Linggo ng Pato!

 

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OK, yesterday was Duckerday, today it’s Linggo ng Pato! 😜

This time, it’s the duck legs, breast, liver, gizzard and heart. I decided to cook the duck legs and breast ala confit. However, I didn’t bother to salt, cure or marinate the meat. I also didn’t have enough duck fat to use for the confit, so I got some palm oil and used that instead.

Cooking duck meat in oil is fantastic because oil heats up really fast, stays hot, and cooks deep into the meat. You actually save more energy than cooking meat in water like stew. Anyway, the only other ingredients I added to the oil were: salt, marjoram, thyme, rosemary, sage, tomatoes, black peppercorns and garlic.

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When the duck legs and breast were close to super tender, I added in the heart and gizzard (sliced a bit so they cook easier). The result, is absolutely fantastic! I should add: (1) curing, salting or marinating duck meat is probably unnecessary because duck meat (well maybe at least OUR ducks, 😄) is already very flavourful; (2) curing and salting only dries up and meat and makes it tougher so it is not necessary!; (3) those native tomatoes are the BEST tasting tomatoes, they have more flavour than those huge expensive hybrid tomatoes!

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And here’s what I did with the liver – I used a bit of the oil and bits of garlic and tomatoes from the confit, then used that to cook the liver, adding water when the pan dries a bit, de-glazing it and bringing out that delicious brown sauce!!!! I served the liver with a bit of chilli and singakamas (jicama) from the garden. This liver is brilliant, absolutely fantastic, smooth like your most expensive foie gras can ever be smooth!

Also, I think this duck liver is much larger than the usual because this duck is part of my experiment on fattening phase for ducks. I will write about that later when I get more results.

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In the meantime, I am just so ecstatic with the result of this cooking experiment! I would never find this fantastic quality of duck meat (and cooking of course hahah! 😂) anywhere else! Cheers! 😄

Duck Weekend: Duck springrolls

Greetings, my ducks! 😜 It’s a weekend and we had a duck selected for weekend meal and here it is! I recorded a video of my amazing butchering skills but decided not to post it here — at least not for now. 😄 Maybe later! But you can see in the photos the dressed duck (thanks to the great skills of our lady butcher, Terry), and then me butchering the duck, then the finished product – duck meat, liver and heart on one side and the bones and trims on the other side.
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For today, I decided to deal with the bones and trimmings. The cats think that’s a much better idea too! The duck is not very large, a dressed weight of 1.3kg, so it will not render a lot of fat. So I thought that I can probably use the meat for confit later and, for today – the bones, skin, fat and trimmings for spring rolls and broth.

The process is simple: put the bones, fat and trimmings into a pot and heat up, simmer, boil in its own fat and juices, brown it then add water (not too much) and seasonings. My choice of seasoning is salt, pepper and 5-spice powder. Let this cook for a while until the meat is soft and can be easily removed from the bones.

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Let this cool for a bit then start separating the meat from the bones (cats are waiting…).  Shred the meat up, you may or may not wish to include the skins. Here’s what I got from my bones and trimmings – the bones on one side and the shredded meat on the other side.

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Now that the cats are busy eating, I can start cooking. I have prepared some onion, garlic, chopped carrots and cabbage. The rice paper for the spring rolls are ready too. I use these Vietnamese rice paper. When your ingredients are ready and you’re ready to roll, you can prepare the rice paper. You don’t cook this rice paper. You just soften it by putting a damp towel over it until it is soft enough to roll. This type of rice paper is eaten fresh! I love this because sometimes I’m too lazy to fry stuff … 😜

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Here, I’ve put duck and veggies together and cooked, seasoned, added a bit of the broth, and let it cool down a bit before attempting to start rolling!

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And here are my finished duck spring rolls!!! Served with Hoisin sauce! Now these are two ingredients you shouldn’t skip in the preparation of this dish: the 5-Spice powder and the Hoisin Sauce. Those two make such an enormous difference in the taste, flavour of this duck dish.

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And here’s the spring rolls served with a salad of home-grown singkamas (jicama). I was surprised how well these went together!!! I think that’s because Vietnamese spring rolls (duck or vermicelli or other) are often served with a dipping of sweet vinegar, and the vinegar dressing in the salad just partnered perfectly with these spring rolls. PLUS the crunch of the singkamas compliments the softness of the rice paper – fantastic!

Bon appétit! 😍

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Open-Pollinated Seeds (OP) from the OPA

We visited the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) and availed of these open-pollinated seeds free of charge. Seed dispersal is one of many on-going projects of the Bohol OPA. See more at their website.

These are the seeds we got – so colourful! The colours indicate the seeds have been treated with fungicide to prevent fungi from spoiling stored seeds.

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In the meantime, our own Seed Save and Swap Season 1 (2015) is ongoing! Learn more at Backyard Seeds.

From Wikipedia: “Open pollinated” generally refers to seeds that will “breed true.” When the plants of an open-pollinated variety self-pollinate, or are pollinated by another representative of the same variety, the resulting seeds will produce plants roughly identical to their parents. This is in contrast to the seeds produced by plants that are the result of a recent cross (such as, but not confined to, an F1 hybrid), which are likely to show a wide variety of differing characteristics. Open-pollinated varieties are also often referred to as standard varieties or, when the seeds have been saved across generations or across several decades, heirloom varieties. While heirlooms are usually open-pollinated, open-pollinated seeds are not necessarily heirlooms; open-pollinated varieties are still being developed.

One of the challenges in maintaining an open-pollinated variety is avoiding introduction of pollen from other strains. Based on how broadly the pollen for the plant tends to disperse, it can be controlled to varying degrees by greenhouses, tall wall enclosures, field isolation, or other techniques.

Because they breed true, the seeds of open-pollinated plants are often saved by home gardeners and farmers. Popular examples of open-pollinated plants include heirloom tomatoes, beans, peas, and many other garden vegetables.

Weekend Harvests

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First, this large crab came in for lunch. Then we went to forage for vegetables in the garden, early in the morning before it starts raining again! And finally, the duck bacon in the fridge is finished!

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The lady who comes to sell sea urchin came today with this huge crab, still alive, lost one of its pinchers. It’s a male crab, so not much fatty bits to expect. It weighs about 800 grams, and she sold it to us for 60 pesos. I asked her if she could find us some bangus fingerlings. She said she’ll get them (her husband is a fisherman). One usually gathers/harvests them along the beach during season. Been raining here all day, typhoon Jenny going north near Luzon. I hope no damage or casualties anywhere.
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Here’s a harvest of winged beans and duck and chicken eggs early in the morning. We’ll have plenty of winged bean seeds soon so let us know if you want to swap seeds (in Philippines only).
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Still cloudy, rainy, windy, a bit of sun, humid, here in Bohol! Pigs love the resulting mud but we humans need to be careful of the slippery slopes. After feeding the pigs, a quick harvest through the garden before the rain starts again, and again, and again. A lot of saluyot, a bit of okra and sitaw. Looking at how the saluyot grows, nobody should starve in this place, the saluyot grows like weeds, they proliferate themselves crazy. If you want seeds (Philippines only), let us know, we’ll have plenty soon, they can probably grow OK in pots.
Crab (duck-egg) omelette topped with winged beans cooked in coconut milk, chilli and a bit of bagoong alamang! Lunch!
Crab (duck-egg) omelette topped with winged beans cooked in coconut milk, chilli and a bit of bagoong alamang! Lunch!

Do duck eggs taste different than chicken eggs?

It may depend on what type of eggs you are used to eating, and how they are prepared. Commercially farmed (chicken) eggs are unfertilised and may taste differently from free-range eggs. In fact, in the EU and Australia, eggs are graded by the hen farming method – whether free range or battery caged. You may also be used to eating eggs sunny-side up, with the yolk still runny, and may therefore prefer the gamey taste of eggs (and meat). Personally, I can’t easily tell the taste difference between chicken and duck eggs, but that might just be because I’m so used to eating raw eggs (we ate raw eggs when I was a child, mixed with Sarsi!). However, I know someone who can tell the difference in taste of eggs (chickens and ducks) depending on what the fowls have been eating! 🙂

Crab rice, saluyot and okra veggies and the "duck bacon!"
Crab rice, saluyot and okra veggies and the “duck bacon!”

Duck Pizza?

Sunday lunch is salted duck breast pizza, winged beans, soursop and homemade bread.
Sunday lunch is salted duck breast pizza, winged beans, soursop and homemade bread.

Another way to serve duck -particularly the “duck bacon”  🙂 is as pizza topping. For the “pizza crust” we used homemade bread (topped with oatmeal and black sesame seeds!). Then some onions, garlic and tomatoes are sautéed with tomato paste and spread over the slices of bread. On top of this are laid crispy fried thin slices of duck bacon. Garnish is a tiny bit of blue cheese and slices of cucumber (the cucumber tones down the saltiness).

Sunday lunch includes winged beans (a huge harvest from the garden – it’s winged bean season) sautéed in garlic and chili, and guyabano fruit (soursop) from Terry’s garden. Perfect! 🙂

Salted duck breast with tomato sauce, onion, tomatoes, tiny bit of blue cheese and sliced cucumber (to temper the saltiness!)
Salted duck breast with tomato sauce, onion, tomatoes, tiny bit of blue cheese and sliced cucumber (to temper the saltiness!)