Nana Glen Mum

Wood Fired Duck…. April 16, 2010

A few weeks ago, my brother and his girlfriend Eloise popped down to visit for 2 nights on their way through to Canberra.  We had promised them, that in their honour, we would slaughter one of our birds for dinner.  Being as they are somewhat partial to duck, and we had 2 drakes, we decided duck it is!  Steve and I are both members of a food forum and are quite passionate not only about what we eat, but the preparation as well, so we decided to document the process from duck pen to plate.  There are some photos of a beheaded duck, so if you don’t like that sort of thing, now would be a good time to click to another page.  If you truly love good honest food, and appreciate where it comes from, then read on!

The duck of choice was Frank, the one in the foreground.  Why you say?  Well, for one, the other drake is much larger and better looking, so if we ever want to sell or swap, he would be a better choice.  Also, poor old Frank hurt his leg 2 days earlier and was hobbling around, so we may have had to put him down anyway.

Hubby is in charge of “Catch and Dispatch“, so he took Steve outside as his trusty assistant.  I’m not sure how much help he was though, because he managed to take quite a few photos during the process!

Once the “deed” was done, they brought the duck inside where I had filled one sink with boiling water and a few drops of detergent.  We dunked the duck a couple of times (the hot water and detergent help dissolve the fat that holds the feathers in and keeps the duck waterproof),

then Eloise and I set about plucking the duck (and yes I must admit, the old Hey Hey It’s Saturday Plucka Duck song was going through my head at the time) while Steve took some more photos.

I was beginning to notice that our city boy was taking lots of photos of EVERYONE ELSE doing all the work, and so far had managed to avoid getting his hands dirty all together!  Ha ha says I to myself, I know just the job for him!

When we had finished plucking, I handed the duck and a sharp knife to Steve and said “here you go, you’re turn to do something.”  I figured he could get the gizzards out (at this stage I knew how much they smell, but he didn’t).

He was pretty keen to get in to the action, to be fair, until that waft came out and went straight up his nose.  “Oh, don’t they smell like that when you buy them from the shop” I giggle!

Anyway to be fair, he did a good job (despite the wrinkled up nose and funny look on his face – where was the camera then eh???), we kept the liver for the sauce and gave the remainder of the giblets to Chloe our trusty dog.

Waste not want not!  Next job was to clean out the cavity and rinse the bird thoroughly.

Back inside, and the duck was plunged into a large pot of boiling water, this is to open all the pores to allow the fat to ooze out during the cooking process and provide maximum crispiness to the skin.

After a few minutes, we took it out, and dried it off thoroughly with the hair dryer (and people reckon I never use it!  Meh!  Although I must admit I did send the hair dryer photo to my hairdresser!  Hee hee hee!!!)

Next stage was to season the duck with salt and pepper, drizzle it with a bit of olive oil, and place it on a bed of chopped veggies, whole garlic cloves and various herbs from the garden.

Then in to the oven it went.  No, not your standard gas or electric oven, in to the wood fired oven!  Yum yum yum!

When the duck was cooked, we put some bread rolls in to cook while the meat rested (and yes, a few smirky comments were made about me having “buns in the oven”), and quickly made up the liver sauce to pour on top, eh voila…..

Roast Duck Nana Glen style!  Is Yumalicious a word?  If not, it should be, because that is what this dinner was!

If you liked these photos, you can see more of Steve’s awesome pics on his Flickr page here.

 

And with a new day, we have new babies!! October 5, 2009

Chicks, chicks and more chicks!  I love baby chicks!

Chicks, chicks and more chicks! I love baby chicks!

Yep, the babies have arrived at last!  Twenty of them in fact!!!

Arent they gorgeous!!!

Aren't they gorgeous!!!

And here are some more…

Whitey the White White with some of her new chicks...

Whitey the White White with some of her new chicks...

I know they aren’t the best pics, but we had to move Whitey the White White as it was (her nesting box was too high and we were worried the chicks might fall and get hurt), and Pecky lived up to her name and decided to have a go at Whitey’s chicks.

We’ve put up a temporary barrier now though so they both have their own space with their individual broods.   Inside, we are up to day 22 with the incubator, so all things going well, we stop turning the eggs in 3 days time, and hopefully the ducklings and turkey will start to hatch in 6!  Exciting times!

Out in the garden, spring is in full swing.  If only we could get some decent rain, actually any rain would be nice!  I’m starting to worry the tank is going to run dry again, and I am so sick of having to drink town water!  We had 2mm rain this morning, just enough to dampen the soil, but I may have to get out there with the hose again this afternoon and water the seedlings.  The new

Baby Peaches

Baby Peaches

fruit trees all seem to be establishing themselves well.  We have 5 baby peaches growing beautifully, and both lime trees are heavily laden with tiny little limes the size of a ladybug!  So cute!  The cumquat is throwing heaps of new leaves and the grape must have quadrupled in size in the few weeks we

Kaffir Limes budding

Kaffir Limes budding

have had it.  It’s going to be fantastic when it reaches up to the verandah and we have shade from the hot summer morning sun, not to mentions the luscious fruit!  The dragonfruit is growing well, and if anyone has any suggestions on how to trellis it, I am all ears!  It is supposed to be a climber of

Yep, these were nothing but a single raspberry cane this time last year!

Yep, these were nothing but a single raspberry cane this time last year!

sorts, but it doesn’t throw out tendrils!?!?!?  We have finally put the 2 kiwi fruit in the ground now.  Matthew put up 3 star pickets and some chook wire down the front of the block for them, and they seem to be settling in well.  The grapefruit has dropped its “bridal bouquet” as Ange called it and replaced it

My u-beaut home made worm farm

My u-beaut home made worm farm

with more fruit than you would find at a greengrocer!  For such a small tree that has been in the ground for such a small time, I can’t believe it!  I think I will be having to cull quite a few of the fruit so they don’t snap the branches.  Mind you, if it fruits like that every year, I’ll be making heaps of marmalade and grapefruit pate de fruits!  Yummy!

Freshly picked peas and a little visitor

Freshly picked peas and a little visitor

All the seedlings I had been raising in the broccoli boxes are now in the ground too.  We have 5 varieties of tomato and tomatillo, beetroot, daikon, jicama, sweet corn, 3 varieties of eggplant, golden zucchini and lebanese cucumbers and on and on goes the list.  Now that they are all in the ground, I’m hoping they’ll take off for a bumper summer harvest!  The most exciting thing in the garden at the moment though, is my new herb garden.  It is huge!  I’ve put it smack bang in the middle of the front yard so I can gaze upon it as I wash the dishes.

My new herb garden

My new herb garden

It’s right at the bottom of the front steps, so nice and convenient access to both the kitchen and the wood fired ovens.  It has 16 different herbs and about a dozen or so different lettuces and salad greens.  I’m really looking forward to when the growth takes off in there.  It is going to look spectacular as well as taste divine!  Seriously, how could you not love fresh food?  I did have a chuckle to myself the other day as I pottered about the garden.  My how my wardrobe has changed in 18 months!  Gone are the Dianna Ferrari frocks, Whittner shoes and handbags, makeup and high heels!  Now I get about in either gumboots or riding boots with old faded jeans, a long sleeved cotton check shirt (gotta be sun smart!!), and an akubra! Laughed my backside off at myself!

 

The day begins with sad news…. September 22, 2009

Filed under: Chooks & Ducks,Garden — nanaglenmum @ 11:27 am

First thing this morning, we checked our 2 little injured chickies in the aquarium.  Mr Percival is doing better by the day and looking more and more alert, but unfortunately Dot didn’t make it through the night.

Dot (on the left) and Mr Percival

Dot (on the left) and Mr Percival

Her injuries were much more severe though and you could see the muscle fibre on the back of her wing.  Poor darling!  So, it is all hands on deck to look after the remaining chicks.

Mr Percival snuggling with make-do Mamma Hen

Mr Percival snuggling with make-do Mamma Hen

In addition to Mr Percival inside, we still have the 3 little black ones out in the pen, but they are fully feathered around the neck.  We think one of them might even have a little frizzle in there as it is so fluffy even with its new feathers!  So cute!!

Last night I candled the duck eggs and turkey egg as we are now up to day 7.  Candling is a process whereby you hold a narrow bright light up to the egg in a darkened room and you can see through the shell.  You have to do it fairly quickly as you don’t want the temperature of the egg to drop too much while it is outside of the incubator.  I bought a little $5 torch from Woolies which does a great job.  Here are some photos:

Visible Yolk

Visible Yolk

In this first picture, you can see where the yolk is – the dark yellow shadow.  There is a small darkened dot which is a bit difficult to see in the photo, but hopefully it is the beginning of a new little duckie!

Day 7 - Embryo and Network of Veins

Day 7 - Embryo and Network of Veins

This next photo turned out great – lucky because the battery in the camera died right after taking it!  The really bright bit at the pointy end is the air sac which will increase in size as the egg progresses.  A few days before the duckling hatches out of the actual shell, you should (hopefully) be able to see its beak sticking into the air sac – I’ll be sure to keep the camera battery charged!  That red spidery looking thing is the exciting part.  That means there is a living embryo in there!  The thin red lines are a network of veins supporting the tiny embryo which is the red “C” shaped mass in the centre.  When you look at if for real, you can actually see the heart beating!  I’ll see if I can get some video of it tonight.  Very exciting stuff!  The girls are finding it an amazing process to watch and be involved in, especially as you can get the odd glimpse of what is going on inside the shell!

They say that the embryos shouldn’t start developing until they reach incubation temperature, and we collected the 7 eggs over the course of a week, so technically they should all be at the same stage, however, I’m not too sure.  I am pretty well convinced that they are all fertile – Danny the Drake makes sure of that EVERY morning without fail!  Also, there is no sign that any of them have died.  You can tell if you have lost one as you get a red ring instead of the vein network.  So, cross your fingers with me and hope that the ones with just a yolk shadow are a day or 2 behind the others!

 

 
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