Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I've been meaning to let you know that I've gained quite a bit of weight over just 2 months :(
So before it gets any worse, I've decided to take some measures to prevent my weight gaining situation out of hand:

1. Eat fruits or veggies as snacks (I bought 15 apples yesterday - it was on sale, don't worry).
2. Drink green tea (apparently drinking 5 cups helps burn 70-80 calories, boosts metabolism and increases endurance during exercise.
3. Exercise (People around me keep nagging me to go the gym).

But no matter what new diet I go for, I still have to cook! And so...

My lovely European friend and I bought a whole duck (on sale for 1.99$/lb!!) the other day, over chicken, because duck is usually more expensive than poultry - but that sale was for chicken and duck at, both, 1.99$/lb. So of course we went for the duck - it was also something we didn't eat that often.

I'll be roasting a duck this Saturday (right now it's Friday), and I'll probably have the bottom half of this mainly with duck pictures when this post is published.

* * * * * * * * *

I've almost successfully roasted a duck! The only thing was, that the very inside was a tad bit pink - so we still got to eat the top layers of meat, including the skin (the best part), while I put the half carved duck back into the oven to cook and crisp up even more.

Cutting off the extra fat on the duck. The baggy in the sink contains the giblets.

I used to feel so disgusted to touch raw meats (even chicken thighs), but I think I've overcome my fear during the past few years. I can deal with any raw meat now! *full of determination*

All the extra fat and skin - to extract the fat and oil!

Today I will try and show you how to roast a duck! It will be very simple, because I like to make my cooking simple = for lazy people.

Boiling the skin and fat with water.

You need just a bit of water, maybe 2 cm up the pot, and then dump all the fat and skin in. Let it boil, then simmer it on medium low to get the most fat and oil you can from the skin.

Prepping the duck for the oven.

You want the duck to keep its shape after its cooked, so use some toothpick to secure the thighs closer to the body. And don't omit the step of folding the wings underneath the body either!

I didn't have any butcher's twine, but at the last minute of freaking out and debating whether or not to go ask around for some (I doubt there would have been much success though), my lovely European friend whipped out her sewing kit and began pulling out a spool of thread.

The duck was saved.

For the thighs, you should just wrap the string (in my case, thread) around a few times to secure it.
Place the duck on a rack (breast side up), on a deep baking dish (because there will be a lot of oil collecting on the bottom), and bake it in a 400 C oven for 30 minutes.

Take it out and it will look something like:

Golden skin.

Flip the duck over and bake for another 30 minutes. When you take it out after half an hour, pour the excess oil that has dripped into the pan into the small pot of skin and fat.

I tend to like the duck to be sweet and salty, so here's the sauce I used:

~ Ingredients ~
4 tbsp light soy sauce
4 tbsp dark soy sauce
1/4 cup orange or grapefruit juice
2 tbsp brown sugar
a few spoonfuls of water

Then just mix it until the sugar is dissolved and spoon half of it on your duck (one side). Put it back in the oven for 30 minutes.

It smells so yummy already...

 After, take it out of the oven, flip it over, and sauce it with the remaining sauce.
But, I like to save some of my sauce for eating with white rice.

Bake again, 30 minutes, or until the skin is crispy. (You should bake it breast side up during this last time).

In the mean time, let's make some sides:

Roasted garlic: bake cloves, wrapped in aluminum foil, for 40 minutes at 300C

Mash cooled roasted garlic with soft butter, and some salt.
Spread it on your bread, then toast for some yummy home made garlic bread :)


Many of today's pictures are taken by my friend, Vivi(an)~
Here, she will demonstrate how to make an easy spinach appetizer.


Take a small handful of boiled spinach and squeeze as much water as you can out.
Then shape it into bite-sized pieces like this: 

Veggies look so cute.

And here's the what you need to make a marinade (?) for the spinach:

~ Ingredients ~
A pinch of hon dashi
A spoon of soy sauce
A spoon of brown sugar
A splash of sesame oil
A spoon of water

Mix it all together and pour over the spinach, then put it in the fridge to cool.
I also made dressing for some romaine lettuce:

I like black pepper, so I put quite a lot in :)

~ Ingredients for this dressing ~
2 spoons of mayo
2 spoons of lemon juice
3 cloves of minced garlic
Black pepper, as you wish
[Put some parmesan cheese if you have it!]

The spinach appetizer

I sprinkled some toasted sesame seeds as well, so it looks and tastes better :)

It's done!

With the remaining sauce and oil on the bottom of the pan, I pour it into a small saucepan, along with some of the sauce I set aside from before) to reduce it a bit more, so it's thicker.

I now have respect for people who carve meat after doing it myself.

We didn't end up cutting the entire duck, nor were we capable of eating the entire one, so I wrapped the carcass (with lots of meat still on it) and put it in the fridge for something else I will show you how to make - next time.

Saucy rice~~~~~~

I don't usually eat a lot of rice, but that day I ate an entire bowl's worth! All thanks to the oily and flavourful duck sauce.

I will end today with something that you probably haven't tried making or thought of making before:

Can you guess what this is?

My mommy made it for me quite a while back (more than a couple of years), and at my first sip, I thought it tasted really bad. 
But seeing my mom drink it so deliciously has caused me to like it as well *super susceptible to peer pressure and outside influence*

Maybe you can guess better if you see it like this

It's milk, with a cracked and scrambled egg in added at the point of the milk bubbling like crazy. I like to have this as a midnight snack - makes me feel nice and homey :)



Hopefully I can bake up something this week or next because I recently bought around three bunches of bananas (for 2$)!

But what I should really be doing is starting to study...

I wonder if my eyebrows will become like that when I study too much.

I'm so sleepy after dinner time - but I'm going to be nice a energized in a few hours, because I'm finally heading to the gym :) *proud of self*

What do you do/wish you did/try to do to stay fit and healthy?