Tag Archives: duck

Preserved Duck Egg

Well, I’ve eaten salted duck eggs and balut (duck embryos in the egg), so preserved duck eggs were next.

These are also called century eggs or 100 year old eggs. The ingredients list on the packet says ‘calcium ,salt, tea leaves and water’. The eggs are wrapped in a layer of clay with the tea leaves on the outside.

 

 There are a lot of recipes on the internet for using these eggs, but I just wanted to eat them on their own.

If you decide to try these eggs, be warned, they have a strong smell of urine. The egg white becomes a translucent brown colour, and doesn’t have much flavour. The yolk is a deep greyish green, soft in the middle, and tastes like egg with maybe a hint of duck flavour. The yolk is very creamy, and left a quite delicious creamy aftertaste. 

 But it would take a while to get used to the smell, it’s not surprising that some people think they are preserved by soaking in horse urine.

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Salted Duck Eggs

Ever since I tried balut, I have intended trying salted duck eggs. So this week when I was pedalling by an Asian Grocery store here on the Sunshine Coast, I stopped, and fortunately they had a few in stock. They are mainly a Chinese dish apparently, but the eggs I bought were bright pink, which is from a dye they use in the Philippines to distinguish between salted and plain duck eggs. The eggs were already cooked, so it was just a case of removing the shells and eating.

As you can see from the photo, they look a bit different to ordinary cooked eggs. The egg white is a bit denser than normal, quite a pleasant texture, but very, very salty. The yolk has a quite a hard lump in the centre, but overall is creamier and heavier than a boiled yolk. It’s a bit salty, but not as bad as the white. It has just a hint of duck flavour, which I didn’t expect, but which I found delicious. I think overall these eggs are too salty to be eaten on their own like I did, but mixed with something that needs saltiness, maybe chopped up on a salad, they would be really good. I’ll have to do some research into recipes using these eggs.

Duck tongues

An Asian restaurant in the Brisbane suburb of Sunnybank had a selection of BBQ takeaway in the window, including duck tongue. I had seen duck tongues in the butcher shop a few doors down, but they were expensive and I had no idea what to do with them, so buying ready cooked tongues seemed like a good idea at the time. Unfortunately I couldn’t just get one to try, so a very small handful of these cost me $6.50, not a cheap snack.  But that’s the price you sometimes pay to eat weird stuff. I resisted the temptation of asking if I could put them on my bill (a duck joke). Ducks tongues are small, about 4-5 cms (but bigger than I thought would fit in a ducks head).

Towards the back of the tongue there is a bone, but there is actually a suprising amount of meat on each tongue (it’s probably not actually meat, has the texture of tender well cooked cartilage).  Now, I don’t know what is  in a Chinese BBQ marinade, but I do know I don’t like it! All the BBQed meat in the shop had a similar almost greyish, greasy appearance, and the taste of the tongues was unlike anything I have eaten. And that wasn’t a good thing, I thought they were bloody awful. Apparently duck tongues should have a duck flavour but these didn’t. So the experience was very disappointing, but I will try again if I can get them prepared differently.

Cooking balut

A couple of years ago, after first hearing about balut, which is an almost fully developed duck embryo still in the shell, I couldn’t think of anything that sounded worse to eat. Well, that was then and this is now. After the Wildfoods festival, I think I can eat anything! So I’ve been searching for balut, without success, until yesterday I found them at an Asian food store here on the Sunshine Coast. Balut is a very popular street food in the Philipines apparently. Today was the day, an exciting new lunch, so a bit of research indicated I should boil the eggs for about half an hour. No problems there, even I can boil eggs. I let them cool a little after cooking, and carefully broke away a small section of shell so I could drink the ‘broth’ inside. There wasn’t much, but it tasted delicious. I can’t quite pick the flavour, maybe a cross between egg and duck (there’s a surprise!), quite strong, and a lovely aroma. Then it was time to carefully remove the shell. I have to admit, balut isn’t the nicest looking snack I’ve tried.

 And breaking it up to eat it doesn’t make it look any better.

The yellow yolk tastes just like egg yolk, but maybe a bit stronger, and the embryo itself was a bit chewy with a sort of flavour and texture that might come from overcooked boiled duck (not that I’ve tried that). The egg white part was so hard and rubbery I didn’t even bother to try it. I actually quite enjoyed the flavour and would probably eat balut again, but I’m not going to rush out and buy more in the near future.

Turducken

I have not done a lot of cooking over the years ( probably only roasted two chickens in my life!), so my plan to make turducken this Christmas was perhaps a little ambitious. In my usual way, I threw myself enthusiastically into the project, ordered the birds, read up about the process and sharpened my knives. I practised boning a couple of chickens a week ago and the second one was good enough, so I kept it in the freezer for the big day. Christmas eve and the serious boning began. I started with  the duck as it’s appearance isn’t as important as the turkey.  One badly sliced thumb later (yes, that knife is sharp) the duck was done and it was turkey time. The turkey, being larger, was probably easier than the chicken or duck, and went quite well. I then decided to put a couple of quail inside the chicken, and the quail were quite fiddly to bone because of their size. Finally, after a couple of hours it was all done and the carcases were frozen to use for making stock later. The butcher I bought the turkey and duck off had offered to do the boning for me but I wanted to do the whole thing. Several times during the evening I regretted that decision. As you can see, my turkey didn’t look elegant, but it was boneless and all in one piece.

I thought it would take about 5-6 hours to cook this masterpiece, so I was up at 4am Christmas morning to complete the prep. and get it in the oven. As I had never made stuffing before, I used it from a packet (sorry, I’ll do better next time). So, I layed out the turkey, spread a layer of stuffing, put the duck on, added more stuffing, then the chicken, stuffing and finally the two quail to end up with this great ugly pile of meat.

The next part of the process was probably the most difficult, particularly on my own. I had to roll the beast up and sew the turkey back together. Using skewers to initially hold it in place, I finally managed to get it sewn together, but when I turned it over, there were a couple of places where the skin had split, and these required a few stitches as well. I also ran string around the bird  to help it hold it’s shape (no skeleton to do that, remember).

So it looked a bit rough and unprofessional, but not bad for a first effort, I thought.

Christmas day in Queensland is notoriously hot, not the day you want the oven on for 5 hours, so the bird (birds) were put into the kettle BBQ on the verandah, and cooking began at 5-15am, and I enjoyed a glass of apple cider. I needed to slow cook this, but the BBQ wouldn’t go below about 180°c. Finally after about 5 hours the meat thermometer showed an internal temperature of 165°c so the turkey was taken out and rested. On the outside it looked good! (but I wish I’d removed the strings and stitches before taking the photo- live and learn)

So after 45 mins resting (the turkey, not me, I had potatoes to cook), it was crunch time, and I very nervously cut into my masterpiece:

 Cooked to perfection! And to eat, this is awesome. The flavour combinations of the different birds are great together, the turkey was very moist, probably from the duck, and even the packet stuffing tasted good. Would I do it all again, yes, but not for a while. And what would I do differently? The quail were pretty much lost in the mix, I’d either leave them out or put a few more in. And I’d use less stuffing and not from a packet (I’ll have to find a couple of good   stuffing recipes).  And maybe a bigger turkey so fitting it all together was easier (this was only a 4kg bird). All up, the cooked product weighed in at just under 8 kgs, so I’ll be enjoying this for a few days yet.