Saturday, January 07, 2006


I am in the shithouse. Big time. In a classic stupid sitcom moment, I forgot my wedding anniversary. For a whole week. Even then, the Boy tried to give me the benefit of the doubt by asking numerous leading questions. I kept saying that no I hadn’t forgotten anything the week before. Yes, I am a jackass. So I grovelled back into favour by whipping up a lovely three-course meal while he watched the football. So I used the chance to kill two birds with one stone (well, actually three). Tonight’s menu:

‘Chinese Stir-fry’ Broccoli Soup
Chinese Five Spice Duck Breast
Hot Chocolate Souffle


I named this after the tasty broccoli stir-fry you get the Chinese. I had already prepared the duck and needed to do something with the soup that would start the meal off in the same vein as the duck. I usually to Broccoli and Stilton soup but I had no cheese and anyways it wouldn't have gone with the main dish.

1 head of broccoli
2 cups water
½ a vegetable stock cube (I use a powder so I am guessing at what it would be as a cube)
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
8 –10 drops sesame oil
1 tbsp. double cream
dash of soy sauce

Chop up the broccoli. Trim the florets in small pieces as well as the stalk- trim any manky spots first. Put into a medium size stockpot and add the stock cube and water. The water should just about cover the broccoli so if needed add a bit more but remember that it will make a watery soup if you add too much. Bring to a boil and cook until the broccoli is cooked through. Once cooked, stir in the black pepper, soy sauce and sesame oil and allow to cool slightly. Using a hand blender (or regular blender) to puree the soup until smooth. Stir in the double cream- you only need a teaspoon or so.

Serve up and garnish with a drizzle of double cream, a couple of drops of sesame oil and scatter with a few sesame seeds.


2 duck breasts (about 175g each)
1 tsp. Chinese Five Spice
1 tsp. sea salt
¼ c. dried cherries
¼ c. Kirsch
¼ c. orange juice
1 tbsp. pomegranate molasses
2 star anise
1 cinnamon stick

Put the cherries, kirsch, cinnamon stick and cinnamon stick in a bowl and put it aside.

Heat the oven to 200C. Mix the Five Spice and salt together. Score the skin side of the duck breasts with 3-4 slashes depending on the length of the meat. Rub the salt mixture onto the skin. Heat an ovenproof skillet over medium heat and place the duck, skin side down and brown three minutes on each side. Put the duck onto a plate and drain the excess fat from the pan.

Return the duck to the pan and transfer to the oven (the duck should be skin side up). Roast for 15-20 minutes depending on how well you prefer your duck. (I did it for 20 minutes and it was cooked through. It was perfect for the Boy but I prefer it a bit pink.) Place the duck on a plate, cover with foil and allow to rest. Drain the extra fat from the pan.

Heat the pan over medium heat and add the cherry/Kirsch mixture to deglaze. Add the orange juice and pomegranate molasses. Allow to reduce by half.

Slice each duck breast into thick slices and spoon half the sauce over each piece.

I served this with green beans and roasted sweet potato.


It was ok. My mixer didn’t whip the whites at the bottom of the bowl completely so it wasn’t as tall as it should be. I made the traditional big soufflé but I realise now that I prefer the individual ramekins much more (the Boy agreed). It was edible especially with fresh raspberries on top (so not in season but a splurge for the Boy). I therefore have decided not to give the recipe at this time until I test the recipe I used in smaller dishes. However, I show you exhibit C as proof of my valiant effort.

The meal went down well. We drank a lovely New Zealand Pinot Noir (Rippon 2003) which I would have the Boy buy again. Most importantly, I have redeemed myself. I am no longer an asshole.


JERI said...

I'm in shock, I would never take you to forget that since you live for the whole month of making out with presents!!!! How hard is to make the duck and soup? you need to put a difficulty level on some of your recipes. good luck

Xochitl said...

The soup is very easy to make. I reckon it took about 15 minutes or so. The duck is more on the easy to medium level. However, it is definitely not a stressful dish to make. The sauce is the most stressing aspect of the dish but only because I didn't want to reduce the sauce into nothing.
P.S. Glad you like the pictures.

barbara said...

Xochitl, I love the pictures. I'm definitely going to try the duck. I've done young, I've done old, but I've never done duck. Can't wait to try it. I'm attaching that recipe for an Indian Soup. See what you think. I haven't made it yet, but wonder if it doesn't need a little meat.(maybe lamb?) See what you can do with it.

Mulligatawny Soup
This soup was developed for the British in India and was given to me by a vegetarian friend with good taste. Try it and let me know what you think.

1 ½ cups chopped onions
1 celery stalk
2 T. olive oil
1 small chile, seeded and chopped
½ tsp tumeric
1 T. ground coriander seeds
4 C veg. Stock
1 med. Carrot, peeled and chopped
1 large potato, peeled and cut into small cubes

Add last:
1 med. Red or green pepper(chopped)
1 firm tomato chopped
½ C sweetened grated coconut
1 C canned coconut milk

2-4 T fresh lemon or lime juice
2 tsp fresh cilantro

In medium pot, sauté the onions and celery in the olive oil until soft. Add chili, tumeric and coriander and sauté for another minute, stirring. Add stock, salt, carrot and potato. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer 10 minutes. Add pepper, tomato, coconut and coconut milk. Simmer for a few more minutes. Correct seasoning and pour into bowls, garnishing with juice and cilantro.
bon apetit'

Anonymous said...

Well, at least you made a nice dinner to make up for it. When my wife forgets our anniversary and my birthday I get squat. An apology IF I'm lucky. The dinner looks delicious.
Daniel (a friend of your mom's)