Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A very spa-ducken Christmas - the result

The final verdict, spa-ducken is tasty.

It was a good feat, even though the final glaze turned out a little bit burnt but the rest was 100% fine. Definitely a great experience, but probably not something we'll try again - even though my boyfriend's brother, who is in charge of hosting Christmas next year suggested I bring the main. Yeah, right.

So happy holidays all and see you in the new year. Here's to a delightful and delicious 2012.


Spatchcock, deboned completely
Medium sized chicken, deboned completely
Medium sized duck, deboned with wings and legs in place
Sticky rice and chinese sausage stuffing
1/2 bunch thyme
Few sprigs of oregano
Rice wine and stock for roasting

Pre-heat oven to 160 degrees.

Start with the duck laid out flat skin down. Spoon a liberal amount of stuffing on meat and spread evenly.

Place chicken on top skin side down and repeat with stuffing. For the final spatchcock layer, I put in thyme and oregano.

Carefully wrap the birds around each other, trimming the meat that doesn't fit. (who knew chicken breasts were si large???) Secure the final wrapped birds with twine and toothpicks to close the opening.

Lay in roasting tray skin side up. Garnish with vegetables. Pour rice wine and stock over the top. Cover and place in oven.

Roast for 3.5 hours, removing the foul for the last 30 minutes and bringing the. Temperature up to 200 degrees. You can glaze with soy, oyster sauce and honey if you wish. Rest for 20 minutes before serving.

Before glazing bit blurry

Saturday, December 24, 2011

It is a very spa-ducken Christmas - pt 2

Ah Christmas Eve. Where shoppers leap for the last sprig of rosemary and fret with traditional pre-Christmas spirit over the misplaced shopping list left forgotten in a supermarket aisle.

Meanwhile, in our little flat, the very spa-ducken Christmas is well on its way.

But first, to get into the spirit of the season, some festive decorations.

And in preparation for the cooking of the great feast the birds are deboned.

And the stuffing prepared.

As you can see I'm taking a bit of an Asian twist using my favourite staple, sticky rice and Chinese sausage.

Tomorrow the cooking and feasting.

Merry Christmas everyone! We'll be posting the final spa-ducken results after the holidays. In the meantime to all a good night.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A very spa-ducken Christmas - pt 1

It's going to be a spa-ducken Christmas! That's right, spa-ducken!

Let me explain. We're hosting Christmas this year for 7. While I love cooking our house doesn't really have room for big dinner parties, but since it's family, they can deal with the tight squeeze.

I've always wanted to try to make a turducken, ever since I first read about it in Jeffrey Steingarten's book. If you haven't read It Must've Been Something I Ate, it's a must read fir any adventurous foodie.

Only problem with the infamous turducken (for the uninitiated, it's the chicken stuffed in a duck stuffed in. A turkey) is that it feeds 16-18! Even with my partner's brother and brother-in-law who could eat for 3 each, we'd still have way too much meat.

So jnstead we're trying the spa-ducken, that is a spatchcock stuffed in a chicken stuffed in a duck. Should be a much more manageable size.

So...we're going to need some practice runs especially with the deboning of things. So 34 days until Christmas....

First up deboning the spatchcock. This was surprisingly okay with a sharp paring knife and some good YouTube instructions - I even managed to get some of the wing meat out.

Since it was a trial, it turned into dinner with some herbs, olive oil and some thyme.

Have you any Christmas dinner tips? Especially in the poultry department?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Salt baked crusted spatchcock

Yum - great salty goodness. I've never actually made a spatchcock before but it didn't really seem like it would be that different to chicken. Make the crust as below and ensure to completely enclose the poultry with no gaps or holes. I left it in 200 degree celsius oven for about 45 minutes and let it rest for about 5 more.

The sides are steamed sticky rice with chinese sausage and shitake mushrooms with some steamed chinese broccoli.


1 1/4 cup rock salt crushed with mortar and pestle
2 cups flour
1/2 cup chopped fresh thyme
Couple of sprigs rosemary leaves stripped from stalks
2 egg whites
200 ml of water

PS oh yeah - In case it's not obvious, DON'T EAT THE CRUST!!! :D

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bourke st bakery Flourless chocolate cake

260 g dark chocolate
135 ml milk
40 g yoghurt
4 eggs
105 g caster sugar for eggs
4 egg whites
160 g caster sugar for egg whites
135 ml pouring cream
55 g unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

Preheat oven to 150 degrees. Grease 20 cm spring form pan and line base with baking paper. Paper should protrude 2.5 cm over edge of tin

Put the chocolate in a large stainless steel bowl and set over saucepan of simmering water to melt. Boil water for 2 minutes and stir chocolate to melt.
Put milk and yoghurt in saucepan over medium high heat and bring to boil. Turn off the heat, mixture should be curdled milk.
In a separate bowl, Whisk eggs and caster sugar for about 10 minutes. Mixture should be light and nearly double in volume.

Whisk egg whites in very clean bowl to soft peaks. Add sugar for the whites and whisk into shiny meringue. Don't over whisk. Place in fridge.

Whisk cream into soft peaks and place in fridge.

Next, you will need all of the components ready to fold together, the melted chocolate, curdled milk, eggs, meringue, whipped cream and cocoa powder. Pour curdled milk into chocolate and fold and then add cocoa - whisk well until fully incorporated. Fold in whipped eggs in 3 batches, making sure first batch is fully incorporated before adding more. Lightly fold meringue into whipped cream. Fold this mixture into the chocolate mix in 3 batches making sure you fully incorporate the first batch before adding more.

Using spatula, scoop batter into prepared tin and tap on bench to even out the mix. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes. Do not disturb the cake cooking for the first 45 minutes. After that, rotate to ensure even cooking. You can cover top of cake with baking paper and lower temperature if the top is starting to brown. Check if cooked by placing hand and on top to feel if it mix is set through. Let cool 30 minutes before serving. Serve with sharp knife that had been warmed in hot water and clean blade completely between cuts.

Image credit

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Masterchef - Gary's Blackforest Cake & why do you cook?

I've been meaning to try this out for some time now - and with quite a bit of stress over the past couple of weeks, I figured the best thing to do to de-stress over the weekend was to make a cake. :)

For me, cooking and baking is a way to deal with stress. Because it's so unlike anything else I do in my day to day - and it requires the utmost concentration, it really helps to reboot my brain and relieve stress. Back in 2001, when 9/11 happened, I wasn't in New York at the time as I was in college. The whole thing was so mind numbing and impossible to take in, I ended up making pasta alfredo for everyone to give me something to mentally cope. (Mind you, it tasted absolutely horrendous.)

Gary's Blackforest cake

While the recipe is quite complex and involves quite a number of techniques and creations, the whole thing wasn't actually that bad. As you can tell, I didn't end up with the 5 tier cake like the one on the show simply because it was too late to try and make a second sponge cake (I only had 1 springform pan) and I hadn't bought enough marscapone cheese. Plus, when we served it up, most people had already eaten dessert anyway, so it was probably a good thing that it was a little smaller in size.


Why do you cook? What hobbies help you destress?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Five Spice Bacon Salad

Five spice pork is a lovely traditional chinese dish - the sweet and savoury taste of the five spice seasoning goes lovely with natural richness and juiciness of pork chops...

And bacon. :)

With summer well and truly here, salads have been the most appetising and easiest simple dinner option to enjoy - but it's been important to keep salads interesting, and filling. This salad is exceptionally light, but the addition of the bacon (and even the little bit of bacon grease!) makes it a hearty dinner option. Serve with a little bit of rice for an even more filling option.

Five Spice Bacon Salad


6 slices of middle bacon
2 tbs chinese five spice
30 g snow pea sprouts
150 gram mixed lettuce
1 ya pear cut into thin slices

Cut bacon into sizable chunks (but not small bits for now) - I usually stack the slices on top of each other and cut through. Coat the "chunks" liberally with five spice seasoning.

In a heated pan, bring the coated bacon to a sizzle. Let cook for about 6 minutes, just until the bacon cooks through without becoming too crispy. Save the grease to drizzle lightly over the salad, if desired.

Remove from pan and cut into bite size pieces. Toss together lettuce, snow pea sprouts and pear slices with the bacon pieces. Drizzle remaining bacon grease into salad (definitely tasty but not the heart healthy option - I also realise that I'm watching the Biggest Loser while I write this, so maybe NOT the most responsible recommendation I can make). Otherwise, you can dress with a light soy and some sesame oil.

Serve over rice for a nice hearty dinner option. (that still counts as "salad").

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Avocado Pesto

Mmmm - avocado, what an amazing and versatile fruit. Great on toast with a sprinkle of S&P and an absolute must have for any sushi lover.

With the incredible heat in Sydney this past week, it's been a real challenge to whip up dinner after work - the last thing you want to do in the 40 degree heat in a non-airconditioned apartment is turn on the stove!

This lovely pesto went perfectly with a simple salad of spinach leaves, roma tomatoes, barbecue chook and spanish onion - and no cooking required!

Finally, the cool change is here. Personally, I'm pretty done with summer!


Avocado Pesto


1 bunch basil
2 small garlic cloves
1 avocado
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup olive oil

Pick just the leaves from the bunch of basil. In a food processor, pulse basil leaves with garlic. Use a stick mixer to puree avocado and basil, garlic mix while slowly adding the oil in a steady stream until the mixture is smooth. Salt and pepper to taste.

Great for leafy summer salads - and works well with cold pasta salads as well.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A delectably delicious new year - chocolate crusted lemon tart

My friend went to New Zealand and the Cadbury factory last month and came back with the Green and Black's chocolate cookbook - lotsa awesome recipes including this one for a divine lemon tart. Definitely a holiday hit.

This year, I hope I'll be able to include more about the foodie community. There are so many great food bloggers out there, especially here in Sydney and I would love to become more involved with it. Hopefully that also means I get myself off my lazy butt and blog more!

Have a very happy new year everyone and here's to a delectably delicious 2011!