Saturday, 11 August 2012

A simple supper... and a simpler lunch

Being a passionate and often fastidious cook, I sometimes get bogged down in the intricacies of cooking complicated dishes and neglect simple combinations of ingredients. Reading through a recipe by Heston Blumenthal or Thomas Keller can leave one feeling overwhelmed and wishing simply to concoct an easy dish with tried and tested flavour pairings.

Here it's mackerel, beetroot, and horseradish for a light lunch which takes only a few minutes to prepare; and then a slow cooked duck leg seasoned with five spice, stir-fryed cabbage and sauteed potatoes for dinner.

Mackerel and beetroot with horseradish dressing
Smoked mackerel fillet, 1 per person
Beetroot, pre-cooked
Horseradish sauce, 1 tsp
Extra virgin olive oil, 3 tbsp
Sherry vinegar, 1 tbsp
Salt and pepper
  • Tear the mackerel into bite-size pieces
  • Slice the beetroot into thin circles
  • Combine the horseradish sauce and sherry vinegar then whisk in the olive oil  until emulsified, then season and taste
  • Dress the mackerel and beetroot

Slow-cooked duck leg with cabbage and sauteed potatoes
2 Duck legs
Sea Salt, 2 tbsp
Five-spice powder, 1 tsp
Sweetheart cabbage, finely sliced
Shaoshing rice wine, splash
Soy sauce, to taste
New potatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
Corn oil or butter
  • Sprinkle the salt over the duck legs and rub into the skin and underside, then leave covered overnight in the fridge
  • Preheat the oven to 200 degress then rinse the salt off the duck legs, pat dry, and season with five spice
  • Fry the duck skin side down until most of the fat has been rendered down
  • Place duck legs in a covered casserole dish, put in the oven and cook for roughly an hour and a half
  • To saute the potatoes, pat the cut pieces dry, then heat the oil or butter in a frying pan over a medium heat
  • It is important that the pan be hot enough to brown the potatoes but not too hot that it will burn them
  • Fry the potatoes turning occasionally to make sure all sides are browned (this will take about half an hour)
  • For the cabbage, heat a little oil in a wok then stir-fry the cabbage, seasoning with the rice wine and soy sauce
  • Do this when you are ready to plate up as the cabbage will not take long to cook
  • Sit the duck leg on top of the cabbage and serve with the sauteed potatoes