Up early today (well, considering it is Christmas week). Pretty dawn sky to look at while the kettle boiled.
Quick bowl of banana porridge with sunflower seed butter and off to Ramsgate. Lara came to help me change the house over for new visitors. We had one set leaving at 10 am and another arriving at 3pm and it takes 12 hours to do the house properly! It was like a scene from the Benny Hill show (but without the lecherous middle aged man and scantily clad ladies) as we both raced up and down and round and round, changing beds and cleaning the house until it gleamed and smelled fresh again.
The only respite was literally 5 minutes to eat a fish pie I had heated in the oven and then waited until it had cooled down and was quickly edible as no time today to sit and enjoy the view and wait for each forkful to cool down.
I was exhausted when we got home and fit for nothing more than
meditating snoozing on the sofa. Luckily the boys made tea. We had crispy duck pancakes. I had bought a big bag of frozen pancakes in Wing Yip. They are really convenient as they come in 17 packs of 6 pancakes each so you just defrost how ever many you need.
The 4 of us shared 2 duck breasts which were sprinkled with Chinese 5 spice powder, cooked on 200 ° C for 10 minutes then 150 ° C for about an hour and a half until falling apart tender. I had also bought a jar of plum sauce at Wing Yip’s. It was lovely. More like a plum jam than the sauce you get in Chinese restaurants and I preferred it. Harvey chopped up cucumber and spring onion.
If you have never had these,
where have you been? then you should try them. They are delicious. They are a staple of our order when we go out for Chinese.
You take a pancake and spread it with plum sauce,
load up as much duck as you can get away with add some cucumber, spring onions and duck
Completely delicious. I was going to do a huge portion of stir fried vegetables as an accompaniment but was too tired so decided to have some fruit for pudding instead 🙂 .
For dessert we had baked apples, stuffed with mincemeat, titivated with cherry brandy. These are so easy to make and require very few ingredients.
1 Bramley apple per person (or other cooking apple)
1 tbsp mincemeat per person
Cherry brandy (optional)
Cream to serve (optional)
Preheat oven to 180 ° C
Cut through the peel in a line around the widest part of the apple.
Cut out the core. If you are a gadget queen like I am, you will have an apple corer. If you are not, go and buy one. If the shops are shut, you can use a sharp knife or a vegetable peeler. You will end up with a hole through the middle of the apple, as demonstrated by my young assistant.
If your apples are wobbly, cut a thin slice from the bottom so they stand up in the baking dish. Fill the hole in the middle of the apple with mincemeat and some cherry brandy (optional). You could use brown sugar and some butter if you don’t have any mincemeat. Or maybe use up some leftover cranberry sauce? Put what you like in basically. It needs to contain sugar.
Pop in the oven for half an hour.
When the apples come out, they will ideally be on the verge of collapse as the insides will be so soft and the sugar in the filling will have caramelised. They will be piping hot so be careful.
Serve with cold cream and a tipple of your choice.
The tray said it all, this was truly great.
I put mine on a tray with a glass of cherry brandy and toddled off to the sitting room, to eat this slowly on a tray, enjoying every mouthful, while I watched some
cr*p light entertainment on tv. Bliss.