know that I am focusing on recipes that I created when I made our Christmas Feast. My tarzan is still dreaming about this. I always thought that I will never meet anyone else that enjoys a roast as much as him, but that was until I met our friend Daniel and his wife Emily. These two are from Venezuela, and I am telling you, they probably love their meat just as much as South Africans, if not more!

This was one of the reasons why we had such a meat feast on Christmas day, yes, my feeder symptoms are getting worse!

I remember the first time I had to cook a beef roast – I was terrified! From when I can remember, I have never seen my mother, or anyone else for that matter cook a beef joint. I think it is just not a popular choice in SA. However, I quickly found out that over here it is on top of the list! The secret to cooking a big beef joint is to make sure it is still pink inside.

The first time – I made the mistake to cook it as you would a pork shoulder – for a few hours.  With a beef roast, it only needs a maximum of an hour ( in my opinion), depending on the size. You guessed it, today I will share my beef roast recipe! If, as in my previous post, you DO have the time, take 200ml of the wine from the recipe, pour over the joint, cover with cling film and allow to marinate in the fridge overnight.

Coriander beef roast

Coriander beef roast


Coriander, rosemary and red wine Beef Roast

1 x Beef roast joint (2-3kg)

1 teaspoon ground coriander

2 1/2 tablespoons of whole coriander seeds, roughly ground in a mortar & pestle

400ml red wine (preferably Shiraz)

1 tablespoon of olive oil

3 sprigs of  fresh rosemary

2 teaspoons of chopped garlic

pinch of salt

pinch of black pepper

1 large onion

Something that I have learnt over the last year ( which most of YOU probably knew already) is that it is always good to remove your meat from the fridge at least 30 – 45 minutes before you start preparing it to go into the oven. Its almost like the texture and flavour changes because of this. So, remember to take it out of the fridge. If you have marinated it overnight, remove it from the red wine, pat dry with kitchen towel and place on a work surface.

Preheat your oven to 170 degrees celcius. Get your roasting tin. Cut your onion in half. Place both, cut side down, along each other in the tin ( the distance of the size of your beef joint) as this will be the “foundation blocks” for the joint. The joint’s ends will be placed on the onion halves, allowing it to be lifted from the tin slightly.

Red wine coriander beef roast

Red wine coriander beef roast

Take all your spices (excluding the rosemary), salt & pepper and mix with the olive oil and garlic in a bowl. Now comes the messy part – scoop the mixture into your hands and massage it all over the joint. Place the joint on the onions. Now, pur the 200ml red wine ( or 400ml if you didn’t marinate overnight)  around the joint and toss the fresh rosemary in the wine, around the joint.

Cover with foil and place in the oven for 45 minutes. Then, remove the foil, baste the beef with the red wine juices and place back in the oven for another 15 minutes.

Meat Feast

Meat Feast


Celebratory Duck – It looks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, so it has to be a duck…

24 Aug

Or so it was…. before I picked it up in the supermarket ;-p Ahh… just like water of a duck’s back! Effortless! That is today’s dish 🙂 I know, I have neglected my little love post. However, after being woman down with the stomach flu, (No, it wasn’t dodgy chinese duck) I am now back on track, overly focused and inspired, so I felt like inspiring my inner food goddess today! I finished a contract on monday, so I was literally like a “duck in water”! Happy as can be, relaxing, working on my new little jewellery venture, picking up a package from my loving mother, all the way from SA, and coming home, inspired to cook a lovely dinner 🙂

This is also a little celebratory dinner for the hubby as he passed his exams!! And as I, the do-gooder wife ( tssskk tssssk) joined him at the gym today as another present, he has no excuse to feel guilty for enjoying this little delicacy!! To me, duck has always been “rich man’s food”. Although, if you think about it, I grew up next to a dam with millions of ducks! However, I would never dream of killing one to eat, they are such lovely little things 🙂 Away with the guilt, since I no longer live in that little paradise, I thought what harm would come from enjoying one aspect of it , in a certain sense 🙂  It sounds like a lot of work, but this is a “love and leave” dish 🙂 Everything in one tray, poke an eye on them every now and then, and it turns into lovely, golden delicious dreams 🙂 Easy as pie!

Celebratory Duck

2 Duck Breasts

2 potatoes, peeled and cut into medium chunks

1 teaspoon of olive oil

4-5 cloves of garlic, slightly crushed, in it’s skin

a handful of dried apricots

Salt & Pepper to taste

handful of fresh thyme

Veggie stirfry

1 red pepper

handful of mangetout

handful of baby corn

4 spring onions

2 tablespoons of soya sauce

1 tablespoon of honey

1 teaspoon of rice wine vinegar

1 teaspoon of olive oil

5 mushrooms, sliced

1 cup of finely sliced carrots

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Now, get yourself a casserole pan that can go into the oven, or any pan that can go into the oven. Season your duck breasts with salt and pepper. Pour in your olive oil and heat your pan up. Place the duck breast fat/skin side down. Now add your garlic, still in it’s skin.

Make sure you hear the slight crackling sound when the skin on the duck starts to brown. It will create a lot of cooking juices from the skin. When the skin is lovely and brown, add your potatoes, and mix them about so that they are coated in the juices. Now sprinkle over your thyme.

Place in the oven for 45 mins. While this is in the oven, you can work on your veggies.

Add your oil to a heated pan and add the veggies.

Add your mushrooms last.

Add your soya sauce, vinegar and honey and fry until tender, but still firm. When your duck is done, dish up and savour the moment 🙂 Utter bliss!