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. Tuesday, 13 February 2018 .
I confess: I love a good duck. So much so that for two consecutive years on my birthday, I opted to order in some roast duck from my local Chinese place for my birthday dinner. I wore PJs and ate lots of duck with rice. Dream day! Anyway, when I heard about the new CP Authentic Asia duck products launching in New Zealand AND easily accessible via my local Pak n Save and New World...

I jumped and said YAS!


They kindly gifted me a sample of all their products: the Peking Style Aromatic Crispy Duck Pancake Kit, Peking Style Aromatic Roasted Half Duck, and Peking Style Slow Cooked Duck Legs. I honestly think duck is such a versatile meat that's perfect with rice, pastas, salads, sandwiches and everything else really (I mean, I had mine with a minted pea mash!!!) and love that supermarkets now have a good range available.

These are ready to eat and so easy to heat up and prepare. Perfect for weeknight dinners when I honestly sometimes can't be bothered cooking but want to eat something yummy and not takeaways. Even the sides I had with these are easy to make.

Peking Style Aromatic Crispy Duck Pancakes

I'm weary of kits because sometimes I find them bland and feel the need to re-season everything. Not this one, though. The kit has everything you need - the pancakes came in 3 packs of 5, there's hoisin sauce included and I was surprised at how flavourful it was and tasted exactly like the hoisin sauce I get. Usually when I buy something that's  included in a pack/kit (like salads), I find the sauce is a bit too bland for my taste but this one is absolutely perfect. Also the duck included here is the Peking Style Roasted Aromatic Half Duck which is my mum and I's favourite out of all their products!
The only thing I picked up from the supermarket was the spring onions to add to the pancakes! I've had it with carrots and cucumber in a restaurant once, but I didn't feel like it then so only got these. I love the delicate flavour the spring onions add to these pancakes.

Assembling it was easy peasy - I just pan fried the thawed duck, chopped it up as well as the spring onions, then microwaved the pancakes and hoisin sauce. Afterwards I got the pancake, slapped on some sauce, added the duck and spring onions, then rolled it up! The box also came with a clear 4-step instruction how to do that which suited me fine cos I'm such a noob with that kind of thing.

Peking Style Slow Roasted Duck Legs served with mashed potatoes and minted pea mash

I felt like the flavour for this was a lot milder so you can experiment with all kinds of glazing! I served mine with mashed potatoes (the frozen kind from the fridge because #lazy6) and a minted pea mash. First time to make them but it was soooo good! At first it felt like I was eating Shrek because the green is quite bright and confronting but I got over it when I realised how delicious it actually was.

Next time I think I'll try doing a honey glaze for the duck and bake it instead of just pan-frying it. Also if you know of a great recipe for some sauce, please let me know! I think a nice sauce would have tied this dish together quite nicely.
Minted Pea Mash

1 cup minted peas (frozen)
Salt and pepper to taste
Heavy cream (it depends on the consistency you want. I like mine quite creamy so I put about 3 heaping tablespoons)

Method:
1. Add the minted peas to a sauce pan and fill it with just enough water to cover it
2. Boil until peas are tender, usually takes a couple of minutes
3. Drain the peas and add to a blender/masher of your choice (I used my Nutribullet for this)
4. Add the cream, salt and pepper
5. Blend, blend, blend until you get your desired consistency

Peking Style Roasted Aromatic Half Duck served with sauteed Bok Choy and fried tofu

This was my mum and I's fave. I was actually really surprised at how juicy and succulent this was. I didn't know what to expect, really, and given that I am such a fan of a good roasted duck, I braced myself for it to be potentially bland. I was proven wrong, friends, and I'm so glad for that. This was flavourful without needing sauce! Authentic. Dare I say fresh?!

(I mean look at it. WOW)
When it came to food pairing though, there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to eat this with some sautéed greens and fried tofu! And rice. Of course. Gimme the rice! This combo is such a classic Asian dish that's popular in most a Chinese restaurants. Here's my take on the sautéed greens and fried tofu:

Sauteed Bok Choy 

1 bag bok choy
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Pinch of salt, pepper, and sugar (I know the soy sauce is salty already but a pinch of salt with sugar really brings out the flavour)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Sesame Oil (depends on how much you want! I like to give it a good drizzle - just enough to coat the bok choy)
A sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds
1 teaspoon olive oil or any cooking oil you have

Method:
1. Wash the bok choy and cut off the ends (about 1 inch of the bulby bit)
2. Heat up the olive oil in a wok then add the garlic to brown
3. Add bok choy and cook just until the leaves are slightly wilted
4. Stir in soy sauce, pinch of salt, pepper, and sugar. Cook for 5 - 8 minutes until the leaves are bright green and stalk is slightly translucent
5. Dish up, ready to serve
6. Drizzle some sesame oil and add sesame seeds

Tofu

1 pack firm tofu
Olive oil for frying
Hoisin sauce

Method:
1. Heat enough oil to cover the pan
2. Cut the tofu into cubes
3. Fry until it's golden brown and crispy, turning occasionally (I did mine in batches as not to 'crowd' the pan, and I think it took about 4-6 minutes per side to cook)
4. Plate it up and serve with hoisin sauce (I usually put a paper towel in a plate and let the tofu sit there until the paper towel absorbs the oil before putting it in a pretty dish to serve)

I loved the products so much that I wanted YOU to try it too so head over to my Instagram (@jessmolina) if you want to win one of the two prize packs with each of the CP duck products. And in the spirit of sustainability and total transparency, I absolutely love that CP Foods has a ‘farm to plate’ philosophy, covering everything from the manufacture of feed and raising of animals, to the production of ready meal products. They have full visibility of their entire supply chain, meaning they can provide a high-quality, safe, fully traceable product for us so we know what we're eating and where it came from. 

Thank you so much CP Foods and Salt and Pepper PR for making this hungry gal so happy. Can't wait to get more of these (I think I'll take the duck pancakes to share with the work fam) now! In fact, I have left over roast duck that I might just heat up right now. Catch you on Instagram!

Product was a gifted sample. Views are my own. 

. Sunday, 11 February 2018 .
I'm writing this from my couch where I'm currently sat, feet up, face mask on, and coconut oil in my hair. I've been looking forward to doing sweet FA (sweet fuck all) for a very long time and only now just getting the chance to. Why is it that when we get busy, it's always prioritising ourselves that take a back seat first? Or maybe that's just me. I've never been great at consistency (see the sporadic posting in this blog over the years) but I've been *trying* really hard to make an effort with my skin since last year. 

. Tuesday, 23 January 2018 .
Hello, 2018! Yes, I am aware that as I type that out, it's already the 23rd day of January. The magical feeling of the new year is fading, and I've been back to reality since the 3rd. But I digress. I told myself that January was for strategic rest and relaxation. I absolutely am a new year's gal. I love fresh starts and the feeling of new beginnings once the clock strikes 12. So here's some of my 2018 goals, resolutions, dreams, plans... whatever you want to call it. I've got lists upon lists in notebooks but here's a *little* piece of what's on the agenda. This is what I'm committing to and I'm writing it down mostly for my own benefit and accountability. So self, here you go. It's gonna be a great year because I will give the world to you.