Chef, Cookery Classes, Cooking, entertaining, family meals, Food, Recipes, slow cooking, Wine

Every goal deserves a (crispy) reward, right?

I love figures. I know you might think it strange , but I see a spreadsheet as a thing of beauty. Neat , organized columns of figures, with built in checks to make sure there are no errors.
So why then does the thought of doing my accounts fill me with fear and dread? Every October it’s the same routine – panic and chaos to get the previous years receipts and invoices in order to give to my accountant.

You’d imagine with all the enforced spare time this year that I would have done it months ago, but no, it took a reminder letter to galvanize me into action. Even the Chief Taster knows better than to ask how the codeword A is progressing !
But in the spirit of Organized October, and building on Grainne’s foundation folder – yes even friends try to help me over this fear – I delivered the files (well the bulk of) to my accountant’s office on Thursday.

Cause for celebration right? Cue Crispy Roast Duck for dinner…

Crispy duck is big favourite in this house but last few times I cooked it I only did the legs and served the meat with pancakes and plum sauce. Last week I spotted full ducks in the freezer section in Lidl so I thought I’d experiment with cooking it in my slow cooker .

So once the duck was defrosted (overnight in the fridge) and the giblets removed, I stuffed the cavity with lemon, garlic, dried limes and star anise

Duck Cavity stuffed with lemon and garlic

I didn’t want the duck to be sitting in it’s own fat as it cooked so I put some vegetables in the base of the slow cooker to act as a trivet

vegetable trivet in slow cooker

To add more flavour, I rubbed a mix of cumin, coriander and seasalt into the skin.

spice rub on duck skin

Then I put the lid on the pot and left the cooker on high for 4 hours and then turned it down low for another 3 hours.

The Chief Taster arrived in to the most tantalizing, delicious cooking smells and suggested we walk down to find a suitable wine. I delivered my files to the accountant on the way and then a Beaujolais Villages was chosen (Yes I know, I should really have insisted on bubbles to mark my achievement!!) 😉

duck cooking in slow cooker

Post walk I transferred the duck to a very hot oven (220 C) for about 30 minutes to crisp up the skin. Plus remember the vegetable trivet – the vegetables had cooked beautifully in the duck fat – so I put them in the oven too!

Duck coming out of oven

In the meantime I made a quick plum sauce, by simmering the following together over a low heat, for 30 minutes :

  • 1 punnet of plums, quartered and stones removed.
  • 1 star anise
  • Good glug of Chinese cooking wine
plum sauce simmering

Dinner was almost ready – all it needed was a big bowl of delicious vegetable egg fried rice flavoured with some oyster sauce and finished with sesame oil.

dinner is served - rice, sauce and duck

Result? It’s made it to the favourite recipe folder and I’m in the running for girlfriend of the year!!!

Just in case you think we’re total gluttons there was lots of meat left on the duck and it’s gone into the freezer to be used at a later date.

Just a thought, in these strange times when we don’t know what will happen over the next few months – this dish would be perfect for a Christmas dinner for 2-3 people 🤶

STAY SAFE AND HAPPY COOKING!

PS I don’t like to brag but I also put all my summer clothes away in the attic this week – neatly sorted of course! Now onto my next organizing project…..

PS 2 Grainne, if you’re reading this, can you please come back and sort my accounts for 2020?

Baking, Films, Food, Restaurants, Wine

Lights, Camera, Action

Last summer I catered for the film ‘A Nightingale Falling’ which was made by Mixed Bag Media here in Offaly. I loved doing it as it allowed me to experiment with things other than canapés and corporate lunches and also made me  embrace the discipline of working to a budget ( not an easy task for me!)

Continue reading “Lights, Camera, Action”

Food, Restaurants, Wine

Tapas and Wine

If you looking for something different to do in Dublin this month then might I suggest the Campo Viejo Tapas Trail ?
This is my third year to go on the trail and it just keeps getting better. The Chief Taster loves Spanish food but he was missing on a golf trip so I ‘persuaded’ my good friend Siobhan to come along instead.

Continue reading “Tapas and Wine”

Cooking, family meals, Healthy Eating, Recipes, Wine

A “Lidl” Midweek Treat

As a rule I don’t buy meat in supermarkets, but when I came across guinea fowl in the Lidl Deluxe range I admit I gave into temptation as I’m a big fan of this bird but find it very difficult to buy locally. The one on offer was frozen and reduced from €9.99 to €7.99 so I bought it as a midweek treat.

box
Continue reading “A “Lidl” Midweek Treat”

Food, Restaurants, Wine

On The Tapas Trail

I buy lotto tickets occasionally and I’m ever hopeful but my luck came in a few weeks ago when I won a competition with the  Irish Food Bloggers  – an afternoon on the Campo Viejo Tapas Trail .

So on a rainy Sunday (well it is the Irish Summer!) I took the train to the capital to join a group of like minded bloggers in The Market Bar where we greeted by our  guide Paul  and organiser Anri with a very welcome glass of Campo Viejo Cava Brut Reserva .

It was lovely to meet up with some familiar faces including  Nessa from Nessa’s Family Kitchen and Paula from Paula’s Kitchen Table. I finally got to meet the delightful Fiona from Hunters Lodge and the lovely Magda from Madga’s Cauldron who became my ‘trail companions’ for the afternoon.

Our guide Paul outlined the event – 4 restaurants in the area , 3 signature tapas and a glass of Campo Viejo Reserva in each and a little sightseeing and banter along the way. I know – it’s a tough life but hey, somebody’s got to it!

The food was good – my personal favourites were the patatas bravas in the Market Bar and the black pudding and prawns in Havana; the wine was excellent and the company was most entertaining , just a pity about the weather!

I also learned lots along the way from Paul – who knew Dublin had so many links with Spain!

If you’re looking for something different to do in Dublin this summer then I highly recommend this – the Tapas Trail is on Wednesdays between 6.30 and 9 pm and Sundays between 2 and 4.30 pm and is great value at €20!

Thanks again to Irish Food Bloggers, Campo Viejo and Conway Communications for a great afternoon out!

Now I’m off to buy a lotto ticket……….