With Britain kick-starting a mass of new year’s resolutions in January, from mastering new skills to ditching the junk food and getting stuck in to real home cooking, the Chinese New Year is the perfect opportunity for budding Nigella Lawson’s and Gordon Ramsay’s to learn new culinary talents and create their own ‘STAGS’ – Stay at Home Gourmets.
The 26th January 2009 is the beginning of the Chinese New Year, giving those looking for challenges in the kitchen the perfect excuse to get to grips with delicious exotic dishes and throw a new skill in to the bargain. With footie-ace Wayne Rooney even vowing to take up cooking in 2009*, there is no excuse for being a novice this year.
Nearly two thirds of Britons are now spending the evening at home rather than going out and splashing cash in bars and restaurants, with people increasingly looking to turn the credit crunch into the credit munch in the comfort of their own dining rooms. With duck at the top of any self-respecting Chinese menu, Cherry Valley, supplier of duck products to Marks and Spencer, has suggested some quick and easy recipe ideas to celebrate the Chinese New Year, including crispy duck, Chinese duck stir-fry and delicious duck rolls for a tasty starter or dim-sum which will wow friends and family at the dinner table.
Eric Jagger at Cherry Valley said: ‘Britain loves a good Chinese take-away but there are very few of us who can proclaim to be able to whip up an Eastern dish in our own kitchen. The Chinese New Year provides the ideal occasion for us all to try cooking something new, and may even tick a few boxes when it comes to fulfilling our 2009 resolutions.
‘ ‘Cocooning’ has really set in this month, where people lean towards entertaining and relaxing at home rather than going out. They’re also shunning ready meals and takeaways in favour of cooking from scratch, so Chinese New Year provides the perfect reason to show off new cooking skills.”
Cherry Valley duck is available in Marks & Spencer stores nationwide. Delicious Duck Legs, Duck Breast Fillets, Half Ducks and Whole Ducks are available, offering something for every appetite.
For more information on Cherry Valley visit www.cherryvalley.co.uk
CHINESE RECIPE IDEAS
One whole duck
6 spring onions
2tbsp soy sauce
4 slices fresh ginger
4 cloves star anise
2 fennel bulbs
1. Crush the spring onions and add the remaining ingredients of the first marinade.
2. Put the spring onions inside the duck only and rub the marinade all over the outside of the duck and leave it for two hours.
3. Remove the spring onions and replace with two slices of ginger.
4. Spread the spring onions, the remaining two slices of ginger and the other ingredients of the second marinade on and around the duck.
5. Steam the duck for an hour, cool it and drain it.
6. Heat almost enough oil to cover the duck in a deep frying pan.
7. Once the oil is hot, remove the pan from the heat and place the duck gently in it.
8. Spoon the oil over the duck and fry until the duck is browned all over, returning it to the heat only if the oil cools down too much.
9. Serve with hoisin sauce.
1 duck breast
1 tbsp honey
200g egg noodles
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
3 cm ginger, cut into thin strips
Handful baby carrots
Handful sugar snap peas or mange tout
1 red pepper, cut into strips
Handful spring onions, cut into thin strips
1 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp soy sauce
Handful coriander leaves and stalks finely chopped
1. Score the skin of the duck breast and place skin-side down in a cold frying pan. Set over a medium heat and fry gently until the skin has browned. Turn the breast over and drizzle the honey over the skin.
2. When the duck breast has cooked through, take off the heat and leave to rest for 5 minutes. Cut into thin slices.
3. Cook the noodles following the instructions on the packet.
4. Heat the olive oil and sesame oil in a wok or frying pan. Add the chilli, garlic, ginger, carrots, mange tout, peppers and spring onions. Pour over the mirin and soy sauce and stir-fry for a few minutes.
5. Add the noodles and coriander stalks and toss together.
6. Spoon into serving bowls, fan the duck pieces over the top and sprinkle over the coriander leaves.
600g cooked crispy duck, skinned and boned, meat coarsely chopped (leftover from crispy duck)
100g finely chopped spring onions
3 tbsp hoisin sauce
12 spring roll skins
1 cucumber, unpeeled, seeded and sliced into strips
1 tbsp plain flour mixed with 2 tbsp water or 1 beaten egg yolk
250ml vegetable oil, for deep-frying
4 banana leaves, cut and shaped as desired
1. Mix the crispy duck, spring onions and hoisin sauce together and reserve.
2. Fold the spring roll skin in half diagonally into a triangle shape. The top half should be 1cm away from the edge of the bottom half thus creating a ‘layered’ effect.
3. At the base of the triangle, place one-twelfth of the mixture about 2cm away from the edge nearest to you. This mixture should be shaped in a rectangle. Place a strip of cucumber on top, lengthways. Fold the two sides of the triangle into the middle, pressing the skin around the mixture, then roll the skin up from the bottom to form the roll. Seal the end flap of the triangle with the flour-and-water or flour-and-egg wash as desired.
4. Deep-fry the rolls in vegetable oil at 165°C for 2-2½ minutes or until the duck rolls turn golden. Cut each duck roll in half diagonally across the middle. Arrange each portion of duck roll (three rolls per person) on a banana leaf and serve immediately.