I am often heard wandering around the kitchen claiming the heaven would be a place full of nude blonds duckfat and roast duck. #Duckfest will be as close to my idea of heaven as can possibly be put on without offending (i.e no nude blondes).
I always order duck at a restaurant, always. sometimes it is spectacular and sometimes not, it is a difficult dish to prepare due to the fact that it is quite a tough meat when over cooked but also incredibly fatty. This posses the problem do I cook the bird less, and have the fat taste overpowering or braise out the fat and risk the bird being tough.
After attending an evening put on by Tim from Urban food market called #Goosefest2010. I started thinking there is no reason not to do Duck fest after all you can do a hell of allot more with a duck than a goose. So I rang my friend in Melbourne Ben Cooper and said why don’t we put on a Duckfest? Ben is very talented and I have been wanting to do a dinner with him for a while. He was previously Senior sous at Nobu In london, head chef of Ezards and Longgrain in Melbourne and is currently head chef of St Ali in Melbourne. And of most notoriety started his time in the kitchen at my restaurant the BarKing Frog as a kitchen hand. So i thought lets do a duck extravaganza 8 courses of duck with matching wines one night here and 0ne in Melbourne. Why not. what a great idea I think to myself.
The most popular meat-producing ducks are the Muscovy, Pekin and Aylesbury. The most common egg-laying breeds are the Indian runner and the Khaki Campbell.
The Muscovy is the most common breed in Queensland. It is well suited to sideline production because it is quiet, a good forager and is naturally broody. Muscovies are good mothers and hatch and brood their ducklings efficiently. They are not as well suited to commercial production as the other meat breeds. Minimising broodiness and artificially incubating eggs can increase the number of ducklings produced per breeder.
The Muscovy is unique in that it is not a descendant of the Wild Mallard. It tends to hiss rather than quack. When crossed with other breeds, it produces sterile offspring called ‘mules’ which are good meat ducks.
Drakes weigh between 4.5 kg and 6.5 kg and ducks between 3.5 kg and 4.5 kg. The most common colour is white although other colours such as black and white occur.
The true Pekin originated in China and is now widespread throughout the world. The Australian Pekin also has in its ancestry layer ducks such as the Indian runner and white Campbell. This has improved its egg production but reduced its body weight.
Pekins have an upright carriage, cream feathers and bright orange legs, feet and bill. The eyes are dark blue and the head is characterised by bulky cheeks.
Adult drakes weigh approximately 4 kg and ducks average 3.6 kg. They are good foragers as well as good layers, with up to 200 eggs per bird being laid in a season. They have a nervous disposition and are not prone to broodiness.
This breed originated in England and is renowned for its white skin. It has a horizontal carriage, white plumage, bright orange legs and a flesh-coloured bill. The adult drake weighs about 4.5 kg and ducks 4 kg. The Aylesbury is not inclined to broodiness nor is it as nervous as the pekin. Egg production is poor with l00 eggs per duck per year being considered above average.
The Australian Aylesbury has tended to be infused with other breeds, particularly the pekin. This results in a leaden-blue coloured eye rather than the characteristic dark eye. The plumage has yellowish tints and the carriage is more vertical than horizontal.
This breed originated in Asia and is characterised by its upright stance and its round, elongated body. The Indian runner is an alert bird with a small head and bold eyes. The bill is wedge-shaped, strong and deep at the base. Plumage colour ranges from pure white to black. They are excellent layers with individuals laying in excess of 200 eggs per year.
The khaki Campbell originated in England by crossing rouen, white Indian runner and wild mallards. This breed has an upright stance and is larger in body size than the Indian runner. Drakes weight about 3 kg while ducks are about 2.5 kg live weight.
The Ducks we will be using will be from Thirlmere poultry.
Thirlmere Poultry produces Hand Reared Ducks, Free Range Chickens, Spatchcocks,Geese, and Guinea Fowl and is now available through Urban Food Market! They are situated at the Gateway to the Southern highlands ion NSW and the area has a termperate climate pefect for producing poultry.
Thirmeres Meredith’s Duck
Meredith’s Duck is a crossbreed bird that has been achieved over many years of breeding. The age of the duck at processing is 8-9 weeks with an average weight of 1.8 to 2.6kg. These birds are fed on Commercial High Protein grain which is hormone free.This i the duck we will be using for all but the “mixed platter of duck”
8 courses of duck
Menu $59 or $95 with matching wines
Duck liver pate on arrival en Cruet
Wine-Polin and Polin Vedehlo 2007 or Lowe “preservative free” Merlot 2009
“Peking Duck Pancake”
Lowe “preservative free” Merlot 2009
Duck breast with deconstucted XO
Yarra Yerring Pinot Noir 2008
Duck sang choi Bow-Flash fried Duck leg with kim chi and oyster in lettuce leaf
Bass Strait Pinot Noir 2008
“Turducken”- Turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken stuffed with a guinea fowl
Wine- Ada River 2003 Cab Sav
Various roast ducks . Meredith’s, Pekin, Muscovy with Pear and duck fat potatoes
Wine- Parker Estate 2003 Cab Sav
Duck Egg Caramel
Wine-Innocent Bystander Pink Muscato
Fresh fruit, Pineapple, Papaya
Duckfest in Sydney is Sold Out
to Book for Melbourne call St Ali 03967862990
** Note St Ali will have there own wine matching**