What to cook when you don’t want to cook Part 3


David Bowie (1947-2016)

I was going to write a flippant and light-hearted post about dieting today, but I’m not feeling very flippant or light-hearted or much like dieting if I’m honest. It’s Monday, it’s dark and dreary, my husband has just flown off on a business trip, and my single most favourite musician in the whole wide world is no more.

So instead, I will continue my occasional series on what to cook when you really can’t be bothered, with a recipe for DIY Chinese duck and pancakes – food to lift the spirits if ever there was such a thing.

Chinese duck and pancakes


Who doesn’t love a bit of crispy duck (well, apart from you veggies, sorry)? I always thought it would be really hard to recreate this dish at home probably because I have a vivid, if somewhat surreal, memory of my mum hanging a duck on a coat hanger in our old kitchen and giving it a good old blow-dry (Bowie would approve). While I expect the full-on salon treatment would give a crispier skin, a long slow cook in a low-ish oven with a blast of heat at the end also gives a very pleasing result. It couldn’t be easier.

This is based on a recipe from Jamie’s Dinners. Kids go mad for this, so make sure you buy enough pancakes.

Serves 4-6

  • 1 duck (about 2kg) – you can often find these half price at Ocado and M&S for around £9
  • 2-3 heaped teaspoons of Chinese five spice powder
  • a thumb-sized piece of ginger, grated
  • salt
  • drizzle of flavourless oil
  • 2-3 packs of Chinese pancakes (Waitrose do really good ones that you can microwave, about £1.20 for 10)
  • 2 inch chunk of cucumber cut into thin batons, or more if you want to stretch the duck further
  • 4 – 6 spring onions sliced lengthways (which should result in them falling into shreds)
  • Hoisin or Peking duck sauce to serve
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 150°C fan.
  2. Rub the duck all over with a little oil, then rub in the grated ginger, salt and the five spice powder. You want it to be well covered with the spices, so add more if necessary.
  3. Place on a rack in a roasting tin and bung in the oven for about 2-2 1/2 hours or until the leg pulls away easily from main body of the bird.
  4. Drain off the fat and whack up the oven temperature to 200°C for 30 minutes to crisp up the skin.
  5. Leave the duck to rest while you chop up your vegetables and nuke your pancakes (about 50 seconds per pack), then shred the flesh with two forks.
  6. Serve with hoisin, pancakes and the chopped cucumber and spring onion.

And to quote @JeSuisJean on Twitter this morning, if you are ever sad, just remember, the world is 4.543 billion years old and you somehow managed to exist at the same time as David Bowie. RIP you legend.


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