Once upon a time, long ago there was a girl who loved to cook. Long before sleep deprivation. Long before piles of dirty clothes. Long before the eating whims of toddlers. Anyone who has read my stand-back-and-throw posts would surely think I am the laziest cook in the world. But really, this hasn't always been the way.
In my previous life I had a penchant for serious cooking gadgets. The pantry was stocked with exotic ingredients. My shelves groaned with Vogue Entertaining, Gourmet Traveller and a myriad of beautiful cookbooks. I took lots of cooking courses and once went and stayed at a French chateau and learnt how to make local specialities. Heaven.
But now as I stand armed with the can opener, surveying a stack of tins for tonight's meal inspiration, I can but daydream about the fancy cookery. For the time being, I'll have to be content with wheeling out the occasional favourite.
Peking Duck Risotto
adapted from: Risotto 'round the world, Tamara Milstein, 1996
This is an East meets West favourite. I'm not sure if fusion cooking is still that fashionable - the only food trends I really keep up with these days, are what colour vegetables two small boys are willing to eat. I did a risotto course with the author of this book years ago and it was fabulous. She had all sorts of simple, but effective tips for a good risotto. For example, when you add the wine it must really sizzle as it hits the pan - this ensures you've got the right temperature. The aim is to keep a good consistent heat to ensure the rice keeps taking up the stock. Make sure the stock is very hot at all times too. And finally stirring is the key to a nice risotto. This effectively knocks the starch off the grains of rice, giving a beautiful creamy consistency.
1.5 litres chicken stock
1 cooked Chinese roast duck
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
8 spring onions, finely chopped
400g arborio rice
200ml dry white wine
4 baby bok choy halved or quartered lengthways
200g sliced water chestnuts, drained
3 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped
- Strip the meat from the duck and reserve.
- Place the stock in a large pan and add all the duck offcuts and bones and bring to the boil.
- Reduce and simmer for 30 minutes (you will need to end up with about 900ml stock).
- Strain the duck stock, discarding all the duck pieces and then return the stock to the heat to keep warm
- In a separate pan, heat the oils.
- Add the spring onions and cook gently til softened
- Add the rice and stir through the oil and onions to coat well
- Add the wine and allow to absorb while stirring.
- Begin adding the hot stock half a cup at a time. Stir very well after every addition - allow the previous stock to be absorbed before adding the next.
- With the second addition of the stock, add the bock choy.
- When half the stock has been used, add the Peking duck and stir to incorporate.
- Continue to add the remainder of the stock.
- With the last addition of the stock add the water chestnuts.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the fresh herbs.