Recipes from The Skint Cook

Round & About

We’re sharing  a taste of inspiration from The Skint Cook, by Jamie Oliver’s Cookbook Challenge TV series finalist Ian Bursnall, out on 18th January

Five spice duck legs with a sesame salad & crispy seaweed


•  Two duck legs

•  1 tsp five spice powder

•  3/4 tsp salt

•  3/4 tsp pepper

•  150g red cabbage, shredded

•  4 large spring onions, sliced

•  120g beansprouts

•  2 tbsp olive oil

•  2 tbsp cider vinegar

•  2 tbsp soy sauce

•  2 tbsp honey

•  2 tsp sesame oil

•  1/2 tsp chilli flakes

•  1/2 tsp caster sugar

•  1 tbsp sesame seeds

•   Crispy “seaweed” – also featured in the book

Such a nice dish – you have the crispy duck skin and tender meat. The sesame salad cuts through the fattiness of the duck so perfectly, contrasting flavour at the highest level. I love it. Adding the crispy seaweed gives it a restaurant vibe!


Preheat the oven to 160°C fan/180°C/gas mark 4.

Take your duck legs and prick them all over with a cocktail stick. This helps to release the fat and get a crispy skin. Now mix together the five spice powder and half a teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Rub this all over the duck legs, top and bottom. Now place them into an ovenproof dish and cook in the oven for half an hour. Check and baste them from time to time. The skin should be nice and crisp when done.

Meanwhile, put your cabbage and spring onions into a bowl and set aside. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, then add the beansprouts. Bring back to the boil, then drain and cool under cold running water for 30 seconds. Drain and add to the cabbage mixture and mix well.

“Adding the crispy seaweed gives it a restaurant vibe!”

Ian Bursnall

In a separate bowl, add all the other ingredients, minus the sesame seeds and crispy seaweed. Give them a good mix to emulsify. Set aside.

Put a frying pan over a low heat, add the sesame seeds and toast for a minute or two. Tip the toasted seeds into the dressing, give it a mix, then pour over the salad veg. Stir well to coat.

When the duck is ready, spoon the salad onto the middle of two plates. Take the duck out of the oven and shred the meat off the bone. Place on top of the salad and sprinkle over the crispy “seaweed”. Enjoy.

A Blackberry fool & ginger biscuit topping


•  250ml double cream

•  3 tbsp icing sugar

•  1 tsp vanilla extract

•  150g cream cheese

•  100g Greek yogurt

•  200g fresh blackberries

•  2 tsp caster sugar

•  Four crunchy ginger biscuits (I use Ginger Nuts)

The cream cheese gives this such a silky smooth feeling. Ginger biscuits add texture to the top. Spot on.


Take the cream cheese out of the fridge 30 minutes in advance to let it soften.

Add the double cream to a large bowl with the icing sugar and vanilla. Whip together until the cream starts to stiffen (soft peak stage), but don’t over-whip it. Now add the cream cheese and whisk until combined, then add the yogurt and fold it through. Set aside.

Place the blackberries in a separate bowl, putting a few aside to decorate. Sprinkle the caster sugar over the blackberries, then mush them up a bit with a fork, leaving some chunky.

Now spoon some of the mushed berries into the bottom of four clear glass ramekins or wine glasses, then spoon some cream mixture on top. Repeat three or so times, ending with a layer of the cream mixture.

Take your biscuits, put them into a food bag and smash into crumbs with a rolling pin, but leave them quite chunky. Decorate the desserts with the reserved blackberries, then sprinkle each dessert with the biscuit crumbs and serve.

You could make these ahead and chill in the fridge, then add the biscuit crumbs just before serving. I might try this again adding a splash of balsamic vinegar to the blackberries before mushing them up.

The Skint Cook: Over 80 easy, tasty recipes that won’t break the bank by Ian Bursnall (HQ, HarperCollins). Image credit Martin Poole.