Duck with a Chilli Glaze

I bought some duck legs from my favourite superhero Reducedtoclearman at my local supermarket the other day. Now duck, being a bit fatty, is great with a bit of fruit so I decided to make a fruity glaze just to make it a little bit more special.

Chilli glazed duck legs

Chilli glazed duck legs

I roasted the duck legs at around 200 degrees for about an hour and a half and then coated them with my home-made glaze for a further ten minutes before serving them up with some roast sweet potato and purple sprouting brocoli. I made the glaze by mixing two table spoons of apricot jam with one table spoon of honey, a chopped red chilli and a good slug of light soy sauce. I paid £3.50 fo the duck legs so with the veg and a bottle of Vinho Verde I think I managed to produce a restaurant grade meal for three at well under £5 a head. 

Sexed Up Sprouts

I actually quite like Brussels Sprouts, shocking isn’t it? However for many people the sprout is the one item from the festive menu guaranteed to cause dread. Personally I believe that’s down the poor sprouts having the life boiled out of them in kitchens busy with roast turkey, spuds and chipolatas, leaving them soggy enough to be strained through your teeth, when a few seconds in boiling water is all they need to retain some crunch.

My sexed up sprouts in the pan

My sexed up sprouts in the pan

Having said that, there are more exotic things you can do to the humble sprout than dropping it into boiling water. My sexed up sprouts are a great accompaniment to a roast dinner, fish or a steak. Here’s how it’s done.

The one thing I do find tedious about this vegetable is the preparation, no escape here, but once the sprouts have been cleaned and the outer leaves discarded just slice them up and put to the side. Right heat some oil in a frying pan and fling some chopped leek in, add two chopped chili peppers and some slices of bacon. Let the bacon cook for a bit to release some of the fat into the oil and add the sprouts. Give it a couple of minutes and the odd stir and they’re ready to eat. For a bit of variety you could switch the bacon for chorizo or try adding some garlic or onion.

How to Build the Perfect U-Boat

No not one like this.

U3 - Museum of Technology and Seafaring, Malmo Sweden

No it’s a drink made from lager and a shot of Jagermeister


Now some people might say ‘that’s a Jager bomb’ but a U-Boat is a bit more sophisticated than just chucking a glass of Jagermeister into a pint of lager.

The first thing you need to do is place a shot glass on top of an upended highball glass and fill it with Jagermeister.

Stage 1

Next place a pint glass over the two glasses like so

stage 2

Turn the whole confection upside down and take out the highball glass.

stage 3

You should now have the Jagermeister neatly trapped inside the shot glass. Top up the glass with nice cold lager, Czech lager is especially good for one of these.

Stage 4 and ready to drink

Now as you drink it the shot glass will gradually tip over and gently disgorge its contents into the lager. The name, so I believe, is derived from the way that the Jagermeister gradually leaks out like oil from a depth-charged U-Boat.

Sinking a U-Boat at the Beer House Tallin, Estonia

I sunk my first U-Boat at the Beer House, a German style beer hall in Estonia’s capital Tallin.

Smoked Duck Pasta and Purple Salad

If you are lucky enough to have a local farmer’s market you should be able to get a good quality smoked duck breast, if not you might find one on the deli counter at your local supermarket. Duck has quite a rich flavour so I usually find that one beast will do for two to three people.

But first the purple salad.

Purple Salad

Essentially this is shredded red cabbage, a grated carrot, about eight sliced cherry tomatoes and half a finely sliced red onion. Sling in some pine nuts for crunch and a sprinkling of sumak and some sesame seeds. Then make a dressing from the juice of a lime, and an equal quantity if sesame oil and soy sauce, Sling in a dash of Tabasco and you are away.

Smoked Duck Breast Pasta

For the Pasta. Remove the coating of fat from the duck breast, cut it finely and add it to hot pan with some olive oil.  Then fry off a sliced onion and a chopped leek with some garlic and a sliced chili (for heat if you want it) in the rendered duck fat. Add the finely sliced duck breast and some sliced mushrooms and give it a stir about. Chuck in some basil leaves and a grind of black pepper, let it fry for a bit, then chuck in a glass of white wine to deglaze the pan. Turn the heat down a bit, then add a teaspoonful of French mustard and  a pot of single cream.  Let it reduce down a bit, but not too much as you will want it to coat the pasta.

Once it’s done serve over a bed of pasta and grate some cheese over the top.

Chinese Style Creamy Chicken Curry

I threw this little beauty together last night.

Creamy Chicken Curry

It’s quite a good dish to use up whatever leftover veg you may have in the house.

So into some hot oil goes one chopped onion, four cloves of smashed up garlic, a finger sized bit of chopped ginger and two green chilis. Once the onions had softened off a bit in went some green pepper and a diced up chicken breast with two teaspoons full of Chinese Five Spice powder.

Once the chicken was sealed, as I didn’t have any rice wine or sherry in the house, in went a splash of white vermouth to lift the caramalised juices from the pan and a bunch of sliced mushrooms and three teaspoons of Chinese curry powder. A good splash of dark soy sauce will draw the liquor out of the mushrooms before adding enough water to almost cover the contents of the pan, put it back on the heat and chuck in a chicken stock cube and some green beans.

Let the liquid reduce and shortly before serving add a pot of creme fraiche to give it that nice creamyness. Serve on a bed of rice.

It will also work with any other meat or seafood, leeks or peas are good too.

Shipscook’s Homemade Pizza

Not bad for a first attempt

Believe it or not I had never done the full Monty with a homemade pizza, sure I had made the topping for a shop bought base before, but this was something new.

So first the base. Having seen Jamie Oliver do it this way, I emptied 500grams of strong flour onto a board, created a well in the middle and gradually spooned in about 325mls of warm water with 10 grams of yeast dissolved into it, mixing as I went.

Right don’t do this at home it creates an awful bloody mess, and I don’t have a bunch of people to clear up after me like Jamie does. Do it in a big bowl and don’t forget to add some salt to the dough.  Eventually I had a lump of dough, which I covered with a wet cloth and left to prove for however long it took to make the pizza sauce. Apparently this should be about ten minutes. but who’s counting?

So the sauce. Olive oil in pan plus a chopped red onion, chopped home grown chilli, four cloves smashed garlic, a slug of Worcester Sauce, grind of black pepper and what was left of a Sainsbury’s basic pack of tomatoes chopped up small after I had taken some slices of one of the big tomatoes for the topping. I fried this down till everything was nice and soft, then chucked in a can of chopped tomatoes and reduced the liquid by about a third.

Once this was ready I took my dough and gave it a good kneading, before squashing it down into my floured grill tray. Then I spread the topping over it followed by a liberal scattering of home grown basil leaves, some tomato slices, small chorizo slices, grated Cheddar, sliced Parmesan and some ripped up buffalo Mozarella.  It then went into a hot oven for about 12 minutes.

Anyway out it came and it looked great, the base stuck a bit to the pan, probably because I had squashed it down a bit too hard (lesson for the future), but it tasted brilliant. Is it the end for shop bought bases? Well in the words of Gordon Ramsey “They can f@*k off out of my kitchen.”

Here’s a Mozzarella buffalo we saw on a farm near Salerno.

Mozzarella Bufffalo - Salerno

Shipscook has a Brazilian – with Salto Cachaca

Well there’s nothing like a cheap laugh to draw readers in is there? However the sort of Brazilian I had in mind has nothing to do with hair removal.

No more to do with this stuff – Salto Cachaca, which the nice people at Salto asked Shipscooksstuff to sample.

Salto Cachaca, two strengths - 27% and lethal

Cachaca is the national spirit of Brazil. Like rum it is derived from sugar cane, but where rum is usually made from molasses, cachaca is made from fermented sugar cane juice which is then distilled. I have never been to Brazil, but I first sampled regular cachaca in a Caipirinha or two in Ibiza about ten years ago. Salto is different to regular cachaca as it has a citrus flavour added which means that a Caipirnha made with the spirit will have a far more intense lime flavour. Salto also comes in two strengths. The stuff in the green bottle is 24% while the clear bottle is 37%.

So what’s the stuff like?

We tried it as a shot first. The 24% was quite pleasantly lemony, while as you would expect the 37% was similar but with more of a kick. Overall opinion was that it was better on the rocks though as the lemony taste didn’t cloy so much as when drunk neat. A change from tequila or vodka, but it would not be my first choice as a shot, I think it’s more a spirit for mixing. Next up was the Brazilian classic cocktail the Caipirinha

Salto Caipirinha

So how do you make a Caipirinha? Cut a lime into wedges and place two in the bottom of a tumbler, add two teaspoons of brown sugar and muddle together. In other word give it a bit of a bashing with either a muddler or a pestle. Then top up the glass with crushed ice and add the cachaca. This was very nice with an intense lime flavour nicely offset by the sugar, just the thing for a hot summer afternoon. Overall opinion was that the 37% worked better as the ice tended to dilute the alcohol too much to get a good hit off the drink with the 24%.

So finally the Brazilian. this is a long drink usually made from cachaca and lime juice topped up with lemonade. This we agreed was quite refreshing, with an intense citrus hit, a great drink for a long hot summer afternoon in the garden so long as you are not operating any machinery. We did give it a go without the lime and it worked equally well that way too.

So overall this stuff works well drunk over ice, as the base for Brazil’s national cocktail or with a mixer. As a shot though I found the citrus flavour too cloying. So would I buy it? Well to be completely honest I don’t think I’d bother with the 24%, it’s pleasant enough, but I do like booze to have a bit of poke and in a long drink the 24%  just does not do that.  The 37% is a different matter altogether and with the added citrus flavour it’s a great cheat for making summer cocktails.

Feta and Herb Stuffed Peppers

Well the indoor herb garden took a bit of pasting tonight to make these.

Feta Stuffed Romero Pepper

What we have here is a bigger version of those baby peppers I wrote about a few weeks ago. The stuffing is a pack of supermarket feta cheese crumbled up and mixed with some crushed garlic, chopped Scotch bonnet chili pepper, olive oil (just enough to bind it all together) and  a teaspoon of Spanish pimenton. To this I added a generous amount of my window ledge grown and coarsely chopped fresh basil and chives.

I then sliced a Romero pepper right down the middle, filled both halves with the mixture and slammed them in the oven for about twenty minutes. Then served them up with a pea greens, tomato and beetroot salad.


Shipscook’s Hispano-Celtic Breakfast

This is a great favourite from the Shipscook galley and serves three or four easily.

Hispano-Celtic Breakfast

Into the pan goes some oil, some chopped garlic and a couple of chili peppers. Follow that with some chopped chorizo and a whole Irish black pudding (you can get a proper Galtee black pudding in Morrisons) roughly chopped. Once the black pud has absorbed some of the lovely oil that oozes out of the chorizo and is begining to crisp up add a couple of teaspoons of Spanish pimenton. Follow that with a tin of chopped tomatoes and a can of either berlotti beans or black eyed peas and cook until the sauce is nice and thick.

Serve on a nice bit of crusty bread and if you are feeling really bad slip a fried egg on top.

Chinese Style Prawn Bruschetta

Ever wondered what to do with one of those pots of Hoisin sauce left over from a supermarket crispy Chinese duck pack.

Chinese Style Prawn Bruschetta

First slice and toast some nice crusty bread and set aside.

Then into a frying pan with some oil, add a couple of cloves of crushed garlic, some chopped chilis and of of those small packs of bacon bits. Chuck in a packet of small prawns, two teaspoons of Chinese curry powder, two teaspoons of Chinese chili sauce and the Hoisin sauce. Reduce liquid and chuck in some frozen peas. after a couple of minutes spoon onto the bread and eat.


Will serve four as a starter.