Category Archives: Leftovers

Happy Blogday to Me! Celebratory duck dishes and musings on stock-making to follow.

Hello hello hello

It’s officially been a year since my first ever blog post on recipeforprocrastination!  And in the spirit of celebration, I’ve returned to my roots and have been squeezing every single possible ounce of deliciousness out of a couple of ducks.*

As I am currently awaiting the start of my new job, I am due to have some visitors next week, including my mum and family friend Elaine.  This means I’ve got to try and cook something spectactular for their visit.  Whole ducks were on offer at the supermarket, and it seemed like a great excuse to buy a couple whilst I still had access to a staff discount card!

Why two ducks?  Because there will be four of us and I plan to serve a breast each.  As a packet of two duck breasts cost £7 and the whole bird was £8 (with 10% discount taking it to £7.20) it was an absolute no brainer to buy whole ducks instead.

Once I got home, I butchered the ducks (see this post for how I did it).  The livers were separated from the giblets and put in the freezer (along with some other duck liver and rabbit liver which are currently sitting in there) and the breasts were also frozen.  Unfortunately, that more or less exhausted all of my freezer space, and I still had the legs and the carcass to deal with.

One of the photos from my original duck butchery post.

The carcass was easy – I roasted the bones, along with the giblets and excess skin, until they had browned and the fat had started to run (roasting both improves the flavour of the stock and makes the duck fat useable).  The fat was poured into a tub for later use, and everything else was put in the slow cooker with a couple of carrots, a bit of leftover fennel (from my rabbit meal the other day) and topped up with water.  I cooked on low for several hours, in order to make a delicious smelling stock (see this post for my basic method).  Now, with the frequency that I make stock I had assumed that I knew everything there was to know about it.  However, recently I have started doing a few new things.

  1. Using the slow cooker rather than the hob makes a lot of sense because for one thing, the likelihood of it boiling dry is more or less nil and for another, I can leave it on overnight or while I’m out of the house.
  2. I’ve discovered that you can re-use the same bones when you make stock, up until the point that they basically crumble.  Chicken carcasses will only last for a couple of batches, but duck carcasses appear to be a little more resilient.
  3. Adding a couple of spoons of vinegar to stock will improve its mineral content.  Did you ever do that thing in science where you soaked a chicken bone in vinegar until it turned rubbery?  That’s because the acidity of the vinegar encourages the calcium to leach out.  Calcium’s good for you, and you can’t taste the vinegar in the end product, so this small addition is a great idea.
  4. Reducing the stock down concentrates the flavour and takes up less storage space.  This is an obvious one, but I’d never really thought about it until looking through the Ballymaloe Cookery Course book (yes, I know I mention that one a lot, but it really is a manual as well as just a recipe book).  Since I’ve started reducing my stocks, they’ve got better and better.

Another ancient photo to illustrate stock-making.

I do declare that the duck stock I currently have on the go is the best I’ve ever made.  It smells incredible, and just tastes of liquid duck.  It’s so gelatinous that it’s basically set hard in the fridge and I’m really looking forward to using it.

I still had to deal with the pesky legs though, as I couldn’t use them immediately, but didn’t have any room in the freezer for them.  Enter confit duck.  I’ve not made it for a while, and this time I actually had nearly enough fat to completely cover the meat.  I used primarily duck fat, but also some bacon fat from my carbonara and a roast gammon we cooked recently (both of which came from A Man’s dad’s pigs).  The confit duck legs are currently sitting in a casserole dish in my fridge, submerged in fat and covered with a lid.  See this post for my confit duck method.

A previous experiment with confit duck. I may well try out the green lentils again – they were perfect!

So there we have it.  I can cook stuff for a whole year, and still I’ll return to the same old things again and again.  Nothing much changes.  I’ll probably start hanging back on the food blog front now (I’m sure you’ve noticed me starting to slack off over the past couple of months already).  I start my new job on 29th October and will have less time to cook, and a lot of my free time is being taken up by wedding planning now.  I’ll pop back now and then though, if only when I manage particularly unusual or beautiful food.  It’s been fun though!

Massive huge love

Gemma xx

*As a side note, the duck thing was honestly completely unintentional – it just happened that way!  It did amuse me when I realised my first post was about duck, I checked and it happened to be a year ago.  Perhaps it’s providence (or more likely, I guess this time of year must be prime for special offers on ducks).



Hi there

Curried fish and rice?  For breakfast?  Why yes, that’s what I ate yesterday morning.  I made a (very delicious) chilli for dinner on Wednesday and popped to the supermarket to get some sour cream to slop on the top.  Whilst there, I picked up a whole load of reduced things, including some kippers for 15p.  Now, kippers aren’t the fish most people would use in kedgeree but they’re my favourites.  So I cooked some extra rice and stuck in the fridge to cool down, ready for the morning.

I completely forgot about the boiled eggs until after I’d finished my breakfast, but I don’t think it was missing much (although perhaps it would have looked slightly more attractive!).  I stirred through the remaining sour cream, but it’s not necessary.

Also, I cooked a pizza for dinner last night with the other reduced things I picked up – mozzarella and polish sausage.  I’m not going to post a recipe (I’ve done plenty of pizzas before) but I will post a picture just because it was so darned pretty!

Much love

Gemma xx


Cooked white rice
Cooked fish
Smoked paprika
Cayenne pepper
Sour cream
Parsley (preferably fresh, but I had to use dried)




  1. Boil the eggs for 5-6 minutes, until the yolks have set, but not hardened.  Run briefly under cold water, shell and set aside.
  2. Melt some butter in a frying pan.  Dice the onion and fry until soft.  Add the cooked rice and spices.  Taste and adjust the spices as necessary.
  3. Flake the fish, removing as many bones as possible.  Stir through the rice and heat gently until warm.
  4. Stir through some sour cream and add a good sprinkling of parsley.  Dish up the kedgeree, chop the eggs into slices and don’t forget to add to the rice!

Fully Loaded Duck Tacos with Blueberry Salsa


It’s been a beautiful day in deepest Wiltshire, and has involved A Man using his bow for the first time in over a year (which inevitably led to A Happyfaced Man) and a relaxing couple of hours reading by the lake.  Mmmm.  This called for something summery for dinner, which inevitably had to involve using up some leftover duck which was lurking in the bottom of the fridge.

We went with tacos, and I cheated by using the packet of spices which came with the taco shells – simply marinated the roasted duck meat in the spices for a while, fried some sliced red onions, added the meat and a tin of black eyed beans (with the water) and left it to reduce a bit.  I served the tacos with guacamole, grated cheese, shredded red cabbage dressed in lemon juice, carrot ribbons with coriander, the salsa which came with the tacos and a blueberry salsa which I improvised after managing to buy some blueberries for 19p.

All of the taco ingredients, plus bonus vintage sewing machine in the background 🙂

As we ended up with 10 taco shells (far too much for two people!), I decided to make extra of all of the side dishes, and we’ll have them tomorrow with leftover pulled pork cheek which has been sitting in my freezer.  Perfect as neither of us will be in to make dinner tomorrow.  I can hardly wait!

Love love

Gemma xx

Blueberry Salsa

1 small punnet blueberries
Half a small glass of red wine
1 red chilli, deseeded
Around 2 dessert spoons caster sugar

‘Make me one with everything because I’m going to become a Buddhist’. A Man’s taco, filled with everything he could lay his hands on.

  1. Place the blueberries and wine in a pan and set on a medium heat.
  2. Thinly slice the chilli and add to the blueberry mix, along with a spoon full of sugar.  Stir well.
  3. Turn the heat down and leave to simmer until the blueberries are very soft.  Squash them with the spoon and leave the salsa to reduce.
  4. Taste the salsa and season with more sugar if necessary.  Remove from the heat and leave to cool.  Yes, I realise this is very similar to the chilli-cherry sauce I made the other week.  Hush!

Chilli-Cherry Duck Wraps

Hullo there

I’m on holiday, that is, I have this week off work and am going away next week.  I have spent today cross-legged on the floor cutting and sticking a sewing pattern in order to attempt to make a coat for a good friend of mine.  It was pretty cathartic and my mind wandered to making something experimental for tea.

I was working yesterday, and A Man roasted a duck for our tea, served with roast potatoes, braised red cabbage, mashed sweet potato and a clementine sauce/gravy thing – it was mega-yummy!  As I have said before, a whole duck can last 2 people for quite a number of meals so there was obviously quite a lot of leftover meat for me to use today.

Yesterday’s dinner, golden brown and ready to carve.

There was half a packet of tortilla wraps in the breadbin, so I thought about making duck fajitas.  Unfortunately this wouldn’t have required much imagination, so instead I concocted the following recipe, which was pretty successful – definitely one I’ll try again.  It’s a kind of cross between chinese duck pancakes and mexican tacos.  I intended to make guacamole but the avocado wasn’t ripe enough – a real advantage as it turns out, as the resulting salsa went brilliantly with the wraps.  I didn’t bother to remove the stones from the cherries before cooking as they’re a pain in the bum and you end up losing half the fruit.  Besides, I quite enjoy fishing them out after the fact with a fork but it does mean you have to warn fellow diners of the potential stones in their food.

Love love

Gemma xx

Chilli-Cherry Duck Wraps

Cooked duck meat, plus fat and juices from the roasting tray
Several whole garlic cloves
1 firm avocado
1 white onion
1 lime
Handful fresh coriander
Wholewheat tortillas
1 punnet cherries (stones removed, if required)
1 red chilli
A little sugar

  1. Shred the meat into a frying pan and season well with salt and pepper.  Add the garlic cloves and fat/juice and fry on a medium-high heat, stirring regularly.  The duck meat should start to crisp up.
  2. Chop the avocado into fine dice.  Mix in a bowl with half of the onion, also finely diced, the juice of half the lime and some roughly chopped coriander.  Remove one or two of the (now soft) garlic cloves from the duck and mash into the salsa.  Leave to stand until ready to serve.
  3. Remove the meat from the pan, draining off some of the fat if necessary.  Tip the fruit in with half of the chilli, finely sliced, the remaining lime juice and the remaining onion, sliced.  Add enough water or stock to come around a third up the side of the fruit (I used some of the leftover gravy from yesterday).  Heat on a medium-low hob until the fruit softens.  Mash the cherries and remove stones with a fork.  Add sugar to taste and more chilli if necessary.  Turn the heat down to low and reduce until the sauce is fairly thick.
  4. Divide the duck between the tortillas and add some of the cherry sauce.  Wrap the tortillas around the meat and sauce and place in an oven-proof tray.  Bake in a medium-hot oven until the tortillas are crisp on the outside.
  5. Serve with the avocado salsa and a salad.

Carrot and Parsnip Soup


I love soup!  It’s easy to make, good for hiding veg that’s slightly past its prime, offers infinite variety and it’s really good for you.  Research has shown that if you’re trying to lose weight, you should eat soup because the exact same meal blended with some water or stock will keep you fuller for longer than if you ate it solid with a glass of water.  If you make soup with home-made stock made from bones, you will also get the kick of a whole load of minerals (particularly calcium) and the satisfaction that you’ve got an extra meal from your roast dinner.

Carrots are great for soup – they’re cheap, they cook pretty quickly and they go with lots of other flavours.  I chucked in the parsnips too, as they were reduced and are tasty with some good strong spices.

Much love

Gemma xx

Carrot and Parsnip Soup

Olive oil
Chilli Powder
Ground Coriander
Stock (I used chicken stock, obviously use veg stock if you want a veggie soup!)

  1. Warm some olive oil in a pan.  Peel the veg and chop into small dice.  Fry in the olive oil for a few minutes.
  2. Add spices in quantities to taste.  I used lots of ground cumin for this soup, but use your own favourites.  Fry the spices for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add stock a little at a time to cover the vegetables.  Simmer the soup until the veg is soft.
  4. You can serve the soup lumpy if you like.  I blended using a hand blender until smooth (add some more liquid if necessary).  You can also stir through some cream or herbs and season to taste.  Serve with some crusty bread or rolls.

Hot and Sour Noodles


The weather is crappy.  It’s miserable and windy and rubbish.  But it’s June and we shouldn’t have to be eating beef stew.  These noodles in their spicy broth makes life seem much much better 🙂  It’s just the right combination of light (so you don’t feel like you’re made entirely out of dumpling) yet spicy (so you don’t feel like you’ve been short-changed out of a decent meal on a miserable day).  It’s also incredibly quick, easy, and pretty good for you too.  I needed to use up the leftovers from our Garlic Lemon Chicken, but it would be great with just veg or tofu.  The advantage of using the chicken is that it had rather cunningly been flavoured with the right kind of things, and when I stripped the carcass down I squeezed the limes which had been in the cavity all over the meat.  Clever girl.  You can also use uncooked chicken, which poaches in the broth like in the Chicken and Sweetcorn soup I made a couple of months ago.

Love love

Gemma xx

Hot and Sour Noodles

Stock (I used ham stock, but chicken or vegetable would be just as good)
Juice of 1 lime
Garlic clove, finely sliced
Galangal, finely sliced
Half an onion
Half a courgette
Red pepper
Tinned sweetcorn
Chicken or tofu (optional)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 red chilli, finely diced
Soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
Egg noodles

  1. Slice your veg into fairly fine strips.  Cut the chicken or tofu into chunks and set aside.
  2. Warm through the stock, sesame oil, lime juice, garlic and galangal.  Add the veg and simmer for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the chilli a little at a time, stirring through and tasting.  It is very easy to over-spice so try not to overdo it.  Dissolve the sugar into the soup and season with soy sauce if necessary (I didn’t need to as ham stock is very salty anyway).  Mine wasn’t quite sour enough so I added some cider vinegar as I didn’t have any more lime juice.
  4. Add the chicken or tofu, if using.  Simmer until cooked or warmed through as necessary.
  5. Break some noodles into the soup and simmer until cooked.  Serve immediately.

Feeling Lazy

Hullo hullo.

I have been a bit lax on the posting front recently.  This has been primarily due to a lack of exciting kitchen activity.  I have been throwing things together which have been massive cheat meals!  The intention for Saturday lunchtime was a shop-bought quiche and salad; a plan which was somewhat scuppered by the fact that I’m incredibly clumsy and splattered the quiche all over the kitchen floor, annoyingly after it had been heated through and the smell was making me hungry!  Saturday’s dinner was tortellini with a chilli-tomato sauce and salad, Sunday’s was Moroccan lamb chops with cous cous, yesterday we had veggie mince enchiladas from a kit and today we celebrated the great weather with salad, sausages and a baguette.

However, I did make one thing this weekend which required a little baking skill, rescuing some overripe satsumas from the bin by making Nigella Lawson’s clementine cake.  It was made infinitely more delicious with the addition of a lot of crystallised ginger.  Yum!  My only other creation of the weekend was a glass of absinthe.  Unfortunately, when we came back from Amsterdam we only had hand luggage so I couldn’t buy a big bottle.  *sniff sniff*  Next time….

Love love

Gemma xx

It’s no trick of the light – it really was that colour 🙂