July 22, 2006

Diversifying my portfolio

As I write this, I'm sitting with my laptop in the garden surrounded by candles. In this weather, it's the only sensible place to be. I can hear the crickets or grasshoppers chirping (and also the crap music of the teenagers having a last day of school party a few doors down).

Earlier today, Casey pressganged me into her team for the Warwick Cookout. Hopefully tonight's celebratory barbecue will justify her faith. The occasion of the barbecue was Alastair and me having almost finished our PhDs, and Ayshea finishing teaching for the year.

It started with two bream, cooked until the skin blistered on either side, with a salsa verde. The bream were excellent, but I think the salsa verde was a bit too strong for the subtle flavour of the bream.

The next course was a spatchcocked poussin marinated with garlic, lemon and parsley. As a side dish we had a sliced raw fennel salad with lemon and oil dressing. Again, it was pretty good, but I think a sort of spicy marinade would have been more interesting for the poussin which has quite a simple and mild flavour.

The star of the show though was the marinated vaguely Asian style duck breasts. The marinade was made by caramelising some sugar, water, star anise, ginger, coriander, sesame seeds, sweet soya sauce and chilli flakes. The marinade really went well with the duck, and the breasts were perfectly cooked (about 4–5 minutes on either side, and then left to rest for about 5 to 10 minutes, pink in the middle and tender). I think we also had some tomatoes on the vine, as a sort of nod to the idea of not just eating meat and fish. Maybe I should claim I'm on the Atkins diet?

Photos will turn up in a while…


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