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.

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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.