Five Spice Duck
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder 3-4 cloves 1 teaspoon fennel seeds 2-3 star anise 1 teaspoon peppercorns 3 ripe passionfruit, flesh removed 1 teaspoon brown sugar 2 duck breasts, skinned and scored salt, to taste
The beauty of this dish lies in the intensity of a few flavours expertly mixed together. To begin, take a dry pan and toast the fennel seeds, cloves, star anise and peppercorns together until the aroma of spices fill the air. Take them off the heat and grind them with a pestle and mortar before adding the cinnamon powder and salt to taste. This is your five spice mix — if you like the flavour of this dish, you can always make this mix and store it in your pantry where it will keep its freshness for up to six month. Take your duck breast which is skinned and scored and rub it with oil. Once properly oiled, rub in the five spice mix, ensuring it gets well into the scored flesh. Let the duck rest for 30mins so that the spices can settle into the meat. The key to searing duck breast is not to overdo it — overdone duck becomes stretchy and chewy and the spices will be overcooked if it does get to that stage. Once ready, simply heat up a pan on medium heat and place the duck breast on one side for eight minutes before flipping to the other side for ten minutes. If the duck breast you are using is overly thick, slit it in the middle before scoring and marinating in the spices so that it cooks evenly. Take the duck breast off the heat and leave to rest for 10-15mins — the resting process is important for all red meat as it ensures the meat is beautifully medium rare without blood flowing onto your plate. While your duck is resting, take the pan you used to sear the meat and heat up the passionfruit flesh on low heat, add the sugar and let the passionfruit slowly heat up with the spices that remain in the pan. Carefully slice the duck breast into thin slices and place on a platter before pouring on the passionfruit sauce and serving up hot.