Duck Breast with Shitake Mushroom Risotto

Shitake Mushroom & Almond Risotto with Star Anise Duck Breast

Another quick post here because I’m running behind and no doubt my hordes of loyal readers are clicking refresh each morning only to form a look of disdain as the same tired rhetoric comes up.

A simple seared duck breast and shitake mushroom risotto. The duck breast was rubbed with a spice mixture that I guess might almost equate to Chinese Five Spice if you broke it down. There was Star Anise, Cinnamon, Szechuan peppercorns, and fennel seeds…so ok… four spice if you want to be picky. Dry roasted them in a pan and crushed in the mortar and pestle and then rubbed it into the duck on the skin side. Season with a little olive oil and salt (for good luck), and then place into a hot pan skin side down to sear. Once the skin is nice and crispy, flip it over and seal the bottom, before popping it into the oven to finish off.

The Shitake mushrooms I used were dried. So I soaked them in a bowl of warm water for about 15 minutes before using them. This had the added benefit of giving me some intense mushroom flavoured water to use in the stock, which was topped up with chicken stock and white wine.

The risotto is made as you would any other. Leeks, onion, garlic, sweat…add rice, coat, add stock x lots, add mushrooms and other bits towards the end, wait til its getting soft but still has a bit of bite… and you’re done.

One thing I have noticed is that if you leave it too long to serve and eat your risotto then it will continue cooking from the heat trapped in the body of rice, and pretty soon you’ll have overcooked stodgy rice puffs, rather than the creamy smooth risotto of 10 minutes beforehand.

Shitake Mushroom & Almond Risotto with Star Anise Duck Breast Star Anise Seared Duck Breast

So after the risotto is done, slice your duck breast in nice sexy little pieces, and layer lovingly on top of the plate, with a sprig or two of fresh coriander for decoration and sensory juxtaposition.

Beard Papa

Beard Papa Bag

Well it’s happened. The all conquering, quizically named, pastry based sweets chain has landed on our door step. Beard Papa, the famed Japanese chain specialising in choux pastry buns has started operating in Morley Galleria shopping centre.

Sharon happens to know the new franchise owners, and so we thought it would be nice to head down on the opening night and check the place out. Little knowing that nearly everyone else had decided to do the same thing. I must have run into more friends that I knew I had, and did my fair share of evangelising for the fledgling business hoping to gain some ground here in the tough pastry battle field that is Perth (or at least Morley).

Dat Choux ?

There is much to be said for Beard Papa. The pastry is light and tasty, and fillings (Vanilla Bean only at the moment, but many more flavours to come) is creamy and moreish without being overpowering. Admittedly I only had a couple, and can’t see myself making it a regular spot for sugary indulgence, but I can see it being very popular with the kids… whoever they might be.

Spruiker Sample Fiend

The service is typically Japanese, with the girls yelling out greetings to everyone who comes near, and the procession then begins from bun, to cream filled bun, to cream filled bun with icing sugar on top, to cream filled bun with icing sugar on top in a wrapper in a box, in a bag.

Half the fun of Beard Papa is the whole show of them making it for you, which whilst not totally necessary, is kinda cool.

So there you go. Check it out next time you’re in the area, your taste buds will thank you, while your teeth and arteries cringe.