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Chilli & Mint Duck Breast with Coriander Quinoa

Duck is one of my favourite meats, but its one that Rich isn't that fussed about so I wanted to make something really tasty to try and get him a bit more excited about it. Tricky, when I'm trying to keep the calories down but I think this recipe helped a bit. I had a look on the Gressingham website for inspiration, and found this which worked really well aside from the fact I was distracted by the baby's bedtime and left my duck in the oven a touch too long but at least the skin was very crispy. The chilli, mint and lemon combo is always a winner and it really lifted the duck. People always think of duck as a fatty meat, and of course, if you've ever cooked duck then the amount of fat that emerges into the pan is pretty terrifying. However, the fat is very much concentrated into the skin and if the skin is removed then the duck is a very lean meat with less fat and fewer calories than a chicken breast. Unfortunately, I do not have the willpower to relinquish the delicious crispy duck skin, so our portions of duck would be about 450 cals, meaning I needed super skinny sides.

I recently stumbled across a recipe for Tropical Pesto from Belize, which is coriander, garlic, lemon and cashews blitzed up briefly. Cookie&Kate puts hers to very good use in the kale and quinoa concoction, which I tried last week and is INCREDIBLE, especially if you use coconut oil to make the pesto. Seriously, you must try it (remember Americans call coriander cilantro).

Having used olive oil in the chilli and mint though, I didn't want to travel over to a different continent for my side dish and I think the coconut element really would be a terrible clash for the dressed duck, so instead I put my middle east hat on (one of my faves), got my whizzer out and made a pesto of loads of coriander, 10-15 pistachios, 2 tsp olive oil, lots of lemon and garlic to stir into kale and quinoa at the last moment. It was immense, if I do say so myself. Quinoa is a great choice for dieters as it is very high in protein, low in carbs and a much healthier choice than even something like couscous. You do need to jujj it up a lot though and you should try and be sparing with the olive oil / coconut oil when doing so as you'll just shoot yourself in the foot.

To serve, I rested the duck and then sliced it up prettily before dressing it with the chilli and mint. I sprinkled some raw red onion over the quinoa and we also had some roasted green peppers with it all. We're looking at about 750 calories for this one I think, but it was worth it for that naughty duck skin.

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