Spice Road.

I thought I had better explain my absence since I have been asked ‘what the hell is going on with the blog’ from a few people.

Spice Road has been released out into the real world after proving itself at my shop in the Central Market for the last year. I have been busy trying to push the product into kitchens around Adelaide and, through Icons store at the airport, interstate. This means I have been busy cooking for tastings and not imagining up duck recipes. I am keen to get back to my other life (cooking, styling, photographing, eating of duck) but don’t foresee much happening before Christmas. You never know though.

This photo is of the three recipes on the Spice Road to Spain recipe card. Ole.

Fesenjan, Duck with a walnut and pomegranate sauce

Most Saturdays you can find me in the Adelaide Central Market flogging my wares, you could say, I have been doing tastings of the Spice Road range outside of Jagger fine foods. A few weeks ago I did a tasting of Spice Road to Syria by cooking the baked eggplant with yoghurt, olives and pine nuts dish and the Persian chicken in a pomegranate and walnut sauce. Pomegranates are in season so I sprinkled the seeds of one over the chicken dish. This not only looks pretty it gives a burst of fresh fruity flavour to the dish and with walnuts in the sauce the crunch of the seeds goes unnoticed. So anyway, I was asked a few times if I know an easy way to get the seeds out of the fruit. There is a way, you just cut it open, peel some of the membrane away to free the seeds, turn the fruit over in your hand and whack it on the skin side with a wooden spoon. The seeds come spurting out quite nicely.

I have started another blog called ‘The whole is greater…than the sum of its parts’ as I didn’t want to become the mad duck woman that only eats duck and has 45 cats in her house. Also and truthfully I want to practice food photography and have somewhere to ‘publish’ photos as it makes you complete the job to a higher level than you would otherwise. It has happened that I have cooked two dishes recently involving walnuts and pomegranate, one here and the other over on ‘the whole is greater’ is Chillies en Nogada which is a Mexican dish of stuffed chillies with walnut sauce and pomegranate seeds. Have a look. Meanwhile……..Fesenjan.

The recipe for Fesenjan, Persian chicken or duck in a pomegranate and walnut sauce is on the Spice Road website or in the packet of Spice Road to Syria. Here is a recipe for the same dish starting from scratch. This dish, usually a whole roast duck served on saffron rice and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds would be served on special occasions. I have used duck legs seasoned with salt and pepper and roasted on a bed of onions for 1 1/2 hours which is one of my favourite ways to cook duck, I have done the same for different dishes here and over here on my friend Sarah’s blog ‘oh for the love of food’.

Fesenjan, Duck with a walnut and pomegranate sauce.

duck legs roasted as above

saffron rice, will leave that up to you

seeds from 1 pomegranate, optional garnish

2  tbsp olive oil

40 g unsalted butter

1 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

200g walnut halves, coarsely chopped

1 cup chicken or duck stock

2 1/2 tbsp pomegranate molasses/ syrup

juice of 1 lemon

1 tbsp brown sugar

salt and pepper

Heat oil and butter and cook onion until softened and golden, add garlic and soften. Add walnuts and brown lightly. Add stock, pomegranate syrup, juice, sugar, salt and a few turns of black pepper. Simmer until reduced and quite thick, about 10 minutes. Serve duck legs on a bed of saffron rice, surround with sauce and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.

Special thanks to Sharon and Jess for the pomegranates.

The Spice Road to Streaky Bay.

Well it’s not the traditional Spice Route connecting the Western Mediterranean with China but I have just travelled the road from Port Willunga to Streaky Bay and back via some of South Australia’s stunning coastline and outback with a tent, a frypan, a duck and some Spice Road pastes. And some wine. And coffee. As it turns out these little puppies are perfect for camping.

The first night was spent on the Spice Road to somewhere near Quorn. After having to stop at the Central Market for last minute work instructions we were late in leaving Adelaide but able to pick up half a Cantonese roast duck from China town, fresh vegetables and other supplies. Using the Spice Road to China paste we had stir fried duck with my mums beans, squash and zucchini.

 

 

Before boning and slicing the duck. (I am alternating chopping vegetables with bird watching at this stage, as usual I have either a glass of wine, pair of binoculars or a fry pan in my hand when camping.)

After boning and slicing the duck. (A fox stole the bones in the middle of the night.)

As always, have everything chopped and ready before you begin to stir fry.

I don’t think you need a recipe for this dish just stir fry the onion, garlic and vegetables, fry the duck enough to heat through and add the paste (about 2 tablespoons). Serve with steamed rice, kookaburras and sunset in the Flinders Ranges.

Next we headed down the Eyre Peninsular stopping at this store to buy smoked oysters.

Which one of us ate here:

In Port Lincoln we bought chicken and prawns and headed into the National Park. I used the Spice Road to Spain paste to make this paella. There is a recipe on the web site or on the recipe card in the packet.

Sunset at our private beach. Actually we shared ‘our’ beach with Pacific gulls, blue-breasted fairy-wrens, red-capped plovers, tawny-crowned honeyeaters, white-browed babblers, emus and a black snake we called ‘Blackie’.

We visited the once yearly farmers and seafood market in Coffin Bay then headed up the other side of the peninsular. At Sheringa we camped on a lake as the beach was hellishly windy. Again we were the only human creatures around. Others present were a Cape Barron goose, shelducks, spiny-cheeked honeyeaters and flocks of elegant parrots. But this is not a bird watchers blog so back to the food. Using more of the Spanish paste I made meatballs and cooked them in a tomato sauce, also adding the Spanish paste, and poached a couple of eggs in the sauce similar to the Moroccan tagine with meatballs and eggs. This went well with cous cous which is excellent when camping as you can just pour boiling water on the cous cous and cover with a lid to steam. Add salt and pepper of course and a knob of butter or olive oil and it is done. For the vegetable component I think we were still going on my mums beans so I cooked them in the tomato sauce as well.

At Streaky bay we had another stir fry using the Spice road to China paste with beef from the butcher at Coffin Bay, what do the cows eat out here to make them so tasty? Another favourite meal for camping is pasta with a creamy bacon and zucchini (or what ever other vegetable is on hand) sauce.

So that was the road trip of the summer and its back to work for me, spice pastes to make, shop to run and more duck blogging to be done. Next post is duck bigoli, egg and buckwheat pasta cooked in duck stock with a duck sauce. Thanks for reading.

Spice Road to…..Ethiopia.

 

We all have to have day jobs, and I have two, for this blog is just not going to keep me in the manner I am accustomed to. My first and primary business is Jagger fine foods in the Adelaide Central market. The second is Spice Road, my new born. At just two months old, Spice Road is a new range of  ten Spice Pastes to be used as flavour bases or marinades. The range includes the familiar Asian countries- China, Thailand, Malaysia and India as well as Spice Road to Lebanon, Syria, Morocco, Spain, Mexico and shown here, Ethiopia. I have included recipe cards in the packets as well as a web site with more recipes and information and a link to this blog for some step by step photos on how to cook the duck recipes (the recipes are not all duck though as that would, unfortunately, not be as marketable) So bear with me while I do a little promotion.

Ethiopian duck wat (stew)

6 duck legs

salt

80g butter

1/2 tblsp olive oil

2 onions, sliced

4 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tsp ginger, chopped

2 tblsp Spice Road to Ethiopia paste

1 tin chopped tomatoes or 3 tomatoes, peeled and chopped

2 tblsp coriander, chopped

It is not essential but I chop the knuckle off the leg for better presentation and to fit the legs a bit easier into the pot. Turn the leg skin side down and in one good swing with a heavy cleaver or knife, chop it.

Heat a heavy based pot over a low to medium heat and fry duck legs, skin side down, for 10 minutes until browned.

This is called rendering the duck legs which means melting the fat out from under the skin.

Sprinkle with salt then turn and brown the other side for 2 minutes. Remove from pot and tip out the duck fat.

The golden rule (a golden rule anyway), if they are stuck to the pot they are not ready to be turned yet.

In the same pot heat the butter and oil and cook the onions slowly until quite soft but not coloured, about 15 minutes.

Well cooked onions are an essential start to any sauce, particularly Ethiopian sauces.

Add the paste and tomatoes and an extra half a tin of water.

Bring to a simmer and add the duck, cook for 1 1/2 hours or until the duck is just coming off the bone, adding more water if necessary.

Keep the duck at a gentle simmer checking regularly that the sauce has not reduced too much.

Alternatively put a lid on the pot and cook the duck in a 180 degree oven until the meat is tender.

Skim any fat from the surface and stir through the coriander.


Serve with injera, Ethiopian bread (this is not injera it is roti).