Orange and star anise duck on roast beetroot & shallots

Last week I mentioned my dislike of Canberra cold to a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) aficionado. This gentleman kindly infomed me that I should eat more beetroot to warm my blood. As I rather like beetroot, and haven’t eaten any for a while, I thought it worth a shot. If nothing else, I’d get a good dose of antioxidants and delicious beetroot-y goodness!

My favourite beetroot recipes are roast beetroot, orange, walnut and feta salads, usually with some flat-leaf parsley. But to mix it up tonight, I wanted something heartier and warmer… and settled on orange and star anise duck on a bed of roast beetroot and shallots.


Recipe via SBS Food, substituting duck marylands with duck breast and adding shallots to the roasting pan when adding the duck. Delicious! Next time, I’ll add green beans with flaked almond for a pop of green on the plate.

Footloose & recipe-free: winging it with dinner

Following recipes can be quite hard for me at times – I always want to experiment & mix things up. (I’d make a terrible patissier!) Chocolate cakes become choc-raspberry, mocha, or chocolate/gingerbread; breads acquire rosemary or caraway. Sometimes it fails (and I end up with salted caramel sauce instead of salted caramel sweets); other times it works rather well.

Tonight’s dinner is the perfect example. We had some delicious-looking Tasmanian salmon in the fridge, along with a random selection of vegetables. My partner, who I shall call Phoenix (for reasons unrelated to this post), was keen to BBQ.  Despite the Canberra winter, because he’s hardcore like that. So we deemed it appropriate to combine a few of my favourite things and get our grill on.

The inspiration (& core ingredients):

  • Tasmanian salmon
  • Japanese-style mashed potato
  • dill (possibly my favourite herb)
  • lemon-infused Cobram Estate olive oil (anyone who doesn’t love it is a liar)
  • Brussels sprouts & bacon

The result:

For those wanting a recipe, here it is Pia-style:

Lemon-dill potato smash: Roughly chop potato, leaving the skin on. (Here, I used Royal Blue, which leaves a pinky-purple skin for texture.) Parboil in the microwave, covered, until soft.  Drain, add dill (preferably fresh) and a generous glop of mayonnaise for the Japanese mashed potato taste. Drizzle with lemon-infused olive oil, then mash, stirring occasionally.

Brussels sprouts & bacon (a staple since being introduced to it via a dear friend, Emma): Coarsely chop 2 rashers of middle bacon. Chop the ends off the sprouts and halve (if small) or quarter them. Rinse the sprouts, then parboil until soft. Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a semi-deep pan until almost crispy. Drain sprouts & finish cooking with the bacon.

Barbequed salmon (per Phoenix): Take the tasty Tasmanian salmon and drizzle the shizzle out of it with the lemon infused olive oil. Coat with the dill and on a hot BBQ, cook it for 2 minutes each side. Use the grill bit for this. Only losers don’t cross hatch their meat. Pay respect to your Adonis ancestors and eat the winning flavour.

The finishing step? Throw it on a plate and enjoy.  Dear reader, it was delicious.