Tag Archives: food

The difficulty of simplicity – Octopus, guanciale, roasted garlic, sage

When composing a dish, there’s a ton of questions I always ask myself – What’s the intention, what’s the main focus, how many components, how do I want those components to contribute to the entirety of the dish. In a way, dishes are really like essays – what is the main thesis, what are the arguments, are they good arguments, how do they prove the thesis?

When I was in university doing my psychology undergrad, I tried to use few, but strong arguments in the papers I had to submit. It’s only recently that I have realized that I am trying to do the same thing with the dishes I create. And the dishes I have enjoyed the most are simple but potent. Simple compositions with each component able to stand on its own.

Keeping a dish simple can be difficult. Instead of bombarding the palate with different flavours, you focus on a few flavours but make sure that each is potent and elegant enough to make an impact without overpowering the main act.

This dish was another attempt at simplicity. I just need to keep improving.


Crispy Duck Threads, and also another duck dish

Sometimes, the lack of planning is required.

Opportunity stared me in the eye when I saw fresh grade A ducks in the nearby grocery store. I didn’t have any well thought out plan on what to do with it. I just wanted to cook it. So I bought it.

As soon as I got in the lab, ideas started coming. First, separate the breast and leg. I decided to brine the breasts in a hoisin and water mixture. The legs were to be cooked confit, though, I didn’t really know what to do with it after. As for the bones, well, the obvious was to roast and make a sauce base.

After the ducks have been cured and cooked, I still didn’t know what to do. The usual would be to sear it and crisp it up, but I didn’t want to do exactly that. Then I remembered one of the presentations from ICC that had beef threads. From that came the duck threads (legs were cooked sous vide @ 82c for 6 hours; butter and garlic in the bag).

Here is the breast. Cooked for 30 minutes in a convection oven at 80c. The sauce was made by reducing the base, and adding orange zest and ginger 30 minutes before its done. As a final step, the sauce is strained then passed through the sonicprep to properly emulsify. Garnished with scallions and ginger. The flavours are a definite play on Chinese Peking Duck



Here are the threads. Drizzled with toasted sesame oil, sesame seeds, lavender honey, dried lavender blossoms, and wakame powder.