How to F**k a Duck – and make Really Good Duck Soup.

I was disappointed the other day in the outcome after faithfully following an on-line recipe for slow roasted duck, that promised tender and succulent duck meat.

The recipe was as follows:

How to Roast F**K a Duck: The Basic Technique:

(AKA DISAPPOINTING DUCK – I wont link to the original).

Place a lemon in the cavity of the duck.   Roast it as follows for 4 hours at 145o C. After 4 hours, glaze and blast it at high heat for a short time.   

1. Score the skin, cut off excess fat, and poke it all over
2. Salt and truss
3. Roast at 145o C for 1 hour, breast-side up
4. Poke, flip, roast for 1 hour, breast-side down
5. Poke, flip, roast for 1 hour, breast-side up
6. Poke, flip, roast for 1 hour, breast side down
7. Poke, flip, blast at 200o C for 10 minutes, breast-side up
8. Brush with glaze
9. Finish at 200o C for 5-7 minutes
10. Rest 10-15 minutes, carve & serve

I should have trusted my intuition, which was telling me that even at only 145o C,  four hours plus seemed to be far too long to cook a duck.  If I try this again I shall cook it for only 35-40 minutes per flip and monitor more carefully what is happening.  Mistakes are for learning.   



This is how the duck looked even before the final high temperature blasts – which I did not do.   The scoring and pricking must have been particularly efficient.  I recovered around 400g of duck fat to put aside.  Perhaps my scores were a little deeper than they should have been.  My knives are very sharp.

In any case, most of the meat was dry and overcooked.

Disappointing.  Salvage operation needed.

I stripped the breast, thigh and leg meat from the duck and put it in the refrigerator, except for a slice or two of the tenderest bits with which I made a duck and cranberry sauce sandwich.  The remainder of the carcase and the lemon that had been roasted in its cavity went into the slow cooker with two litres of  water and a teaspoon of salt. Cooked on low overnight.

In the morning I extracted and discarded the bones and the lemon, returning  meat to the stock.

  • Then I diced up the remaining duck meat and added it to the pot along with
  • a diced onion
  • two thinly sliced carrots
  • a sweet potato diced small
  • some diced capsicum
  • finely chopped celery
  • a cup of frozen cooked black beans
  • two bay leaves
  • A tsp of tamarind concentrate
  • a pinch of mace
  • ground black pepper
  • crushed ginger
  • crushed garlic
  • chopped coriander leaves
  • 2 small red chillis

Then cooked on low for a further 6 hours.

It made Really Good Duck Soup.   Full Marks!  

Duck Soup

Really Good Duck Soup

Really really good!

Worth fucking a duck for.


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It is a little known fact that unlike almost all canned products, sweetened condensed milk is not cooked in a retort.  It is made from pasteurised condensed milk and sugar that is canned in aseptic conditions.  But the canned product is not cooked after canning.  The safety of the food is assured by the low water activity brought about by the extremely high sugar content.   This prevents any bacteria present from growing.


Sweetened Condensed Milk

Just out of interest, canned anchovies are also not cooked – or retorted as we in the business (more correctly, we who used to be in the business) say – because they would go to mush.  Their safety is also assured by lowering the water activity to a level that will not allow microbes to grow, this time with salt and oil.  Science!

What happens when you cook sweetened condensed milk is really cool.

If you don’t burn it, you get caramel.

The best and safest way to do this at home is to cook an unopened can in a slow cooker.  The way it used to be done by boiling a can in a saucepan on the stove often resulted in the pot boiling dry untended, and the can exploding.  It was important to top up the pot with boiling water every so often.  With the lid on, the slow cooker will not boil dry.


Water up to the top of the can

This can of condensed milk was cooked on high for ten hours.  I  intended it to cook for only 6-8 hours but I forgot about it.  No harm done.   The result was a rich butterscotch tasting caramel.

Just look at that glorious colour.



If you live in the Kimberley or some similarly outrageously hot place, you can also make caramel by leaving a can of sweetened condensed milk on the dashboard of your car for a couple of days.


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Slow Cooked Chicken and Shiitake Soup


A load of Shiitake.

Whenever I cook a whole chicken, I save the bones and carcase for stock.  I put the eaten bones in the freezer until the carcase is bare, unless I pull all the meat off immediately to refrigerate or freeze.  If I have no immediate plans for the stock I freeze that straight after I make it.

To make the stock I just put the carcase and bones and scraps in the slow cooker on low for 10 to 12 hours, after which I remove all the solids and separate any useable meat from the rest.  I put the meat back into the stock and reheat it before cooling and freezing, or, as in this case, I simply start making soup.  If necessary I boost the stock flavour with a pod of stock pot concentrate.  Commercial stock is good, but homemade has a better flavour in my view.  I don’t season my stock or add onion, herbs  or other ingredients until I have decided the use to which it is to be put.

This is an original recipe of my own, intended to be relatively low fat, low GI and “good for me”.  It turned out even better than I hoped.  It is a hearty meal in a bowl.

I wanted to have a reasonable amount of chicken meat in this soup, and the carcase had been picked quite clean, so I added some boneless thigh which, in my opinion, is the tastiest part of the chicken and does not dry out the way breast tends to do.

I didn’t soak the mushrooms for this recipe, but added them dry.   By using them without soaking them first, no flavour is diluted away in the soak water.  Some liquid is absorbed by the rice and dried ingredients so the soup thickens up and the flavour concentrates.  It pays to delay adding any extra stock pot concentrate or stock powder and not overdo the salt until the soup is nearly done, when you can taste test it before making any necessary adjustments.  I keep leftover cooked rices and cooked black beans in the freezer to use in small amounts as required in recipes. It saves time cooking up a batch or opening a can.  Beans cooked from dried are not as mushy as canned ones and keep extremely well if frozen.

I did not add much in the way of herbs and spices to this recipe as I did not want to overpower the mushroom flavour.


  • 2 litres chicken stock
  • 1 continental stock pot or a spoonful  of stock powder (if necessary)
  • Extra water as required
  • 2 boneless chicken thighs cut into pieces
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • Garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes
  • 2 or 3 carrots cut into matchsticks
  • 2 celery stalks chopped small
  • ½ cup cooked long grain rice
  • ½ cup cooked wild rice
  • ½ cup cooked brown rice
  • ½ cup cooked black beans
  • A good handful of dried shiitake mushrooms, sliced or chopped
  • A dash or two of mushroom soy
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Peanut oil for frying.
  1. Fry the onion in oil until lightly caramelised and add to the stock in the slow cooker.
  2. Brown the chicken meat in the pan and add to the cooker, along with all the remaining ingredients except stock concentrate.
  3. Cook until the rice is thickening the soup, then taste and adjust flavour by adding stock concentrate and seasoning as necessary.
  4. If the soup is too thick, add extra water or more stock.


Posted in chicken, Con-fusion cooking, entree, fusion, Leftovers, Rice, soup, vegetables | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Smoky Tandoori Paste

I see cooking as an Experimental Art.  If I have a cooking style I am thinking  maybe I am an impressionist.  I start off with an impression of what I want to cook based on some professionally prepared dish I have experienced.

I experimented in the past with Tandoori Chicken.

I have a butterflied leg of lamb, which I thought would be nice to cook in the turbo-oven as a tandoori roast.   A Tandoor usually gives food a smoky flavour.   I wanted to try to replicate that with my smoke essence.

This necessitated the preparation of:

Alan’s Totally Non-traditional Smoky Tandoori Paste for Electric Ovens.

In this instance, I started with an almost empty jar of Malouf’s Red Harissa sauce to which I added a bunch of ingredients.  I did not really measure anything but basically carried on adding stuff in what I hoped was about the right proportion until the jar was full.   I wrote down estimated amounts straight afterwards.  There is no yoghurt in this mixture, because I have none on hand.  This paste could be added to yoghurt to use as a marinade.

  • Red Harissa Sauce – about 1½ tsp left in the jar
  • Smoky Paprika 2 tsp
  • Turmeric 1 tsp
  • Garam Masala 2 tsp
  • Crushed Garlic 2 Tbsp.
  • Crushed Ginger 2 Tbsp.
  • Crushed Chilli Paste 1 Tbsp. (Sriracha)
  • Ground Cardamom 1 tsp
  • Ground Cumin 1 tsp
  • Cayenne ½ tsp
  • Salt ½ tsp
  • Pepper ½ tsp
  • Peanut Oil 2-3 Tbsp.
  • Sesame oil  ½ tsp
  • Lime juice 1 Tbsp.
  • A few sprays of Hickory smoke

Mix everything well.  Change proportions if you think you should.

The oil and the lime juice blended in nicely with the spices and crushed herbs, to make a good spreadable paste.  With the smoke, salt and lime juice this paste should keep well in the refrigerator.


Tandoori Paste

By the way, if you like chilli then get this Red Harisssa Sauce if you see it.

Even at the prices we pay out here it was worth every cent.  It is really really good!


Red Harisssa Sauce (Unpaid Product Placement)

(It is really good on toast with peanut butter).


Misty Gully Smoke (Unpaid Product Placement)

Posted in barbecue, chicken, chilli, Con-fusion cooking, curry, fish, fusion, Goat, Indian, lamb, Pork, Roast, smoked, spices | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pork Belly

Smoke Experiment #3:


Pork Belly

  • 300g Porkbelly
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil with a squirt of smoke oil
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Rub the rind with the oil and salt then add a few grinds of pepper
  2. Roast in the turbo oven @ 220C for 25 minutes then @160C for 12-15 Minutes.
  3. Stand for 10 minutes.

Serving half with cranberry sauce, green beans and mashed kumara

The other half cold tomorrow with relish, beetroot and bean salad.


Smoke Oil



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Sunday Roast: Beef and Stuffed Butternut

Stuffed Butternut Squash

Or Stuffed Pumpkin…

  1. Cut across the neck of the pumpkin about where the top of the seed cavity should be.
  2. Scoop out the pith and seeds.
  3. Salt and pepper
  4. Fill the cavity with (for example):

Any or all of
·         Chopped onion
·         Garlic
·         Chilli
·         Ginger
·         Cumin
·         Oregano
·         thyme
·         Cooked Rice
·         Cooked Wild rice
·         Cranberries
·         Goji berries
·         Pinenuts
·         Chopped spinach
·         Mushrooms

Moisten with a Tbsp. or two of vegetable stock or coconut cream and/or a tsp or two of olive oil or Macadamia oil or butter.

Any combination of
·         Chopped shallots
·         Garlic
·         Chilli
·         Ginger
·         Cooked minced 5 spice pork
·          < Stuff from the veges side
·         etc….Or

·         Spaghetti Bolognese & cheese
·         Bacon and egg (as in a B&E Pie)
·         Curried chicken in coconut cream sauce.

Or something else.

The possibilities and combinations are limited only by your taste and what’s in the pantry. I’ve tried all the above in butternut or pumpkin.  They all work.  The vege list above is my favourite non meat stuffing.  Goji berries and rice are really good.

I have a partiality for pork on the carnivore side.

Coconut cream & curry – vegetable or meat – also really go well with pumpkin.

If the pumpkin won’t stand up steady, trim a thin slice of the bottom so it is flat and stands alone.

After stuffing the butternut or squash or pumpkin to your satisfaction, put the top back on, wrap in foil and roast in the oven   45-60 m, depending on size, @ 190 fan forced.

This one, I estimated, needed 50 minutes, which by sheer coincidence was the time I calculated was necessary to cook my 1.6 Kg roast beef to rare/medium rare.

Roast Beef

The beef was prepared by taking it out of the refrigerator and allowing it to come to room temperature.  Then by rubbing it with a mixture I had previously prepared of olive oil, crushed garlic, thyme, rosemary and oregano with salt and pepper.

It was then placed on a bed of chopped onion, chopped celery and garlic.  If I had carrots I would have chopped some of them too.

Roasted 50 minutes at 190C in the Turbo oven, beside the pumpkin.

A low GI, low fat healthy Sunday roast


Butternut Pumpkin


Rice, and all that’s nice


Top on


Wrap in foil


Into the Turbo oven






Roast on a bed of veges




Sunday Dinner

Damn.  I forgot the mustard.

Posted in accompaniment, Con-fusion cooking, fusion, Rice, vegetables, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment