Duck Leg  Biryani 

Not long after I made the Keralan Style Mutton Biryani, I adapted the recipe for this version and it worked particularly well. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.



Duck Leg Biryani 
Ingredients :
Biryani masala blend
Cinnamon sticks 2
Cardamom green 8
Cardamom black: 2
Cloves: 6
Caraway seeds : 1 tsp
Fennel seeds : 1 tsp
Bay Leaves : 1
Star Anise : 1
Nutmeg 1/2
Fenugreek seeds 1/4 tsp
Mace : 4
Duck legs 4
Biryani masala : 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
250g green beans
Masala sauce
Onion 4 thinly sliced
Tomatoes : 3 chopped
Green chillies 4 chopped
Ginger paste 2 tbsp
Garlic paste: 2 tbsp
Biryani masala : 1 tsp
Red chilli powder 1 tsp
Coriander powder 2 tbsp
Turmeric powder 1/4 tsp
Coconut oil: 2 tbsp
Rice
long grain rice 2 cups
Cloves 4
Cardamom, green 4
Cinnamon stick 1
Bay leaves : 1
Salt to taste
Garnish
Cashew nuts
2 large onions, thinly sliced and fried till crisp
Coriander 1 small handful, chopped
Saffron 1 pinch

Method:
Start by heating a heavy based dry frying pan, add all biryani masala spice blend and gently roast until the spice aroma has developed. Remove the spices from the heat, place in a heavy-duty spice grinder and grind to a fine blend.

Prepare the duck legs by removing the skin and sprinkling 1 tablespoon of biryani masala blend and season with salt. heat some coconut oil in a heavy bottomed pan and brown the duck legs. remove froth pan and keep to one side.

Make the Masala sauce in the heavy based pan, which has a tight fitting lid you will need this later; add the cashew nuts and fry until golden, remove and keep to one side. Add the sliced onions and fry until soft and golden, add the ginger, garlic and chilies, fry until browned. Then add the chopped tomatoes and cook down, add a splash of water to stop the sauce from sticking. Add the remaining masala spices, season with salt and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Now add the browned duck legs and half of the chopped herbs to the masala sauce and combine, add another splash of water if the mixture look dry. Cover and cook over a low heat for 45 minutes adding a little water from time to time to reduce the risk of the masala sauce sticking.

Pre heat the oven to 180c

While the duck legs are cooking prepare the rice, first wash the rice and drain. Heat a teaspoon of coconut oil in a pan; add the rice spices to the oil and temper. Add the drained rice to the spices with 4 cups of water and salt. Cook for 8-10 minutes, you do not want the rice be fully cooked, drain and place to one side.

Place a pinch of saffron in a 1/4-cup of warm water and leave to infuse.

Once the duck legs are ready, place the green beans on top of the masala sauce and half the rice, layer with the chopped herbs, fried onions and cashew nuts, and then the remaining rice. Garnish the very top with fried onions.

Pour over the saffron water, replace the lid and cook for a further 25 minutes.

Mutton Biriyani Kerala Style. 

I stumbled upon this recipe a few weeks ago after reading a blog on the famous Lucknow Mutton Biryani, which set off a craving for the dish. Predictably, I’ve made a few tweaks to the spice blends as I wanted quite a heavy lean towards cinnamon and clove flavours to the dish to match the robust flavour of the mutton.

Ingredients:

Biryani masala blend 

Cinnamon sticks 2

Cardamom green 8

Cardamom black: 2

Cloves: 6

Caraway seeds : 1 tsp

Fennel seeds : 1 tsp

Bay Leaves : 1

Star Anise : 1

Nutmeg 1/2

Fenugreek seeds 1/4 tsp

Mace : 4

Marinade

Turmeric 1/2 tsp

Chilli powder 1 tsp

Natural yogurt 250ml

Biryani masala : 1 tbsp

Salt to taste

Mutton 1kg

New potatoes 8

Masala 

Onion 4 thinly sliced

Tomatoes : 3 chopped

Green chillies 4 chopped

Ginger paste 2 tbsp

Garlic paste: 2 tbsp

Biryani masala : 1 tsp

Red chilli powder 1 tsp

Coriander powder 2 tbsp

Turmeric powder 1/4 tsp

Coconut oil: 2 tbsp

Cashew paste 

Fennel 1 tsp

Poppy seeds: 1 tsp

Grated Coconut 50gms

Cashew nuts one small handful

Rice

long grain rice 2 cups

Cloves 4

Cardamom, green 4

Cinnamon stick 1

Bay leaves : 1

Salt to taste

Garnish

Cashew nuts

2 large onions, thinly sliced and fried till crisp

Mint leaves 1 small handful, chopped

Coriander 1 small handful, chopped

Saffron 1 pinch

Method:

For the biryani masala blend:

Start by heating a heavy based dry frying pan, add all biryani masala spice blend and gently roast until the spice aroma has developed. Remove the spices from the heat, place in a heavy-duty spice grinder and grind to a fine blend.

Place the mutton in a bowl, add the marinade ingredients and combine, cover and put to one side for 2 hours.

Prepare the cashew paste by soaking the poppy seeds, fennel, and cashew nut in some hot water for 20 minutes. Add to the grated coconut and grind to a smooth paste, cover and place it to one side.

Make the Masala sauce by heating the coconut oil in a heavy based pan, which has a tight fitting lid you will need this later; add the cashew nuts and fry until golden, remove and keep to one side. Add the sliced onions and fry until soft and golden, add the ginger, garlic and chilies, fry until browned. Then add the chopped tomatoes and cook down, add a splash of water to stop the sauce from sticking. Add the remaining masala spices, season with salt and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Now add the marinated mutton, new potatoes, cashew paste and some of the chopped herbs to the masala sauce and combine, add another splash of water if the mixture look dry. Cover and cook over a low heat for an hour adding a little water from time to time to reduce the risk of the masala sauce sticking.

Pre heat the oven to 180c

While the mutton is cooking prepare the rice, first wash the rice and drain. Heat a teaspoon of coconut oil in a pan; add the rice spices to the oil and temper. Add the drained rice to the spices with 4 cups of water and salt. Cook for 8-10 minutes, you do not want the rice be fully cooked, drain and place to one side.

Place a pinch of saffron in a 1/4-cup of warm water and leave to infuse.

Once the mutton is ready, place half the rice over the masala mixture and layer with the chopped herbs, fried onions and cashew nuts, and then the remaining rice. Garnish the very top with fried onions.

Pour over the saffron water, replace the lid and cook for a further 25 minutes.

 

 

 

Buttery Pecan and Vanilla Shortbread

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I’ve  be deliberating what to do with some pecans I had in the cupboard and the last of my light brown sugar I bought in Mauritius, until I spotted the hubby eyeing up the shortbread at a local food festival we went to yesterday. The hubby is super supportive of all my wild career ideas and adventures, so I just feel he deserves a treat or two, and with that in mind I’ve baked and my Buttery Pecan and Vanilla Shortbread is ready to be devoured.

If you would like to treat someone you love with these delicious treats here’s the recipe

Ingredients

  • 225g unsalted butter, softened
  • 110g light brown sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • 175g plain flour
  • 50g toasted pecans, ground
  • 110g cornflour
  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds
    Pinch of salt

Method

In a bowl cream together the sugar, vanilla and butter until fluffy and pale.

Sieve the cornflour and plain four together, add the ground pecans and salt, combine with the butter mixture until a soft dough is formed.

Roll out the dough between two sheets of cling film to a desired thickness. I attempted to roll to 3 cm but the dough was soft, I got a bit giddy and ended up with wonky levels. (A tip here would be to chill the dough in the fridge for 10 minutes to firm up the dough.)

Once rolled out cut in your desired shapes and place on a lined baking sheet.

Place in the. fridge to chill for 30 mins.

Preheat the oven to 170c/160c fan

Place the shortbread trays in the oven and bake for 20 mins or until lightly golden, remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Sprinkle with a little sugar and enjoy the buttery, crumbly texture.

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Apricot and Almond Tart 

Lazy summer Sundays are made for apricot tarts.

To make this you need:

Firm apricots (no not hard), stoned and sliced

1 x pkt ready rolled puff pastry ( let’s be lazy, it’s Sunday after all, and jus rol is vegan if you wish)

1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground 

Pinch Salt 

1/2 vanilla pod seeds

Small pkt of almonds 

Water 

Brown sugar 2 tbsp

Method 

Sprinkle the puff pastry with 1/2 tsp of brown sugar and cinnamon then fold over and roll out and cut into your desired shape and size ..I also made individual tartlets. 

Score a margin around the edge of the pastry and then place in the fridge to keep cool.

In a high speed blender, place all the other ingredients except the apricots, pulse to make a smooth thick paste . 

Remove your pastry from the fridge and inside of the margin you have scored, spread the almond paste.


Layer with the apricots and sprinkle with a little brown sugar.

Place in a preheated oven say 180c fan, bake for 25 -30 mins or until the pastry is puffed and golden.


Or if you would like to make individual tartlets use a mini muffin tin to shape your pastry cases, fill with the almond paste and cover with half an apricot. 


Note: if you like sweet things add an additional 1tbsp brown sugar.

Enjoy. 

Patrick Ah-Fat’s Peking Duck

This post started with a long trip to the island of Mauritius, where my late father was born and where I had not been for 30 years. Mauritius for those that don’t know is a very small but wonderful tropical island in the Indian Ocean, with. a wealth of cultural influences from African, Indian and Chinese, which  create a fantastic island vibe of colours, flavours and traditions known as Creole.

The image below shows one of the first views of the island as you fly in, the cove is Grand Baie in the north, which is next to our family favourite beach of Pereybere. I remember the first time I visited the island and saw the view from the plane,  the vivid blue green from the sea blew me away even at the age of 13. I was relieved when I returned that the view was just as impressive and the colours were still as fresh as the ones in my memory.

GRAND BAIE
View from the sky Grand Baie, Mauritius – no photo editing

While visiting the Island my husband and I caught up with some of the family, who are still living in Post Louis. The visit was great as we got to see the family home and catch up on family chat, plus we  meet a new addition to the Ah-Fat family,  I wonder if you can guess which one.

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We ended up going out for dinner with the cousins at their favourite Chinese restaurant, which was amazing and they had chosen a really special menu for the evening. After dinner we drove past the family shop “Magasin Ah-Fat” which has the largest sign ever !!!! Apparently there was a large sign but Uncle thought it would fall down and hit someone, so it  was removed and the small sign left. No wonder I couldn’t find the shop when I went looking for it on my own, I even walked passed it. The shop has been established for 50 + years and is going strong, originally selling all types of sports equipment and re stringing rackets by hand themselves, now the shop just specialises in  fishing tackle and is well know on the island. You can find the shop next to the main entrance by the Alooda stall in the Market (I highly recommend the Alooda if you are there).

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Me  finally at Magasin Ah-Fat , Port Louis, Mauritius 

When I was talking with the cousins about not having dad’s recipes,  it transpired they had the recipe of my dad’s Peking Duck.  I though this recipe had been lost forever, as  my sister and I did not get my dad to write down any of his dishes before he died  and something we regret not doing. My dad was famed for this recipe and one that I had seen prepared in various stages but not prepared myself. It was a memorable process as Dad always prepared the duck by hanging it to dry in the garage and the a mount of times I walked into the duck without paying much attention in the dark was countless, not brilliant as at the time I was a veggie, you can just imagine the grumbles.  I was so pleased to have this recipe given to me, it has been 14 years since my dad died and it just feels like I’ve been given a little gift to remind myself that my dad is still around.

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My dad  back in the 80’s – Dr. Lim Niam Chow Ah-fat aka Patrick Ah-fat

Patrick Ah-Fat’s Peking Duck

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Patrick Ah-Fat’s Peking Duck

Prep time: 24hrs

Cooking time: 1hr

 Serves 3-4

Ingredients: 

  • 1 x 1.3kg Duck, whole
  • 1 tbsp salt, to rub onto the duck

Spice rub:

  • 1 heaped tsp five spice powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Duck glaze:

  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp rum, I used green island spice rum
  • 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 pinch of yellow food colouring

Method:

Place the duck on a rack over a roasting tin and prick the skin with a sharp knife, this will allow the fat to leech out during the cooking process.

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The duck

Pour three kettles of boiling water over the duck, this will tighten the skin and start to render the fat, discard the water each time.

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Tightening the duck skin with boiling water

Drain the duck and pat dry with some kitchen roll.

Mix the five spice powder and 1tsp salt in pan and heat lightly over low flame, once the aroma starts  remove from the heat.

Rub the cavity of the duck with the spice rub and seal up the cavity with a cocktail stick.

Now to make the glaze, I used Green Island spiced rum and brown sugar I brought back from Mauritius as a nod to my dad.

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Green Island rum 

In a small saucepan mix the water, vinegar, honey, rum, sugar and food colouring, bring to boil. Remove glaze from heat and pour over duck.

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Glazing the duck

Collect the glaze and place back in the saucepan, boil again and pour over duck. Then throw away the remaining glaze.

Rub salt all over duck, hang and leave to dry overnight. I did this in my fridge as it was too warn to hang in the utility.

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Remove the duck from where it is hanging, place on a rack over a roasting tray and pat try with some kitchen roll to remove any moisture sitting on the skin.

Pre heat the oven to 180c fan, cook for 30 mins on side make sure each is a deep brown.

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Ta Da the roasted duck.

Leave the duck to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and remember to pour over the juices.

Serve with rice pancakes, hoisin, sauce, spring onions, carrots and cucumber.

I also served the duck with rice, and a chilli and garlic stir fry kale with black sesame seeds. don’t forget to pour the duck gravy over your rice.

I hope you give this recipe a try and enjoy as much as I did. I can also confirm that I did  my dad’s recipe justice. The duck’s spicing was just right, the skin was tasty and the meat was moist and succulent.

Happy eating.

 

 

Baked smoked chipotle chilli marinated sheeps milk feta, with peperonata on bruschetta

I’ve been out of action in the kitchen for a little while as I’ve been ill, away on vacation and at the moment I’m in recovery mode from abdominal surgery. Yesterday was the first day that I was able to make it in the kitchen and cook, mainly because the husband was eating out and I had to fend for myself. Luckily for me I had a grocery delivery earlier in the day and had all my favourite ingredients to make baked smoked chipotle chilli marinated sheeps milk feta, with peperonata on bruschetta.

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baked smoked chipotle chilli marinated sheeps milk feta, with peperonata on bruschetta

This dish is so simple to make and can be eaten at lunch or dinner, warm or cold, alone or in company, its a summery dish with all the right elements: salty, sweet, savoury, tart, creamy, bitter and spicy, I guess thats what’s called umami.

My favourite part of this dish is the feta, but it needs to be a pure sheep milk or a sheep and goats milk mix as I find that it has a sharper cleaner flavour than ones that contain cows milk. The creaminess of the feta next to the warm smokey heat of the chipotle chilli for me is like a marriage made in heaven and the sort of food that I can’t stop going back to and nibbling on while waiting for the rest of the elements of the dish to finish cooking.

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Baked smoked chipotle chilli marinated sheeps milk feta

To make this  dish you will need the following

Ingredients 

For the feta 

1 x 250g block of sheep milk feta

2 large teaspoon of smoked chipotle chilli paste

For the bruschetta 

slices of good quality fresh white bread

1 garlic clove

olive oil

salt

sprinkle of mixed herbs

For the peperonata

6  Ramiro peppers, deseeded and sliced

1 x large red onion, thinly sliced

2 x plum tomatoes, deseeded and roughly chopped

1 large garlic clove, chopped

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp olive oil

Aged balsamic vinegar for dressing.

Method: 

Heat the oven to 170c

Place the feta in a heat proof bowl, spread the chipotle chilli paste over the feta, and leave to marinate.

In a roasting tray place all the ingredients for the peperonata, give it a mix to ensure all the ingredients are seasoned and coated in the olive oil.  Place in the preheated oven for 35 minutes.

When the pepronata has been in the oven for 35 minutes, give it a little stir and place the  marinated feta in the oven as well and bake for 25 minutes.

Prepare the bruschetta by rubbing the bread with the garlic clove, place on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and mixed herbs, and place in oven for 10 minutes or until golden.

Remove the peperonata, feta and bruschetta from the oven, assemble on the plate, dress with balsamic vinegar and serve.

Enjoy and eat well.

 

 

 

 

Pistachio Nankhatai

Today I was feeling the need for a bake, so I made these my Pistachio Nankhatai. I have many different versions and flavour combinations some are wheat free, vegan, with nuts without but the great thing about these is that they are super easy to make and taste delightful. This version can be made using the following recipe.

Ingredients:

1 cup plain flour 

1/4 cup chickpea flour

1/4 cup fine semolina

1tsp baking powder

1/2 cup of Icing sugar

1/2 cup of ghee melted

1/2 tsp cardamom powder

1/5 nutmeg freshly grated

Small pinch of Salt 

2tbsp of ground pistachios 

2tsp milk

Method
 

Preheat the oven to 180c

in a bowl add all the dry ingredients except the pistachios and combine 

Add the ghee and milk to the dry mix and combine with your hands to from a smooth dough if the mixture is a little wet add a further tbsp of chickpea flour

Leave the dough to rest for 10 minutes.

Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper 

Take pinch size bits of dough and roll into a balls, place on the lines baking sheet and slightly flatten the dough. (Roughly 35g)

With a knife cut a cross shape Ito the dough and sprinkle with the ground pistachio.

Bake in the oven for 18-22 minutes 

Remove from oven and leave to cool before removing from the baking sheet. 

Enjoy with a delicious cup of masala chai.