Party

4th August
2012
written by Nibblish

Crispy duck is a legendary chinese classic. While the traditional way to prepare Chinese crispy duck takes forever, it’s certainly not the only way to achieve a delicious Peking style crispy duck at home. Here is a dead easy recipe to prepare the best peking style crispy duck within a couple of hours – so easy in fact that I decided to add the extra challenge of making my own pancakes…

Ingredients:

Crispy duck:
1 whole duck 1.5 – 2kg, rinsed and dried well
3-4 tbsp salt
1-2 tbsp Chinese Five Spice
4 cm piece of ginger
3-4 spring onions
1 cucumber
2 red chilis
Plum sauce

Homemade pancakes:
275g plain flour
250ml water, just boiled
2 tablespoons sesame oil
Extra flour for dusting

peking style

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. To prepare the duck, rub it inside and out with a lot of salt and then just all over with five spice. Grate some fresh ginger to rub the cavity and place more five spice and the leftover ginger into the duck’s cavity to flavour.

2. Place duck in a tray and roast in the hot oven for 1-1½ hours, or until cooked through. Spoon regularly the excess fat over the skin to baste.

3. If you decide to make your own pancakes – now is the time start making your dough. In a large bowl, pour all of the flour and gradually add in the hot water, mixing constantly. Place the dough onto a dusted work surface and knead it for 5-10 minutes and leave it to rest for 30 minutes, covered with a damp cloth.

4. Finely slice the cucumber, spring onion and chili and place on a tray.

5. Back to your dough. Dust a bit of flour over your work surface, stretch and knead the dough for another 5 minutes or until smooth. Roll it into a long sausage, and chop it into 18 equal pieces. Roll each portion back into a small ball.

6. Check your bird – if the skin isn’t quite crispy enough, turn the temperature up to 220°C. Pour the excess duck fat out of the tray and spoon a little over the duck skin to baste it one last time. Place into the hot oven for 10-20 minutes or until the skin is really crispy.

7. Back to your pancakes – the traditional method is to make two pancakes at a time. Take two of the balls, dip one side of one ball into sesame oil and place on top of the other ball. With a rolling pin, roll the 2 pancakes simultaneously into a 15 cm disk. Place the double pancake into a frying pan over gentle heat for a few minutes until dry and cooked. Allow to cool, and peel the two pancakes apart. If you’re struggling with the traditional method, just do one at a time!

8. Remove duck from the oven and leave to cool and rest for 5-10 minutes. Shred the meat off the bones using a fork or your fingers, place on a serving tray with the crispy skin. Serve the meat with warm pancakes, cucumber, spring onion and plum sauce. Et voila!


If making your own pancakes is a bit too much for you, skip steps 3, 5 & 7, buy pre-made ones and reheat in a steamer or microwave! As a gluten-free variant, make gluten free savoury pancakes with gluten-free flour, eggs, water, milk and butter!

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1st May
2011
written by Nibblish

The first time I had Pavlova, or even heard of it as a matter of fact, was 3 years ago as I was celebrating my first Australian Christmas. And I have to say, good on ya Aussies! It may be dead simple, but it’s bloody tasty!

Ingredients: (serves 6)

5 eggwhites
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp cornstach
1 1/3 cups caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup thickened cream
3-4 kiwis, peeled and sliced
2 bananas, peeled and sliced
100g fresh or frozen raspberries
1/2 small bunch of fresh mint (to serve)

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Whisk the egg-whites with cream of tartar in a large bowl using an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating constantly until fully dissolved and the mixture looks thick and glossy. Finish the last spoon of sugar with the cornstarch. Fold in the vanilla extract.

pavolva

2. Draw one large 24cm or 6 small circles on a sheet of baking paper and place it on a baking tray. Spoon meringue onto the circle on the baking paper and shape it into a circle, using the pencil mark as a guide.

3. Reduce oven to 100°C and bake for 90 minutes or until dry and crisp. Turn off the oven, open the door slightly and let the pavlova cool completely to avoid it to sink during cooling. In the meantime, whip the cream until thick and rich.

4. Slide pavlova onto a serving plate, cover with cream, top with sliced fruit and a sprig of mint. Serve.

I like to make little individual pavlovas instead of a large one because it tends to be a bit crispier and also looks really elegant on the plates. You can prepare the meringue base a couple days ahead and store it in an airtight container and put it together in 5 minutes just before serving!

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10th April
2011
written by Nibblish

I decided to start making my own Scotch eggs after witnessing my boyfriend struggling to satisfy his odd British craving in Sydney. Since I hate the idea of deep-frying anything, I also tweaked the classic recipe for a healthier version using only just a touch of oil spray and a hot oven!

healthy scotch egg recipe

Ingredients: makes 10 eggs

10 eggs
1/2 onion, very finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1/2 bunch coriander, finely chopped
3 tbsp worcester sauce
500g Pork mince
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Plain flour, to dust
Breadcrumbs, to coat
2 eggs, lightly beaten to coat
Oil spray

scotch egg recipe

Instructions:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees. Place 10 eggs in a saucepan, cover with cold water, bring to the boil and boil for 10 minutes. Rinse under cold water to cool completely, peel and dust with a bit of flour so that the surface is nice and dry.

2. In the meantime, combine the onion, garlic, chilli, herbs, worcester sauce and mince. Season with salt & pepper, mixe well and divide the mixture into 10 even portions.

scotch egg recipe

3. To assemble to scotch eggs, mould half of one portion flat in the cup of your hand. Place a hard-boiled egg into it and shape the rest of the meat around to enclose. Roll it between your hands to smooth the surface. Repeat with the remaining eggs.

healthy scotch egg assemblage process

4. Roll each egg in the egg wash and breadcrumbs and set aside. Repeat with the other eggs.

5. When you have assembled all of the scotch eggs, place them onto an oven tray lined with baking paper. Spray with oil and bake on high heat for 20 minutes. Spray again lightly, change the oven setting and grill for another 5 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.

healthy scotch egg recipe

Scotch eggs are great sliced over a green salad for a light dinner, or simply packed for a picnic or a lunch box! Mini scotch eggs using quail eggs can also make a great party food option!

healthy scotch eggs recipe

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21st March
2011
written by Nibblish

This elegant Asian inspired dish will be a hit served as a snack or as a starter. The beautiful contrast between the crispy sweet potato and the sharp and creamy wasabi Mayo will take you by surprise and make you come back for more! Nom, nom, nom!

Ingredients: (2 as a starter)

1 large sweet potatoes, peeled
2 tbsp sesame or walnut oil
1 tbsp vegetable oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tbsp sesame seeds
4 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp wasabi

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Slice the sweet potato into very thin slices, using a vegetable peeler. Soak in salted water for 20-30 minutes.

2. Prepare the wasabi mayonnaise dip by whisking the mayonnaise in the wasabi cream and season with cracked pepper.

3. Drain and pat dry the sweet potato slices with paper towel and coat with sesame or walnut oil and season with salt & pepper. Transfer and spread seasoned potato slices on an oven tray lined with baking paper and bake for 10 minutes. Using a large spatula, turn, sprinkle with the sesame seeds and bake for another 10 minutes until crisp.

Serve immediately with an extra sprinkle of sesame seeds!
The good news is that these little tasty treats are also much healthier than traditional crisps!
It’s also the perfect starter, before a sushi platter!

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20th March
2011
written by Nibblish

Everyone loves sushi nowadays, but very few know how to prepare restaurant quality sushi at home, which is a shame given how crowded and expensive Japanese restaurants can be! Now, the good news is that making sushi at home is actually very easy and I can guarantee you will love it and it will become your favourite dish for dinner parties! The only difficult part is finding high quality sea food and sushi rice, so that it has the correct amount of starch needed to make the rice glossy and sticky, not mushy or dry. You can find this style of rice at most well-stocked grocery stores or Asian markets and sashimi fish from a good fishmonger.

Ingredients: (12-16 pieces)

200g fresh sashimi fish, such as salmon and/or tuna
2 cups sushi rice (also called japonica rice)
1/4 cup Japanese rice vinegar + extra to moisten your hands
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
Wasabi
Soy sauce
Pickled Ginger

Instructions:

1. Soak the rice for 15 minutes in cold water and rinse several times until the final change of water runs almost clear. Steam the rinsed rice following the package’s directions.

2. Heat the vinegar, sugar and salt in a sauce pan over medium heat until fully dissolved, but without boiling the mixture. Take off the heat and let it cool.

3. When the rice has finished cooking, transfer it to a wooden bowl or at least non-metallic, as metal can react with vinegar and ruin flavours. Using a plastic or wooden spoon, cool down the rice by gently spreading it out and folding in the vinegar mixture gradually until evenly sticky and shiny.

4. To shape the sushi rice, dampen fingers and hands with a small amount of rice vinegar to make it non stick. Pick up about 2 to 3 tsp. rice in one hand and shape into a rectangle with rounded corners. Repeat the process until you’ve got enough sushi pieces. Dip your forefinger into wasabi and spread a small amount onto the rice.

5. Slice the fish into thin slices. Aim for an opposite angle to the veins and using a long sharp knife, cut straight across the width of the block at a 45 degrees angle, in one long stroke. Repeat with the rest of the fish.

6. To assemble the nigiri, pick up a slice of fish, place it on top of the sushi rice base in the palm of your hand. Press the sides and top to place fish firmly onto rice. Continue with the rest of the fish.
Place on a plate and serve with pickled ginger, wasabi and soy sauce.

Make sure you give it a fair go. While step 5 and 6 may be a bit tricky at first, you’ll feel much more confident by your second or third piece and the result will be really rewarding!

If you found this one easy and feel up for more, why not take a look at my California Roll instructions to make it a full sushi mix platter!

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20th March
2011
written by Nibblish

A California roll is a creative American twist on sushi. It’s really easy to make, can be great addition to a sushi platter, a fresh canapé idea for a party, but can also be saved in cling film for a healthy lunch!

Ingredients: ( 4 rolls)

2 cups sushi rice (also called japonica rice)
1/4 cup Japanese rice vinegar + extra to moisten your hands
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
4 sheets nori (seaweed sheets)
1 avocado, peeled, cut into thin slices
100g sashimi salmon, cut into strips
wasabi paste
pickled ginger
soy sauce

Instructions:

1. Soak the rice for 15 minutes in cold water and rinse several times until the final change of water runs almost clear. Steam the rinsed rice following the package’s directions.

2. Heat the vinegar, sugar and salt in a sauce pan over medium heat until fully dissolved, but without boiling the mixture. Take off the heat and let it cool.

3. When the rice has finished cooking, transfer it to a wooden bowl or at least non-metallic, as metal can react with vinegar and ruin flavours. Using a plastic or wooden spoon, cool down the rice by gently spreading it out and folding in the vinegar mixture gradually until evenly sticky and shiny.

4. Place a sheet of nori, shiny side down, onto a bamboo mat or sheet of baking paper. spread 3/4 cup of sushi rice mixture with wet hands, leaving a 3cm border uncovered at the end. Spread a small line of wasabi to one end and place a strip of avocado and fish. Roll up firmly, using the mat or baking paper as a guide, seal by moistening the uncovered strip using your finger.

5. Repeat with remaining nori and fillings. Cut each roll into 6 pieces. Serve with wasabi and soy sauce.

You can also replace the avocado with cucumber and the salmon with crab sticks for a change.
If you found this one easy and feel up for more, why not take a look at my Nigiri Sushi instructions to make it a full sushi mix platter!

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14th March
2011
written by Nibblish

A Chocolate Liegeois is the ultimate indulgence for any chocolate addict. Its the perfect combination of chocolate ice-cream, chocolate sauce and whipped cream! It’s usually served in a tall glass and is a real classic in most French restaurants.

Ingredients:
Vanilla Ice-cream
Chocolate ice-cream
50ml Whipped cream
100g dark chocolate
1 pinch of salt
100ml cream
1 splash cognac (optional)

Chocolate liegeoise Ice-cream, chocolate Sunday ice-cream, French ice cream

Instructions:

1. To prepare the sauce, break the chocolate into rough pieces and melt it in a pan. Pour the cream in and mix with a wooden spoon until smooth and fully combined. Remove from the heat, add a pinch of salt, a splash of cognac and mix well.

2. Scoop 2 scoops of chocolate ice-cream and 1 scoop of vanilla ice cream in each glass.

3. Cover with chocolate sauce, whipped cream and drizzle a little more chocolate sauce on top!

You can also change the chocolate flavour for coffee, simply using coffee ice-cream and covering it with a shot of sweetened coffee!

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13th March
2011
written by Nibblish

A good quiche is an extremely simple and fast meal to make, but never fails to impress. It’s perfect for brunch, lunch, dinner, for a picnic or even as party food!

Ingredients: (serve 4 as a starter or 2 as a main)

1 sheet ready rolled shortcrust pastry
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 rashers bacon, rind removed, finely chopped
1 tbsp coriander or parsley
1 large leek, washed and thinly sliced
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 eggs and 1 egg yolk, beaten
1 cup milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 200°C and lightly grease and flour a round oven tray to make it non stick. Lay the pastry sheet, trim excess and prick the bottom with a fork to prevent it from bubbling as it bakes. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden.

2. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, coriander and bacon and cook for 2 minutes.

3. Add the leek and cook for another 5 minutes or until soft and slightly caramelized. Cool and sprinkle over cooked pastry.

4. Reduce oven temperature to 180°C. Whisk the eggs with the milk in a mixing bowl. Stir in half the cheese, grated nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. Pour over bacon and leek, sprinkle the remaining cheese and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown.


Let is rest for 5 minutes and serve with a green salad!
If you fancy of change, swap the bacon for salmon, and the leek for spinach, mushroom or asparagus.

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4th February
2011
written by Nibblish

Duck Liver parfait is really economical and easy to make, but it tastes luxurious and looks really fancy too. My French compatriotes would probably hate me for saying that, but I see it a little bit like a Green peace foie gras – similar in taste and texture but without the arrogance, cost or cruelty! You can also make it up to 48h ahead and save it in the fridge as an early start of a fancy meal. You can also double the measures and serve it as the master piece for a party.

Ingredients (serves 4 people)

400-500g fresh duck liver, fat, strings and green patches trimmed
250ml milk
20ml olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 small bunch of thyme, leaves picked
1 slice of bacon, chopped
50ml cognac or brandy
250g butter, diced
6-8 fresh sage leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Cornichons, Brioche and salad to serve

Instructions

1. Soak duck livers in the milk for 1.5 hours at room temperature. If you are using frozen livers, simply allow them to defrost in water for 1h and then soak in milk for another 30 minutes. After soaking, drain, rinse under cool water and pat dry with kitchen paper.

2. Heat a bit of oil and a nut of butter (5g) in a large frying pan. Add the onion, garlic, bay leave, thyme leaves and bacon. Cook for about 4-5 minutes, or until the onion is soft and starting to colour.

3. Add your duck livers to the pan with an extra small splash of oil and season with a pinch of salt & pepper. Cook on a high heat for 2 minutes or until the liver pieces start to plump up. Add 50ml brandy or cognac to the pan and cook it off.

4. Transfer everything to to the food processor and blend it until smooth. Add the remaining 120g of butter to the food processor, bit by bit, and season with another good 2 good pinches of salt and pepper. Pass through a fine sieve if you have one and spoon it into a serving bowl and place in the fridge to start the setting process.

5. To make the clarified butter, place the remaining 125g of butter on low heat and cook slowly until the white dairy and clear oil are separated. Clean any impurities off the top and pour the clear liquid into a separate pan, before placing it on medium heat. After a couple of minutes, add the sage to the butter to fry and take the pan off the heat. Let it cool down and pour over the cooler pate mixture. Refrigerate the finished parfait for at least 4-5 hours or until the top layer looks hard and thick.

6. Serve the parfait with cornichons, fresh butter, freshly toasted brioche and a green leave salad.

Some people like to eat the sage flavoured clarified butter with the parfait, but you don’t have to. Even if you decide not to eat it, it’s still playing a key role to locking in the flavours and keeping the parfait fresh. You can save it up 4-5 days in the fridge when sealed. If you can’t find duck liver, replace with chicken liver. /em>

Click here for a Valentine’s version of this dish!

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1st January
2011
written by Nibblish
Happy new year everyone!!
Did you know that 2011 will be the year of the rabbit? 
It is expected to be a rather placid year, so we may want to go off to some quiet spot to lick our wounds, invest time in cooking delicious meals and look after each other after all the battles of the previous year. The Rabbit also makes a good entertainer and is a wonderful host. Pleasant and warm company, he has a good word to say of everyone and serve really nice nibbles.  It looks like good taste and refinement will shine through everything, especially for our Nibblish readers!

Here is the recipe for a “little snack” we had after our dinner on NYE to welcome the rabbit year with style!


Ingredients:
  • 300g dark chocolate, in small pieces
  • 300ml fresh cream
  • splash of liqueur (cointreau or cognac)
  • Macadamia and almonds, partly crushed
  • fresh strawberries, banana, apples to serve
  • marshmallows

Instructions:

1. Place chocolate pieces into the small ceramic fondue bowl, positioned in a larger pan containing water that is at the simmering point. 

2. Once melted, add the cream to the chocolate, whisk slowly until smooth. Stir in the splash of liqueur.

3. Add the macadamia nuts and almonds to the chocolate just before serving with the marshmallows and fresh fruits cut into bite size dices.



Make sure you hide anything that may vaguely look like a chocolate vessel, as your guests (like mine) may not be shy when it comes to warm & tasty chocolate! If you have any leftover chocolate and marshmallow, mix it all together and place into a plastic container in the fridge to improvise a Rocky Road!


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