Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Being Barbara

Last week Bob brought home this

(he's working at a country pursuits place)

so I had to do this

and more: I wore rubber gloves to pull its guts out; I haven't been fully assimilated into country life yet.

On Saturday I turned it into our Chinese restaurant favourite: Crispy Duck with Hoisin sauce and pancakes. The easiest recipe imaginable: put your duck into a medium-low oven for four hours, turn up the heat to high for the last half hour, take it out and eat. I meant to take a photograph of the finished dish, but it was a pile of bones before I remembered.

Does anyone know how to deflesh and brain the head without damaging it, I want to turn it into a trophy skull?

I have a portfolio to hand in on the fifteenth. After that I'm hoping to get back to normal blogging practise (Conan, have I spelt practise right here, I can't quite get my head around when it needs a 'c' and when it needs an 's', you're good at this stuff, perhaps you can explain it to me), so hopefully I'll catch up with you all soon. For now I'm stripping my poetry down to the bones and fattening up my prose.


Kim Ayres said...

Practice is a noun, Practise is a verb. According to gcse.com, the way to remember it is "ice" is a thing, but "ise" is not.

I can't remember when I last spelt it with an S, so I've been getting it wrong for a long time.

Do make sure you post a pic of the trophy skull when you've done it :)

Conan Drumm said...

Mmmm, crispy duck!

I'll check my dictionary but I agree with Kim. However, I think it gets confused by American usage which we may have adopted to some extent.

A doctor practises medicine. Doctor Soandso's practice is at the surgery near the shopping centre.

Eryl Shields said...

Kim ~ OK that makes sense, but am I using it in this instance as a noun – a blogging practice – or a verb – to practise blogging – that's where I get confused? 'My normal blogging practise' sounds like it could be a thing: a nominalisation/abstract noun: the practice of blogging.

What's the weather like in CD, it's gloriously snowy here?

Conan ~ That helps, but see above.

Crispy duck's tops! Are Plum sauce and Hoisin the same thing do you know?

debra said...

And on my side of the Pond practice always makes perfect.
As for the duck, as a non-meat eater, I would, uh, duck.
(Duck being a noun, and duck being a verb :-)

Kanani said...

Ah, we barbarians across the pond have flattened the word to only one spelling! What with having remember all our personal security codes and whatnot, the difference between an "s" and a "c" would be one more thing! :)
Nice work on the duck. I've never defeathered one, but remember watching hunters do it when I was young.

PI said...

OOOh Eryl!: I'm mesmerised by a dead duck (I do love crispy duck but never associate it with a little diddums animal) and your sylph like figure. As far as I'm concerned you are the country wife par excellence.

Kim Ayres said...

Every time I write practising, I always use the S, because practiCing just doesn't feel right.

But hey, I'm all for splitting infinitives and beginning sentences with "And" and ending them with a preposition.

To me it's about whether the idea is effectively communicated (or communicated effectively) and it flows well, rather than being a stickler for ancient versions of grammatical correctness

savannah said...

i feel so stupid *sigh* xoxo

Jane Dearie said...

Hope the folio is going well Eryl. Hard grind isn't it?! You'll fly through it and not end up like the mallard in your photos.
"When you have duck for dinner make sure there are only two of you. You and the duck." Something I was told in my first job and one of those things you just never forget.
Yummy duck, love duck, but not sure the duck would agree in this situation. Duck is of course g-f too, so now I like it even more!
Jane xxx

Eryl Shields said...

I lost my last lot of replies to your comments but they were something like this:

Debra ~ I tried not eating meat once but I missed it too much.

Kanani ~ Keep on simplifying, that's what I say.

Pat ~ Thank you darling x

Kim ~ I get confused about prepositions too: sometimes they can be adverbs, can't they? Who cares? Me! why? Those grammarians scare me.

Savannah ~ Welcome to my club! XXX

Jane ~ Oh god the folio! It and me are both limping. I'd be OK if I didn't have to keep going out to bloody classes and meetings, and didn't have dinner to cook and toilets to clean. I really shouldn't be doing this, I should be trying to work out why Greta doesn't want to be like her war bride grandmother and writing it!

That must have been a greedy person, this duck easily fed the three of us.

The World According To Me said...

I'm not sure I could do that. I take my hat off to you - if I was wearing one!I'm not very good at things like that.
I bet it tasted great though!

Eryl Shields said...

Hello World, I couldn't have done it when I was your age either but experience has made me much tougher, mentally than once I was. The more stuff you're exposed to the more you can tackle.

Jane Dearie said...

Our pal from up the road near you suggests that you bury the quacker's heid in the garden, then dig it up after 6+ months and nature will have done the job. I'd forgotten that I've got a "piece in progress" doing just that! Will go digging when the permafrost has gone! Must try to remember about it - 5 years on I think it should be 'done.'
Love Jane xxx

Eryl Shields said...

Jane ~ Five years, what is it a bison skull? Actually, now I think of it, what happens to all the lamb and cow skulls when they go to the abattoir? I have a great sheep's skull found in the hills, but I'd love a cow's skull and a lamb's one too. Am I sounding macabre?

Bury it is probably what I'll do, being rather impatient I was wondering if there was a quicker way: sandblasting or something.

Carole said...

I am scared of you girl. Excellent job.
I would suggest that with all you have on the go in your life, you might just let the duck head rest in peace.

Eryl Shields said...

Scared of me Carole? Oh dear. The duck head will rest in peace in my garden until I remember it's there (and all the oozy stuff has rotted away) when it will brought into the house to rest on my windowsill in the sunshine. I wouldn't want it to have died in vain.

Mary Witzl said...

Get Kim to introduce you to Dina -- she does road kill, and if anyone would know how to stuff a duck's head, I'm betting she would. (Poor duck! Can't help it -- I think duck tastes GREAT, but I think ducks are so cute -- a terrible dilemma for me.)

How are you? Did it snow? Did the basil survive at all? Sob. I miss it all so!

Eryl Shields said...

Hello Mary, yes it snowed and it's still quite snowy, though I fear it will be gone by tomorrow. I forgot to get the basil, but it must be dead by now all my herbs have gone, the evergreens are really suffering and I fear for my lush Laurel, it's been doing so well over the last few mild years but I don't think it will survive this. Sob. I really should learn to do that thing with bubble wrap.

Kim, are you listening, I need Dina?

PI said...

Eryl: re the lovely picture show we were talking about - should I worry about electricity or is it- I hope -negligible?

Eryl Shields said...

There's a question! I suppose it's pretty negligible compared to many of the things we use in the household, but it all adds up. It depends what you worry about too: your bills, the planet or both. It seems every tiny bit counts when it comes to the planet. Oh god, I have begun to worry now, I'll go back to reading by the light of one small candle! You are a very wise woman Pat, very wise indeed.

debra said...

So, Eryl, what is the status of the duck?

Eryl Shields said...

It's dead Debra! And it's head is in the freezer waiting for the soil to soften in the garden so I can bury it.