A couple of days a month working in Paris sounds rather glamorous, but really, work travel is work travel and tends to involve too much work and too much travel.
It interrupts your sleep patterns. I had to get up at 5am to catch the Eurostar train which would get me into the office at midday and I didn't get home until after 8pm on the day I returned.
It interrupts your eating patterns. Eating out for every meal becomes old very quickly - especially when you're trying to eat as nutrient rich foods as you can. There just are no good choices available in ready made foods and you don't know the quality of what will be in the meal you order in restaurants. Although I will say this much, ordering restaurant food in Paris was much less of a concern in this regard than ordering restaurant food in the other city I once regularly had to do work travel to - Dallas. At least the French value fresh ingredients prepared fairly simply.
In any case, I'd occasionally pop out to the supermarket in the lunch hour and pick up a bottle or two of cheap French wine to bring back to London in my hand-luggage at a fraction of the price it would cost here. We took said wine to a dinner party and the host asked if I could pick up some confit duck for him sometime as it was half the price in Euros as you can find it for Pounds in London. The next time I could fit it in I did, and squeezed another tin in my bag for posterity.
As part of eating the cupboard bare before our move, I finally opened that tin last week and Mr Duncan made us a lovely traditional confit duck leg meal with greens and potato.
We have two legs left and this is what I did with one of them.
Coconut milk is a source of healthy saturated fat which aids in vitamin absorption and balancing hormones.
Courgette contains iron and vitamins A, Bs (including folate) and C and the skin is full of fibre.
Spinach is rich in iron, folate and vitamin K
- Fat from the confit duck
- Green curry paste (see below)
- Coconut milk
- Shredded duck leg
- Egg noodles
Boil noodles until cooked. Rinse, drain and set aside. Heat duck fat in wok until melted and chop onion into wedges. Stir fry onion until slightly soft and mix in green curry paste. Cook for a further couple of minutes. Add coconut milk and mix until paste dissolves. Bring to a low simmer and allow to reduce/thicken for about 5 minutes.
Add chopped courgette, duck and noodles. Heat through for three minutes. Remove from heat. Stir through chopped spinach until wilted. Serve.
Green Curry Paste
This is a recipe from Smokin' Pot, a Thai/Cambodian restaurant and cookery school in Battambang where Mr Duncan and I once took a class in Khmer-style cooking.
- 1/4 tsp dried coriander seeds
- 1/4 tsp dried cumin seeds
- 1/4 tsp black peppercorn
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp finely chopped ginger
- 1/2 tsp kaffir lime peel, finely chopped (I used grated peel from a regular lime)
- 1 tbsp finely chopped shallots (I used onion)
- 1/2 tsp shrimp paste (or substitute 2x anchovies with 2 tbsp water)
- 1 1/2 tsp crushed lemongrass
- 1 tbsp finely chopped coriander root
- 1/2 tbsp crushed garlic
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/3 cup basil leaves
- About 10 small green chillies
Toast cumin and coriander seeds over a low heat until brown then put in mortar and pestle and grind to a powder. Add remaining ingredients and pound to a paste with pestle.
This makes enough for about four meals for two. I store the extra in the fridge covered with olive oil until I need it.