How To Cook Duck

duckMany cooks are inexplicably afraid of duck and wary of duck recipes. Perhaps its price or the fact it renders when it’s cooked is off-putting, or the rich, fatty, luxuriant taste isn’t something they’re used to. The most popular ducks are the Long Island duckling, which is descended from the Imperial Peking duck, which was once reserved for the table of the Emperor, and the Muscovy duck, which has a stronger flavour. The Muscovy is good for roasts, and the Long Island duckling fares a little better if it’s cut up.

The most popular parts of the duck are the legs, thighs and the breast, which have the most meat. The Moulard duck is specially bred for its fatty liver, which is consumed as foiegras. It’s also prized for the breast, which is called Magret and cooked like steak in some recipes. Ideally, a duck should be bought whole so that the cook can check that its bill and feet are still pliable and that it has a nice bit of meat on the breast.

Unlike chicken, duck can be served rare in some recipes, especially the breast. Some cooks will roast a duck till the breast is just done, take the duck out of the oven, carve off the legs and return them to the oven till they’re fully cooked. Other cooks cut the duck up before it’s cooked, then saute the breast and braise the legs.

 

Ingredients That Go With Duck

cherriesThe rich taste of hot duck is especially compatible with fruit like cherries, oranges, pineapple or apples. A duck can also be simply rubbed down with oil or softened butter, and seasoned with salt and pepper. Cold duck is also good in salads.

Hot Duck Recipes

Duck is best served hot and we have some fantastic hot duck recipes that you can easily cook in your own home.

 

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A Guide To Correct Food Storage

A vital aspect of maintaining health and safety standards in a restaurant or another establishment that serves food is knowing how to store food properly and safely. Even in your own home, it’s also essential to have a good working knowledge of best practices for storing ingredients and how long you can actually keep different types of food.

Here are some tips to help you store these different categories of ingredients correctly.

Meat and fish

Most meat and fish you buy from the butcher’s, fishmonger’s or supermarket will keep for a few days in the fridge. It is essential to keep any raw meat in its original packaging so it cannot come into contact with other things in your fridge. If possible, store it on the bottom shelf to minimise the risk of any juices dripping onto food stored below. Cooked meat does not pose a significant contamination risk but it should be fully wrapped.

You can freeze most things if you need to keep them for longer, typically for up to 4-6 months. Vaccuum packs keep for longer as they are less likely to be damaged by freezing. Cured meat and fresh, fatty fish are the only main things that should never be frozen.

Dairy products

Generally, dairy should be kept refrigerated. Once opened, many dairy products will not keep for longer than two or three days, so it’s essential that you check the individual use-by dates where possible.

Most soft or sliced types of cheese and butter are not suitable for storing in the freezer, except for some solid blocks in their original packaging, or grated cheese. Yogurt can be frozen, however, which extends the length of time you can keep it by around 2 months.

Fresh fruit and vegetables

Although different examples will vary and different factors can be involved (e.g. how ripe a fruit is when you buy it), most fresh fruit and vegetables will keep for around 3-7 days when refrigerated. Many items can also be stored at room temperature, for a little less time.

Usually you should keep fresh produce in its original packaging or wrap it in plastic yourself. Only wash items before bagging if they are particularly dirty, for example vegetables with a lot of soil or dirty marks on the outside.

Baked goods

It is usually best to avoid freezing bread and other items from the bakery if possible, as the results of thawing can be mixed, but if you’re careful it’s possible to keep these items in the freezer for around 3-6 months. Again, dairy should not be frozen in most cases, so any desserts, pies and so on made with cream should be kept only in the fridge.

Be careful when storing bread in sealed bags at room temperature, as an airtight seal can soften up crusts and make them damp over time. Make sure there are air holes in your packaging to maintain a fresh crust.

Condiments, herbs and spices

Many sauces are relatively safe to keep at room temperature but should ideally be stored in the fridge for the most part. Most oils, vinegars and prepared herbs and spices will keep for 12 months in a cupboard at room temperature, and typically a few months once you start using them. Nothing should really be kept for more than a year as the effects of storage start to become unpredictable.

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Becoming A Professional Chef

If all you’ve ever dreamed of is becoming a chef, the chances are you already know what it takes and you’re well on your way to making it in the restaurant business. However, if you’re considering a career change and you’ve recently started considering this possibility, here’s a very quick look at the main areas you’ll have to consider.

Of course, a huge part of the job relies on knowing about food and cooking. The best way to pick up this knowledge is by gaining practical experience, firstly by cooking at home and later getting a job in a restaurant of some sort to work your way up as far as you can. You may not get far in the business without further education, but you will need a basis of work experience to get started.

Depending on what area you wish to specialise in, you will need to become an expert in multiple areas. You will most likely start off with baking which covers a huge range of styles and food types. Later on you can move into other more niche areas and experiment with international cuisine until you find a favourite style. (more…)

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How To Pull Off A Professional Dinner Party

Hosting a dinner party and impressing your friends with your culinary skills might not be as difficult as you expect. It really rests a lot less than most people realise on your actual cooking ability, and a lot more on careful planning and common sense.

Here are our top tips for producing restaurant-quality food for your friends and family at home, and most importantly, successfully hosting an event that lives up to the food.

1) Don’t go crazy creatively

It’s easy to be tempted into going all-out on your first attempt and creating something completely original. Even if you follow an exact recipe, never cook anything for the first time for a group of guests. Practice in advance and cook something you know well.

2) Pick a theme

To help you stay on track and pull in all the different elements of hosting your party, a theme is always a great idea. This also adds an element of cohesion with the food, and it’s likely that a range of courses from the same cookbook will actually go well together. Mixing different exotic influences can be confusing and often less enjoyable.

3) Make sure everyone can eat your food

Perhaps this seems obvious, but you might not always realise someone you’re inviting has an allergy or intolerance to a certain kind of food. They might just really hate one of your favourite ingredients. You should make sure there are no unpleasant shocks for your guests on the night by checking beforehand.

4) Carefully plan your time-saving

You will need to spend a reasonable amount of time preparing your food, and then you need to know how long each course needs to be cooked for. Meanwhile, your guests will need entertaining and will expect a sensible amount of time between courses – a chance to relax, but not a long wait. This is too much to leave to chance, so make a logical plan first. (more…)

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Cocktails

5 Food & Cocktail Pairings to Try at Home

When you head to your favourite restaurant for your favourite food, often there’s only one thing that can improve the experience – a fantastic drink to go alongside it. Restaurants often create perfect pairings of cocktails and meals that match up deliciously, but if you’re cooking from home there’s no reason you can’t take the same inspiration. If you need to stock up your bar first, the best thing to do is usually to order alcohol online from specialist suppliers before you start cooking. Here are five fabulous combinations to try.

chocolate and cranberry torte1) Chocolate & Berry Dessert + Chambord Sour

A traditional seasonal dessert is the classic combination of chocolate and winter berries. For example, a chocolate and cranberry torte would make a great alternative Christmas treat, or even a classic Black Forest Gateau could do the trick. For the perfect accompanying drink, shake whiskey, egg white, sugar and lime juice with ice before straining and adding a dash of Chambord raspberry liqueur.

Pinapple Mojito
2)
Lemon Chicken + Pineapple Mojito

Lemon is a simple but effective way to enhance the flavour of chicken, and works best when you’re either grilling or roasting your meat. For a sweet summer combination, there’s no better drink than a refreshing Pineapple Mojito to serve alongside it. For best results, use mint flavoured sugar syrup and pineapple rum to maximise your flavours.

 

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salt pepper

Salt & Pepper: The Ultimate Cooking Tools

We passionately believe that good seasoning is truly crucial to taking your cooking to the next level. The world of herbs and spices is complex and exciting, allowing you to infuse inspiration from all over the world into your dishes, whether you’re catering for a restaurant, your family or just yourself. However, there are two essential ingredients you’ll find in almost every recipe: salt and pepper.

The tricky thing is how much to use in your particular recipe. Other than the occasional call for a “pinch” of one or the other, the phrase “season to taste” is the one that comes up most often. With little experience, it can be especially tricky to decipher the meaning of this odd turn of phrase. In reality, it basically indicates you should take a trial and error approach. Adding a little more salt or pepper at a time and sampling your dish again and again will eventually allow you to determine the optimum quantity. Figuring this out can unlock the maximum flavour potential of your creation! (more…)

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Creative Caviar Restaurant Recipe Ideas

If you’re a big fan of caviar, you’ll probably know that its reputation has changed over the years. Although the high end products are still very much an exclusive delicacy, it’s now also possible to get cheaper caviar in more affordable restaurants, and even sometimes in your local supermarket. However, for people who really enjoy this delicious and rare treat, there’s no better way to serve it than as part of a delicious restaurant-standard dish. If you want to try some of these fine dining experiences yourself, look no further than these creative caviar recipe ideas.

Smoked Sturgeon & Caviar Bagels

This one comes directly from Attilus Caviar, whose Royal Siberian Sturgeon or Baerii caviar is perfectly suited for this idea (you could also use Royal Oscietra caviar depending on your taste). This toasted bagel topped with poached eggs, smoked sturgeon and, of course, caviar makes for an amazing high class breakfast. (more…)

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healthy meals

5 Ways To Add Flavour To Healthy Meals

Eating healthily and enjoying a balanced diet is something many people are still working hard to achieve. For food lovers and budding amateur chefs, it can be tricky to manage your diet while being around so many delicious temptations all the time! Once you get used to flavourful cooking, some of the recommended healthy options we encounter can seem less than appealing, especially if they’re a little lacking in flavour. Low-carb diets and an increased emphasis on fruit and vegetables can be especially off-putting for people who expect them to taste boring compared to their usual meals.

However, with a little creative seasoning, you can easily turn the healthiest dishes into some of the tastiest. Here are our top five tips for experimenting with basic seasoning to unlock the hidden potential in your healthy meals.

1) Salt and pepper to taste

Your number one secret weapon for bringing out the best in almost any meal, salt and pepper needs to be handled carefully. If you get it right, you can improve practically any flavour combination, and you don’t have to worry about sodium levels as long as you’re avoiding processed foods. (more…)

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kitchen

Home & Commercial Kitchen Cleaning

No matter what kind of cooking you’re interested in, your experience level, or even whether you’re running a commercial kitchen in a restaurant or cooking for yourself at home, one thing remains the same for everyone. Hygiene should be your number one priority, since without proper care, dangerous situations can arise during food preparation and cooking.

For commercial kitchens like those in restaurants, takeaways, pubs, hotels and so on, standards are set high with good reason: to protect the public. It’s vital to be compliant, which is why it’s important to know when to use a professional deep cleaning service such as KDC (Kitchen Duct Cleaning), a prominent UK kitchen and ductwork cleaning company. A professional service like this is necessary to ensure you meet the required health and safety guidelines for running a clean and safe commercial kitchen. (more…)

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fine dining

The Most Renowned Restaurants in London

There are so many amazing restaurants in London – the heart of the UK and one of our favourite cities in the world – that it’s hard to know where to begin. That’s why we decided to narrow down the list by focusing on those that have built up the finest reputations over the years. Here are some of the best restaurants in London that have stood the test of time and show no signs of slowing down yet.

Dabbous – At one time this restaurant was one of the most difficult ones to secure a table at in the whole of London. Now thanks to the overwhelming number of options it’s a little easier, but its reputation remains outstanding. It boasts an ever-evolving menu that’s always full of new and exciting dishes to try, keeping guests coming back regularly.

Goodman – Some restaurants end up being known as the best in their field, and that’s certainly true of Goodman, widely celebrated as the finest steakhouse in London. It’s also credited with ushering in a new era of premier steakhouses across the city, but remains the best in many critics’ eyes. (more…)

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