I am not a graduate. We established that on the weekend, and that’s fine… It’s taken me some time but I’m in a happy place.
Today however, I had another realisation.
I am also not a gym junkie.
Returning from a three-month winter holiday in Europe, where I have no shame in admitting our main purpose in life for three glorious months was to eat our way through 12 countries, I will admit I did seem to bring back some extra baggage. Thankfully they don’t have a carry on limit for saddle bags.
So since returning in February, my partner and I have had a crazy 4 months planning engagements, getting into the university semester (my other half is also not a graduate – I’m not completely alone), and settling into our new jobs. That’s meant late nights, big weekends, general laziness in our rare spare time, and a lot more take out.
In an attempt to make some healthy changes, I joined the gym and enlisted the help of a trainer. I like to live by the moto “EVERYTHING in moderation”. But today I realised my definition of moderate just isn’t cutting it.
So I suppose deep frying my sweet potato hash in duck fat was a bit more excess than moderation. And maybe that lug of mustard and olive oil in my lamb juice gravy was too. And the three bottles of wine last week… well enough said.
And boy did I face the wrath of the trainer today. The scales may hate me, but my lips love me.
And you know, what the heck – if there is any time to enjoy the fat it’s now right!
So while I am not a graduate, and obviously not a slave to the treadmill, I am an avid food lover.
So here’s one for others that need glasses to sharpen that blurry line between moderation and excess, and who frequently enjoy stepping over it.
Trudi’s full fat crispy skin duck with braised cabbage and sweet potato hash
Serves two hungry people that deserve a treat
2 duck breasts, skin on (can you get them any other way?)
quarter red cabbage, sliced
1 onion, diced
a couple of cloves of garlic, squashed or diced
red wine vinegar
half an orange sweet potato
In a hot pan, combine a lug of olive oil, onion and garlic. Stir occasionally and cook until golden. Once the onion is nicely caramelised, add the red cabbage, a couple of tablespoons of red wine vinegar, and a tablespoon or two of brown sugar. Stir through and cook on a medium heat for about 20 minutes, or until the cabbage is nice a soft and the liquid is nearly gone.
Coat the skin in a good pinch of salt and pepper (you could also add chilli or garlic or any other condiment you may fancy). On a hot pan, cook the duck skin side down for 7-8 minutes, pressing down on the breast with a spatula to render the fat and crisp the skin. Flip and cook flesh down for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and rest until ready to serve. Leave the pan (and delicious ducky juices) on the heat.
Sweet potato hash fritters
Peel the sweet potato and grate. In a bowl, combine the sweet potato and 2 eggs. Combine well and add a good pinch of salt and pepper. On the hot pan with the duck juices, spoon a small amount of potato mixture into the pan and gently push down with the back of the spoon. It should hold well. Fill the pan with small, thin cakes and fry until the edges start to turn golden brown, which should be about 3 minutes in a hot pan/hot oil. Flip and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
You will probably want to pat everything off to remove the excess fat and oil, and then you are ready to serve.
Fresh steamed green beans and asparagus offer a light reprieve to this coronary feast.
Best yet – it should only take you about 30 minutes! So you can have your feast and eat it too before Biggest Loser starts.