“Yeah, well you don’t know quack about duck!” Roast Duck & Brown Rice Congee.


I¬†could have been a Marx Brother with lines like that ūüėČ

Duck Soup.
A classic film and also this weeks dish.
Duck and corn congee to be precise.

Mrs. Teasdale: Oh, your Excellency!

Rufus T. Firefly: You’re not so bad yourself.

Congee, for the uninitiated, is a simple soupy porridge affair of rice cooked in broth or water, using the rice to thicken the soup as it breaks down.
As for its origins, I can’t say. Certainly Asia.
Everywhere from China to Indonesia has its own version. Almost certainly a peasant dish created to feed the many with limited resources, but now appearing in all forms on menus everywhere.
This is a 24/7 dish, great for anytime of day. You’ll even find it on trendy breakfast menus, with a trendier 63*egg on top.Duck8A Chinese chef that I trained with years ago (hi Jimmy Lew) always talked about congee being more than just the broth, that it becomes a meal with its condiments and accompaniments. Vegetables, spices, pickles, greens, sauces, nuts and seeds. That’s what makes congee exciting.
I agree. This is our version.
Rinse the rice well and drain . Strip the flesh and skin off the duck. Rinse the bones. Place the rice along with the garlic, ginger, bones, corn, corn cob and liquid (we added a little rice wine and a bay leaf as an after thought) in a pot and bring to a gentle boil. Turn it down to a low simmer for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally to keep the rice from sticking.Duck10 Remove the bones, cob and bay leaf. Discard. The rice should be breaking down and thickening the broth. Season to taste and serve with these extras. Alternatively, substitute duck with left over roast anything. Or seafood. Shitake mushrooms and tofu will satisfy vegan and vegetarian alike.Duck8*Our soup condiments included chopped duck made crispy in a pan. Chopped coriander, spring onions and sugar snap peas for freshness, toasted sesame and fried shallots for crunch. Lemon, soy, chilli and hoi sin for flavour. Eggs are a popular addition as well. Boiled, fried or poached. Or to give the soup a dash of creamy elegance, fold a couple of yolks through the pot just before serving. Transformation.Duck1

*Ambassador Trentino: I didn’t come here to be insulted!

Rufus T. Firefly: That’s what you think!”

With a good base congee and lots of sides you can really tailor this to everyone’s needs, making it great for a shared family meal. Kid had hoi-sin, I like chilli sauce. Not salty enough for you? Add a little soy. You get the idea. We used a slow cooker on high and it was done in around four hours. Apparently some rice cookers have a congee setting so you can set and forget, all day or overnight. But the stove is quicker. On that note, white rice is quicker again and more commonly used. We just happen to be a brown rice house.

Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.”

What Kid Did


Well. What DIDN’T kid do? There was rice to be washed, corn sheathed, sugar snaps topped and tailed.


Herbs and spring onions to wash and pick. Sesame seeds to toast on the stove. Duck to pick off the bones and bones to wash. Jiu-jitsu to get to, homework to finish, bags un-packed after the long weekend away.

Duck7A discussion came up somewhere on social media this week about kids using knives at home. The big knives. I’m probably a little paranoid about it, having seen adults commit some pretty heinous assaults on themselves (me included) at work. So I’m in no hurry to go down that path. When she’s ready I think we’ll know and frankly, I’m in no hurry. She’s 10 and so far¬†¬†a small knife for¬†topping some beans is fine.


¬†“Gentlemen, Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don’t let that fool you: he really is an idiot.”

Duck11At that same restaurant where I trained with Jimmy Lew I also worked for a time with Kid’s uncle Pete (way before Kid had even been thought about.) Sometimes on a slow Sunday night we’d roll our chef pants up and waddle around the kitchen pretending to hold cigars, singing ‘Groucho, Groucho, Groucho Marx!’
It still cracks us up 20 years later.

“Either this post is dead or my watch has stopped.”


Spatch and grab! Que?

So Girlfriend has gone off to Chile¬†for a fortnight to heal the¬†earth through self improvement X ūüôā
We¬†have not. ūüė¶

Never mind, we are instead left in charge of her house which includes these wonderful creatures


Say hi to She-ra (left) and Alfie (right). Probably making GF a little homesick right now.

and¬†an enormous¬†bbq. I think I’ve mentioned my bbq envy before.

Well if we can’t be in South America, we can certainly¬† bring a little South America to our table.¬†We are all Asado tonight.

Asado Pollo. (Bbq Chicken).


1¬†per person –¬†butterflied poussin/ spatchcock/ young chicken –¬†ask the butcher to do this. OR check out¬†my video below to see how to do it yourself.¬†Probably don’t get the kids to do this one.
Pebre –¬†¬†bit like a chimmi churri or mojo salsa –¬†see recipe below
olive oil
salt and pepper
baking paper

Pre- heat the bbq to a moderate heat. Make sure the grill side is clean. Flat plate is fine in lieu of a grill. Rub the bird with salt, pepper and oil. Place skin side down on the grill, place paper on top and carefully place the flat plate (or a brick wrapped in foil) on the flesh side to flatten it out.
chickenRemove after 5 minutes.
Brush both sides with some pebre and return to the grill skin side down for a further 5 minutes, turn over and cook the flesh side gently for a couple of minutes.
Serve straight up with extra pebre and whatever else you like.

We’re having bbq corn and salad.

What Kid Did

Washed lettuce, washed coriander and spring onions, made the pebre. Peeled the corn, crushed garlic and made salad.


1/2 a bunch coriander
1/2 a bunch parsley
3 spring onions
2 garlic cloves
2 long red chilli – deseeded
1 cup olive oil
zest from 1/2 a lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt


Wash the herbs, place everything in a blender and blitz until it’s a nice smooth runny sauce.
We added far too much garlic (after a unanimous vote to do so) and blended ours a little too far. But we don’t mind admitting our mistakes.
Stick to the 2 cloves and blend on pulse or use a mortar and pestle.
Pebre often has chopped tomatoes added to it to make Chiancho en Piedra.

Butterflying a chicken¬†– this is my first instructional video,¬†shot by me. There¬†are no voice instructions and¬†You Tube probably won’t let you watch it anyways.
Go easy right,  L plate video maker ahead.

The term Spatchcock applies to the action of removing the main frame from poultry to¬†flatten it out ready for a faster method of cookery such as the bbq. It has become synonymous with what the French call ‘poussin’ (puss – ahn)¬†or a young chicken.
But really you can spatchcock anything from a quail to a turkey if you like.
If you order spatchcock in a restaurant you’ll no doubt¬†get a butterflied young chicken, like in the video.

We chefs love them because they tend to have a lot more flavour than a larger chicken, they cook quickly and tend to stay moist.

Kid loves this because it’s covered in yummy, crispy skin. And too much garlic.

Viva el asado!

A Nice Bit of Crumpet?

Did someone say BREAKFAST !?

Yes. I did. And thoughts of bacon leapt to mind but then I remembered.

I’m having a meat free month.

Don’t tell my work mates, I won’t live it down.
Questions I just don’t want to have to answer.

Anyway it’s no big deal. I still like meat but sometimes I think it’s important to stop and look at what we eat and why. I have done that and decided that after ‘chocolate free August’, September would be meat free month. (Welcome back chocolate!)

I found some¬†good lookin’¬†golden corn at the fruit shop whilst looking around for options. ¬†We are out to family dinner tonight (my brother is buying in chicken and chips so it’s chips and coleslaw for me) but tomorrow morning we’re having these.

Golden Sweet Corn Crumpets

Ingredients Р makes about 12.
2 cobs corn
500ml milk
2cups plain flour
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 a 7gm packet of dried yeast


Heat the milk until just warm, add the yeast, honey, salt and melted butter. Let this mixture stand for 20 mins in a warm place to activate the yeast. It should go fluffy.
Cook the corn in salted boiling water for 5 minutes. Cool under some running cold water. Hold one end and use a sharp knife to cut the kernels from the cob (make sure the knife is facing away from you). Chop them up a little.
Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. When the yeast mixture is ready stir everything together.
Now let this mixture stand for about 45mins to an hour. This should swell and go fluffy also.
Heat a pan with some butter in it. A moderate heat is ample. These will burn pretty easily if it’s hot.
Add the mixture to some egg rings. Cook gently on one side until the batter is set and then flip them over. Cook for a further 5 minutes or so, remove from the pan and eat while hot.
I served them with some pan fried banana, Greek yoghurt and honey.
Crumpetmaking DSC_0541


Breakfast. Served w/ pan-fried banana, Greek yoghurt and bush honey

These would go well with  savoury or sweet  toppings or a combination Рbacon and ice cream or whipped miso butter and grilled pineapple for example.  Fried eggs and chilli sauce.

We had them cold after school too. Cut in half and topped w/ hommus, avocado and a little mayo. Yep.

CORN- Look for bright yellow, shiny kernels. It’s okay to pull back the husk and look inside before you commit. You could use tinned corn kernels to save time. It won’t be as good but you either have time or you don’t.¬†¬†In some parts of the world corn is white and sometimes blue. Yep, blue.


YEAST– the milk must be luke warm. Think of warming a baby’s bottle. Too cold it won’t activate, too hot and you kill it. You should be able to smell the yeast after a minute or two. The honey and salt are like food for the yeast.

WHAT KID DID РKid helped pull the husk off the corn and did dome stirring. She liked the crumpets, especially the afternoon tea version. When Kid met GF she decided that she would be a vegetarian too. That was until she realised that chicken is not a vegetable.

Hommus, avo and mayo.

Hommus, avo and mayo.

Post Script РWhen I was 20 I became a vegetarian and lived that way for about 3yrs. Chefs are not supposed to like vegetarians for some ridiculous reason so I copped it everyday. I would try things in the kitchen if duty called but then the vegetarian police would be out in force.
“How can you call yourself a vegetarian when you just put that gravy in your mouth?” or “how can you call yourself a vegetarian when your¬† shoes are leather?”¬† All uttered with a smug sense of superiority. Some people just don’t like things that challenge them huh.

Whatever. Our personal choices are just that obviously. My girlfriend is vegetarian for her own reasons and I respect that. I eat vegetarian with her when we get  to dine together. I love to.
The head chef of one Brisbane’s¬†smartest¬†fine dining restaurants is a vegan. Respect.
Chips and coleslaw is really yummy. I used to eat it a lot back in the day.
Sometimes I get sick of the sight of meat. There is a lot of it in my kitchens. There are so many other good things to eat out there. I’d like to see a subtle shift in our current¬†perception of food where meat is the centre piece and everything else is an after thought.

I like the idea of using less, better quality meats  to make lots of beautiful vegetables, pastas, sauces or whatever taste really good.

I’m not going to go any further, this is not a rant.

Time for a nice bit of crumpet ūüėČ


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