Posts Tagged ‘Avoca Cafe Cookbook’

As I’ve said many times before here, we love salads of all descriptions in this house.  This one certainly brings colour to the table, especially so in the winter.

Noodle Salad

Noodle Salad

The original recipe was in the Avoca Cafe Cookbook (Book 1) – Oriental Bean Sprout and Egg Noodles.  However, and yes, regular readers will have guessed it has changed tons since then, as I wouldn’t have the ingredients needed.  For some reason bean sprouts are never available in this neck of the woods.

The one thing that always remains the same is the ‘dressing’ for want of a better description.  After that your imagination (or what’s in the fridge) will do nicely thank you!

The Dressing:

  • 5 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cm. fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped.
  • 6 tablespoons soy sauce.


In a frying pan, gently heat your sesame oil…. be careful it has a low burn point. Add in your garlic and ginger and cook gently for 2 or 3 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from heat and add in the soy sauce.  Leave to cool.

The Salad:

  • Medium egg noodles – 1 portion per person
  • 1 stick of celery – sliced
  • 3 to 4 water chestnuts – sliced
  • 4 oz peas
  • 1 red pepper – deseeded and finely chopped
  • bunch of chives finely chopped.


Cook your noodles according to packet instructions.  Prepare you vegetables – as I say this is only a guideline – take whatever you have and chop up small – no need to cook, the crunch is lovely in this salad.

When your noodles are cooked drain.  Pop them into a bowl with the vegetables, add the ‘dressing’ and toss well.

This salad is lovely served warm, and even nicer, if you have leftovers, for lunch the next day.

We would serve this with chicken or duck, or even with some barbecued fish.

Hope you enjoy 🙂



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Duck Confit…. not something I’d even thought of cooking up to a couple of weeks back.  For some insane reason (without even looking up a recipe), I just presumed it would be overly complicated and way too much bother.  How wrong can a girl be?

We ‘got rid of’ four ducks earlier in the year.  Two of them are still safely tucked away in the freezer, but the first two have been totally enjoyed.

When we were prepping the ducks for the freezer we decided to portion one out and leave the others ‘whole’.

That, of course, meant that I had two duck legs…. so what should I do with them? It was only then I decided to check for a Duck Confit recipe. Doh!  It is so easy! Seriously, a little bit of planning but otherwise plain sailing.

This recipe is adapted from the Duck Confit recipe in Avoca Cafe Cookbook II…. but yes you’ve guessed it I didn’t have all the ingredients so improvisation was called for!

Confit of Duck

Confit of Duck


  • 2 duck legs
  • coarse sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 gloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Black Pepper
  • Lard c. 4 tablespoons….. (the original recipe called for goose fat, so if you don’t have lard use goose or duck fat)


The night before douse your duck legs with the sea salt and half of the thyme. Cover in cling film and leave in fridge until the next day.

Preheat your oven to 170 deg. C.

Brush the salt off the duck legs and place in a casserole with a tight-fitting lid.  Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of thyme leaves, bay leaf and crushed garlic, black pepper and whatever fat you are using.  I used about 4 to 5 tablespoons of lard.

(I add a layer of tinfoil to make sure my casserole is well sealed.)

Place in the oven for about half an hour.  Remove and check the level of fat…. you may need to add more.  It needs to come at least half way up the duck legs.

Duck in Casserole

Return to the oven for another hour to an hour and a quarter.

Now if you are virtuous and full of restraint, you can remove the duck legs allow them to cool, then put them in a clean pot and cover with the fat so you can enjoy them another day.


We devoured them there and then, served with mashed potatoes and kale (and second time around with mashed potato and carrot and parsnip mash).  You must save the fat though…. totally delicious for roast potatoes or any roast veg.

So can someone explain to me why I didn’t try this years ago????

Enjoy 🙂



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