Friday, November 24, 2017

Oven-roasted duck with plums and red onions

Ahjupart ploomidega. Duck with plums.


We love duck in our house. It's just as easy to cook as your regular Sunday chicken roast, but because it's less common, somewhat pricier and much bitter, it has a more festive feel to it. We don't cook duck for weeknight dinners, but for weekend roasts and entertaining at home, it's such a worthy bird.

Here's a version I cooked a few times this autumn, trying to perfect it for a magazine photo shoot :)

Serves around 6


Oven-roasted duck with plums and red onions

(Ahjupart ploomide ja sibulaga)

1 whole duck (ca 3-3,5 kilograms; I prefer chilled to frozen)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
300-400 ml of hot water
5-6 smallish red onions
few decent garlic cloves
4 cloves  (the spice)
1 kilograms large red plums
3-4 fresh thyme sprigs

Preheat the oven to 180 °C/350 °F.

Season the duck with salt and pepper, both inside and out. Place into a good-sized oven dish (I used a lasagne dish on the photo, but a wide dutch oven would do as well). Pour  hot water into the dish, place the dish into the preheated oven and roast for an hour.

While the duck is roasting, peel the onions, halve lengthwise. Peel the garlic cloves.

Remove the duck from the oven and place the onions, garlic cloves, cloves (the spice) and thyme sprigs around the duck. Return to the oven for another hour.

Halve the plums, remove the stones. Take the duck out of the oven, and place the plum halves around the duck.

Increase the heat to 220 °C/425 °F.  Return the duck into the oven and roast for another 30 minutes or until the duck skin in deliciously golden brown and crispy. The meat thermometer should read 73-74 °C/163-165 °F when pierced into the middle of the thickest part of the duck leg.

Remove the duck from the oven and let rest of 10 minutes. Pour the pan jus through the sieve, place into a small saucepan and cook until slightly thickened. 

Then carve the rested duck into portions and serve with roasted plums, onion and garlic and the reduction.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Traditional Christmas roast (oven-baked pork shoulder with honey, mustard and rosemary)

From the recipe archives (originally posted in December 2012. Still my favourite Christmas roast). My traditional Christmas roast / Traditsiooniline jõulupraad
Photo by Juta Kübarsepp for the December issue of Kodu ja Aed magazine, 2012 

What's your traditional Christmas roast (assuming you're eating meat)? Turkey? Goose? Duck?

In Estonia it's definitely pork, though roast poultry has become more popular during recent years. I've been flirting with roast goose and actually served duck leg confit on Christmas Eve this year. It was delicious.

However, for years I've been serving pork roast - a pork shoulder (kaelakarbonaad in Estonian) in a mustard-honey-garlic-rosemary marinade, to be more precise. I love that it's a pretty fool-proof recipe, simple to make, with lots of flavour. And - as an added bonus - any leftovers are excellent on top of rye bread on the days after the party, or as part of a salad. So if you're not making it for a big family feast, you can still make the same amount and simply make several meals out of it.

So here you go. Nami-Nami's traditional Christmas roast. On the photo above, it's accompanied by black pudding ('blood sausages') - another traditional Christmas dish.

Wish you all a lovely festive season!!!

Traditional Christmas roast
(Ahjupraad karbonaadist)
Serves about 10

2 kg boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt)
3-4 Tbsp honey
3-4 Tbsp Dijon mustard or Estonian Põltsamaa mustard
2-3 fresh rosemary sprigs (leaves only)
3 large garlic cloves
2 tsp sea salt

Finely chop garlic cloves and rosemary leaves, then mix with honey and mustard until combined.
Season the meat generously with salt, then spread the mustard-honey mixture all over the pork shoulder and massage into the meat.
Place the pork shoulder into a large ovenproof dish, cover with foil and place into a fridge or cold larder for 1-2 days.
Bring back to the room temperature about an hour before you plan to cook the meat.
If you have a meat thermometer, then stick it into the thickest part of the meat (you can do this through the kitchen foil).
Roast the meat in a pre-heated 160 C / 320 F oven for about 2,5 hours or until the meat thermometer has reached 82-85 C/ 180-185 F.
If you plan to serve gravy with your meat, then pour a cup of hot water into the baking tray half-way through the cooking. 
When the meat is cooked, remove the foil, season the meat once more lightly with salt and then bake for another 10-15 minutes at about 200-220 C/ 390-425 F, just to brown the meat  a little.

Remove the roast pork from the oven, cover again with a kitchen foil and leave to rest for 20-30 minutes before carving into thin slices.

This recipe was also included in my latest cookbook, Jõulud kodus ("Christmas at Home"), published in Estonian in November 2011. 
I also included the recipe in the December 2012 issue of Kodu & Aed magazine. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Exploring the Fish Market in Jimbaran, Bali

Our little family of five spent three weeks exploring the beautiful Island of the Gods aka Bali earlier this year. We began our family vacation in Jimbaran, then stayed in the quaint artists' village of Penestanan just outside Ubud, then explored Northern Bali from Dencarik on Lovina beach and ended our holiday with a short stay in Canggu on the West coast again. Although the kids - then 3, 5 and 7 - were the one setting the pace and nature of our vacation, we did cram in quite a few food-related activities as well.

Visiting the famous fish market in Jimbaran was one of them.

We relied on local taxis to get around on Bali, as the local traffic was somewhat intimidating to a Northern European like me. So I'm unable to give you exact instructions re: how to get to the market - just ask your cab driver. But do get there early - the market opens around dawn at 6 am - for the best selection of fish and liveliest action, even if you are there just for window-shopping.

Traditional fish baskets drying in the sun:
Jimbaran Fish Market, Bali

Jimbaran Fish Market, Bali

Jimbaran Fish Market, Bali

Balinese jukung, below, is a small wooden outrigger canoe, and they are always very colourful and highly decorated. These are traditional fishing boats on the island, though modern uses include transporting scuba-divers and whale-spotters as well :)

Jimbaran Fish Market, Bali

Jimbaran Fish Market, Bali

Jimbaran Fish Market, Bali

Jimbaran Fish Market, Bali

Jimbaran Fish Market, Bali

One of the many fish restaurants at the market:


Jimbaran Fish Market, Bali

Jimbaran Fish Market, Bali

Jimbaran Fish Market, Bali

Jimbaran Fish Market, Bali

Jimbaran Fish Market, Bali

Jimbaran Fish Market, Bali

While we did manage to identify all the fruit we ate while on the island and put an English and an Estonian name to all of them (post coming soon), we quickly gave up any hope of identifying the seafood. Just look at the selection - the colours are like I've only seen in a goldfish tank, not at your local fishmonger.

Jimbaran Fish Market, Bali

Jimbaran Fish Market, Bali

Jimbaran Fish Market, Bali

Jimbaran Fish Market, Bali

Jimbaran Fish Market, Bali

Jimbaran Fish Market, Bali

Jimbaran Fish Market, Bali

Although a lot of the trading takes place outside, just next to the incoming fishing boats, there is a large covered area, which is packed with vendors. There's no room to swing a cat in there - or "Kilud karbis," we'd say in Estonian - but there were plenty of transactions taking place. Unfortunately it was way too dark to take proper photos, and the kids felt somewhat uneasy in there - the noise, the smells, the sheer amount of funky-coloured fish and a number of people can seem intimidating when you're just three or five, I imagine :)

Jimbaran Fish Market, Bali

Jimbaran Fish Market, Bali

Have you been to Bali? Did you have a chance to enjoy some local seafood?