I took along two recipes (an evening like this wouldn’t be right without dessert, and of course wine matching!) – the main, a scrumptious duck breast with kale, barley tabouleh and tahini yoghurt, and dessert, red wine poached pears, puff pastry, spiced mascarpone and chocolate sauce. As I’m always developing new recipes, the duck recipe had not yet been finalised, so I took it along not fully developed to showcase the recipe development process and pick up any glitches in the recipe long the way. And to finish on a high, the dishes were taken care of for our lucky guests! Keep your eyes out for your invite to another exclusive My Food Bag cooking class in the future.
Check out below some lovely feedback from a few of our lovely participants:
“We really appreciate your willingness to build relationships with your customer base. It’s what makes you different and what keeps us coming back. Now you've got us looking forward to cooking that meal again not to mention we have to go shopping for those great peelers you had - and probably some new pans...we are becoming kitchen geeks!”
“A massive thank you to the My Food Bag team for a wonderful Cooking Class last night! Lots of fun, delicious food, and a few new tricks up the sleeve (can't wait to wow the family with duck fat potatoes with our next Sunday roast, not to mention Kale chips!). The team all took time with each of the participants and made sure the evening was a lot of fun for everyone as well as a valuable learning experience. Nadia is such a natural people person and her love for good food is infectious! As always My Food Bag, you exceed expectations.”
Duck with Kale and Barley Tabbouleh and Tahini Yoghurt
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20
1 cup pearl barley
200g cavolo nero or kale
½ medium red onion
2 Lebanese cucumbers
1 punnet cherry tomatoes
½ - ¾ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
½ - ¾ cup sliced mint leaves
1/3 cup chopped pistachio nuts
1 ½ tablespoons dukkah
3-4 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Duck and tahini yoghurt
2 duck breasts
1/3 cup Greek yoghurt
2 tablespoons tahini
1. Cook barley in boiling salted water until tender, but still a little firm to the bite – this will take about 15-20 minutes.
2. While the barley cooks, prepare the rest of the meal. Remove tough stalks from the cavolo nero/kale and very finely chop the leaves until you have 1 ½ – 2 cups worth; finely dice the red onion; cut the cucumber in half lengthways, remove seeds and finely dice the flesh; cut cherry tomatoes into quarters.
3. Trim duck breasts of overhanging fat. Use a sharp knife to score skin at 1cm intervals. Pat duck breasts dry with paper towels and season with salt. Heat a dry medium-size fry pan (with no oil) on medium heat. Cook breasts, skin-side-down, for 4-5 minutes until most of the fat has rendered out and the skin is golden brown. Flip duck breasts over and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes until duck is cooked through medium (the flesh should be a pale rosy pink, like medium cooked lamb). Set aside to rest for 5-10 minutes in a warm place.
4. Drain barley and rinse under the tap to cool slightly. Drain well and toss with the kale, red onion, tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, mint, pistachios, dukkah, lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil. Season to taste with salt, freshly cracked black pepper and more lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil if needed.
5. Mix yoghurt and tahini together. Thinly slice duck breasts.
To serve, spoon some barley tabbouleh onto plates and top with sliced duck breast. Spoon over tahini yoghurt.
Sticky Red Wine Pears
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Ready-in: 1 hour 20 minutes
6 just ripe pears, peeled
Peel of 1 smooth skinned lemon, cut into thin strips
Juice of 1 lemon (use peeled one above)
2 cups red wine
1 cup water
1 cup brown sugar
Scraped seeds of 1 vanilla pod
2 cinnamon sticks
Mascarpone, Greek yoghurt or ice cream, to serve
1. Cut a thin slice off the bottom of the pears so they can stand upright.
2. Place lemon peel, lemon juice, red wine, water, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon in a medium-size pot and stir to combine. Add pears, cover and bring to a boil. As soon as it boils, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour until the pears are tender.
3. Carefully remove pears from the syrup and set aside. Boil the syrup for 5-10 minutes until it is sticky and reduced.
Serve pears with a dollop of mascarpone, Greek yoghurt or ice cream, and a couple of tablespoons of syrup drizzled over the top.
Tip: the pears will keep in the syrup in a covered container for a couple of weeks. The syrup can be re-used to poach other fruit, or reduced down further to make a sticky dessert syrup to drizzle over ice cream.