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Bristol foodie (and mum to two boys) PAM LLOYD returns, and

this time attempts to get the kids excited about Chinese New Year

n our household we never need much excuse to sample the delights of Bristol and Bath’s numerous Chinese restaurants, but Chinese New Year, which falls at the end of January (Jan 31, to be precise) always inspires. Last year we celebrated the event with one of Joseph’s school friends, Jonathan (eight), and his family at Watersky in Eastville. And this wasn’t Joseph and George’s first experience of Chinese food: they have been to Dynasty on St Thomas

Street in Bristol before, and Jonathan is a seasoned takeaway fiend. On the way there, they even compared notes in the back of the car. Turns out, in small boy world, it’s all about the Peking duck. Who knew? But yes, they all agreed the combo of soft warm pancakes, tasty

shredded duck, sweet sticky sauce and crunchy cucumber is inspired. They debated sauce on first or sauce on last, but they all said they will never, not ever, touch a spring onion. In their view this classic accompaniment is surplus to requirements. I have to say, I dare to disagree, but let’s not fall out over a small allium. One rule I’ve learnt as mum is to pick your battles… Some months later, while eating Peking duck at the New

Emperor Court on Portland Street in Clifton Village, the kids hit on the idea of making it at home. “You’ve never made it before mum. You’ll have to Google it,” said

George, who was four at the time. For the children of the digital generation, no recipe is further than an iPad click away. I took his advice, looked it up online and found dozens of

variations on the method; some were extremely complex, involving a special duck hanging hook, a bicycle pump (I’m not kidding) and a series of steps including boiling, draining, hanging, dusting and painting before ever getting it as far as the oven. There had to be an easier way: I was cooking dinner for my family, after all, not trying to win an award for ‘most complicated restaurant meal recreated at home’. Luckily, it turns out PD can be easy; in fact, the only minor challenge is the shopping. First off: the bird. If you want to shop local you may struggle

if you don’t think ahead. My own butcher, T&P Murray on Gloucester Road in Bristol, doesn’t stock whole fresh ducks as a matter of course. They do have frozen ones, though. Ruby & White on Whiteladies Road in Clifton do sell whole fresh ducks year round, and Bartlett & Sons on Cheltenham Street and Green Street in Bath will order one in with a couple of days notice. Failing that, a decent supermarket will do the job (but you didn’t hear that from me). Your next stop is the Chinese supermarket to buy your pancakes

(find them in the freezer section, and buy more than you think you’ll need) and, while you’re there, pick up some Chinese five spice and a jar of the all-important hoisin sauce. I made my own plum sauce, but it wasn’t going to be the same as the stuff the restaurants serve so I bought this as an insurance policy. As I discovered, there are far more complicated ways of tackling

Peking duck, but why make cooking for your family any more challenging than it is already? I found this way worked a treat, and there wasn’t a scrap left. Not even a piece of spring onion…





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