Sunday, 21 September 2014

Salakee duck with Thai Red Curry Sauce

Today Cory discovered the beach. We've been fairly lucky with her stages of development vs beach visits. For most of the early summer, when the weather was blisteringly hot, Cory was happy for a couple of hours sitting in her sun tent playing with toys. We could sunbathe next to the tent occasionally swapping toys while she babbled to her favourites.

 Then one fateful day on Samson she realised she could crawl out of the tent and have a whole beach to shovel into her mouth. As she did the weather turned, the clouds arrived and frankly it hasn't been as hot or beach tempting since.

 For about a month I've avoided the beach. I've scooped so much sand out of Cory's mouth I could have my own garden sand pit. But tonight she was scratchy. I was scratchy. We went for a walk across Rushy Bay Green and the sun had come out in the hazy September way it does. I kicked my shoes off and took her down to Great Par. We sat down below Great Cairn. The first scoop of the sand went into her mouth. Then she looked around and it was like something had clicked. Her face lit up and she started throwing sand around and crawled off at top speed to examine a limpet shell, a pile of seaweed, a sea worn pebble. After several attempts of keeping her away from the sea I just let her. She crawled in confidently and as the little waves lapped over her crawling body she laughed and splashed her hands getting completely soaked. I had to forcibly remove her (with much howling) and I think we now have a real beach baby on our hands. Much to her kitesurfing Daddy's delight...

As we gear up for the autumn and winter I'm starting to cook again in the evenings. In the summer we tend to just live on barbecues and salads and whatever I can be bothered to put on a plate. At the Food Festival last week I bought lots of Salakee Farm duck for the freezer, breasts, legs and a whole duck to enjoy when the dark evenings arrive and I want something rich and warm. We used the breasts and made a quick red thai curry sauce to go with them. They were spectacular. The texture of the duck is like nothing I have ever had before. Buttery and soft. If you are on holiday on Scilly this autumn it's really worth ordering some (either straight from the Farm or from restaurant menus). 

Salakee Farm Duck Breasts with Thai Red Curry Sauce (serves 2- actually would serve 3 at least but we were really hungry)

1 red chilli
1 inch fresh ginger
2 tsp galangal paste
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 lemongrass stalk 
1 tsp paprika
2 shallots
2 garlic cloves
the juice of 1 lime

1 tin of coconut milk
2 duck breasts
more fish sauce
another lime

First make a paste. In a mini chopper put all the ingredients and pulse until you have a smooth paste. Put a heavy based frying pan on a hot hob and add the duck skin side down. Cook for around 4-5 minutes until the skin is golden brown. Flip over and cook for another 3 minutes. Put in a 180'c oven for around 5-10 minutes or until cooked how you like it. 

Use the frying pan (with the duck fat still in it) and fry off the paste for about 5 minutes. Add the coconut milk and reduce the heat and let it simmer while the duck is in the oven. Add the last minute stir in the remaining lime juice and fish sauce (to taste). Pour over the duck breast and serve with green beans and rice. 

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Tresco & Bryher Food Festival 2014

It doesn't feel like the September of the last few years. The Swallows might have headed home but the tripper boats are still packed with camera laden visitors. The paths are well trodden and the beaches still have lines of coupled footprints. Today I stood at the end of Rushy Bay Green looking out to the Western Rocks. There's still evidence of last year's destructive storms. A line of hedging is dead from the flooding. There is still seaweed tangled in with the new growth. But there's a bright pink floral coating to ground that I haven't seen before. Not the usual Thrift but a blanket of bright rose pink. The air was foggy and it's hard to remember a day as beautiful as this. I'm glad there are still so many people around to enjoy it. 

At the weekend the crowds packed into the Tresco and Bryher Food Festival. It's the third year we've held it and it must have been our busiest to date. From Oysters and Ale to Sea Salt and Sourdough starters we had a really great representation from Scilly and I've had so many people contacting me saying how much they enjoyed it.