Sunday, 5 September 2010

Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity: Voltaire

I love a bit of Voltaire, me.

So this week, I've been searching for inspiration, both for writing and for eating. I've found it but in some very strange places. I went a bit mad buying up courgettes so to use up the glut I offer you a quick soup recipe that will warm the cockles during this unpredictable weather. And seeing as the weather is becoming cooler, I'm making my famous Bangers and Mash and also my Mac n' Chee, Oh Daddy's favourite and is a very, very secret recipe. I'm in the mood for something spicy and dare I say...Oriental. So here's my recipe for Duck Ramen which is slurp-tastic.

Hot and Sour Duck Ramen

  • 2 duck breasts , skin on
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 1l chicken stock , fresh, cube or concentrate
  • 2 limes , juiced
  • 2 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 4 baby pak choi
  • 100g udon noodles
  • 2 red chilli , sliced
  • a small bunch coriander , roughly chopped
  • 2 spring onions , sliced 
  1. Score the fat of the duck breasts and marinate with 1 tbsp each of the fish sauce and sugar. Leave for 30 minutes or overnight. Heat a non-stick pan and pan-fry the duck, fat-side down. Reduce the heat to low and let the fat melt out, about 8 minutes. Turn over and sear for 3 minutes. Remove.
  2. Heat the chicken stock and add the lime juice, tamarind, remaining fish sauce and sugar. Add the pak choi and blanch for 1 minute. Boil the noodles in salted water until al dente. Drain and divide into 4 large bowls. Pour the stock over and add the pak choi.
  3. Thinly slice the duck and arrange on top. Sprinkle with chilli, spring onion and coriander.
 Courgette and Parmesan Soup (see above photo)

  • 60ml/2fl oz extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • handful basil leaves (preferably Italian), chopped
  • sea salt and ground white pepper, to taste
  • 1kg/2¼lb green courgettes, cut lengthways into quarters then into 1cm/½in slices
  • 750ml/1¼ pint chicken stock
  • 60ml/2fl oz single cream
  • handful flatleaf parsley, chopped
  • 50g/2oz freshly grated parmesan, plus extra to serve
  • To serve
  • crusty bread
  • salad
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan over a medium heat.
  2. Cook the garlic, basil, salt and courgette slowly for 10 minutes, or until the courgettes are lightly browned and softened.
  3. Add white pepper, to taste, then pour in the stock and simmer for 8 minutes, uncovered. Remove from the heat.
  4. Put three-quarters of the soup mixture into a food processor and blend until smooth.
  5. Return the mixture to the pan and stir in the cream, parsley and parmesan.
  6. To serve, ladle the soup into a bowl and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sprinkle over more parmesan, to taste. Serve with crusty bread and a green salad.


  1. I've got to try the courgette soup. We have 3 plants in tubs in the garden and they're producing more than we can eat!

  2. The soup is very simple but oh so yummy. Great with a big chunk of ciabatta.


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