Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Should a craving for saucy chicken alarm swans?

My Spanish classmate, Clara, came for lunch yesterday with three other guests and today she asked me for the recipe of the sauce that I made to go with the oven-roasted chicken drumsticks and wings. She said she enjoyed a tasty sauce as she usually found chicken too bland to eat on its own.

Has anyone eaten swan (right) before? Yikes, no, it's protected. Anyway, you don't want to tangle with this fella -- this young Mute Swan hisses. (How do I know it's male, or a cob? It has a larger knob growing above the bill, that's how.) 'Show me your knob and I'll show you mine!' this young cob looks like he's saying.

It was marinade left over from the chicken pieces. Thought I should make good use of it instead of draining it away.

In case anyone else would also like the recipe, here it is:

Marinade for 500g of chicken wings/drumsticks:

1 teaspoon salt
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp five-spice powder (if you have it)
2 or 3 tablespoon balsamico or cider vinegar (depending on how tangy you want it)
1 tbs honey
1 tbs fresh or dried parsley
2 tbs dark sweet soy sauce
1 tbs soy sauce

Marinate the chicken pieces in the mixture for at least 5 hours, better overnight. Preheat oven to 195 degrees C. Place chicken on baking paper or aluminium foil-lined oven tray. At 18 minutes, you can glaze the pieces with a bit of additional honey or sugar. Take out wings at 25 minutes. Continue roasting drumsticks for another 6 or 7 minutes.

To make the sauce:

Pour the remaining marinade into a small saucepan. Medium heat with half teaspoon of chicken stock. Mix well 1 1/2 tsp of flour with 6 tsp of water. Add to marinade. Stir constantly on low heat till it boils. Adjust taste by adding salt or water. Take off stove.

These are two of the three wild Greylag geese that have been visiting the Zuger Lake lately. They look singularly distinctive with their orange beaks and pink-orange feet. (No fear, I haven't cooked my goose!)

P.S. Come to think of it, I'm not sure if the Mute Swan in the first pic is male (cob) or female (pen). Both have the knob thing on their bills, but the male one is mentioned in Wikipedia to have a larger knob (but of course!). Guess I can't tell unless I put a cob and a pen of the same age next to each other and compared their knobby bills. Don't see that happenin' any time soon, guv'nor. What?! You want me to get all hitam lebam (blue-black) attacked by the territorial males?! Hissssssss...

If you click on the pic (above) you will see close-up what a scruffy teenage 'girl' this Mute Swan is. So cute though. She's not fully adult yet -- you can see some feathers are still brown-grey. I'm always fascinated by swans' dark grey rubberlike feet in and out of the water. They swim so effortlessly but are comically ungainly on land.

It has been raining off and on for three days. When I braved going to the lake this evening, the wild fowl were extra ravenous. When I threw in some small pieces of bread and accidentally par-burnt roti canai, the swans and ducks rushed for them, knocking into each other's bills and heads. No wonder there is more than one Scarface mallard!

The bully-boss cobs (male swans) were extra mean in chasing away the skinny female ones, trying to pinch them with their knobby bills. Am glad to report I managed to feed all three skinny-necked pens (female swans) while one cob was making funny throaty sounds on the water below my feet. (They were mistakenly named Mute Swans; they do make noises.)

P.P.S. Why do I seem to love these teenage swans so much? 'Coz I have witnessed them growing up from downy grey cygnets since last September.

P.P.P.S. In 'Feathered Friends Flock Together' somewhere below, I've corrected the name of what I wrongly thought was a Mandarin duck. It's a kind of Carolina Wood duck. Now I've got to speak to it in a North or South Carolina accent -- instead of saying 'ni hau?' ('how are you?' in Mandarin) like I used to. Mea culpa. ^_^


Lee Ping said...

Dear Argus,

Your writing is quite unique. You combined recipe with animals that you love. So far, I have not seen any blog that does that. And you do it so well. You have kept my attention all the way to the end.

WokandSpoon said...

Your chicken sounds quite tasty! If I were those swans (and the geese), I'd be thinking about moving...can't be safe with you around ;-)

Argus Lou said...

Thanks much, MrsHBT. You're very encouraging to writers -- just like your lovely sweet Dad.

Dear Wokandspoon, my lunch guests liked the roasted chicken pieces pretty much and polished off the lot in no time, making me wish I had made more. It's strange, isn't it, that I love watching the wild fowl so much but won't think twice about sinking my teeth into poulet or domesticated duck?
Mmm... should I seriously consider vegetarianism? *tick tock tick tock*

Lee Ping said...

You are also very encouraging to me. Every time I see new comments in my inbox, it just cheers me up. I don't think that feeling will disappear anytime soon.

Speaking of my Dad, I haven't seen much comments from him lately. I still get emails from him, just not comments. I wonder if his comments got spammed again. He keeps putting his email username as his name or he leaves same message twice in a row and wordpress would think he is a spammer. I am already very proud of him for learning how to use a computer and leaving sweet messages.

Argus Lou said...

Dear MrsHBT, I like your blog because you're earnest, authentic and diligently detailed in your cooking methods. And you always have a kind and encouraging word for others.

Yes, isn't wonderful when the 'older' generation are daring and open-minded enough to use new technology? Hope I'll be like that when I'm 65.

Argus Lou said...

Oh, sorry. I meant "isn't IT wonderful...?"

melody said...

wah so popular lah your blog... :)anyways, we're all pissed in the office because Steve the Spaz decided yet again to keep all the money to himself. Well, at least that's what I'd like to think. So maybe you send over some of those barfi eh?

hrugaar said...

'Show me your knob and I'll show you mine!' sounds like my kind of cob, hee.

I share the paradox of adoring animals and yet being a carnivore. Maybe if I liked humans more I'd also be a cannibal?

Ru, also hopping over from the fabulous glenda's blog (and mine). Hi argus. :o)

Argus Lou said...

Hey, Mel. No lah, only 3 or 4 regularly pop in. It's an isolated dog-haunted blog -- maybe that's why.
If Spaz does not declare 5 months' ex-g, then he too cannot get 5 times his BIG monthly salary -- not good strategy, what.

Hi, Hrugaar! So nice to see you here. Knew someone somewhere would appreciate that nasty 'knob' line, heh heh.
OK, no need to like humans so much, ya?

*backs away slowly*

(Hail, Glenda! The bringer-together of pacifist carnivores.)

Kenny Mah said...

I'd agree with Mrs. HBT about your blog --- it really is unique with the combination of subjects that you toss about in the most natural way. (She does it really well too on her blog, mixing family, faith and food together.)

Somehow like a Kylie Minogue song that I just can't get out of my head, I can't get rid of the image of saucy swan drumsticks now... LOL

Argus Lou said...

Thanks, Kenny. I'm just writing about some of the things I love. Now I keep getting an image of you picturing swan drumsticks in your head -- if swans could speak, they might say, "Humans are such nightmarish complications (or complicated nightmares) but at least they throw us bread once in a while." ^_^

My old living-room

My old living-room
In Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

A cherished dream

A cherished dream
To live on a pale beach by a crystal clear sea. (This was taken on the east coast of Johor state, Malaysia.)