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National Holiday Meal


Drai
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Duck  

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Peking Duck is particularly nice.

And of course like all things to do with cooking you should always use the finest ingredients.

Ingredients

* 1 lemon

* 3 tbs honey

* 3 tbs dark soy sauce

* 150ml Shaohsing rice wine*

* 1 cinnamon stick

* 2 star anise

* 2-2.5kg duck

* Mandarin pancakes (Available pre-prepared at many Asian supermarkets)

* 2 Lebanese cucumbers, cut into strips

* Small bunch spring onions, cut into strips

* Hoisin sauce, to drizzle

Method

1. To make the marinade, cut the lemon into 1/4cm slices and place in a medium saucepan with 1.2 litres of water, the honey, soy sauce, rice wine and spices. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes until flavours are infused. Set aside.

2. Wash duck inside and out, then pat dry with paper towel. Use kitchen string to tie the duck's legs firmly together. Place in a large pan and pour over a kettle of boiling water. Leave for 1 minute. Transfer duck to a wire rack over a roasting tray, pat dry, then baste with marinade until the skin is completely coated.

3. Set the uncovered duck aside to dry out for 4-5 hours (you can face a fan onto the duck to speed up the process - the duck skin should feel like taut parchment when ready).

4. Preheat the oven to 240°C.

5. Pour 50ml cold water into the pan (to stop the fat from splattering). Cook in the oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 180°C and roast for a further 1 1/4 hours. Set duck aside for 10 minutes to rest before carving.

6. Prepare the pancakes (see related recipe). Carve the duck into thin slices. To serve, place a pancake on each plate, then a slice of duck in the middle of the pancake. Add some cucumber and spring onion strips, drizzle with hoisin sauce, wrap and enjoy.

Notes & tips

* * Shaohsing rice wine is available at major supermarkets, or you can substitute sherry.

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