Summer in My Backyard.

 

If you live in a part of the world where I am, summertime is hot and dry.  This year there is no drought in my area, but indeed we do need rains.  My backyard is so dry, I have been watering endlessly but it is not enough, however, the plants are growing and overall is looking green, even though the grass is brownish.

The summer roses are back with smallish flowers, and at the moment the shrubs look shabby with the dry roses.  Cutting the buds to keep in vases keep last, and enjoy the full bloom longer,  it is the best way.

It is always one to make you happy, the Madenvilla sanderi that I planted two years ago is taking off, and it is flowering now.  The red colour looks amazingly beautiful against the white wall just as I would imagine,  A perfect planting.

The hot weather makes the potted plants to beg for special attention, they want the soil to stay moist, watering regularly and adding the mulch should be done as well.

There are not enough mulch on these potted plants, so far they are alright though.  The Hindy Robe Hoya found a place, it sits under the eve, and the two potted vegetable plants eggplant, basil, chives and the chilli are very promising in fact they are fruiting.

The fruit trees, from citruses, nectarines to potted apple have fruits. the nectarine should be ready for the harvest soon, as the citrus and the apple have to stay longer to ripen up.

The apple and fig tree have the netting to protect from the bird I am using my old table cloth, hope the fruits do stay and grow bigger until harvest time.  Susan said that we have to share with the birds, she is very kind and generous, I am so proud of my daughter.  I think it is good, but we have only a few fruits on the tree.  The bird did have a taste some fruits they are always ahead of the time from us.

Early in the morning is the time for me to be working in the backyard to water the garden.  In the evening is cooler, the time that the family enjoy the cool evening breeze and relaxed in IT, peacefully being protected by the green wall the tall hedges.

 

Summer, 2019

Susi

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Roast Duck with Crispy Skin

Duck meat can be tender, moist and delicious if you cook it right. I had tried to cook a whole duck in the past and was alright could be better. Since then I am not keen, and daunting to do it again until I found this recipe. At Christmas time I cooked a roasted duck for the extra protein instead of pork. The duck was cooked to perfection, and the family loved it, and it was a good change instead of having the roast pork.

Here is the recipe for you. It is easy to follow, and I believe in cooler weather during the summer you would enjoy it. Have fun and happy cooking.

How to Roast a Whole Duck
Roasting the Duck

  1. Preheat oven to 190C.
  2. Dry duck with paper towel for a crispier skin. (if possible leave duck uncovered in refrigerator to dry skin out.)
  3. Ensure the vent end of the duck is open to allow even cooking. Never stuff the duck as it prevents even cooking. Instead, place your favourite herbs, zest of orange or garlic inside the cavity for a wonderful aroma while the duck is cooking. If stuffing is desired, cook it separately.
  4. Place duck on a rack in a roasting tray.
  5. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
  6. Roast for 40mins per kg until golden brown then removes duck from oven and leave to rest for 20 mins.
To portion the duck into 4, gently cut out the 2 breasts and the 2 legs with a sharp knife.
Click here to watch Everyday Gourmet’s video on how to cook a Luv-a-Duck Whole Duck: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffj3Ap1d7uU

Using Duck Fat

There will be quite a bit of fat in the bottom of the roasting tray (this is good). Pour this into a container and leave to cool. The fat will come to the top and the juices will settle on the bottom.
Use the juices to make your sauce and store the fat in the refrigerator to cook the world’s best roast potatoes.

Chef’s Hint

Duck reheats really well so cook it ahead of time or the day before, joint it when it is cool and then reheat the portions skin side up in a hot oven or under a hot grill. Always serve the sauce on the plate, not over the crispy skin of the duck.

The Cooking Process

I used special herbs – fresh rosemary, garlic and sage to fill the cavity of the duck and also lemon to flavour the duck and salt flakes instead of cooking salt.
Grated the rind, and slice the lemon.
Rub the duck with the rinds and add the flake salt.

Keep refrigerated to get the skin dry

The Roasting

After it is cooked, let it be cold, transfer to a large plate.  Cover with baking paper and aluminium foil to stay moist.  Wrap it again with a clean cloth and refrigerate to keep until the next day serving time.
The Roasted Duck is Wrapped Securely
Joint the duck when it is cold for easy carving.  Reheat in the oven to get the pieces warm and crispy skin.
Serve the duck with garnishes, crispy roasted potato, cooked vegetables/or salad greens, and the sauce/gravy.  It goes well with Pino Noir or other white wine if you prefer.
Roast Duck with Crispy Skin, Roast Potato, Brown Sauce and Salad Greens 

Delicious New Year’s  Cooking for you, Enjoy!

Susi

The New Year is Here.

We have started the New Year 2019, and today is the seventh day of January or the first Monday of the month. Before I go too far, I wish to tell you all that I and my family had a Happy Christmas 2018 and a Very Pleasant and Lovely New Year 2019 and I hope you did too. My wish for you to have a very happy, healthy and prosperous year this year.
I take and raise my wine in this drinking glass and here for a Great Year 2019.

It was a very pleasant and peaceful Christmas celebration, just the two of us at home.
Poached stuffed fillet Chicken with fruit and nut served with the garnishes was our Christmas Lunch.  English trifle for the dessert.  We enjoyed thoroughly that time and relaxed afterwards.

Our Christmas Day.

For the Boxing Day was indeed a very special as Susan our youngest daughter to come home with her husband Tris and their dog Alfie.  Her room was fixed the day before, and fixing the table at night a day before the Boxing Day was a good idea.  In the morning what I did was simply preparation for the feast, cooking a fresh Turkey Buffee for the main and lobster tails for the entree.  It was a rather different that I cooked rice pilaf to go with Turkey, but it was good, the dessert was meringue with raspberry, light and delightful sweet to finished of the dinner.  The Chardonnay was excellent to go with the food.

The Boxing Day Luncheon

We enjoyed the wine, and the precious sparkling  Piper Heidsieck Champagne, thanks to Susan and Tris.
The glasses, plates, knife and forks were washed, and ready for dinner at night time, the celebrations continued and of course, pictures were taken.
All of these is to look back on, happy and precious memory to cherish with the photos or without, simply well kept in our mind.

The Snapshots After Christmas.
 
Time to go home to Melbourne for Susan, Tris and the dog.  Alfie is a good dog, the trip is always easy with the faithful pet. Too busy packing and the flower/herb bouquet which I prepared was forgotten.
See You Again Kids.

 

Kept and Fixed the bouquet, placed the fresh herbs and flowers in a vase.  It was so timely to greet the new year which was coming within two days.

The new year has begun, we started our daily routine.  Some of us are already practising or doing their promise of the New Year’s resolutions.  To that, I wish you all the very best.

It was not necessary to be anxious to face out of the year, but it’s all good, I did not have a friendly start last year, a little lost in the mids but I could turn round to find my way back for the better.  In the end, I was pleased with my self and I could say the world is mine.  And now the New Year is here, I shall embrace it with confidence, with a peaceful mind and hope.

Indeed we are in 2019 the New Year, we shall greet it with good spirit.  Have a wonderful and blessed year.

 

Susi