Smoked Duck with Spicy Litchi and Szechuan pepper sauce

This recipe involves lightly smoking the duck breast after it has come out of the oven and is resting. Do not worry if you don’t have a smoking gun to smoke the duck, as the dish will still be delicious.


  • 4 duck breasts, skin lightly scored
  • Cherrywood chips
  • Salt and pepper
  • Frozen/fresh lotus root slices
  • 1 bunch bok choi
  • Vegetable oil for deep frying


  • 1tsp Szeschuan pepper
  • 1tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1tsp cumin seeds
  • 1tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 lemongrass stem, white part only, coarsely chopped
  • 2 small shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2cm piece of ginger peeled
  • 2 Tblsp chopped coriander stem
  • 1 Tblsp chopped coriander leaves
  • 525g tin litchis in Syrup
  • 2tsp Fish Sauce
  • 200 ml Chicken stock
  • 2 Tblsp lemon juice
  • 100ml coconut milk
  • 2 Tblsp Peanut oil
  • Corn Starch


  • I cup white rice
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • Water
  • Salt


  • Turn oven on to 190deg C.
  • Begin by making the sauce.
  • Add Szechuan pepper, cumin, coriander seeds, chilli flakes, lemongrass, shallot, garlic, ginger, coriander stem and leaves, half of the tin of litchis and syrup, fish sauce and lemon juice to a food processor/blender and process for a few minutes until as smooth as possible.
  • Pass the sauce through a sieve to remove unprocessed pieces.
  • Heat the peanut oil in a pan and when hot add the sauce and fry for about a minute over a medium heat.
  • Add the rest of the litchi syrup, coconut milk and chicken stock and gently simmer the sauce until reduced by about half its volume – +/- 20 – 30 minutes.
  • Season (if necessary) and thicken sauce slightly with a little corn-starch added to a bit of water, and then stirred through the sauce.
  • Chop remaining litchis into chunks and add to sauce – heat through.
  • Set aside.

Lotus root

  • If frozen, thaw the lotus root and dry on kitchen towel.
  • Heat oil to 180deg C and fry lotus root in batches until golden brown.
  • Remove from oil.
  • Season with salt and set aside.


  • Cook the rice on the stove top or rice cooker, substituting the equivalent water, with the can of coconut milk.


  • Heat a non-stick pan over a medium heat and brown the duck skin side down until well browned and fat has rendered out +/- 5- 7 minutes. Take care not to burn.
  • Turn duck over and briefly brown remaining sides.
  • Transfer duck to an oven friendly pan and cook in the oven for about 6-7 minutes  (this will produce duck which is still slightly pink in the middle). Cook longer if you want more well-done duck.
  • Remove duck and rest in a glass dish.
  • Cover dish with cling wrap and add Cherrywood smoke.
  • Seal dish and rest meat in the smoke for 3-4 minutes.

Bok Choi

  • Steam/boil Bok Choi until softened.
  • Set aside and keep warm.

To serve

  • Spoon warm sauce onto a plate.
  • Place bok choi leaves onto plate and top with coconut rice.
  • Slice the duck breast and lay on top of sauce
  • Top with crispy lotus root

Nice! and Tasty – Chris

Gluten Free Almond Cake/Tart

This cake is absolutely delicious and extremely simple to make. It is really moist and has a great almond flavour.



  • 100g ground almonds
  • Pinch salt
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 50g regular sugar
  • 1 large egg – beaten
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (55g), melted and cooled, plus more for the pan
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract or 1 teaspoon almond essence
  • 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 80g plain flour
  • Pinch of salt

Glaze (optional) – Mix the ingredients below adding more or less sugar depending on the consistency you want

  • Icing sugar
  • Water
  • Almond extract
  • Squeeze fresh lemon juice


  • Preheat the oven to 160°C. Line the base of a 6-inch (15cm) cake pan with parchment paper cut to fit and generously butter the bottom and sides of the pan.
  • In a large bowl, combine the ground almonds, salt and all sugars.
  • Add the beaten egg, melted butter, and almond extract to the dry ingredients. Mix until smooth. The batter should be quite thick.
  • Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top.
  • Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the centre comes out clean. Carefully turn the cake out of the pan onto a wire rack and let it cool completely.
  • Pour the glaze (if using) over the cooled cake and allow to set (approx. 20min). 

The almond cake will keep in an airtight container, or well wrapped in plastic wrap, for several days.

Nice! and Tasty – Chris

Clam Chowder


  • 400g cooked clam meat coarsely chopped
  • 4 rashers bacon finely chopped
  • 1 brown onion finely diced
  • 2 carrots finely diced
  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into small dice
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 250ml dry white wine
  • 300ml cream
  • Handful of Italian parsley roughly chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil


  • In a heavy based pan, fry the chopped bacon in a little olive oil until it is just starting to crisp and the bacon fat has all rendered out.
  • Remove with a slotted spoon leaving rendered bacon fat in the pan.
  • Add the onion and carrot and gently sautée stirring occasionally until starting to soften about 10 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and gently fry for about 1 minute
  • Add the diced potato, wine and enough stock to ensure the vegetables are totally covered by liquid.
  • Simmer for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are starting to break up.
  • Stir everything vigorously to break up a lot of the potato – (you are looking for a slightly chunky potato soup type consistency). A potato masher also works well. It is ok if the carrot doesn’t break up as easily as the potato.
  • Add all the clam meat and most of the bacon leaving some for the final garnish
  • Add the cream and bring everything back to a simmer.
  • Stir through the chopped parsley
  • Adjust seasoning

Serve in bowls with chunks of crispy bread

Nice! and Tasty – Chris

Tuscan Chicken

This is a really tasty way to serve chicken breasts which can often be quite dry, if not cooked correctly. It is great served with steamed rice and serves 4


  • 4 Chicken breasts, halved and slightly flattened
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 250ml white wine
  • 300ml cream
  • 250ml chicken stock
  • 1 handful of grated parmesan
  • 2 handfuls chopped baby spinach
  • ½ cup sundried tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon mixed dried herbs
  • Salt and pepper


  • Season the chicken with salt and pepper and then gently fry the chicken breast in a little olive oil until nicely browned and nearly cooked through. Remove from pan.
  • Gently fry the onion in the butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When soft, add the crushed garlic and fry for about 1 minute taking care not to burn the garlic
  • Add the wine, and reduce to about half then add the mixed herbs
  • Add the chicken stock and reduce a bit
  • Add the cream and simmer for a few minutes until the cream has reduced slightly
  • Add spinach and sundried tomatoes and gently cook until the spinach has wilted
  • Add parmesan and stir through.
  • Taste and season as required
  • Add chicken breasts back to the pan and cook gently until they are cooked through

Nice! and Tasty – Chris

Gooey Chocolate Brownies

These are great on their own either served at room temp. or straight from the refrigerator. Or you can add a scoop of vanilla ice-cream for a slightly more decadent dessert.


  • 115g unsalted butter
  • 250g good-quality dark chocolate, chopped
  • 90g good-quality milk chocolate (I use Lindt),
  • 100g castor sugar
  • 100g soft brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tbs Dutch or other good quality cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 80g plain flour
  • Pinch of salt


  • Preheat the oven to 170°C
  • Grease a 18cm x 27cm brownie pan with oil spray before lining the base and sides with baking paper.
  • Melt butter and 160g dark chocolate in a double boiler or in a heatproof plastic bowl in the microwave. Cool slightly.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the two sugars, the eggs and vanilla, and whisk by hand to combine. Add butter and chocolate mixture, then sift over dry ingredients and fold them through the mixture to gently combine.
  • Finely chop the milk chocolate and remaining 90g dark chocolate and add them to the brownie mixture.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for approx. 25 minutes or until crusty on top and soft in the centre.
  • Leave to cool in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack.
  • Once cool, cut into 4cm squares.
  • Store in an airtight container, such as Tupperware, in the fridge.

Nice! and Tasty – Chris

Food, Recipes, Restaurants


My first contributor is Nice! and Tasty – Chris”. 

I have had the privilege of sampling Chris’s food in the past  and it has always been exceptionally tasty and imaginative. Nice! and Tasty – Chris will be the main contributor in this section.

In his own words:

Originally from South Africa and now residing in Auckland, New Zealand, I have been cooking and experimenting with food for around 20 years. Being self-taught, I’m not constrained by any one style or cuisine, however over the years I’ve developed a real passion for creating desserts as well as slow cooking. My philosophy is straight forward really – look for and purchase the highest quality ingredients your wallet will allow. Don’t over-complicate food, and exercise discipline in cooking, realising that more often than not, fewer ingredients are better. Be mindful when cooking. I put as much concentration and feeling into frying an egg as I do when creating a complex dessert. Whilst presentation is important, ultimately it’s the depth of flavour and texture of food which determines a great dish.