Monday, 21 May 2012

Duck Spring Rolls

If you're expecting a witty post today, I'm afraid you're going to be sorely disappointed.  Or maybe none of my previous posts have been witty.  Maybe anyone who finds them funny has just been laughing at me rather than with me.  I've been told in the past that that's been the case (not about the blog specifically, just in general).

The reason for this topic?  Well I read an article last night on the difference between male and female humour in the office.  Working in IT, I've always considered myself 'one of the boys'.  It's a very male dominated environment (despite what some people may have you believe) and although I'm very competent and good at what I do (I hope!), I'm sure I've been hired in the past because I fulfill the 'equal equalities' ratio.

I sometimes suspect because I once worked somewhere where my boss (jokingly!) asked me if I'd care to 'bat for the other side' and use a pair of crutches so that I could fulfill all his minority requirements (being that I'm mixed race - he was too which is how he just about got away with the comment).  But that's male humour for you.  It can cut close to the bone and whilst I could have gone running to HR screaming discrimination, I took it for the light-hearted bit of banter that it was.

Can you see the duck Peking out?  Not funny....
However, as I woman, I could pretty much guarantee I could make a similar joke in a room full of men and there would suddenly be an elephant in the room.  With a few tumbleweeds rolling around and some doors blowing noisily too and fro in the background (think Westerns here).  You see, men aren't used to women being funny or trying to be funny.  It's not necessarily anything to do with a lack of comic timing. Just that we're not meant to be funny in the office.

If I take the mickey out of myself, I might just raise a smile from the assembled ranks.  Apparently it's common among women in business to be self-deprecatory.  You just have to be careful not to do so to the point of being needy.  Which I think I sometimes do.  Like when I think nobody will be interested in what I have to say when I write these epic blog posts.  And yet I'm now averaging over 200 views a day on this blog (okay so there are a lot of posts to choose from) and have had nearly 16,000 page views in eight months.  At the six-month mark I was still a few views shy of 8,000 views.

Sometimes I just like to waffle about my day and then give a brief nod to the recipe I made.  Unless it was a recipe that particularly lit up my world or was such a disaster (like yesterday's chocolate cakes).  Today is one of those waffle days.

I bought some Gressingham duck mini fillets the other day with the intention of making a duck and grapefruit salad.  It sounded really nice when I picked out the recipe.  It would be perfect on a sunny day like today.  Except that I really really didn't feel like eating (not even the leftover bits of cake, nor the Flake that is stashed in my desk drawer for emergencies).  But of course, I needed a recipe for the blog.

So, I figured I'd give making my own low-fat duck pancakes a go.  With the help of the recipe on the back of the rice pancakes packet and a bit of my own making up, I found a great alternative to the calorie-fest that is Peking duck pancakes.

I love duck pancakes.  It's the best thing about going out for a big fat Chinese meal.  Not that I can remember the last time I did that - but still.  Using rice pancakes to make your own though is a bit of an experience.  They're like little disks of plastic which you then soften in hot water for a while.  Not difficult.  Until you take them out and try to flatten them out.  Then it becomes like playing with clingfilm as they annoying fold back on themselves and will not be spread flat without ripping for love nor money.

Third time lucky and I managed to fill them with gem lettuce (I used the tiny, inner leaves), bean sprouts, spring onions, carrot matchsticks and thin slices of duck that I marinated in hoisin sauce before pan frying for a few minutes.  Quick (aside from wrestling with the pancakes), low fat (less than 200 cals for three pancakes) and a simple show piece starter.  In fact, a great addition to a meal if you're having a Chinese 'fake-away' (healthy, home-cooked versions of takeaway food).

Really pleased with these and will definitely make again as a light lunch.

Duck Pancakes - Serves 2 (easily doubled)

  • 6 rice pancakes (I used Blue Dragon)
  • 100g duck mini fillets
  • 3 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 carrot, cut into julienne strips
  • 2 spring onions, cut into julienne strips
  • 1 little gem lettuce
  • handful of beansprouts
  • spray oil


  1. Place the duck fillets into a bowl and toss with 1 tbsp of the hoisin sauce.  Leave for 15 minutes.
  2. Place a frying pan over a medium high heat, spray with oil and then pan fry the fillets for 4 minutes.  Once cooked, slice into thin strips.
  3. Soften the pancakes according to the packet instructions.  Place a small piece of lettuce onto the centre of a pancake, fill with a selection of duck and vegetables then roll to form a cigarette shape.
  4. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.  Serve with the rest of the hoisin in small bowls for dipping.

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