Actress, author, founder of, and host of the popular PBS series Spain…On the Road Again, Gwyneth Paltrow is an icon of style and good taste.


My Father’s Daughter is a book of delicious, easy reciepes celebrating family & togetherness. The Perfect Roast Chinese Duck is the perfect main menu dish.



1 organic large duck (about 2kg),

Washed and dried, see my salt scrub method, below

Rock or kosher salt for the scrub

Coarse salt for seasoning

Freshly ground black pepper

1 small onion, peeled and quartered

2 star anise

teaspoon ground cloves

50g dark brown sugar (unrefined if possible)

Boiling water

1 cucumber, cut into matchsticks for serving

1 bunch spring onions, shredded for servings

Sesame Pancakes for serving

Red Miso Hoisin for serving

Preheat the over to 350 F

Trim off excess skin from the opening to the cavity and from the back end of the duck (render it and save it for frying potatoes if you like). Use your fingers and the tip of a paring knife to slip underneath the skin covering the breast, loosening it and being careful not to tear it. Pierce the skin all over with the paring knife (approximately 50 times), but do not pierce the meat itself. This is to ensure that all the fat renders during cooking and you’ll be rewarded with delicious, crispy skin.

Put the duck in a large roasting tin. Generously sprinkle salt and pepper over it, top to bottom, front and back. Stuff the cavity with the onion and star anise. Put the duck breast-side up in the pan and sprinkle with ground cloves. Sprinkle the brown sugar all round the duck, not on it. Pour enough boiling water over the duck and into the tin to come up 2.5cm (to tighten the skin).

Cover the pan very tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 1 hour, flip it, cover it again with the foil, and bake for an additional hour. Transfer the duck to a plate and let it cool.

Meanwhile, put the roasting tin on the hob and boil the liquid over high heat for 20-30 minutes, or until reduced by about half. Cool slightly and pour it into a storage container. Wrap up both the duck and the liquid and refrigerate overnight.

To finish the duck, preheat the oven to 500 F. Roast the duck for 25 minutes, or until crispy and browned. Let it rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.

To serve, use your reserved pan juices. A significant amount of fat should be hardened on the top – scoop it off and discard. Put the dark brown juice in a small saucepan and warm it over medium heat. Carve the duck into thin slices. Pour the warm juice over the slices. Wrap up bits of duck, cucumber and spring onion in Sesame Pancakes spread with Red Miso Hoisin sauce.


Sesame Pancakes

Note: You can make these ahead and then quickly heat them up for a few seconds on each side in a hot, nonstick pan – much easier than trying to make them all last minute!


125g unbleached plain flour

375ml rice milk

Pinch salt

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

Vegetable oil for frying


Whisk together the flour, milk, salt and sesame oil. Heat a small nonstick frying pan (6-inch frying pan) over medium heat. Pour the vegetable oil and use paper towel to spread it evenly. Pour in 2 tablespoons of batter and swirl the pan to coat the bottom. Cook for about 30 seconds, or until browned on the bottom. Peel the pancake up from the pan and flip it (it’s fastest to loosen the edges with a butter knife or rubber spatula and then lift it up with your fingers). Cook for about 30 seconds on the second side. The first one’s usually a dud. Continue the process until you run out of batter.

Makes about 1 dozen pancakes

Red Miso Hoisin

This is so much healthier than a commercial version!


1 tablespoon grape seed or vegetable oil

1 large clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped

½ teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder

125ml red or brown miso

125ml real Vermont maple syrup

2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar


Heat the grapeseed oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and five-spice powder and cook for about 30 seconds, or until wonderfully fragrant. Whisk in the remaining ingredients, bring to the boil, and cook, whisking or stirring constantly, for 3-4 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Let the sauce cool before using. It keeps well in the refrigerator for a few days.

Makes about 250ml