Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Inaugural Session: Skrat's Humble Creations

As Deetour Chick puts it, at last Sunday's Dias Deliciosos's inaugural party, we had a total overflow of food contributed by about 12 people in total. The menu was extensive. As for me, I decided to endeavour at cooking a duck which I have never cooked on my own apart from observing how my mother used to prepare it. And a simple Mushroom Soup.

Braised Five-Spiced Duck served in 2 ways
a. Braised Duck served on a bed of shredded omelette and spring onion
b. Braised Duck Sushi with Unagi Sauce


300g French Duck Breast
Chinese Five Spice Powder
Dark Soy
1 Cinnamon Stick
2 Star Anise
2tsp Sugar
olive oil
3 eggs; pan-fry as thin as possible and cut into strips
Spring onions; sliced very thinly and soak in water to curl the stripes
5tbsp Unagi Sauce
2 cups Sushi Rice
Sushi Rice Powder Mix


To Prepare Duck
Marinate duck breast with 2-3tbsp of Dark Soy then sprinkle some Five Spice Powder on both sides. Do not sprinkle too much five spice powder as it will become too bitter. Cling wrap and leave it in fridge overnight.
In a heated wok, add in 2-3tbsp olive oil and followed by 2 tsp of sugar.
When the sugar has melted, add in cinnamon stick and star anise and stir till its fragrant.
Add in the dark soy. Make sure you have the lid over the wok as it is going to sizzle big time.
Stir gently then add in about half a cup of water. We do not want too much sauce so that only half the duck is simmering in the sauce.
Make sure that the sugar is evenly mixed before adding the duck breast in. (meat side down)
Turn the flame right down, simmer the duck breast and slowly baste the top of the duck (the skin) so that it slowly absorbs the dark sauce and cooking the top of the meat.
There is no need to flip the duck for this recipe, the idea is to slowly baste the duck to give it a nice pink center when its being sliced.
Simmer and baste for a total of 15min on low flame.
Allow to cool before slicing duck.

To Prepare Sushi rice:
In a rice cooker, add in 2 cups of Japanese Sushi rice with 2 1/2 cups water.
When rice is ready, allow it to stand for about 10min before adding in sushi rice powder. The amount of sushi powder is up to your preference of taste. I took my mother's advice of using the Sushi Rice powder instead of liquid vinegar. It was indeed much better as its sweet and slightly sour as well.

To serve Version a:
In a small saucer, line bottom of saucer with shredded omelette. Place 2 slices of duck over shredded omelette and top it off with some sprigs of pre-soaked spring onion. Drizzle some of the sauce on the duck just before serving.

To serve Version b:
Roll Sushi rice after the rice is slightly cool.
Dip sliced duck into Unagi sauce and place it over the rolled rice.
Serve immediately.

Simplest Mushroom Soup


650g mushrooms (I combined Portobello, Swiss Browns & Fresh White Button)
1 tbsp olive oil
90g butter
1 onion, chopped
3-4 bulbs of garlic
1 sprig parsley, chopped
2 tbsp Bulla cream
1/2 bottle of white wine
400ml Chicken Stock


I decided to be slightly adventurous....i grilled my Portobello mushrooms with some sea salt, pepper, olive oil till its starting to brown and sizzle. Cut into quarters.
For the rest of the mushrooms, cut into halves or quarters.
Heat a saucepan and add in olive oil.
Throw in the chopped onions and on low heat, allow onions to sweat a little. Add butter in and continue sweating the onions. Throw in the garlic and continue stirring.
Add in all the mushrooms, stir for about 5min. Season with sea salt and ground pepper. Throw in chopped parsley.
Add the wine and chicken stock.
On low fire, simmer the soup and reduce it to almost half the mixture. If you like your soup to be more "watery", then reduce your simmer time.
Using a blender, pour in entire mixtue in saucepan into blender and blend till all the mushrooms are finely blended. Soup is almost ready.
Pour soup back into saucepan. On low fire, stir in the cream. My preference is not for the soup to be too creamy or thick.
Serve in a small coffee cup or soup bowl. Add in a drop of cream on top and garnish with a sprig of parsley.


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