Basmati saffron rice with duck

Saturday April 8th
The Basmati rice came free. There is a promotional effort on, with free packs handed out with glossy literature. Is it all that different? Yes. I cooked it on the stove top for 10 minutes with a little saffron. A friend told me that saffron is not only the most expensive spice in the world, but actually worth more than its own weight in platinum. I used it sparingly.

While that was cooking I chopped a red pepper and put it on to steam with mangetout (called ‘snow peas’ in the US), and added the mushrooms half way through. I chopped up the lean duck into inch long thick chunks, and put them into a hot wok to brown on the outside. I added chopped purple onions and spring onions, and put the dome lid on the wok. This allows some of the cooking to be done by steam.

The rice came out a lovely golden yellow and tasted fantastic. It had real texture, and instead of being something to complement the other food, was worth eating for itself. I trickled a little dark soy sauce on the duck and onions. The steamed vegetables still had some bite, and the duck was superbly done. The onions were slightly caramelized, which went well with the sauce.

I followed it after a decent interval with a chilled blancmange made from soy milk, served with cold stewed apricots. It was somewhat bland, in the spirit of many oriental desserts, but went very well with the meal.